Ratings: Sergio Romero put in a good performance against Reading; Romelu Lukaku scores third goal in three games

Manchester United beat Reading 2-0 in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford on Saturday. Goals from Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku put United into the fourth round of the FA Cup this season. They will learn who they face in the fourth round on Monday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now guided his team to five wins in five games.

Juan Mata scored the opening goal, from the penalty spot after a foul in the box which relied on VAR to award the penalty. Fred initially found the back of the net but was offside. Romelu Lukaku, assisted by Alexis Sanchez doubled United’s lead in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Tahith Chong made his debut for United after replacing Mata in the 62nd minute of the game and gave us a glimpse of what a proper winger on the right could actually do.

Tahith Chong was a glimpse of fresh air during the game. How long have we all waited to see a player with pace and ability on the right to play in the right-wing role? I’m not saying he’s the answer to the problems in this position but based on the players played in this position over the years, he’s a much better fit. It will be good to see him given more chances during the remainder of the season.

Sergio Romero made some good saves despite not having much to do, even though Reading had many attacks during the game. Romelu Lukaku had a good game in spells. He did not have much creativity behind him but managed to find a good finish after Alexis Sanchez played a good ball into the area. It was his third goal in as many appearances for the club. Romero is the Man of the Match for me. He does not play much but most of the time when he does, you value him more.

Manchester United

22 Sergio Romero

The Argentinian goalkeeper had little to do against Reading, despite the attacking prowess of the Championship side. He made a few saves and helped his team to distribute the ball to a good level. The best reserve goalkeeper in the Premier League?


Diogo Dalot

The young Portuguese right-back showed a lot of attacking ability against Reading but in defence, he was not the best player. It shows that he will need time to grow as a player at the club. He will be given chances which will help in his growth as a player.


Matteo Darmian

Played as a central defender with only Jones and Lindelof fit to play. Did alright at times, which was good considering. Drove forward occasionally but was not the best with his distribution.


4 Phil Jones

This was an unorganised defensive backline. Jones was solid in his tackles but that is all that can be said. He is not a leader at the back and cannot be depended on to get the best out of his defensive peers. Another clue that money needs to be spend on a commanding central defender. How many more clues are needed?


18 Ashley Young

Got forward on the left flank at times but did not produce anything for United. He was reckless at times which is not what is needed in an experienced player.


17 Fred

The Brazilian scored in the lead up to United's penalty but he was offside. His time at United is frustrating. He gave the ball away too often and does not seem to fit in at the club.


39 Scott McTominay

Made a contribution to the game but disappeared at times. He's not going to bench any of Matic, Herrera, or Pogba any time soon. May benefit from a loan spell somewhere in the future.


Andreas Pereira

Went missing during the game, which is not the best way to show your worth to the manager. Out of contract in the summer and it could be the end of the road for him at United. Plenty of promise but no actual signs of that promise developing into something worthwhile. Created nothing of note.


8 Juan Mata

The veteran midfielder won and scored the penalty, putting United ahead in the game. Did not have much involvement other than that. Cannot moan if he does not start against Spurs a week on Sunday.


Romelu Lukaku

Three goals in his last three appearances. Confidence booster. Struggled in the game at times as there was a lack of support and creation in the midfield. Produced a good finish for United's second goal of the game.


Alexis Sanchez

Played well during the game and seemed to grow, putting his poor form and injury behind him. Assisted well for Lukaku's goal. Was greedy with the ball at times and never really sparked into action. Came off early with the start of another injury but sat on the bench and did not need immediate treatment or assessment. Could be something or nothing.



Tahith Chong

Replaced Mata 62'. Good to see him make his debut, the 229th youth player to do so at the club. Even better to see a proper winger on the right. Got involved in the game and tried to create something. Be good to see him given more chances this season.


27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Fred 62'. Should have scored, which was unlucky. Brought on to add something to the lacklustre midfield.


10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Sanchez 64'. Got stuck into the game and was a threat for Reading. Good to see him get some rest. The next week will add some more rest, readying the team for Spurs next weekend.


Goals: Juan Mata (p) 22′, Romelu Lukaku 45+4′

Assists: Alexis Sanchez 45+4′

Manchester United: Romero; Dalot, Darmian, Jones, Young; Fred (Fellaini 62′), McTominay, Pereira; Mata (Chong 62′), Lukaku, Sanchez (Rashford 64′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Lindelof; Garner; Martial

Bookings: Tahith Chong 77′; Andy Yiadom 33′

Confirmed Starting XI: Mata, Lukaku and Sanchez lead United’s attack against Reading; Chong and Garner on the bench

Manchester United start what could be an eventual road to Wembley once again this season with the Emirates FA Cup commencing again this weekend. United will face Reading at Old Trafford at 12:30 this afternoon. It will be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s fifth game in charge of the club and his first FA Cup fixture. United have won their last four matches in the Premier League, scoring 14 goals and conceding just three, keeping one clean sheet.

Since Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho, United have been a lot better in terms of playing attacking football and many players have been full of confidence. Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic and even Phil Jones have all put in some great performances, however, I am not going to get carried away. United faced Reading at this stage in the competition two years ago, winning 4-0 with Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and a brace from Rashford.

Manchester United:


Dalot, Darmian, Jones, Young;

Fred, McTominay, Pereira;

Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez


Grant; Lindelof; Fellaini, Garner; Rashford, Martial, Chong

United have met Reading on 21 different occasions during the history of both teams. United have won 13 matches, drawn seven times and lost just once, which goes all the way back to 1927 when Reading beat United in a third-round replay in the FA Cup. United are undefeated in the last 16 meetings, drawing four times. United have won the last five meetings, which goes back nearly 11 years, scoring 13 goals, conceding four and keeping three clean sheets.

The FA Cup is the most realistic chance of a trophy for United this season. The Premier League seems out of reach this season, despite the fact United have made up some ground since Solskjaer became the interim manager. They are still in the UEFA Champions League, facing Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 stage which could be tough for them. That leave the FA Cup, of which United made the final last season. Here is to number 13, which could well commence today.

copyright: JW