Tuesday 22 April 2014
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Robin van Persie scored a stunning first half hat-trick to secure Manchester United’s 13th Barclays Premier League title as the Red Devils beat Aston Villa.
The Dutchman, who had only scored twice in his previous seven league appearances, struck in a 31-minute spell, including a sensational volley, to start the celebrations at Old Trafford. United were 13 points clear of rivals Manchester City before the match started, having lost the title to them the previous season.
“The players focused on the challenge of City and came up trumps," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said afterwards. "This club never gives in and every player who comes to this club has to have that engrained. We have lived up to the expectation.”
Van Persie calmed home nerves in the second minute when a glorious move resulted in Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Antonio Valencia setting up the Dutchman to score his 26th goal of the season, and 22nd in the Barclays Premier League, from close range.
Van Persie then headed over and Rafael hit a post before United doubled their lead in magnificent style. Rooney picked out van Persie on the run toward the penalty area and he hammered a superb left-foot volley past the helpless Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Van Persie collected the match ball after Giggs passed up a shooting opportunity to give the ball to the striker, who took a touch before firing into the roof of the net in the 31st minute.
Villa hit back after the break and van Persie had to clear off the line from Andreas Weimann before David De Gea denied Christian Benteke. Shinji Kagawa missed a chance to make it 4-0 but it was United’s day as they clinched the Barclays Premier League title at Old Trafford for the fourth time – more than at any other ground.
“I had to wait so long for my first title, it is a great feeling," Van Persie said. "This is a fantastic team and fantastic players. It is a championship for every single one of them – the staff, the managers, the physios.”
The result left Villa one place and three points above the relegation zone but two wins and a draw from their final four matches meant they finished safely in 15th, five points above the bottom three.