By Mark Weasley
Aguero!!! Martin Tyler’s legendary commentary still haunts the old Trafford faithful even after 5 years.
Manchester united and their noisy neighbours, Manchester City, were locked head in head ahead of the final day of the 2011/2012 season. The Citizens needed a victory against QPR, while United traveled to Sunderland, knowing that a slip up by City at the Etihad against Mark Hughes’ men would land them a fourth league title in 5 years. It was going right for United, as Wayne Rooney scored late on at Stadium of light, but the events from the 90th minute at the Etihad is still Premier League’s greatest moment.
City were behind 2-1 going into stoppage time. Edin Dzeko then equalized in the 92nd minute, before Sergio Aguero brought down the roof with a 93rd-minute winner, elevating him to god-like status immediately.
At the Stadium of Light, Sir Alex made a promise, “We’ll be stronger next season”. City’s greater attacking threat had won them the league, and Sir Alex knew it was time to act. News was filtering through that the best striker in the league, Robin Van Persie, was disillusioned with life at the Emirates, after Arsenal struggled yet again.
Sir Alex personally traveled down to London to seal the deal, and many were perplexed as to why Arsene Wenger would sell his best player to his bitter rivals. The reason wasn’t farfetched as the Dutch international had only a year left on his contract and at 29, £24m was a lot of money to pay for a player with well documented injury issues. Sir Alex knew his time at the top was nearing its end, with persistent hip issues affecting him the previous season. However, in a manner fitting to champions and a trait monsieur Wenger could learn, he wanted to bow out when the ovation was loudest.
Van Persie scored 26 league goals that year, and won the league with a hat trick against Aston Villa, the third of which was a beauty. Sir Alex promptly retired and Van Persie had finally won the league after years of dedicated service to mediocre Arsenal. The club and player won’t live up to the Dutchman’s first season brilliance, however the impact of Van Persie, of Arsenal extraction was perhaps the next after Eric Cantona’s collar up brilliance in the 90s.
The ability of one player to galvanize the whole team was well known by Sir Alex, and it proved useful that season. No wonder, United haven’t won the league since. They have not had that type of player.