Christian Crowther peruses the Opta stats for the big FA Cup fifth round clash between Man United and Reading and picks some bets out...
"The clash between the two teams earlier in the season (in the Premier League) saw seven goals scored in the opening 35 minutes."
Best Bet: Back the first half to contain the most goals @ 3.412/5
Manchester United v Reading, (Monday 20:00, ESPN)
Sir Alex's side have conceded just one goal in their last five FA Cup matches at Old Trafford
Considering Sir Alex Ferguson has pledged his full commitment to winning a first FA cup in nine years, you fear for the visiting Royals here. Fulham may have nicked a goal on their visit to Old Trafford in round four, but it proved a mere consolation in a 4-1 demolition, showing this United team are on the same wavelength as their leader when it comes to the FA Cup mission. To their credit, Reading have finally shown some survival form in the Premier League, though much of their recent success has arrived at the Madejski Stadium. In five of their last six away games against top-flight opposition Reading have ended on the losing side. After a shaky start United's defence has grown ever solider recently and it's now eight games since they let in more than one goal.
Recommended Bet: Back Man United to win to nil @ 2.47/5
Wayne Rooney has scored three goals in his last two starts against Reading
Wayne Rooney has dutifully played second fiddle to Robin van Persie this season but his own goal-scoring prowess is not in doubt. Without grabbing the limelight Wazza has actually been in sparkling form, bagging himself six goals from his last eight appearances across all competitions for club and country, including a brace against Fulham in round four. Rooney's current two-game scoring hiatus is actually the longest stretch he has endured without notching since his brace in the league encounter with Reading on December 1. After starting the last two FA Cup games you'd expect him to get the nod from Fergie for this one.
Recommended Bet: Back Wayne Rooney to score @ 1.9210/11
The clash between the two teams earlier in the season (in the Premier League) saw seven goals scored in the opening 35 minutes
United's midweek game against Real Madrid was full of chances for both teams but it was ultimately decided by two first-half goals. In fact, first-half goals are becoming a familiar pattern for the Red Devils lately, with all but one of their last seven goals arriving before the half-time oranges have been served. The last two home games against Everton and Southampton respectively saw the Red Devils go into the break having breached the opposition twice already. Aside from their last Premier League away game against Fulham, you have to go back 15 games to when United last failed to trouble the scorers in the first 45 minutes.
Recommended Bet: Back the first half to contain the most goals @ 3.412/5
The Opta stats suggest he will get on the scoresheet so why not get involved with our Cashback Offer? We're refunding first losing Fixed Odds bets on First Goalscorer, Last Goalscorer and Correct Score if Rooney scores first! Opt-in now.