Skip to content

Manchester United officially clinches 20th league championship

Apr 22, 2013, 5:25 PM EDT

APTOPIX Britain Soccer Premier League

A story that started about 11 months ago has now been told. And how.

Manchester United fumbled away the English Premier League crown a year ago, squandering a late-season lead as rival Manchester City improbably, notoriously tiptoed away with the last-minute glory in May of 2012.

Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United bunch set immediately about putting that right. Through the 2012-13 English Premier League campaign, the men of Old Trafford toiled and boiled and churned and never took their eyes off the EPL prize.

Then they ran away with the doggone thing. This took on the whiff of “foregone conclusion” more than two months ago. It has been a fait accompli, all but officially, for the last month now.

Monday it became official, a 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford mathematically wrapping up the Premier League crown – still a month from last kick in the world’s most storied association.

This was Manchester United’s 20th league crown. In terms of Premier League titles proper (the league has been labeled as such since 1992), Manchester United has 13 crowns – a phenomenal total considering that no other club has more than three crowns.

What distinguishes the latest Manchester United coronation is that this version is rather undistinguished. This is not like the Red Devils of 1999 and 2008, signature sides of the Ferguson era, the fabulously talented groups that ruled the Premier League matters. David Beckham, Peter Schmeichel, a young Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Dwight Yorke were marquee men of the former; Edwin van der Sar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Scholes and Giggs (still) highlighted the latter. These were all giants of their era. (OK, “eras” in the cases of the ageless Giggs and Scholes.)

(MORE: Robin van Persie’s hat trick Monday, in context)

The current version is not a signature squad in terms of talent. In fact, we don’t need too fine a microscope to identify real flaws in this roster.

David de Gea in goal? He’s not there yet, not close to Schmeichel-esque. The defending was left quite iffy once captain Nemanja Vidic suffered yet another injury setback. Michael Carrick has been effective in midfield, but he won’t make anybody’s World Best XI.  Nor will Rooney nowadays – not outside of England, anyway.

Robin van Persie is truly the Red Devils only world class star of the moment. And yet, take a gander at that luxurious lead in the Premiership table.  That spells dominance, no matter which way you turn it.

This latest title, the milepost 20th, is all about Ferguson’s drive and the group’s collective desire, unflinching and always so determined, to grind on. They won early and late and at all points in between, never losing footing nor focus while the pursuers took the occasional spill. Those seem so inevitable over such a taxing campaign. Inevitable, that is, but for the most stubbornly single-minded assemblies.

The Premier League has demanded that United wait until its home finale (May 12 vs. Swansea) to actually, physically lift the Premier League trophy. Never mind that. The players celebrated well after Monday’s final whistle. And it seemed about time – the rough draft on this one has been long since finished.

(MORE: Robin van Persie’s stunning strike, the best of his Monday trio)

From van Persie, in his first year at  Old Trafford since the high profile move out of his longtime Arsenal home: “I feel very happy, I had to wait so long for my first title. We’ve got a fantastic team, great players, it’s a championship for every single one of them. Managers, trainers, physios, staff, everyone deserves this.”

Latest Posts
  1. Watch Live: Burnley vs. Sunderland (Lineups)

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT

    sean_dyche Getty Images

    Both clubs go in search of their first win of the season. Watch live, right here.

  2. Watch Live: Aston Villa vs. Arsenal (Lineups)

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:48 AM EDT

    Can Arsenal kick on and cap a fine week with a win at Leicester? AP

    Can the Gunners grab their first win since the opening day of the season? Will Villa stay unbeaten? Watch live, right here.

  3. Watch live: Swansea City vs. Southampton (Lineups)

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT

    FBL-ENG-PR-SOUTHAMPTON-SWANSEA Getty Images

    Bafetimbi Gomis has been relegated to the bench for the hosts, while Shane Long gets the start up-top with Graziano Pelle for the Saints.

  4. Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Stoke City: Kranjcar’s cracker saves QPR

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT

    Queens Park Rangers v Stoke City - Premier League Getty Images

    Kranjcar’s curler saves the day for Rangers, as Stoke are thwarted.

  5. Watch Live: Newcastle United vs. Hull City (Lineups)

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:19 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Tigers midfielder David Meyler, recipient of a Pardew head butt last season, will start on the bench.

  6. Jose Mourinho wants Manchester City’s title taken away, points deducted

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:04 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Champions League AP

    Mourinho: “Are the fines fair? I don’t think so. What is fair is to remove points and titles.”

  7. Louis van Gaal: No player is a guaranteed starter at Manchester United

    Sep 20, 2014, 8:15 AM EDT

    VanGaal Getty Images

    LVG lays down the law ahead of United’s trip to Leicester on Sunday.

  8. Watch Live: Queens Park Rangers vs. Stoke City (Lineups)

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:27 AM EDT

    Queens Park Rangers v Stoke City - Premier League Getty Images

    Can QPR bounce back from last weeks drubbing and beat the Potters? Watch live, right here.

  9. WATCH: Premier League online via NBC Sports Live Extra – Week 5

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    Live Extra

    How and where to watch every single PL game live online or via the app.

  10. MLS Snapshot: Real Salt Lake 5-1 Colorado Rapids

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:25 AM EDT

    alvaro_saborio_real_salt_lake AP

    Real Salt Lake demolished the Colorado Rapids, 5-1, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

  11. WATCH: Real Salt Lake nets five consecutive goals to lead Colorado, 5-1

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:55 PM EDT

    javier_morales AP

    Five consecutive goals have Real Salt Lake ahead of the Colorado Rapids tonight, 5-1.

  12. Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Liverpool

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT

    Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund - Pre Season friendly Getty Images

    Preview of West Ham v. Liverpool match on NBC at 12:30 p.m. ET this Saturday.

  13. Watch Live: Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids (Lineups)

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:55 PM EDT

    Edson Buddle, Nat Borchers AP

    Watch Real Salt Lake encounter the Colorado Rapids live on NBCSN or NBC Sports Live Extra at 10:00 p.m. ET tonight.

  14. Premier League Preview: Aston Villa vs. Arsenal

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League Getty Images

    Preview of Aston Villa vs. Arsenal match on NBCSN at 10:00 a.m. ET this Saturday.

  15. Pellegrini, Mourinho have different views on Lampard’s Chelsea exit

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:21 PM EDT

    41361 Getty Images

    Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hold different rationales about midfielder Frank Lampard’s Stamford Bridge exit this year.

  16. UEFA president Michel Platini to keep gifted watch despite FIFA’s dislike

    Sep 19, 2014, 7:17 PM EDT

    EURO 2016 Steering Committee Meeting Getty Images

    UEFA president Michel Platini doesn’t wish to give into FIFA’s pressure to return a watch gifted to him at the World Cup.

  17. Seattle Sounders ink Nigerian defender Onyekachi Apam

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT

    Olympics+Day+15+Football+57gftmf5b8fl Getty Images

    Seattle Sounders FC have signed Nigerian defender Onyekachi Apam.

  18. WATCH: Coritiba striker Joel vanishes into hole during goal celebration

    Sep 19, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT

    Joel+Coritiba+v+Chapecoense+Brasileirao+Series+hdtIomrwmOml Getty Images

    Coritiba striker Joel brought out a one-of-a-kind goal celebration vs. Sao Paolo.

  19. Chicharito admires Sir Alex Ferguson for spearheading “European dream”

    Sep 19, 2014, 3:35 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer League Cup AP

    Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has sung the praises of former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who the forward believed was instrumental in getting himself exposure in Europe.

Featured video

Breaking down Man City vs. Chelsea