Champion of England for the fourth time in a row, Manchester City further leaves its mark on the Premier League

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Manchester City winger Phil Foden scored twice in his team’s victory against West Ham on Sunday May 19, 2024. DAVE THOMPSON / AP

The Premier League may well be renowned as the toughest championship in the world, but every year it becomes more and more the preserve of Manchester City. Sunday May 19, the Skyblues defeated West Ham (3-1) on the last day of the championship to win a fourth consecutive English championship title. A first in a country which has nevertheless experienced the domination of neighboring Mancunian, United, or Liverpool.

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Alone or almost in its kingdom, Manchester City has had to deal with an impetuous rival this season. The young and fiery Arsenal Gunners thus held off the City stars, and could even still be mathematically champions at the dawn of the final day, in the event of a misstep from Pep Guardiola’s men. There were ultimately no missteps, the Spaniard preparing his team “a difficult match”, to which he was entitled. Despite a quick double from Phil Foden, the home side’s Sunday stroll began to look like a giant trap when Mohammed Kudus reduced the score with a magnificent acrobatic return. A thrill that did not last long through the aisles of the Etihad Stadium, Rodri adding to the score after returning from the locker room.

Accustomed to titles, the Skyblues are also accustomed to the last days of the knife. In 2012, a goal in the final seconds of the season from Sergio Agüero against Queens Park Rangers gave the club a trophy awaited for forty-four years. A decade later, City had once again finished at the top of the Premier League by overthrowing Aston Villa late in the match after being 2-0 down (final score 3-2).

The Cityzens can savor this new title all the more as they had to do without their playing master Kevin de Bruyne for a good part of the season, the Belgian having been injured for a long time with his hamstring. Above all, they managed to raise their heads despite the cruel elimination against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The kind of defeat to send a group into a tailspin. Not that of City, built with millions of euros, but not only that. A child of the club, Phil Foden largely contributed to his team’s new title and was crowned player of the season in the Premier League.

Arsenal and Liverpool did not last the distance

“This is a historic event and I don’t think it can happen again”, already predicted the 23-year-old English winger before the match against West Ham. The Hammers beaten, the Skyblues have one last meeting to honor before going on vacation – or to the Euro for a large part of the troops. In the setting of Wembley, they will challenge Manchester United on May 25, in the FA Cup final. Facing their neighbor and rival, the opportunity is great to definitively chase away the disappointment of not achieving a second consecutive hat-trick.

Far from these concerns, Arsenal will undoubtedly dwell on this end of the championship for a long time. Led by their star Bukayo Saka, their recruit Declan Rice (arrived for 116 million euros in the off-season) and their coach Mikel Arteta – former assistant to his compatriot Guardiola at City – the Gunners have had a high-flying season and have long caught the wave of their rival. They finally finished runners-up, two points behind, due to a crippling defeat against Aston Villa in mid-April. They can console themselves by saying that they have never bowed to the champion, beating them twice (in the championship and during the Community Shield) before holding a final draw at the end of March.

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Liverpool were also in the race for a long time, but collapsed the same weekend as Arsenal, before collapsing definitively in the following weeks. “ Before the last few games, I told the players that a weekend where Arsenal and Liverpool lose like they did against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, it won’t happen again.”, explained Guardiola at a press conference, visibly heard by his players. On Saturday, however, the time was not for regrets for the Reds but rather for tribute to their coach Jürgen Klopp. Arriving on the banks of the Mersey in 2015, the German leaves after having won a Champions League (2019) and a championship (2020).

Valentin Moinard

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