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United Edge Plucky Saints

Manchester United survived a second-half scare to edge Southampton 2-1 and moved seven points clear at the top of the league table.

The Saints stunned Old Trafford just three minutes in when a horrendous back pass from Michael Carrick put David de Gea under pressure and he reacted poorly as Jay Rodriguez took control of the ball and fired home.

Their joy lasted just five minutes though before Shinji Kagawa slipped Wayne Rooney through and the England international lashed an emphatic finish home.

Kagawa almost put United ahead two minutes later but his strike came back off the inside of the post before the Japan international was stopped by some superb defending in the 25th minute.

United were on top and Rooney would grab his second soon after when Patrice Evra nodded a Robin van Persie free-kick across the face of goal where Rooney was waiting to tap in.

Van Persie fired over soon after and United comfortably saw out the remainder of the half.

Southampton responded brilliantly after the break as they pressed United all around the park and saw De Gea deal with a strike from Lambert on the second attempt.

Artur Boruc made a spectacular save to deny Van Persie from close range in the 74th minute while De Gea did the same at the other end to push away a free-kick from Lambert.

Southampton were the ones on attack but United could have killed the game off in the 81st minute when Rooney was sent clear but a poor touch allowed Boruc to close down the chance.

United defenders put their bodies on the line in the final few minutes and ensured that they claimed a valuable three points.

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