A controversial penalty and red-card double-act paved the way for United opening up an eight point gap over second-placed Manchester City, with a 2-0 win over visiting QPR. In truth, the sending-off detracted from United's otherwise dominant performance. Sir Alex made only two changes from the side that started against the win over Blackburn, with Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck coming in place of Phil Jones and Javier Hernández.
The opening minutes of the game seemed like a training session in possession football, with United at point commanding almost 92% of the ball. For all this dominance however, there were very few clear-cut chances from open play. Rooney came the closest with two free-kicks early on, and it was fitting that the opening goal came from Rooney with another dead-ball situation, albeit under very controversial circumstances. QPR captain Shaun Derry was adjudged to have fouled Ashley Young in the box, and being the last man, was duly shown the red card. There were two points of contention here; the first being that Young was clearly in an offside position when the ball was played through to him, and the second being that he seemed to tumble under very minimal contact. In any case, Rooney was on hand to smash him the penalty, to take his tally to 29 for the season.
An already uphill task for QPR became a seemingly impossible one. The visitors played with pretty much everyone behind the ball to start with, so with a man down, the options for the out-ball were significantly reduced. Nevertheless, both David de Gea and Jonny Evans were required on separate occasions to prevent QPR from finding an unlikely equaliser.
The second half carried on in very similar vein, although there was growing tension and frustration from both the manager and the Old Trafford crowd as the team were unable to find a decisive second goal. Paul Scholes found Rafael on a forward burst into the box, but the right-back was unlucky to see his effort deflect off QPR keeper Paddy Kenny's knee and rebound off the bar. Eventually, Scholes took matters into his own hands, picking up the ball from 20 yards out after a corner, and in usual majestic style, buried his effort into the bottom corner.
With 22 minutes remaining, and the win seemingly secured, United had the opportunity to further their goal difference advantage over City, and came closest to doing so through Carrick's bullet drive from 30 yards, with the bar the only thing denying the England midfielder from grabbing his second goal against QPR this season. At the end however, the win was the most important thing, and following Arsenal's 1-0 victory over City later the same day, a 20th title has edged ever closer. The next big test will come against Wigan, who United play at the DW Stadium on later this evening.
Best Moment: Scholes's goal
Worst Moment: Seeing Young basically dive for the penalty
Man of the Match: Paul Scholes
Manchester United 2-0 Queens Park RangersRooney 15'Scholes 68'
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