SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Robin Van Persie of Manchester United celebrates the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Manchestrer United at St Mary's Stadium on September 2, 2012 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Manchester United Come From Behind To Win At St. Mary's

A hattrick by Robin van Persie saved the day for Manchester United. against Southampton. Earlier, Arsenal defeated Liverpool thanks to goals by Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla.

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Premier League Power Rankings, Week 3: Brendan Rodgers' Grace Period Expires

It's been a tough three weeks for Liverpool, and no one is giving them the benefit of the doubt anymore after this weekend's performance.


Southampton Vs. Manchester United: Final Score 3-2; Robin Van Persie Hattrick Saves United

Well well well. For the second time in three matches, Southampton took a 2-1 lead against a Manchester team. And once again, they failed to hold it, losing 3-2 at St. Mary's against what was quite frankly a pretty poor Manchester United side. It's a desperately disappointing result for the Saints, who gave up goals in the 87th and 90th minute to Robin van Persie, who completed a hattrick and marked his 100th Premier League goal with his injury time winner.

But don't let the result deceived you -- this was a dire performance from United. Their midfield pairing of Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick was utterly overrun by Steven Davis and Morgan Schneiderlin, and if not for United's late flurry against an incredibly weak Southampton defence, this would have been chalked up as a thoroughly deserved loss.

They were incredibly poor for most of the match, and Rickie Lambert's opening goes, which saw him leap over an outmatch Rafael and power a header past the helpless Andres Lindegaard, came as little surprise. The visitors received a lifeline when Nathaniel Clyne misjudged a cross by Antonio Valencia and then fell down in the six-yard box, allowing van Persie to hammer in off Kelvin Davis, but it was clear that they were second best after the first half.

It didn't get any better after the interval. Schneiderlin capped off a great performance by drifting into the space behind Patrice Evra to snap home a header, giving the Saints a deserved 2-1 lead. Seconds later, Jason Puncheon dismantled Evra only to see Lindegaard make a smart stop at the near post to keep the match close.

Ferguson made some drastic changes after going behind, introducing Paul Scholes and Nani, and both made an immediate impact. Nani managed to pounce on a mistake by Kelvin Davis to set up van Persie in the centre for what turned out to be a penalty after Jos Hooiveld went through the back of his legs. That should have been the equaliser, but van Persie tried a paneka and got things all wrong, allowing Davis to make what was a rather comfortable save.

If that had been the end of things, van Persie would have been the goat. Fortunately for United, they were able to put the pressure on Southampton. Clyne did magnificently to rob Javier Hernandez with the Mexican about to pull the trigger, but the visitors weren't to be denied, and with 86 minutes on the clock, van Persie reacted first to Rio Ferdinand's looping header off the post and stabbed home to make it 2-2.

Southampton threw bodies forward in an attempt to recover the two points they'd just seen frittered away, but were instead hit by a sucker punch as their guests dropped a corner straight onto van Persie's head for a last-gasp winner.

At least they're interesting?


Newcastle Vs. Aston Villa, 2012 Premier League: Final Score 1-1, Villains Look Improved

Aston Villa still don't have a win this season, but Paul Lambert's team showed signs of life in a solid performance at St. James' Park. Newcastle still looked a bit hungover from their loss last week, but pulled out one spectacular goal to grab a 1-1 draw from a game that they expected to win, but that they could have easily lost.

Ciaran Clark scored the opener shortly following a set piece, on Villa's second attempt to get the ball into the box. Nothing came out of Villa's 21st minute corner, but Clark stayed forward and the Villains were able to get the ball back into the box. Barry Bannan sent in a cross from the left and Clark did well to get in between two defenders, then nod in a simple header.

Newcastle were average for much of the match, but Hatem Ben Arfa bailed his team out with a beautiful goal in the 59th minute. From the edge of the penalty area, he took a touch forward, then unleashed a stellar drive that Brad Guzan had no chance to save into the top corner at the far post. Why he was given so much space to shoot is anyone's guess, and Lambert won't be pleased with his team's failure to close down a player as dangerous as Ben Arfa.

The Magpies almost snatched a win in stoppage time on a free kick by Yohan Cabaye, but Guzan made a stunning save to rescue a point for his side.


Liverpool Vs. Arsenal: Final Score 2-0, Gunners Pile More Misery On Reds

Arsenal are finally off the mark for the season, and they did it with a hugely impressive victory at Anfield against Brendan Rodger's Liverpool. The Gunners had so far struggled in goalless draws against Sunderland and Stoke, but Lukas Podolski's goal in the 35th minute -- a superbly taken left-footed finish -- got them going and the visitors didn't look back.

Santi Cazorla made the points safe thanks to a great interchange with Podolski that was helped into the net by one of those 'uncharacteristic' errors that are rapidly becoming a hallmark of Pepe Reina's game, and although Liverpool had the bulk of the possession, especially at 1-0, they didn't get particularly close to breaching Vito Mannone's guard until the very late stages. They weren't helped by some appalling refereeing by Howard Webb, who denied Luis Suarez at least one clear-cut penalty, presumably because he is Luis Suarez.

