Alan Pardew will send his side out chasing their first win of 2013 this afternoon as Reading visit St James’ Park.
It seems as though I’m saying this every week at the moment, but this game offers an opportunity to take three points against a team who are in and around the bottom of the league much like ourselves.
As always seems to be the way though, Reading have found a bit of form recently having won two and drawn one of their last four fixtures. However our record at home against the Royals is good and we’ve not failed to beat them in seven meetings at St James’ Park. Mind you, that is all in the past and has no bearing on what could happen today.
Fabricio Coloccini will play despite ongoing rumours regarding his future at the club. Steven Taylor could also see some time on the pitch having missed the last 11 games with a hamstring injury although I personally feel that we’ll likely see a spot for Taylor on the bench. Shola Ameobi is available once more after missing the draw at Norwich through suspension.
Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling, Haris Vuckic, Hatem Ben Arfa and Danny Simpson are all still out injured while Cheick Tiote is away on international duty with Ivory Coast.
Mikele Leigertwood could return to action following a hip injury and Stephen Kelly may make his debut following his arrival from Fulham. Hal Robson-Kanu is doubtful while Jason Roberts and Alex McCarthy are out.
As mentioned earlier, United have a 100% success rate at St James’ Park against Reading having won seven of seven meetings.
In fact there have only been 13 meetings between the two sides ever, with United winning eight, Reading winning three with two draws making up the numbers.
Stats and facts:
United have scored at least three goals against Reading in six of those seven meetings at St James’ Park.
Shola Ameobi’s only professional hat-trick came against Reading, and I was there to see it!
Currently United have 21 points in the league which is our lowest total since the Premier League began.
Reading have not won away from home this season.
I keep hearing that we’re too good to go down and have the players to drag us out of trouble, but now is the time for them to show it. We need three points at any cost and with players returning from injury the excuse of missing players is starting to wear thin.
Yes we need to sign players but the simple fact is that the majority of the ones we have on our books at the moment have been under-performing, and that is something that needs to change sharpish. It won’t be a classic today and to be honest I won’t care, as long as it’s us who get the three points on offer come the final whistle.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 19th January, 2013
Venue: St James’ Park