Manchester United vs. Reading: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIMarch 16, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 16:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United competes with Jem Karacan (l) and Mikele Leigertwood of Reading during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Reading at Old Trafford on March 16, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester United was presented with an opportunity to extend its lead atop the English Premier League table, and it did exactly that with a 1-0 victory over Reading

Second-place Manchester City lost 2-0 to Everton earlier in the day, and United did not waste its chance to go 15 points up, putting the club even closer to its 20th league title. 

Although this matchup featured the leaders against a side seemingly bound for relegation, the Red Devils did not dominate the match. Reading looked to be the better side at the beginning of both halves but failed to capitalize on its opportunities. 

Fortune certainly favored United in this match, as evidenced by Wayne Rooney's goal in the 21st minute. The Red Devils' star fired a shot off a volley, and it took a deflection of Reading defender Alex Pearce before ending up in the back of the net. 

United was able to sustain periods of quality from the Royals due to fine defending from Nemanja Vidic, and although the team had just a one-goal lead for most of the match, it did not show much concern. 

Ultimately, this was just another day at the office for the remarkably consistent Red Devils. 



Wayne Rooney, Manchester United: A-

Shots on goal lead to good things. Rooney understands this as well as any player in the world, and although he is fortunate to have his name on the scoresheet, he still deserves credit for the goal. 

He took the volley extremely well and let luck take care of the rest. Aside from his goal, Rooney did a fine job of putting pressure on the Royals back line throughout the match. 


Jobi McAnuff, Reading: B-

With a new manager, Reading opted to use a slightly different lineup that put McAnuff in the center of the pitch instead of his usual spot on the left wing. He eventually did slide over to the flank but did not have much success at either position. 

The Jamaican did a decent job distributing and winning balls, but he failed to make a significant impact on this match. 


Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United: A

Injuries have kept the United centre-back from playing at a world-class level in recent seasons, but he reminded fans how dominant he can be in this match. 

Every ball played into the Red Devils' penalty area was promptly played out and back towards the Reading goal. Vidic deserves the most credit for United's clean sheet. 


Adam le Fondre, Reading: B-

Normally, it would be harsh to knock a player for failing to score after coming on with just 20 minutes left in the match, but this has been Le Fondre's specialty this season. 

He has had a fantastic amount of success as a substitute during this campaign, and he came onto the pitch facing high expectations. He was not able to produce a moment of magic or any quality opportunities to the disappointment of Royals supporters. 


Robin van Persie, Manchester United: C+

With the Premiership's most potent attack facing the league's worst defense, spectators were looking to van Persie to put his name on the scoresheet at least once in this match.

He generated a few chances and put an excellent free kick on frame, but he did not live up to expectations. 

This fixture offered him a favorable matchup, and he failed to take advantage of it. 


What's Next

With a seemingly insurmountable lead atop the Premier League title, United will continue its campaign on March 30 against Sunderland

Reading will be trying to survive relegation as the end of the season draws nearer, and the team will have another difficult match against Arsenal on March 30.