A Robin van Persie hat-trick clinched Manchester United’s 20th league title on Monday.
With Manchester City falling to a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon, the Reds just had to beat Aston Villa to get their hands on a title they lost to their neighbours in such heartbreaking fashion on the final day of last season.
And it took only 83 seconds for van Persie to ignite the celebrations, when Ryan Giggs got played the ball across the six-yard box for the Dutchman to slot past Brad Guzan. Ten minutes later the former Arsenal striker scored a contender for goal of the season, when he got on the end of a deep Wayne Rooney pass to volley first time from outside the area.
And just past the half-hour mark, van Persie completed his hat-trick when Giggs again fed him and he fired the ball into the roof of the net from close range. This takes the 29-year-old’s tally for the campaign to 24; one more than Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.
It has been a sensational debut campaign at Old Trafford for the striker, who is in the running to retain the PFA Player of the Year Award he won whilst at the Emirates Stadium last term, and Ferguson was quick to praise his contribution on Monday evening.
“I remember Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saying to me ‘he’s better than you think’ when we concluded the deal. He was right,” the Scot is quoted on the BBC website. “He has made a fantastic contribution. In terms of impact he has had as big an impact as anyone.”
United and van Persie now travel to the Gunners on Sunday afternoon, when they are likely to receive a guard of honour as they walk onto the pitch. Seeing their former captain celebrating a title whilst they themselves have now gone eight years without silverware will be hard to take for the home supporters, but the player doesn’t appear too concerned.
“I am very happy but it is weird,” van Persie told Sky Sports. “I had to wait so long for my first title. It is a great feeling. It is a fantastic team and fantastic players. It is a championship for every single one of them. The staff, the managers, the physios. This is our 20th title, it is deserved. The next game is against Arsenal, but let me enjoy this moment.”