Manchester City finally clinched a third Premier League title on Sunday after West Bromwich Albion’s shocking 1-0 win at Manchester United.
United postponed City’s parade with a 3-2 comeback victory at the Etihad last weekend, but couldn’t delay the inevitable any longer.
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Our Time. Our City.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 15, 2018
City’s brand of breathless possession football took the Premier League by storm a fine rebuke for critics who questioned Guardiola after a first trophyless season in England. Guardiola’s men became just the third side in Premier League history to beat every opponent in the same season, and they did it in style, scoring 93 goals and losing only twice in 33 matches to leave the chasing pack well behind.
Guardiola’s lot also joined Sir Alex Ferguson’s United from the 2000-01 season as the only Premier League sides to secure England’s top prize with five matches remaining.
The Spaniard has now won seven league titles and 24 trophies overall as manager in three different countries, erasing doubts that he would fail to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League.
City’s coronation was a matter of time. The Eastlands outfit built an insurmountable lead after winning the first 18 matches of the season. There was talk of a perfect season, but City’s chainmail was penetrated in January’s wild 4-3 loss at Liverpool.
Although the chance was wasted to match Arsenal’s 2003-04 Invincibles, the negative result at Anfield barely wobbled City’s march toward the title.
It’s close to breaking the Premier League’s points record – set at 95 by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2004-05 – and could yet surpass the century mark.
On an individual level, many of City’s players have enjoyed the best season of their careers. Kevin De Bruyne’s 15 assists have fueled his candidacy for the PFA Player of the Year award; Raheem Sterling’s 17 goals are by far a career-best; and midfielder Fabian Delph was reimagined as a functional full-back.
Even Vincent Kompany, hampered by more than two dozen injuries since joining the club in 2008, is playing regularly again.
The squad also cost a lot of money. Following last summer’s clearout, City spent more than £200 million on first-team starters, with Ederson, Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, Danilo, and Aymeric Laporte giving Guardiola the talent and depth to challenge on multiple fronts.
City did suffer a stunning defeat to third-tier Wigan in the fifth round of the FA Cup, and failed to reach the Champions League semi-finals for just the second time in club history, but it’s now firmly established itself as the team to beat in the English top flight.>