Manchester City’s Premier League title win is hardly a blow. After all, it is the sixth league championship in 11 seasons for one of the world’s richest clubs, making it one of the most influential periods in the history of the English sport.
That city was pushed all the way by a resurgent Liverpool, it’s no surprise. Nor was it the fact that it was the enduring talent of Kevin De Bruyne that helped Pep Guardiola’s team eventually get out of line at the dramatic end of the season on Sunday.
However, this was no ordinary title-winning campaign. Has a team ever won the biggest prize in English football without a striker? It’s just the city.
And some would have predicted at the start of the season that defensive midfielder Rodri, center back Aymeric Laporte and playmaker Bernardo Silva would be Guardiola’s three most important players.
Here’s a look at how City won another Premier League:
no striker no problem
City have played the entire season without an out-and-out striker, yet won the league and finished as the top-scoring team with 99 goals. The departure of Sergio Aguero, the failure to sign either Harry Kane or Cristiano Ronaldo as a replacement – playwright Jack Grealish came in instead – and the decision to rearrange Gabriel Jesus as a winger left Guardiola, who was nearly as likely as the midfielders. There was a team. At times, City have missed the presence of a dedicated center forward, but the upside down team is able to exert more control than ever through its ball-playing midfielders and able to harass the opposition defense with an interchangeable forward line. Is. Goals have had to be shared – De Bruyne leads the way at 15 – but that’s not a problem. Of course, it will be different next season after the spectacular signing of Erling Hallando. But the experiment has been interesting to witness, and possibly quite satisfying for Guardiola.
Looking at the entire season, what really made a difference is the three-month run from the beginning of November, when City amassed 43 points out of a possible 45 to clear Chelsea and Liverpool and, in one stage, made 14- point lead. The depth of the city’s famed squad often shines through in December and January, when fixtures are thick and fast in various competitions, and this season it did the same thing again. A rare early exit from the League Cup at the hands of West Ham on 27 October was giving City more breathing room in the calendar than Liverpool and Chelsea. Twelve straight victories from 3 November to 15 January were City’s best streak of the season and with no real drop in run-ins by Guardiola’s team, Liverpool closed the gap in the final months only because of their excellence, not pressure. In City Buckling.
de Bruyne’s end
It’s been a two-part season for Kevin De Bruyne. After a slow start while recovering from an ankle ligament injury at last summer’s Euro 2020, the Belgian midfielder finished like a train – capped by a burst of four goals against Wolverhampton Who breathed last week. “Beyond Perfect” was Guardiola’s description of the second half of De Bruyne’s season, during which he stepped up as City man for the big occasion in the league with important goals and impressive performances – he has since turned to Chelsea, Manchester United. and scored against Liverpool. of the year – as well as the Champions League. And it was De Bruyne who sent in the cross that Ilke Gundogan converted for the title-winning goal against Aston Villa. De Bruyne has 15 goals in 30 games and could become the English Football Player of the Year for a third consecutive season. He is making a strong case for being City’s greatest player of all time and should flourish even more next season when he has Haaland as the target of his brutal cross.
redemption after rejection
It is strange to think that Rodri, Aymeric Laporte and Joao Canceló were surplus to requirements in last season’s Champions League final. He didn’t even get off the bench for City’s biggest game of the season, which the team lost to Chelsea. Yet this season, they have been Guardiola’s three most important players, and no other teammate has started more matches in the league. Rodri can lay claim to being the most important, certainly the best, in the way he has saved the defense in his second season at the club as a midfield anchorman, as Fernandinho’s long-term replacement. 1 center after leaving behind John Stones and Ruben Dias last season, while Canelo has covered both fullback positions, his creativity as a hybrid defender-midfielder and The role has almost been revamped with technical quality. Then there’s Bernardo Silva, a playwright who looked set to leave last season – Guardiola said publicly – only to become his coach’s most trusted attacker.
Some victories always seem bigger than others in a title-winning campaign and City had some that seemed decisive, not least in a 1-0 major at Chelsea September marked Guardiola’s team as the team to beat again this season. 2-1 win at Arsenal New Year’s Day was received very late through Rodri in the third minute of stoppage time – when City looked average for parts of the game and probably benefited from a few referee calls. Another big win was 1-0 at Everton In February, the controversial decision not to award a penalty to Everton was made after an 82nd-minute goal from Phil Foden, which appeared in a clear handball by Rodri. Then, of course, came a 2-0 comeback on Sunday against Villa when all was lost.
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Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80