Robin van Persie saved his best performance of the year for Manchester United's biggest moment.
With the opportunity to clinch the English Premier League title with a win over Aston Villa, the Dutch forward earned a hat trick in only 33 minutes of play.
This was simply the latest in a long season of domination for the talented striker, as he helped his new club stay on top of the league table throughout the season.
In addition, the three scores moved him ahead of Luis Suarez for the lead in goals after trailing by two heading into this match.
While this would usually lead to a back-and-forth contest with only four matches remaining in the season, it is possible that his main competition will not participate for the rest of the year.
During Liverpool's most recent match against Chelsea, Suarez attempted to bite opposing defender Branislav Ivanovic. Although he was not penalized at the time, the FA charged the forward with "violent conduct."
The statement from the league officials mentions that the ban would be at least three matches:
It is alleged that the conduct of Suarez constitutes violent conduct and it is The FA’s contention that the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient in these circumstances.
Unless something dramatic happens, Suarez will probably be stuck at 23 goals on the year. Even though he was the first to 10 goals and 20 goals in the Race to the Golden Boot, he will fall just short of the season-long award.
Gareth Bale of Tottenham is third on the list with 18 goals on the year, but the breakout star has slowed down of late, with only two goals in his previous five matches with his club. There is simply too much ground to make up in order to catch the leaders.
This leaves van Persie alone at the top to win the prestigious Golden Boot award. He won this distinction last year with Arsenal, but few could have imagined this level of an impact in his first year with Manchester United.
He came over and blended perfectly with the talent on the roster and was the major reason that the club was so successful throughout the season. In addition, he allowed Wayne Rooney—last year's second-place finisher in goals scored—to become more of a distributor to make the offense even stronger.
Based on van Persie's individual accomplishments and the success of the club, it would not be surprising if he was able to also named the Premier League Player of the Season.
If he continues to play like he did on Monday against Aston Villa, there is no telling how many awards could be in his future.
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