Manchester United made it five wins from five under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with an unconvincing 2-0 victory over Reading in the FA Cup third round.First-half goals from Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku were enough for the home side at Old Trafford, although the nine changes made to the team that won at Newcastle United left them looking largely disjointed.Reading, who sit 23rd in the Championship, enjoyed 60 per cent of the possession and had 13 shots to United’s eight, although a comeback never truly looked likely. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? The downside was the fact Alexis Sanchez had to go off 64 minutes in, having apparently hurt the hamstring that kept him sidelined throughout December.Mata dispatched a cool penalty – his first FA Cup goal since the victorious final of May 2016 – after referee Stuart Atwell penalised Omar Richards for a foul on the Spaniard following a VAR consultation, with Fred’s strike having been disallowed for offside in the same move.It was harsh on Reading, who had started better, and they should have been level when Danny Loader made a mess of a one-on-one with Sergio Romero after Lukaku was denied by Anssi Jaakkola at the other end.Andy Yiadom was denied by Romero at his near post as United continued to struggle, but a stray pass from John Swift proved costly in first-half injury time, with Lukaku rounding Jaakkola to make it 2-0 from Sanchez’s throughball.Solskjaer handed youngster Tahith Chong the chance to impress off the bench and was then forced to take off Sanchez, who indicated his troublesome right hamstring was again causing him discomfort.@Alexis_Sanchez #MUFC pic.twitter.com/bAH5rD6J8N— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 5, 2019Sone Aluko was denied by a good save from Romero, but United were mostly comfortable in the closing minutes as they secured their place in next Monday’s fourth-round draw. What does it mean? Solskjaer streak continues but Sanchez a worryA fifth victory from his first five games in charge will do no harm to Solskjaer’s chances of getting the job permanently, even if this was not a particularly strong performance from his much-changed side.However, while their hopes of a third FA Cup final in four seasons remain intact, the sight of Sanchez asking to come off in the second half of his first start since early November will not be a welcome sight.The Chilean did sit on the bench after going off, so Solskjaer will hope the forward was merely being cautious ahead of a training camp in Dubai.McTominay meticulousScott McTominay was one of United’s only consistently good players throughout the match, winning seven tackles and ending the game with the best pass completion rate of any of the home side’s starting XI (92.3 per cent).Pereira out of sortsAndreas Pereira was caught in possession one too many times in the first half, once on the edge of his own penalty area. He does not look all that comfortable in a deep midfield role, even if Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho have used him there.Key Opta Facts21 – Juan Mata has been directly involved in 21 goals in 24 starts in the FA Cup (10 goals, 11 assists). Specialist. pic.twitter.com/WB1kgGwrdv— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 5, 2019- United have lost just one of their last 52 FA Cup games against teams from a lower division (W44 D7), suffering defeat to Leeds United in January 2010.- Sanchez has been directly involved in 18 goals in 19 FA Cup games (nine goals, nine assists).- Lukaku has scored 13 goals in his last 14 FA Cup appearances, including six in seven for the Red Devils.What’s next?United head to Dubai for warm-weather training before facing Tottenham at Wembley in the Premier League on January 13, with Reading entertaining Nottingham Forest in the Championship a day prior. read more
ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 08: A detailed view of the helmet of VanDarius Cowan #43 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the warm ups prior to the game against the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Alabama received tough news this past week.Star linebacker Dylan Moses tore his ACL during practice. Moses will be out for the year.On Saturday morning, the junior linebacker posted on Instagram to announce he’s underwent successful surgery.“Thank you to everyone who reached out and wished me prayers,” Moses said in his caption, via Instagram. “I had a successful surgery and look forward to rehab so I can get back on the field. It’s been a tough couple days for me mentally but I’ve held myself together with the help of my family and the people who support me. God has a plan and my faith has not and will not shake from this. I know I will come back stronger than ever with the help of @alabamafbl training staff. Also, being that I won’t be able to see the field with my brothers, I will continue to lead from the side and push them to achieve greatness for them selves and help them strive to be the best version of themselves possible, for it is not all about being a great player, but a great person as well. Lastly, thanks to everyone for the support and ROLL TIDE TILL I DIE!”Moses is already ready to get back to work, this time in the form of rehab. It’s nice to see he’s surrounded by family during a difficult moment in his life.Fortunately for Moses and Alabama, he still has a redshirt year available. He’ll be able to return to the field in 2020 with two years of collegiate eligibility remaining, though he’s also considered a top NFL Draft prospect.