Manchester United: Picking a United Starting XI to Beat Queens Park Rangers
In the short term, Sir Alex Ferguson's men will be looking to put behind them the disappointment that they suffered last week in their shock 1-0 loss to Norwich City.
They will be looking to establish their midfield once more and prove to the league—and themselves—that they are a force to be reckoned with this year.
But in the long term, the Red Devils need the three points to stay in touch with current league leaders Manchester City, who took over last week at the top of the table by a point over United.
Their crosstown rivals face an incredibly difficult away trip to Stamford Bridge this week and depending on results, United could find themselves back on top of the table by the end of this week—providing that they win this weekend.
How will the Red Devils line up this week to take on Mark Hughes' men? Read on to find a possible starting side that Sir Alex Ferguson could use this week.
Given his relatively strong performance against Galatasaray, I'm inclined to go with Anders Lindegaard here to keep the starting spot over David de Gea.
The Spanish international could use with some rest given the tough months ahead, and considering that the Red Devils will play West Ham just three days after this match, I think Ferguson might opt for the Danish international here instead.
Lindegaard has proven himself to be a consistent backup to De Gea this year and a more than capable replacement for the Spaniard.
He'll continue that with another strong week here, if given the chance.
It's important here to keep in mind the side that Ferguson played against Galatasaray during the week and the team that he will want to play against West Ham in the near future will no doubt impact the side United play this week against QPR.
Patrice Evra was rested for Alexander Buttner in the Champions League; expect the French international to resume his starting duties here.
I'd also expect to see Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans back into the starting side here, with captain Nemanja Vidic still out indefinitely for United.
The instinctive reaction also is to punch in Rafael da Silva at right-back given his strong performances there all season, but I think it could be worth thinking twice about that one—particularly given the minutes that the Brazilian international has already chalked up this year.
Rafael has missed just one Premier League and one Champions League match all season and, having already played 90 minutes during the week, could be a possible omission from Ferguson here, who will have one eye on next weekend.
Should that be the case, Phil Jones would be the next obvious inclusion, but given his 90-minute effort during the week as well, Antonio Valencia could be the man that finds himself at right-back here having already featured there this season.
One of the more talented right-wingers in the Premier League, Valencia has shown he can excel at right-back and is a more-than-capable replacement for Rafael should Ferguson opt to leave him out of the starting team here.
MIchael Carrick played central defender against Galatasaray during the week and, whilst he has been combining well with Tom Cleverley in midfield this season, could well be an exclusion from Manchester United's team this weekend.
With the England international needing a rest and needed against West Ham, I think Paul Scholes will start ahead of Carrick here, with the Ginger Wizard proving against Norwich that he can still impact a game like few other Red Devils players.
I'd have Scholes with the youngster Cleverley in the middle for United, who will want to show that they are still strong in the middle of the pitch.
With Valencia back at right-back and with Anderson playing midweek, the obvious inclusions on the wings for United are Nani and Ashley Young, with the Portuguese international, Nani, playing on the right-hand side where Valencia would normally be.
He was rested during the week and will be fresh for this one, as will Young, who only played the last 25 minutes or so against Galatasaray.
Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez have both received significant playing time over the past two matches for United, and given that the Red Devils' need the three points here, Ferguson will likely use both of his big guns this weekend.
Robin van Persie was rested against Galatasaray, as was Wayne Rooney, and the star duo will look to dominant a Rangers side here that sits dead last in the EPL.
Shinji Kagawa is still out for United this week and will be until Christmas, so the Rooney-RVP combination looks set to flourish for several more weeks to come. The pair have been strong in attack—as expected—and are developing a good understanding together in the process.
Sir Alex Ferguson rarely loses three matches in a row, and whilst United should win this comfortably without their star players, he won't want to take any chances.
Expect both big guns to play and lead the Red Devils this week.
Possible Starting XI
You can see on the right there how my starting lineup looks for this week, with some notable inclusions and exclusions there for the Red Devils.
It's important to remember that United will play again in the Premier League in three days' time in a much-harder away match than this will probably be, which will no doubt influence the starting lineup that they will play against QPR this week.
They won't want to leave too many players out given the need to rebound from the Norwich loss and the fact they could possibly go top of the table but, at the same time, won't want to throw away their chance at victory next week by going too hard this week.
Agree? Disgaree? How should United line up against QPR this week?
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