Darren Fletcher scores Manchester United’s second goal in the 3-1 win over QPR
Manchester United again came from behind to claim all three points at Old Trafford against bottom club QPR. United went 1-0 down to a Jamie Mackie strike, before relying on Evans, Fletcher and Hernandez to finish the game. We were lucky enough to have a great ‘view from the opposition’ in our QPR match preview on Friday, which you might find interesting. Here we discuss the Talking Points from the match and welcome comments from both sets of fans.
Bricki also blogs on The Running Fella.
A central midfield of Fletcher and Scholes, Welbeck out wide again and Lindegaard in goal were the talking points of a team that again looked to lack pace and creativity where it is needed. Whilst Fletcher in midfield would give some mobility it remains to be seen how he will deal with his condition and playing on a regular basis. Putting him in a midfield with Scholes as a 2 was always likely to be a concern against a QPR side fighting for places under new boss Harry Redknapp. Carrick given a rest was long overdue but seeing Anderson and Cleverley still on the bench raises the question as to what games Ferguson is really saving these two for? Danny Welbeck being played out wide seems to be Sir Alex’s way of including him whilst allowing Van Persie and Rooney to remain in the side. Yet it’s been seen time and time again that Danny struggles to exert influence in this role and comes inside often, narrowing the play and losing any real width of the left. Many fans were frustrated to see Anders Lindegaard in net with De Gea on the bench. I feel though that this inclusion made sense this time as Anders has played the last few games and rather than chop and change often its worth giving Anders a continued run. De Gea will gain the shirt back but no harm in playing Anders in a few continuous games at this point.
QPR Game Plan
QPR looked to pack the middle of the park and steal possession from United to counter attack. Faurlin and Derry looked to protect the backline and Dyer,Taarabt and Mackie pressured the United midfield and forward line creating loose balls to seize on. The fullbacks looked to provide width where they could with Mbia in particular finding himself one on one with Evra often. The inability of Dyer and Taarabt to get behind the fullbacks though meant that the vast majority of their efforts on goal to be long distance bar a disallowed cross for offside and the goal that put them 1-0 up.
Evans Developing Into a Top Leader and CB
Once again it was a great performance from Jonny Evans who is arguably our most consistent and improved defender in the last two years. His command of the back line has gotten better each game and yesterday he came up with another goal that pulled United back into the match. The confidence with which he brings the ball out of defence is reminiscent of a young Ferdinand at times and was visible again yesterday. The biggest compliment that can be paid to Evans is that right now the strongest back line is one of Evans and ‘another’.
Subs Make All The Difference
Unlike Norwich last week the introduction of Anderson and Hernandez made the difference this time in swinging the game Uniteds way. Prior to their arrival the midfield and forward line looked cramped and lethargic. As great a player as Scholes has been he looked tired early on in this game and coupled with a Fletcher who is nowhere near his physical best, this made the team as a whole slow in getting forward. Andersons introduction for Scholes led to a midfielder much easier to get about the pitch and look for the ball.
The approach of Anderson gave a much more visible influence over the game and coupled with his movement it started to draw gaps in the QPR defensive line. Hernandez for Young helped to take advantage of this, with Rooney and Van Persie able to draw defenders into this space and Hernandez looking to get in behind it created uncertainty in QPRs shape. Why this wasn’t thought about in the starting eleven is another discussion. Two Goals From Corners It’s safe to say now that ‘set piece’ goal has taken over from ‘OG’ this season.
Whatever training has been done at Carrington is clearly paying off. It could appear that the corner takers have been taking tips off Van Persie as it seems the overall balls going into the box have improved massively. Coupled with what appears to be genuine plans to attack the ball depending on if its front or back post it’s creating a genuine threat in dead ball situations.
QPR reaction following Sparky’s sacking
Following the dismissal of Mark Hughes and appointment of Harry Redknapp it was clear that the QPR players were playing to impress the new boss. For all the hustle and bustle displayed by the QPR team it was obvious that lacked any real spine to the team and true creative attacking threat. When your main creative influences are Kieron Dyer who appears one trip from injury every game and Adel Taarabt who is as inconsistent as the public transport service, you know you have problems to create goals. It was the way that as soon as United tried to exert pressure prior to the equaliser the heads seemed to drop and then you knew this game was only going one way. If QPR are to stay up then Redknapp will need to get some belief and leadership into this side as soon as he can.
It was a case of same old, same old with regards to the midfield conundrum and the overall shape of the side but other than one set piece lapse QPR caused few problems. Going forward however it’s clear players such as Anderson and Cleverley need to be given the chance to stake permanent roles in the team because as good as Scholes, Giggs and Fletcher have been, we need to give the new blood the chance. Difficult to see what else Anderson can do to get a starting chance but his enthusiasm is infectious when given an opportunity. Ask yourself the question of what you’d prefer, have the younger players blooded and maybe have a few iffy games now? Or continue with the established, older players until we have no choice but to throw players in at the deep end?