Domestic football returns after the first international break of the season and this Sunday’s 4pm kick-off sees a struggling Manchester United host QPR at Old Trafford.
The late transfer market spree from Manchester United failed to include a centre-half, but the signings of Danny Blind and Radamel Falcao will strengthen the United squad. The question on the lips of the fans will be whether the 3-5-2 system will be deployed again and how Van Gaal will piece together the riches of attacking talent the club now possesses. With the difficult tests of Everton, Chelsea, and Manchester City facing United in October and November, there is still time to turn around the performances before the matches that could define their season are upon them.
QPR come into this game after a week of off-field rumours concerning the future of their manager – Redknapp is set to sign a new contract according to reports – while the Football League has claimed if the London club don’t pay their Financial Fair Play fine they could risk being demoted to the conference if they are relegated this season. Those, particularly the latter, are all if’s, what is certain is QPR’s mixed start to the season. The number of transfers brought in during the summer though suggests it may take time before we see the best of QPR.
Angel Di Maria
The issues with the defence have been spoke about on many occasions and with no further reinforcements in central defence means that United may need to outscore teams throughout this season. So far though, Manchester United have only scored 2 goals and failed to break down Burnley in their last fixture.
Despite playing in that match, Di Maria had only spent a short time with his new teammates and subsequently only played 60 minutes. The Argentine is capable of changing the lethargic performances seen with his pace and drive from midfield – something that saw him create 90 chances last season for Madrid, 22 of which were clear cut chances.
With United struggling with the organisation of their opponents thus far this season, the experience and the early season form of Joey Barton could cause more difficulties for Van Gaal’s team.
Making 11 tackles and 5 interceptions in the opening 3 matches for QPR, Barton’s energy has helped the promoted side adapt to the Premier League. The former Manchester City player has also been influential in the attacking third creating 12 chances – the highest amount in the Premier League.
Phil Jones is set to miss out after being injured in England’s Euro qualifier on Monday. Some good news for United is the reurn of Herrera from an ankle injury, while Blind, Rojo and Falcao are expected to make their debuts.
Sandro will make his debut for QPR after a late move to the club from Tottenham, while Joey Barton will have a fitness test.
Both team’s defences have looked error-prone so far, so a both teams to score bet is good value at 11/10. If you fancy a BTTS/match winner combo then a United win is available at 43/20, while the draw is valued at 6/1.
While it is uncertain whether he will start, new signing Falcao is 3/1 to score first and the same odds are available for the Columbian to score last. A less risky bet of anytime goal scorer is at 4/5, so not good enough value if you prefer smaller stakes.
Manchester United have scored 2 or more goals in all 4 meetings between the clubs since 2011. For the Red Devils to score over 1.5 is available at 2/5, but with attacking reinforcements, over 2.5 goals at 13/10 looks decent value.
While there are major question marks over the system and defence that Manchester United have used, QPR have had their difficulties with the 3-5-2 formation and how breach-able it has looked. With the quality in attack for United, they should be able to outscore the London club and secure their first victory of the season.
You can back a Manchester United victory at 1/4 with Betway, while the draw is valued at 9/2.If you fancy an upset, QPR to win is available at 10/1.