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28/12/2013 09:59, Report by Adam Marshall

Review 2013: Champions

ManUtd.com reflects on the biggest stories of the year, starting with the title triumph...

The calendar year of 2013 was a momentous one for Manchester United with a record 20th league title secured in some style.

It was the 13th time Sir Alex Ferguson lifted the trophy and proved to be the last, as he announced his retirement before the final two league fixtures.

The Reds had entered the year in pole position in the Barclays Premier League, seven points ahead of nearest challengers and the reigning champions Manchester City. Leading from the front, Robin van Persie notched two goals on New Year's Day (4-0 away win at Wigan) and another important strike in the first home game of 2013 (2-1 win vs Liverpool).

Van Persie would end the season with the club's Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award after scoring 26 league goals - more than any player had ever managed in a debut season at United - and 30 strikes in all competitions. Fittingly, it was the Dutchman who sealed the title on Monday 22 April with a superb hat-trick against Aston Villa, including a sublime volley from a Wayne Rooney pass, after rivals City were beaten by Tottenham.

The title celebrations started in earnest that night at Old Trafford, before the trophy was presented after the win against Swansea, and an open-top bus parade through Manchester later allowed the supporters to show their appreciation. City's reign as champions had been a brief one as the Reds displayed tremendous mental strength to bounce back from the last-gasp agony a year earlier.

Incredibly, the winning margin was 11 points and the figure would have been two points higher but for a late comeback by West Brom on the final day - not that a remarkable 5-5 draw could take the sheen off Sir Alex's last game in charge.

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