Manchester City broke another Four records as Gabriel Jesus scored in injury time to snatch victory at St Mary’s.
The blues were looking for a record breaking 32nd league victory, which would also see them become the first Premier League team to reach 100 points in one season, win 16 away games and also secure the largest winning title winning margin.
But they were made to wait until almost the final kick of the season to break those records by a determined Southampton, who needed just a point to retain their Premier League status for next season. But it didn’t really matter what the Saints did as their relegation rivals Swansea lost at home to Stoke.
To the outsider, it will have looked like Southampton relaxed a little as news of Swansea’s defeat filtered through, as Kevin de Bruyne’s unbelievable pass – how many times has that been said this season - found substitute Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian’s first touch was superb and the finish was exquisite as he chipped the ball over the onrushing Alex McCarthy into the back of the net.
The goal sparked wild scenes in the stands as Jesus whipped his shirt off and celebrated with them. It was a moment reminiscent of Sergio Aguero’s goal against QPR on the final day in 2012 which won the league for the first time in 44 years. But the celebrations were not just confined to the supporters. Pep Guardiola celebrated like it was a title winning goal, such is the passion of the man hailed by many as the best coach in Europe, possibly the world.
The City bench raced half the length of the pitch to celebrate with the goalscorer and as the fans drummed up another rendition of ‘Championes,’ Jesus and substitute keeper for the day Ederson conducted them from the pitch. Not even a yellow card for Jesus for removing his shirt could stop it, if he had even noticed that he’d been booked in the first place.
But credit must be given to Southampton as they pushed the champions to almost take the point they needed. But it is a sign of deserved champions that kept pushing forward , not wanting to finish this exceptional season with a stalemate. And of course it was de Bruyne, the architect of so many moves and goals this season, who was at the centre of it all again. His vision to pick out Jesus from deep in his own half was just one example of the many he has provided this season. And his transfer fee of £54m paid to Wolfsburg in 2015, which was ridiculed and berated by many as overpriced, now looks like a bargain.
It was an incredible end to a season that started in such low key with a 2-0 win at Brighton on the opening day, followed by a dire 1-1 draw at home to Everton. No one would have believed that, after those opening two games, City would go on to win the league with such style and playing the type of football that their rivals can only dream of.
Now the season is over, Pep will be already preparing to defend the title next season. City have never successfully defended a league title before, but if anyone can make that happen, it is the Catalan.