March ended on another high and put the blues on the brink of winning their third title six years. A win against old rivals Manchester United would guarantee the Premier League trophy would be arriving at Etihad Stadium.
But first they had to navigate a tricky Champions League tie at our favourite place in the world – Anfield.
The blues trip to Anfield had an all too familiar outcome, but it was events before the match the overshadowed what could have been a classic Champions League quarter final.
The City team bus was bombarded by bottles, cans and flares as it approached Anfield with the bus later being deemed undriveable and a replacement had to be brought in. It was unsavoury scenes, which was not befitting of modern day supporters and the behaviour of some belonged back in the 1970’s.
On the pitch, predictably it was top scorer Mo Salah who gave the home side the lead on 12 minutes. The lead was double 8 minutes later when Oxlade-Chamberlain scored once more against the blues and 11 minutes after that, the match was over has Sadio mane made it 3-0.
City had most of the possession but failed to land a single shot on target, which left them with a huge task in the second leg.
7th April 2018 – Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
The blues entertained United, knowing victory would hand them the league title. Pep Guardiola had said long before the game that he would be prioritising the Champions League second leg match with Liverpool over the derby.
And his team selection seemed to have no bearing on the match as the blues raced into a two goal lead. Captain Vincent Kompany headed City in front on 25 minutes, and Ilkay Gundogan made it 2-0 five minutes later. By half time, City had one hand on the trophy.
But sadly it was wrenched away and put on hold for another week as Paul Pogba chose this match to show a glimpse of his talent. Two goals in two minutes levelled the scores and Chris Smalling, at fault for Kompany’s goal, gave the reds the lead with 21 minutes to go.
There was a break in play while a large bus was parked in front of the United goal, and Aguero was denied a clear penalty when he was hacked down by Ashley Young. David de Gea made an amazing save from Aguero as United held on and City’s title party was put on hold. It was the first Premier League game since 2008 that City lost after holding a 2-0 lead
10th April 2018 – Manchester City 1-2 Liverpool
For the first time this season, City had lost two games in a row, but when Liverpool came to town, they knew what they had to do. The blues had already beaten the reds 5-0 in September. Could they do it again?
It looked like they might when Raheem Sterling set up Gabriel Jesus to give City the lead after just two minutes. Game on. But the match took a controversial turn which would eventually dictate the final result. Bernardo Silva’s shot hit the post and fell to Leroy Sane, but via James Milner. Sane tucked the ball home but the goal was disallowed for offside despite Milner’s touch. The decision enraged manager Pep Guardiola, who was sent off and watched the rest of the match from the stands.
From there on in, it all went downhill for City. Mo Salah equalised on 56 minutes and Roberto Firmino scored the winner for Liverpool on 77.
It was a bitter end of the Champions League campaign for City, who had started it with five straight wins, and ended all hope of securing a treble.
14th April 2018 – Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Manchester City
The blues attempted to put the disappointment of their Champions League exit behind them as they travelled to Wembley to face Spurs. If they won, and United lost at home to West Brom the following day, City would be confirmed as champions.
And the blues were determined to do their bit. Gabriel Jesus latching onto Vincent Kompany’s long pass to guide the ball beyond Lloris in the Spurs goal. Three minutes later it was 2-0 as Lloris brought down Raheem Sterling for a penalty to City. The challenge looked outside the box, but Ilkay Gundogan wasn’t complaining as he converted the spot kick.
Spurs managed to get back into the match when Eriksen pulled a goal back three minutes before the break. The home side rallied after the break but City held firm and it was Sterling himself who wrapped up the points, hammering home after Jesus’ shot deflected to him.
The result put one hand on the trophy and Pep Guardiola said he would be on the golf course when asked if he was watching the United match on Sunday. He should have watched it as West Brom pulled off a 1-0 win to hand City the title. After denying the blues from winning it in front of the Etihad crowd, United allowed City to win it in front of their fans instead!
22nd April 2018 – Manchester City 5-0 Swansea
Relegation threatened Swansea arrived in Manchester to find City in party mode. After securing the title last weekend, City set about breaking records, and unluckily for Swansea, one was number of goals scored.
The blues set to the task quickly, with David Silva scoring with 12 minutes on the clock, while Sterling grabbed another himself four minutes later to make it 2-0.
Kevin de Bruyne got in on the act, driving home from 25 yards, and when Gabriel Jesus missed a penalty, Bernardo Silva was on hand to knock home the rebound on 64 minutes. But there was still time for Jesus to score as well, heading in Yaya Toure’s pass with two minutes to go.
5-0 for City and the blues had the taste for breaking more records. With four games left, could they manage it?
29th April 2018 – West Ham United 1-4 Manchester City
City sat on 90 points and 98 goals. They needed six more goals to break the all-time goals scored in the Premier League and six more to break the points record. And with victory at West Ham, they moved closer to both.
Leroy Sane scored their 99th Premier League goal of the season and the question was, who would score goal 100? That honour fell to a former blue in Pablo Zabaleta, who put past his own keeper to send City 2-0 up. Once a blue…
It’s always nice to see the old City return every now and again, which is what happened just before half time when Aaron Cresswell pulled a goal back to set the City nerves jangling. But goals from Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho secured the win, putting the blues on 102 goals, and the points, just three away from breaking the record.
The blues had three games to remaining, two of those at home. Surely the records would tumble?