Match Preview

Last updated : 12 August 2007 By Editor

BBC Squads:

Anderson are set to be on the bench as Manchester United begin their Premier League title defence.

Tevez is eligible but boss Sir Alex Fergsuson will not play him - while Gary Neville and Louis Saha are out.

Reading will be without striker Leroy Lita, wingers Glen Little and Bobby Convey and defender Ibrahima Sonko.

Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann is expected to play despite not having fully recovered from a broken hand.

Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Brown, Simpson, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Vidic, Silvestre, Evra, O'Shea, Carrick, Hargreaves, Eagles, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs, Ronaldo, Rooney, Nani, Anderson, Tevez.

Reading (from): Hahnemann, Federici, Murty, De la Cruz, Ingimarsson, Bikey, Duberry, Shorey, Seol, Oster, Harper, Gunnarsson, Cisse, Hunt, Doyle, Kitson, Long.

BBC Weather for M16 0RA:

17°C sunny and showers


'A good start is imperative.

'If you are setting yourself a target of 90 points to win the league, which is what it has been over the last few seasons, you have to get off to a good start and then be consistent throughout the season.

'It would be fantastic to win it 10 times, especially for someone like Ryan Giggs. That would be a tremendous incentive and I wonder if it could be done by a player or manager again, but the challenge is more for the players than for me.

'A team that has won the league has more authority, continuity and consistency. We noticed that in the training sessions in the Far East. It is a far more settled situation now and weexpect the young players, Rooney and Ronaldo, toimprove. We would expect far more authority from Fletcher, O'Shea, Vidic and Evra. We have people to call on in terms of experience in terms of Neville, Giggs, Ferdinand and Van der Sar.

'There is no doubt that Rooney and Ronaldo can improve. At 21 it is three yearsbefore you get anywhere near your maturity, when that brings you authority, timing and control of your game. As I player I felt I was at my strongest at 25, 26. When you are 21 you do daft things on the pitch. You might score a goal, then miss one. You producemoments of ability but there is no consistency.

'I think Portsmouth are going to be difficult to beat again, especially on their own ground.

'Harry has made some good signings, and I'm especially impressed with them picking up Sulley Muntari. We had a good long look at him and liked him a lot. [Muntari spent time at United as a youth, on a visit with Michael Essien.]

'Aston Villa will be hard to beat too. Martin O'Neill's teams usually are, and this is going to be his first full season at the club, with a proper amount of time to prepare. I'm expecting Reading to finish in that middle band, too. I've been very impressed with what they have done. They are a common sense team. They don't spend big or make silly signings, and every time I hear their chairman speak about football matters I usually agree with him. They strike me as a very well run club.'


"My celebrations are always something special, but Sir Alex has demanded that I stop it to avoid getting injured. Actually, I've never got injured celebrating a goal, but if United say I mustn't do it I'm happy to follow that advice.

"It will be sensational to play my first match in the Premier League at Old Trafford. I hope I can do it against Reading - even if I only come on as a substitute."


"We didn't get a result from any of these first three fixtures last year, so whatever we get this year I hope will be better than last.

"I'm not saying they are throwaway games and we could play well in all three and still lose, but it wouldn't be the end of the world.

"And if we pick up points from these games, it is a significant indication that we may have moved up a gear.

"In many ways I look upon this week as a `can't lose' week.''

Graeme Murty:

"People are saying we are only bit-part players for this match and hopefully that's how United are going to perceive us.

"The longer we can frustrate them, maybe the crowd will think, 'We should be beating this team, we've just spent £50million on the squad'.

"I think we showed last season we can give anyone a game."