Tomorrow afternoon QPR lock horns with Manchester United live on Sky Sports, in what is shaping up to be a David vs Goliath contest. Unfortunately, the media coverage in the build up to this fixture has been so ashamedly one sided, with Sky amongst others spending the entire week focusing on who Louis Van Gaal will pick and how they will fit into his beloved system. The media obsession with what is ultimately an average and unbalanced United side is totally unwarranted yet sadly expected and little old QPR have been a mere footnote to this weekend`s latest Mancunian narrative.
Focusing on the R`s, Harry Redknapp`s men were impressive last time out against Sunderland and since have added to their squad with the signings of Niko Krancjar and Sandro, with the latter expected to start tomorrow. The R`s looked better suited to the 433 system fielded against Sunderland with Leroy Fer one of several impressing behind the striker. Rio Ferdinand will be relishing his return to familiar surroundings and I imagine he will be determined to lead Rangers to a credible result.
If QPR can frustrate United and make it to half time without conceding the home fans will surely grow tense and the pressure will be very much on Van Gaal`s charges to deliver. Rangers will need to crowd out United`s flair players and stop the likes of Di Maria and Mata finding clever through balls in and around the box. Hopefully QPR start with Junior Hoilett or Matt Phillips as their pace on the counter attack could be crucial.
It`s not an enviable task for the Rangers defence to have to play against the likes of Rooney, van Persie and Falcao as all are world class strikers with the ability to turn a match in an instant. Ultimate levels of concentration from the impressive Steven Caulker and experienced Ferdinand will be a necessity if we are to stop United`s galactico frontline.
Manchester United Team News:
New signings Radamel Falcao, Marcus Rojo, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw could all make their debuts against QPR.
Possible line up:
ROJO – EVANS – BLACKETT
YOUNG – BLIND – DI MARIA – MATA – SHAW
ROONEY – FALCAO
Player to watch: –
QPR Team News:
QPR manager Harry Redknapp is likely to give debuts to midfielders Sandro and Niko Kranjcar, who joined just before the transfer deadline. Joey Barton is expected to start despite a hamstring issue.
Possible line up:
ISLA – CAULKER – FERDINAND – HILL
HOILETT – FER – BARTON – SANDRO – VARGAS
Player to watch: –
Match Facts & Stats
HEAD 2 HEAD
MANCHESTER UNITED: 32
LAST TIME OUT
Premier League – 23/02/13
Manchester United 2 (Rafael, Giggs)
Team: Cesar, Traore, Samba, Hill, Bosingwa, Mbia, Taarabt, Granero (Jenas), Townsend (Hoilett), Mackie, Zamora (Remy).
The Red Devils have won 10 and lost none of their 12 previous Barclays Premier League meetings with QPR.
Queens Park Rangers have not kept a clean sheet against Man Utd since September 1992, when they drew 0-0 at Old Trafford in the first ever Premier League meeting.
The R`s have only won one of 21 previous away league games against Man Utd (D3 L17); winning 4-1 in January 1992.
Since 2009-10, Falcao has scored 104 goals in 139 league apps (for Porto, A.Madrid & Monaco combined).
Richard Dunne could make his 400th Premier League start in this game; he would become only the 22nd player to reach the milestone.
Referee: Phil Dowd
Assistants: Peter Kirkup & Scott Ledger
Fourth Official: Andre Marriner
Phil Dowd is the match official for tomorrow`s match against the Red Devils. Last season, Dowd issued 158 yellow cards and 8 red cards in 35 games.
Where: Loftus Road