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Premier League

  • 22 April 2013
  • • 21:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: A. Taylor
  • • Attendance: 75591
3
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Live Commentary

  • Thanks for staying with me, @AdamMazrani tonight. Congratulations to Manchester United, stay with Goal.com UK for all the reaction!
  • Well that was very simple in the end for Manchester United. Robin van Persie's three goals, as they have done all season, did the job for Sir Alex Ferguson. His first-half hat-trick, including a quite astounding second goal, saw off Aston Villa comfortably. As for the visitors, well they didn't expect much this evening but their second-half performance showed some promise as they continue their fight to stay in this division.
  • It's full-time here and Manchester United are champions of the English Premier League, their 20th title overall, another record for the club and Sir Alex Ferguson.
  • 90' + 1'
    Van Persie produces a wonderful bit of control and almost lays the ball perfectly into the path of Welbeck but the pass is just cleared into the arms of Guzan.
  • 90'
    Just two minutes of stoppage time until party time.
  • 89'
    Only a matter of minutes left to play now. This second half has been a bit of a non-event but Manchester United will not care a jot about that. They're cruising towards the title.
  • 87'
    He can certainly strike a ball, can Karim El Ahmadi. After his earlier effort, he's just forced De Gea into another save from long-range. However, this one is a more routine effort from a free-kick that is straight down the goalkeeper's throat.
  • 85'
    The "oles" are out at Old Trafford at the moment. It's not quite Tiki Taka from Manchester United but it is certainly the best in the country by a considerable margin. This has been a thoroughly deserved title victory. Was it sealed in August with the signing of Van Persie from Arsenal? It seems like it. Manchester City and perhaps even the Gunners will be thinking what might have been had they had the Dutchman in their ranks.
  • 83'
    Guzan has to be sharp to rush out to the feet of Antonio Valencia after the winger exchanges passes with Kagawa and races onto it. However, the American has been a stellar performer for Villa all season long and was on his toes there.
  • 81'
    Paul Lambert will be reasonably pleased with the way his side have reacted during this second half. There was a danger after the first 45 that this could end rather tortuously but an improved display from them, combined with some lethargic display from United, has kept the score at 3-0.
  • 80'
    Substitution Joseph Bennett Ciaran Clark
  • 80'
    The celebratory mood is rising again at Old Trafford. The scoreline looks pretty set at the minute, but it would be apt if Van Persie could just put one final stamp on proceedings before the match is out.
  • 78'
    Just under 15 minutes to go until Manchester United will surely be crowned champions of the Premier League for the 13th time. Make sure you stay with Goal.com UK for all the post-match reaction! We've got a break in play at the moment because Danny Welbeck is down.
  • 76'
    United fly forward and really should have a fourth to cap matters. Valencia muscles his way past Bennett and picks out Kagawa, who does brilliantly to shift away from the attention of Vlaar but with the freedom of the box, somehow contrives to fire the ball over the bar with only Guzan to beat. The first bit of skill was brilliant but as for the second...
  • 74'
    De Gea is forced into a sprawling save from an excellent long-range strike from El Ahmadi that dipped and spun and was heading for the top of the net were it not for the Spaniard's fingertips.
  • 74'
    De Gea is forced into a sprawling save from an excellent long-range strike from El Ahmadi that dipped and spun and was heading for the top of the net were it not for the Spaniard's fingertips.
  • 72'
    Substitution Wayne Rooney Danny Welbeck
  • 71'
    Danny Welbeck has come on for Wayne Rooney, who has now been substituted for the third consecutive game. He doesn't look too happy. Before the arrival of Van Persie it is unthinkable that Rooney would have been taken off on an occasion such as this. Could he be on the move this summer? Those rumours linking him to PSG will not go away will they?
  • 70'
    Van Persie's close control is exceptional at times. Collecting the ball at pace, he somehow evades the attention of three Villa players to sweep a glorious ball out to Giggs to force a corner. From the resulting corner, Jonny Evans' deflected strike is cleared off the line.
  • 67'
    However, Villa are do still look promising and this time it's Weimann who bursts past Giggs, making the Welshman look all of his 39 years and produces a cross-cum-shot that just about evades David de Gea's goal.
  • 65'
    The United fans are trying to rouse their team at the moment but in reality they need not. The hosts are in cruise control again after that early second-half burst from Villa and if anything, they look likely to score again, particularly if they can get Van Persie on the ball more.
  • 63'
    After spending much of the second half so far in his own half, Rooney is finally where he does his best work, facing the opposition goal. First he thumps a Ryan Giggs lay-off against Vlaar before from a drilled Van Persie crush, he curls over the bar. Better from the England man.
  • 61'
    Benteke's looked a handful tonight in attack for Aston Villa. Indeed, he looks a class apart from his counterparts at times and that's just been revealed again when a back-flick from the Belgian catches Lowton unawares and the ball trickles out. Can Paul Lambert hold on to Benteke next season, whatever division they're in?
  • 59'
    It seems remarkable to say but despite being 3-0 up and just over 30 minutes away from being confirmed champions, Sir Alex Ferguson is on his feet, unhappy at the way his side have begun this half. They certainly have been a bit sloppy but they still remain well in control.
  • 57'
    The hosts have certainly taken their foot off the gas so far in this half and Villa have almost got them pinned in here at the moment. Rooney in particular is getting no time on the ball and after being robbed deep in his own half again, Weimann's searching pass only just eludes the onrushing Benteke.
  • 55'
    United respond to that bout of Villa pressure by just taking the sting out of the game, comfortably keeping possession all over the pitch. Sensible play from the champions-elect there. However, the weaknesses we've seen from Rooney tonight in midfield are just a hint at the problems that still remain in this United team. Where can they improve for next season, when a tilt at the Champions League will surely be the target? Get involved and tell us on Twitter via me, @AdamMazrani or @GoalUK, or on our Facebook page.
  • 53'
    Rooney's caught the eye with some of his long-range passes in central midfield tonight but he's also been sloppy at times and after receiving the ball from his goalkeeper, is far too casual in handing the ball away to the opposition. In a flash, Benteke is on it, cracking a shot on the turn that is palmed away well by De Gea.
  • 52'
    Villa have started reasonably well in this second half but you feel that United are almost playing with them and if they really wanted to, could score almost at will. Evra's being a given a talking-to by the referee at the moment for a foul on Lowton. He's got to be careful the Frenchman after being booked earlier in the first half.
  • 50'
    He's scored a hat-trick and now he's saved one at the other end. From that corner, Weimann manages to arch in a superb header that beats De Gea but waiting on the goal-line is Van Persie to expertly head away from goal and keep his side's clean sheet intact.
  • 49'
    Almost a nightmare moment for David de Gea. Villa work the ball sensibly but from a routine Weimann cross, the Spaniard flaps it and forces his defenders to clear it for a corner.
  • 47'
    Within the first minute, Van Persie is involved again and he shows quick feet to force a corner, which taken by Giggs, comes to nothing.
  • 46'
    Substitution Charles N'Zogbia Karim El Ahmadi
  • 46'
    Aston Villa kick us off again here. There's been a half-time substitution for the visitors, with Charles N'Zogbia coming off for Karim El-Ahmadi.
  • The players are out on the pitch at Old Trafford. At least Reading and QPR will be happy about what is happening at the moment, remember a Villa win here would officially relegate them from the Premier League.
  • We're close to the start of the second 45 here. This match is over, that looks certain. It's just a matter of how many more United want. In front of their own fans, with a 20th league title ready and waiting at the final whistle, you can be sure Sir Alex Ferguson will want as many as possible. Aston Villa and Paul Lambert, do not even think about conceding within the first few minutes of this half!
  • So what did you all make of it? Do those three goals cement Van Persie's place as the Footballer of the Year? Can Aston Villa somehow even think about getting back into this? What effect will this have on the rest of their season? Get involved via Twitter with me @AdamMazrani or @GoalUK, or via our Facebook page.
  • For Villa, well this match is gone, that's for sure. But they surely need to be wary of their goal difference. It's currently four worse than 18th-placed Wigan and Paul Lambert does not need to be reminded that in a similar situation at Stamford Bridge in December, his young Villa side were eventually beaten by an 8-0 scoreline. That cannot be allowed to happen again tonight.
  • So what more can you say about Robin van Persie? To think that only a week or so ago many were saying the Dutchman needed a rest and was running out of steam. Ludicrous. What an unbelievable first-half hat-trick. The second goal in particular will live long in the memory. How many more can he get before the 90 minutes are up?
  • Manchester United close out the half with ease. They're 3-0 up. They're cruising. Robin van Persie has a hat trick. He's on fire. 45 more minutes to go until they are confirmed as champions of English football for the 20th time.
  • 45'
    Ron Vlaar has just brought laughter from the Old Trafford crowd when his ambitious (to say the least) effort from all of 40 yards flies closer to the stadium roof than the goal. Two minutes of stoppage time here.
  • 43'
    Just a couple of minutes until the interval now and Aston Villa probably can't wait to get back into the dressing room. It's been a chastening first half here for some of their young players. They've been given a lesson in just how to cut it at the top level of the Premier League. Yes, Van Persie's second goal was outstanding but his first and third goals could have been defended far better.
  • 42'
    Villa have a sight of goal when Benteke does well to find Agbonlahor on the edge of the box with an inventive chipped pass. The striker does well to make half a yard for himself against Evans but can only fire wide with a left-footed effort.
