By Lee Savery.
Manchester United went fifteen points clear at the top of the Premier League after a win against struggling Reading.
The only goal of the game came after 20 minutes when Rio Ferdinand was allowed to run free from defence with the ball before he found Wayne Rooney, on the edge of the box. His effort at goal deflected off Alex Pearce and looped over goalkeeper Stuart Taylor.
United made eight changes from the side that let slip a 2-0 lead against Chelsea last weekend. A shuffle that was much needed after such a tired display in the FA Cup. Smalling, Vidic, Buttner, Anderson, Giggs, Young, Welbeck and van Persie all returned to the side. Reading came into the game without a manager. Academy coach Eamonn Dolan took charge for the R’s.
It seemed the changes for both sides affected both performances in what was a lacklustre match throughout. Very few clear cut chances for either side and a tempo that never really lifted. Ashley Young had the earliest chance of the game when his cross/shot, from the left, went well wide.
In the second half, Reading had plenty of possession but David de Gea was hardly tested. United’s best chance of the half came from a Robin van Persie free-kick 30 yards from goal that was pushed away by Stuart Taylor. Taylor also had to put behind a deflected Giggs cross. Wayne Rooney also blasted over late on after a great passing move.
The Red Devils comfortably saw out the victory and claimed the three points they wanted after Manchester City’s earlier defeat against Everton. The fifteen point lead with nine games to go is surely a lead too far ahead to be caught. After last season’s capitulation, United fans will remain cautious until the title is mathematically confirmed.
Not the best performance of the season but the tight victory puts United closer to their 20th title.
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