Manchester United face a side embroiled in crisis as they strive to rebound from last weekend’s shock defeat to Norwich. That loss saw United replaced at the top of the Premier League by Manchester City, but with their rivals facing a potentially tricky fixture against Chelsea on Sunday, Sir Alex Ferguson will be loathed to see his side fail to make hay against Queens Park Rangers.
After mounting speculation, QPR finally decided to dispense with the services of manager Mark Hughes on Friday, leaving assistant coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki to take the helm at short notice for a daunting trip to Old Trafford.
Former Manchester United boss Hughes had led the west Londoners to a dismal start to the season with the club still yet to win after 12 games and recording just four points. The odds don’t look good for a recovery to begin on Saturday, but QPR will be meeting a United side who have suffered two-straight defeats.
The 1-0 defeat to Norwich was followed up with a loss by the same score line at Galatasaray on Tuesday, although it was a much-changed United side that took the field in Turkey.
The likes of Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdiand look sure to be back in the lineup against QPR, while Wayne Rooney is expected to recover from a bout of tonsillitis. Chris Smalling should also return following a back injury, although Jonny Evans could face a late fitness test.
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QPR’s former Manchester United midfielder Ji-Sung Park will also have to come through a late examination if he is to face his former teammates for the first time. Fabio, on loan from Old Trafford, is ineligible to play against his employers.
Also missing for QPR will be strikers Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson, but Stephane Mbia is available after suspension.
Manchester United (probable)
G: De Gea
D: Rafael, Ferdinand, Smalling, Evra
M: Carrick, Scholes
Valencia, Rooney, Young
F: Van Persie
Queens Park Rangers (Probable)
D: Onuoha, Ferdinand, Mbia. Traore
M: Granero, Diakite, Faurlin, Taarabt
Prediction: Only Southampton have conceded more goals in the Premier League this season than QPR and it is hard not to envisage the likes of Rooney, Van Persie and Antonio Valencia not exploiting that weakness at Old Trafford.
Missing Johnson and Zamora, QPR also lack firepower at the other end of the field and United should secure a comfortable victory.
Manchester United 3-0 Queens Park Rangers
Where to watch: The Premier League match kicks-off at 10 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel, with a delayed online stream available later in the day via Fox Soccer 2Go.