Manchester City are the new English Premier League champions after a 2-0 win over West Ham United on the final day of the season.
The club entered the day with a two-point lead over Liverpool on top of the table and likely only needed a draw to secure the top spot due to its advantage in goal differential. They were able to do more than that by earning a victory to ensure they bring home the title for the second time in three years.
Manchester City = Premier League Champions! City beats West Ham, 2-0, claiming 2nd PL title in 3 seasons. » pic.twitter.com/dEa0ylJzK7— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 11, 2014
Meanwhile, Liverpool fell just short despite a 2-1 win over Newcastle United.
Here is a final look at the EPL table following the action on Sunday:
|17||West Bromwich Albion||38||7||15||16||43||59||-16||36|
|Manchester City||2-0||West Ham|
|West Bromwich Albion||1-2||Stoke|
Manchester City had the advantage for much of the first half at Etihad Stadium, but it took a long time to break through on the scoresheet. Finally, Samir Nasri was able to give his side the lead on a screamer, as described by BBC Sport:
This caused the home fans to go crazy as they knew their club was in great shape going forward. Oliver Kay of The Times noted that this virtually ended the race for a title:
Nasri scores for #MCFC, shot from the edge of the box. 1-0. Probably safe to start tying those blue ribbons on the trophy— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) May 11, 2014
City continued to press the action in the second half when Vincent Kompany scored in the 49th minute. At this point, even the club's Twitter account felt the victory coming:
51. City fans jubilant! It was a wonderfully composed finish from Kompany. It's starting to feel like it's our day!— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) May 11, 2014
The home team was able to hold onto this score to become Premier League champions. Bleacher Report UK was able to capture the scene at Etihad Stadium immediately following the final whistle:
That didn't take long. The scene from the Etihad where there's a Manchester City party. pic.twitter.com/x6ihJ7ar5X— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) May 11, 2014
There was not quite as joyous of an atmosphere at Anfield. Liverpool struggled early on against Newcastle United, but got two quick goals to take the lead:
GOAL(S) Liverpool! Two goals in two minutes (off two Gerrard free kicks) have the Reds up 2-1 on Newcastle. Agger and Sturridge the scorers.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) May 11, 2014
Unfortunately, the win was not enough to catch the leaders and they will end the year with a very respectable second-place finish.
Of course, the Reds truly gave up their chance at the title over the past few weeks. A home loss to Chelsea was followed by an epic collapse against Crystal Palace. They had a 3-0 lead but ended up leaving with a 3-3 draw, costing the club an important two points.
Chelsea will finish in third place with a come-from-behind win over Cardiff that actually had little effect on the standings.
Arsenal earned a spot in Champions League before the day started as well but will close the year with a 2-0 win over Norwich.
While UCL is a big prize for EPL clubs, the battle for spots in the Europa League was more interesting than usual due to the clubs involved. Everton had clinched one spot, but Tottenham and Manchester United were fighting for the other.
United interim manager Ryan Giggs noted that he was going to try hard for a spot in the continental tournament, via Joe Bernstein of the Daily Mail:
It is a consideration with my team selection as I want to be in Europe. I think United should be in Europe. Obviously everyone wants to be in the Champions League but with the squad we have got it would be good if we were in Europe. [...]
It could be beneficial if we were in the competition. It could bring on players or give people games where they need it. I played in Europe at 17 and 18 and it helped me as it was a different experience. It definitely brings you along quicker.
Unfortunately for the big club, Tottenham were not going to give up their spot as they were able to win 3-0 over Aston Villa. Then again, Rob Harris of the Associated Press thinks this is a good thing:
Manchester United's greatest achievement this season will be not qualifying for the Europa League— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) May 11, 2014
Still, it will be strange to see Manchester United not competing in any European competition next season.
Then again, this is nowhere near the disappointment of Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff. All three clubs will officially be relegated to Championship next season after finishing in the bottom three spots in the league table.
They will all hope not to be down there for long before coming back to the top-flight league.
None of this should take away the spotlight from Manchester City. The club completed an excellent season that featured an incredible offense with 102 goals scored and two trophies, including the League Cup.
With a roster full of talented young players and money to spend on transfers in the summer, you can imagine this squad will be a favourite to win the title again next season.
If things go according to plan and they are able to avoid injuries, a Champions League title may not be out of the question going forward.
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