COMMENTARY KEY MOMENTS
SOUTHAMPTON 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 3
17.56 That is very harsh indeed on Southampton but credit must go for United for a victory that couldn't be any more typically United if it was soundtracked by Come On You Reds and William Prunier was playing.
That is why you splurge a ton of money on an ostensibly dubious investment like Van Persie. He was absolute class when it mattered today. It turns out the penalty did not matter. Van Persie knew this. He is made of magic.
He takes the rapturous applause of his new disciples while Southampton ruminate on a worrying ability to take unexpected leads against excellent teams but fail to hold out even for a draw. Despite their hugely laudable performances today and at Manchester City on the opening weekend they are bottom of the league with zero points. That'll be all from me.
Thanks for your company, I'll talk to you again soon.
90+4 min Some appeals for a penalty as Ferdinand looks to push Lambert in the back in the box. Naaaahhhh.
90+2 min GOAL!! Southampton 2 Man Utd 3 (Van Persie)
I'm not going to pretend I'm happy about that goal, but there you go. It's happened, United lead, Van Persie has his hat-trick. Excellent header past Davis from RVP from Nani's corner for his 100th Premier League goal.
90+2 min United have a corner. Nani to take.
90+1 min Four minutes of added time.
90 min Fox swings it in. It's only half-cleared. Ward-Prowse shoots, it's deflected. Fox does the same, it's miles over.
89 min Tremendous response from the St Mary's crowd, who immediately got on with yelling their team on after the goal. They have a corner, as Ward-Prowse's long shot is deflected behind. Hooiveld heads over, but it's dfelfected and behind for another.
88 min GOAL!! Southampton 2 Man Utd 2 (Van Persie)
Fortunate for United. To put it kindly. Nani's poor corner is cleared by Rafael is able to cross and finds Ferdinand unmarked in the middle. He heads powerfully at goal but hits the post. The rebound falls at the feet of RVP who couldn't miss, and didn't.
86 min That might be the first time since the penalty United have had the ball in the Southampton box. Rafael hangs up a high ball for Hernandez, who heads wide.
84 min Did I tell you about Hernandez coming on for Welbeck? I don't believe I did. That did happen. Surprisingly little to report. United with almost all of the possession but they're not doing anything exciting with it. Shades of their performance at Everton at the moment. Neat and tidy but toothless.
82 min Rafael quizzically escapes a booking for a tackle from behind on Rodriguez as Southampton attempted to break.
79 min Rodriguez on for Lallana, giving Southampton an entirely new front three now. Here's our own Jeremy Wilson who was watching RVP's penalty-related fail with interest:
77 min Southampton have the tents and disposable barbeques out in their own half now. Because they are camped there. All United, but no clear chance since the penalty.
74 min The excellent Jason Puncheon is off. Emmanuel Mayuka is his replacement, who's on for his debut. He's Zambian. Has the Premier League ever had a Zambian player before? Guly Do Prado is on for Rickie Lambert.
73 min You feel that period of Southampton looking for a third has concluded. They're dropping ever-deeper and I suspect we're going to see 17 minutes of them desperately trying to prove they're not rubbish at defending. Need to avoid the sort of rashness that has seen keeper Davis play two silly short passes out and saw Fonte make the most amusing tackle of the season so far.
70 min That was an absolutely laughable few minutes. I'm not quite ROFLing but am certainly LMAOing.
69 min RVP MISSES THE PENALTY!
Opts for the chipped Pirloesque effort but doesn't connect correctly and it's both at saveable height and power for Davis who duly turns it round the post.
68 min PENALTY TO MANCHESTER UNITED!
You will never, ever see a clearer penalty. Fonte with a ridicuulous challenge from behind on RVP as Saints try to recover from a terrible Davis clearance. He's booked, presumably because the referee assumes he's a Fifa 12 player that's pressed the button for slide tackle accidentally.
67 min Lambert's onside an in the clear on the left! Too wide for a shot, but Ward-Prowse is arriving in the middle. Desparate sliding clearance from Ferdinand, who does well not to hack into his own net.
