Robin van Persie struck two late goals to complete a hat-trick and get himself and Manchester United out of trouble with a 3-2 win at Southampton.
Headers from Rickie Lambert and Morgan Schneiderlin had put an out-of-sorts Red Devils side 2-1 behind at St Mary's, with van Persie's opener sandwiched by those two Saints goals.
Van Persie then added to United's misery when he had a chipped second-half penalty palmed away by Saints goalkeeper Kelvin Davies.
It looked as though the summer signing was set for a dressing down from new manager Sir Alex Ferguson as a result, but he salvaged the situation by adding to his first-half goal with an 87th-minute tap-in and an injury-time header to win it.
Liverpool were condemned to their worst start to a season for half-a-century as goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla gave Arsenal a 2-0 victory at Anfield.
On what would have been Bill Shankly's 99th birthday, the Reds equalled the record of his newly-promoted side back in 1962-63 by collecting just one point from their opening three games.
Coming on the back of Friday's deadline-day transfer debacle, when they failed to secure a replacement for Andy Carroll who had joined West Ham 24 hours earlier, the situation has provided huge cause for concern on Merseyside, with both owner John Henry and manager Brendan Rodgers in the firing line.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger may well reflect that he could easily have been in the same position had Arsenal lost.
However, with Cazorla capping an excellent display by profiting from a Jose Reina blunder after summer recruit Podolski had opened their account for the season before half-time, he can start looking forward with confidence.
Hatem Ben Arfa got Newcastle out of jail with a stunning equaliser as Aston Villa saw victory snatched from their grasp in a 1-1 draw.
The France international blasted an unstoppable long-range shot past Brad Guzan with 59 minutes gone to cancel out Ciaran Clark's first-half opener on a day when the Magpies were all at sea for long periods.
Villa more than made a game of it with Tim Krul having to produce good saves to deny Darren Bent and Andreas Weimann, although Guzan hacked a 29th-minute Papiss Cisse shot off the line and claw out Yohan Cabaye's injury-time free-kick.
But Newcastle were at times a shadow of the side which mixed it with the Barclays Premier League's big boys last season, much to the frustration of the crowd.
Stephen Ireland and Darren Bent both might have won it at the death for the visitors, but they eventually had to settle for an eventful draw.