1. Not 19 Forever
34 games played, 27 wins, 78 goals scored. Not bad considering this is apparently one of Sir Alex’s weaker sides, eh? Rightly or wrongly, many have criticised United this season, mainly due to the fact that they’ve not exactly set the league alight, coupled with how frequently they had to come from behind in a number of games at the start of the season. But if there’s one thing United have been this season, it’s efficient. Winning the league with four games to spare isn’t something to be sniffed at. City will no doubt improve their squad during the summer, ready to mount a more serious title challenge next season; Chelsea too. While we’ll rightfully celebrate our twentieth league title, Sir Alex will already be devising plans of how to defend it — that’s what makes him one of the greatest ever.
2. Player of the Year?
Before scoring a penalty in the recent 0-2 win over Stoke, Robin van Persie had failed to find the net in his previous nine games. He looked tired. Luis Suarez had overtaken him in the race for the Golden Boot and the Dutchman found making an impact in games, like he’d done so often in the first half of the season, hard to come by. I read, somewhere on Twitter, a brilliant summary of his three goals on Monday night: His first won the league; his second, goal of the season; and his third, the Golden Boot. Van Persie couldn’t have wished for a better debut season. The goal drought has inevitably raised questions by some, albeit fans of rival clubs [with short memories], but questions nonetheless. Don’t be surprised to see the Dutchman awarded the PFA Player of the Year for the second year running.
3. Welcome back, Antonio!
Antonio Valencia’s form has been nothing short of abysmal this season. So much so, there’s been talk of him being sold this summer. While I don’t think that should/will happen, it was paramount he found some sort of form, and fast. And that’s exactly what he did on Monday night. Although it wasn’t a vintage Antonio Valencia performance, he was attempting to take players on and at least showed signs of a return to last year’s form. The arrival of Wilfried Zaha will hopefully have a positive effect on the Ecuadorian which will provide us with a very strong, well-balanced right side of midfield.
4. Phil Jones could be United’s “best ever” player
According to the boss, anyway. It’s been a progressive season for the former Blackburn man. His versatility has been fully utilised, and he’s proven to be a key member of the squad. With age comes experience, and although the 21-year-old still has a lot to learn, his all-round game has significantly improved since joining United nearly two years ago. There were questions over where Phil Jones would eventually settle once he’d gained the relevant experience; not anymore. Although we may see Jones further deployed at full-back and midfield over the next year or two, he will surely go on to become a world class centre-half, and a future captain, perhaps.
5. Title win crucial for first timers
Winning titles comes second nature to seasoned pros: Giggs, Ferdinand and Vidic; but for the likes of De Gea, Jones and Evans, this season is one they’ll never forget. After the pain of losing out to rivals City last year, it was important for the players without a title on their CVs to dust themselves off and go again. And that’s exactly what they did; all three of the aforementioned youngsters have enjoyed successful campaigns, none more so than Spaniard De Gea. He is finally starting to show signs of consistency and is currently the Premier League’s in-form ‘keeper — his call-up to the Spanish national squad bears testament to that.
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