Date: 18th December 2011 at 2:03pm
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United held off the challenge of Queens Park Rangers with a comfortable win in West London this lunchtime.

Team News – With a growing injury list, Sir Alex partnered Evans with Ferdinand at the heart of the defence, in midfield Jones was chosen alongside Carrick whilst Valencia was given a wide berth in place of Young.

United – De Gea, Smalling, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Jones, Carrick, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck

Subs – Lindegaard, Berbatov, Giggs, Park, Hernandez, Young, Fryers

First Half – United got the game underway at a chilly Loftus Road and were to go ahead with the third fastest goal of the Premier League season so far. Valencia, preferred to Young, delivered a decent cross into the danger area and there was Rooney stopping to guide the ball home with his head.

QPR 0 United 1 (Rooney – 52 seconds)

United were slicing QPR apart and one flowing move involving Rooney and Nani saw Welbeck bearing down on goal but his weakfish shot spoiled the opportunity.

Wright-Phillips, responding for the visitors fired over after cutting inside and then the hosts won two corners in quick succession. The first, after some good work by Bothroyd, saw an unmarked Helguson head wide whilst the second, again delivered by Barton, was cleared with United launching a counter-attack that saw a Nani shot deflected for a corner.

A decent move involving Carrick playing a delightful one-two with Rooney resulted in another corner being won but Nani`s delivery was claimed by the QPR keeper.

QPR had a great chance to level but, with United pondering why Howard Webb hadn`t given a foul for a challenge on Rooney, Bothroyd lifted it over the bar. Ferdinand, disputing the decision to allow play on, received a yellow card.

Some good passing from United continued to cut QPR open and Jones should have scored when provided with a good lay-off by Nani. United should have increased their lead when Evans, reacting to a flick-on from Welbeck, headed against the top of the bar.

Cerny, showing that his looked better than a third choice keeper, then saved well from Jones before pulling off a great save to deny Welbeck after a shot from Rooney had been blocked. Another United corner, immediately after the aforementioned save, saw Evans have a header cleared off the line by Faurlin.

De Gea was called into action, as we entered the last fifteen minutes of the half, saving with an out-stretched foot a shot from Helguson. Increasing the pressure the home side saw a shot from Bothroyd go wide before Helguson shot wide, when presented with a great chance, only to find Webb had already given a foul.

Right on the stroke of half time, Bothroyd played a great ball into the six yard box but it evaded their two on-rushing QPR players.

Half Time – QPR 0 United 1

QPR got the action underway with only ten men on the pitch with Gabbidon still emerging from the dressing room. His absence gave Rooney an early chance but his shot was straight at the keeper.

Welbeck, striding forward, tumbled under a challenge from Gabbidon but Webb waved play on but United were soon to double that lead. Barton gave the ball away far too easily and Carrick went on a barnstorming run. Bursting towards the edge of the area his low shot beat Cerny and Carrick had his first goal in seventy appearances.

QPR 0 United 2 (Carrick – 56 minutes)

QPR responded with a shot from Bothroyd that De Gea saved before United increased the pressure by forcing a corner. Taken short, Valencia drilled the ball in, it got a touch and Rooney desperately tried to, unsuccessfully though, turn it in at the far post.

Jones became the second recipient of a yellow card when he was penalised for trying, unfairly, to win the ball back after conceding possession. Welbeck almost go on the score sheet with a curling effort, after latching onto a ball from Rooney, but his curling effort was splendidly tipped over the bar by Cerny.

It was to be Welbck`s last piece of action as he was soon to be replaced by the returning from injury Javier Hernandez. Trying to get back into the game, QPR forced a corner, through Mackie, but De Gea easily claimed the high ball in.

United were now searching for a third goal and Jones was unlucky when h slow shot came back off the base of the post after another good passing move. Nani and Valencia were then involved in a move that saw Cerny cut out a cross that looked to be heading for Rooney.

QPR had a glorious chance to reduce the arrears when a cross in from Taarabt found Campbell but his guided effort just went the wrong side of the bar.

United were springing counter-attacks almost at will and one move involving Giggs and Nani saw a poor final ball before another, this time from a Smalling ball in, saw Hernandez head over.

In the three minutes of stoppage time, Jones provided another lung-busting surge forward but the shot from Young was straight at the keeper.

All in all, three deserved points for United.

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