English Premiership

United down Saints to go third

2014-12-09 00:09
Robin van Persie (Getty Images)

Southampton - Robin van Persie has scored twice as Manchester United belied a slipshod performance to win 2-1 at Southampton on Monday and claim third place in the Premier League table.

The Dutchman exploited a blunder by Jose Fonte to put United ahead in the 12th minute at St Mary's and scored a 71st-minute winner from a Wayne Rooney free-kick after Graziano Pelle had equalised.

United climbed above Southampton and West Ham United into third place, but they were fortunate to emerge with victory after a lacklustre display that also saw them lose centre-back Chris Smalling to a leg injury.

Nevertheless, Louis van Gaal's side have now won five games in succession, which represents a timely burst of momentum ahead of Sunday's home game with arch enemies Liverpool.

Southampton forced United goalkeeper David de Gea into action on several occasions, but having lost to Manchester City and Arsenal on their previous outings, it was a third straight defeat for Ronald Koeman's men.

Southampton created the first chance, Shane Long heading onto the roof of the net from Ryan Bertrand's hanging cross, but it was United who went ahead thanks to Fonte's lapse in concentration.

The Portuguese defender, who was making his 200th Southampton appearance, played a blind back-pass towards goalkeeper Fraser Forster and Van Persie nipped in to roll home his fifth goal of the season.

Southampton were quick to react, though, and were helped by the fact United lost Smalling -- the latest in a spate of defensive injuries -- which saw Jonny Evans come on for his first appearance since September.

By that stage, Pelle had headed wide from a Steven Davis corner, and Southampton continued to press, with De Gea obliged to field a deflected effort from Pelle.

The equaliser duly arrived in the 31st minute, after a loose pass from Marouane Fellaini enabled Davis to run at the visitors' defence.

Paddy McNair took the sting out of a shot from Tadic, but Pelle ghosted in to sweep the ball into the roof of the net for his first goal since October.

McNair had made a jittery start to the game and after his loose touch gifted the ball to Long, who blazed wide, the 19-year-old was hauled off, with Ander Herrera coming on and Michael Carrick dropping into defence.

Van Persie served a reminder of United's threat with a shot that curled into the side-netting, but Southampton remained on top in the second half.

De Gea was forced to block when Long met Tadic's floated cross with a downward header, while Pelle then screwed a shot over the bar from a Tadic pass after Marcos Rojo became the umpteenth United player to lose possession.

It was United, however, who struck next. Back in the team after a knee injury, Rooney swung a free-kick towards the back post from deep on the left and Van Persie ghosted in to stab an improvised volley past Forster.

De Gea excelled himself again in the 77th minute, plunging to his left to repel a low shot from Pelle, while full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Bertrand each despatched efforts that narrowly missed the target.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
Friday, 22 December 2017
Arsenal v Liverpool, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Saturday, 23 December 2017
Everton v Chelsea, Goodison Park 14:30
Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth, Etihad Stadium 17:00
Swansea City v Crystal Palace, Liberty Stadium 17:00
West Ham United v Newcastle United, London Stadium 17:00
Southampton v Huddersfield Town, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur, Turf Moor 19:30
Leicester City v Manchester United, King Power Stadium 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.