Another less than impressive performance by Manchester United, but when you have the best striker in the Premier League, it doesn’t really matter. Robin van Persie finished with a hat trick and missed a penalty kick, giving Alex Ferguson another dramatic injury time win in his 1000th league match as the Red Devils manager.
Southampton were the better side, but Nigel Adkins took out his three best players with a 2-1 lead and less than 15 minutes left in the match, sending Rickie Lambert, Jason Puncheon and Adam Lallana to the bench, relieving United and especially their defenders from the pressure they were in for over an hour by that front three and allowing them to come back into the match, eventually winning it.
Rickie Lambert was the first to score, putting Southampton with a 16th minute header 1-0 up over a very tired and slow looking Manchester United, moving the ball lazily on attack and finding it hard to handle Lambert’s presence and Southampton’s surprising pressure upfront. Still, with players like Van Persie, one opportunity is all they needed, and bad marking left the Dutchman free to score a pretty equalizer after 23 minutes.
Second half was again in Southampton control, even when it came to Possession numbers. 10 Minutes into it, they got a deserved leading goal from Morgan Schneiderlin while Ferguson had enough of Cleverley and Shinji Kagawa, putting in Paul Scholes and Nani. It didn’t change much until Adkins’ changes.
Out of nowhere, United enjoyed a bad decision and sliding tackle by Jos Hooiveld, giving Van Persie a chance to convert the penalty he won by himself. An arrogant chip didn’t fool Kevlin Davis, who parried the poor attempt to a corner. He was to rue his miss until the 87th minute, when Rio Ferdinand was left all alone to miss an easy header, but Van Persie was the quickest to the rebound. He was quicker than anyone else four minutes later, giving Manchester United yet another dramatic win.
Six points for the Red Devils and Ferguson, despite looking less than impressive in all three outings, but having quality up front more than makes up for it. Southampton, despite all the sympathy, dropped three points for a third straight time, remaining the only team in the league without a single point.