Football

Manchester United predicted line-up v QPR

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Last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to Southampton means it’s now essential Manchester United secure all three points from Saturday’s Premier League clash against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

The Red Devils are looking for their first league win of 2015 - having gone three Premier League fixtures without securing maximum points.

Defeat against struggling QPR could mean that, for the first time since he arrived at Old Trafford last summer, Louis van Gaal will find himself under pressure from the club’s supporters.

Formation change

Many fans are already fed up with the Dutch coach’s stubbornness to stray from his favoured 5-3-2 formation, which simply isn’t working - as was evident against the Saints last Sunday.

But this could be the match that sees Manchester United switch back to a more traditional back-four, comprised of Antonio Valencia (or potentially Rafael, if he recovers from a knock), Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw.

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Carrick or Blind?

Van Gaal then has a big call to make in midfield: does he stick with Michael Carrick in the holding role, or does he select Daley Blind?

Blind has only just returned from injury, but will be a useful option off the bench if required.

Fellani in; Herrera out

Just ahead of Carrick, Van Gaal is likely to select a midfield two of Angel di Maria and Marouane Fellaini, who could play at the expense of Ander Herrera.

Di Maria was deployed in an unfamiliar second-striker role against Southampton and performed poorly. Van Gaal will subsequently play him in a deeper role, in the hope the Argentina superstar can instigate attacks central midfield, this weekend.

Mata

Ahead of them - in the number ten role - Juan Mata is likely to get the nod. The Spaniard missed three gilt-edged chances against Southampton, but dropping him on the basis of that would be rather harsh. The former Chelsea star makes things happen when he’s on the pitch.

Radamel Falcao to start

And Mata will be assigned the task of providing service for captain Wayne Rooney and… Radamel Falcao, who Van Gaal says must prove himself in order to secure a permanent contract at Old Trafford.

With Robin van Persie injured, the Colombian striker must take his opportunity to shine with both hands after being left out of United’s 18-man squad last weekend.

Manchester United: Predicted XI v QPR

De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Shaw; Carrick, Di Maria, Fellaini; Mata; Rooney, Falcao

Score prediction

QPR 1-1 Manchester United

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Robin Van Persie
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal
Queens Park Rangers

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