Six things we noticed against Reading

Saturday 28 January 2023 22:22

Manchester United are into the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup after defeating Reading 3-1 at Old Trafford.

Casemiro's second-half brace and a further effort from his compatriot Fred earned the Reds the win, with Andy Carroll being dismissed for the visitors after getting a second yellow card midway through the second period.

Reading substitute Amadou Mbengue headed home for the Royals to make it 3-1, but it is the Reds who are in the hat for Monday’s draw.

After an action-packed clash with flashpoints, superb goals, and VAR intervention, here are the key details you may have missed during our match against Reading…

United 3 Reading 1


Read our match report on the Reds' Emirates FA Cup fourth-round tie at Old Trafford.


When Andy Carroll and Lucas Joao were named in the Reading attack, it became apparent that Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof would have their work cut out against the Royals.

Despite the physical challenge of the visitors’ attacking duo, Harry and Victor dominated in defence, winning countless headers and making important interceptions to thwart Reading’s attempts of creating clear-cut opportunities.

It was a resilient performance from our defence, and in particular, the returning captain and our Swedish stalwart.


Throughout the match, Aaron Wan-Bissaka provided an extra option in United’s attacks.

Wan-Bissaka was even on occasion seen as advanced and central as striker Wout Weghorst, and this tactical approach from Ten Hag regularly freed up Antony in the wide areas to run at the Reading defence.

Attacking is a key part of Erik’s approach, and Aaron carried this side of his game – as well as stern defending - out to a tee against the Royals, fizzing in a series of dangerous crosses which could have resulted in goals for the Reds and assists for our right-back.


Weghorst’s start versus Reading was his first for United at Old Trafford, having previously featured away to Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Nottingham Forest. The Dutchman showed the same diligent pressing and effective hold-up play we’ve come to expect of him, defending from the front for Ten Hag’s side.

In the first half, Wout’s header laid the ball to Marcus Rashford, whose header crept over the line, but the goal was ruled out for offside against our no.27. Weghorst had a handful of openings across the 90 minutes, popping up in key areas, but couldn’t find the net on the night.

However, his efficiency for the team cannot be understated.

Who gets your vote as United's Man of the Match, after the FA Cup win over Reading?poll

Who gets your vote as United's Man of the Match, after the FA Cup win over Reading?


With the sides locked at 0-0 and an air of frustration creeping in for United, Casemiro took matters into his own hands.

Within the space of just four minutes, between the 54th and the 58th, the Brazilian struck twice, putting the Reds firmly in the driving seat. The first was from a well-worked move that also included compatriot Antony, before Casemiro produced a fierce effort from distance which nestled in the bottom corner.


Antony looked lively in midweek versus Nottingham Forest and against Reading he was also a threat. The Brazilian held the key to unlocking the Royals’ defence, providing the assist for compatriot Casemiro to score the first goal of the match.

Erik has said that he wants all of his attacking players to contribute, and in getting his first-ever assist in a United shirt and being awarded the official Emirates FA Cup Man of the Match award, Antony is certainly carrying out his manager’s brief.

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The second half of our clash with Reading saw Erik introduce Alejandro Garnacho, Facundo Pellistri, Kobbie Mainoo and Anthony Elanga, with Garnacho in particular making an impression off the bench again.

The Argentinian was energetic down the United left and created a chance for Pellistri almost immediately after the duo came on, but the visitors were able to scramble clear. He also laid the ball into the path of Antony in the closing stages, but the Brazilian scuffed his effort and the chance went begging.

Pellistri likewise showed glimpses of his pace, while Mainoo looked composed in midfield and Elanga was once again a willing runner through the middle. Ten Hag says his players must earn their chance to be part of his starting XI, and he is giving opportunities for our younger players to impress, as he became known for during his time as Ajax manager.