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Report: Man Utd 3-0 Villa: Defeated but not disgraced
First-half Robin van Persie hat-trick does the damage.
22nd Apr 2013
Report: Man Utd 3-0 Villa: Defeated but not disgraced


Bishop

Villa failed to gatecrash Man Utd's title party as Sir Alex Ferguson's men became Premier League champions for the 13th time.

A Robin Van Persie hat-trick in the opening 33 minutes signalled Mission Impossible for Paul Lambert's men, although the manager can at least take heart from a spirited second half in which they dominated for lengthy periods.

The visitors had chances, too.

Christian Benteke and Gabby Agbonlahor were both narrowly off target in the opening period, while Andi Weimann's header was cleared off the line by van Persie just after the interval and sub Karim El Ahmadi saw a dipping drive tipped over by United keeper David De Gea.

But there was never much prospect of anything other than a Utd victory after their Dutch master had weaved his magic in the opening third of the game.

Villa could not have made a worse start, falling behind before they had had time to settle into any sort of pattern.

Rafael delivered a deep cross from the right, Ryan Giggs knocked the ball back across goal and van Persie had the simple task of turning it over the line from close range.

Almost immediately, the Dutch striker volleyed over following an Antonio Valencia cross, before the visitors posed their first threat, Weimann's effort being blocked by Jonny Evans after a searching Benteke pass and a fine low centre from Matt Lowton.

Benteke also sent a shot curling just over after Weimann had made a strong run through the middle.

But by then we already knew it was going to be an uphill battle, Rafael's skidding low shot having hit the post only a minute earlier - and in the 13th minute it was 2-0.

Wayne Rooney clipped a long pass forward from the half-way line, and as the ball dropped towards the edge of the penalty area, van Persie struck a perfect left-foot volley which left Brad Guzan helpless as it flew into the corner of the net.

For all that, Villa attempted to play attractive football, at one stage putting together a move of at least 15 passes before Joe Bennett's cross was held by De Gea.

The home side also had Partice Evra booked for bringing down Charles N'Zogbia but on 33 minutes Van Persie completed his hat-trick, lifting the ball into the roof of the net from six yards following a precise pass from Giggs.

Four minutes before the break, Agnonlahor produced Villa's best effort so far, accepting Benteke's pass and turning away from his marker to send a swerving left footer not far off target.

And four minutes after the break, the visitors were desperately unlucky not to reduce the deficit.

Ashley Westwood's left-wing corner was nodded back across goal by Nathan Baker for Weimann to get in a header which was cleared off the line by van Persie.

Then Benteke had a stinging low drive tipped away by De Gea as Villa enjoyed another spell of possession, and in the 67th minute a Weimann cross-shot drifted just beyond the far post following a one-two with Lowton.

When Westwood cleared a 72nd-minute Evans flick off the line, in fact, it was the first time Utd had really threatened in the second half - and that wasn't nearly as dangerous as a dipping El Ahmadi 25-yarder which De Gea tipped over a few minutes later.

Even so, Kagawa should have scored when he fired over while unmarked in front of goal in the 77th minute, and Guzan also had to be alert to save at Valencia's feet a few minutes later.

Man Utd: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Rooney (Welbeck72), Giggs;Kagawa, Van Persie. Unused subs: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Hernandez, Nani, Cleverley, Buttner.

Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett (Clark 80); Westwood, Delph; Weimann, N'Zogbia (El Ahmadi, HT), Agbonlahor; Benteke. Unused subs: Given, Bent, Holman, Sylla, Bowery.

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