VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS (3-0): Manchester United Vs Aston Villa, English Premier League 2013
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, left, celebrates with Robin van Persie… a win today will have the whole team going nuts as they life the English Premier League title. (Reuters file)
NB: Video on this article has been removed in accordance to international license restrictions.
By Greg Robertson
Hello and welcome to Old Trafford where we have Manchester United hosting Aston Villa in the English Premier League. It’s football, at it’s finest.
Dominance today and three points will see United win the EPL title in front of home fans. But Sir Alex Ferguson wants more, he wants records. And with Robin van Persie showing a little bit of recent goal scoring form, who would argue with them doing just that?
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LIVE COMMENTARY... Manchester United 3 - 0 Aston Villa
FULLTIME: United wins 3-0 and wins the title! Video highlights of the match up and celebrations. VIDEO UP.
88 MINS: Rafael with a fine ball in and Vlaar with great defending with Welbeck threatening. TWO MINUTES STOPPAGE TIME likely.
87 MINS: Cries of "Champions, Champions," echo throughout Old Trafford.
85 MINS: Old Trafford getting very lively...
82 MINS: About 10 minutes until the end of the match and United gets crowned 2012/2013 Premier League Champions.
79 MINS: Villa making another change and it's Clark on for Bennett.
78 MINS: MASSIVE MISS from Kagawa. Valencia down the right, strong on the ball, pulls it back for Kagawa and has the goal beckoning and gets right underneath it to blast it into the Old Trafford stands. Lucky this game is as good as won. Kagawa took it from his right to his left foot and wrong-footed the defence but couldn't control the shot.
75 MINS: United with the ability to pick up the tempo when they see fit. Kagawa goes down in the area but it was a good challenge on him. Ohhh El Ahmadi with a shot from distance and De Gea is forced to help it over.
72 MINS: Giggs good on the ball finds Kagawa in the area but Vlaar stretches to diffuse. United bench in action, Danny Welbeck getting his training kit off. Corner to United before the substitution takes place. Rooney to take... Evens on the half volley miskicks and still manages to get it on target. Rooney is being withdrawn and getting a standing ovation from the home crowd.
68 MINS: Kagawa is climbed all over but the man with the whistle, as often is the case, a little lenient toward a side trailing by three. Weimann bursts through the United defence - he's been Villa's best - and curls one away from the far post. Never really looked likely and perhaps should have done better. But Weimann is definitely a player that bigger clubs will be looking at. Bennett down after contesting a high ball and requires attention. Got a knee from Rafael as they both rose.
65 MINS: This will be the first time that Ferguson has won the title in front of home support. Nice for him and the players. Other time's he's been on a train, or watching snooker or the likes when they've clinched the title.
64 MINS: This is a canter now toward the League title. A win here takes United 16 points clear of Manchester City and they'll be looking at that record of the greatest margin ever of 18 points over their nearest rival. Rooney with a double effort - his first blocked and his second high by quite a margin. Better from United.
61 MINS: Most of the play down the United defensive end. It's not all threatening though.
58 MINS: Weimann on the right find Benteke and Jones solid in defence. Evans then gets caught by Agbonlahor and he gives Evans the thumbs up with a question to check if he's okay. No malice. Sir Alex now demanding his side steps it up a bit. This is how good/harsh the manager, Rooney has had a blinder but not so this half and he's caught the ire of the manager full bore as to say, get lively on it.
55 MINS: Aston Villa a little more lively in the second spell, early stages. Fergie is barking orders to his side - never happy - and that's how it should be. Gentler start to this half than it was to the first, that's for sure.
53 MINS: Evra dices with death, already on a card and going into challenges with studs up. Benteke then shoots for Villa and it's a good save to his left for David De Gea.
49 MINS: Spot of dropsies from De Gea as Weimann sends in a cross. Villa corner, van Persie involved at both ends of the pitch as he heads of the line! It was a header won by Baker and then a flick at goal.
46 MINS: Villa makes a change at the start of the second spell with N'Zogbia off and replaced by El Ahmadi. RVP wins a corner for United early.
HALFTIME... United leads 3-0 with three from Dutchman Robin van Persie. See you after the break as plenty more action is on the cards.
42 MINS: Smart work by both Agbonlahor and N'Zogbia. N'Zogbia finds his teammate in tight corridors who then turns smartly and hits it first time, just wide. TWO MINUTES ADDED TIME.
40 MINS: Eight minutes without a goal????
32 MINS: Rooney leaves a pass short and the sort of game he's having everyone's in a state of shock. Absolute blinder... GOAL van Persie. First half hat-trick. Giggs finds him after getting in behind the Villa defence and he scores! Brilliant!.
31 MINS: N'Zognia and Weimann are the danger that Villa possess, they combine and N'Zogbia has an effort that takes a deflection and out for their side's first corner of the game. Nothing comes of it.
