Venue: Old Trafford Stadium
Referee: Lee Probert
Kick-off: 8.30 PM (IST), Saturday 24th of November (ESPN)
When we talk about Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers, we cannot ignore the contrasting events that have taken place quite recently at the respective clubs. While the home side ahead of the game unveiled a statue to honour the longevity of their Scottish chief, the travelling side will look ahead to life without their manager Mark Hughes, who was sacked earlier today, thereby ending his dismal tenure at Loftus Road.
Sir Alex and his squad would love to maintain the celebratory vibes around Old Trafford with a win to pile up some pressure on Manchester City ahead of their crucial tie against Chelsea on Sunday. QPR on the other hand will be led by the two assistant coaches, Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki, as the rumours continue to rise that Harry Redknapp may take over the managerial duties after this weekend. Times couldn’t be more turbulent for the Londoners, as the side lies at the bottom of the table even after a host of signings were made earlier this summer. Of course, Harry ‘Houdini’ could change this all around as he is always expected to do with relegation-threatened sides. However, all that has to wait, as the focus shifts to this big assignment in Manchester.
Manchester United (LWWWW)
After a frustrating performance at Carrow Road where United were comprehensively beaten by Norwich, Sir Alex would expect that his lads have learnt from their mistakes. In a week where United failed to score in both of their away trips, the side would be keen to set the record straight against a stumbling QPR unit. The manager confirmed that Wayne Rooney will be available for the game after missing the last league game with tonsillitis, while we can also expect De Gea taking his place in front of the United goal after his week long absence due to some dental issues. United and Sir Alex are expected to seal a win this weekend, which would take them to the top of the table, with Manchester City due to face Chelsea on Sunday.
Queens Park Rangers (LLDLD)
The inevitable happened at Loftus Road as the owners ran out of patience with Mark Hughes, who just couldn’t find his feet at the club. The results have been damning since his arrival in the last season, and one could hope that things will change for better at Loftus Road. QPR on the back of their worst start in the Premier League will face United; and to have any hope to squeeze a result out of the trip, they will need to make most of their chances. QPR will also welcome Stephane Mbia after his three-match suspension, and it will be interesting to see if he is able find a place in the defence. QPR doesn’t really have much to take at Old Trafford, as a typical rout from the hands of the home side looms large.
Probable starting XI: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Valenca, Rooney, Young, van Persie
Injured: Nani (hamstring), Kagawa (knee), Vidic (knee), Evans (groin)
Queens Park Rangers
Probable starting XI: Cesar, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Nelson, Traore, Hoilett, Faurlin, Diakite, Granero, Taarabt, Cisse
Injured: Bosingwa (illness), Johnson (knee), Ephraim (hamstring), Park (knee)
Unavailable: Fabio (loan terms preventing to play against the parent club)
- Paul Scholes has scored three goals in three Premier League games against QPR.
- United have the best conversion rate this season, scoring with 14.9% of their shots while QPR (7.6%) have the worst.
- Manchester United have scored at least 2 goals in their last 9 home matches in the Premier League.
- Queens Park Rangers have lost 12 of their last 13 away matches in the Premier League.
Stats suggest that Old Trafford has seen over of 2.5 goals in the last five Manchester United home games, and we should expect more of the same from this fixture. It’s highly likely that the QPR full backs would struggles against the trickery of Valencia and Young on the wings, which could provide the potential goal-scoring opportunities for the likes of van Persie and Rooney upfront. United have had to comeback and win many times this season, yet I would predict a comfortable 3-0 win for the home side considering QPR’s inability to make a competitive game out of this fixture.Published 24 Nov 2012, 14:07 IST