With an eight point lead, over Manchester City, in the Premier League, United travel to Loftus Road this Saturday hoping to stretch that lead to fifteen points with Manchester City not playing Chelsea until Sunday afternoon. But, with our opponents embroiled in a relegation battle, this fixture could have a combative and feisty edge. Will United emerge victorious?
Ahead of the trip to West London, Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken about the need to treat Queens Park Rangers with respect and ensure we get the job done, something Manchester City couldn`t manage not that long ago, with the boss remarking to the media,
“With Harry’s experience and his ability to judge players, he will have a better chance that most in that situation [avoiding relegation].’
‘We’re going down there to win, though. That’s what our job is. There is an absolutely brilliant spirit in the place at the moment and a good determination about us. We have to treat these games as we would Real Madrid or anyone else. It has to be won. We want to win.”
‘We have a problem picking teams at the moment but that’s where we want to be. QPR are fighting for survival and we know it is going to be a hard game. That is what we need anyway. We need to keep the awareness on making sure we do our job right.’
That sounds good enough to me.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
There is good news and there is bad news on the availability front for Harry Redknapp. Having signed Loic Remy, in the January transfer window, with a view to his goals keeping him up, Remy has been hit by injury and will not be available this Saturday.
On a more positive not, Harry is able to; once again, call on the services of Junior Hoilett with the ex-Blackburn player having recovered from a hamstring injury. Also available again after being away on international duty is Samba Diakite.
Unable to play, because we are his parent club, is on loan Fabio de Silva, although we`d imagine he`ll be watching from the stands.
Player to watch: Chris Samba
A powerful defender who has been bought back to the Premier League, from Russian football, at great expense to try and salvage QPR`s Premier League status. Sometimes suspect defensively, Samba brings something extra to any set-pieces our hosts may win this weekend.
Manchester United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson takes his squad to Loftus Road, to take on a Queens Park Rangers side struggling to avoid relegation, without the following players – Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones.
Paul Scholes is troubled by a knee injury, Phil Jones has an ankle problem whilst Wayne Rooney has been laid low with a sinus problem.
With no game in midweek, we expect Sir Alex to field his strongest available starting eleven to ensure another nail is driven into the title hopes of our closest rivals Manchester City.
Player to watch: Jonny Evans
The Irishman continues to impress with his assured displays and it seems to be, these days, only a matter of who Sir Alex decides to partner him with.
Match Facts & Stats
If the record books are to be believed then the fixture, at Loftus Road, could be a stroll in the park. The record books show that Queens Park Rangers, in 11 previous Premier League meetings, have yet to beat us with 2 ending in draws and United winning the other 9.
United go into this fixture in decent form. From the last 42 points on offer, United have accumulated 38 points.
Our officials for this encounter are:-
Referee – A. Taylor
Assistant – P. Kirkup
Assistant – G. Beswick
Fourth Official – N. Swarbrick
Queens Park Rangers are desperate for points, Harry Redknapp knows time is running out as the club spirals towards the Championship. I expect QPR to show some desire and fight but reckon our class will prevail and we could be in for a comfortable win, possibly by two or three goals.
Next weekend, Manchester United entertains Norwich City in the Premier League. Kick-off is at 15:00 hours on Saturday, a rarity for United these days.