Sunday 14th September sees newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers travelling north to take on the long-suffering Manchester United.
After their recent clash with Sunderland, QPR should, in theory, have a difficult game ahead of them as a newly-promoted team. Manchester United’s performance so far however is causing punters to think twice about who to push for the upcoming match.
Despite declarations of a “new era”, Louis van Gaal has yet to deliver his promises to restore Manchester United to their former glory. Their first games this season should have presented the boys with ample opportunities to gain points, as they were pitched against last season’s 12th place Swansea City and 14th place Sunderland. However, an embarrassing 2-1 loss followed by a 1-1 draw did not do anything for Manchester United’s confidence.
A further blow to the Red Devils was their tragic pairing with MK Dons during the Capital One Cup, in which they lost to the 10thplace League One team. For the first time since 1995, Manchester United have entered the second round, and now their only chance of a trophy this season lies in the Premier League or the FA Cup.
It was a case of swallowing pride for a visibly agitated van Gaal after the match, who said: “It’s very difficult when you start as manager in the Premier League with a home match loss and after that a draw and then lose a cup match.
“But you have to do that, you have to do that, because I am here to build a new team, and a new team is not built in one month.”
Rome was not built in a day, and it seems Manchester United can’t recover in a month either. By comparison, the much-maligned David Moyes actually fared well as manager during last season’s Capital One Cup, but all hope is not lost for the Red Devils. On the morning of the Capital One Cup match, the £59.7 million signing of Real Madrid’s Ángel di María was announced, which van Gaal hopes will changes the fates for the team.
The signing fee has been the topic of hot debate since it was announced, but van Gaal remains confident in his decision. “Ángel is a world-class midfielder but most importantly he is a team player. He is a tremendously fast and incisive left-footed player who puts fear into the most accomplished defence. He is an excellent addition to the team.”
Will one player be enough to save Manchester United however? In a team that’s shown a clear lack of depth and is in desperate need of defenders, it could be a risky move for van Gaal. Meanwhile, QPR have had a huge team overhaul this season, getting rid of nine players. They also have another trick up their sleeve – the free transfer of Rio Ferdinand from Manchester United.
Ferdinand may have to question where his loyalties lie as he takes on his former team mates, but if Manchester United cannot defeat a bottom-of-the-league team this September, it looks to be a very bleak future for the team indeed.