When Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-2 at Anfield in early April, it was widely assumed that the Etihad Stadium would not be housing the Premier League title trophy for this campaign, especially after City could only claim a 2-2 home draw with Sunderland in their next match. However, fortunes have consistency changed during this exciting Premier League campaign and five successive victories for the Manchester club enabled them to clinch the league crown on a fairly unspectacular end of season day.
A 2-0 home loss by Liverpool to Chelsea with just three games remaining was probably the pivotal moment of the campaign and when the Reds conceded three goals in the final twelve minutes of their 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace, the league title appeared bound for the Etihad.
For the final fixtures of the season, West Ham needed to defeat City while Liverpool faced the relatively easy task of beating Newcastle on home turf. It was also thought that Hammers striker Andy Carroll would pose a threat to City’s chances of lifting the Premier League trophy for the second time in three seasons.
Strangely, for this fluctuating season, the final games of the season proved to be rather an anti-climax although the supporters of Manchester City would not agree with this assertion. An own goal by Martin Skrtel to gift Newcastle the lead followed by Samir Nasri opening the scoring at Etihad led to the belief that the title race had effectively ended and both sets of fans in Liverpool and Manchester accepted the outcome.
Both teams eventually won their respective match but there was none of the twists and excitement associated with City’s previous triumph in the winning the Premier League when Sergio Aguero claimed a last gasp winner.
Even in the lower reaches of the table, the relegation issues had been virtually decided before the final matches with a win of historical proportions offering the only hope for Norwich in escaping the clutches of Championship football. A 2-0 home defeat by Arsenal confirmed their fate.
And so another Premier League has finished and Manchester City deserve their plaudits for being worthy winners and for being top scorers in the division with 102 goals. They have endured setbacks but have proved to the most consistent team during the course of the season and more importantly, maintained their nerve at the business end of the campaign when victories were considered essential.
For Liverpool, it will be a case of what might have been when they were allowed a free reign in the Premier League without the distraction of Champions League football. Next season will prove more a challenge for the Reds with extra fixtures on the agenda while Jose Mourinho will be hoping to add an extra striker to enhance his hopes of claiming another title for Chelsea.
Yet Manchester City will still be the team to beat as they celebrate another title victory on one of the few inconspicuous days of this Premier League campaign.
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