English Premier League leaders Manchester United will look to retain their hold atop the table on Saturday when they take on Reading. The struggling club is desperately clawing to get out of the bottom three to avoid potential relegation to the Football League Championship.
The Royals do have the luxury of playing host to their heavily favored opponents, but it will take an extraordinary effort from both the crowd and the players on the pitch to knock off Sir Alex Ferguson's bunch.
Unfortunately for the home team, Reading enters this one off of two one-goal losses, while the Red Devils have recently dispatched Queens Park and West Ham United in league competition—and have won seven of their previous eight EPL matches.
Here is the viewing information you need to know for the pending fixture, as well as a brief preview and prediction for the match's outcome.
When: Saturday, December 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Madejski Stadium, Berkshire, England
Live Stream: FOX Soccer 2 Go
As John Ley of The Telegraph points out, the Royals don't exactly have the strongest track record against United.
Their only win in 16 previous clashes came in 1927. That's 85 years ago, and it's hard to envision anything changing.
Despite being 19th out of 20 teams in the Premier League table, though, Brian McDermott's club has been competitive all year long. In 13 matches, the Royal have notched six draws and their lone victory came against Everton, who sits in sixth place in the standings.
However, the Red Devils have an extremely potent attack led by Robin van Persie, who is second in the league with nine goals scored. It certainly appears as though Manchester United has justified the move to acquire the former Arsenal star, who has filled in seamlessly in spite of Wayne Rooney's struggles.
United should be given a strong fight in the first half behind enthusiastic support from the Royal faithful, with key injuries to midfielders Antonio Valencia and Luis Nani (h/t ManUtd.com) possibly to take their toll on team chemistry.
Expect a second-half flurry of goals to put the visitors out in front and ultimately pull them away from the scrappy underdogs. Jim Knight of Goal.com expects this to happen as well, considering the knack United has had to storm back on the road this season after relatively lackluster first halves.
This is a rather predictable prediction, but the Red Devils are simply too strong for Reading to handle. If the Royals were able to salvage a point on this afternoon, it would be a spectacular effort.
Final Score: Manchester United 4, Reading 2
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