MAN UNITED 3, ASTON VILLA 0
Manchester United produced a performance worthy of champions on the night they secured the Barclays Premier League title.
And it was summer signing Robin van Persie, a massively influential figure in the Reds’ 20th championship, who fittingly had the final say in the destiny of the title as United defeated relegation threatened Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
It was van Persie’s sensational first-half hat trick, which took his total of goals for the season to 28, which sealed United’s fifth title in seven seasons.
While van Persie provided the end product, it was a terrific team display from the Reds as they overpowered a young and inexperienced Villa side.
United made an electrifying start taking the lead after only 80 seconds when Ryan Giggs volleyed a cross from Rafael back across the face of goal to give van Persie a simple shot into the roof of the net.
Dutchman van Persie then volleyed just over from Antonio Valencia’s cross while Rafael’s drive struck an upright.
If van Persie’s opening goal was simplicity, his second in the 13th was a breathtaking strike.
Wayne Rooney’s aerial pass from half way fell invitingly for van Persie on the edge of the box and his left-foot volley was hit with unerring accuracy beyond keeper Brad Guzan.
Villa could also have found the net in this spell when a slip from Phil Jones let in Christian Benteke who shot just over with only David De Gea to beat.
It became even better for United when van Persie completed a hat trick in the opening 33 minutes.
Shinji Kagawa released Giggs who raced clear on the left before squaring a pass to van Persie who rounded Guzan to fire high into the roof of the net.
It was as though United thought their night’s work had been completed as they failed to show up at the start of the second period when Villa created several dangerous openings.
Shortly after the restart van Persie became goal saver as opposed to scorer as he cleared Nathan Baker’s header off the line as De Gea was beaten.
United’s lacklustre spell continued when Rooney careless lost possession close to goal as Benteke’s shot forced a fine save from De Gea low to his left. Then midway through the half Andreas Weimann shot narrowly wide as Villa remained a threat. That was soon followed by a drive from substitute Karim El Ahmadi which De Gea was forced to turn over the crossbar.
United only produced an occasional flicker of their first-half form as Jonny Evans’ flick from a corner was cleared off the line while Kagawa blazed over when he ought to have scored a fourth goal for the Reds.
Long before final whistle the fans were in joyous mood as they celebrated recapturing the league title from their Mancunian neighbours.
And at the final whistle, the partying began with Sir Alex Ferguson giving a special embrace to matchwinner and title clincher van Persie as the players performed a triumphant lap of honour.