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?