It wasn’t the first hat-trick for Robin van Persie in his young Manchester United career, but it was probably a little more special than his first one at the beginning of the season, when everything about Manchester United seemed to be about his scoring touch. It’s been a rough couple of months for the Dutch striker, but he has regained his scoring touch just in time to secure a 20th championship for his club, and a first one for him personally.
Consistency has been the key all season, that’s what everyone says. No one is going to call this United’s greatest team, or even close to that. Points on the table don’t always tell the truth, even if this is going to be a new record, beating Chelsea’s 95 from their Jose Mourinho days. It speaks more to the mental strength and prowess of the players and especially their manager, who managed to keep on winning without looking too impressive for so long, unlike their city rivals, who might be better than the red devils when they’re at their best, but were far from it too often this season.
The 3-0 win over Aston Villa barely got underway and it was already over. Some expected a team fighting for its life to put up more of a fight, but there’s a certain secret people don’t like to admit about the Premier League – it’s not that good anymore, despite the money and the big names on certain teams. Christian Benteke isn’t really worth £20 million, it’s just teams willing to pay for him that much make it sound like he’s the next Didier Drogba even though we’ve hardly seen enough from him.
In this void of quality, United operate at their best. For about half a season they had Van Persie firing non-stop, scoring a goal on almost every occasion, none more important than his injury time winner against Manchester City. A few months have passed, a drought of Torres proportions became quite difficult to understand. And then came a penalty goal in a draw and the floodgates were opened – when United needed Van Persie to clinch them the title and get it over with, he was at his absolute best.
Michael Carrick is a name this title will be attached to as well. The midfielder was the only consistent aspect of a midfield unit that was far from easy on the eyes this season, with names and faces around him changing constantly. At the end, it didn’t really matter. The quality of Wayne Rooney was enough to help them when necessary, just like he helped Robin van Persie with his vision and scoring all season long. He might be on his way out if certain tabloids are to be believed, but it’s hard to not to state the obvious – he’s a huge part of this team and its success for the last 10 years, and it’ll certainly be a blow for United to watch him go.
Mission accomplished, sort of. Alex Ferguson isn’t satisfied with only a Premier League title. He wants the Champions League as well, but knows that even with the money he spent this summer on Kagawa and Van Persie, his team is still quite a few steps away from the teams in the semifinal this year. It’s always good to have something to keep pushing you forward, after it seems you’ve achieved everything possible.