Van Persie proves his worth as Arsenal fans fret over Giroud
Premier League talking points: RVP justifies his price tag, but other strikers struggle
NO PRIZES for guessing that it's Robin van Persie who hogs the headlines this morning after a dramatic hat-trick earned Manchester United all three points against Southampton. "Is there anybody out there who still thinks that £24 million is too much to pay for a 29-year-old in the final year of his contract? Is there anyone at Arsenal, even after a morale-boosting win at Liverpool, prepared to claim that selling their captain represented a good piece of business?" asked The Times.
The Dutchman scored two equalisers and a fine headed winner deep into injury time as United twice came from behind. Earlier he had missed a penalty but, as The Guardian noted, it could have been the threat of a dressing down from Alex Ferguson that prompted his late heroics.
ARSENAL FANS SPLIT OVER GIROUD
Arsenal fans got something to cheer about as the Gunners opened their account for the season with a 2-0 away win at Liverpool, but despite goals from Lucas Podolski and new Arsenal icon Santi Cazorla, there are growing concerns about the suitability of Olivier Giroud as a replacement for Van Persie.
The Frenchman missed another sitter at Anfield after being played in by Abou Diaby and the furious reaction of Kieron Gibbs, who stood over the Frenchman screaming at him after he shot wide, did not suggest harmony in the ranks.
Arsenal fans are split over Giroud. Most believe he should be given more time, but while Podolski and Cazorla have found their feet Giroud is still struggling. If he turns out to be more Marouane Chamakh or Nicklas Bendtner than RVP the Gunners could have problems.
TROUBLE BREWING AT LIVERPOOL
Things are not going as planned for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers. The Reds are in the relegation zone with only one point after three games, and their start to the season has been their worst for 50 years. Against Arsenal there were glimpses of promise from youngsters like Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen but there was no end result.
Worse still, Rodgers had no strikers in reserve when Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini failed to produce the goods, and that left the Anfield faithful asking one big question: why on earth was Andy Carroll sent out on loan when the Reds have just two other recognised forwards?
The answer, it seems, is that Rodgers was told by ther club's American owners that reinforcements would come in. But that did not happen and now Liverpool have a serious problem, particularly if Borini fails to live up to expecations. There is even talk that out of contract Michael Owen could return to Anfield and the first murmurings of discontent in the stands over the club's owners Fenway Sports Group.
WEST HAM FINGERS CROSSED FOR CARROLL
West Ham fans were not in the least bit concerned about the problems on Merseyside as they got their first look at Andy Carroll on Saturday. And although they liked what they saw it could be that they will have to wait a while to get another installment. The big striker terrified the Fulham defence and set up two goals as the Hammers won 3-0.
However, he limped off after 68 minutes of the game with a hamstring injury that could keep him sidelined for weeks. "He'll probably be on the treatment bench for a while," said Hammers boss Sam Allardyce.
DEBUT DELIGHT FOR DEMBELE AND FLETCHER
If Carroll enjoyed his debut it is likely that Mousa Dembele and Steven Fletcher enjoyed theirs even more. Spurs' new signing Dembele, who joined from Fulham on deadline day, was on target on his debut for the Lilywhites, although he saw his second-half goal cancelled out in the stoppage time as Norwich claimed a draw. It went even better for new Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher, who scored twice on his debut to earn the Black Cats a draw with Swansea.
NEWCASTLE UNITE FOR TAYLOR
Hatem Ben Arfa scored an early contender for goal of the season as Newcastle drew with Aston Villa on Sunday but just as notable as his goal was the team's show of support for injured colleague Ryan Taylor before the match. Taylor suffered cruciate knee damage in midweek and will miss several months of the season. His team-mates took to the pitch before the match in warm up tops bearing the solgan Ryan Taylor Over the Wall, a reference to the song about Taylor by the fans at St James's Park.