Last season saw a nail-biting end to an enthralling ten months of football with Manchester City playing party spoilers with two stoppage time goals to lift the Premier League trophy. However the Red Devils manager swore revenge and acted swiftly in the transfer market by adding Robin Van Persie to his ranks to ensure it didn’t happen next time around.
That was a plan executed to perfection last night. With City getting stunned by a Tottenham comeback on the weekend, all United needed was a win against low performers Aston Villa to “officially” win the league, with four games to go. It was exactly what every fan wanted as their next trip was to the Emirates which would be a tricky encounter and could postpone the celebrations further. However, all it took was a first-half hat-trick from the ‘Flying Dutchman’ to seal a record extending 20 English top-flight titles for them, their 13th in the Premier League era.
The celebrations in the dressing room
Having not scored a lot of goals lately, Persie would be relieved by his contribution as he has proved to be one of the most influential strikers around. Scoring 24 goals for the Devils this season, this is what the ecstatic striker had to say after the game:
“I feel very happy but it’s weird. I had to wait so long for my first title. It’s fantastic, just fantastic. This is our 20th title and I think one we deserved. [The second goal volley] It is one of the best goals I have scored but it didn’t really matter today. Now, we just have to enjoy this moment.”
He also got a lot of praise from the gaffer who had claimed ‘he nearly killed with his celebration’ in the previous game. He said:
“I’m delighted for the players, the staff and the supporters. I think we deserved it. Our consistency has won us the league. [Van Persie’s second goal] is absolutely a contender for goal of the season; maybe even goal of the century. The way he got his head down and over the ball – it was a truly magnificent strike. [Van Persie] was unbelievable tonight. You have to forget last season, our consistency over the last 20 years has been unbelievable. The focus has been good and we’ve come up trumps.”
‘Out of the limelight’ striker Wayne Rooney also said:
“We fully deserve it. When you lose the title like we did last year it’s hard to take. We all dug in deep and worked together and we’ve done fantastically well to put ourselves in a position to finish the job off tonight.”
Following this win, Manchester United will also enjoy Guard of Honor at Arsenal next time around, provided the Gunners wish to give them their due respect. Arsene Wenger, being a man of principles, is expected to go with it, though few supporters will back that decision, because the presence of Robin has complicated it. That game would be a real contrast to yesterday’s game in terms of atmospheres for him as he would expect to be jeered throughout the game. But that wouldn’t worry him too much as he has achieved what he had set out for, in the first season itself.
Manchester City will still be scratching their heads over the situation and wonder where they lost it, though it would be fair to say that “Class beat them this time”. Maybe they would once again look at the transfer market as it’s always been their ‘solution center’, but beating this United team to the task seems a target very hard to achieve.
As for now, the red half of Manchester can enjoy their last four games with no pressure and would ultimately lift the trophy at the Hawthorns, after their last game of the season. Also, they have a chance of beating the record 95 points set in a league by Chelsea, provided they win all their games. So, Sir Alex is not expected to hit the brakes just yet, he’ll keep his foot on the gas right till the end.