Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hail to the Champions!

Manchester United's 2-0 victory today over Wigan, sealed fittingly by Ryan Giggs late, gave the Red Devils their 17th Premier League/First Division title and Sir Alex Ferguson his 10th since moving south from Aberdeen.

There really isn't too much to say about this game itself. Cristiano Ronaldo, the best player in the world this season, coolly slotted home a justly-awarded PK in the first half to give his team a lead they wouldn't let slip. Wigan were game for the duration, but never had that finishing touch necessary to put one by Edwin van der Sar. Marcus Bent looked dangerous at times for Steve Bruce, a former United captain, but didn't really threaten the net. Giggs came off the bench in the second half and is now tied with Sir Bobby Charlton for most career appearances for Manchester United with 758.

United's summer signings all were instrumental in their success this season. Carlos Tevez linked with Wayne Rooney to form one of the most lethal striking partnerships in Europe. Owen Hargreaves' versatility was absolutely critical when injuries struck and his free kick against Arsenal will go down in United's history. Nani and Anderson didn't contribute as much on the scoresheet, but both played valuable roles in the midfield and allowed the veterans like Scholes and Giggs to get as much rest as they needed.

United was my preseason pick to win the title and so it's good to nail that one right on the head. They were the best team in the league by a mile this season and are only 90 minutes away from earning the mantra as the best team in Europe in 2007-2008 as well. It won't be easy; it never is against Chelsea, but I like United to win that game 3-1 and complete the double.

Fortunately, the title didn't end up being decided on goal differential, something that I've harped on since I started this blog last summer, as Chelsea drew 1-1 with Bolton. Goal differential is no way to break ties; it's a semantical stat that doesn't always indicate the better team and favors the teams that score a lot of goals. When you look at Bolton last season, however, it shows that you don't necessarily need to play a high-flying, fast-paced style to be successful.

Congratulations to Manchester United, the champions of the Premiership.

Brief sidenote: Later this afternoon, I'll post my original preseason predictions and compare them to how the table finished up.

1 comment:

Starting11 said...

Very workmanlike, efficient effort from United. No drama. Nice symmetry (Ronaldo scoring first, Giggs putting it away). Well done. Here's hoping Terry and Drogba are fit for the Champions League final, otherwise, that game will be more of a drag than usual.