Poor QPR. As if it wasn't bad enough that the team sitting at the bottom of the table has to play the league's top team, Manchester United, they have to play a Red Devils squad that is on fire at the moment.
Manchester United haven't lost since Dec. 5, and that was in a meaningless Champions League tilt against Cluj (meaningless since United had already qualified for the next round).
Oh, and United haven't lost in the Premier League since Nov. 17 when they suffered a shocking loss to Norwich City. QPR may be at home, but the odds of them even earning a draw in this contest are pretty slim.
Let's take a closer look at Saturday's tilt between two teams on opposite ends of the league table.
When: Saturday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. ET
Where: Loftus Road Stadium, London, England
Watch: FOX Soccer; FOX Soccer 2Go
What They're Saying
Most people will probably be debating how many goals Manchester United will win by rather than whether or not they'll even win. But believe it or not, QPR manager Harry Redknapp actually thinks his squad can get the win.
Crazy, I know. From Simon Rice of The Independent:
With other decent results picked up since taking charge at the west London club, Redknapp is certain QPR will be able to take all three points from Ferguson's side.
"Against Man City who are champions, we get another great point and then another at West Ham, which is a hard place to go," he said.
"So we're just as capable of getting something against Man U as anyone else."
It's hard to believe the team at the bottom of the table could upset the team at the top, but crazier things have happened, I suppose.
QPR Player to Watch: Adel Taarabt
On a team that has scored just 19 goals in Premier League play this season, Adel Taarabt remains the one player who is a true danger to either score or create a chance every time he is on the ball.
With four goals and four assists in league play, Taarabt is QPR's leader in both categories, believe or not. More importantly, he's a creative player who isn't afraid to take chances and has the penchant for the spectacular.
Against a team like Manchester United, it will take a few moments of brilliance if QPR are to even manage a draw. Taarabt, without question, is the player most likely to spearhead any moments of brilliance for QPR.
Manchester United Player to Watch: Robin van Persie
I almost over-thought this one. I almost elected to focus on a defender or perhaps a midfielder. But in the end, who has been more key to United's success this season than Robin van Persie?
He has 23 goals and seven assists in 33 appearances across all competitions for United, including 19 goals in league play. He scores in every feasible manner. He holds play up for the midfield and is nearly as dangerous a creator as he is a finisher. Truly, he was worth every bit United paid to land him.
When United have the ball, your eyes will scan to see where van Persie is on the pitch. It's inevitable. He's the most important player on the Premier League's best team. Obviously, he's the one you'll be watching.
Key Matchup: QPR Defense vs. Manchester United Forwards
We don't know what combination of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck will start up top for the Red Devils yet, but we do know this—it's highly likely they'll account for a few goals in this game.
We know this because United lead the Premier League with 62 goals on the season, and 38 of them have come from those four players (and 37 of them have come from van Persie, Rooney and Hernandez).
Meanwhile, QPR have played better defensively than you might think (their issue is scoring goals), allowing 41 goals in league play. Sure, that leaves them 14th in goals allowed in the league, but QPR have given up just five goals in six league games since January.
Oh, and four of those goals came last weekend against Swansea City. The QPR back four has played well in the past two months. Still, the dangerous forwards of United will be a huge test.
Sorry QPR fans, but I don't think this one will be close. Even with the home supporters cheering them on, QPR are simply outclassed in this one, especially against a United team that is scorching hot coming into this game. The Red Devils win, 3-0.
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