Manchester United start the defence of their Emirates FA Cup title against Reading on Saturday, as Old Trafford legend Jaap Stam returns to his old stomping ground.
The Royals couldn’t really have been handed a tougher draw, with United having won their last seven in a row. In fact, they’re unbeaten in 13 at home, winning nine of those.
However, the visitors are on a good run of their own, winning eight of their last ten games. But while the Madejski Stadium has been a fortress, they’ve been patchy on the road – with a 5-0 defeat at Craven Cottage one of two away losses in December.
They’ve also lost their last two games against Premier League opposition, with Arsenal knocking them out of the EFL Cup earlier this season, while Crystal Palace ended the Royals’ Emirates FA Cup dream last term.
That means they’re unlikely to make good on the 12/1 for a victory at the Theatre of Dreams, with United 2/9 for the win and the draw priced at 5/1.
However, with the Red Devils unsurprisingly offering modest returns to simply win, the best value looks to lie outside of the match betting.
With the hosts having won by a two-goal margin six times this season, the 11/4 for United to triumph by a pair of goals here looks temptingly priced, while it’s 5/4 that we see over 3.5 goals.
In the player markets, there’s one man well worth backing from each dressing room.
Man United’s midfield magician Juan Mata netted three times in the Emirates FA Cup last season, and he made it six in all competitions this term with a lovely goal at London Stadium on Monday. That means the 7/5 for him to get his name on the scoreboard here should prove popular.
For Stam’s side, it’s all about veteran midfielder Yann Kermorgant, who has struck three times in his last two games, with 4/1 on offer for him to net anytime here.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing