With a few weeks of the season still to go, Manchester United have already sewn up the Premier League title, leaving defending champions and local rivals Manchester City and the rest trailing in their wake. An impressive win at home to struggling Aston Villa saw them secure the trophy which they lost in a last-game decider nearly 12 months ago.
There were many reasons why United won the league by such a large margin. A few new faces, maturing of younger players and failings of their key rivals including City all helped to play a role in their 13th league win of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26 years in charge. The fact that he has been in charge for so long has helped to keep some continuity and stability at the club.
Essential to United’s hopes of winning the title back from Roberto Mancini’s men was the signing of the prolific yet injury-prone Arsenal striker Robin van Persie. The Dutchman’s arrival has been a success, as he has weighed in with over 20 goals this season. Most of his haul came before the Christmas and New Year period, but his contribution throughout has been huge.
Mixed-up City fall short
On the back of their dramatic title win last season, many expected Manchester City to go one step further. They already had the talent capable of taking them further in Europe as well as tightening their grip on the league, but in the end, neither happened. Disappointing new signings including Javi Garcia haven’t impressed, while the Mario Balotelli saga undermined confidence at the club.
Lack of goals more than anything else has proved to be City’s undoing. Their top scorer this season is Edin Dzeko, who has scored just 13 times in the League, while their other forwards have either been injured or woefully out-of-form. For parts of the season, they have sorely missed the edge that Sergio Aguero gives them.
Earlier this week, Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement from football management, drawing the curtain on a hugely-successful career in the dugout which has lasted well over three decades and yielded a massive 49 trophies. He’ll be missed by United fans, who will have a number of fond memories of his time there, especially the time when he won his first Premier League trophy.
Back in May 1993, Sir Alex was on the golf course when he was told that Man United had won their first league title for 26 years. Two decades later, even in his wildest dreams, he surely wouldn’t have imagined that his side would go on to win another 12 to go with that! Coming into the Old Trafford hot-seat, David Moyes has a lot to live up to starting next season.