Manchester United virtually have one hand on their 20th league title with a comfortable 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road as they go 15 points clear of 2nd placed Manchester City who face 3rd placed Chelsea on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium.
Here are some facts for you, about what a fathom of a task QPR were facing when they hosted the league leaders. 🙂
QPR have won just 2 league games all season so far. That doesnt exactly get you all high on confidence, specially when you are hosting a side with the best away form in the Barclays Premier League (W 19, D 2, L 2). Moreover, Rangers have only scored twice at home since the Boxing Day in December. Which again is a bad sign as Manchester United have made it 49 (50 now) consecutive wins when they have scored first. 🙂
Sir Alex Ferguson made a number of changes in the side that faced Reading in the FA Cup. The usual back four of Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra and Rafael were appointed with Carrick and Giggs given the midfield role. Young and Nani were the wide men as Chicharito and van Persie the two strikers. In form, David De Gea was the choice of goalkeeper.
Both the teams took it slow at the start, owing it to the uneven pitch which prevented either of them to string together more than a few passes. United’s first attempt on goal came after 13 minutes when Nani misfired a free header from a decent Ashley Young free kick. Three minutes later, it was Hernandez on target with a cheeky back header which the home goalkeeper, Julio Cesar, tipped over the bar. He was almost in for a goal a couple of minutes later when Nani knicked off the ball from an unaware Steven M’Bia and crossed it early and low, but Hernandez was inches away from connecting with it.
QPR’s only chances on goal came from their star man Adel Taarabt who couldn’t do any better than shooting wildly off target whenver the ball landed in his feet. Ranger’s were again caught napping, this time by Ryan Giggs, who found Robin van Persie running down the left wing. van Persie battled his way to the byline and drilled the ball on which was palmed away by Cesar. He failed to maintain his balance, fell on a camera in a dugout behind the goal and badly bruised his hip. Ofcourse, not many saw that happening because of what happening on the field at the same moment. 🙂
After Cesar palmed the ball away, it bounced away towards incoming Rafael who shot a screamer from 30 yards out to score his 3rd of the season. The best volleyed goal of the season, probably the best goal of the season so far! If you happen to see the replay, you can actually see the brave Chris Samba ducking out of the ball’s path. He knew if didn’t do that, it would be his head that would be in the net! 😀
United getting the lead from the most unlikliest of the sources, and what a way to score! The young lad was again the hero on 35 minutes as he cleared the ball off the line from a goal bound header of Chris Samba. What followed was a trademark Man Utd counter attack. Guess who was at the heart of it. 🙂 Rafael, from making a goal line clearance half a minute ago, was sprinting forward with the ball as he crossed the ball right into the path of Robin van Persie who looked sure to score his 20th league goal of the season, but Cesar was upto the mark and made a brilliant save to keep the ball out. Unfortunately, that would be his last contribution in the match as he was subbed off for Danny Wellbeck at 40 minutes. United went into half time looking comfortable with a 1-0 lead.
Whoever knows Manchester United knows for a fact that they are a second-half team. Their second half is usually stronger than their first, they come alive in the seond half of the season, etc etc. It was no different this time as they took the game to QPR right at the start. Nani’s header forced Cesar into action again, before Vidic, enjoying a physical battle with Samba at both ends of the pitch, narrowly failed to connect with a Giggs free-kick.
Wayne Rooney was introduced in the mix at the hour mark to replace Javier Hernandez while QPR brought in new signing Loic Remy in place of limping Bobby Zamora. The french striker had an instant impact on the game as he made space for himself in the box and forced De Gea into his first save of the match (and the only one 😉 ).
United then went into a frenzy of attacks conjuring up a chance in exactly every 2 minutes.
76th minute – Rooney’s goal bound shot from 4 yards out was blocked away.
78th minute – Danny Welbeck was denied a goal this time when his shot was blocked by Rangers’ substitute Jermaine Jenas.
80th minute – Nani selflessly passed the ball to Ryan Giggs who gave United thier second goal of the night. 🙂
82nd minute – Giggs misfires the shot but still manages to hit the crossbar while Nani blasts the rebound into the crowd.
84th minute – Rooney finds a bit of space and hits just wide of the post.
87th minute – Welbeck again gets a glorious opportunity but takes a tad too long to pull the trigger inviting the opponents in to make the challenge.
United did what they do best, WIN. Get the three points up on the board. The only bad news for them was their target man Robin van Persie limping off the pitch in the first half. Sir Alex Ferguson was rather calm when asked about the extent of the injury saying that van Persie bruised his hip pretty badly when he fell on the cameraman in the dugout but he should be fine for the Madrid game, if not the Norwich game next weekend. 🙂
All seems to be going well as United march on towards glory.
Glory Glory Man Utd!! 😀