This week, Manchester United beat Aston Villa at Old Trafford to finally secure their 20th league title and 13th Premier League crown. A first half hat-trick from Robin Van Persie, who looks almost certain to clinch the Golden Boot this season just as he did last time out, sealed the title for United who celebrated on the pitch at Old Trafford at the full time whistle. It was the sort of delight you’d thoroughly expect from a team who had seen the Premier League trophy snatched from their very finger tips less than 12 months previously by their ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City, with THAT Sergio Aguero goal in the 94th minute of the last game of the season.
Sir Alex Ferguson, in typical fashion, praised his players after the game and even went as far as saying that this is his biggest ever achievement with the club, with the best team he’s ever had, and even more extraordinary than that, claimed Phil Jones has the potential to be the “best ever player Manchester United has ever had.”
Aside from the opening day defeat at Goodison Park to Everton, United have been right there at the top of the pile from the very first few kicks of the season, something that Ferguson was extremely pleased about. So the question on everyone’s lips is, when will it end?
United have been the dominant force of English football for almost two decades now. When the Premier League was introduced in 1992, United really kicked on, winning 13 of the 21 seasons thus far, and now hold the league titles record in England, ahead of Liverpool on 18. Along with their impressive dominance on the home front, United have also won two European cups since Ferguson has been at the helm, and a further two finals since then.
This season, despite running away with the league title, Ferguson has been disappointed with his team’s progress in Europe and in the two domestic cups, adding to the ongoing rumours that United will extend the depth of their squad in the summer, with names such as Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund’s prolific striker, Radamel Falcao at Atletico Madrid, and Luka Modric all being linked with the Old Trafford outfit.
If, and at this stage we can only speculate what will happen in the summer transfer window, United strengthen, how on earth can the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham even consider closing the gap on Manchester United, as well as big spenders Manchester City and Chelsea? If you add that to the fact that Liverpool and Everton will undoubtedly take points off the other big teams in the league next season, it seems almost impossible that anyone will be able to challenge United next season, before this one has even drawn to a close.
Of course, Manchester City especially, will be gunning for their neighbours next time out, having been embarrassed by United this term. But with each passing year, the questions about whether Sir Alex will call it a day on his legacy seem to get quieter and quieter. The rumours that he may be carried out of the club in a coffin seem to feel more real with each day that goes by.
So how exactly can somebody stop Manchester United?
Well, I can’t give you an answer to that I’m afraid. I’m just as clueless as every other manager in the country, and almost certainly just as frustrated and puzzled with their incredible displays this season. For all we know, Sir Alex and his team may march on for another 20 years. With the likes of David De Gea, Phil Jones, Rafael, and Tom Cleverley getting better and better each year, and players such as Wilfried Zaha joining the club from Crystal Palace this summer, it seems almost certain that this current crop of Manchester United players are destined for stardom at club level, in England and in Europe.
When will it end?