London (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions on Sunday when closest challengers Manchester United stumbled to a shock 1-0 defeat to West Brom.
Having swept to the title in dazzling style, here AFP Sport looks back at five matches that played a key role in City’s success this season:
Man City 5 Liverpool 0 (September 9)
After two relatively low-key wins in their first three matches, this stunning demolition of Liverpool served as an early sign that City were a different proposition from the team that struggled to impose themselves the previous season. Liverpool were already trailing to Sergio Aguero’s predatory finish when the visitors had Sadio Mane sent off before half-time for a high challenge on Ederson. City made the most of their numerical advantage, adding a second before the break through Gabriel Jesus, who netted again after the interval. Leroy Sane struck twice late on to give City their biggest win over Liverpool since 1937 and hand Jurgen Klopp’s men their first defeat of the season.
Chelsea 0 Man City 1 (September 30)
While City’s eye-catching style of play has had the purists purring, Pep Guardiola’s men also have a ruthless side that has served them well in their toughest tests. Facing champions Chelsea was a chance to send a message to their challengers and City were up to the task. They had scored 16 goals in their previous three league games but needed only one to move to the top of the table at Stamford Bridge. City were without Aguero, who had sustained a rib injury in a car crash, but Kevin De Bruyne made sure the Argentina striker wasn’t missed as he slammed in the winner in the 67th minute. De Bruyne’s long-range rocket foreshadowed a majestic campaign from the Belgian midfielder.
Man City 3 Arsenal 1 (November 5)
Records were starting to tumble as City cut down their rivals one by one and Arsenal were no match for the runaway leaders. De Bruyne’s opener and an Aguero penalty put City in command and although Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back for Arsenal, Jesus wrapped up the points from close-range. City had won nine consecutive league matches, a club record for a single season, to open up an eight-point lead at the top. “We cannot deny the last two months have been amazing,” Guardiola said. “We knew how important this game (was). The players gave an amazing performance.”