Five key games in Manchester City’s title win

Date published: Tuesday 11th May 2021 8:12 - News Desk

Ilkay Gundogan goal Manchester City Liverpool
Manchester City have clinched their third Premier League title in four years following Manchester United’s defeat to Leicester at Old Trafford.A much-changed United side lost out 2-1 to Leicester – who strengthened their own grip on a top-four place in the process – and now can’t catch their neighbours.While this won’t go down as the most dramatic Manchester City title win at their local rivals’ expense, it may be one of the best given the struggles at the start of the season. Here we look back at five key games as they went from early-season stragglers to dominant champions once more.


November 28: Burnley, won 5-0, Etihad Stadium
City made an indifferent start to their campaign and sat 11th after dropping points in five of their opening eight games. What they needed at this stage was a confidence-lifting visit from their favourite whipping boys. The Clarets had lost 5-0 on each of their previous three trips and it became apparent early on another such rout was in store. Riyad Mahrez claimed a hat-trick while Benjamin Mendy and Ferran Torres also struck as City launched a 19-game unbeaten league run.


December 19: Southampton, won 1-0, St Mary’s Stadium
The start of December brought a goalless stalemate at Old Trafford and a frustrating 1-1 draw against West Brom. A trip to Southampton, who were third at the time, was not an easy prospect but an early goal from Raheem Sterling made the difference as the hosts lost key man Danny Ings to injury. It was the first of a run of 15 successive wins that took City from outside the top five and into a commanding lead at the top.


January 3: Chelsea, won 3-1, Stamford Bridge
While the significance of the win over Southampton only became apparent with hindsight, there was a definite feeling that momentum was gathering when City began the new year in style against Chelsea. Three goals in a blistering 16-minute spell in the first half from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne showed they meant business. Hard-fought wins over Brighton and Sheffield United followed, but the way Crystal Palace (4-0) and West Brom (5-0) were then thrashed suggested a team hitting their stride.


February 7: Liverpool, won 4-1, Anfield
This result may have gone to form with Guardiola’s side already established at the top and Liverpool on the wane but, having not won at Anfield since 2003, this was a hugely significant victory against the defending champions for City. Gundogan missed a penalty but the German’s later double, either side of a Mohamed Salah penalty, put them in control. Further goals from Sterling and the brilliant Foden wrapped up a win that gave City a firm grip on the title race.


March 10: Southampton, won 5-2, Etihad Stadium
City saw a 21-game winning run in all competitions come to an end with a derby loss to Manchester United on March 7 but quickly got back on track three days later. Mahrez and De Bruyne both scored twice as Saints were put to the sword, with Gundogan also on target once again. A lot of attention centred on a penalty not given after Foden appeared to be taken out by Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, but that was ultimately inconsequential. The win put City 14 points clear and it seemed all over bar the shouting.

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