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Live Commentary: Manchester United 2-1 Southampton - as it happened

Read how Manchester United moved seven points clear of Manchester City by edging a dogged Southampton at Old Trafford.
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Mauricio Pochettino took charge of his first Southampton game away from St Mary's tonight and it didn't come much tougher than facing league leaders Manchester United.

The Saints weren't daunted by the trip to Old Trafford though and caused Sir Alex Ferguson's men plenty of problems.

Despite going ahead early, they couldn't hold on and were just edged by a Wayne Rooney brace.

Read how the match unfolded below.


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Evening all! It's a bumper Wednesday of Premier League action and the game at Old Trafford is one of six top-flight offerings.

Click here to see all of tonight's fixtures. You can find live commentaries on every single one AND the Copa del Rey el Clasico match between Real and Barca on this page.

As always I'll keep you updated on all the big goals as they go in up-and-down the country and in that vital match in Spain.

TEAM NEWS JUST IN! Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa all start for United.

UNITED XI: De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Anderson; Welbeck, Rooney, Kagawa; Van Persie

SAINTS XI: Boruc; Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox; Puncheon, Cork, Schneiderlin, Ramírez; Lambert, Rodriguez

What I garner from those lineups is that it should be a goalfest tonight! Both managers have gone with very attacking XIs.

United make three changes from their last Premier League game, with Chris Smalling, Anderson and Rooney in for Rafael da Silva, Rio Ferdinand and Tom Cleverley.

Southampton, meanwhile, make a pair of changes as Danny Fox and Jay Rodriguez coming in for Luke Shaw and Guly do Prado.

It's clear that both sides are playing four players who love to attack. That's eight out of 22 on the pitch, brilliant! For United, the trio of Rooney, Van Persie and Welbeck will look to Kagawa to be their chief playmaker, while for Southampton Rickie Lambert will lead the line with Rodriguez and Jason Puncheon on either wing and Gaston Ramirez supplying the finesse.

Anderson also gets a rare start in a Premier League game for United. Can the Brazilian make a point to Fergie?

Unfortunately for the visitors, captain Adam Lallana hasn't fully recovered from knee ligament damage. He does, however, return to the bench.

Unfortunately for the visitors, captain Adam Lallana hasn't fully recovered from knee ligament damage. He does, however, return to the bench.

Here are the two benches tonight:

United: Lindegaard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Valencia, Nani, Buttner, Cleverley
Saints: K Davis, S Davis, Lee, Lallana, Richardson, Shaw, Chaplow

If the four attacking players that United start with can't exploit the wings then Fergie is bound to bring on either Antonio Valencia or Nani, or both. There's no Javier Hernandez at all because of a hip injury. The Mexican should be fit for Saturday's match against Fulham, though.

These two sides have already met in the league this season in Southampton's third game back in the top flight. The Saints suffered a third-straight loss as Van Persie scored his first United hat-trick in a comeback win for United.

The stats don't favour Southampton heading in to this one. United have won each of the last seven meeting between the two sides, a run that dates back nearly 10 years to August 2003.

Southampton have also failed to win at Old Trafford 17 times in a row, losing 15 of those 17.

Three of tonight's games have just got underway; Arsenal vs. Liverpool, Everton vs. West Brom and Norwich vs. Spurs. This game, Fulham vs. West Ham and Reading vs. Chelsea begin in 15 minutes at 8pm.

Three of tonight's games have just got underway; Arsenal vs. Liverpool, Everton vs. West Brom and Norwich vs. Spurs. This game, Fulham vs. West Ham and Reading vs. Chelsea begin in 15 minutes at 8pm.

REFEREE WATCH: Tonight's man in charge is Lee Mason.

Three points, as expected, for United this evening will see them pull seven points clear of City at the top of the table after Roberto Mancini's men could only manage a goalless draw at rockbottom QPR last night.

Early goal at the Emirates! Liverpool strike first as Luis Suarez's shot takes a slight deflection to loop over Wojciech Szczesny after some sloppy Arsenal defending.

Click here to join Barney Corkhill for commentary on that one. Looks like it's going to be a cracker as Theo Walcott almost hits back instantly.

The players are out on the pitch and we're just about ready to go at Old Trafford.

United are in their classic red tops, white shorts and black socks while Southampton don their changed strip of yellow tops, blue shorts and white socks.

KICKOFF: Van Persie and Rooney get us underway.

GOAL! Man Utd 0-1 Southampton (Rodriguez)

What an awful goal to concede but Southampton won't care! Carrick slightly miscontrols a pass and decides to volley the bouncing ball back towards De Gea. He doesn't get enough on it though and the Spanish keeper has to rush out to meet it. He gets there just ahead of Rodriguez but completely misses the ball, allowing the frontman to stroke into an empty net from a tight angle. What a start for the Saints!

United have understandably had almost all of the ball since conceding but they're yet to create a real chance. Kagawa almost stole in in front of Boruc but the Saints keeper just kept him out.

GOAL! Man Utd 1-1 Southampton (Rooney)

Didn't take long did it?! A loose ball on the edge of the area falls to Kagawa and he clips it through first time for Rooney and the Englishman makes no mistake, sidefooting across Boruc into the far corner.

OFF THE POST! United almost complete the turnaround within the first 10 minutes! Jones's cross from the right reaches Rooney at the back post and he pokes to Kagawa. The number 23 takes it on from a tight angle but can only hit the inside of the near post.

Southampton win a free kick at least 30 yards out, left of centre and Lambert decides to go for goal. His attempt hits the wall and goes out for a corner, with nothing coming of the resulting set piece.

