Reds without nine for London double-header



Sir Alex Ferguson will be without almost a team of first team players for two visits to the Capital this week as Manchester United’s injury crisis intensifies. Captain Nemanja Vidic and midfielder Darren Fletcher have each been ruled out for the season, while more than half-a-dozen other players are unlikely to travel to London this week. The absentees mean Ferguson will reshuffle in defence and midfield as United aim to hit the Premier League summit with a victory over Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.

But Ferguson has seemingly ruled out dipping into the winter transfer market despite the rash of injuries that threaten to disrupt United’s season. Indeed, injury to Darron Gibson in Thursday night’s reserve match leaves Ferguson may leave Michael Carrick as the Reds only senior central midfielder for the trip south. However, Ferguson says that the club will not buy unless a player already on Ferguson’s target list becomes available.

“It is how you handle the situation,” claimed Ferguson.

“Buying in January has seldom been a route we have taken. Unless a player we have always been interested in comes along – and there is no sign of that at the moment – it is not suitable for us. We are not going to panic; we have enough experience among the staff to cope with these things.

“We still have players who can wear the red jersey and they will wear it with complete confidence. Vidic’s character and energy are a loss. Darren is a big-game player, he is a loss, but we have enough players who have experienced everything that is coming in the second half of the season.”

Ferguson’s obstinance, whether directed by a genuine belief in the resources still available or the reported lack of transfer funds, means that United will continue to field an unconventional midfield. Carrick is again likely to be joined by Phil Jones in the engine room on Sunday. Contract rebel Paul Pogba could make the bench, as could youngsters Larnell Cole and Ezikiel Fryers.

QPR v Manchester United, Premier League, 17 December 2011, Loftus RoadHowever, Ferguson’s options are increased by one, with Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov available for selection against Neil Warnock’s newly promoted Londoners. Berbatov should make United’s bench, with Danny Welbeck partnering Wayne Rooney in attack. Meanwhile, Brazilian full-back Rafael da Silva is back in training and could feature over the Christmas programme, although the 20-year-old did not travel to London.

Despite the extended injury list Ferguson is in confident mood, with United having never lost to QPR in the Premier League. The clubs have not met since 1996, although QPR did beat United 4-1 on New Year’s Day 1992 with Dennis Bailey scoring a hat-trick.

“I always enjoy going to Queens Park Rangers,” added Ferguson.

“It’s always a good atmosphere and we used to be able to get a bigger support than normal. They used to give us one section – the one behind the goal and then part of the side, which always meant we had about 6,000 fans. We have a good record there and I hope we can continue that. They’ve done well and given themselves a chance of staying in the league by investing and bringing in a few players. It’s going to be a hard game.

“Queens Park Rangers have invested the right way. Neil Warnock realised that when you get into the Premier League you need big players. That gives them a better chance because it’s an unremitting league in terms of the demands, particularly for teams coming out of the Championship. Strangely, Norwich, Swansea and QPR have done well and adapted to the demands of the league. The rest test, though, is in the second half of the season.”

Meanwhile, QPR striker DJ Campbell could start for the first time in two months after featuring from the bench against Liverpool last weekend. However, defender Anton Ferdinand is a doubt, while perennially injured Kieron Dyer will miss the rest of the season.

The absences do little to help Warnock’s cause, with QPR sat comfortably in mid-table but suffering poor form at Loftus Road this season. Indeed, only three Premier League teams have a worse home record than the Hoops, while Warnock’s men have lost four of the last six in the league.

This should, despite United’s problems, add up to three points for the visitors. Victory will take the Reds above Manchester City to the Premier League summit for an afternoon at least.

Match Facts
Queens Park Rangers versus Manchester United, Premier League, Loftus Road, Sunday 17 December 2011, 12 noon.

Likely Line-ups
QPR (4-4-2): Cerny; Young, Gabbidon, Orr, Traore; Wright-Phillips, Faurlin, Barton, Mackie; Bothroyd, Helguson. Subs from: Putnins, Hill, Connolly, Derry, Buzsaky, Smith, Campbell, Taarabt, Puncheon.

United (4-4-1-1): De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Nani, Jones, Carrick, Young; Rooney; Welbeck. Subs from: Lindegaard, Fryers, Park, Pogba, Valencia, Cole, Diouf, Giggs, Macheda, Berbatov.

