Manchester United are aiming to win the FA Cup for just a second time since 2004 and will begin their quest for the trophy with a home fixture against struggling Championship side Reading.
The Red Devils have appeared a team reborn under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who became the first United boss since Matt Busby to win his first four league matches thanks to a 2-0 midweek win over Newcastle.
Saturday’s fixture sees Reading visit Old Trafford, with Jose Gomes’ side lying second from bottom in the second flight with just four wins to their credit all season.
|Game||Manchester United vs Reading|
|Date||Saturday, January 5|
|Time||12:30pm GMT / 7:30am ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed on ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 2 and streamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 2||BT Sport Live|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Manchester United squad|
|Defenders||Jones, Dalot, Shaw, Young, Darmian, Lindelof|
|Midfielders||Garner, McTominay, Pereira, Fellaini, Fred, Mata|
|Forwards||Lukaku, Rashford, Martial, Chong, Sanchez|
Solskjaer has handed starts to both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, while Andreas Pereira is also given a chance to impress in midfield.
As expected, Sergio Romero replaces David de Gea in goal, while Phil Jones is included and starts at centre-back.
Scott McTominay is handed his first appearance under Solskjaer and there's also places on the bench for youngsters James Garner and Tahith Chong.
Man Utd Starting XI: Romero; Dalot, Darmian, Jones, Young; Fred, Pereira, McTominay; Mata, Sanchez, Lukaku.
Subs: Grant, Lindelof, Fellaini, Martial, Rashford, Garner, Chong.
|Goalkeepers||Mannone, Jaakkola, Walker, Legg|
|Defenders||Moore, Ilori, McShane, O'Shea, Obita, Blackett, Richards, Yiadom, Gunter|
|Midfielders||Ezatolahi, Swift, Bacuna, Meyler, Edwards, Rinomhota, Kelly|
|Forwards||Meita, Harriott, Barrow, McCleary, Sims, Popa, Aluko, Baldock, Bodvarsson, McNulty|
Teenager Danny Loader leads the line for Reading, while former Liverpool defender Tiago Ilori is in at centre-back.
Former United defender John O'Shea, who won the Champions League and five Premier League titles during his time at the club, has to settle for a place on the bench.
Reading Starting XI: Jaakola; Yiadom, Ilori, Moore, Richards; Rinomhota, Kelly; McCleary, Swift, Harriott; Loader.
Subs: Walker, Gunter, O'Shea, Aluko, Barrow, Meite, East.
Betting & Match Odds
Manchester United are red-hot favourites, priced at 1/8 with bet365. A draw can be backed at 9/1, while Reading are 25/1 outsiders to pull off a massive shock.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it clear that he wants to extend his Manchester United stay long after the summer when his deal with the club is up, and he has gone about his business in the most positive of manners, winning his first four matches in charge.
Such success, though, has not come as a surprise to the Norwegian, who is gunning for a fifth in succession when Reading visit Old Trafford in the FA Cup on Saturday.
“Obviously when you come into a club like this you expect to win games,” he told reporters. “And when you win four, you expect to win the next one as well. I think we can win every single game.”
Since dispensing with Jose Mourinho after a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool, the Red Devils have seen their fortunes improve, with the team back to playing the exciting brand of football that they have traditionally been known for.
A 2-0 win over Newcastle on Wednesday helped them to close within six points of fourth-placed Chelsea, though it is clear that their new boss is keen to impress on as many fronts as possible.
Like Manchester United, Reading also changed manager in December, with Paul Clement sacked early in the month and Jose Gomes appointed three days before Christmas.
The hectic Christmas period, though, was not kind to the Royals, who suffered a 1-0 reverse at Millwall on Boxing Day, picked up a point via a scoreless draw against QPR three days later but were dismantled 4-1 at home by Swansea in the new manager’s first match at the Madejski Stadium.
Gomes lamented that his players were “scared” during the New Year’s Day fixture, in which they trailed 4-0 after 48 minutes, begging the question as to how they will react in front of a large crowd at Old Trafford.