Manchester City won the Premier League title on Sunday afternoon, courtesy of rivals Manchester United losing 1-0 at home to bottom of the table West Brom.
The title has long been wrapped up, almost ever since City embarked on their 17-game winning run and their long unbeaten start to the season, however Sunday saw them officially confirmed as champions.
Here are three key moments that saw them regain the Premier League title that they last won four seasons ago.
The Transfer Market
It sounds clichéd, but planning for the first day of the season starts the day after the season before finishes, and that’s when Pep Guardiola would have been preparing for an assault on this year’s Premier League title. Although, knowing Guardiola, he’d have been formulating strategy throughout the second half of last season.
Five new players arrived at the Etihad last summer and while Bernardo Silva and Danilo have been bit-part players and Benjamin Mendy has been injured for the entire season, two of those signings have been outstanding.
Kyle Walker arrived at City for an eye-watering sum of money. His £45 million transfer was seen as huge for a player whose ability to defend was questionable, as was his ability to produce a cross. However, Guardiola has not only got him to improve in both of those areas, but has started moving him centrally. Wing backs are a key part to Guardiola’s philosophy and he identified a superb choice, who also happens to be English, in Walker.
The other area that Guardiola has improved that cannot be overstated enough is the goalkeeper. On arrival at City, he bought Claudio Bravo, who proved to be a calamity, but the signing of relative unknown, Ederson, proved to be a stroke of genius. Not only has he bought confidence to the whole defence by being better than Bravo, he’s also shown genuine footballing ability that would rival many midfielders in the game. He may not be the greatest goalkeeper to have ever graced the Premier League, but he could certainly become one.
Victory at Stamford Bridge
Manchester City’s results back in September were something to behold. They started off with a 5-0 thumping of 10-man Liverpool, a 4-0 victory away at Feyenoord, a 6-0 win away against Watford, a routine 2-1 win against Tony Pulis’ WBA, before another 5-0 thumping of Crystal Palace. Shakhtar Donetsk followed, losing 2-0 in midweek in the Champions League. Up next were defending champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, who hadn’t got off to the best of starts.
Manchester City won 1-0, but the scoreline was irrelevant that day, as it was the manner in which they set about dismantling the champions that was so eye-catching. Guardiola’s side racked up 62% in possession and had 17 shots on target, to Chelsea’s four. They also produced a passing success rate of 88.5% and made 14 key passes.
Chelsea didn’t offer much in this game, but City, led by Kevin de Bruyne, produced a dominant display. In fact, it was the Belgian’s goal that was the difference between the two sides. He started the move, passing to Gabriel Jesus, before the Brazilian returned, and De Bruyne fired in a volley from outside the box.
City followed up victory against Chelsea by dismantling Stoke 7-2 at the Etihad.
Draw at Palace
City travelled to a raucous Selhurst Park on New Year’s Eve to play their fifth game in 15 days. They were on an incredible 18-match winning run at this point, but that all came to an end against Crystal Palace and arguably could have been worse.
Wilfried Zaha was fouled by Raheem Sterling in added time in the second half and City’s winning run could have come to the cruellest end. However, Ederson stepped up and saved Luka Milivojevic’s effort with his legs. While that kept their unbeaten run alive and acted as a warning for any complacency, City left South East London with an injury worry over Kevin de Bruyne, who was stretchered off and left the ground in a knee brace. Thankfully for City, he didn’t miss a game, but had he been out for a while, their title hopes could have taken a major hit.