Manchester United suffered their first defeat of the 2012 Champions League campaign as they went down to a fighting Galatasaray side, although the Red Devils were without most of their first-team starters.
United had already qualified as winner for the group stage and it was perhaps interesting to see the slightly inexperienced lot getting some much-needed playing time.
Moving on to the Premier League now, the Red Devils will host the faltering QPR this weekend, a team that it’s worst-ever start to a top-division season under former Manchester United player Mark Hughes.
Hence, what follows is a prediction of how United could line-up for the game on Saturday.
According to the PhysioRoom.com, David De Gea is expected to make his return to the starting eleven this weekend. Although, Andres Lindegaard hasn’t disappointed with his displays lately, it is overwhelmingly likely that Alex Ferguson will prefer the Spaniard against the Rangers.
Rafael is a shoo-in for the right-back role, although one could see Chris Smalling being deployed in that role instead if Fergie wants to give some much-deserved rest to the Brazilian and if Jonny Evans is fit enough to start.
Thus, coming on to the centre-back role, Rio Ferdinand will start, considering the ageing Englishman was rested against Galatasaray and he will be paired alongside either of Evans or Smalling, depending upon the aforementioned case.
Patrice Evra will take up the left-back role as the France international too was rested for the midweek Champions League clash, whereas his counterpart Alexander Buttner, lasted the entire ninety minutes against United’s Turkish opponents.
Starters: De Gea, Rafael/Smalling, Ferdiand, Evans/Smalling, Evra
Luis Nani and Shinji Kagawa are unavailable for the clash and Darren Fletcher too won’t be seeing any playing time.
Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are expected to take up the flanks as United are likely to go with their traditional 4-4-2 formation and I personally expect Tom Cleverley to partner Michael Carrick in the centre of the park.
The two have played exceptionally well together with Carrick sitting just in front of the defensive line, forming the hub of team’s play and Cleverley being the relatively more attacking outlet of the two, helping out the strikers with his magical plays and also tracking back and winning balls from the opposition.
Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes will feature from the bench, but there is a safe chance of Anderson replacing Carrick in the midfield, although Ferguson could be reluctant to do so.
Starters: Valencia, Cleverely, Carrick/Anderson, Young
Javier Hernandez started United’s last two games and was horrendous in both the ties, whereas Danny Welbeck played during the midweek and was a wasteful persona on the pitch.
Robin van Persie is thus likely to spearhead the team’s attack and having recovered from his illness, Wayne Rooney will probably play as the second striker.
The duo form one of the most daunting attacking partnerships in world football and it will be interesting to see how the porous defence of QPR deal with the in-form strikers.
Starters: van Persie, Rooney