After dropping points last week away to Norwich City, United welcome QPR to Old Trafford where we hope 3 points will be secured whilst bolstering our goal difference. With City beating Aston Villa 5-0 we need to get back on track very quickly with, preferably, a lot of goals and a clean sheet.
Ahead of the game I spoke to Chris Etchingham, one of the head writers for TattooedFootball.com, about the game, Sparky and Joey Barton.
Thanks to Chris for his time. You can follow him on Twitter here
What are your thoughts on your start to the season? A few QPR fans i’ve spoken to thought you’d steer clear of a relegation fights this season and push on up the table.
The start to the season has been dreadful to say the least. Results towards the end of last season, especially at home, had me hoping that we’d be doing better this time around. I appreciate that with so many new players it takes time for them all to bed in and gel. We’re not desperately adrift as yet and there is still time for us to pull ourselves out of this mess.
Do you think Mark Hughes has been unfairly criticised when a lot of your problems seem to be down to the players. Some of the individual displays hav been, to be fair, woeful.
I think Hughes has to shoulder a lot of the blame, this is now his squad and his bunch of players, if they make mistakes then he was the one who bought them. The transfer policy seems to be completely scattergun, with no thinking about what specifically needed strengthening where. There was no need to buy Green and Cesar for example. There seems to be no settled starting eleven, pre match preparation and the players seem to be losing faith in Hughes too, Esteban Granero tweeted earlier on this week “even your excuses have excuses”.
What do you make of the new signings so far?
There has obviously been a lot made of both the quality and quantity of the signings and I think that to be fair to Hughes he has made some astute purchases. There is a myth about them all being old aged journeymen. Both M’bia and Hoillett were looked at by other clubs and Granero is a fantastic player and I think he and Adel Taraabt could be the key this season to staying up and of those M’bia is the eldest at 26. Of the older players, I think Ryan Nelson is maybe the one who has had the most positive impact
In hindsight do you think signing so many players in a short space of time destabalised the team somewhat?
I think it has destabalised the team, the problem being that five players were signed from mid August onwards meaning that there was no time in which to gel with their team mates before the start of the season. Including loans, there were also 18 players leaving the club this summer and for that vast turn around of staff, maybe incoming players should have been brought in earlier. Of the players leaving too I would have retained Akos Buzsacky and DJ Campbell. Buzsacky gave some much needed creativity in midfield and Campbell is a boyhood QPR fan and cares for the shirt he wears
Do you think the writing is already on the wall for Hughes? If so, who would you like to replace him?
I think the end is inevitable for Hughes. Fans are turning on him, he apparently is losing the dressing room and it just seems to be getting worse, you cant see him turning it around any time soon. It has that manager at the end of his tenure feel about it. As for replacements, I would really like to see an up and coming manager come and have a go, someone young, energetic and hungry. Karl Robinson, Eddie Howe, or if we’re ambitious enough, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Definitely not Harry
Regardless of his other issues, do you think that the team is actually missing Joey Barton’s drive and determination?
I don’t think Joey Barton would have made any difference. Look at the final game of last season at City. The team needed points to stay in the league and at that point in the match had the game under control and he loses his head completely and gets sent off. This is while he is captain too. What the club needs is controlled aggression, not a loose cannon who as captain should be setting an example
Onto the game. Who do you think will win and what will the score be?
I think its an obvious United victory and I dread to think what the score will be.
Whats your favurite memory of this fixture?
It has to be New Years Day 1992 when Dennis Bailey scored a hat trick when we won 4-1, at Old Trafford too! Up until about the last five minutes I honetstly thought United would come back and sneak it. I think my most overriding memory of the fixture is March 1996 at Loftus Road. QPR were 1-0 up well into injury time when Eric Cantona bagged an equaliser. We went down that season and for me that was the moment when I realised that it would happen
Where will you cause United the most problems?
I think that we will cause you the most problems in midfield. The only way I can see QPR winning is if United somehow don’t turn up in midfield and Granero and Taraabt are able to dictate
Where will United cause you the most problems?
I think you will cause us the most problems up front. We can be quite error prone in defence and I think Van Persie is more than capable of capitalising on any error made by any defender in the world, let alone one of ours
Where do you think you will finish at the end of the season?
I think we will finish just above the relegation zone. A new manager will come in, hopefully before the transfer window, clear out the dross and give the remaining players a shot in the arm
Where will United finish at the end of the season?
Champions, I always think you’ll finish champions! You lost out to City on goal difference last year, this year I don’t think Fergie will allow that to happen again. Plus you have Van Persie too