28 MINS: Evra is the first name taken by Mr. Taylor with an ugly challenge on N'Zogbia. Free kick a distance out. Rio Ferdinand warming up as Evans signals to the bench that he's in trouble with an injury. The ball's fired in and Phil Jones heads away.
27 MINS: If you're only just joining us, wow, have you missed some action. United getting into some one-touch Barcelona stuff and looking good doing it too with Rooney, Valencia and Kagawa playing keepsies for a bit.
23 MINS: Rooney is having a blinder in the midfield. He's the provider today as he slips a ball through for Kagawa to chase and get at the byline, cutting it back but Villa defenders swap to the danger.
21 MINS: Well after that start things have settled down some.... Villa trying to work their way back it it though you feel it's gone already. Bennett with too much on a cross.
17 MINS: Wow there's hardly been a time to breathe. Frantic stuff and United hasn't scored in 7 or so minutes... what's going on?
13 MINS: OMG GOAL UNITED. Rooney features again and find van Persie and he waits, waits as it comes over his shoulders and VOLLEYS IT AWAY! STUNNING!
12 MINS: Villa should have equalised! Aston Villa on the break and Weimann weighting his pass to Benteke beautifully, Benteke should have tucked it top corner with his right but it's a fraction high.
10 MINS: OHHH this is amazing stuff. Rafael has a dash from distance and it bends in to strike the upright at speed. That was Rooney who delivered the original ball in. Villa are on the ropes.
9 MINS: WOW Giggs shows a turn of speed, finds van Persie on the back post who heads toward Kagawa in the middle but he can't get a sound strike on it under pressure.
8 MINS: Villa showing some threat, lively Weimann whips a ball on the angle across the penalty area and De Gea watches it fire wide for a goal kick. Right idea
5 MINS: A goal in 82 seconds.... Valencia is all over Bennett at left back for Aston Villa. It's the third telling ball that he's managed to put in so far. Do we have a big score on the cards?
3 MINS: Ohhh RVP with another chance in this high octane start. Valencia crosses and the Dutchman volley just over the bar.
1 MINS: Ferguson so relaxed he's still signing autographs... Rooney on the ball in the midfield today and he picks out Valencia wide on the right with a delightful ball, to Giggs GOAL UNITED and Robin van Persie. The party begins! Great knock down square and RVP tucks it away.
Evra and Vlaar getting called up by the ref... will tonight be the night? It should be... the scene is set.
Get set for a football match and quite possible a coronation too. The teams coming out now. 'Rocky' theme drowned out by the roars of 70.000 people, packed into Old Trafford.
Lots of attacking prowess on either side as we take our live pictures... five minutes from the off.
It's all about what happens at the end of this match... 90 minutes will define a season here, though United have plenty of chance should they lose this one to define the season again.
Manchester United football fans - and there's one in 10 - around the world are getting set for this one... it very well might be a massive day of celebration.
Here are your starting line ups...
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Kagawa, Rooney, Van Persie.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett, Delph, Westwood; N’Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Weimann, Benteke.
Kick off is not far away so in the meantime watch Manchester United get out of jail with a 2-2 draw against West Ham.
Man United (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Buttner, Nani, Valencia, Powell, Carrick, Anderson, Cleverley, Giggs, Kagawa, Van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck.
Aston Villa (from): Guzan, Given, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Lichaj, Stevens, Baker, Bennett, Sylla, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Westwood, Dawkins, N'Zogbia, Bannan, Holman, Benteke, Agbonlahor, Bent, Bowery, Weimann.
After slipping out of the Champions League qualification places, Tottenham halted its traditional end-of-season slump by beating Manchester City 3-1 to set up an early end to the Premier League title race.
Manchester United has been on the brink of a record-extending 20th English title for weeks and it could finally be clinched at home against Aston Villa today.
Should United win today it will be United’s 13th Premier League title of the modern type.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson though has eyes in even bigger prizes, he wants to set records.
And Ferguson wants his side to chase the EPL point record set by Jose Mourhino’s team of 95 in 2004/2005, and five straight wins will see them at 96 points.
"It's not beyond the team at all," said Ferguson. "If you are asking if Manchester United can win five games in a row, well how many times have we done that?
"There won't be any slacking-off by the players. If we win the League, the team has to be considered in terms of other teams, but what may create more awareness of the side we have this year is how many points we get. We won it in 1997 with 75 points and have been second to Chelsea with 86 and City with 89 points last season.
"We have also won leagues with 91 points [in 1999-2000]. That has to be considered in terms of judgment against other teams."
He says this United team is resilient and have a greater mental strength brought about in part by feeling the pain of the dramatic title loss to Manchester City last year on goal difference.
"There is resilience [about this team], the consistency has been good and like all the previous teams, they never give in," he said. "The way we lost the title helped us really and that it was City gave us an incentive. So you have to admire the focus we’ve shown. But I'll be no more proud than I was with the previous 12 if we win it.
"There is a lot of improvement in the team," he said. "We will see it from [Shinji] Kagawa and the young players should improve too. We have a group of 23 which should improve and we expect them to improve."