Both Manchester United and QPR will be looking to bounce back after their previous games, United losing 1-0 at home to Southampton and QPR losing 2-1 away at Burnley. Manchester United won the reverse fixture 4-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season, this game will be a different game to the game Old Trafford as QPR have lost every away game in the Premier League so far this season but they are a different prospect at home.
There seems to be a determination within Old Trafford to get back on track after the defeat to Southampton and although we were all disappointed with result and maybe the performance against Southampton, United have only lost 1 in 11 Premier League games and although United have been disappointing away from home this season they have only lost 2 games away from home, they are just drawing too many away from home and will be looking to turn them draws into wins.
After the defeat to Southampton there has been question marks raised over Louis Van Gaal continued use of the 3-5-2 formation, including from myself, I feel that this formation isn’t the best for the players we have, especially the defenders who to me don’t look at all comfortable playing with a back three and wing-backs. I also feel this formation is stifling our attackers. Going into this match Robin Van Persie is a doubt after picking up an ankle injury against Southampton. If we start with the same team that started the game against Southampton, I feel there is 4 players playing out of position. Luke Shaw playing at left wing-back, this he is not, he’s a left-back and feel he gets stuck betting what he is supposed to doing when playing at wing-back.
Wayne Rooney and Antonio Valencia have been doing a job for the team in midfield and at wing-back respectively. Wayne Rooney has been doing a very good job in midfield and he will play anywhere you ask him to but his best position is up front, whether that is as one of your main strikers or playing just of your strikers. The same goes for Valencia in that he has done a job for the team at wing-back and like Rooney I feel he will play anywhere you ask him to. I feel his best position is on the right side of a midfield four or maybe right centre of a midfield three. Now Angel Di Maria was played in one of the strikers against Southampton and failed to have an impact on the game. I feel this is partly because Southampton sat back for most of the game and defended very well and Di Maria didn’t have any space to expose. Perhaps playing in this position can work in games where will be looking to counter attack teams, as we saw in the victory at Arsenal, where he was played in a similar role and could use his pace on the counter attack.
How will we see United line-up for this match then, Will Falcao return to the starting eleven or the matchday squad? Will Fellaini return to the starting line-up after his substitute appearance last week? Will Van Persie be fit? Will Rooney return to a more attacking position in the team? I feel we will see the return of Falcao and Fellaini and don’t think that Van Persie will feature. Clearly David De Gea will be in goal, think we will see the same back three of Jones, Smalling and Blind, with Shaw and Valencia as wing-backs, then you have Carrick, Herrera, Mata, Di Maria, Fellaini, Rooney and Falcao and Wilson vying for the remaining positions in midfield and up front. I would play Carrick, Fellaini and Di Maria in the midfield three and Rooney and Falcao up front. So that would mean places on the bench for Herrera, Mata and Wilson, who can all make an impact from the bench.