How Will Manchester United's Title Win Be Ranked in Premier League History?

Max TowleAnalyst IApril 22, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 22:  Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United celebrates victory and winning the Premier League title after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on April 22, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0 on Monday night. An innocuous, routine home win on paper, but one that means so much more in reality.

The Red Devils are Premier League champions.

Just because this has seemed inevitable since February doesn't make the fact any less sweet for fans of the club. Titles won in mid-April are worth the same as those won in the dying seconds of the season.

With the light rapidly fading outside, the Old Trafford faithful came alive Monday night, inspired by a United win that summed up the season as a whole.

The early effort became a stroll in the second half, the crowd bouncing as the clock wound down on Manchester City's title reign.

Robin van Persie was back to his transcendent best, scoring a first-half hat trick that included a contender for the league's goal of the season.

His second was perhaps the best he's ever scored—a technically adroit volley picked out of thin air and fired past a helpless Brad Guzan with maximum authority.

This is United's and Sir Alex Ferguson's lucky No. 13th Premier League title—and 20th English league title overall—and one of the sweetest.

Never mind that the club had to wrestle it back from Manchester City's claws—the sheer dominance of the red team has been something to behold.

But how does this season compare with other league winners in EPL history? How will the class of 2012-13 be remembered?

There are two tiers of greatness for teams which have won the competition since its inception in 1992—the excellent and the uber-excellent. No team that has ever lifted the trophy should be considered as anything less.

In the uber-excellent category sit the Manchester United sides of 1993-94, 1998-99 and 2007-08, Arsenal's Invincibles of 2003-04 and Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side in 2004-05.

These are the benchmarks. The highest standard in recent memory.

If the Red Devils win their remaining four games of the season and subsequently break Chelsea's points record of '04-05, it would be difficult not to consider the current class worthy of entry into this elite group.

If not, then they'll likely sit on the cusp until a Bleacher Report writer, 10 years from now, takes a look at Premier League tables of the past and decides that 90-plus points does make them one of the great British teams of the past 30 years.

Their flaws will be forgotten, but van Persie's goals won't be. The massive points difference between United and the chasing pack, whatever the figure, will stand out.

It seems hard to believe that, should Manchester City win four of their five remaining games, they will finish with a points total that would have seen them claim the title in seasons past.

That's just how dominant United have been.

United have not played the best football of Sir Alex's reign; their erratic midfield has prevented this. But they haven't needed to. If the class of 2012-13 is to be remembered for anything, it should be for ruthless efficiency.

Never has there been a British team more adept in the simple art of winning. This mentality, this sense of invincibility—even in seemingly dire situations—must be credited to the wily Scot.

With Sir Alex either sitting and fidgeting on the bench or barking orders from the sidelines, United's players know that anything less than three points is unacceptable.

Tottenham Hotspur—an improving nouveau club helmed by the genuinely impressive Andre Villas-Boas—have been the only team of the 19 others in the Premier League not to have been beaten by the Red Devils at some point this term.

Players like David de Gea, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick and van Persie have all had exceptional campaigns.

The latter broke Arsenal hearts moving to Manchester in the summer, but has been proven wholly justified in his search for silverware.

Sir Alex has been unafraid of experimenting with tactics—his famed diamond formation proved that the old dog still had a few tricks up his sleeve.

He didn't need to be innovative Monday night. The lineup was predictable, and predictably won.

As the clock wound down on the Red Devils' win over Aston Villa, Old Trafford cheered every touch. It was an easy win in a relatively easy season, but that doesn't mean it will soon be forgotten.


What do you think will be the legacy of this Manchester United team?


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