64 min Jason Puncheon having a storming game. No-one on United's left-hand side can deal with his pace and head-down-going-forward directness. He plays a perceptive through ball for Lambert which looks to be intercepted by Ferdinand but it reaches the striker somehow. Evra eventually makes a saving tackle on Lallana to relieve the mounting pressure.
62 min Scholes puts RVP in behind the defence with his first touch. Good goalkeeping from Kelvin Davis, who makes a clean save. An email from your friend and mine Shon:
This Southampton team reminds me of blackpool 2 years ago...hope they don't have the same fate
61 min Cleverley and Kagawa make way for the aforementioned United duo.
60 min Reinforcements coming for United, who are right under the cosh at the moment. Nani and Scholes have removed their sponsored trainingwear and are coming on imminently.
59 min Corner's swung in right on top of Lidnegaard, who makes a clean catch.
58 min Puncheon! Past Evra with a lovely turn, and looks to beat Lindegaard on his near post. Good save, corner, Southampton flying!
56 min GOAL!! Southampton 2 Man Utd 1 (Schneiderlin)
...and to think I said he wouldn't be responsible for anything exciting! Schneiderlin scores his first ever home goal for Southampton with a free header. Good work from Puncheon to delay a pass to Lambert on the left. His cross is ideal, Evra slips over, and Southampton have the lead back again.
54 min Oof, bit of a sitter for RVP and he's screwed it wide! Poor pass from Kelvin Davis towards Fox allowed Kagawa to nick the ball and square it on the ground. Goal gaping for RVP, Davis nowhere, poor finish.
53 min Another promising spell for Southampton, but United looking more at ease with what's being thrown at them this half. Lallana, Puncheon and Davis all seem to have far less room than they did in the first half. Here's RVP's equaliser:
49 min Oooh, not far away at all from Kagawa. Wonderful touch by RVP to put him away after Rafael played a pass down the right-hand flank. The Japanese international couldn't quite get it under control but got a decent shot away. Just wide.
49 min It has been a quiet start to the second half. On the pitch and in the stands. I blame the engrossing short story in the Southampton programme penned by former striped-shirt legend Jason Dodd.
46 min The second half of this football match has been kicked off with a kick off.
16.50 Engrossing half, in which the team in charge has swapped three four times. United bossed the opening periods, Southampton came into the game and scored, United played keep ball and equalised, Southampton attacked, Southampton defended. Familiar look to Adkins' side who are excellent going forward but weak in defensive midfield and down the flanks. United not entirely convincing but have shown flashes of quality. Here's Rickie Lambert bullying Rafael to score the opening goal:
See you in 15.
45+1 min Just the one added minute.
45 min Fizzling out a little now, which will please Southampton. A one-all draw at half time against United is no disgrace at all.
43 min United finishing the half stronger, but final ball's not quite right there. Kagawa overcooks one across the box for RVP, who can't bring it down and it's over the touchline for a Southampton throw.
42 min Martin Tyler wonders aloud if he's "sounding like an old git" as he suggests that modern players are more concerned with what pretty colours boots are than how good their studs are. He is sounding like an old git. Sorry Martin.
39 min Now it's United having another go. Valencia looking like their main outlet on the right. Noticeable how slow and deliberate they are going forward in contrast to Southampton's more swashbuckling approach. But there's a cross in the end from Valencia, Clyne slips over again and Evra's there to do one of those proper neck muscle-tastic headers. Good save from Davis.
36 min Lambert playing like a total nuisance. What a magnificent irritant he is for defences. Vidic fouls him. Sometimes it's the only way. Martin Tyler suggests United might want to put Rio Ferdinand on him as he, apparently, "offers a more cerebral approach". I don't think Martin's ever seen his Twitter feed. Time for a pertinent statistical tweet from our friend at Opta:
34 min This is turning into quite the football match. Southampton back in the ascendancy, and United struggling to keep track of their movement and speed in between their defensive and midfield lines. Lallana pulls a shot just wide from 25 yards.
