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Van Persie joins list of title-winning Manchester United greats

| 25.04.2013

The claiming of a 20th top-flight English championship prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to hail the impact of summer arrival Robin Van Persie, who notched a hat-trick in Manchester United’s title-clinching success over Aston Villa.

And in light of the legendary Scotsman telling Sky Sports: “In terms of impact he has had as big an impact as anyone I can imagine”, we have compiled a list of United forwards who we adjudge to have made the most significant contribution to their title-winning campaigns.

5. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Ferguson’s belief in strength in depth, particularly within his striking ranks, has never been justified more readily than by the performances of the ‘Baby-faced Assassin’. Often utilised as a substitute, Solskjaer’s deadliness in front of goal reaped 126 strikes during his 11-year tenure at the club, a period which saw six Premier League titles go to Old Trafford. His consistent impact from the bench wins him the nod over more regular starters Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, whose chemistry as a duo negates the potential for either of the pair to feature here.

4. Cristiano Ronaldo – Winner of three championships with the Red Devils, it is Ronaldo’s displays in the 2007-2008 season that win him a place on this list, the term in which he was first utilised as an out-and-out striker on occasions. 31 goals in 34 league appearances were the Portugal captain’s rewards, with his receipt of the 2008 Ballon D’or accolade confirming just how impressive his campaign was from a personal standpoint.

3. Eric Cantona – Having swapped Leeds United for Manchester United midway through the Premier League’s inaugural season, Cantona’s decision was justified as he played a big part in the Red Devils claiming a first league title since 1967. Sat in seventh place and trailing league leaders Norwich by 12 points prior to the Frenchman’s arrival, his nine league goals were supplemented by countless assists that term, as Ferguson’s men were crowned champions for the first time, finishing 10 points above nearest challengers Aston Villa.

2. Ruud Van Nistelrooy – Somewhat surprisingly, Dutchman Van Nistelrooy lifted only one Premier League trophy during his five-year stint at Old Trafford. But he contributed immensely to that 2003 title success, notching 25 goals in 34 appearances to land the top flight’s leading goalscorer accolade as well. Arguably United’s most natural ever finisher, Van Nistelrooy’s scoring tally for the campaign included three hat-tricks, whilst he also embarked upon a record-breaking run of scoring form, finding the net in eight consecutive outings.

1. Robin Van Persie – It is difficult to contest the opinion of a manager who has won 13 Premier League titles with regards to football matters. And so we must agree with Ferguson’s appraisal of his £22.5m summer addition, in that he has been the most impactful striker to pull on a United shirt during a title-winning season. Van Persie can potentially improve on compatriot Van Nistelrooy’s goalscoring tally from 2002-2003, with four games left to build on an already-impressive haul of 24 in his maiden Old Trafford campaign. His two trebles across the course of the season also indicate just how quickly he has settled in Salford, and strengthen Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini’s viewpoint that Van Persie has proved the difference between his side, and their title-winning neighbours this season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee