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RVP roars as United win 20th title

Robin van Persie hit a first-half hat-trick as Manchester United cantered to an unprecedented 20th English league title with an emphatic 3-0 victory at home to Aston Villa on Monday.

Manchester City’s 3-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur a day earlier had handed United a chance to regain the title and Alex Ferguson’s men needed no second invitation, swamping Villa to claim the championship with four games to spare.

Van Persie, United’s number 20, was the man who brought United their 20th top-flight crown, netting inside 90 seconds and then scoring a breath-taking volley before completing his hat-trick 12 minutes before half-time.

‘I am very happy, but it is weird. I had to wait so long for my first title. It is a great feeling,’ van Persie told Sky Sports. ‘This is our 20th title. It is deserved.’

With 13 Premier League titles, United manager Ferguson and veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs, creator of two of van Persie’s goals, have now each won as many English league crowns as Arsenal. Eternal rivals Liverpool, meanwhile, now trail United by two championships on the all-time honours board.

Wayne Rooney, who was making his 400th appearance for United, said the achievement partially atoned for the pain of losing last year’s title to City on the season’s final day. ‘When you lose the title, it is hard to take,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t a nice feeling last time. We have all dug in deep and done fantastic to put ourselves in this position.

‘You can never take anything for granted in football and thankfully it is now done. The manager has great desire and a winning mentality. We all buy into that and want to do well for the club.’ For the second goal in the evening, Rooney floated a 40-yard pass behind the Villa defence and van Persie met the ball first-time with a technically immaculate volley from outside the box that rocketed into the net.

‘It was one of the best goals,’ van Persie said. ‘I only had to time it right.’
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