“They can only win it now because they know how to deal with the money time,” was what Arsene Wenger tells us ran through his mind as Manchester United entered the final 15 minutes of their game against Blackburn.
Since the creation of the Premier League in 1993, no team in England has cashed in when it comes to ‘money-time’ the way United have. They did it against Blackburn at Ewood Park last Monday evening with two late goals, as Arsene expected they would. As Roberto Mancini must have feared they would.
Much like last season’s title winning campaign, United haven’t always played particularly well but that hasn’t mattered. They know how to win. They always believe they’re going to win. Alex Ferguson instils that belief in all his players and the club’s prolonged success has reinforced this mindset over the last 20 years.
On paper Manchester City are the better team but they don’t have United’s pedigree when it comes to dealing with pressure situations. Arsene Wenger also added that he believes the title race will be over today if his side beat City at the Emirates Stadium and United beat QPR.
Technically he’s wrong but the blow to City’s belief could be so great that he’s proven right.
On Paper It Looks An Easy Win. On the Pitch It Looks Even Easier
Manchester United v QPR
Having helped Manchester United win their first two Premier League titles during his time there as a player, Mark Hughes returns to Old Trafford looking to strike a blow to their current charge. His QPR side need the points more than their hosts today. United have a five point cushion over City at the top of the table, QPR only have goal difference keeping them out of the relegation zone.
QPR come in to this game having beaten Arsenal and Liverpool in their last three games so there’ll be some well grounded confidence that they can get a result. However both of those games were at Loftus Road. Away from home the London side have lost ten league games in total this season. In their last six away Premier League matches they’ve managed to pick up just one point. There’s a reason why they’re a massive 14/1 to win today. Even the draw is deemed highly unlikely at 11/2.
That’s not to say we won’t see a shock but United are on a run of seven-straight league wins. Even if they’re made to labour for the win, it’s difficult not to see them winning today at 1/5.
Wayne Rooney (26) is looking mature and focused. He has scored 21 goals and is yet to pick up a single yellow card in the league this season. It’s little wonder he’s the 5/2 favourite to score first against QPR.
With their confidence peaking this looks a United win all over and if they score early then it could very well turn in to a land-slide. There’s money back on this game if we see five or more goals scored and that’s a very real possibility. It may be money time all round.
Ironically Money Time Isn’t About Having Loads Of Money
Two draws and a defeat in their last four games has taken the legs out from under Manchester City’s title charge. At one point they seemed out of touch but as bums started to squeak, City’s challenge has started to creak.
One big factor in City’s decline has been the fading form of midfield maestro David Silva (26). He has performed magnificently in his first season in the Premier League but the long hard season seems to have taken its toll.
Without the Spaniard on top form City are noticeably less effective going forward. We haven’t been seeing the high scoring wins which were a feature of the first half of City’s season. A case of peaking far too early perhaps?
Arsenal on the other hand have hit form at the right time. Too late to get involved in the title race but right on time to ensure Champions League qualification. Up to last week’s 2-1 loss to QPR, Arsenal had won seven league games on the bounce. At 6/4 to win at home they look a good bet.
Chelsea and Newcastle have pulled uncomfortably close so Arsenal can’t afford to take their foot off the pedal in the remaining seven games of the season.
Both sides will be going for the win and though picking a winner is tricky, what we should at least see is plenty of attacking play and goal-mouth action.
The same special applies to this game and if we see five or more goals in this game, few will be surprised.