It seems rather ironic that the most worthy of Premier League champions clinched their title in such an unexciting fashion, as strugglers West Brom managed a 1-0 win against Manchester City’s closest challengers Manchester United to gift City their first Premier League crown since 2014, and their third title in the competition.
Man City had previously squandered the chance to win the title against their city rivals the previous weekend, throwing away a 2-0 lead to lose 2-3 in their only home league loss of the season so far. However, a 3-1 victory away from home against Tottenham, in a return to their familiar form, meant that Manchester United had to avoid defeat to slow down their rivals’ inevitable title success.
Manchester United’s loss meant that the 16-point gap between them and Manchester City was no longer closable, with only five games remaining in a season where Man City’s title had never really been in doubt.
Indeed, the Citizens have enjoyed a near-perfect Premier League season, symbolised by their setting of a new record for most consecutive league wins, 18, with an emphatic 5-0 victory over high-flyers Liverpool along the way, as well as thrashings of Watford (0-6) and Stoke City (7-2).
Many significant Premier League records still remain likely to be broken by the champions, including the points total of 95 set by Chelsea thirteen years ago. With a fairly easy run of games remaining and a total possible points haul of 102, Pep Guardiola and his players will have that record firmly in their sights.
As a team, they have been almost faultless. But even as individuals, many of City’s players have further shown themselves to be amongst the league’s and the world’s very best, with only Liverpool’s Mo Salah a realistic competitor to playmaking genius Kevin De Bruyne’s cause to be named PFA Player of the Year. Besides De Bruyne, fans have witnessed the usual consistency of Sergio Aguero, with his 21 league goals, as well as standout performances from young guns Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane – both rightly nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year.
Due to their eliminations from other competitions, manager Pep Guardiola’s focus will now turn to next season, where City will aim to become the first team to retain the Premier League title since Manchester United did so in 2009. The question is can Man City achieve such a feat, and begin an era of a second footballing dynasty in Manchester, at the hands of one of modern football’s most excellent tacticians?