When Manchester City left the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in November 2020, the knives were out for the team and Guardiola. The blues sat in 11th place, 8 points behind leaders Spurs and the pundits were writing City off.
But an amazing 21 match winning run in all competitions took the blues 12 points clear at the top of the league, reached the League Cup Final, drawn away to Everton in the FA Cup Quarter Final and were one win away from reaching the Champions League Quarter Final.
Southampton 0-1 Manchester City
When City arrived at St Mary’s or their final Premier League match before Christmas, they were a full 11 points behind new league leaders Liverpool. City were in 9th place, four points behind their hosts who were at the lofty heights of 3rd in the table.
Raheem Sterling’s 16th minute goal settled the tie to close the gap on the leaders. By the end of the day, City were in 6th place and had set their sights on the leaders.
Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City
Stamford Bridge has often been a difficult place for the blues to visit, but they made light work of former midfielder Frank Lampard’s side. City had seen their game with Everton called off due to an outbreak of Covid-19 at the club and the team were missing some key players in West London.
However, a devastating attacking display from the blues saw them 3-0 after just 35 minutes. Goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne blew the hosts away, as the blues closed the gap to just four points on Liverpool.
Liverpool 1-4 Manchester City
Anfield. A place where City had won once since 1981 and suffered more defeats than anywhere else. It was the home of the current champions and if there was ever a place to make a statement, this would be it. Hopes were high for a City victory after Liverpool had suffered back to back home defeats to Burnley and Brighton, but no doubt the home side would raise their game against the blues. So City raised theirs.
Ilkay Gundogan missed a first half penalty but made amends four minutes into the second half, heading home after Phil Foden’s shot had been saved. Mohamed Salah equalised from the penalty spot on 63 minutes, but a bizarre three-minute spell saw City go 3-1 up. Home keeper Alisson dithered in the 73rd minute, with the ball eventually finding Foden, whose cross was turned home by Gundogan. Then in the 76th minute, the home keeper made a glorious pass to Bernardo Silva, and his cross was headed in by Raheem Sterling.
Foden made sure of the points with a superb finish in the 83rd minute as the bleus thumped the Champions again, but this time in their own back yard.
Leicester 0-2 Manchester City
An incredible turnaround in fortune now saw City at the top of the league, 14 points clear of United in second place, and victory at third placed Leicester City would be a huge step towards claiming the Premier League title.
After a goalless first half, the end of which Jamie Vardy had a goal disallowed for offside, City took control. A composed, yet unlikely goal from Benjamin Mendy opened the scoring in the 58th minute, and this was added to by Gabriel Jesus, 16 minutes from time to secure an invaluable victory for the blues.
Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City
This should have been the day City won the league, but events the following day at Old Trafford soured the blues celebrations. However, they first had to navigate a tricky match at Selhurst Park.
Again, the blues drew a first half blank, but two second half goals pit City firmly in control. Sergio Aguero showed what he is still capable of as he thundered City into the lead in the 57th minute, and while Palace were still recovering, Ferran Torres, who is now being tipped to replace the legendary Argentine, doubled the lead two minutes later to send City 13 points clear.
As it turned out, United had their home match with Liverpool postponed due to home fans invading the ground and City had to wait until United lost at home to Leicester to take the crown.