Form
QPR: LWLLDL
United: WDLWLW

Performance stats

  • United won 4-1 against Wolverhapton Wanderers last weekend, with Michael Carrick covering the most ground for the Reds at 6.79 miles;
  • Rooney scored twice in the match – his 10th and 11th goals of the season – and helped the Scouser regain top spot in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index from Robin van Persie;
  • Nani’s goals were his fourth and fifth for United in the league, and the midfielder rose 13 places in the Index to seventh;
  • Rooney struck ten shots on target in that game, the most any player has in a single game so far this season, but the striker’s influence stretches beyond goalscoring. The former Evertonian has completed 409 passes in his opponent’s half this season. To put that in context, the next highest total for a striker is Luis Suarez’ 296, with the pair having played almost exactly the same minutes on the pitch;
  • Meanwhile, QPR lost to Liverpool last weekend. Alejandro Faurlin covered the most ground in that game with 5.4 miles. Faurlin’s total for the season is now 97.42 miles and he should pass the 100 mile mark against United;
  • Goalkeeper Radek Cerny earned praise from Neil Warnock having stepped into the side. The Czech goalkeeper has made 19 saves in his three appearances so far this season;
  • Former Manchester Ciy winger Shaun Wright-Phillips hit the post against Liverpool as he continues his search for his first QPR goal. Wright-Phillips has had 32 efforts at goal so far this season, and contributed 22 dribbles and 17 crosses.

Officials
Referee: Howard Webb (Rotherham)
Assistants: D Cann, A Garratt
Fourth Official: A Marriner

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  • jaylani

    Why doesnt Fergie try the brazilian twins in mid field. they could do a v.good job. energy good ball control defensiv and attack minded flying tackles. they hav evrything that a robust aggressiv midfielder needs

    • Waxfoot

      I think between them they’d make one good central midfielder

  • Kashere2011

    Is wönderfull to have Dimi,back in the team. We’re going for three point at the capital. GGMU.

  • RobDiablo

    Commenter said:
    Why doesnt Fergie try the brazilian twins in mid field… they hav evrything that a robust aggressiv midfielder needs

    Except the ability to stay healthy.

  • sheesh

    After Chelsea’s cock up today, we need to make sure we win tomorrow. No excuses. It will be a tough game but we must surely have more than enough quality to get a result.

  • sidney

    They’re game raising cunts though

    What ineffectual combination will Fergie come up with in midfield

    And will Carrick have his 5th good game in a row

  • Pikey McScum

    sidney said:
    They’re game raising cunts though

    Fuck Chelski, Citeh, Liverpool, Arsenal – EVERY club ups their game when United are in town.

    Question is, will we rise to the challenge?

    We’d fucking better!

  • elvido

    Pedantic, but to be fair Rooney did play midfield too. When you’re comparing him to another striker. And Rooney probably covers more parts of the pitch than any other “striker”

  • elvido

    De Gea
    Smalling Rio Evans Evra
    Valencia Carrick Jones Nani
    Rooney
    Wellbeck
    Would be enough for Loftus ROad

  • han

    12 noon kick off
    ffs
    why not play at 9am
    i remember the days of their plastic pitch in the 1980′s – the ball used to bounce so high you had little chance of control at times
    SAF has to pick a strong line up today or else they will look at the team sheet and be bouyed even more
    come on berbs – this is the stage set for you

  • sheesh

    Looks like everyone is either still in bed or stuck on the toilet FFS.

  • sidney

    What’s the team

    Because if Park and Giggs are in midfield then I’m not getting out of bed

  • sheesh

    Park, young and giggs on bench. Jones and carrick in midfield. Welbeck and rooney up front. Hernandez and berbatov also on bench.

  • madredmonkey

    Come on United, need the win today.

  • madredmonkey

    Nice to see Hernandez back.

  • madredmonkey

    great start

  • sheesh

    Get in. One nil. Rooney

  • sidney

    Fuck, missed the goal

    What happened

  • sheesh

    Cross from valencia headed in by rooney. Evra looks vulnerable.

  • sidney

    Carrick monstery run

  • sheesh

    Rio is such a dick. Now he is under pressure not to get a second yellow. Wake up evra.

  • brianofnazareth

    Evra is getting mugged off…

  • brianofnazareth

    That’s onside linesman you CUNT.

  • sheesh

    Evans you tit. Open net.

  • brianofnazareth

    We should have 3 by now!

    Evans you cunt.

  • sidney

    Evans should score, jesus christ

  • sidney

    Jones… How many chances

  • sheesh

    Fucks sake jones. He has to score.

  • sidney

    We should be 6-0 up

  • sheesh

    We should be winning six nil. Rooney has been outstanding. Will we rue these missed opportunities? We look like we will concede a goal.

  • madredmonkey

    Come on United.

  • brianofnazareth

    Evra is a fucking disgrace! what the fuck is the matter with him?!

    We should be fucking 6-0 up FFS.

