|Queens Park Rangers|
In-between those set-pieces, the visitors were scarcely given a touch of the ball. Instead, they happily surrendered possession and ground, allowing United to try and pick a path through a thicket of blue-and-white-hooped undergrowth.
It took one particularly piercing through-ball from Rooney to do so, after quarter of an hour, but also a sizeable slice of fortune, as the referee’s assistant failed to spot Young, the recipient of the pass, clearly loitering in an offside position. Shaun Derry attempted to halt the winger’s progress and Young buckled under the contact – giving referee Lee Mason a decision which he took quickly.
The official immediately pointed to the spot and brandished a red card towards the visiting skipper. QPR could contest the severity of the punishment on a variety of levels, and their grievances were compounded when Rooney tucked the spot kick under Kenny’s dive to crank up the volume inside Old Trafford.
Rangers went into the game in a perilous position, sitting outside the Premier League’s relegation zone on goal difference alone. Having fallen behind in scoreline and personnel, it was little surprise that they remained reluctant to press forward. On the rare occasions they did, the unpredictable Adel Taarabt was invariably involved.
The skilful Moroccan almost levelled the scores with a 35-yard effort which looped up off Michael Carrick and was dipping just under David De Gea’s crossbar, until the Spaniard chose his safest option and finger-tipped the ball over for a corner.
United continued to boss the game, but the visitors defended manfully. Rooney looked certain to double his tally when he was picked out by Valencia, but Clint Hill made a superb, diving block. It took similar