QPR 0-2 Manchester United: Five things we learned

by Sam Peoples

A very convincing victory. The game against bottom of the table QPR should have been tough. Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have all dropped points at Loftus Road this season, but not Manchester United.

We cruised to a 2-0 victory that puts us 15 points clear at the top of the table. 15 points – that is incredible. We were never stretched by QPR and didn’t even need to get out of second gear to seal the victory today.

Everybody played well and it was a very smooth performance that showed exactly why we have earned our position atop the Premier League table. QPR hardly ever threatened the goal and when they did, De Gea was there ready to swat it away with consummate ease.

The win makes us undefeated in 17 games since a loss against Norwich at Carrow Road and our form is unstoppable. The league is ours to lose now given the situation we have worked ourselves into but we all know that having a convincing lead in the run-in does not guarantee titles. Points will be dropped by everyone but United just have to make sure they stay focused and do not get complacent.

Bring on Real Madrid.

Take a bow, Rafael. I don’t think there is any question as to who is currently the best right-back in the Premier League. Today, Rafael provided a complete master class on what a modern day full-back performance should look like.

Fantastic positional awareness, well timed tackling, goal line clearances, beautiful passes all topped off with a stunning 25 yard strike that could potentially be goal of the season – what more could you want?

Rafael has deservedly been named man-of-the-match in his last two appearances in the Premier League and he is quickly establishing himself as a leading candidate for the Premier League’s Young Player of the Year Award.

The 22-year-old has really come of age this year and it seems the longer the season goes on, the better he gets. I love the guy.

Robin van Persie injury. The four words Manchester United fans hoped they wouldn’t hear all season. Struggling with a hip injury after clashing with the cameraman, van Persie was replaced by Welbeck before half time – but it looks merely precautionary.

Despite the fact that van Persie was clearly struggling, he still managed to jog off the pitch instead of walking which is only a good sign. Also, the fact that he took his place on the bench rather than instantly making his way down the tunnel makes it seem likely that the substitution was precautionary.

Ferguson confirmed that it was an impact injury sustained in a collision with a cameraman and that it will be assessed in the morning. With Real Madrid only round the corner, having Van Persie carry on would have been far too risky.

A much improved Nani. Plenty of Manchester United fans feel that Nani is going to be on his way out of Old Trafford this summer after once again failing to bring consistency to the table, causing huge frustration among fans.

However, since his full return from injury, Nani has been superb. He followed on from his man-of-the-match performance against Reading, where he scored a goal and assisted the second, with another assist today as part of a very rounded 90 minutes.

His decision making, usually one of the more frustrating aspects of his game, has been spot on. His reverse pass to Giggs today for the Welshman’s goal was great for two reasons. Firstly, it was a very clever ball to play and ultimately the right decision. Secondly, and more importantly, it isn’t something we’re used to seeing Nani do.

Time and time again in games gone by, Nani has elected to shoot before thinking about what is going on around him. In the past two games, he has done the polar opposite – keeping his head up and looking for options.

Nani is a game winner and a talented one at that. He showed in Euro 2012 what he can do on the biggest stage and with Ferguson publicly backing Nani, I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned out to be one of our most important players in the run-in this season.

Hard to believe it’s not Scholes, it’s Carrick you know. The away fans were fantastic again today as per usual and hearing the Carrick chant going for a solid ten minutes was fantastic. It isn’t a new chant but it never really caught on – not anymore. Carrick has earned his richly deserved plaudits from the media and now he has got it from the fans.

 

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