31 min Southampton capable of some gorgeous football in the final third. Puncheon plays a superb reverse pass into the outside left channel with is perfectly weighted through ball which finds Lallana. He turns in the style of Johann Cruyff, taking Evra out of the game, and hangs up a cross which Lindegaard has to stretch to deal with. Pleasing signs from Nidel Adkins' side.
29 min Not great from Van Persie. Tries to dink it faintly towards the top corner. It's floaty and wide.
28 min Oof, that's a lower league foul on Danny Welbeck by Fonte. The England striker has his legs taken away after Valencia plays him in with a pleasing horizontal ball, with RVP and Kagawa spreading the Southampton defence. Free kick to United inside the "D" and fairly central.
25 min Lambert, wearing Southampton's number seven, chests down a clearance just shy of the box and opts for a bold dipping volley that drops just wide. I'm just going to squint at Southampton matches this season and pretend he's Matt Le Tissier.
23 min GOAL!! Southampton 1 Man Utd 1 (Van Persie)
...and there's the unsurprising result of United's dominance of possession. Valencia outfoxes Fox and puts in a cross towards the far post. Clyne slips, RVP is in and there's the inevitable denoument. Great control with his chest, and he did enough with the finish. Davis might be slightly peeved he didn't get more of his shin on it. As it was he could only help it into the bottom corner.
23 min St Mary's still rocking, but it's been all United for five
21 min United settled again now, keeping their patience and their heads and putting a number of neat passes together. Kagawa has a shot from outside the box turned behind for a corner.
19 min Manchester United are, if not quite running scared, then running midly spooked. It's their to turn to weather a storm now, with Southampton riding the crest of a wave. A wave made of Rickie Lambert headers and surprise early goals.
16 min GOAL!! Southampton 1 Man Utd 0 (Lambert)
Schneiderlin nips in to dispossess Kagawa in the middle and spreads it right for Puncheon. He elects to come inside of Evra which seems to surprise him, and has space to deliver an excellent swung cross towards the back post. Rickie Lambert has the beating in the air of Rafael all day and probably for the rest of eternity and nods past Lindegaard. Olé!
15 min Afternoon liveblog fans, delighted to be joining you belatedly. Southampton, having weathered an early storm, are threatening to do something exciting at the moment. It's unlikelyu to come through Morgan Schneiderlin, who hoofs a shot well over from 30 yards.
13 min Soton, playing in a very red shirt, have forced their first corner of the game as Michael Carrick mis-kicks. Lallana bends his runs to the penalty spot but his effort goes wide. Time to handover to Thom Gibbs...
10 min Anders Lindegaard is actually on the pitch. His first touch comes after 10 minutes as he collects a Lambert header with consummate ease. Soton have been very deep so far but are starting to escape the edge of their own area a little.
9 min Rickie Lambert gets his first chance to throw his weight around against the United defence. He bundles Ferdinand over but United can clear there lines pretty comfortably. Just for the record and so we know for the second half, United are playing in white.
7 min First chance of the game for Van Persie as he finds space from a clipped ball but he can only fire his shot wide of the far post from his usually stupendous left-peg.
6 min Lots of early touches for the returning Rio Ferdinand. Maybe his teammates are trying to help him to remember how to kick the ball back in a real match. I feat this match is starting exactly like it will playout throughout, United passing the ball around.
4 min Some excellent early pressing from Adam Lallana down the Southampton left. He's been very impressive in his first two Premier League matches. But it's all United on the ball so far.
2 min Two minutes gone and United have already forced a corner and a free-kick in a dangerous position down the right-wing. Ominous signs.
16.03 Kick-off at 16.03, whatever happened to the 16.05 kick-offs? I miss them.
16.00 We're almost set for the kick-off at St Mary's and I've not even mentioned Robin van Persie yet. Can he maintain his 100% whilst starting scoring record for United. No record signing Gaston Ramirez for Southampton in their team so it's down for Adam Lallana and Jason Puncheon to provide the service to Lambert.
