Southampton 2-3 Manchester United: Martial art enough to seal three points for visitors

Anthony Martial continued his scintillating beginning to life as Manchester United player, as he scored twice to help his side beat Southampton 2-3 at typically rocking St. Mary's.

The Frenchman added a second and third to his United tally, as Louis Van Gaal avenged The Red Devils' 0-1 loss to Ronald Koeman's Saints at Old Trafford back in January, the last time the two Dutch managers met.

Van Gaal recalled Wayne Rooney to the starting lineup after injury, but dropped his captain into a number ten role, with Martial as the lone forward. Memphis and Juan Mata were deployed either side of Rooney, as Ander Herrera dropped to the bench.

Marcos Rojo made his first start of the campaign, replacing the injury-stricken Luke Shaw at left-back, with Daley Blind continuing his makeshift role in central defence with Chris Smalling. 

The Saints took an early lead 

Southampton were always likely to prove tough opposition and so it proved. On 13 minutes, Sadio Mane's shot was well saved by David De Gea, only for the rebound to fall at the feet of Graziano Pelle, who coolly slotted past the Spanish goalkeeper.

The home side were superior for the opening quarter, before United crept back into the game. The Saints may have added a second through Pelle, Mane or indeed Dusan Tadic, before Martial was Johnny on the spot once more.

Juan Mata was superbly tackled by Maya Yoshida, only for the ball to fall loose to Martial, who twisted, turned and fired past Maarten Stekelenburg to level things up.

Van Gaal shook his side up defensively 

The United boss, after seeing his side concede the bulk of possession, swapped Matteo Darmian for Antonio Valencia at half time. The tactical tweak paid off.

Yoshida was involved again as the visitors took the lead. The Japanese defender's backpass to Stekelenburg was woeful and the Frenchman pounced, racing goalward and glanced to ball to the Saints 'keeper's left and into the net.

Koeman attempted to arrest the turning tide by bringing on Cuco Martina on the left for the injured Matt Targett, but Mata scored his second of the season after a dominant build-up play led to Memphis hitting the near post, with the ball ricocheting into the path of the Spaniard, to make it three for United.

De Gea made some typically reflex saves

As the game moved into the last twenty minutes, De Gea became increasingly involved, notably so minutes before the third goal. A Southampton corner was headed goalwards by Jose Fonte and with the goal beckoning, De Gea reached across - one-handed - and clawed the ball out.

Pelle scored his second of the game on 85 minutes to set up a grandstand finish and despite a few late scares, United held on for an overall deserved three points.

The win leaves Louis Van Gaal's men just two points off the top spot and city rivals Manchester City, after their shock 1-2 defeat to West Ham on Saturday evening.

Southampton: Stekelenburg; Yoshida, Van Dijk, Fonte, Targett (Martina, 46); Wanyama, Romeu(Davis, 56); Mane, Ward-Prowse(Long, 76), Tadic; Pelle.

Man Utd: De Gea; Darmian(Valencia, 45), Smalling, Blind, Rojo(McNair, 69); Carrick(Schweinsteiger, 60), Schneiderlin; Mata, Rooney, Depay: Martial.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Att: 31,588