Man United 3 Aston Villa 0
Manchester United 3 Aston Villa 0, Old Trafford, English Premier League, April 22, 2013. Sir Alex Ferguson´s Manchester United clinched the Barclays Premier League title as they defeated Aston Villa by a comfortable 3–0 score. At Old Trafford, Netherlands international Robin van Persie managed to notch up a hat-trick during a match which could have seen even more goals from the rampant home team.
Robin van Persie gave a masterclass in the striker’s art as he scored a tremendous treble against Aston Villa at The Theatre of Dreams. Born and growing up in Rotterdam, Van Persie had started his professional career with his local side Feyenoord when he was fifteen. After scoring fifteen Dutch Eredivisie goals in 61 appearances for The Pride of South, he signed a four-year contract with Arsene Wenger´s Arsenal at the end of the 2003-04 term, and went on to clock up an astonishing 96 goals in 194 Premier League games for The Gunners before he was brought to Manchester United for a transfer fee estimated to be somewhere in the region of around £22.5 million in the summer of 2012. And according to the player himself, the main reason for his move to United was that he disagreed completely with Arsenal´s direction and strategy. The Dutchman made his competitive debut for Manchester United as a substitute for Danny Welbeck in a 1–0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park on the opening day of the 2012–13 campaign, and he netted his first goal for his new club in a 3–2 victory over Fulham at Old Trafford on the 25th of August 2012. A senior international for Holland, Van Persie made his first appearance for The Flying Dutchmen in a 2–0 World Cup Qualifier victory over Romania at Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam on the 4th of June 2005, and went on to register his first goal for his nation in a 4–0 World Cup Qualifier win over Finland at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki just four days later.
With neighbouring rivals Manchester City losing by a 3–1 score against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane the day before, Sir Alex Ferguson´s players knew that a victory over Paul Lambert´s Aston Villa team at their Old Trafford fortress would see the club clinch the Premiership title for a record breaking 20th time. The Midlanders had managed to win just one of their past 34 visits to Manchester United in the Premier League and as the Monday game eventually turned out in the end, three goals from top scorer Robin van Persie were more than enough to sink the Black Country outfit. Sir Alex had made only two changes from the Manchester United team which had played out a closely contested 2–2 Premiership draw against an aggressive West Ham United side at a full-packed Upton Park in East London five days earlier with Northern Ireland international Jonny Evans playing in the middle of defence alongside England defender Phil Jones, and veteran playmaker Ryan Giggs partnering Three Lions international Michael Carrick in the centre of midfield.
Manchester United went into an early 1–0 lead already in the second minute of the play as Giggs sent the ball across the six-yard box for Van Persie to slam it home. Then ten minutes later, a precise long ball from Wayne Rooney found the former Arsenal marksman, whose sensational twenty-yard volley flew past Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan and into the net. And after 33 minutes of action, Giggs was once again the provider when the evergreen club stalwart stormed into the eighteen-yard area and then flicked the ball on to Van Persie who smashed the ball past Guzan and into the back of the net from close range. Manchester United and Japan international midfielder Shinji Kagawa could have scored a fourth goal in the second half, but the previous Borussia Dortmund player managed to blast the ball over the crossbar from a few yards out. After his hat-trick against Aston Villa, Van the Man had now recorded a highly impressive 24 English Premier League goals for The Manchester Reds during the 2012–13 campaign, and he was about to etch his name into Old Trafford folklore. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Rafael da Silva, Jonathan Evans, Patrice Evra, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa, Robin van Persie. Substitutes: Danny Welbeck, Luis Nani, Rio Ferdinand, Tom Cleverley, Alexander Buttner, Javier Hernandez, Anders Lindegaard. Aston Villa Team: Brad Guzan, Nathan Baker, Matt Lowton, Ron Vlaar, Ashley Westwood, Joe Bennett, Fabian Delph, Charles N’Zogbia, Andi Weimann, Gabby Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke. Substitutes: Karim El Ahmadi, Ciaran Clark, Yacouba Sylla, Brett Holman, Darren Bent, Jordan Bowery, Shay Given.