Manchester United 3 - 1 Queens Park Rangers

Manchester United 3 - 1 Queens Park Rangers

24 November 2012
Ref Lee Probert

Mark Hughes, former hero of Old Trafford and spender of £37 million, was ousted from his position as manager of QPR as Henry James Redknapp made himself available for the post and last week's loss against fellow strugglers Southampton made Hughes' continuation untenable. Harry watched this one from the stand as Mark Bowen stood in as interim manager.

Fletcher is back for Manchester United and he immediately effects a give and go on the end of the box. Will QPR miss the trio of Granero, Diakite and Hoilett, all on the bench today? They do start Mackie however, so there should be some forward movement from the west London team. Indeed there are five changes from last week's loss in the visitors' line up.

To cheer the travelling support, Taraabt half moons a United player, then slide tackles another. Ferdinand (Rio) slips, and gives an indication why Man U haven't kept a clean sheet in their last ten games.

The Manchester United Trinity
Bobby Charlton, George Best & Denis Law
It's a dodgy start for other famous names as Scholes could easily have been sent off with only ten minutes on the clock. Even earlier Cesar was scolded for wearing the wrong colour undershorts, indicating a lack of consistency on his part.

15' In seemingly Van Persie's first involvement in the game - is there a pattern here? - Scholes gets in on the 6-yard line, but he's tackled cleanly.
19' Taraabt looks like the kid on the playground who wants to dribble every time he gets the ball, and it's this predictability that leads him to be robbed of the ball by Scholes.

20' Taraabt shoots from too far out with an overlap available on the right. 'Arry will surely sort this out on the training ground.

26' Scholes should shoot here, but instead lays the ball off to Young in a worse position.

27' It's not Scholes' best day at the office as Mackie cleverly strips him of the ball as he tried a pullback turn.

29' United are very wasteful in possession, given they've had about three-quarters of it, and this is exemplified by Evra's feeble attempt to pass the ball through a convocation of QPR players. But Evra's day is not as consistently as poor as Scholes' and his pass and move via Van Persie leads to danger for the hard-working QPR team. 35' Rooney shows us that he is on the pitch by shooting straight at Cesar from the edge of the box.

36' It's QPR who have the ball in United's net as Cisse crosses for Mackie to finish, but it's called back for offside.

40' In a continuing saga, Ashley Young is angrily confronted by opponents as the wake from his dive splashes their sensitivities.

43' The vaunted 'good players' that comprise QPR's team show us at last that they can string ten passes together around the uninterested United team members. Van Persie puts a stop to it in the end.

Half time 0 - 0.

Half time team talk.

Ferguson: Move the ball quicker, and f*•πing work harder.
Bowen: Keep calm and Harry on.

From the kick off, United reveal a new tactic: play the ball over the top of the R's defence. It doesn't work as the QPR back four continue to have a splendid game. An unusual happening occurs in the 47th minute. Rooney is embarrassed by Julio Cesar as the United man rushes to dispossess the keeper who has the ball at his feet from a backpass: Cesar clips the ball sharply with the outside of his left foot and the England international shoots past.

51' Goal. There is a corner on the left for QPR. It's taken short. Dyer is completely unmarked. He easily beats Van Persie and Jamie Mackie knocks in Lindegaard's spill.

Manchester United 0 - 1 QPR.

It's the thirteenth time United have conceded first this season.

54' At last Scholes gets his weekly yellow card as he hacks down Dyer outside the box. Taraabt fires over.

57' The ref now remembers he is carrying a card, so Mbia gets awarded one as Evra seems to dive.

Fergie puts on Anderson and Hernandez. At the very least they are bound to be as effective as the players who've been on for the first two-thirds of the match.

59' In a moment that seems might be important later on, after a 3 on 3 Dyer refuses a chance to shoot .. and the chance of a goal is gone. Two-nil might've been quite nice for the Londoners at this point.

60' Traore off. Ferdinand (Anton) on at left back.

63' Goal. Evans scores from one yard after Welbeck's knock down at the far post.

Manchester United 1 - 1 QPR.

65' Fletcher's 35-yard piledriver wakes up a taciturn Old Trafford crowd. 67' Goal. Fletcher's header from a perfect Rooney corner. Easy peasy.

Manchester United 2 - 1 QPR.

69' Taraabt shoots wide.

70' Goal. Anderson picks up the ball in his own half, surges forward, his vertical pass is received by Hernandez, whose sublime first touch with his left foot sets up a half-volley for his right. Technical and energetic super subs, and a happy Ferguson gets it right again.

Manchester United 3 - 1 QPR.

78' Welbeck's off and Powell's on.

83' Faurlin's off and Granero's on in the cold Manchester rain sitting at the bottom of the Premier League pile instead of turning out for Real Madrid.

87' QPR haven't quite given up completely as at-last-he's-on Hoilett's shot leads to a corner that leads to the head of Hill and that leads to the well-placed Rafael clearing off his own line.

United are better than most (or all) of the other teams in this league and it's as if they don't like to start to play without evening it up a little by giving their opponents a lead. Still, a win is a win. And with their two main rivals Chelsea and Manchester City ready to kick lumps out of each other tomorrow in west London, they will have a satisfying Saturday night.

QPR had some good player performances here, but that's what their team is right now: a bunch of discrete individuals. It's not a given that Redknapp can save them, but he must have noticed the first rung of the ladder obscured as it was in the Manchester rain.

Peter Rodd

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