Nick Govier uses FourFourTwo's StatsZone app – now FREE – to assess the second round of the season's Premier League action
There's only one place to start this week, and that's with Robin van Persie. The Manchester United forward scored his first hat-trick for the club, digging his new team out of a substantial hole against Southampton, and even finding time to fluff an attempted Panenka penalty at 2-1 down. Without Van Persie's goal threat – he took 11 shots and got 5 on target – the United team looked toothless, only managing a further 2 on-target shots between them.
Sir Alex Ferguson joined Van Persie in praising Paul Scholes' influence in changing the game. Michael Carrick completed 115 of 126 attempted passes, but only created 2 goalscoring chances in the match, bettered by Scholes' 3 in his 30 minutes.
Southampton may have yet to register a point in what has been a tough opening set of fixtures, but they have certainly been no pushovers. They had 15 shots themselves to Manchester United's 20, and while Rickie Lambert may be the goal focus, he also created 5 chances for other members of his team, including an assist.
Robin van Persie's previous club Arsenal were also happy with their weekend, with two of their summer signings opening their accounts in a 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield. However, it's the defensive aspect of their play which impressed most, as they made 26 successful tackles and 20 interceptions in the match. No individual Arsenal player made more than 4 successful tackles, demonstrating the team approach to defending which means Arsenal are yet to concede a goal this season.
Newcastle United needed a screamer from Hatem Ben Arfa to rescue a point at home to Aston Villa, as they didn't seem capable of altering their gameplan when the Villa defence proved resolute at repelling Newcastle's Plan A. Focusing on width and crosses into the box, Newcastle regularly reached the byline, and both Cabaye and Ben Arfa attempted 9 crosses. However, only 12 of the team's 37 reached a black and white shirt, as both Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cissé drew a rare blank.
Dimitar Berbatov was introduced after half-time in Fulham's trip to West Ham, and his 19 successful passes created 5 goalscoring chances, a high rate of return which bodes well for his new career in West London. It didn't help his team get back into the match though, as West Ham's 3-0 halftime lead remained unanswered, in no small part due to Mark Noble's performance in midfield, where he made 7 tackles and completed 79 out of his 81 attempted passes.
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