Man United 2-0 QPR: Daily Mirror match report
Published 15:40 08/04/12 By David McDonnell
For some years United have run out at Old Trafford to This Is The One by the Stone Roses.
After yesterday’s masterclass from Paul Scholes, a more fitting tune, particularly on Easter Sunday, would be the Roses’ I Am The Resurrection.
Since Scholes came out of retirement in January, United have not lost any of the Premier League games in which he has played, winning 11 and drawing one.
And while the incompetence of the officials handed United their opening goal, the enduring class of Scholes drove Sir Alex Ferguson’s side on to an eighth straight Premier League win.
United have now taken 34 points from 36 since losing back-to-back matches against Blackburn and Newcastle at the turn of the year, Scholes playing an integral part in their march to a 20th league title.
There were those who questioned the wisdom of bringing out of retirement a 37-year-old who six months earlier admitted his legs had gone.
But Scholes has brought composure to United’s midfield, dictating the tempo of the game against QPR and scoring the second goal with a majestic sweep of his famed right foot.
On this form, England could do with Scholes at Euro 2012 this summer, despite Fergie’s insistence that the veteran midfielder has no intention of returning for his country. Scholes has yet to decide whether he will play on next season but, given the way he has been playing, the offer of a one-year contract extension seems likely.
On a weekend when officials were under greater scrutiny following the injustices suffered by Wigan at Chelsea, Old Trafford witnessed some equally appalling decisions.
Replays showed Ashley Young was clearly offside when Wayne Rooney funnelled a ball through to him inside the QPR penalty area in the 14th minute, but that was only the half of it.
That initial error from referee’s assistant Ceri Richards was compounded by ref Lee Mason’s decision to award a penalty and show QPR skipper Shaun Derry a straight red card for a professional foul. Derry’s hand glanced the body of Young, who needed no further encouragement to go to ground and win a spot-kick that would never have been awarded had Richards correctly flagged for offside.
Rooney stepped up to dispatch the spot-kick for his 29th goal of the season, as QPR continued protesting to Mason.
The irony of Derry’s dismissal was that QPR looked more effective with 10 men. Containment their only hope, QPR’s sole fleeting chance came midway through the first-half when David De Gea was forced to tip over a looping shot from Adel Taarabt that had taken a huge deflection.
Mark Hughes waited for Mason in the tunnel at half-time, but the officials wisely refused to leave the pitch until the QPR boss had gone.
With the visitors tiring, United laid siege to their goal. But they were twice denied by the framework of the goal, sloppy finishing and Paddy Kenny.
The keeper produced a superb save to deny Rafael in the 58th minute, doing enough to block the shot, which cannoned off the bar and away to safety.Two minutes later Kenny thwarted United again, smothering Danny Welbeck’s shot, although the forward failed to make a strong connection with the ball.
United’s pressure eventually told in the 68th minute. Taarabt lost possession outside the area, allowing Rafael to find Scholes, 25 yards out.
When QPR’s defence failed to close him down, Scholes took two strides forward before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Kenny for a third goal since his return.
There was still time for Michael Carrick to hit the frame of the goal with a thunderous long-range strike as damage limitation, in terms of protecting their goal difference, became the priority for QPR as Fergie (left) and United marched on.