Manchester United clinch landmark 18th English title
Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated wrapping up Manchester United’s third
straight Premier League title with a pledge to come back and do it all
again next season.
A goalless draw at home to Arsenal left United with an unassailable
lead at the top of the table and ensured they equalled Liverpool’s
record of 18 league titles on a day that saw Middlesbrough and Newcastle
lurch to the brink of relegation.
“It was the longest 90 minutes in history but we got there,” Ferguson
said after an edgy display by his side sealed the 11th title of his Old
“There’s not been one save in the match and that tells you how
cautious a match it was.” Asked what it meant to match Liverpool’s mark
of 18 titles, Ferguson replied: “It will make it more special if we get
in front of them. We want to progress with this team, which is capable
of doing it. It is a young team and next year we are going to go for it
United’s triumph was the result of a consistency that Liverpool - who
paid the price for drawing seven matches at home - Chelsea and Arsenal
proved unable to match.
Although Ferguson’s men ultimately claimed the title with a match to
spare, their only success in six league matches against the three other
top four teams was a 3-0 win over Chelsea in January and they were
beaten in both league battles with Liverpool.
United’s focus now turns to the Champions League final against
Barcelona in Rome on May 27 and that will mean big names being rested
for United’s final league fixture at Hull, in which the home side will
be playing for their survival in the top flight.
A 1-1 draw at Bolton on Saturday lifted Phil Brown’s side above
Newcastle and out of the bottom three.
After watching Craig Fagan equalise after Gretar Steinsson had given
Bolton the lead, Brown said: “It’s back in our hands having to face the
champions and there will be suggestions about weakened sides but nobody
does you any favours in the Premier League.”
Newcastle, who travel to Aston Villa for their final match, slipped
back into the relegation zone after a 1-0 home defeat by Fulham that was
shrouded in controversy over a disallowed Mark Viduka strike.
Newcastle boss Alan Shearer described himself as “bitterly
disappointed” over what he felt should have been an equaliser from
Viduka, whose effort was disallowed because Kevin Nolan was adjudged to
have fouled Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.