Van Persie springs Rooney on the break but the latter cuts back and has his pass intercepted when trying to pick out an open Welbeck.

Goals elsewhere! Fulham and Everton have taken 1-0 leads against West Ham and West Brom respectively. Dimitar Berbatov netted for Fulham and Leighton Baines for Everton.

Southampton win another free kick and it's in a much more inviting position this time. Lambert leaves it to Ramirez but he can't get enough dip on it as it sails over.

Rooney wants a free kick on the edge of the box but Lee Mason shakes his head. Replays show that he was kicked by Fox.

JUST OVER! Van Persie receives the ball on the right of the area and he uses Jones's run on the overlap to open up space for a shot. He curls it in trademark fashion towards the far corner but it's deflected on its way through and loops just over the crossbar onto the roof of the net.

Goal at Carrow Road and it's Norwich who lead against Spurs thanks to Wes Hoolahan.

United are still all over this match and have come close twice in quick succession. First, Rooney's cutback was just about cleared away before Van Persie couldn't quick pick out Evra.

GOAL! Man Utd 2-1 Southampton (Rooney)

It's ever so easy for United. Van Persie's free kick towards the back post is headed back across goal by Evra and no-one's marking Rooney in front of goal and he taps home one of the easiest of his career.

CHANCE! United haven't stopped the red rampage. They look extremely dangerous every time they go forward and it's Van Persie who misses the target after being left all alone on the left of the area.

Goal at Goodison and Everton go two up on West Brom as Leighton Baines scores his second from the spot.

It's half-time in three of the six Premier League games tonight:

Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool
Everton 2-0 West Brom
Norwich 1-0 Spurs

Southampton almost get in behind the United defence on the right but Puncheon handled the bouncing ball.

The visitors are all of a sudden piling numbers forward in attack and they're looking quite dangerous. Have they got the quality to carve out a chance though? If they keep this attacking up it's more a case of when rather than if United will score on the counter.

SAVE! Van Persie does well to loft the ball inside to Welbeck and he foxes Yoshida into turning his back before firing low at the near post but Boruc isn't going to be beaten there.

BOOKING! Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlein is the first in Mason's book tonight for a petulant kicking away of the ball.

Two minutes added on at the end of the first half.

HALF-TIME: Man Utd 2-1 Southampton

United go in ahead at the break as expected but it was far from easy. They went behind inside five minutes when Rodriguez capitalised on Carrick's poor backpass and De Gea's uncertainty. Since then Rooney has found the net twice to put United back in control.

Here are the half-times from the other two 8pm kickoffs:

Fulham 1-0 West Ham
Reading 0-1 Chelsea

As you can see, Chelsea now lead at Reading thanks to Juan Mata's composed finish just before the break.

It's still goalless at half-time in tonight's Copa del Rey el Clasico meeting. Join Matt Law for live text coverage on that one by clicking here.

If you've just joined us and want to quickly catch up on the first half, click here.

Southampton subs: Pochettino has made a pair of changes at the start of the second half as Adam Lallana and Steven Davis take the place of Puncheon and Ramirez.

KICKOFF: Southampton get the second half underway.

Another for Liverpool at Arsenal! Jordan Henderson is the goalscorer, tucking home after a fortunate deflection in the suspect Arsenal defence.

SHOT! Southampton have begun the second 45 well and Lambert sees a speculative volley held by De Gea.

More goals elsewhere! Both sides scored in quick succession at Craven Cottage so it's Fulham 2-1 West Ham. Kevin Nolan and Hugo Rodallega on target.

Complete turnaround at Arsenal! Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott find the net to pull it back to 2-2 at the Emirates.

Back to Old Trafford and it remains 2-1 but Southampton have begun this half very well. A moment ago, Lambert had a shooting chance on the edge of the area but skewed it way off target.

CHANCES! This really has been a perfect second-half performance so far from Southampton. The only thing missing is an equaliser. First Lambert tried to nod a header down from a corner before United gave it away and allowed Cork to send in a cross that Davis dragged wide.

SPILLED! The visitors are knock, knock, knocking on the door! Lambert takes on another free kick from distance and gets it up and over the wall but it's easy for De Gea, or so you'd think! The ball pops out of his hands though but there's no Saints player there to tap home.

Apologies for the major delay! We had some serious techinical difficulties. We're now into added-on time and it's still 2-1 to United.

Since we've been away United started to dominate the second half. Van Persie was kept out by Boruc brilliantly before the Dutchman saw a goal ruled out for offside. Southampton went down the other end and almost equalised when yet another Lambert free kick was tipped away by De Gea. Schneiderlein was next to go close, fizzing a shot just over before United held on at the end.

FULL-TIME: Man Utd 2-1 Southampton

Three points for United moves them seven clear of rivals City at the top of the table. Southampton remain just three points above the drop zone in 16th.

Thanks for joining Sports Mole this evening. Click here to read our match report from the game at Old Trafford and find all the other results from tonight here. Good night!

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Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal with team mates Ashley Young and Robin Van Persie on December 9, 2012
Read Next:
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City35255572264680
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd352010568383070
3Leicester CityLeicester362061065442166
4Chelsea361810855332264
5West Ham UnitedWest Ham351771155451058
6Liverpool34169957391857
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs351681161412056
8Arsenal361671350381255
9Everton34167114642455
10Leeds UnitedLeeds35155155353050
11Aston Villa34146144941848
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves35129143547-1245
13Crystal Palace35118163759-2241
14Southampton35117174462-1840
15Burnley35109163347-1439
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35109164058-1839
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton35813143641-537
RFulham35512182547-2227
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom35511193268-3626
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3552281862-4417

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