Manchester United will face Queens Park Rangers at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Saturday afternoon in what will be their second pre-season match of the summer. United beat Derby County 2-1 on Sunday at Pride Park with Tahith Chong opening the scoring, Facundo Pellistri doubling United’s lead and Colin Karim-Richards scoring a consolation goal. United looked good on the pitch and some of the players looked to be getting ready for the new season, whether it would be at United, loaned out or even sold this summer. Pellistri and Chong looked good, as did Jesse Lingard when he came on in the second half.
This is the second of five pre-season matches this summer, with two yet to be played at Old Trafford; Brentford (28 July) and Everton (7 August) with a trip to Preston North End in between (31 July). United are still missing 10 first team players; David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani, with nine of them eventually joining up with the squad, and Rashford yet to know if he will be having surgery – keeping him out until at least October, plus Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo who are representing the Ivory Coast in the Olympics in Tokyo.
How United have faired against Queens Park Rangers.
United and QPR have met a total of 53 times competitively in the history of both clubs. United have won 34 times, drawing 13 times and losing just six times. The last loss against QPR was on the 1 January 1992 with the away side winning 4-1 with Brian McClair scoring United’s only goal of the match. Since then, a total of 17 matches have been played between the two clubs with United winning 14 times, with two runs of seven victories in a row, drawing three times. The last match between the two clubs was played on the 17 January 2015 and was a 2-0 victory for United with Marouane Fellaini and James Wilson scoring the goals.
There are no current QPR players who have played for United but there has been a few players with a United connection play for the London club. The two latest first team players to have left United for QPR were Ji-Sung Park, who left in the summer of 2012 and Rio Ferdinand, who left the club in the summer of 2014. Sean Goss, a player from United’s academy signed for QPR in the summer of 2016 and Will Keane was loaned to the club during part of the 2013/14 season. Fabio da Silva (2012/13), Federico Macheda (2012/13), Tom Heaton (2009/10) and Kieran Lee (2007/08) were also loaned to QPR. Paul Parker signed from QPR in 1991.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Queens Park Rangers in their pre-season friendly at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Saturday afternoon…
Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton played well against Derby County last weekend, producing a few good saved to deny the home side from scoring, keeping a clean sheet in his appearance with Lee Grant conceding a goal in the second half. Heaton was loaned from United to QPR in the 2009/10 season so he has some history the club. It would seem that Heaton came to United to fight for the number one shirt this season with David De Gea and Dean Henderson doing the same, so this will bring out the best of all three players. Heaton is a decent goalkeeper and proved himself at Burnley, especially against United. This should be a good match for him and one that he should perform in once again, putting his name into the ring to start against Leeds in three weeks time.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Teden Mengi, Alex Telles
United’s defence is still inexperienced, at least in the centre of defence with experienced players in the fullback positions. Aaron Wan-Bissaka should start on the right, maybe playing 60 minutes in this match to help get him up to speed for the new season. Alex Telles should also start, playing on the left, also featuring for 60 minutes in this match as he could be the left-back that starts the season, depending on Luke Shaw’s fitness and injuries sustained whilst playing for England. In the centre of defence, Axel Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi should start once again, as they did against Derby, playing for 60 minutes, maybe more this time around. United have few defensive players in the pre-season squad so both Di’Shon Bernard and Will Fish could replace them.
Midfield: James Garner, Nemanja Matic
James Garner started against Derby, playing 45 minutes with Nemanja Matic also playing 45 minutes in the second half. Both should play together in this match as I feel Garner could learn from playing alongside Matic at this stage of pre-season. Garner partnered Dylan Levitt against Derby, with both players replaced at the break, so giving both Garner and Matic 60 minutes would be good for their eventual fitness levels. Of course, Scott McTominay cold be involved in this match, but with him being back in training since the start of the week, he may not be able to get more than 30 minutes or so, which would work out well in this match. Levitt, Andreas Pereira and even Ethan Galbraith could be involved at some stage too.
Attacking Midfield: Facundo Pellistri, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Elanga
With all the first choice senior players in this positions not involved at this time, it will most likely be a youthful attacking line once again. Facundo Pellistri deserves to start against QPR after his performance against Derby last week, scoring the second goal for United in the second half. He has some skills and will do well playing more minutes this week, even if he is being loaned out in the not too distant future. Jesse Lingard should play in the central position in the three behind the striker with Anthony Elanga playing on the left. Solskjaer will have Daniel James, Hannibal Mejbri, Tahith Chong and Shola Shoretire to bring on too, which could mean that 45 or 60 minutes could be in the bag for those who start in these positions against QPR.
Forwards: Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood starts against Derby last week and played well, despite not scoring or assisting a goal. He will be seeking to get going against QPR and cold perhaps score his first goal of the pre-season campaign. He’s the only experienced striker in the squad at this time so will have to do until the likes of Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are back in action. Anthony Elanga could also feature in this position, which would be good to see. It means that even if he starts, United have the luxury of changing the system of play to get the upper hand over the Championship team. Greenwood mainly plays on the right-wing, but he is a striker in his natural position and will learn more this season, playing alongside Cavani.
Substitutes: Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop; Brandon Williams, Will Fish, Di’Shon Bernard; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Danel James, Dylan Levitt, Scott McTominay, Hannibal Mejbri, Ethan Galbraith; Tahith Chong, Shola Shoretire, Joe Hugill
Solskjaer could have up to 15 players on the bench against QPR, which could shorten the minutes some players are on the pitch for. Some may not get the chance to feature in this match, which would be a shame. I would like to see Hannibal Mejbri get more minutes on the pitch, as he came on in the last 11 minutes against Derby, replacing Joe Hugill. The likes of Lee Grant and Nathan Bishop could also feature at some stage, with Heaton likely starting. In defence, Brandon Williams, Will Fish and Di’Shon Bernard could feature with Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Daniel James, Dylan Levitt, Scott McTominay, Hannibal and Ethan Galbraith also available. In attack, Tahith Chong, Shola Shoretire and Hugill will also be expecting to feature.
Written by John Walker