The Premier League title is staying in Manchester.
In a title race that came down to the final day of the 2021-22 season, reigning champion Manchester City successfully defended their Premier League crown with an improbable 3-2 comeback win over Aston Villa on Sunday.
Man City entered Championship Sunday holding a one-point advantage in the table and a plus-six edge in goal difference over Liverpool. And the Sky Blues shockingly went down 2-0 to the Lions in the 69th minute at the Etihad Stadium, opening the door wide open for Liverpool, who were playing to a 1-1 draw against Wolves at Anfield.
But, just when it seemed like Man City were going to suffer an epic Championship Sunday collapse, they flexed their championship pedigree in a major way.
The Sky Blues ripped off three goals in a span of five minutes late in the second half to pull off the repeat in thrilling fashion.
It was Ilkay Gundogan who finally ended the scoreless drought for Man City in the 76th minute when he headed in a cross from Raheem Sterling.
Then, in the 78th minute, Rodri evened the score with a smooth strike into the near-corner.
Gundogan came through again in the 81st minute, this time tapping in the go-ahead goal off a perfect pass from Premier League Player of the Year Kevin De Bruyne.
City ultimately needed that ferocious comeback to win the title, as Liverpool scored twice in the final six minutes against Wolves for a 3-1 win. Had the Sky Blues tied or lost to Aston Villa, the Reds would have been crowned champions.
“It was an unbelievable game,” Gundogan said, via AP. “We are human beings and, after going 2-0 down, the chances were just very, very small. But we had to do the simple things and scoring two goals quickly and then having 10 minutes to score the third one gave us the right lift.
“It was about getting that goal and then the momentum was on our side then were able to score three goals in just a few minutes. These are the days you look back to, it was an unbelievable game.”
With Manchester City finishing with 93 points and Liverpool with 92, it’s just the seventh time that the first- and second-place teams were separated by one point or fewer. Jurgen Klopp’s group will be feeling déjà vu because the last time it happened was to them in 2018-19 when Man City won the title over Liverpool by one point. The Reds also fell short of the 2013-14 title by two points to the Sky Blues.
Manchester City have now won four of the last five PL titles and six total since 2011-12. The Sky Blues’ six Premier League championships are second to only Manchester United, who own 13. In terms of all-time top-flight English championships, Man City are now in sole possession of fifth with eight, trailing Man United (20), Liverpool (19), Arsenal (13) and Everton (9).
Pep Guardiola also took over sole possession of second place from Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger for the most PL titles won by a manager with four. The record is held by Sir Alex Ferguson with 13.
“We are legends," Guardiola said. “When you win four in five then it’s because these guys are so special. We will be remembered.”
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
Guardiola and Co. can add to their legendary status by becoming the first team to win three straight PL titles since Ferguson’s 2006-09 Man United squads. And Man City, who already led the league in goals scored this season, should be an even more dangerous side in 2022-23 with the transfer of budding star striker Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.