This match sees the start of Manchester United’s defence of their premiership crown, a crown which they fought hard for last season. Alex Ferguson has been very busy on the transfer front spending in excess of £40 million over the pre-season. He seems set to rest his big signings for the visit of Reading, with Carlos Tevez, Nani, Owen Hargreaves and Anderson left to warm the substitutes bench.
Ferguson has always been very astute as to when and where a new player is introduced, often allowing them to experience the pace and passion of the premiership – Carlos Tevez is a different story, with his on-off move just finalised. It seems as though both Gary Neville and Louis Saha will miss the start of the season, having both suffered long term injuries towards the end of last season.
Steve Coppell on the other hand has signed a couple of new players, but has spent most of the pre-season trying to hang on to his star players. While he has lost the likes of Steve Sidwell, and Greg Halford, he has managed to retain the services of the majority of his squad. Reading showed some real spirit last year and surprised many with there strong showing. However, Coppell’s squad is starting to look a little on the light side, and he desperately needs to bring in some back up for his regular players.
Ex-Manchester United winger Coppell is an expert at tactical play and came very close to containing Manchester United last season, only to see his team fall way at the end. It seems highly unlikely that he will set out to attack United from the off, possibly preferring to sit back and hit them on the break. They have some pacey players upfront, but it depends how much support he can afford to spare pinning back the likes of Scholes and Giggs who seem to get fitter and fitter.
While it would take a brave man to give Reading much of a chance, they will look to contain and frustrate United as they start their title defence. There is every chance that both the players and fans will be come frustrated if United fail to score early on, something which Reading can use to their advantage. Damage limitation would seem to be the name of the game, but up against world class strikers and midfielders, it will take a monumental effort to keep Manchester United at bay.
It seems inevitable that United will push home their superiority and get their season off to a winning start.
Forecast : Home Win