Here’s four-time Premier League champion Vincent Kompany
“It was the hardest and most satisfying Premier League ever. Liverpool were exceptional this year. I don’t mean to rub it in, it is what it is and they didn’t deserve to be a loser today. It makes me so much happier because we played against such a good team all season. Our backs were against the wall and we beat them at the Etihad and that made the difference.
“I felt we were magnificent today. We’ve got an incredible desire to overachieve – the players and the staff – and we’re looking forward to the FA Cup final now. We all chipped in this season. We talk about the goals but I’m thinking of how many clean sheets we kept in the last 15 games – it’s ridiculous.”
Liverpool’s game finished 2-0, with Sadio Mane scoring both goals. It’s a bitter one for them to swallow – Everton away, one bloody goal – but they at least have the chance of the greatest consolation prize in football history on 1 June.
You don’t need to retain the title to be a great side, as Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal showed, but it sure helps. This is a rare and indisputable achievement from a glorious football team. Yaya Toure, live on Sky Sports in his punditry suit, is suddenly mobbed by City players, who all dance around him chanting his song.
Pep Guardiola’s eyes are ablaze, his face beaming with pride as he salutes the City fas. The players get in a huddle and scream ‘Championes’. City have won the title with 98 points and a goal difference of +72. Liverpool finish second with 97 points and a goal difference of +67. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Gary Neville on Sky. I have seen something like itbefore, but only on Championship Manager 01/02.
MANCHESTER CITY ARE CHAMPIONS!
Full time: Brighton 1-4 Manchester City
Peep peep! Manchester City have retained their title in glorious style – and they are now one game away from becoming the first English team to do the domestic treble.
90 min Pep Guardiola’s titles have generally been won at a canter, certainly since he left Spain: 19 points, 10, 10 and 19 again last season. This year they have been only one point better than Liverpool, and their triumph will be infinitely sweeter because of that. They had to win 14 games in a row. Thirteen wins and a draw wouldn’t have been good enough. It’s quite ridiculous.
86 min Nicolas Otamendi comes on to replace Vincent Kompany, whose immortal goal against Leicester was the iconic moment of this title race.
85 min We shouldn’t underestimate how hard it is to retain the title. Some of the great sides of the last 50 years, including Revie’s Leeds and Wenger’s Arsenal, didn’t manage it. And Pep Guardiola becomes only the third manager to do so in the Premier League era after Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.
84 min A lovely moment as Bruno, playing his final game at the age of 38, is replaced by Martin Montoya. He gets a standing ovation and is embraced by players on both sides as he leaves the field. Isn’t football nice sometimes.
81 min The last dropped points in the title race were on 3 March, when Liverpool drew 0-0 at Everton. I don’t know whether that counts as Everton denying Liverpool the title, but it will give them bragging rights of sorts over the summer.
80 min Aguero has a chance to make it 5-1 but faffs in the area and is dispossessed.
78 min City make a change. David Silva, who will collect his fourth Premier League winners’ medal, is replaced by Kevin De Bruyne.
75 min It’s worth repeating that City have won the league by winning their last 14 games. That is quite ludicrous. I still think that, pound for pound, that Arsenal’s winning runs of 1997-98 and 2001-02 were even more impressive, but City have still been quite awesome.
74 min After all those unbearably tense 1-0 wins in recent weeks, City and their supporters can now enjoy 20 of the happiest minutes of their lives.
That was a lovely goal from Ilkay Gundogan. Raheem Sterling was fouled 25 yards from goal, and Gundogan curled an emphatic free-kick into the top corner. Ryan dived full length to his left but couldn’t get near it. Great goal.
GOAL! Brighton 1-4 Manchester City (Gundogan 72)
And that’s Blockbusters.
70 min Zinchenko cracks a low shot that is kicked away by the stretching Dunk. For the first time in a while, City look like they’re enjoying themselves.
67 min Gundogan, who has been really good today, shapes a curler not far wide from 20 yards. Meanwhile, Brighton make a double change: Florin Andone and Jurgen Locadia for Murray and the disappointing Jahanbakhsh.
66 min There have ben two key moments in this game – the first, oddly enough, was Brighton’s opening goal. The second was Pep Guardiola admitting that he got his tactics wrong and changing his team accordingly.
So that’s why Pep picked him. It was a fine individual goal from Mahrez. He received possession 25 yards out, shaped to shoot with his left foot and then dragged his studs over the ball to beat the sliding Dunk. That gave him a clear shot with his right foot, and he lashed a rising drive that went through the left hand of the stretching Ryan and into the net. A keeper as good as Ryan will probably feel he should have saved it, but it was a lovely piece of skill from Mahrez and a pretty well-struck shot.
GOAL! Brighton 1-3 Manchester City (Mahrez 64)
Riyad Mahrez (probably) seals the title for Manchester City!
63 min The game has slowed down since that flying start to the second half by City. They are still controlling the game, however, simultaneously very comfortable and distressingly uncomfortable.
62 min “The fellow makes a good point about podcasts,” says Stuart Ives. “Might I recommend Casefile for all your true crime needs? Always good to hear gory murders. Top Flight Time Machine very good for vaguely football related needs. They, too, worked out no one needs football.”
61 min “There are other things in the world, Phil Podolsky?” says Matt Dony. “I’m looking forward to discovering them. After the crushing, brilliant relentlessness of City last season, through a summer with a great World Cup, straight into this league season with its probable ‘What could have been…’ narrative for us Liverpool fans, I’m actually worried about what will happen when this game ends. I imagine it’ll be like the end of The Truman Show, changing channels confusedly, discovering that other things have actually happened over the last two years or so. Brexit’s all done and dusted, I take it?”
58 min David Silva almost slithers through on goal, only to stumble slightly and allow Dunk to come across and clear. City need a third goal; if they don’t get one in the next 15-20 minutes, they’ll be taking their life in their own hands.
57 min Aguero mis-hits a volley from Sterling’s very sharp cross. The ball comes to Gundogan, whose stinging shot from 25 yards is blocked by one of the many Brighton defenders in the penalty area.
56 min Meanwhile, over in our comedy section, Manchester United are losing 2-0 at home to Cardiff.
55 min Laporte lobs the ball back to Ederson, who catches it nonchalantly… and the referee waves play on. That was peculiar, as it looked like a clear backpass.
54 min Knockaert curls a booming free-kick beyond the far post, where Dunk heads over the bar from 12 yards. That was half a chance.
53 min Jahanbakhsh is fouled on the left wing by Walker. City have given away a few too many free-kicks today.
52 min It’s still all City, though they haven’t yet created any clear chances in the second half.
49 min “Honestly, who even needs football,” says Phil Podolsky. “There’s other stuff out there like true crime podcasts and being a Marxist on Twitter.”
48 min City have made a very fast start to the half in an attempt to put the game to bed. They won’t want to go into the final 10 minutes with only a one-goal lead.
47 min An abysmal pass from Knockaert goes straight to David Silva, just outside the area on the left. His low cross is miscontrolled by Sterling and that allows Brighton to clear.