A goal in each half from Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick was enough for the Red Devil’s to see off Neil Warnock’s side who drop to 15th and sit just three points above the drop zone. The opening goal came after only 52 second with Rooney turning Antonio Valencia’s before Carrick wrapped the game up 10 minutes into the second half to move above City at the top. A month and a half prior United were lagging seven points behind their noisy neighbours following their derby day thrashing and looked all but out of the title race. But a run of six wins and a draw from the subsequent seven games has seen Sir Alex Ferguson’s side move a point clear at the summit ahead of the blues game with Arsenal. QPR, on the other hand, lost for the second time in a row and stretched their winless run to four games and now lie perilously close to the bottom three. Having beaten Chelsea at Loftus Road earlier this season the R’s faithful will have been hoping for another scalp but their hopes were dashed inside the first minute after Rooney gave United an early advantage.
Two goals against Wolves last week saw the England striker rediscover his scoring touch and a barren run of form and his hunger to score goals was satisfied after just 52 seconds getting on the end of Valencia’s whipped cross to head in his 12th goal of the season. The visitors were well on top during the first half as they went in search of a second goal that would kill the game with Radek Cerny producing a number of impressive saves whilst Daniel Gabbidon and Alejandro Faurlin had to clear efforts off the line. The woodwork also took a rattling with Phil Jones and Johnny Evans both hitting the upright as the hosts crumpled under a sea of United pressure as they continued to search for the deciding goal. The latter will have been kicking himself after heading the ball against the post when it looked easier to score before Danny Wellbeck went close with an effort.
Warnock’s side managed to hold on until 10 minutes after the break with Carrick striding forward from midfield before beating Cerny to score his first top-flight goal since 30 December 2009. The home side did improve gradually in the second half and could have set up an exciting end to the game had Heidar Helguson or DJ Campbell displayed more composure when presented with two opportunities to halve the deficit. Still, United looked dangerous every time they went forward and should have increased their lead in the second half with Rooney going close to scoring his second whilst Valencia also failed to beat Cerny and score the goal his industrious performance deserved. It didn’t matter though as they eased their way to final whistle to leapfrog their rivals and go top of the Premier League.