Hoops' only hope?

"Unfortunately, QPR do not have a striker of the calibre of Hughes in his pomp to punch holes through City's water-tight defence. The best hope the Hoops have of securing the point that will guarantee their Barclays Premier League status is probably to 'park the bus' as Jose Mourinho put it, and scrap for their lives." 

- Adam Marshall,

09/05/2012 09:58, Report by Adam Marshall
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Blog: Park the bus, Sparky!

Having seen QPR crumble at Chelsea last month, it's almost certainly a forlorn hope. They were just as desperate for points then and succumbed 6-1 in a London derby. It's been QPR's home form that has given them a real chance of salvation and only a fool would back against Roberto Mancini's team not only getting the three points required to wrest the crown from United but also to do it comfortably.

Of course, it goes without saying that the Reds still have to go to Sunderland and win, just like we did a couple of years ago in similar circumstances with a Nani strike. On that occasion, although we took the title chase to the final day, Wigan were slaughtered 8-0 at Chelsea and memories of that day must still be pretty raw for those making the trip to Wearside on Sunday.

But can hope really spring eternal in the shape of Hughes, rightly regarded as a United legend but one who lost a little lustre in the eyes of some fans? After the move to Chelsea, it's been said that Sparky regards the Londoners as "his" club, which comes as a shock. We can probably forgive him for managing City but I didn't like his comments at the end of the 4-3 derby when he hinted referees were biased at Old Trafford.

Yet City treated him badly. During his final game against Sunderland, everybody knew he would be sacked afterwards - the media had got wind of the story in the morning - and it must've been a humiliating experience to manage his team in those circumstances. Hughes has never lacked passion and revenge on those who have wronged him - Barcelona in the European Cup Winners' Cup for instance - has already been exacted in the past.

If Hughes can instil his own footballing values into his players then maybe QPR can cause the biggest surprise in Barclays Premier League history. If he does manage to pull it off, expect his next welcome back to Old Trafford to bring the sort of ovation and acclaim that his work for the Reds' cause has always merited, and he'll almost be able to hear the cheers from the away end at the Stadium of Light.

The views expressed in this article are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Manchester

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