Thoughts from below: bloggers weigh in on United's title win

Alex Livesey

Sports Blog Nation's English football bloggers give their thoughts and reactions to Manchester United's 20th title.

Arsenal - The Short Fuse

To most Arsenal supporters, the fact of Manchester United winning another English title this season probably only pokes its head up above the mêlée for the 3rd and 4th places for one reason, and that reason is Dutch and scores goals. The amount of consternation around the Arsenaloblogotwitsphere this week about the possibility of Arsenal giving Manchester United a guard of honor at the Emirates on Sunday seems a bit over the top at times, but there can be no doubt that the frustration and anger about Robin van Persie coming to Islington as a Champion Red Devil will be palpable. That issue aside, though, it's another notch on the belt of Sir Alex Ferguson, and that alone most years would be enough to stoke the coals of the Wenger-Fergie rivalry, but right now, most Arsenal supporters are looking at the race for third with a laser-like intensity that the title win feels a bit like news from the other side of the planet.

Aston Villa - 7500 to Holte

At this point, I don't really feel anything about United winning the title. Frankly, it's significantly more noteworthy when they don't win the title, and while the lack of parity in the Premier League is certainly less than ideal it isn't as though this particular instance is the straw that broke the camel's back. Aside from an ever-present envious dislike for all big clubs the world over, I don't have anything against United; Alex Ferguson is incredibly good at his job, they have some very likable players, and there's a great deal to admire about the way the club goes about its business. As a fan of a team that hasn't been anywhere near the title since I was in elementary school, hasn't ever qualified for the Champions League, and is currently fighting (kind of) to avoid relegation, what happens at the top isn't particularly relevant to me outside of serving as a momentary distraction. Of the clubs with a realistic chance of winning the league, United is probably the one that I find the least odious. I'd certainly prefer a world where the Premier League wasn't dominated by a very small group of teams that was in term dominated by one team, but that's not the world in which we live and it probably never will be.

Chelsea - We Ain't Got No History

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't, right? We're all pretty used to Manchester United winning the title by now, so there's not much in the way of ill-will I can direct towards them. The season, however, was a disappointment -- to see both of their supposed challengers fall away relatively early on meant that there was no drama in the chase. You can tell, because I'm writing this in April.

One thing to note is that United don't actually have a particularly good team. They have elite talent at centre forward, of course, but the defence is somewhat suspect and the midfield might as well not exist at all. It's pretty incredible what His Reverence, Lord High Worshipfulness Sir Alex Ferguson, Sheriff of Hairdryers has done with his squad. I guarantee you that if you gave that team to pretty much any other manager, they'd be finishing third. Hats off to the master.

Everton - Royal Blue Mersey

If one thing fires up Sir Alex Ferguson, it's a challenge. Make no mistake, losing the title last year hurt, not just the manner by which they were forced into second but also the identity of the club that did it - the 'noisy neighbours' who for so long have been in United's shadow.

That appeared to spur Ferguson into action, focusing his mind on hunting and capturing a match winner who could wrench the title back and see off City's threat, just like United had done with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in years gone by.

That man was Robin van Persie who, at 29, went against Fergie's recent youthful transfer policy but represented their greatest chance of returning to the top. The Dutchman's sparkling form, especially in the first half of the season, gave them the ideal platform on which to build their title bid.

Man-to-man I would still say that City possess the greater individuals, and the generosity of Shiekh Mansour means boss Roberto Mancini can outbid Fergie for (almost) anyone. But while they were cursed by infighting, indecision and inconsistency this season, the Red Devils were driven, focused and determined not to suffer a repeat of May 2012. That is testament to Ferguson's immense powers of motivation and managerial acumen, emphasising just how important the choice of his successor will be if they are to maintain their Premier League dominance after his retirement.

Fulham - Cottagers Confidential

I'm not entirely surprised it has happened and Manchester United have thoroughly deserved their Premier League title. This is by no means a classic United squad, they're a few short from that. But as a team, they've showed that inherent determination and that uncanny ability to win without really performing that well.

Individuals have excelled, not least Robin van Persie. Others have gone under the radar, though, such as David De Gea who, in spite of some palpable errors, has made some vital saves this season.

But the man central to it all is of course Sir Alex Ferguson. He's adapted time and time again to his environment and has earned every title and every trophy he has ever won with the club. He's a manager that will be difficult to surpass in the future of Man Utd and this year's league campaign will be just another victory in a list of so, so many.'

