Another victory for Manchester United meant that Solskjaer becomes their first manager to win five in five for them and it has been a dream start for him. Manchester United vs Reading ended with a scoreline of 2-0 with Mata and Lukaku getting on the score sheet and making sure United went through despite of a valiant performance from the visitors who in no way looked to be team fighting in the Championship relegation zone.
Firstly, starting of the playing XI which saw as many as 10 first team changes from the side that took on Newcastle in the mid week. Lukaku and Alexis started in place of Martial and Rashford while the midfield was completely replaced with Scott, Fred and Pereira. Chong was expected to start but was on bench along with Garner while Greenwood and Gomes were not part of the squad.
Reading were the dominant team today outplaying United in every aspect from the start other than the one which really matters i.e. the goals. They had higher possession, passes, shots and corners and with no pressure and expectation from the game they really looked to have played their best. United lacked the creativity and control in the midfield which really made them look average today. Possession was lost way too easily in the midfield specially from Fred which resulted in him being the first one to be substituted eventually for Fellaini. Scott and Pereira were both good defensively but again were weak in taking the game forward to the attackers.
The first goal was scored by Mata after he was awarded a penalty following VAR involvement. The decision can be still be discussed as many believed that Fred was offside before Mata was fouled hence free kick should have awarded to Reading instead of the penalty to Mata. Second goal came when Reading gave up possession way to cheaply and Lukaku converted a nice little through ball from Alexis.
Expectations were high from Alexis and Lukaku considering both have been forced to place on bench. While Lukaku scored, Alexis who just returned from injury was forced out again in the second half after pointing out some problem in his hamstrings. Hopefully it is not much and he is not out for long.
It was nice for Chong to get 30 minutes of game time on his first team debut and he made two great runs but nothing really was materialized. Darmian looked good as center half, a position he usually does not play but sighting his lack of involvement in the games he would certainly be ready to play at any position required. Although Reading had few great scoring opportunities they never looked comfortable in the final third and hence the goal keeper and the defenders overall did a pretty decent job.
Manchester United were not as convincing as the previous four performances under Solskjaer but it could have been tactical decision as well to hold and not to press high considering the opponent today and the next game coming up against Spurs which will be the first real test for this new looking Manchester United. Finally I would like to say the scoreline did not do justice to the game as Reading were the better team today but yes Manchester United did what they have been doing since their glory days i.e. outscore their opponent and win the game. On to the next one against Spurs.
Glory Glory Man United !!!