Robin van Persie (centre right) is mobbed by his new teammates after scoring his first goal for Manchester United against Fulham yesterday. Photo: AP

Van Persie celebrates his first goal as a Red Devil

Manchester United's new super-signing wastes little time getting off the mark in his first start for his new club, while Swansea roar on


The shade of the shirt may have changed but Robin van Persie remains a red-hot Dutch master after marking his first Manchester United start with a goal in a 3-2 Premier League win over Fulham yesterday.

Having swapped the crimson of Arsenal for the red checks of United's new home jersey, the £24 million (HK$295 million) man dug United out of an early hole by firing in a trademark volley on 10 minutes to cancel out Damien Duff's well-worked opener.

Japan's Shinji Kagawa also scored on his home debut, the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder tapping in after Mark Schwarzer had spilled Tom Cleverley's shot.

Rightback Rafael soon had the ball in the net again but was foiled by the offside flag only to head in the third with a rare goal on 41 minutes.

Fulham pulled one back in the second half through a bizarre Nemanja Vidic own goal to prompt a very nervy finish for cavalier United, who had Wayne Rooney carried off on a stretcher with a nasty thigh wound.

Van Persie was a substitute for United's opening 1-0 loss at Everton last Monday but this time it was the turn of expected strike partner Rooney to surprisingly start on the bench just two games into the season.

Everton built on Monday's win with a 3-1 romp at Aston Villa and another headed goal from Marouane Fellaini, although Villa goalkeeper Shay Given should have done better.

South Africa's Steven Pienaar had given the flying Liverpool side an early lead with a rocket from distance and Nikica Jelavic added to Fellaini's second to put pressure on new Villa boss Paul Lambert after an opening loss to West Ham United.

Rampant Swansea City also made it two wins out of two to lead the early table after promoted West Ham gifted them two goals in a 3-0 victory to follow up their 5-0 opener against Queens Park Rangers.

Michael Laudrup's side went ahead on 20 minutes when Angel Rangel's cross deflected in off the body of new West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and it was 2-0 soon after when Michu slotted in after an awful James Collins back pass.

Forward Danny Graham knocked in the third after the break while West Ham debutant Matt Jarvis, signed from Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday, had their best chance with a volley.

Asked if he was surprised by his new team's success, Dane Laudrup told Sky Sports: "Yes of course, I mean two games, six points, clean sheet, that's fantastic."

QPR recovered slightly from Swansea's mauling to draw 1-1 at Norwich, also thumped 5-0 by Fulham first up, while Sunderland's game with promoted Reading was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

Tottenham Hotspur, beaten at Newcastle United in coach Andre Villas-Boas' debut last week, were held 1-1 by a West Bromwich Albion side that fought hard following an opening win over Liverpool and scored a late leveller through James Morrison.

Promoted Southampton lost again after a 2-0 home defeat by Wigan Athletic as the visitors showed they could do without winger Victor Moses, who signed for Chelsea on Friday.

Meanwhile, Manchester City's England winger Adam Johnson and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Scotland striker Steven Fletcher have joined Sunderland on four-year deals, the Premier League club announced.

Johnson, 25, had been a bit-part player for the champions last term and was mainly restricted to substitute appearances, meaning he missed out on England's Euro 2012 squad.

However, he started in this month's 2-1 friendly win over Italy to pick up his 11th cap.

"Adding quality players to the squad has been our main aim this summer," Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill said.

Fletcher scored 12 goals in each of the past two seasons for Wolves.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Van Persie celebrates his first goal as a Red Devil