English Premiership

United win Premiership title

2009-05-16 15:46
It's a celebration! (File)
London - Manchester United clinched their third successive English Premiership title on Saturday after a 0-0 draw against Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side were well below their best in a surprisingly subdued encounter but the point was all they needed to end Liverpool's challenge and win the English title for the 18th time - equalling the record set by the Anfield club in 1990.

United, who also have the Champions League final against Barcelona on May 27 to look forward to, have now won the Premier League 11 times in 17 seasons and will become the first English top-flight team to lift the title in four successive campaigns if they add another crown next season.

Arsenal arrived at Old Trafford resigned to finishing outside the top three for the third time in four seasons and without any silverware since winning the FA Cup in 2005.

They started the penultimate league game of the season 18 points behind the leaders after an inconsistent season in which they had reached the Champions League semi-final only to lose 4-1 on aggregate to United.

Yet Arsene Wenger's side were clearly intent on spoiling the party as they subjected a nervous United to several anxious moments during a goalless first half.

Robin van Persie, who was totally unmarked and eight yards out, spurned a glorious chance to put the visitors into the lead when he headed Sami Nasri's 13th minute cross over the bar when it would have been easier to score.

It was an incredible let off for United and they almost made the visitors pay four minutes later, Wayne Rooney heading Michael Carrick's inch-perfect cross narrowly wide.

This was anything but a vintage performance from a United team which has dominated the Premier League during the second half of the season.

Despite being cheered on by Jamaica's Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt, the hosts found it hard to make the running.

There were more signs of nerves when Nemanja Vidic and Edwin van der Sar got in one another's way while trying to defend a free kick before a header by the dangerous van Persie was saved by van der Sar in the closing moments of the first half.

Arsenal continued to chip away at the United defence after the break, young full-back Kieran Gibbs rifling a 58th minute effort into the side netting after a patient build up involving Barcary Sagna and Andrei Arshavin.

United responded through Cristiano Ronaldo but United's 26-goal leading scorer fired woefully over the bar after good work by Carlos Tevez.

That was Tevez's last action. Moments later the Argentina international was substituted to the displeasure of United fans who jeered the decision.

Tevez, whose two-year loan expires in the summer, had hardly set the game alight yet United continued to struggle without the South American.

Ronaldo went close with a trademark dipping free-kick before Van der Sar came to United's rescue with a stunning late save in a dramatic finish.

The United keeper got the slightest of touches on a fierce shot from Cesc Fabregas before it hammered the outside of the post. It was a huge wake up call for United but within five minutes the party was underway.

Referee Mike Dean's final whistle saw a grey suited Ferguson rush on to the pitch to congratulate his players. "Are you watching Merseyside" bellowed from the stands after Liverpool's hopes of catching United finally vanished.

Major managerial honours won by Alex Ferguson after his Manchester United side won the Premier League title on Saturday.

Ferguson can add a third Champions League success to his list when Manchester United meet Barcelona in the final of this season's competition in Rome on May 27.

MANCHESTER UNITED (1986-present)

Premier League (11): 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009
FA Cup (5): 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004
League Cup (3): 1992, 2006, 2009
Champions League (2): 1999, 2008
European Cup Winners' Cup: 1991
UEFA Super Cup: 1992
Inter-Continental Cup/FIFA World Club Cup: 1999, 2008

ABERDEEN, Scotland (1978-1986)

Scottish Championship (3): 1980, 1984, 1985
Scottish Cup (4): 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986
Scottish League Cup: 1986
European Cup Winners' Cup: 1983
European Super Cup: 1983

ST MIRREN, Scotland (1974-1978)

Scottish First Division: 1977

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