15.56 Southampton have Rickie Lambert starting up top in their famous number seven shirt. He will be pivotal today if they have ambitions to get their first points on the board for the season. I'm sure I don't need to remind Southampton fans that no promoted team that has lost their first three games and stayed in the country's top division for the next season. Is it too early to start talking omens?
15.54 April 1996, you may not remember the date. But I'm sure you'll remember the contest. It was Southampton vs Manchester United. Southampton in the traditional red and white stripes, United in their away strip, a grey number. They trailed 3-0 at half-time only to reappear in the second half in a changed blue strip. Remember it now? One of the classic moments from the entirety of the Premier League and one you can watch below...
15.51 Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox, Puncheon, Steven Davis, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Lambert.
Subs: Gazzaniga, Rodriguez, Lee, Do Prado, Richardson, Mayuka, Seaborne.
Man Utd: Lindegaard, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Cleverley, Carrick, Welbeck, van Persie, Kagawa.
Subs: De Gea, Evans, Giggs, Hernandez, Nani, Scholes, Powell.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
15.48 The change in goal made by Sir Alex Ferguson may have been made to stop a circumstance similar to the 1999 season and a certain Massimo Taibi...
Now you understand how good HD is
15.44 The big team news for Manchester United is that Rio Ferdinand returns at centre-back meaning Michael Carrick can resume playing where he's used to in the central midfield. Also, David de Gea has been dropped after his, not-so-costly-but-could've-been-costly-mistake against Fulham with Anders Lindegaard replacing him.
15.40 Good afternoon live blog fanatics. I hope you are enjoying the new season and ready to enjoy this fixture which has given me some of the best memories of the Premier League. Today, we are set-up with Southampton playing on the back of two defeats and Manchester United playing off the back of a defeat to Everton and an unconvincing victory against Fulham. Here's John Ley's preview to the match.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
St Mary’s Stadium
TV: Live Sky Sports 1, Highlights, BBC1 Match Of The Day2.
Southampton (Possible, 4-4-2): K Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox;
Lambert, S Davis, Schneiderlin, Lallana; Do Prado, Rodriquez.
Out: Cork (ankle), De Ridder (unspecified).
Manchester United (Possible, 4-2-3-1): De Gea; Rafael, Vidic, Evans,
Evra; Carrick, Scholes; Valencia, Cleverley, Kagawa; Van Persie.
Out: Young (knee), Rooney (thigh), Ferdinand (groin), Smalling (foot), Jones (back), Fletcher (colitis)
Referee: Mike Dean. Matches: 2, Red 0, Yellow 4.
Southampton's two new signings are unlikely to feature in the Saints' Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester United on Sunday.
Japan defender Maya Yoshida, who captained his country at the Olympics, is back in his native country to play in the upcoming internationals.
Zambia striker Emmanuel Mayuka is also unlikely to feature after signing during the week, while former Chelsea trainee Jack Cork (ankle) remains a doubt.
Other than that manager Nigel Adkins has a strong squad to chose from.
Meanwhile, Jonny Evans is set to return for Manchester United's trip to Southampton.
Evans has recovered from a summer ankle operation and will partner Nemanja Vidic in central defence.
Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand are back in training but unlikely to be involved, while Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and Chris Smalling are all out.
A fixture that still evokes many happy memories on the south coast.
The 6-3 win of 1996, the ‘grey-shirts’ controversy and 3-1 victory earlier that same year and, most importantly, the FA Cup final upset of 1976.
Times have changed, though, and Southampton are searching for their first point amid a horrible run of early-season fixtures.
Robin van Persie has also already shown ominous signs that he is beginning to settle at United.
Betting: Home 4-1, Away 6-10, Draw 16-5.
Stat of the game: This is Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1,000th league game in charge of Manchester United.
Jeremy Wilson’s prediction: Southampton 1 Manchester United 3.