(CNN) -- Robin van Persie atoned for an embarrassing second half penalty miss to complete a hat-trick and give Manchester United a dramatic 3-2 win at Southampton Sunday in the English Premier League.
United had to come from behind twice to claim the three points at St Mary's but it was tough on the newly promoted home side, who played a full part in a pulsating early season encounter.
They went ahead after 16 minutes when Rickie Lambert headed home at the far post after a fine cross by Jason Puncheon.
The lead did not last long as van Persie, signed from Arsenal in close season, chested home a cross and fired across Kelvin Davis in the Southampton goal.
The visitors looked uneasy in defense throughout -- despite Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic being re-united in the center -- and in the second half a slip by Patrice Evra allowed Morgan Schneiderlin to head Southampton ahead again.
Alex Ferguson's men looked set to level for the second time after Jos Hooiveld had fouled van Persie to earn a penalty.
The Dutchman got up to take the spot kick but appeared to change his mind halfway through his effort and could only chip a weak effort which Davis tipped away.
"I don't know what I was thinking of with the penalty," van Persie told Sky Sports at the end of the match.
"I was going to blast it but at the last second I just changed, that wasn't good enough."
But it did not take long for him to make amends, reacting quickly after a Ferdinand header came off the home woodwork.
Then in injury time he met Nani's near post cross with a perfect header to win the match and score his 100th EPL goal.
Ferguson was delighted with the three points and gave particular credit to second half substitute Paul Scholes, who turned the match their way.
"He changed the game completely, his vision and consistency of passing gave us complete control," said the United boss, who was winning his 599th out of 1,000 league games.
In the earlier kick off, Arsenal showed they could do without van Persie's goals with a 2-0 win at Liverpool, who have made their worst start to a top flight season since 1963-63 with one point from three games.
Arsene Wenger's men had failed to score in their first two EPL games, but two of his summer signings came good at Anfield.
Germany striker Lukas Podolski scored his first goal for the club in the first half while Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla grabbed the second for the Gunners in the second half.
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina was at fault for the goal to complete a lackluster display by new manager Brendan Rogers' team.
The other game Sunday saw Newcastle held 1-1 at home by Aston Villa, needing a superb equalizer from French star Hatem Ben Arfa on the hour mark to salvage a point.
Ciaran Clark's first-half opener had given Villa the lead and Tim Krul had to produce good saves to deny Darren Bent and Andreas Weimann as the visitors pressed for a second.