Manchester City rounded off a highly impressive season by being crowned Premier League champions again, following a 4-1 win at Brighton.
The blues knew only a victory would guarantee the trophy remained in Manchester, but were given a fright when Brighton took the lead after 27 minutes. Sergio Aguero quickly levelled and any chance of a final day collapse were lessened when Aymeric Laporte gave the blues the lead seven minutes before half time. Riyad Mahrez all but secured the title with a fine goal on 63 minutes, and Ilkay Gundogan made sure of the victory nine minutes later.
It was an incredible finish to a game that initially had the fans biting their nails at the start. Indeed, the worst fears of the supporters threatened to come true after nearest rivals Liverpool took the lead against Wolves at Anfield. For a moment, the Merseysiders replaced City at the top of the table, and reds fans went wild when Brighton won a corner. They celebrated when Brighton did in fact score form that corner, which was reminiscent of 2012, when Jamie Mackie’s goal put QPR 2-1 up on the final day which would have given United the title.
But on this occasion, the blues didn’t leave it until the last few minutes to score again with the reply instant. Sergio Aguero stayed onside to rifle home an immediate equaliser and the volume at Anfield instantly descended. Then, seven minutes before half time, Aymeric Laporte thumped home from a corner to give the blues the lead and relieve the tension amongst the blues ranks. News of the goal silenced the Anfield crowd, but the volume amongst blues fans rose. At half time, City were 45 minutes away from the league title.
As City have shown in the past, 2-1 is never a safe lead to hold, and the longer it went on, the higher the chances were that Brighton could scrape another, and with the blues not wanting to rely on Wolves getting a result, a third goal was always going to be necessary. And it duly came from a former champion.
Riyad Mahrez may have been a surprise starter for the blues, and some pointed out that, had he not missed a last minute penalty at Anfield in October, the title would have already been wrapped up. But the Algerian made amends for that penalty miss with a stunning strike to send the travelling blues fans, and those watching in City Square, wild with delight at the prospect of snatching the title from Liverpool’s grasp and extending their wait for the league title for at least another year.
The match, and indeed the title, was made safe nine minutes later when Ilkay Gundogan fired a free kick home to seal the victory and ensure blues fans didn’t endure the same anguish they went through seven years ago. Instead, they were in full voice as they began celebrating back to back league titles for the first time in their history.
The celebrations will go on long into the night, but they are a far cry from the depths of despair the blues felt after a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle back in January. Many had written the team off after that match, but a run of fourteen straight wins has seen the blues prevail again.