Premier League Champions Manchester City Add Fight To Their Dominance

This remarkable City era has been characterised by how they dominate games. This time, they had to fight to lift the trophy
18:53, 22 May 2022

Manchester City have won the Premier League in the most dramatic fashion. Pep Guardiola’s side fought back from 2-0 down against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium, netting three goals in six breathless minutes to win 3-2 and clinch the crown. Liverpool did their part, also having to come back against Wolverhampton Wanderers to win 3-1. But City had to battle in a way that was uncharacteristic to their usual dominance in order to lift their eighth top tier championship.

City have now won four of the last five Premier League titles, in an extraordinary era of dominance not seen since the pomp of their great rivals Manchester United. Pep Guardiola is the first manager since Sir Alex Ferguson to so relentlessly control the destiny of the famous trophy. There can be no disputing the fact that this vintage of City are among the finest sides the Premier League has ever seen.

City’s achievements are made all the more impressive by the fact they have had such excellent competition. Unlike Guardiola’s former side Bayern Munich or the dominant Juventus team that won nine Serie A titles in a row, City have had a constant potential thorn in their side. Liverpool have racked up points totals that would have won them the league in most previous seasons, and between them the two North West sides have broken records for goals and points. That’s not to mention the fact City have also won a league this season that contained the reigning European and World Champions, Chelsea. 

But it is Liverpool that have provided the greatest challenge. While Manchester United finished second last term, Liverpool are responsible for the one title out of the last five that did not end up at the Etihad. On a white-knuckle final day, they could have easily walked away with the 2021-22 iteration. At 2-0 down to Aston Villa, the misery caused by ex-Liverpool players in both the managerial seat and on the scoresheet in Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho, City were at risk of ceding their title in the meekest way possible.

But great teams are judged partly by how they overcome adversity. It is not something Guardiola’s Cityzens often have to contend with. Football’s quintessential front-runners, City have perfected the art of choking the life out of games with inch-perfect passing, before going up through the gears to punish their foes with goals. The approach is so effective that City have played it mostly without a centre forward since Sergio Aguero left the club. But Sunday’s final fixture required something more.

City proved they had grit and determination in their locker to go with the silk and invention. Staring down a hopeless situation, looking powerless and beholden to the outcome of Liverpool-Wolves, suddenly something shifted. In six minutes that are sure to take their place next to Aguero’s last-day title-clincher of 2012 in the fabric of Manchester City folklore, City fired back. First, Ilkay Gundogan struck. Then midfield partner Rodri capped off what has been a magnificent season from a personal point of view with the equaliser. Gundogan then popped up again to send City into dreamland. For the first time in a frenetic afternoon, they were in control. Six minutes to decide a season, and City didn’t waver. This is what makes them champions.

Terrifyingly for their rivals, this title-winning machine will attempt to make it five Premier League triumphs in six seasons with a new face in the ranks. Erling Haaland joins in the summer to add yet more firepower to a side that has just scored 99 league goals. Could the most sought-after young striker in world football become the crown jewel in this remarkable era for Manchester City? Time will tell. But with the title having almost permanent residence in their trophy cabinet, and a remarkable striker on his way, the Cityzens certainly have a lot to smile about.

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