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Preview: Reading v Manchester United – Barclays U21 Premier League 2015/16

Adams Park, High Wycombe

Barclays U21 Premier League 2015/16

Monday 11th January 2016, KO 19:00 GMT live on MUTV HD

Manchester United are again in action in the Barclays U21 Premier League on Monday evening, which is strange as this season, the matches have been a number of weeks apart, sometimes more than a month, but throughout January and into February, United play once a week, which will be good for the U21 players. United are currently fourth in the U21 league, after only playing seven matches so far this season. League leaders Sunderland have 28 points, but have played 12 matches at this stage. United have some work to do in order to catch up, but having played and beaten Sunderland once already this season, doing so again will be important. United are not the only side to have many matches to play this season, so they will need to keep an eye on other results in order to retain their crown this season.

Reading have played eleven times this season, keeping a clean sheet in only one of those matches, which is the same as United. United have won the same amount of matches, five, losing one and drawing one, so a victory on Monday evening will keep Warren Joyce’s side in good stead to return to the top of the table in the near future. Should United return from Reading with all three points, they will be second on the league, other results permitting, a point clear of the second placed teams; Reading and Tottenham Hotspur, some nine points behind leaders Sunderland, who United face on the 25th January at Leigh Sports Village. Winning that match, and the one before; home to Southampton, could put United within three points of the leaders, as they do not play in the league until that match against United.

Last week, United beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 with James Weir scoring from a cross, and Andreas Pereira scoring a brace, one of those from a corner. Warren Joyce has some talented players at his disposal this season, and his side are playing better than the first team, which at the end of the day is not all that hard to be doing, but still something to savour for the future. Ashley Fletcher, who had scored three goals at this level so far this season will not be involved due to him being loaned out to Sky Bet League One side Barnsley, scoring his debut goal within five minutes of coming on the pitch in the sides Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area final against Fleetwood Town, which finished 1-1 after 90 minutes, but there is still another leg to be played yet.

Nick Powell is another player who has scored three goals this season, but he sat out of the Spurs victory a week ago due to a calf injury, which could still keep him out of action this week. Powell has attracted attention from Championship side Preston North End for a loan spell this season, but it is thought the players injury has held that at this moment in time. It could be good to see Powell play in the Championship again, and with team-mate Sam Johnstone, who was loaned out to Preston over the Christmas period, he would be among friends at the club. Ben Pearson could also be at the same club before long, which could be good for all three players. I expect Warren Joyce’s side to romp home with another victory on Monday evening, closing the lead on Sunderland, who seem to be in United’s sights.

Manchester United Statistics (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays U21 Premier League 2015/16 [statistics taken from the Official Barclays U21 Premier League website]

Played 7 matches, won 5, drawn 1, lost 1 and currently have 16 points

Scored 17 goals (2.43 goals per match) and conceded 8 goals (1.14 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 3 matches

Clean sheet record 14%

Reading Statistics (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays U21 Premier League 2015/16 [statistics taken from the Official Barclays U21 Premier League website]

Played 11 matches, won 5, drawn 3, lost 3 and currently have 18 points

Scored 22 goals (2.00 goals per match) and conceded 19 goals (1.73 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 4 matches

Clean sheet record 9%

Top Scorers (all competitions):

Manchester United: 3 – Ashley Fletcher, Nick Powell, James Weir, 2 – Andreas Pereira, Devonte Redmond, 1 – Marouane Fellaini, Sean Goss, Jesse Lingard, James Wilson, Marcus Rashford, Tyler Reid, Guillermo Varela

Reading10 – Rowan Liburd, 2 – Harry Caldwell, Own Goal, Liam Kelly, Andrija Novakovich, 1 – Rob Dickie, Tarique Fosu, Samúel Friðjónsson, Lisandro Semedo

Manchester United Form: WWWLWW

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 W, Leicester City 6-1 W, Liverpool 3-2 W, Norwich City 2-0 L, Sunderland 1-0 W, Everton 3-1 W

Reading Form: WDLLLW

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Middlesbrough 3-2 W, Everton 1-1 D, Sunderland 2-1 L, Leicester City 2-1 L, Brentford 2-1 L, Norwich City 2-0 W

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

Score Prediction:

Reading 1-2 Manchester United

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