Thursday, December 8

Manchester City win Premier League as Gündogan seals incredible fightback | premier league


Gundogaaaan. It was a moment of the highest drama, the wildest of celebrations and it was impossible to ignore the parallels. Manchester City looked goosed, two goals down against Aston Villa with 76 minutes on the clock, knowing they needed three because, well, did anybody really think Liverpool would not beat Wolves at Anfield?

The Etihad Stadium was an angsty place. It had been since kick-off time.

Villa had lost their previous 11 league matches at City; the such longest sequence away from home against an opponent in their league history. But they were ready to buck the trend. Steven Gerrard, their manager, was about to help his beloved Liverpool to secure the title.

City had their own script in mind. Just as they had in 2012, when they needed two goals in stoppage-time to pinch the title from Manchester United against Queens Park Rangers. Everybody remembers what happened then. The club had unveiled a statue to Sergio Agüeroooo on the Friday before last to mark the 10-year anniversary.

City did not leave it quite so late this time. But their solution was nonetheless epic. Three goals in five minutes, culminating in a burst from Kevin De Bruyne – who always finds a way – a low cross from him and a finish from Ilkay Gündogan at the far post on 81 minutes.

3-2: City’s history repeating

Manchester City now have two last-gasp, final-day, title-winning, 3-2 wins to remember. Ten years and nine days earlier, on 13 May 2012, City were 2-1 behind against Queen’s Park Rangers in added time. Edin Dzeko leveled the scores before Sergio Agüero scored the most famous goal in Manchester City’s – and the Premier League’s – history on 93 minutes and 20 seconds. That sealed City’s first Premier League title for 34 years. Agüero’s goal celebration is immortalized in a statue outside the Etihad Stadium.

“,”image”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/c3a6780d31f238a6136d10ea873b185de2928716/0_197_2496_1498/2496.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=af85d8a266d7991369202Photograph”:” : Dan Rowley/Rex Features”,”pillar”:2}”>

QuickGuide

3-2: City’s history repeating

Show

3-2: City’s history repeating

Manchester City now have two last-gasp, final-day, title-winning, 3-2 wins to remember. Ten years and nine days earlier, on 13 May 2012, City were 2-1 behind against Queen’s Park Rangers in added time. Edin Dzeko leveled the scores before Sergio Agüero scored the most famous goal in Manchester City’s – and the Premier League’s – history on 93 minutes and 20 seconds. That sealed City’s first Premier League title for 34 years. Agüero’s goal celebration is immortalized in a statue outside the Etihad Stadium.

Photograph: Dan Rowley/Rex Features

Thank you for your feedback.

Gündogan, who had only come on as a substitute in the 68th minute, had started the fightback with a towering header from a cross from another replacement, Raheem Sterling. Rodri threaded home the equalizer after fine work from Pep Guardiola’s other change, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and when Gündogan got his second City saw the path to a fourth title in five seasons under Guardiola.

The full-time whistle brought a pitch invasion and the dismantling of one of the goal-frames. For Guardiola and his players of him, there was relief and exquisite pleasure.

There had been pyrotechnics before kick-off, the smoke from them hanging in the air during the early minutes, although it had cleared by the time that Wolves took their early lead at Liverpool. There were cheers at that point from the home crowd but City had to think they needed to author their own destiny, to find a way through the pressure.

Ilkay Gündogan celebrates after scoring Manchester City's third goal.
Ilkay Gündogan celebrates after scoring Manchester City’s third goal. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Jürgen Klopp had claimed that it was all on City; Gerrard referenced it, too. Klopp also said Liverpool had nothing to lose and everything to gain but the idea that the reverse was true for City was ridiculous. They had a title to win, a season to define but, after the wobble at West Ham last Sunday, it was not entirely surprising that there were nerves at the outset.

Fernandinho started in central defense and no City fan wanted to see too many foot races between him and Ollie Watkins. It was apparent from the first one in the opening exchanges that it was a serious mismatch. An accident waiting to happen?

Each missed pass from those in sky blue, every stalled move, drew sharp howls while Guardiola went through his usual agonies. The manager wanted his players to raise the tempo and there was a moment just after the half-hour when the ball went out and there was not another one immediately available.

Guardiola looked around frantically before bellowing to the heavens, gesturing in frustration. Could we kindly play?

Villa had wanted to manage the tempo, as Gerrard would have it; to waste time, as the City support would argue. Michael Oliver spoke to the Villa captain, Tyrone Mings, after the goalkeeper, Robin Olsen, took an age over a clearance in the 32nd minute. But Villa quickened the pace when they worked a move up the left-hand side and, when Lucas Digne crossed, Matty Cash got the run on Joao Cancelo to flash a header past Ederson. How were Guardiola’s nerves now?

City offered little before the interval, save for a Phil Foden shot that went just wide. Gabriel Jesus also miskicked after cutting in from the right. City repeatedly ran into walls and it was Villa who finished the first half in the ascendancy. Watkins twice got away from Fernandinho only to be checked by him first time (no foul, surprisingly) and danced out by John Stones on the second. Watkins also saw a shot blocked by Aymeric Laporte.

