During the 2017/18 English Premier League season, Manchester City broke a series of records. The Sky Blues became the first team in the English top tier to earn 100 points in a season. Moreover, they set the record for most wins (32 out of 38 matches), most consecutive wins (18) and most goals scored (106) in a single campaign.
Manchester City were rewarded for their performance. The Sky Blues secured both the English Premier League title and EFL “Carabao” Cup. To showcase their record-breaking season, the Club partnered with Etihad Airways and created the 2018 Centurions Trophy Tour.
Starting in July 2018, the trophies will visit 22 cities in 12 countries around the globe. The Club’s intention is to celebrate these successes with their fans throughout the world.
Former Manchester City and England defender Joleon Lescott is serving as the Club’s ambassador for the tour.
Aside from increasing their interaction with supporters throughout the world, the Club is seeking to create opportunities for fans to come together to watch matches. Known as “City Live!”, the event delivers the full matchday experience with City staff, club ambassadors and supporters.
The NBC Sports Arena at Xfinity Live! in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania hosted one of these events. Teaming up with the Manchester City Supporters Club of Philadelphia, Kensington Soccer Club and NBC Sports Philadelphia, Manchester City presented the trophies at the venue.
Philadelphia provided a unique opportunity for the tour. Villanova University (Men’s College Basketball) and the Philadelphia Eagles (American Football) won their respective competitions during the 2017/18 seasons. This highlighted Manchester City’s decision to visit the city, as it created a “champions meet champions” atmosphere.
Following a visit with Villanova, the Eagles, MCFC Philadelphia and the Kensington Soccer Club, the Trophy Tour arrived to Xfinity Live! on 11 November. The City Live! match of choice? The Manchester derby.
One of England’s oldest rivalries, Sunday marked the 177 derby between Manchester City and Manchester United. Throughout their history, the derby has seen much drama and controversy. To add to this affair, the two clubs are currently managed by long time rivals Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho. How would these teams fare in this fixture?
In preparation of the event, supporters gathered to Xfinity Live! to watch the derby. Prior to the match, participants had an opportunity to take photos with the trophies. A few lucky individuals also won City merchandise in a raffle. Prizes included a jersey signed by U.S. national team midfielder Carli Lloyd, a scarf signed by Club Captain Vincent Kompany and a name card signed by Benjamin Mendy. Finally, Joleon Lescott held a brief Q&A session with the fans.
After an exciting build up to the match, the derby began.
The first opportunity of the game came in the second minute when City’s Fernandinho found an unmarked Bernardo Silva in the center of the pitch. The latter took a few touches before firing toward goal. Although United goalkeeper David De Gea was beaten, the ball flashed past the goal.
The second opportunity came in the 12 minute. Following a pass from David Silva, Raheem Sterling crossed a ball into the box, which found Bernardo.
The supporters at Xfinity Live! then rose to their feet. Bernardo passed the ball to David Silva, and the latter fired home. The venue erupted with cheers and applause. City were now ahead inside 12 minutes.
Despite a dominant start to the first half, the Sky Blues were unable to add to their tally. The match ended 1-0 at half time. Fans expressed their satisfaction with their team’s display. City’s performance in the first half demonstrated why they are favoured to retain the EPL trophy.
City then doubled their lead at the restart. Early in the second half, United were awarded a free kick. Their poor delivery, however, saw Fernandinho intercept the ball. The Brazilian passed to Bernardo, who immediately slotted the ball to Sergio Agüero. The Argentine had a nifty passage of play with Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian then passed the ball back to Agüero and the Argentine scored, doubling his side’s advantage at the 48 minute.
A lapse of focus, however, allowed United back into the match. During the 57 minute, United’s Anthony Martial passed the ball to Romelu Lukaku. As the Belgian entered the box, City goalkeeper Ederson came rushing off his line and fouled the United striker. Despite protests from the fans at Xfinity Live!, referee Anthony Taylor had no other option than to award a penalty. Moments later, Martial scored and the match was suddenly at 2-1 on 58 minutes.
The goal had invited the Reds back into the match. Following the goal, United manager Mourinho made his final set of attacking substitutions, and for a period of time it seemed as if the Reds were on course to equalize.
This was short lived, however, as City stole the match. The Sky Blues had remained patient throughout the game, and it was İlkay Gündoğan who secured their victory. In the 85 minute, Gündoğan ran toward the box and passed to Sterling. The Englishman drew defenders and passed the ball to Bernardo, who was left unmarked at the top of the box. The Portuguese lifted the ball into the box, finding Gündoğan, and the German scored City’s third goal of the match.
Manchester City had won the 177 derby. By full time, the supporters at Xfinity Live! loudly applauded their team. They were memorized by City’s performance.
Overall, the event presented a warm and lively atmosphere. The supporters were grateful the Centurion Trophy Tour selected their home to showcase City’s remarkable achievements. They thanked City Live!, Xfinity Live! and MCFC Philadelphia for hosting the event, and hoped a future viewing party would be held at this venue.
Manchester City’s Centurions Trophy Tour is to conclude in Abu Dhabi in late November 2018.