How Man Utd won their 20th crown
Manchester United won their 20th Barclays Premier League title on Monday with an emphatic 3-0 win against Aston Villa thanks to a Robin van Persie hat-trick.
supersport.com takes a look at the drama as it unfolded from the first day of the season and focus on defining moments which ultimately took the league title to Old Trafford.
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August 25 -- Following a wobbly start against Everton five days earlier, Man United tuned their title campaign into gear with a nervous 3-2 victory against Fulham at Old Trafford. Goals from new signing Robin van Persie, Kagawa and Da Silva did the job.
September 2 -- Van Persie was really on fire here as he blasted a hat-trick against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium. The victory was all the more memorable as United had to come back from a goal down, not once but twice.
September 15 -- A well-oiled Man United machine was now running at full throttle as they flattened Wigan 4-0 -- their biggest win of the season so far. Veteran Scholes, Hernandez, Buttner and Powell provided the goals.
September 23 -- There is nothing as a sweet as victory on enemy grounds. United left Anfield with maximum points thanks to a 2-1 win, courtesy of Da Silva and Van Persie. Another come-from-behind performance by Sir Alex’s men.
October 7 -- Following a minor snag (3-2 loss) at home against Spurs, United went to Sports Direct Arena where they smashed Newcastle 3-0 to get the campaign back on track. Messieurs Evans, Evra and Cleverley did the damage.
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-- Never mind the 4-2 win against Stoke eight days prior, the 3-2 win against title hopefuls Chelsea
was to become the highlight of the month for the Red Devils. It was a hard-fought, energy-sapping feat as they almost gave away a comfortable 2-0 first-half lead to allow the Blues back into the match. Hernandez’ 74th minute strike secured the points. Other goals came through Luiz (own goal) and Van Persie. More crucial was that the Blues took long to recover from this defeat as they went to a six-match winless streak. United were now making serious inroads in winning the title.
November 3 -- It’s sweet to get one over Arsenal and the 2-1 home victory was to add more points in the fight to annex the 20th league title.
November 10 -- Being 2-0 down after 49 minutes, it must have suddenly dawned on United that a Villa Park defeat could seriously hamper their title aspirations. Hernandez struck on 57 minutes to reignite the fight and sudden Villa panic resulted in an own goal from Vlaar just five minutes later. Then Hernandez sealed the victory four minutes from time.
November 24 -- QPR came to Old Trafford and thought they had a chance of upsetting the apple cart with a 51st minute goal. They soon left with their tails between their legs as United fought back for a 3-1 result.
December 9 – Man United started the month positively with a 4-3 win against Reading on December 1 but it was the 3-2 outcome against their noisy neighbours that proved crucial in eliminating potential stumbling blocks to the title.
That was to be followed by a 3-1 win against Sunderland (December 15), a 1-1 draw against party-poopers Swanswea (December 23), then a comeback 4-3 home win against Newcastle(December 26) before the 2-0 home victory against West Brom on December 29.
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January 13 -- Five matches for this month and Man United were as clinical as ever. The only blight, if at all, was the 1-1 draw against Tottenham on January 20. The highlight was the 2-1 victory against Liverpool, a repeat of the corresponding fixture in the first round. Wayne Rooney was also back.
February 23 -- Only two matches for this month and United were businesslike as usual. It was a 2-0 victory against Everton and QPR respectively and credit went to the “grandfather” in the United artillery – Ryan Giggs – as he scored a goal in both matches.
March 30 -- Three matches in March and the pressure was starting to show. Following a comprehensive 4-0 outcome against Norwich, the Red Devils scraped a 1-0 home win against Reading and they needed a Bramble own goal to see them through against Sunderland on March 30.
April -- The noisy neighbours finally had something to bring to the barbecue, a 2-1 win against the champions-elect. That City victory was insignificant though, as Sir Alex’s men were already running away with the title. They confirmed that with a 2-0 away win against Stoke and a 2-2 draw against West Ham.
21 April: Tottenham 3 – 1 Man City - Spurs put an end to the suspense or any potential delays to the crowning of the Premier League champions as they blasted Man City 3-1 to turn international attention to Monday’s clash between Man United and relegation threatened Aston Villa.
April 22: Man United v Aston Villa
It was now down to United – to prolong the suffering on the chasing pack or end the race in style watched by close to 80 000 cheering Old Trafford fans and a couple of other millions around world? RVP answered that quite emphatically and the title was back at Old Trafford for a record 20th time.