Jonjo Shelvey gave Arsenal a couple of scares as the clock wound down, with Mannone twice saving well from the substitute, but the match was already won at that point. It's another disappointing result for Liverpool, but a major plus for Arsenal, who are now the only team in the top flight yet to concede a goal.


Swansea City Vs. Sunderland: Final Score 2-2, Another Perfect Record Falls

Many pundits questioned Martin O'Neill's sanity in the wake of a 12 million outlay on Steven Fletcher earlier this week, but the striker showed up his critics by hitting two past previously-perfect Swansea City, leading Sunderland to grab an important point at the Liberty Stadium.

The Swans had made a hugely impressive start to the season, scoring eight goals without reply, and they were still very good on the day, thoroughly dominating possession and creating the bulk of the chances. Sunderland, however, were able exploit their hosts mistake, and Fletcher scored a goal out of nothing when he raced onto Ashley William's poor back pass and lash past Michel Vorm.

Swansea recovered quickly, with Wayne Routledge finishing off a flowing passing move during the six minutes of stoppage time that were added for Neil Taylor's injury (which turned out to be a broken ankle), but Fletcher struck again just after the break when a deflected free kick found him unmarked for a tap-in on the back post. A 66th minute Michu header, however, would level the scores once more.

Considering their dominance of all phases of the match and their blistering start to the Premier League campaign, you wouldn't have been blamed for half-expecting Swansea to press on and take all three points, but centre back Chico Flores put a damper on any hopes of a home rally by kicking Louis Saha in the head and earning himself a red card for his troubles.

So, that's yet another 100 percent record fallen by the wayside. Well done to Sunderland for an impressive point.


Manchester City Vs. QPR: Final Score 3-1 City, No Drama Required Here

Manchester City vs. Queens Park Rangers was a pretty interesting fixture last season. And when I say 'pretty interesting' I mean 'one of the iconic Premier League matches of all time'. This version wasn't quite as compelling, but it was still pretty fun.

The hosts, as expected, were the dominant force early on. They produced a bevy of chances in the first ten minutes and should probably have grabbed the lead prior to Yaya Toure's 16th minute goal. City were being wasteful, but QPR weren't doing much of anything and it didn't look like the blown chances would matter much.

But the visitors fought back, with Andy Johnson's 20-yard effort taking a wicked deflection and forcing Joe Hart into giving Bobby Zamora an easy tap-in with the rebound. At that point, City woke up -- it didn't take long for Carlos Tevez to set up Edin Dzeko for the eventual winner, and the Bosnian striker (accidentally) returned the favour in injury time to secure a 3-1 win that was nowhere near as comfortable for the defending champions as it should have been.

QPR will be pleased with the effort, as they were in the match for most of the ninety minutes, although truth be told their goal was lucky, and if City had been more clinical the scoreline would have been far more lopsided.


Wigan Athletic Vs. Stoke City: Final Score 2-2, Stoke Come From Behind Twice

A strange little match saw Stoke City split the points with Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium, with the Potters twice falling behind before making a recovery. Wigan, fresh off an important win against Southampton last weekend, don't seem to be indulging in the sort of early-season form that's forced them to mount stirring late comebacks over the last few seasons, and Stoke made things more difficult for themselves when Robert Huth handled James McCarthy's shot just four minutes in.

Shaun Maloney converted, but Wigan's advantage evaporated when they conceded a hand ball penalty of their own. Maynor Figueroa was the man responsible for the visitors' equaliser, although it was, of course, Jon Walters who applied the finishing touch. The second half saw goals exchanged once again, with Arouna Kone setting up Franco di Santo for a neat finish before Peter Crouch did exactly what you'd expect Peter Crouch to be doing on a cross to ensure that Stoke left Wigan with at least a draw. They would have had all three points if not for a brilliant save by Ali Al-Habsi to deny Potters debutante Charlie Adam on a late free kick.


Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Norwich City: Final Score 1-1, Spurs Concede Late Again

Tottenham Hotspur time strikes again! Hosting Norwich City at White Hart Lane, Spurs would have been pretty confident that they were set for their first win of the season. Despite a relatively poor performance ,which saw Brad Friedel bail them outwith some legitimately fantastic saves, the home side would have been expecting victory following Moussa Dembele's lovely goal.

But, just like against West Bromwich Albion last week, a late goal saw the points slip through their fingers. A scramble in the box allowed Robert Snodgrass to lash past Friedel in the 85th minute, and a straight red card for Tom Huddlestone for a scissor-tackle on Jonathan Howson put paid to any expectations of a Tottenham reply. It's yet another disappointing result against a team that Spurs really should have beaten -- this is the same Norwich side that was hammered 5-0 by Fulham in the opening set of fixtures -- and the pressure is going to be on Andre Villas-Boas to turn things around. Quickly.

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