By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Manchester United now have control of title #20 thanks to a brilliant offensive performance from their #20.
Robin van Persie netted a hat trick in the opening 33 minutes of United’s Premier League-clinching 3-0 win over Aston Villa. The win moved United sixteen points clear of rivals and defending league champions Manchester City with five matches left in the 2012-13 campaign.
The Dutch striker, who left rival Arsenal for United last August, opened the title-clinching with a goal just 83 seconds after kickoff. He doubled the Red Devils’ lead 11 minutes later on a well-struck volley from surprise central midfielder Wayne Rooney’s long ball.
Van Persie completed the hat trick when Ryan Giggs, a now 13-time league champion, elected to lay the ball off on a counter attack instead of taking a shot for himself. His 24th goal of the season moved him past Liverpool’s Luis Suarez in the race for the league’s Golden Boot, an award he won last season at Arsenal.
The striker cleared Andreas Weinmann’s goal-bound shot off the line in the second half as the visiting Villans turned up the defensive pressure and pushed hard for a goal of their own. But United goalkeeper David De Gea preserved his clean sheet with three second-half saves against a frustrated Aston Villa squad, who had legitimate offside claims on all three of van Persie’s goals.
The Premier League trophy will be awarded to Manchester United at their final home match of the season, May 12th’s clash with Swansea City.
Here are some more stories to wrap up your Monday:
FA: THREE-MATCH PUNISHMENT INSUFFICIENT FOR SUAREZ INCIDENT
Luis Suarez received a violent conduct punishment from the Football Association on Monday for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, but the Liverpool striker will be serving more than the standard three-match suspension.
“It is alleged the conduct of Suarez constitutes violent conduct and it is the FA’s contention the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient in these circumstances,” The FA said in a statement on Monday.
Suarez bit Ivanovic on the arm after being taken off the ball during Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea. The match referee and his assistants missed the incident, allowing Suarez to stay on for the remainder of the match. He later scored an equalizing goal deep into second half stoppage time.
The Uruguayan striker has until Tuesday to respond to The FA’s charge. He was fined an undisclosed amount by Liverpool early Monday.
JUVENTUS FINED FOR RACIAL ABUSE OF AC MILAN PLAYERS
Defending Serie A champions and league leaders Juventus were fined $39,000 Monday for their fans’ racial abuse of several black AC Milan players during Sunday’s 1-0 home win.
The Serie A disciplinary committee cited three different incidents of racial abuse from the fans at Juventus Stadium.
“A fine of 30,000 euros is issued to Juventus because fans, in the 26th minute of the first half, directed expressions of racial discrimination towards an opposition player,” the committee said in a statement. “In the second minute of the second half there were insulting chants directed at an opposition player not deployed on the field. Finally, between the 38th and 41st minutes of the first half, a large banner was unfurled displaying outrageous content.”
Players targeted by fans included Kevin Prince-Boateng, who famously walked off the field because of similar actions from opposing fans in a January friendly, and suspended striker Mario Balotelli.
This is the fourth time Juventus have been fined this season for their fans’ racial chanting.
A Syrian hacker group took control of Sepp Blatter and FIFA’s World Cup Twitter accounts on Monday, sending out tweets alleging corruption related to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. (REPORT)
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says he is certain that star winger Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at the Bernabeu. (REPORT)
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admitted he may be in danger of losing his job should City fail to win the FA Cup next month. (REPORT)
Referee Mark Clattenburg will referee Sunday’s Chelsea-Swansea match, his first Chelsea match since he was accused of using racist language toward John Obi Mikel. (REPORT)
A Kenyan referee says he was left impotent by an attack from a head coach during a pitch invasion last September. (REPORT)
What do you make of these reports? What are your thoughts on Manchester United’s performance this season? How long do you think the FA will suspend Suarez? See Ronaldo staying at Real Madrid?
Share your comments below.