Josep Guardiola’s men scored thrice in five minutes, came from two goals down, and beat Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to win the 2021/22 Premier League crown on May 22.
The heroics of 2012 will be hard to repeat, but the Citizens came close to recreating the same sense of elation inside the Etihad on the final matchday of the 2021/22 Premier League season. The directive was clear for Guardiola and his side: match, or better, the result of their rivals Liverpool and a fourth league title in five years is theirs.
That seemed like a walk in the park when, after just three minutes played at Anfield, Liverpool conceded the opening goal. Raul Jimenez managed to get in behind the otherwise tight Liverpool high-line and pulled the ball back across the face of the goal for Pedro Neto to finish. However, the Reds leveled things up in the 24th minute through Sadio Mane, the Senegalese racing in behind the opposition backline before squeezing the ball past Jose Sa from a tight angle.
With the scores tied again in Merseyside, attention turned towards Manchester, where, in the 37th minute, Matty Cash headed Lucas Digne’s cross at the back post to give Villa a shock lead. Had the results stayed the same, City would still have won the title on goal difference, but the matchday was now enveloped by a real sense of jeopardy.
Though, there were further twists and turns to come. Sixty-nine minutes in at the Etihad, former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho put Villa two ahead. However, City came roaring back and, between the 76th and the 81st minute, scored thrice to turn the game on its head; Ilkay Gundogan struck twice, either side of a Rodri goal from outside of the box.
For Liverpool, Mohamed Salah and Andrew Robertson’s late goals didn’t count for much. With City in the lead, the title would be heading to Manchester. The Reds hoped for a late miracle, but one didn’t arrive. City held on to their narrow advantage and, in remarkable circumstances, yet again, won their fourth title in five years – and sixth overall.
Further down the table, both Tottenham and Arsenal recorded heavy wins over Norwich City and Everton, respectively, meaning the former qualified for the Champions League alongside the two title contenders and Chelsea.
Leeds United confirmed their Premier League status for another season with a win over Brentford, while Burnley joined Watford and Norwich in relegation with a 2-1 defeat against Newcastle United.