When the final whistle blew today and the Old Trafford crowd erupted into celebratory madness. Manchester United forward Robin Van Persie balled up his fists, raised both of his arms skyward and sort of sighed. Manchester United had just defeated hapless Aston Villa 3-0, securing their 20th English league title and Van Persie accounted for all three of United’s goals. To be frank, he should’ve had a shit-eating grin from ear to ear after the evening he had.
But he looked more relieved than anything, a man who–despite being oft-injured since coming to England in 2004–has been one of the best players in the English Premier League over the past decade despite having never won an EPL title. Which is why he left Arsenal in a huff last summer to join hated rivals United, and 34 goals in all competitions, 21 in the Premier League, an EPL crown and a potential Golden Boot and gaggle of awards probably justify the move.
So it was his night tonight. As such, he provided a cherry-picked tally barely a minute into the game, before contributing what could be a “goal of the year” contender after thirteen. He then sealed the deal with a third after picking up a Ryan Giggs pass, anxiously waiting for Villa’s goalkeeper Brad Guzan to bite on his fake in order to knock the ball top-shelf past three Villains on the goalline.
Not that he really had to do much after the first goal. With the exception of a few scares from Christian Benteke (who could snag the PFA’s Young Player of the Year honor,) Villa’s counterattacks were thwarted simply by a United defender stepping forward and throwing out a toe. Tonight’s end to the Premier League was the polar opposite to last season’s two-goal Manchester City steal on the final day of the season, with United’s only having four English Premier League games left for the season.
Sure, two of them are against Arsenal and Chelsea (over back to back Saturdays starting this week) and Van Persie’s only three goals from winning the Golden Boot, which is there for the taking since Luis Suarez decided to gnaw on Branislav Ivanovic’s arm as if it were a corn cob. But Sir Alex could rest him along with the other starters to give the young guys some time.
If that’s the case, which it could be, then at least Van Persie got tonight. Finally, an English Premier League crown–the last feat to add to his domestic club trophy case–was his.