Manchester United have won the English Premier League for the tenth time under Sir Alex Ferguson. They have stuttered and stumbled across the line over the last few weeks, but no neutral fan could justifiably deny their right to the title this season.
United have conceded fewer goals than any other side in the Premier League and scored more. Those statistics alone are reason enough for them to worthy champions.
They now go into the Champions League final with great confidence and a massive chance to almost emulate the achievements of the great 1999 side that did the treble.
UnitedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s success this season has been achieved through great performances in every area of the pitch. Edwin Van Der Sar has performed well all season and although his normally reliable kicking has let him down recently, he has rarely put a foot wrong between the sticks.
At the back, can anyone argue against the fact that Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have developed one of the, if not the, finest central defensive partnerships that the Premier League has seen. Rio Ferdinand has developed and matured into a player with an arguable case for the title of Ã¢â‚¬Ëœbest defender in the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. He has eliminated the silly mistakes from his game and is now prepared to put the ball into row z if that is what is required rather than always looking to play his way out of trouble.
Nemanja Vidic is a fine, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœold styleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ centre half who heads well, marks well, tackles well and is prepared to put his body on the line to protect his goal.
In the midfield, Paul Scholes has often given a master class of the art. He has time whenever he receives the ball and rarely gives it away. It is too late for him now to learn to tackle and there is no doubt that he should have been sent off in UnitedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s title winning game at Wigan yesterday. For me, this aspect of his game is the only thing that stops him from being right up there as one of the all time greats.
Going forward is where United have made the headlines this season and the fifty-eight goals between Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez do tend to speak for themselves. With neither Rooney nor Ronaldo in the best of form over the past few weeks, they have still managed to produce moments of brilliance to win matches or rescue a point, when things looked like turning sour.
Then we have the brilliant Ryan Giggs who is undoubtedly coming to the end of his glorious career. He has incredibly suffered at the hands of some of the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœboo boysÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ at Old Trafford this season, but he remains one of the finest players to ever grace the game. It was fitting that he should score the goal that made the title safe in the game in which he equaled the all-time Manchester United appearance record held by Sir Bobby Charlton.
Off the field of play there is the manager Sir Alex Ferguson. He is no less feisty, argumentative, controversial and generally obnoxious than he has ever been! Despite all that, it is impossible to argue with his record, and the fact that this is the fourth side, at least, that he has completely rebuilt and led to great success.
Many people seem to hate Manchester United and at times, I find myself among them. There are many things that happen in the game that seem slightly unsavory and United are rarely far away from them. If there is a referee to be harassed for example, despite FergieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s support of the respect campaign, he and the United players will not be very far away.
What just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be hated by anyone is the style of football they play, the individual brilliance and the work ethic of the whole team. The way they defend and the way they attack are perfect lessons to all about the way the game should be played. Of course, it helps if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got the likes of Ferdinand, Scholes and Ronaldo in your side!
Can Chelsea stop United from doing the double? They ran them very close in the League and beat them relatively comfortably at Stamford Bridge recently. The answer to the question therefore is obviously, yes they can. Will they do so? I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think they will, no. United now have the confidence and the psychological advantage over their rivals.
Sir Alex Ferguson has the experience and knowledge to out-fox Avram Grant and United have a fully fit squad against Chelsea who now have concerns over Terry and Drogba. It is difficult to see past a United win and the side achieving a glorious double.
Chelsea grind out results, Arsenal play wonderful football, Liverpool perform well in Europe. Manchester United still do all three and because of that, they are still the team to beat. With the age of most of their players and the young players coming through to replace the older ones, it is difficult to see them falling away for some time to come. With Nani to replace Giggs, Anderson to replace Scholes and Ben Foster to replace Van Der Sar, the future looks bright.
I have no doubt that Sir Alex will add to his squad in the summer and that they will be a formidable proposition again next season. However good the rest of the teams are at the top of the English game, they are all still playing Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcatch-upÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ with United who just wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop going forward.
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