Man City wrapped up the Premier League title by sweeping Brighton aside in a 4-1 victory at The Amex on Sunday afternoon. It made them the first team to secure back-to-back Premier League titles since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd side a decade ago.
Pep Guardiola’s men will now go down as one of the greatest teams in the history of English football after prevailing in an absolutely gripping title battle with Liverpool. They rattled off 14 consecutive victories at the business end of the season and ended up clinching the title by a single point.
It was heart-breaking for Liverpool, whose haul of 97 points was the third highest tally in Premier League history. Only Man City have ever earned more as they picked up a record-breaking 100 points last season and 98 this time around. The Reds earned more points than Man Utd, Arsenal or Chelsea have ever managed and they still could not secure a maiden triumph. They played their part in the most captivating title battle ever witnessed, but ultimately Man City seized glory by remaining supremely composed under pressure in the final weeks of the season.
Bookmakers have already released football odds for the 2020/21 campaign and Man City are the odds-on favourites to make it three in a row. Last season they established themselves as arguably the world’s most technically adept team as they played their rivals off the park week in, week out. But this time around they had to match their technical ability with phenomenal mental strength in the face of intense pressure from Liverpool.
After 20 games of the season, Guardiola’s men trailed the Reds by 10 points. They had a mountain to climb, and they were clear underdogs with all the bookmakers. But they picked up a fantastic 2-1 victory over Liverpool in a pulsating contest at The Etihad and that gave them hope. City then shrugged off a shock defeat at the hands of Newcastle and embarked on that epic 14-game winning streak to close out victory by the slenderest of margins in the title race. They were clearly feeling the pressure during that run, and they did not always play the free-flowing football we know they are capable of, but Guardiola’s men dug deep and ground out victory after victory.
When fans look back on this campaign, one moment will stand out. Man City went into their penultimate game against a stubborn Leicester side and they knew they needed a win to retain their grip on the title race. Liverpool had already beaten Newcastle 3-2 to move two points clear and City needed a win to return to the summit of the table. The game wore on, and they simply could not find a breakthrough. But in the 70th minute, captain Vincent Kompany carried the ball forward out of defence and unleashed a thunderbolt into Kasper Schmeichel’s top corner.
It was a strike worthy of settling any title race and it came from the unlikeliest of sources. The goal perhaps lacked the drama of Sergio Aguero’s last gasp strike to hand Man City on the final day of the season in 2012, but it was a remarkable piece of bravado from such an iconic figure at the club, and scenes of delirium ensued.
We are reaching the end of an era for Man City, as Joe Hart and Yaya Toure have moved on, while Kompany looks set to retire soon. Aguero and David Silva appear to have a couple of years left in them at the top, but soon it will be time for new titans to come to the fore, and City look well stocked. Aymeric Laporte has gone from strength to strength at the back this season, Ederson is a supremely safe pair of hands and feet between the sticks, Bernardo Silva is a creative genius and Raheem Sterling is the pick of the bunch, an exceptionally talented forward who deservedly won the Football Writers’ Player of the Year award this season.