Robin van Persie scored a hat-trick as Manchester United came from behind twice to win at Southampton, whilst Andy Carroll impressed on his West Ham United debut.
Sir Alex Ferguson reached another milestone on Sunday afternoon, when he took charge of his 1000th league match for Manchester United. But it looked as though the Scot would have little to celebrate when Rickie Lambert fired Southampton into a 16th minute lead and then, after Robin van Persie had levelled, Morgan Schneiderlin restored the advantage.
Van Persie fluffed a chance to equalise when his cheeky attempt from the penalty spot was saved by Kelvin Davis, and with time running out, it looked like the Reds were heading for a second defeat in three matches. However, the Dutch ace made amends for his miss from 12 yards by levelling with three minutes left, then scored his hat-trick goal in stoppage time.
Ferguson’s men now have six points from their three matches, but the Saints are still without a point upon their return to the top-flight. Manager Nigel Adkins couldn’t hide his disappointment at the end of the match, but at the same time, he was also proud of the effort his players had put in against one of the title favourites.
“We put ourselves in a position to win the game and we haven’t,” he told Sky Sports. “Man United always finish the game strongly and we didn’t see it through. It’s all right talking about changing things, we need to be able to apply it. But all the lads put a great shift in. We will remain positive, we knew the first four games would be challenging but we have loads of positives.”
Earlier in the day, Arsenal recorded their first win of the season with a 2-0 success at Liverpool, who have now collected just one point from their opening three matches. Santi Cazorla was the star of the show, firstly setting up Lukas Podolski for the German to score his first goal for the club, then doing likewise to double the lead.
Arsene Wenger’s side are yet to concede this season having drawn their first two matches 0-0, but it is at the other end of the field which is causing concern for Brendan Rodgers. The Reds manager is desperately short of attacking options, and after Sunday’s defeat, he made it clear he was unhappy that Andy Carroll had been allowed to join West Ham United on loan without a replacement striker firstly being brought in.
And it was no wonder after the England international’s debut for his temporary club. Carroll was a constant menace to Fulham as Sam Allardyce’s side eased to a 3-0 win over the Cottagers at Upton Park, with Kevin Nolan, Winston Reid and Matty Taylor all scoring inside the first half. It wasn’t all good news for the debutant, though, as a hamstring injury has ruled him out of England’s forthcoming World Cup qualifying matches.
Another player who shone on his debut was Steven Fletcher, who grabbed both goals as Sunderland left Swansea City on the back of a 2-2 draw. Michu was again on target for Michael Laudrup’s side with his third goal of the campaign, and Wayne Routledge was also on target in a game which saw Chico dismissed for the home team on 71 minutes for a foul on Louis Saha.
Queens Park Rangers’ visit to the Etihad Stadium brought back memories of the final day of last season, when Manchester City scored two stoppage time goals to win a first league title since 1968. Roberto Mancini’s men barely broke into a sweat this time out, though, as despite a Bobby Zamora equaliser, goals from Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez gave them a comfortable 3-1 win.
Everton, who have started the season with wins over Manchester United and Aston Villa, saw their 100% start to the season halted when they went down 2-0 to an impressive West Bromwich Albion. Shane Long and Gareth McAuley grabbed the goals for the Baggies, who are now sitting in third place after an unbeaten start to the campaign.
Over at White Hart Lane, and the pressure is already beginning to mount on Andre Villas-Boas as Tottenham Hotspur, who had Tom Huddlestone sent off late on, had to settle for a point at home to Norwich City. New-boy Moussa Dembele came off the bench to mark his debut with a goal for the hosts, but Robert Snodgrass levelled with five minutes left to earn a well-deserved draw for the Canaries.
The first half at the DW Stadium was a story of two penalties, as Shaun Maloney put Wigan Athletic in front on five minutes from the spot before Jonathan Walters converted to equalise for Stoke City on 40. Franco Di Santo put the Lancashire side back in front shortly after the break, only to see Peter Crouch restore parity with quarter of an hour left on the clock.
Finally, Aston Villa registered their first point of the season when they held Newcastle United to a 1-1 draw at St James Park on Sunday. Ciaran Clark put the visitors ahead in the first half, before Hatem Ben Arfa levelled for Alan Pardew’s side shortly before the hour.
Saturday: West Ham United 3-0 Fulham; Swansea City 2-2 Sunderland; Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Norwich City; West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Everton; Wigan Athletic 2-2 Stoke City; Manchester City 3-1 Queens Park Rangers. Sunday: Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal; Newcastle United 1-1 Aston Villa; Southampton 2-3 Manchester United.
For the current league standings, visit the official website of the Barclays Premier League