With Aston Villa’s visit on the 22nd of April, United knew that the title was within their grasp.
A victory would seal the league championship, and for all intents and purposes, with several games to go, the title was all but wrapped up. The race had been run and this was a coronation.
Van Persie scored in the previous two games, having found form again after a scoring drought that had spanned for a month-and-a-half.
If there were any nerves, they had been soothed after this. Twelve minutes later, the mood changed from that of celebration to outright, unbridled euphoria.
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There seemed to be little danger as Shinji Kagawa laid the ball off to Wayne Rooney just inside the United half. The English forward ambled forward after taking a touch, scanning upfield. That was all van Persie needed to see, beginning a trademark, weaving run.
Beginning in-line with the left-hand post, van Persie began to move towards the centre of the goal, pulling Villa centre-back and fellow Dutchman Ron Vlaar with him, before curving back from whence he came.
Vlaar was left floundering, desperately racing back towards his own net as his head craned back, looking for the ball, looking for van Persie, looking for any way out of the mess he was in.
Rooney, seeing what van Persie was doing to the poor centre-back, obliged by uncorking a stunning long-range pass that arced through the night sky, bending mesmerisingly back towards the Dutchman’s run before falling invitingly, almost lovingly, in his path.