Man City were finally crowned Premier League champions this past weekend, ending what feels like months of inevitability as Pep Guardiola’s men took the most coveted prize in English football. What was strange, though, was that it ironically wasn’t City’s own heroics that directly secured the title, but the workrate of the Premier League’s basement club somewhere else in the city.
West Brom arrived at Man Utd for Sunday’s match knowing that they are all but relegated, while all United could do was attempt to delay the coronation a short while longer against a side who have barely threatened anyone in the top flight this season. But wow, the term coupon buster was rarely so appropriate. West Brom emerged from Old Trafford with a 1-0 win, recording their third win there in the last five seasons.
The previous day, City had beaten Tottenham 3-1 at Wembley to move 16 points clear with five games left – but Jose Mourinho’s men still had Sunday’s game in hand to play. Goals from Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling secured the points for the Citizens, while Christian Eriksen’s strike had offered some hope for Spurs before Sterling’s winner. When asked if he would be watching United’s clash with the Baggies, City boss Pep Guardiola replied that he wouldn’t. You see, the former Barcelona boss was away picking a new club.
Before City fans overreact at that statement, fear not – it was a golf club. Guardiola had arranged to play 18 holes with his son on the Sunday, and he duly fulfilled that commitment while his players were watching, live on television, West Bromwich Albion crowning them as champions.
Guardiola’s smile – beaming from ear to ear – was evident when he returned home. This was City’s third title win in seven seasons, with former bosses Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini having reached the same feat during their respective stints in charge at the Etihad.
It means Guardiola has now won titles in La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Premier League. Despite City’s record-breaking season, however, that in itself isn’t a record – other managers have won the league in more nations than Guardiola. Carlo Ancelotti has won it in four nations – in Italy with AC Milan, England with Chelsea, France with PSG and Germany with Bayern Munich. Tomislav Ivić, meanwhile, has won it in no fewer than six nations as a boss – Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and France.
Still work to be done for Guardiola, then – but titles in three of Europe’s five “big leagues” is an impressive feat, especially considering his relatively tender 47 years. Whether he can help City retain such dominance in the Premier League remains to be seen, but the future looks just about as bright as it ever has done in the blue half of Manchester.
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