Reading vs. Manchester United: Score, Analysis and Grades

Justin Welton@JustinWeltonAnalyst IIDecember 1, 2012

Manchester United conceded first once again on Saturday, this time against Reading. Luckily for the Red Devils, the offense found a way to overcome the deficit.

It has been a terrifying theme for United fans this season, and to watch it happen against one of the worst teams in the league makes it even more concerning.

Reading started the show off in fantastic style, receiving a goal from Hal Robson-Kanu in the eighth minute. The goal was exactly what Reading needed to pull an upset.

However, soon after the goal, Anderson equalized on a beautiful near-post finish from a feed from Ashley Young. 

After a Adam Le Fondre goal for Reading, Wayne Rooney answered quickly with two goals of his own. Once again Manchester United answered the bell, after falling behind for a second time in the game.

Then, Robin van Persie received a nice touch pass from Rooney in the 34th minute, and he buried his opportunity for what would be the game-winning goal.

You can look at this result in two ways: Manchester United won an ugly game on the road, or Manchester United's defense conceded three goals to Reading, a team that only achieved that feat one other time this season and a team that has only scored three goals in its past four English Premier League games.

I guess it depends on how you want to look at it, but it's difficult to overlook how shaky the back four have been all season long. 



Manchester United

Wayne Rooney: A+

Wayne Rooney had one ball fall into his foot, scored on a penalty kick and had a great flick pass to Robin van Persie.

All in the first half.

Rooney deserves an A+ for his performance because he finished his chances and made the plays when they had to be made. When his name was called, he produced in the final third.


Ashley Young: A+

Ashley Young was easily one of the best offensive players on the pitch. He caused havoc down the wing, looked on top form throughout, provided great pressure and consistently produced great balls.

Young's pace and ability to stretch the defense on the wing produced many chances on Saturday, including linking up on Anderson's goal. 


Robin van Persie: B

Manchester United's offensive weapons were on full display against Reading. They needed to be, considering the defensive lapses in the back.

Rooney was great; Young was spectacular; and Robin van Persie would have had three goals if not for a couple mishaps, one by the referee.

Good day from van Persie, but it should have been a lot better.


Manchester United's Defense: F

Forget about player grades; let's look at Manchester United's back four or even its entire defense.

It was simply atrocious.

The defense has been simply atrocious all season. If it's not conceding the first goal of the game, it's allowing multiple scoring chances early to one of the worst teams in the league.

Manchester United's defense must get better, because this won't cut it as the season progresses. This horrifying theme of conceding first (10 times this season) will cost the Red Devils against better teams in bigger competitions.



Adam Le Fondre: A

Two shots on target and a goal is what Adam Le Fondre produced on Saturday. His production on the day was solid, but the timing of his goal was sublime.

Manchester United falls behind all the time, but when the Red Devils gain the lead, it's difficult to return the game to level. Le Fondre's goal in the 19th minute was what inspired the game into a shootout.

Without the goal, Manchester United might have run away with the contest, because all of the momentum was with United.


Adam Federici: D-

Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici was awful against Manchester United. Granted, Manchester United was flying high offensively throughout, but his performance was lousy.

Federici only recorded one save on six Manchester United shots on target. He was beat short side on Anderson's shot a decent ways from the goal.

He attempted to be stylish instead of clearing a back pass, which should have resulted in van Persie's second goal of the game.

It was pretty much a disaster from the opening whistle.


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