I am one of those who does believe you have a second-season syndrome in the Premier League, which is something I think Reading will ultimately suffer from because everyone knows what they are all about.
United are looking good. They have made some good signings and shouldn't have any problems here.
Manchester United set out in pursuit of their 10th Premier League title, which would see them being crowned champions of England for the 17th time, just one behind Liverpool's all time record.
In finishing eighth last May, Reading achieved the highest place by any club in their first Premier League season after promotion since Ipswich managed fifth in 2000-01.
Of the 20 clubs competing in the Premier League, Reading are the oldest but the least experienced in terms of top-flight football; this is their second season at the highest level in 136 years existence.
The Royals hold the English League record for the longest winning sequence at the start of a season of 13 victories in Division Three at the beginning of the 1985-86 season.
Last season: 1st 89 points
1. Won the Premier League title for the first time in four seasons. They had picked up the trophy eight times in the first 11 seasons since the inception of the league.
2. Attempting to win back-to-back titles for the sixth time, having achieved it in 1956-57, 1993-94, 1996-97, 1999-2000 and in 2000-2001 (when the hat-trick of titles was also achieved).
3. The most successful club in Premier League history, having won 367 matches, scored 1,140 goals and gained 1,232 points; that's 59 more victories, 166 more goals and 151 more points that their closest rival, Arsenal.
4. This is their 33rd consecutive season in the top-flight; only Arsenal (82 seasons), Everton (54) and Liverpool (46) have been in the highest league longer.
5. Sir Alex Ferguson begins his 21st full season in charge. He is the longest serving manager of all 92 English League clubs. He is also the most successful with 27 major titles from his time in charge of both Aberdeen and United.
6. Won the title last season with 28 victories and 83 goals, in which they built the longest home winning sequence in the Premier League of 10 matches.
7. Attracted the highest average Premier League attendance of 75,821.
8. Lost the opening match of a Premier League season only three times in 15 attempts, and once in the last 11 (1-0 at Chelsea on 15 August 2004).
9. Kicking off the league campaign at Old Trafford for the third season running and bidding for a third win after defeating Everton 2-0 on 13 August 2005 and Fulham 5-1 on 20 August 2006. They went on to build a four-match winning sequence from the outset of last season's title-winning campaign.
10. Ended the last campaign with defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final, but have already avenged that to a degree, by beating Jose Mourinho's team in last Sunday's Community Shield.
Last season: 8th 55 points
1. The 40th different club to play Premier League football became the 23rd side in the 15 seasons of the league to have survived their first campaign after promotion.
2. They became the ninth of 15 clubs to have survived after being promoted as champions of the second tier.
3. Achieved the highest placing of a promoted club experiencing a first taste of Premier League soccer since Newcastle finished third in 1993-94.
4. One of eight clubs to have survived their rookie season in the Premier League after promotion; the others are Bradford City, Derby, Fulham, Newcastle, Portsmouth, West Ham and Wigan.
5. Recorded the biggest margin of victory of any club in the Premier League last season; 6-0, home to West Ham on New Years Day 2007.
6. Picked up the fewest number of yellow cards in the Premier League last term (42).
7. Began life at the highest level with victory; 3-2, home to Middlesbrough on 19 August 2006, having been 0-2 behind.
KEY PLAYER NOTES
Ins and Outs
Wayne ROONEY and Cristiano RONALDO were Manchester United's joint top scorers with 23 goals each.
RONALDO was the club's leading marksman in the Premiership with 17. The Portugal World Cup star finished three behind Chelsea's Didier Drogba, who won the Barclays Golden Boot.
Paul SCHOLES is one goal short of holding the record outright as Manchester United's highest scorer of Premier League goals. He has netted 95 and equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy's total. Ryan GIGGS has scored 93 times in the Premiership.
GIGGS is a double short of 100 career League goals.
If he plays:-
Goalkeeper Edwin VAN DER SAR will be making his 100th appearance for Manchester United.
Rio FERDINAND will be making his 150th Premier League appearance in a United shirt.
Darren FLETCHER will be making his 150th club career appearance - all for United.
If he's on the field from the outset:-
Gary NEVILLE will be making his 350th Premier League start - all for the Red Devils.
John O'SHEA will be making his 200th start for Manchester United.
Ins and Outs
Leroy LITA was Reading's top scorer last season with 14 goals.
LITA needs to score one to total 50 career League goals (Bristol City and Reading).
Kevin DOYLE was the club's top Premier League marksman last term with 13.
Ivar INGIMARSSON was one of four outfield players to have been involved in every minute of every one of his clubs' Premier League matches last season. The others were Richard DUNNE (Manchester City), Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United, now Everton) and Yobo (Everton).
HEAD TO HEAD
These clubs met four times last season with Manchester United recording a win and a draw in the Premier League, and victory in the FA Cup courtesy of a replay at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading line-up for the 15th time against Manchester United in all competitions. Their only victory over them was 2-1 in the FA Cup on 17 January 1927, in a third round second replay at Villa Park.
Home and away
League (inc PL): Man United 1 win, Reading 0, Draws 1
Prem: Man United 1 win, Reading 0, Draws 0
at Man United only
League (inc PL): Man United 1 win, Reading 0, Draws 0
Prem: Man United 1 win, Reading 0, Draws 0
LAST SEASON'S CORRESPONDING GAME
Manchester United 3-2 Reading
30 December 2006 - Ref: Mike Dean
Man United scorers: Solskjaer 33, Ronaldo 59, 77
Reading scorers: Sonko 38, Lita 90
Sent Off: Sodje (Reading) 69
Rob Styles (Waterlooville, Hampshire)
Premiership referees' table
Rob Styles's 2006-07 Premiership card count
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