  • 41'
    It's easy for the hosts at the moment and they are content to pass the ball around almost lazily in defence and midfield. They suddenly spring into life when Van Persie feeds Giggs on the left and the veteran Welshman's drilled ball across the face of goal is collected well by Guzan.
  • 39'
    This is a bit harsh on Villa really because going forward they do attack with pace and can look a real threat at times. However, they are just far too open in midfield and are allowing the likes of Rooney and Kagawa all the time and space in the world to do exactly as they please. Oh and of course, there is the small matter of possibly the league's finest striker to deal with. Defensively however, they must do better in their remaining games as they fight against relegation.
  • 36'
    The mood is extremely celebratory at Old Trafford at the moment. You do have to wonder whether Arsene Wenger is watching proceedings here tonight as he prepares for Man Utd's visit to the Emirates on Sunday afternoon? How will the Frenchman be feeling as he sees his once most-feared player scoring the goals, just as he has done all season, to give Sir Alex Ferguson and his team the title.
  • 33'
    Assist Ryan Giggs
  • 33'
    Goal Robin van Persie
    In an instant, United storm forward and show just why they're champions. Kagawa is given far too room in the middle of the park and he sets Ryan Giggs clear and racing away with only Guzan to beat. The Welshman elects to find Robin van Persie rather than shoot himself and the Dutchman effortlessly evades the attentions of a Villa defender and from close-range, hammers in off the post to complete his hat trick inside 33 minutes. What a player.
  • 31'
    Some extremely sloppy passing from the home side sees Jonny Evans and Wayne Rooney give the ball away in quick succession. Charles N'Zogbia races onto it and does well to force a corner on his weaker foot. However, the set piece comes to nothing and United are in control again.
  • 30'
    This game is getting really quite bitty at the moment. It's being pulled up for several stoppages and niggly fouls. It almost seems as if Man Utd have stopped trying. Despite their comfortable lead, you can be sure Ferguson won't be too happy about this.
  • 28'
    Yellow Card Patrice Evra
    Patrice Evra is now going into the book after a mistimed challenge on Charles N'Zogbia. Paul Lambert will be pleased with the way his side have reacted to going 2-0 down so early on. This is still very much a procession at the moment for the hosts.
  • 26'
    Signs of life from Aston Villa. They work the ball well and have several men in the box when full-back Joe Bennett swings in a delivery. However, it is far too close to David de Gea to cause any real alarm.
  • 24'
    We're in a real quiet period at the moment, a feeling summed up by our man at Old Trafford, Jeremy Butler: "Rather than whip the fans into a fevour that Robin van Persie goal has quitened Old Trafford. It's as if the Reds faithful are still wondering if it really happened. This game is dead now. The title is won. The only question left unanswered is whether van Persie can complete his hat-trick." Remember you can join in the discussion via Twitter with me @AdamMazrani or @GoalUK, or via our Facebook page.
  • 22'
    It's party time at Old Trafford and the capacity-crowd have already begun chanting the songs of old United legends. Eric Cantona is currently receiving the adulation. If he keeps scoring goals like that, they'll be singing Van Persie's name for many years to come.
  • 20'
    We have a stoppage of play here for an injury to Michael Carrick. That just gives Villa a breather. They've restricted the hosts well after that Van Persie stunner but that could just be down to the state of shock that seems to be around Old Trafford after that goal. It really was that good.
  • 18'
    That's a nasty challenge from Ryan Giggs there. The Welshman overran the ball after evading a couple of challenges but in attempting to reach the ball before Ashley Westwood, dived in with a poor tackle. Somehow he hasn't gone into the book but he really, really should have.
  • 16'
    There really are no words to describe just how magnificent that goal was from Van Persie. Remember his goal for Arsenal at home to Everton last season? Exactly like that, but even better arguably. It's the goal that surely gives his side the three points that will crown them champions. Villa will just want to keep the score down at this stage.
  • 13'
    Assist Wayne Rooney
  • 13'
    Goal Robin van Persie
    That is a quite magnificent goal from Robin van Persie. From the goal-kick that resulted from Benteke's miss, Rooney receives the ball in central-midfield. The England international picks out another raking long-range pass over the top of the Villa defence in search of Van Persie. Will the Dutchman try and bring down a difficult looping ball? Absolutely not. He unleashes a sledge-hammer of a first-time volley that has flashed past Guzan in an instant. United are cruising to the Premier League title now.
  • 11'
    Completely against the run of play, Villa go inches away from an equaliser! A loose ball in midfield is pounced upon by Weimann and suddenly the visitors have a two-on-two at the back. Running at pace, the little Villa forward slips in strike-partner Benteke who attempts to open his body out and curl it beyond De Gea but can only put it over the bar. Big chance that.
  • 9'
    United could run riot here. They've got Villa penned in at the moment and after another Valencia cross is cleared, the ball falls to Rafael to crack a swinging effort that hits the post and comes back out with Guzan well beaten.
