Robin van Persie’s first half hat-trick has won Manchester United their 20th league title, following their 3-0 romping of Aston Villa. Villa, who themselves are engaged in a heated relegation battle, had the worst possible start to the match, with Van Persie giving United the lead with only just over a minute on the clock. Antonio Valenica was released down the right, and the Ecuadorian cut it back to Rafael, who sent a looping cross to the far post. Ryan Giggs volleyed it back across goal to Van Persie, who had the simple task of tapping it into the back of the open net. After going ahead so early, United started to dominate the match, and almost doubled their lead in the ninth minute when Valencia’s cross was headed away to Rafael. Rafael trapped the ball, before hitting a low swerving volley onto the right post from twenty yards out. Amazingly, Villa almost equalized seconds later with Andeas Weimann feeding Christian Benteke in on goal, but the forward could only curl an effort over the bar. Stunningly, only seconds after Benteke’s miss United doubled their lead when Wayne Rooney sent a beautiful long-ball over the Villa defense to Van Persie, who magnificently hit a first-time volley into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Despite Villa having started to come back into the match, Van Persie grabbed his hat-trick in the thirty-second minute, also his twenty-fourth Premier League goal of the season, taking him past Luis Suarez as top scorer. Shinji Kagawa recieved the ball in the middle of the park before sliding a through ball into Giggs’ run down the left. Giggs took the ball into the box, and side-footed it to Van Persie, who cut onto his left foot. A cool swivel of the hips from the Dutchman brought Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan down, and Van Persie curled a shot from six yards out into the top left corner of the net. United retained their lead, and after a minute of added time the first half ended 3-0.
Villa looked a much better side in the second half, and Paul Lambert’s men almost scored in the forty-ninth minute when Gabriel Agbonlahor headed a corner to the far post back across goal to Weimann, who flicked a header on goal, and it beat De Gea, but Van Persie was well positioned to head it off the line. Three minutes later Benteke forced a good save out of De Gea with his low shot from the edge of the box, and Villa looked like they could pull one back. Karim El Ahmadi almost gave Villa a late constellation, and Ahamdi’s dipping effort from the edge of the box forced De Gea into an acrobatic save to tip it over.
After a blunt first part of the second half United came alive, and looked very dangerous. In the seventy-eighth minute Valencia romped down the right before cutting it back to Kagawa, who’s feint gave him space to pull a shot, but the midfielder somehow managed to pull his shot from eight yards out over the bar. But United couldn’t put anymore icing on the cake, and after two minutes of added time the match ended 3-0, with United claiming the Premier League title.
Man of the Match: Robin van Persie