Manchester City welcomes struggling Londoners, QPR on Sunday for a war that will prove decisive in two different battles. City know that they need to either equal or better United’s result on the final day of the season (unless Alex Ferguson and co pull of a miracle) to secure their maiden Premier League title. QPR on the other hand, need a point to ensure their continued stay in the top flight as Bolton are snapping at their heels, only two points behind, but Rangers enjoy a far better goal difference and the Trotters visit the intimidating Britannia stadium.
Manchester City vs Queens Park Rangers
Kick Off: 15:00 BST, 20:30 IST May 13, 2012
Match Referee: Mike Dean
The Sky Blues have a fully fit squad to select from as Roberto Mancini has no injuries or suspensions to worry about. Barring any last minute surprises, Mancini is likely to name an unchanged starting lineup, the same lineup that secured successive victories over United and Newcastle.
Starting 11 (probably 4-2-3-1):
Zabaleta – Kompany – Lescott – Clichy
Yaya Toure – Barry
Nasri – Tevez – D. Silva
Subs: Pantilimon, Kolo Toure, Kolarov, Milner, Johnson, Dzeko, Balotelli
Queens Park Rangers:
While the Citizens might be the perfect picture of health, QPR have been struck with numerous injuries before their most important game of the season. Shaun Derry (dead leg) and Akos Buzasky (hamstring) face late fitness tests, while Samba Diakite and Alejandro Faurlin are definitely missing out due to a virus and anterior cruciate ligament injury. The infamous Dibjril Cisse looks likely to start.
Starting 11 (probably 4-4-2):
Onouha – Ferdinand – Hill – Taiwo
Mackie – Barton – Derry – Taarabt
Zamora – Cisse
Players to watch:
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero
The diminutive Argentine has enjoyed a fine season scoring 22 goals and assisting 9 other. Aguero was named City’s Player of The Year ahead of the likes of Silva and Yaya Toure and Mancini will look to him to lead City’s onslaught against the desperate QPR. Widely regarded as a better player than Tevez, Aguero will be raring to put QPR to the sword.
QPR: Dibjril Cisse
Common sense would dictate one to go with Paddy Kenny, but how could we leave out the maniacal Frenchman? Ever since his January arrival, Cisse’s seven games have the following statistics: goal, red card, goal, goal, red card, goal, and goal. The way it seems to be going, Cisse is due to receive a red card, but manager Mark Hughes (remember poor Sparky at City?) hopes that Cisse leads the Hoops to survival and Cisse himself declared his intentions to avenge what City did to Hughes a couple of seasons back.
Points to remember:
- The last time City faced QPR in the league at home, QPR triumphed 3-1 in 2000 in the old First Division (Championship).
- City have the best home record in the EPL, winning 17 and drawing 1.
- QPR have a goal difference of -22 compared to Bolton’s -29.
- City have won their last five games since losing 1-0 to a Mikel Arteta blinder at the Emirates whereas QPR have alternatively won and lost their last ten games.
- The last time City won the league in 1968, they pipped Manchester United to it on the final day of the season (ironically after United lost to Sunderland).
Although QPR are desperate and are playing for their lives, they have been handicapped with injuries and are visiting English football’s most intimidating stadium. City have a full squad and haven’t lost at the Etihad all season long in the league and expect them to fire on all cylinders against QPR.
Manchester City 3-0 Queens Park Rangers