QPR vs Manchester United - key battles

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Queens Park Rangers host Manchester United on Saturday in what will be a crucial Premier League clash for both sides.

The hosts have slipped into the bottom three while United are looking to bounce back from their 1-0 home defeat to Southampton.

United won 4-0 in the corresponding fixture at Old Trafford back in September courtesy of goals from Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata.

QPR have never beaten United in the Premier League era and have lost 11 of their 13 meetings with the Red Devils. 

Here's a look at some of the key battles ahead of the weekend's game...

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Charlie Austin v Phil Jones

Charlie Austin is the highest scoring English striker in the Premier League. He has 13 league goals so far and is one Manchester United's leaky defence need to keep an eye on. 

It will likely be Phil Jones' job to keep tabs on the 25-year-old. United are second in the "errors leading to shots list" and, with that being the case, they must be extra wary of giving the ball to Austin. He has averaged roughly a goal every six shots. 

Whether he can continue his form will be the difference in QPR staying up or going down. Unless new signing Mauro Zarate can get on a scoring run. 

Leroy Fer v Daley Blind

Leroy Fer has gradually improved as the season has gone on for QPR. He has featured in every game for the Rs since his first goal in November and is now a key player in Harry Redknapp's side.

Fer will either play on the left hand side or in the number 10 role behind the striker. All will depend on whether Redknapp decides to play Bobby Zamora or not. Fer will be key in driving Rangers forward with his direct approach. 

It is therefore important for Daley Blind to cut out any pass that is aimed for Austin from Fer, often his main source. Blind, 24, has just returned from a knee ligament injury and was probably United's best player against Southampton. 

Defensively he reads the game very well and his range of passing and delivery was the only creative spark United seemed to have on Sunday. 

This could be a decisive battle in the middle of the park at Loftus Road. 

Mauricio Isla v Angel di Maria

Angel di Maria returned from injury and scored in United's 2-0 FA Cup win at Yeovil. He then had a frustrating game against Southampton. 

Di Maria will be relishing the chance to get back to his best after his lengthy lay off. Having been out for a month, he returned against Aston Villa but then got injured again on Christmas Eve. He's finally back and is looking to get 90 minutes under his belt. 

He comes up against Mauricio Isla who has fared reasonably well, but not exactly set the world alight at QPR. 

Bar Wayne Rooney, these two are probably the most energetic and hardest working players on the pitch. It will be an interesting battle but you do fear for the Chilean international who will meet a Di Maria with some pent up frustration. 

Harry Redknapp v Louis Van Gaal

Two of the oldest managers in the Premier League at ages 67 and 63 respectively. Redknapp is rumoured to be fighting for his job while Van Gaal is slowly reviving United. 

Both managers have tinkered with their formations this season. They have both given 3-5-2 a go but it seems to have fared slightly better for Van Gaal than for Redknapp who is likely to play a 4-5-1 in an attempt to stop United. 

Van Gaal willl look at QPR's defence as one he can get at. They've conceded 37 goals, and that's the worst record in the league. 

A lot has been said of United's defence but they have the fourth best record in the league, conceding 21 - only one more than Manchester City.

Nevertheless, Redknapp will also see that as an area where he can exploit United. 

Shaun Wright Phillips v Anderson 

Remember these two? Well miraculously they are still both at their respective clubs. Wright-Phillips hasn't appeared at all for Rangers this season while Anderson has only featured once in the league.

The only battle these two will be having is to see who can get out of their club the fastest.

QPR and United are looking to offload the players but are struggling to find someone willing to take them.

The likelihood is neither will even be at Loftus Road but i just wanted to remind you they still exist and to take a moment to reflect on their respective falls from grace.

Anderson, a former winner of Brazil's golden boy, showed glimpses of promise, particularly in the Champions League semi final match against Arsenal in 2009, never fulfilled his potential.

Wright-Phillips has a Premier League winners medal and two FA Cup medals which he won with Chelsea, a club who signed him for £21m.

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Shaun Wright-Phillips
Premier League
Phil Jones
Charlie Austin
Manchester United
Harry Redknapp
Queens Park Rangers
Louis van Gaal

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