  • 8'
    United go close again and it's the same combination as Giggs produces a deep cross to the far post where Van Persie, having excellently pulled away, plays back for Kagawa to strike only for Villa to snuffle the ball clear.
  • 6'
    Aston Villa look a bit overawed at the moment. Manchester United look likely to score every time they come forward. Van Persie in particular is in one of his electric moods tonight and the visitors are struggling to cope with the Dutchman in the early stages.
  • 3'
    He's nearly done it again! Another Man Utd cross, this time from Valencia, finds Van Persie who still has a lot to do but produces a quite brilliant hooked effort that hits the roof of the net. He looks full of confidence now after scoring for the third game in a row. What goal drought?
  • 2'
    Assist Ryan Giggs
  • 2'
    Goal Robin van Persie
  • 1'
    We're alive and kicking here, and the hosts give away a foul almost immediately.
  • Just about to get started here. Man Utd will kick us off, playing from left to right as we see it.
  • This may be about to become 20 league titles for Manchester United but a word for Ryan Giggs, who is set to win his 13th. What an incredible achievement that is. For the likes of David de Gea, Phil Jones, Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie, this would represent a maiden triumph.
  • Players are just about to come out at Old Trafford. Remember you can keep get involved on Twitter via me @AdamMazrani or @GoalUK, as well as Goal.com UK's Facebook page. It looks difficult for Villa to get anything tonight that's for sure. However, will Manchester United just perhaps be a bit too lax?
  • Just under 15 minutes to go until kick-off now. Old Trafford is filling up nicely. Are there any Villa fans out there who think they can cause an upset tonight? They certainly will possess a threat on the counter-attack with a front four of Benteke, Agbonlahor, Weimann and Charles N'Zogbia.
  • Back in November, Aston Villa took a two-goal lead at home thanks to two Andreas Weimann efforts. However, Sir Alex Ferguson's bold move bringing on Javier Hernandez at half-time paid off with the Mexican scoring twice and forcing an own goal from Ron Vlaar to seal a classic Manchester United comeback in the last 30 minutes. Hernandez is on the bench once again tonight, with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney leading the line for the hosts.
  • If Aston Villa fans are looking to history for some optimism tonight, they should really look away now. Their side have only won one of their last 40 meetings against United in all competitions, that coming under Martin O'Neill in a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in December 2009. At least he goalscorer that night, Gabriel Agbonlahor, starts tonight after missing last week's 1-1 draw with Fulham due to a thigh problem. He will partner Christian Benteke, who needs one more goal to become the first Villa play to score 20 goals in a season since Juan Pablo Angel in 2003-04.
  • For the visitors, well if the odds were already stacked against them, it's looking even more ominous now with Sir Alex Ferguson's side only needing a win to seal the title. However, should Paul Lambert's Villa secure a shock victory, then that would not only move them six points clear of the drop zone (though 18th-placed Wigan have a game in hand), it would also officially relegate Reading and QPR to the Championship.
  • So after Manchester City's late collapse at Tottenham yesterday afternoon, city rivals Man Utd only need a win tonight to be confirmed as title winners. This would only make the fourth time they have been crowned as champions on home soil and it is sure to be a party atmosphere tonight, particularly if an early goal goes in.
  • and more from Jeremy: "Aston Villa look like they have come here to attack. Paul Lambert has picked a front four of Charles N’Zogbia, Andreas Weimann, Gabby Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke. Brave move by the Scot when might of thought of shutting up shop and looking for a point having seen third-bottom Wigan lose on Saturday at West Ham."
  • Bit of reaction to those teams from our man at Old Trafford tonight, Jeremy Butler: "Despite his poor showing at West Ham, Wayne Rooney starts playing just behind Robin Van Persie. Shinji Kagawa is also in the line up and playing out wide so watch for him to swap roles with Rooney during certain stages of the game. At the back Jonny Evans is called up ahead of Rio Ferdinand and he partners Phil Jones with Nemanja Vidic missing out. Ryan Giggs also gets a shirt, probably with the job of keeping a cool head if title nerves start to bite."
  • Let's get straight into the teams: Manchester United starting XI: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Kagawa; Rooney, Van Persie Subs: Ferdinand, Lindegaard, Chicharito, Nani, Welbeck, Cleverley, Buttner Aston Villa starting XI: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett; Westwood, Delph, N’Zogbia, Weimann, Agbonlahor; Benteke Subs: Given, Holman, Sylla, El Ahmadi, Bent, Bowery, Clark
  • Hello there, and welcome to Goal.com UK's play-by-play coverage of Manchester United v Aston Villa from the Premier League. I'm Adam Mazrani and you'll have to deal with me for the next couple of hours as the hosts try and secure the win that will give them a record 20th league title. You can keep up the discussion on Twitter with either me @AdamMazrani or via @GoalUK.