Van Persie leads Red Devils march past the Saints

Van Persie leads Red Devils march past the Saints

Van Persie leads Red Devils march past the Saints

Robin Vantastic. Who can stop this man? No. I mean, seriously. Man United’s new prince in shining armor stole the show last evening, as the Red Devils came from behind in a labored 3-2 victory over Southampton at St. Mary’s. His first hatrick for his new club and four goals to his name so far, is the sweet buttered statistic  for the Mancunian fans who had seen their very susceptible defense nearly torn to shreds.

 On a day that legendary gaffer, Sir Alex Ferguson, marked his 1000th league game in charge of the 19-time English champions, on a day David de Gea was dropped to the bench, the Holland international provided a perfect tonic that masked what would have been a woeful outing for the red behemoth. That he atoned for his cocky penalty miss with two late goals, one in the 87th minute, another in ‘Fergie Time’, will endear him to the Old Trafford faithful. Clearly Wayne Rooney wasn’t missed.

 Nevertheless, this wasn’t an easy game for anyone United, far from it, as Rafael da Silva and Patrice Evra can attest. As the stadium echoed the lyrics of ‘Oh when the Saints, go marching in,’ United came to realize why their noisy neighbors had found it hard overcoming the newly-promoted side in the opening game. Just like against Everton, the Red Devils had possession, but the Saints had purpose.

 Incredible is the best word to describe the St. Mary’s clash, with England’s best escaping with a 3-2 victory. Such was the performance by the hosts that they shell-shocked their more illustrious opponents with spectacular attacking displays, bossing the defense almost at will.

 That the Saints went ahead in the first half was no brainer. That they went ahead again in the second half, after a sumptuous Van Persie equalizer in the opening half, was equally not surprising. That they nearly toppled over their more famous opponents as the game went to a thrilling end was justifiable. Nigel Adkins’ men had let respect go out of the window. The way they went about penetrating United’s midfield with their incredible runs, a point, if not victory, would have certainly be deserved.

 Yet, we’ve seen it before. As the game wore on, as Javier Hernandez, Paul Scholes and Luis Nani were brought in for Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Shinji Kagawa, the pressure started building. Maybe it was fatigue, but the Saints were left to do defensive duties. Cross after cross, corner after corner, strike after strike, the spirits of United’s never-say-die past were awoken.

 It seemed almost inevitable that the Red Devils’ goals would come, and come in they did. With the gum chewed by Sir Alex enduring a torrid night, the aging gaffer found himself behaving like a teenager with hormonal imbalances when RVP scored in injury time to give the visitors a remarkable victory. The win eased the pressure points brought about by a defense that appears wobbling, what with the fullbacks exposing the center halves.

 Nonetheless, though in the end United’s brutal force came to their rescue, the defensive shambles are a wakeup call for the Red Devils who were full of panic moments. Like the Toffees before, one nondescript team may eventually wreck havoc to the red behemoth’s script. In this case, it wasn’t going to be Southampton.

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