By NICK IUELE
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie proved why he was worth every penny of his $38 million transfer from Arsenal, bagging a hat trick in the Red Devils’ 3-2 victory over Premiership new boys Southampton.
The Dutch international opened with a first-half strike before scoring two more goals in the 87th minute and second minute of second-half stoppage time to erase a 2-1 Southampton lead. Van Persie’s 99th and 100th goals of his Premier League career turned a big upset into an even bigger comeback, giving his side all three points and avoiding a second loss in three matches.
In Spain, Barcelona rebounded from the disappointment of losing the Spanish Super Cup to Real Madrid to post a 1-0 victory against highly-regarded Valencia on Sunday. Adriano delivered the lone goal for Barca, which remains perfect in league play in the early season.
In Italy, AS Roma made a statement by defeating table-toppers Inter Milan 3-1. Clearly Roma’s best effort in some time, i Lupi got things started right away when Alessandro Florenzi found the back of the net in the 15th minute. Even with a goal at the death of the first half by Inter’s Antonio Cassano, the match was controlled by Roma almost the entire way. Pablo Osvaldo scored in the 67th to grab the lead and Marquinho sealed Inter’s fate with an 81st minute strike past Luca Castellazzi.
Here is a look at all the weekend results from the top teams in Europe:
Arsenal finally got on the winning track, knocking down a sorry Liverpool side 2-0. New acquisitions Lukas Podolski and Santi Carzola provided the goals, helping the Gunners to their first win of the season. Liverpool, who have only one point in three matches on the season, are off to their worst start in 50 years.
American international Brad Guzan got the start in goal for Aston Villa and helped his side notch their first point of the season, drawing Newcastle United 1-1. Ciaran Clark opened the scoring for Villa in the 22nd minute, but Hatem Ben Arfa leveled with a brilliant strike in the 59th. With six minutes left in the match, Guzan turned away Yohan Cabaye’s effort that appeared to be goal-bound.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE SCOREBOARD
Southampton 2, Manchester United 3
Liverpool 0, Arsenal 2
Newcastle United 1, Aston Villa 1
Manchester United 3, Queens Park Rangers 1
Wigan Athletic 2, Stoke City 2
West Bromwich Albion 2, Everton 2
Tottenham Hotspur 1, Norwich City 1
Swansea City 2, Sunderland 2
West Ham United 3, Fulham 0
AC Milan returned to their winning ways, defeating Bologna 3-1. Rossoneri new boy Giampaolo Pazzini netted a hat trick in his Milan debut, providing his new club with its first victory and points of the season. Italian international Alessandro Diamanti scored for Bologna in the 41st minute on a penalty.
Juventus thumped Udinese 4-1, pushing Zabrette into deeper despair. Arturo Vidal scored the opener on a 14th minute penalty, followed by Mirko Vucinic’s strike at the death before halftime and Sebastian Giovinco’s brace in the second half. Udinese is now reeling after missing out on the Champions League group stage and being winless in Serie A.
ITALIAN SERIE A SCOREBOARD
Torino 3, US Pescara 0
Bologna 1, AC Milan 3
Udinese 1, Juventus 4
Cagliari 1, Atalanta 1
Catania 3, Genoa 2
Inter Milan 1, AS Roma 3
Lazio 3, Palermo 0
Napoli 2, Fiorentina 1
Parma 2, Chievo Verona 0
Sampdoria 2, Siena 1
Malaga continued its good form by topping Real Zaragoza 1-0 on the road. After a scoreless first half, Nacho Camacho bagged the winner for the visitors. The win caps off a week in which Malaga reached the Champions League group stage and remained undefeated in league play.
Real Madrid snatched its first win of the La Liga campaign against Granada, getting a goal in each half from Cristiano Ronaldo in each half of the 3-0 victory. The Madrid defense didn’t allow a shot on goal all match. Gonzalo Higuain scored the third goal for the defending league champions.
LA LIGA SCOREBOARD
Real Zaragoza 0, Malaga 1
Real Madrid 3, Granada 0
Rayo Vallencano 0, Sevilla 0
Athletic Bilbao 2, Valladolid 0
Levante 3, Espanyol 2
Barcelona 1, Valencia 0
Ceita Vigo 2, Osasuna 0
Deportivo La Coruna 1, Getafe 1
Mallorca 1, Real Sociedad 0
Defending champion Borussia Dortmund stumbled to a 1-1 draw with Nurnberg on the road. Tomas Pekhart opened the scoring for Nurnberg in the 31st minute, but Dortund’s Jakub Blaszczykowski salvaged a point with a goal nine minutes later. With the draw, Dortmund remains undefeated on the young season.
Bayern Munich showed no mercy in a 6-1 drubbing of VfB Stuttgart. Thomas Muller contributed a brace, while Toni Kroos, Mario Mandzukic, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Luis Gustavo had the other four goals for Munich. The win pushed Munich to the top of the table and marked the debut of record transfer Javi Martinez.
Nurnberg 1, Borussia Dortmund 1
Bayern Munich 6, VtB Stuttgart 1
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0, Borussia Monchengladbach 0
Werder Bremen 2, Hamburg SV 0
TSG Hoffenheim 0, Eintracht Frankfurt 4
Schalke 04 3, FC Augsburg 1
Bayern Leverkusen 2, SC Freiburg 0
VfL Wolfsburg 0, Hannover 96 4
What did you think of this weekend's action in Europe? Impressed with Van Persie's smooth transition to Manchester United? See Barcelona pulling away from Real Madrid in the La Liga race? Think Roma could be a surprise team in Italy this season?
Share your thoughts below.