Match in a sentence
The self-proclaimed comeback kings survived a near scare, as three goals in eight minutes were enough to defeat bottom of the table QPR.
- After coming off of two straight defeats to Norwich and Galatasaray, Manchester United operated in a 4-4-1-1 with Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young on the flanks. Also, Darren Fletcher was in the XI at the expense of Michael Carrick.
- With Mark Hughes sacked, and new boss Harry Redknapp watching from the stands, QPR caretaker manager Mark Bowen was in charge. Bowen lined up in a 4-2-3-1 that saw Djribil Cisse lead the line with Adel Taarabt, Jamie Mackie and Kieron Dyer behind him.
- United were expected to dominate possession in this game and so they did. United’s front four were interchanging positions attempting to draw QPR defenders out of position. At times it worked, but it wasn’t effective as QPR stayed organized and compact throughout United’s wave of attacks in the first half.
- QPR were very narrow as the two wide men tucked in and their goal was to hit United on the break and run at their defenders (United defenders vulnerable when pacy players run at them). It must be said that QPR could have taken the lead in the first half as Jamie Mackie was causing them all sorts of problems whenever he drove down the middle of the park.
- In terms of the selection on the flanks Welbeck isn’t your natural winger, and he often took the ball into the middle, which gave either Rafael or Patrice Evra license to get higher up the pitch depending on which flank he occupied. Whereas Young was more direct on his flank, despite the odd link up play with Evra.
- The pairing of Paul Scholes and Fletcher had a difficult afternoon, as Scholes in particular was giving the ball away at ease, making poor challenges, and both were guilty of being overrun by QPR on the break. United lacked creativity, the final ball and they failed to penetrate in wide areas. QPR held their ground in the first half and did well, but they lacked quality when they got into United’s third.
- It’s been the tale of United’s season as they fell behind in the second half courtesy of a goal from Mackie. It was sluggish defending from United and Dyer sent in a ball to Mackie, which he tapped in from two yards out. It was the 13th time in 20 games that United have conceded first.
- Many (especially United fans) will say that United need to concede first, for the side to get going, and those people are wrong. United simply didn’t play good enough, frankly they were poor in the first half, and Fergie’s substitutions changed the outcome of the game. Anderson and Javier Hernandez replaced Scholes and Young, which pushed Rooney to the left and Welbeck to the right.
- Anderson provided a different element to United’s midfield. He drove through the heart of the QPR midfield and provided energy and pace. With Rooney and Welbeck on the flanks this allowed Rafael and Evra to get forward and it created 2v1’s against the narrow QPR fullbacks.
- Frankly, the changes really affected the third goal as Anderson drove through the midfield and played in Hernandez who killed the game off. The first two goals scored by Evans and Fletcher, exposed the problem QPR have been having all season, which is defending set pieces.
- QPR played well for 55 minutes of the game, but their inability to defend set pieces has haunted them yet again. They’ve yet to record a win this season, and with Southampton defeating Newcastle, the bottom half seems to be distancing themselves from the Rangers. Arry has a lot of work to do on the training ground and the first issue he addresses this week should be defending set pieces.
- Despite the poor first half, three goals in eight minutes seemed to be the difference. Ferguson found a way to get his four main strikers on the field at the same time and it worked. Attacking prowess? Well against QPR at home, a top team should score goals. I’d say Ferguson’s tactical knowledge, which he doesn’t get much credit for, won this game. With City/Chelsea playing to a draw, all is well in the red side of Manchester.
- Wayne Rooney
- Jamie Mackie