Ranking Man City’s final-day Premier League title wins on how close they came to messing up

Lewis Oldham
Man City Prem title
Djibril Cisse, Philippe Coutinho and Glenn Murray score against Manchester City.

If Manchester City beat West Ham United on Sunday to win the Premier League for a fourth straight year, it will be the fifth time they have clinched a title via victory on the final day.

Especially during the Pep Guardiola era, City have been breathtakingly good as their nearest title challengers eventually succumbed to their brilliance.

But as good as City have been while they have dominated this period of Premier League history, they often fall into the trap of being made to win the title the hard way with work needing to be done on the final day.

Four of Man City‘s seven league title wins since 2012 have come via some drama on the final day. It will be five if they avoid end-of-season heartache against West Ham on Sunday, with chasers Arsenal expecting to put pressure on Guardiola’s team by beating Everton at the Emirates.

Before what’s to come this weekend, Liverpool are given an unwelcome trip down memory lane as we have ranked Man City’s previous four final-day Premier League title wins based on how close (or not) they came to f***ing it up…

 

4) 2013/14
Final day result: Manchester City 2-0 West Ham United (Nasri 39′, Kompany 49′)

We wanted to highlight the possibility of City diverting from type and falling at the final hurdle to miss out on a title. But during this particular season, it was Liverpool who made a colossal balls-up.

Before Jurgen Klopp brought the glory days back to Liverpool, the Reds were treated to a rare tilt at the title under Brendan Rodgers in 2013/14.

Liverpool’s extraordinary 11-game winning run between February and April included what felt like a title-clinching 3-2 win over Man City. This victory meant it was their trophy to lose with three matches remaining.

READ: Top 10 biggest Premier League title bottle-jobs

But Liverpool’s world came crumbling down across a stretch of nine days. Steven Gerrard’s slip to allow Demba Ba a free run at goal propelled Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea towards a sh*thouse 2-0 win at Anfield. This was before Dwight Gayle’s brace in Crystal Palace’s shock 3-3 comeback draw at Selhurst Park left the Premier League title in Man City’s grasp after Manuel Pellegrini’s side had played second fiddle to their rivals for much of the season.

On the final day, Liverpool bounced back to beat Newcastle United, but it was too little too late for Rodgers’ team. Given Man City’s superior goal difference, a draw against West Ham would have been enough to win the league. But being the show-offs they tend to be, they did better than that by beating the 13th-placed Hammers 2-0 via goals in either half from Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany.

 

3) 2018/19
Final day result: Brighton and Hove Albion 1-4 Manchester City (Murray 27′; Aguero 28′, Laporte 38′, Mahrez 63′, Gundogan 72′)

Man City and Liverpool produced remarkable levels of consistency and mental fortitude as they ended the campaign with unbeaten Premier League runs dating back to January.

Liverpool’s only defeat of the league season came against Man City but mid-campaign draws proved to be their downfall as they gave up their lead at the summit to finish second on 97 points, while Guardiola’s side reached 98.

The two title rivals had an equally relentless mindset during the run-in as they refused to make even the slightest mistake, so wins on the final day for Man City (against Brighton) and Liverpool (against Wolves) felt inevitable heading into the last round of fixtures.

Liverpool did all they could by beating Wolves 2-0 and they were given hope of a collapse from their rivals.

Brighton striker Glenn Murray headed home from a corner at the AMEX Stadium to break the deadlock, but their lead only lasted for 83 seconds before Sergio Aguero levelled the game. Further goals from Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan saw City over the line without too much stress.

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2) 2021/22
Final day result: Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa (Gundogan 76′ and 81′, Rodri 78′; Cash 37′, Coutinho 69′) 

It’s time for more Liverpool heartache, is it? Oh, go on then…

Having bounced back from a disappointing season in 20/21, Liverpool mounted a serious challenge for an unprecedented quadruple in 21/22. But in the end, they were made to settle for an underwhelming FA Cup and Carabao Cup double as they once again came up short against two Kryptonite opponents – Man City and Real Madrid – to miss out on the Premier League and Champions League.

This permutation of this final day was the same as in 2018/19, with Man City just needing to match Liverpool’s result to win the Premier League.

Liverpool fell behind against Wolves before late goals from Mo Salah and Andy Robertson (after Sadio Mane’s equaliser) earned them a 3-1 win.

For a while, this looked like it was going to be enough to win the title as City trailed Aston Villa 2-0, with Liverpool’s cause (and the narrative) boosted by former Anfield favourite Philippe Coutinho scoring a stunning second for Steven Gerrard’s side.

But given how City usually operate on the final day, it felt like a comeback would be on as long as they got that elusive first goal. That goal came in the 76th minute and a jubilant Etihad crowd roared their side onto victory as the match turned in their favour inside a breathless five-minute spell late on. Close, but no cigar for Liverpool…

📣TO THE COMMENTS! Will Manchester City mess up against West Ham United? Join the debate here

 

1) 2011/12
Final day result: Manchester City 3-2 Queens Park Rangers (Zabaleta 39′, Dzeko 90+2′, Aguero 90+4′; Cisse 48′, Mackie 66′)

Liverpool supporters can finally rest easy as this final inclusion has nothing to do with them, with Man City contesting for their first Premier League title against local rivals Manchester United.

Far before the days of Guardiola’s mentality monsters and at a time when Man Utd were still good at football, the two Manchester clubs went back and forth (despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s side losing 6-1 to their rivals in October) for the title as Roberto Mancini’s imperfect squad showed signs of nerves in search of their first Premier League title.

In terms of points, there was nothing between the two sides heading into the final day. But the goal difference – thanks largely to that 6-1 thumping – was in City’s favour, so they (playing relegation-threatened QPR) just needed to match United’s result against Sunderland to secure the title. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

It proved to be far from simple. Despite QPR playing with ten men for most of the second half after red-carded Joey Barton lost his head and attempted to injure several City players on his way off, they were 2-1 up heading into stoppage time.

But the events of added time made this game arguably the most memorable in Premier League history as Edin Dzeko’s leveller preceded that Aguero moment as Man City did the unthinkable to leave Ferguson and co. bereft in Sunderland, while everyone at the Etihad was overjoyed. Love bites and all.

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