Goals from Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick were enough for United to maintain the pressure on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, following a comfortable victory over QPR at Loftus Road. Wayne Rooney’s 53rd second header started United’s return to the top of the table – even if only for a few hours – and QPR rarely looked like threatening their voyage back to where they believe they belong.
United dominated the game, having chance after chance continually denied from the impressive, in form third choice keeper, Radek Cerny. Eventually in the 70th minute Michael Carrick scored United’s second and gave them the winning margin they deserved. Despite only winning by two goals, you always felt that, if necessary United could have stepped up a gear and finished the game far more reassuringly,but another outstanding performance from Cerny kept the scoreline flattering to the home side.
Cerny who has been astonishing of late, after having no reserve match fitness, let alone first team match fitness has stunned fans after being thrust into starting 11 action against some of the biggest teams in Europe after appearing once in the past 18 months. Paddy Kenny seems to be fit for this Wednesday’s game against Sunderland and after not putting a foot wrong when he was fit was sure to walk back into the first team. However, the recent performances from Cerny have given Warnock a very difficult decision to make regarding who will wear the gloves at Loftus Road on Wednesday.
QPR were persistant and had a few chances, forcing De Gea into a few first half saves but they were eventually outclassed by United’s eminence who are starting to look more and more capable of winning their 20th league title, despite the recent shock of exiting the Champion’s League. Campbell had the clearest oppurtunity for the R’s in the second half. After making his first appearence for weeks, Taraabt put in a fantastic cross, leaving Campbell 6 yards out but somehow managed to put the ball over in an effort that would have been easier to score than to miss.
QPR once AGAIN defended poorly and conceded two very defendable goals. They didn’t wake up in the first minute and United were in the lead before most of the crowd had taken their seats. The second goal was even worse, a stray pass in the middle of the park allowed Carrick to dribble the ball half the length of the pitch, unchallenged before slotting the ball under Cerny and finalising United’s return to the top of the table.
It has been frustrating to watch as a QPR supporter who saw us boast such a brilliant defensive record last season, one of the main reasons QPR were promoted as champions, having seen four new faces in the back line and for us to give away so many goals this season by disappointing defending has left fans pulling their hair out.
Warnock needs to eradicate these mistakes if he wishes to stay in the Premier League for more than one season. QPR were lucky, considering United have the capability of punishing any mistake that opponents make, they could have embarrassed Rangers far more but the scoreline finished 2-0, flattering the R’s.
As United continued to rue one missed effort after another, QPR resisted and managed to fight their way back into the game. Helguson headed just over from a Barton cross as well as having De Gea save another effort with his legs to prevent the R’s equalising. Bothroyd blasted three attempts wide as QPR tried desperately to get back into the game, but it was one of those days for the QPR strikers who, even with another 90 minutes, probably wouldn’t have scored.
QPR’s threat came from the wings. Shaun Wright-Phillips and Mackie attacked Smalling and Evra and whipped in a total of 32 crosses, 10 more than United but the aerial threat didn’t bother the six foot plus United centre halves and QPR’s main hit man this season, Helguson was non-existent as QPR created next to nothing in the second half. All in all it was a very one-sided performance by the Champions.
QPR find themselves facing a must win game against Sunderland on Wednesday. One point from the last twelve available has left QPR looking dangerously below them and in need of a desperate change in form, otherwise they could face free-fall in the New Year and their Premier League dream could be over. It has been well documented about the funds Warnock has at his disposal in January as he looks to bring in three of four new faces. Two defenders, a midfielder and a striker would be on my list as we head into the New Year.
QPR face a tough few weeks with a few difficult Christmas fixtures. Away trips to Arsenal and Swansea as well as home fixtures against Sunderland and Norwich are all hard games that QPR are capable of gaining points from. We’ll have to see where QPR sit in the table in the New Year but like most supporters I am enjoying every minute of it.