Alex Ferguson said that Robin van Persie has been the difference as Manchester United cruised to its record 20th top-flight league title in England on Monday following a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Aston Villa. Van Persie scored all three goals in 33 first-half minutes, the second of which Ferguson described as “goal of the century.”
Since arriving from Arsenal for $36.6 million last summer, van Persie has scored 24 goals and added eight assists. Asked about the impact the Dutchman has had this season, Ferguson said: “I think that he has to take a lot of the credit [for United winning the title]. ... In terms of impact he has made as big an impact as any player I can imagine. [Eric] Cantona was an incredible impact player, I've had some great strikers, maybe 10 great strikers. We had an expectation of him. He was sensational last year, but [Arsenal coachArsène Wenger] said he was better than I'd think after I'd done the deal and he was right. He has never disappointed us. He has been unbelievable, his early form was fantastic. He had a dry spell, as most strikers do, but he has come back from that and he was unbelievable tonight."
Van Persie endured a 10-game goal drought in the Premier League that ended with a penalty-kick at Stoke City on April 14th. Since, the Dutch international has scored four goals in two games. Of his second strike against Villa on Monday, a 20-yard first-time volley from a lofted Wayne Rooney pass, Ferguson said, "It was goal of the century for me. It was marvelous -- the technique with his head down, over the ball and just perfect timing. It was a magnificent strike.”
Following his man-of-the-match performance, van Persie said, "It doesn't matter who scored, as long as we won the game. From the first minute, everyone played well and it was great to score so early and a great win for us. I am very happy but it is weird. I had to wait so long for my first title. It is a great feeling. It is a fantastic team and fantastic players.”