Following Arsenal’s defeat to Nottingham Forest, Man City have been confirmed as Premier League champions for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Arsenal’s devastating defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday evening handed the title to Pep Guardiola’s side, who play Chelsea on Sunday with their top-flight crowns still firmly on their heads.
Mikel Arteta’s side are estimated to have held the lead for a staggering 93 per cent of the season, but City kept apace, with an emphatic 4-1 win over the Gunners at the Etihad in April, leaving the Citizens with one hand on the trophy.
Crucial to Guardiola’s title charge were the goals of Erling Haaland, who will finish the season as the highest ever scorer in the top-flight’s history in a remarkable debut campaign.
But impressive as the Norwegian’s goals have been, Guardiola’s decision to switch from a from a 4-3-3 to a less orthodox 3-2-4-1 kick-started the ruthless run of form that saw him reel in his protege.
The Citizens began the season in ominous form, winning seven of their first nine as Haaland fired himself into the history books as the highest scoring player in their opening five matches and highest scorer in August (nine goals).
At that point – the start of October – City were just a point off Arsenal, despite being so far unbeaten, who had lost once but won all of their other eight games to sit on 24 points.
However the reigning champions would then drop six points in their next five fixtures, before the campaign was put on hold for the World Cup to talk place in Qatar. Those defeats came at Anfield in a 1-0 loss to Liverpool, before welcoming Brentford to the Etihad, only for the Bees to take all three points back to west London.
As a result, Guardiola and Co went into the World Cup two points behind the Gunners, having scored nine more goals but conceded three more than their nearest rivals. And it was hardly a triumphant return to league action, winning just four of their first seven games back in action to hand Arsenal further ground in the race.
Wins over Leeds and Chelsea either side of a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to relegation-threatened Everton came before a controversial, VAR-embroiled Manchester derby defeat and a loss to Tottenham two games later.
But there was one good thing to come from that rough patch, with the side switching to their new formation – they have not lost a game since as they overtook the Gunners to take top spot.
In the process of going 14 games unbeaten, Guardiola’s men have scored 39 goals, letting slip just eight, never conceding more than once in a single game in that period. With the top-flight now sealed, the club’s gaze will unsurprisingly turn to completing the remaining components of a potential Treble that lie up for grabs.
First up, on June 3, they will face bitter rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final, before taking on Inter Milan for a chance at a maiden Champions League title seven days later in Istanbul.
As a result, there could be starts for those who have not featured as heavily so far this term, with the Spanish boss surely unwilling to risk the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Haaland and John Stones, who have been so key to their success this term. Source: All Football