Manchester United head to Reading on Saturday hoping to maintain their momentum as the busy Christmas and New Year period looms.
Having fought out a 1-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday to notch their second consecutive English Premier League victory, United face seven games up until January 2 in what could be a crucial period in deciding this season’s title.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have a relatively easy festive period and will face four teams who currently occupy the bottom seven places in the standings.
“With no international football and our last (Champions League) group game next Wednesday, it gives us a further chance to concentrate on the league,” Ferguson said after Manchester United’s win over West Ham.
Antonio Valencia could return to United’s squad for the trip to Reading having been left out against West Ham due to a hip injury but Nani, Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic are still unavailable.
Reading lost both their matches in the past week, going down to Aston Villa and Wigan in clashes that already had the air of relegation six-pointers. Brian McDermott’s team shipped four goals in those two fixtures and will face a tough task up against the leading scorers in the league.
United have scored 33 goals in 14 games to sit atop of the Premier League, one point ahead of City, while Reading are second from bottom. Robin van Persie leads Ferguson’s team with nine goals, just one behind golden boot leader Luis Suarez of Liverpool, while Javier Hernandez has five strikes to his name.
Reading have conceded 23 goals this season with only Southampton, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan having let in more.
One positive at the back for Reading in the past month has been goalkeeper Adam Federici, having started the season with a couple of howlers and being dropped to the bench as a result, the Australian has fought his way back into the starting line-up and has started the past four games.