    Carrick is a shit stain.

  • sheesh

    Stunning ball by bothroyd. We need to defend a bit better and be more clinical up front. Qpr will keep coming at us so long as we keep giving them hope. We need two more goals.

  • sidney

    The Evans one and the Valencia one should have been buried

    Rooney dithering on the ball is pissing me off as well

  • sidney

    Welbeck you utter tit

    So poor

  • sidney

    What a fucking goal

    Michael Carrick

  • sheesh

    Great goal. Carrick has had another good game.

  • sidney

    From his own half, he ran

  • madredmonkey

    2-0 at last carrick lol.

  • sidney

    That’s leadership

  • Tommy

    Who the fuck is that lookalike they’ve got playing in carrick’s shirt??

  • sidney

    “Warnock for England” from United – haha

  • Tommy

    Bereft of ideas since Rooney went off

  • madredmonkey

    good win , but should have scored more. 19 points out of our last 21 thats good.

  • sidney

    Will take a 2-0 after last season’s horrific away form

    Also, that touch from Giggs at the end… Unreal

  • Ichiro

    How immense is Jones in midfield

  • sidney

    Highlight of the game for me was Ray Wilkins’ comments on Nani’s backheel nutmeg; in typical English fashion he totally ignored the skill and technical ability, and talked about his upper body strength instead

  • han

    sidney said:
    Highlight of the game for me was Ray Wilkins’ comments on Nani’s backheel nutmeg; in typical English fashion he totally ignored the skill and technical ability, and talked about his upper body strength instead

    so the game must have been shite if that was the highlight for you

  • Damian Garside

    Is it all starting to come together? I still think we could be caught very short in midfield if Carrick gets injured. Would that we were going to get at least one truly great CMF playe=r in january, but Fergie is ruling that out unless the player is on his `list’. So how long is this list! Is it likea shopping list ot a laundry list? Is it one that is so long is has to be put into alphabetical order.

    Is it a list of players who we are never going to get/are never going to come to us in a month of Sundays (Modric’s name is probably top of such a list)?

  • sidney

    han said:
    so the game must have been shite if that was the highlight for you

    It was a satisfying win, but not as satisfying as having English stereotypes and cliches reconfirmed

  • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/members/danniitronix/ danniitronix

    Commenter said:
    Is it all starting to come together? I still think we could be caught very short in midfield if Carrick gets injured. Would that we were going to get at least one truly great CMF playe=r in january, but Fergie is ruling that out unless the player is on his `list’. So how long is this list! Is it likea shopping list ot a laundry list? Is it one that is so long is has to be put into alphabetical order.

    Is it a list of players who we are never going to get/are never going to come to us in a month of Sundays (Modric’s name is probably top of such a list)?

    same as, carrick coming into form with an increasingly dominant jones is solid but this is QPR, last time in was Basel, before that Wolves. If Jones and Carrick play week in week out, they will not be able to maintain this form / be injury free.

    fergis must be shitting us as usual, surely he has to purchase some reinforcements no matter how half arsed. maybe even a henril laarson type sticky plaster

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    well the daily mail and various argie types sy we’ve got a deal for some benfica cunt

  • Damian Garside

    City won. Now here’s my thought: if your team is neither United or City (eg Chelski, Arse etc) then you have to come from behind against the two Manchester clubs, one of whom is strating to show that the might be able to rediscover the early season form, injuries permitting (i.e.us) and the other who are (sadly) showing that they (1) are consistent and (2) are powerful at home. Let me suggest: that this is not going to happen and that we what we now have is a straight shoot-out with City for the title.

    It;s possible for City or us to falter big time: but the odds against both of us doing so are huge. That means if it is going to be a contest between us we are going to amass points at the rate or almost the rate we are doing down. As a City blogger pointed out a while ago: our form is Championship form — and their form is a couple of points better.

    So, based on this logic, if the distance between us at the end, is say, less than 6 points (whoever is in front) then either United or City WILL win the league and the one that doesn’t will probably be runner up.

    So if you sneakily put money on Arse or Chelski or (God forbid, King Kenny’s Biverdip) then consider that money lost already.

    Oh, for the record, I picked Arse as league winners in the Rant predictions at the beginning of the season: so sucks to me too.

    Oh, and as for Spurs as potential winners: don’t make me laugh!

  • Damian Garside

    Are the gods of football setting up our return league match with City at the Eithad as the potential championship decider?

    Would be great — but if it were to happen to be the decider it is really going to fuck with all of our nerves.

    And like the best stories — it would be one of revenge: revenge for us for the 6-1 drubbing or revenge for them, for, well, everything…