Monday's match between these two Premier League clubs represents Round 5 of the FA Cup. While this is important to United, it is a nice break from the Champions League Round of 16 against Real Madrid.
The opponent, Reading, has been one of the worst teams in the EPL this season and has only one win in 13 matches on the road. Considering the Red Devils have thoroughly dominated the league this year, this match should be a piece of cake.
However, it is not always that easy. When these clubs faced each other on Dec. 1, it was a back-and-forth battle that saw Manchester United escaping with a 4-3 victory.
In that match, the defense struggled and continued to lose sight of the opposing forwards. That cannot happen again.
This match, plus the next two league games against Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City, create a bit of a relaxing time for the squad. While these teams have talent, it is not quite the same as facing Chelsea or Manchester City.
Instead of making these couple of weeks about lazy play, it must be about working things out to make the club better.
Manchester United has a great opportunity to get players on the pitch that have not seen a lot of playing time this year, like Javier Hernandez. The Mexican star has eight goals in only five starts this season.
These players that are not usually on the first team will get a chance to show that they are trustworthy for the future, also providing a break for the stars like Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
The squad will definitely need to be at full strength when it plays its second leg against Real Madrid, as well as for the rest of the league season.
United is the overwhelming favorite in the upcoming match, but Reading will not simply roll over. The squad can work on things and rest players, but no one involved can lose focus.
Otherwise, it will lead to a major upset at Old Trafford.
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