Manchester City's Premier League title: Five key wins en route to glory

Manchester City's Premier League title: Five key wins en route to glory
From ESPN - April 15, 2018

Manchester City have won the Premier League crown with five matches to spare, making them the joint-fastest to clinch the title. Here are five key games that set Pep Guardiola's side on the path to success:

Aug. 26: 2-1 vs. Bournemouth 2-1 (A)

City did not start the season in anything like the sort of form they were destined to spend the rest of it. An opening day win at Brighton, only secured after a late strike from Sergio Aguero and a Lewis Dunk own goal, was followed by a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Everton when Kyle Walker was harshly sent off.

Guardiola's side looked to be heading for yet another draw at Bournemouth in the third match of the season. An inability to turn tight games into victories had blighted Guardiola's first campaign, and it would have seen them continue in the same way had they left the Vitality Stadium with only a point.

But Raheem Sterling scrambled in a 97th-minute winner, and although the England forward was sent off in the celebrations that followed, it proved to be a launchpad for a special season for both Sterling and City.

Sept. 9: 5-0 vs. Liverpool (H)

City's first big test against a top-six rival followed the victory against Bournemouth, and it gave another huge confidence boost to a young team.

In his first season, Guardiola had just two victories against title rivals and had taken only two points in games against Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool, which seriously undermined their Premier League hopes.

This time, Liverpool were blown away at the Etihad Stadium, although they did not help themselves when Sadio Mane was sent off in the 37th minute for a high challenge on goalkeeper Ederson, who was taken off with nasty facial injuries.

City were already ahead by that time through Aguero's neat finish and ruthlessly destroyed Liverpool in the second half to inflict Jurgen Klopp with his worst defeat as a manager.

Sept. 30: 1-0 vs. Chelsea (A)

The buildup to the game was dominated by how City would cope without striker Aguero, who had fractured ribs in a car crash in Amsterdam shortly before the game at Stamford Bridge.

The answer was emphatic as City dominated at the home of the Premier League champions, controlling the game from the first minute and not offering Chelsea a sight of goal until a late chance in the dying minutes.


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