Manchester United secured a record 20<sup>th league title after producing a virtuoso performance to thrash relegation threatened Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

After Manchester City's defeat to Tottenham Hotspur left the runaway league leaders requiring just a win to claim a 13<sup>th Premier League title, Sir Alex Ferguson's side produced a ruthless performance to reclaim their place at the summit of English football.

Van Persie scored a first-half hatrick, including a breathtaking second - the champagne moment of United's coronation - following a raking pass from Wayne Rooney put the gloss on a near-faultless campaign with a three-goal blitz in the opening 33 minutes.

Paul Lambert's Aston Villa remain three points clear of the relegation zone, but having played a game more, the heavy defeat to the newly crowned champions leaves their goal difference four goals worse off than 18<sup>th place Wigan Athletic.

Manchester United
United won their 20th league title in stunning fashion against Aston Villa.

Any hopes Villa had of fulfilling Lambert's prophecy that the Villains would take the game to United, knowing a win would relegate both Reading and Queens Park Rangers, were stifled inside two minutes as the hosts' hit the front.

Rooney released Antonio Valencia down the right handside, and after teeing up a cross for Rafael, Ryan Giggs pulled the ball back to Van Persie, who found the roof of the net from barely three yards out.

The Dutchman volleyed over Valencia's cross and Rafael hammered against the post as Villa attempted to weather the storm, with Christian Benteke almost drawing them level, but they suffered a second body blow after just 14 minutes with one of the goals of the season so far.

A rare moment of pressure from the visitors was broken up in its' infancy, and after Shinji Kagawa fed Rooney, the England international's 40-yard hanging pass which picked out Van Persie, who had escaped the attention of Ron Vlaar, was hammered first-time into the corner beyond Brad Guzan.

And with barely half an hour on the clock, Van Persie completed his hatrick and soared back to the top of the Premier League scoring charts - ahead of Luis Suarez whose violent conduct charge ensures he won't play again this season - as he converted from Giggs's pass to put the icing on the top of an absorbing United first-half performance.

Villa began the second half with an ethos of damage limitation and they almost cut the defecit as Van Persie cleared off the line from Andreas Weimann's header before David de Gea saved superbly first from Benteke and then from substitute Karim El Ahmadi's dipping strike.

But the away side couldn't force a consolation as United secured a 13th Premier League title with a win which keeps alive their hopes of achieving a record points total of 96, while they have avenged the manner of which their lost the championship last season to near neighbours City, whom they are aiming to finish ahead of by a record distance.