Charlie Nicholas states prediction for Man United v Reading

The former Arsenal midfielder is backing Manchester United to beat Reading comfortably at Old Trafford

Charlie Nicholas believes Manchester United will progress to the FA Cup fourth round despite backing Reading to give the hosts a good game at Old Trafford.

The 20-time English champions have been in imperious form in over the past month or so after a run of six successive Premier League victories after a 2-0 win against 10-man West Ham United on Monday night.

Reading manager Jaap Staam will return to Manchester United after a decorated spell at Old Trafford which saw the Dutch defender win the Treble under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1998-99.

Staam’s side are in third place in the Championship table and six points behind the automatic promotion spots ahead of their FA Cup third-round clash at the Theatre of Dreams.

While Nicholas expects Zlatan Ibrahimovic to get a much-needed rest, the former Arsenal man is tipping Wayne Rooney to start but Marchs Rashford to score in a 3-1 win against Reading.

“Jaap Stam has turned Reading into a good football side. They had a brilliant comeback against Bristol City so they’ll be full of confidence that they can defy the odds here,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.

“The former United man clearly has an authority, which isn’t guaranteed just because you were a top player, and they’re a good passing team and will certainly give United a good game.

“However, when Jose Mourinho’s sides get going they’re very tough to stop. He’s firing shots at players and getting responses, as we saw with Anthony Martial being a man of the match against Middlesbrough and Marcus Rashford improving as well.

“I think he will rest Zlatan Ibrahimovic and give a start to Wayne Rooney, who would love to win this competition in what I think will be his final season at Old Trafford.”

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Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final last season.

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