Liverpool - Liverpool Offside

Once it became clear that Chelsea and Manchester City weren't going to be able to sustain any sort of consistency--which was relatively early on--the "title race" seemed a foregone conclusion. It might not have been pretty, and I certainly don't like any part of it, but Manchester United were just so damned consistent in their ability to get results. Rare were the occasions that I saw them and was overwhelmed by their dominance, but it was equally rare that they didn't do what was needed. I'm jealous, I hate myself, I feel nauseous, and I know that this year's winners fully deserve the spoils.

Manchester City - Bitter and Blue

As a City fan - and someone who obviously writes regularly on them - we have perhaps had the closest view of United this season given we have been the nearest challengers, although at times it has felt far from that.

It is easy to label this United side as one that is far from free-flowing or not the flashiest (or indeed best) of their title winning sides, and to a large extent the numbers have left many who look into analytics side scratching their heads.

Their play this season though has been both consistent and relentless, especially so in the period between the two derbies this season where they dropped barely a handful of points, whilst City, at times, did struggle (although it is interesting to note City's points tally prior to last Sunday would have been good enough for top spot in many seasons).

United will have their disappointments from this season given they will feel they have underachieved in the cup competitions but they should be saluted for the way in which they have taken back the title in 2012/13.

Reading - The Tilehurst End

United are fully deserving of a 20th league title after a season that's shown off all of their impressive qualities. The two games against Reading are perfect examples of why they're champions.

In the first, they survived a mad first 40 minutes at the Madejski, coming back from 1-0 and 3-2 down to go into half-time 4-3 up. Where other teams such as City and Chelsea have capitulated after impressive starts from the underdog, United have just found their way to come out on top.

That spirit carries them past even the most dogged of opposition and is why they're on course for a record points total. With Reading scrapping for their lives and under a caretaker manager they just found a way to squeeze past us 1-0 at Old Trafford. It wasn't vintage and it wasn't classy but they got the job done and again it's something their rivals just haven't been able to manage.

So congratulations Sir Alex and to United, a very well deserved title.

Tottenham Hotspur - Cartilage Free Captain

It's tough to have strong feelings about United winning the title at this point. They win it every other year and they basically had it in the bag three months ago so ever since it's basically just been a coronation. They do have Michael Carrick, which is cool, and Spurs beating City last weekend allowed the Red Devils to clinch it on the day they did so yay?

Wigan Athletic - Pie Eaters Footie

Another title, and you almost expected them on a Fergie lead team. This one will mean a lot more to fans and players, especially in the way they have done it with such a big gap between then and Manchester City. I don't feel this is United's best tittle winning side, but it is up there with some of the greats. They have been by far the best team in the Premier League this season.

Sunderland - Roker Report

This years title race has been pretty boring from an outsiders perspective, made even more the boring by the fact nobody seemed to put up even an ounce of fight for the title meaning Manchester United -- who had one of the best squads around anyway -- won it at a canter.

I'm sure it's a great feeling to win the title. Probably even great just to even smell it if I'm honest given our clubs situation and stature, however I can't help but feel if I was a Manchester United fan I'd feel this season's title win was a little hollow.

Bolton Wanderers - Lion of Vienna Suite

From the outside (of the Premier League) looking in, this was one of the least memorable title races in recent memory. There was little drama and even less intrigue with a (relatively) average Manchester United side taking the trophy with four games to go. It was, in a word, boring.

Fantasy Football - Never Manage Alone

I'm of two (or maybe three) minds on Manchester United's title. The first, visceral reaction is "again?" followed by the same sort of annoyance that accompanies the Yankees winning the World Series or the Lakers winning the NBA title.

My second reaction is that as an Arsenal supporter, I'm miserable that Robin van Persie was such an integral part of United winning a title while Arsenal are left to scratch and claw to maintain a Champions League position without a single player that would be considered among the best at his position in the world.

My final reaction is to be impressed. With Chelsea and Manchester City having the ability to outspend United for both wages and transfer fees, the ability to make the right moves and manage the players to come out on top of bigger spending opponents. United tend to spend big when they spend but they rarely spend big on a player who doesn't produce. It is even more remarkable that they won given that you could argue that not a single player on the roster had his best-ever season. Rooney wasn't close to his best. Ashley Young, Nani, and Antonio Valencia on the wings were all well off their best (or even their performance last season). Vidic was injured and missed time. Rio Ferdinand is slowing down. Patrice Evra had issues at times. You could argue that DDG, Rafael, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Michael Carrick had their best (or close to their best) seasons but none are really considered "world class" at this point. Overall, it is an amazing season when looking through the lens of managerial effectiveness and transfer market efficiency. I hate that it happened at United but you can't help but respect it in the petro-dollar landscape.

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