Manchester City fans invade the pitch after their side won the Premier League with a 3-2 victory against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City fans invade the pitch after their side won the Premier League with a 3-2 victory against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Guardiola withdrew Fernandinho at half-time. It was a selection that simply had not worked. On came Zinchenko at left-back, Cancelo swapping sides and Stones coming into the middle. Olsen was making his first Villa appearance of the season, with Emi Martínez injured, and City had to ask some questions of him.

3 min: Liverpool 0-1 Wolves
Nervy start for Liverpool. Ibrahima Konaté’s missed header allows Raúl Jiménez to set up Pedro Neto with a low cross.

24 min: Liverpool 1-1 Wolves
Sadio Mané runs on to Thiago Alcântara’s gorgeous backheel flick and calmly sidefoots into the net.

37 mins: Man City 0-1 Aston Villa
Are City blowing it? Lucas Digne’s cross is headed in by fellow full-back Matty Cash, who comes on João Cancelo’s blindside.

50 min: Liverpool think they’ve gone top
Mané dinks a lovely finish after Diogo Jota prods the ball beyond the defense but the flag goes up.

69 mins: Man City 0-2 Aston Villa
Brazilian’s majestic goal appears to open the door for his former club after Ollie Watkins nods on Robin Olsen’s goalkick.

76 mins: Man City 1-2 Aston Villa
Ilkay Gündogan heads in from an outstanding far-post cross by his fellow substitute Raheem Sterling. Game on.

78 mins: Man City 2-2 Aston Villa
Oleksandr Zinchenko, another substitute, lays a pass back for Rodri to slide in precise strike from the end of the box.

81 min: Man City 3-2 Aston Villa
A magnificent Kevin De Bruyne burst and cross down the right gives Gündogan his Sergio Agüero moment.

84 min Liverpool 2-1 Wolves
Mohamed Salah forces the ball in after Jiménez blocks on the line and Liverpool will be champions if City blow it.

89 mins: Liverpool 3-1 Wolves
Andy Robertson sweeps in from Roberto Firmino’s return pass but City hold on to take the title on a day of high drama.

“}”>

Timeline

Premier League title: the last day drama, goal by goal

Show

3 min: Liverpool 0-1 Wolves
Nervy start for Liverpool. Ibrahima Konaté’s missed header allows Raúl Jiménez to set up Pedro Neto with a low cross.

24 min: Liverpool 1-1 Wolves
Sadio Mané runs on to Thiago Alcântara’s gorgeous backheel flick and calmly sidefoots into the net.

37 mins: Man City 0-1 Aston Villa
Are City blowing it? Lucas Digne’s cross is headed in by fellow full-back Matty Cash, who comes on João Cancelo’s blindside.

50 min: Liverpool think they’ve gone top
Mané dinks a lovely finish after Diogo Jota prods the ball beyond the defense but the flag goes up.

69 mins: Man City 0-2 Aston Villa
Brazilian’s majestic goal appears to open the door for his former club after Ollie Watkins nods on Robin Olsen’s goalkick.

76 mins: Man City 1-2 Aston Villa
Ilkay Gündogan heads in from an outstanding far-post cross by his fellow substitute Raheem Sterling. Game on.

78 mins: Man City 2-2 Aston Villa
Oleksandr Zinchenko, another substitute, lays a pass back for Rodri to slide in precise strike from the end of the box.

81 min: Man City 3-2 Aston Villa
A magnificent Kevin De Bruyne burst and cross down the right gives Gündogan his Sergio Agüero moment.

84 min Liverpool 2-1 Wolves
Mohamed Salah forces the ball in after Jiménez blocks on the line and Liverpool will be champions if City blow it.

89 mins: Liverpool 3-1 Wolves
Andy Robertson sweeps in from Roberto Firmino’s return pass but City hold on to take the title on a day of high drama.

Thank you for your feedback.

They began the second half with greater purpose, De Bruyne lashed high and Digne jumped into a saving block on Riyad Mahrez after a lovely Zinchenko run. When Cancelo crossed from the right, Jesus stretched only to lift over the crossbar.

City said with disaster. From an Olsen clearance, Watkins ran clean through from halfway, away from Laporte, only to direct his finish just wide. It was a heart-in-the-mouth moment for the home fans which entirely caught the mood. Jesus had a shot blocked by Calum Chambers; De Bruyne wasted a free-kick.

But it was hard to ignore City’s vulnerability at the back. Villa certainly did not and, when Watkins headed on a high Olsen ball, the scene was set for Coutinho. The first touch was impeccable, on the bounce with the outside of the boot, taking him inside Laporte and the finish was rifled low into the near corner.

It felt as though the action at Anfield would now assume primary importance but City dug deeper, their champion courage written across the pitch. When Gündogan scored the winner, the City substitutes sprinted on to the field in delirium. There was nothing that Liverpool could do.


www.theguardian.com

Also Read  Harry Styles: Harry's House review – an abundantly charming artist so at home with pop stardom | Harry Styles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *