The juggernaut keeps rolling
After a thrilling final day of football, Manchester City won the 2021/22 Premier League title — their fourth in five years
What a Premier League season we have had this year. It was only on the last matchday — when all the 20 teams played — that we had a winner, the Champions League slots were confirmed, Europa slots were up for grabs too, and to make things better, even the last team to be relegated was decided on the final day. For the first time in the history of the league, a change of positions was possible mathematically on the final day of the long tournament.
With all the teams playing simultaneously, the sword kept swinging. In the title race, both Manchester City and Liverpool were unable to take the lead by the end of the first half against Aston Villa and Wolves respectively. It was only in the last 10 minutes when City went in front against Villa, spoiling Gerrard's hope to help his old club, Liverpool, win the title as Villa Manager. City was trailing 0-2, but it took them just five minutes to go 3-2 up and break Liverpool's heart who won 3-1 on the night against Wolves. What is more fascinating is how the race shaped up towards the business end of the tournament with Manchester City winning the fourth title in five years only by a solitary point. What's noteworthy is that City was without a premier striker throughout the season. That's what Pep Guardiola does — bringing the best out of whatever he has.
In the race for the final Champions League slot, Tottenham led Arsenal by two points. On the final day, for Arsenal to make it to the Top 4, Spurs had to lose. Both Arsenal and Tottenham scored 5 goals apiece in their respective games against Everton and Norwich City, ensuring Tottenham's comeback to the Champions League.
On an eventful day of football, one between Leeds and Burnley was to be relegated with both going into their final match tied at 35 points. A goal in stoppage time from Jack Harrison not just won the day for Leeds against Brentford but also ensured a narrow escape and another year of top-flight football.
Since the 2018-2019 season, it has been a race between City and Liverpool, barring the 2020-2021 season when Manchester United was at the second spot between City and Liverpool. But then, if we are to see a difference in points between the second and third-placed teams, the races had been between two horses with a handful of matches yet to be played.
Both City and Liverpool, in recent years, kept pushing each other's limits. After the final matches, Pep said: I have never seen a team like Liverpool in my life. They have helped us to be a better team, season by season. Of course, in society there is just one winner and the rest are disasters. That is the wrong message for the new generation. You have to be a good trier and try every time and do it and not give up. Both teams, Liverpool and ourselves have done it in the last five years.
What City has done over the years with Guardiola has been magical. Both City and Liverpool have pushed each other to such an extent that you cannot write them off even if it is stoppage time against whichever club across the word. As I write this article on a Saturday afternoon, Liverpool is preparing for the biggest prize this year — the Champions League. Tonight they will play the finals against Real Madrid where the Reds would like to end their five-match winless drought over the years against the Spanish team in the Champions League.
Views expressed are personal
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