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Match Reports

Reading 0-2 United: Rooney, Ronaldo Keep United Top

Rooney and Ronaldo continue to underline their importance to our team. No amounts of overtures from Real or Barcelona can really be enough to tempt our prized asset away from our club. It just is not worth it. Even an injection of a 100 million pounds for each player will not do justice.

United were not at their very best yesterday. In fact, Reading had the upper hand for a big part of the game. And for that credit must be given to Coppell’s men for taking the game to us. Reading has shown, although to a smaller extent than last season, that they are a much better team than many others around; definitely not relegation material. For the ones with longer memory, they held us to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford. In that game though, they did it by parking the bus (and breaking Rooney’s heel).

Here, they played well, and till the 77th minute, I had a feeling that it might be one of those days. However, Rooney came up with a goal as instinctive as you would ever see him score — from an excellent ball from Tevez — to make it 1-0. Later on, Ronaldo took the ball from his own half, running 60 yards to score yet another goal making it 2-0.

However, it wouldn’t be wrong if one were to say that Reading could have got something from this game — at least 3 clear cut chances were denied by some last ditch defending. This was where the experience of EVDS helped us get out of jail. He stood tall to deny Harper when we were 1-0 up, but it was also down to some sloppy work early on to allow him to burst clear into goal.

In terms of performances, there weren’t too many stand out performances. Carrick and Hargreaves’ pairing in central midfield would have been something that might have lured Capello into watching this game. Carrick was actually okay and it is obvious that a prolonged period playing in the first team would do better for him. He is still terribly inconsistent, but yesterday he made some fine passes that could have been put away. Hargreaves made a welcome return from injury and his free kick was excellent. It is good to see Ronaldo allowing him to take one.

We do have a tough fixture list coming up over the next few weeks and SAF said how much of a relief winning against Reading was:

“By the end we were quite happy to get through it. Considering the number of opportunities we had, maybe our decision-making in the final third of the field wasn’t at its best. We kept making chances, but you do start to worry when the game goes on and you haven’t scored. You worry whether you’re going to get the goal, and it took a lovely flick from Wayne to get us in front. Credit to Reading they kept going at us. They really do make you work.”

The players now have the small matter of travelling a few thousand miles to Saudi Arabia for Sami Al Jaber’s testimonial game. Oh the distance one would go for a million pounds! I honestly don’t believe the trip to be worth it — especially at this stage of the season. But it is not for us to argue anyway. There is a piece by Daniel Taylor, the Guardian’s resident Man Utd journalist (reporting from Riyadh) where Fergie maintains that the trip won’t affect the players.