Here we look at Manchester City’s 2017/2018 Premier League campaign and how it came to be that they were crowned champions.
Manchester City won the Premier League on Sunday as Manchester United slumped to a 1-0 defeat at West Brom.
However, while the final whistle at Old Trafford (the irony) was the defining moment in the fate of the trophy, it was certainly not the most influential in the Citizens’ season.
So what were the sparks that led to the City fire burning brightest?
The arrival of Edison
Guardiola spent more than £250million on new players between the end of last season and the start of this season. The best of the lot has undoubtedly been Brazilian keeper Ederson, who joined from Benfica for £35 million.
In addition to conceding just 21 goals in 31 league starts for City this season, Ederson, who started his career as a left-back, has been composed with the ball at his feet. This has allowed City to execute their manager’s game plan to play out from the back perfectly.
Burnley boss, Sean Dyche said it best: “It’s like having Ronald Koeman in goal. He’s the calmest keeper I’ve ever seen and he adds to their game plan massively. He’s a huge weapon for them in the style they play.”
A far from cry the walking disaster that was Claudio Bravo.
The early demolition job on Liverpool
Given their recent struggles against Jurgen Klopp’s men, it might be hard to remember City beating Liverpool 5-0 way back in August in just their third league fixture. However, that result was massive in kick-starting their challenge.
In the two league games which came thereafter, Guardiola’s chargers found the back of the net 11 times and never let in a goal.
That sent a strong message to all the teams in the competition and prompted many to sit back and try and defend against them, which only played further into City’s hands.
A festive Christmas
City enjoyed a hearty Christmas. They lead the league by a staggering 13 points, the biggest margin at that stage in the history of the top flight. In 2018, they also scored 100 league goals, the first time in 25 years an outfit had achieved that feat.
Their reward? Guardiola gave the group Christmas day off.
Success in the League Cup
The English League Cup does not hold much prestige in England. Winning it played a vital role in City’s league triumph though.
The League Cup final against Arsenal came just six days after City were knocked out of the FA Cup by Wigan when it seemed there was every chance of them completing the quadruple.
That sobering result sent shockwaves across the country. Would City’s expansive brand of football be able to hold up in crunch matches?
Yes, was how they answered against Arsenal as they cruised to a 3-0 victory in the final, silencing the critics and proving that they could couple entertaining football with silverware.
Despite reacting well to defeat against Wigan in the FA Cup, City’s potentially extraordinary 2017/2018 season fell to pieces somewhat after New Year.
Most recently, they suffered three consecutive defeats (two to Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League and one to Manchester United in the league).
To respond by beating a high quality Spurs team 3-1 on Saturday was a fitting if not spectacular way to secure the trophy.
The performance was a much-needed reminder of how good this group of players are and how incredible they have been to watch this season.