That United’s two goals came from two second half substitutes says much about our their performance overall and particularly about the 3-5-2 formation that Van Gaal continues to put his faith in: here, his side only really looked capable of winning this game when it was abandoned. Although the Reds were scarcely at their best for the ninety minutes, the introduction of Fellaini and Wilson led to a far more convincing attacking approach after half-time and ultimately United became only the third side this season to leave Loftus Road with three points.
Although wehad the majority of first half possession and Falcao forced an early save out of Green, the best chances in the early stages fell to QPR. A foul throw from Valencia led to the ball falling to Vargas from the re-take, who looped his shot onto the roof of the net. Soon after, De Gea was forced to save from Zamora after a mistake from Evans had allowed Zamora a shot on goal and was called into action twice to deny Austin, the first a routine save from a volley, the second a superb effort after the QPR forward had attempted a dipping shot from twenty yards.
By then, United had been denied a penalty when Barton blatantly blocked Rooney’s run in the box, but there was a disjointedness about United’s attacking play, a sense that too many players were playing in unfamiliar positions: alongside the much-criticised three at the back, Di Maria once again struggled to make an impact in a forward role and the bizarre sight of Phil Jones coming up to take corners seemed to emphasise the square-peg-in-round-hole nature of United’s approach.
United brought Fellaini on for Mata at half-time and, though QPR threatened from a couple of set-pieces, the Reds began to look more balanced and Falcao almost converted the first of several second half chances, only for his header to be palmed aside by Green, who became much the busier keeper in the second half. Soon after the Reds went four at the back, Wilson coming on for Evans to allow Di Maria to return to a more familiar midfield position and moments later United took the lead, a Valencia cut-back find Fellaini in the box; he Belgian to hit it with power into the roof of the net.
Despite the productive changes, the performance still remained ragged in many areas. A mix-up between Rojo and Carrick left QPR with three on two and a better team would surely have exploited the situation. Instead the attack fizzled out and soon after it was United who were guilty of squandering an opportunity when an excellent ball from Blind found Wilson and Falcao narrowly failed to put away the young forward’s cross. Minutes later the Colombian just failed to get his head to Wilson’s cross.
Although QPR threw players forward as the game approached its close, their attacks lacked invention and Falcao once again failed to connect after a beautifully timed ball forward from Di Maria was cleared by Green as he bore down on it. Instead it was left to the impressive Wilson to round things off as his first shot rebounded back to him and he finished calmly. It secured a useful three points that thankfully put to an end that worrying run of three games without a Premiership win, the performance overall still left much room for improvement.