1. Southampton had lost their opening two games of the season but had taken the lead twice against City at the Etihad, so they’re not total mugs. They took the lead twice against us too but this game was at their place. Despite an impressive opening ten minutes, with United playing some great football, we just didn’t get to grips with the game. Sloppy passing and not enough urgency. Fortunately, fairly fittingly for Ferguson’s 1000th game in the league, we scored two goals at the death to leave with the three points.
2. I think Robin van Persie is great. I’m really pleased we signed him. He is a quality player and we are a much better side for having him in the squad. But I cannot get over his decision to take a penalty like that. Be a fancy fucker when we’re 3-0 up. With 20 minutes to go when your team is losing, you smash the ball in to the back of the net, you don’t do your best attempt to mimic Andrea Pirlo and fuck it up. His left foot is lethal, as we saw with his first equalising goal, so why he opted for a penalty kick like that, I do not know. As someone said to me, you can take the player out of Arsenal, but you can’t take the Arsenal out of a player. “When you’re 2-1 down, you can’t take a penalty like that,” Robin said after the game. Agreed!
3. Thankfully, Robin escaped the hair dryer treatment at full-time because he went and scored a bloody hattrick to win us the game 3-2. Unreal. His first goal was technically the best, with him pulling away at the back post, controlling on his chest, before smashing it in at the far post. The second came thanks to a rare appearance from Rio Ferdinand at a corner, with his header coming back off the post and to the feet of Van Persie to smash in. He sealed the hattrick in the 92nd minute after Nani took a corner that beat the first man! A great header from the Dutchman left the keeper with no chance and United secured their first away win of the season.
4. As should have been worrying last season, it was Paul Scholes who really turned things around for United. Whilst RvP was obviously given the Man of the Match award, he conceded that Scholesy should have won it, claiming that everything started “ticking” once he came on. Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick didn’t have a bad game but they just seemed fairly forgettable. Carrick found RvP with a couple of balls over the top but they weren’t making an impact on the game. That all changed when Scholesy was came on. He turns 38 in a couple of months time and if we need him to help us beat newly promoted teams, it makes you realise how heavily we will rely on him for our big games this season. When you’ve got someone approaching 40-years-old filling the role of the player who makes the team “tick”, you’ve got to worry for the future. Cleverley is developing but as yet, he’s no Paul Scholes.
5. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic played their first game together since the first week of December following injuries to both of them but they hardly covered themselves in glory today. Dinky full-backs Patrice Evra and Rafael da Silva were the players marking both of Southampton’s goalscorers when the balls came in and I can’t quite work out why. There needs to be more common sense at the back, rather than our tall players just watching the balls float over their head, then watching our tiny full backs being out-jumped by our opposition’s tall forwards. It was hard to have much faith in the defence whenever Southampton attacked and that needs to change. Jonny Evans was back on the bench though so at least we’re getting more options back.
6. Whilst we dominated possession and chances, today’s performances wasn’t good enough and we got away with it. That’s why Ferguson was so keen to sign RvP I presume, because when you have world class players in the team, you can pull out results you don’t necessarily deserve. Our Dutchman can’t bail us out every week though and three games in, we’re hardly looking convincing, despite showing glimpses of brilliance. Back to the drawing board and let’s get things working for after the International break.
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