3 Sep 2012

Simply Vantastic !

It was the Robin van Persie show at St Mary's, as the £24million Dutchman displayed a masterclass in finishing to leave Southampton's players and supporters shell shocked.

Its games like this that are a great advertisement for the English Premier League, Manchester United twice fell behind in this match but responded the only way they know, to keep attacking until the final whistle.

After falling behind 1-0 to a Lambert header, United responded in the 23rd minute when a cross was beautifully brought down by van Persie on his chest which opened up the angle, everybody inside the stadium and watching knew what was coming next as the Dutchman sent the ball ferociously back across goal and into the bottom corner.

Into the second half and the reds again fell behind 2-1 after another free header from Schneiderlin found the bottom corner after Patrice Evra lost his footing on the St Mary's turf.

6 minutes later Sir Alex Ferguson changed things by bringing on Paul Scholes and Nani for Cleverley and Kagawa respectively, it was a change that totally changed the dynamics of the match as Scholes started to dictate Uniteds play in the middle, spraying positive passes in the attacking half of the field.

United were handed the opportunity to level the score when Jos Hooiveld scythed down Van Persie in the box, the Dutchman stepped up in front of the travelling away supporters and seemed to make a last second decision to try and gently guide the ball over the Saints keeper who read the spot kick well and at full stretch tip the ball around the post to a huge roar from the home supporters, it seemed it would just not be Uniteds day.

The score remained 1-1 and in the 71st minute Danny Welbeck was replaced by Mexican Hernandez, this was the last throw of the dice for United who were now pouring forward at every opportunity, Southampton were struggling to cope with Uniteds wave of attacking football, they were ready to be knocked onto the ropes as Rio Ferdinands header hit the post and van Persie tapped the ball in to level the score 2-2 in the 87th minute, United sensed they could still land the knock out blow in this tie.

United continued to flood forward and you sensed that there was going to be one more chance created in this game, in the 91st minute United earned a corner and Nani swung the ball in, Southampton's zonal marking meant that van Persie was able to run into space and head home in front of the travelling fans who erupted in to wild rapturous celebrations.

It was by no means convincing as United looked shaky at the back, they will not get away with playing the kind of football they displayed at times in this match against stronger opposition, its only early days but the reds will be delighted with the 3 points.

van Persie was devastating in front of goal, we seen it so many times last season for Arsenal and he seems to have hit the ground running at Old Trafford which will delight the manager and supporters, the Dutchman was apparently purchased to take some of the expectation and responsibility off Wayne Rooney, at St Marys van Persie showed he is happy to lead the team and be the talisman figure he once was at the Emirates.