Manchester City did what was necessary to win the English Premier League on the final day of the season for the second time in three years.
The club entered the day with a narrow lead and pulled out a victory over West Ham United to secure the well-deserved title. Liverpool came close to their first championship since 1990, but some poor showings over the past few weeks ruined their chance of staying on top of the league.
Still, the close battle between these two clubs entering the week led to an exciting final round of play. These were two of Sunday's biggest matches that once again made the EPL must-see TV.
Here is a breakdown of the final results and standings, followed by what you might have missed on Matchday 38:
|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 2, West Ham United 0
Considering Manchester City only needed a draw to come away with a league championship, you would think they could be a bit conservative in the match. However, that is just not their style after scoring over 100 goals in the league this season.
The home team controlled possession for much of the match but could not break through a congested defense until the 39th minute. That came when Samir Nasri fired a shot from just outside the box, as described by Fox Soccer:
GOAL, Man City! There's the big goal! Samir Nasri with a beautiful shot from outside the box that goes in off the post for the City lead.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) May 11, 2014
Shortly into the second half, City were able to double the lead on a Vincent Kompany goal. As Henry Winter of The Daily Telegraph noted, this virtually ended the title race:
That, surely, is that. 2-0 to #mcfc. Kompany pounces. West Ham marking poor. A second title in three years awaits.— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) May 11, 2014
Manchester City were then able to relax with the lead and cruise to a victory. Unsurprisingly, the fans were quick to celebrate after the match:
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
This was an up-and-down season for City that featured a number of heartaches and even more injuries that seemed to derail the club. However, they came through with wins when needed and this group is deserving of the second title in three years.
Liverpool 2, Newcastle United 1
While Liverpool needed a lot of luck coming into Sunday, things certainly did not start the way they wanted. The first goal of the match came on an own goal by Martin Skrtel, giving him an honor he likely does not want, via Paul Carr of ESPN:
Martin Skrtel is the first player to score four own goals in a Premier League season.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) May 11, 2014
This was certainly a scary moment for Liverpool considering that they needed to at least win to give them a chance at the league title.
After remaining down for a majority of the match, the Reds showed the quick-strike attack that had been so successful all year long. Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge scored two minutes apart from each other in the 63rd and 65th minute to give the home side the narrow lead.
The lead held as the club earned its 84th point of the year, but this was not enough to top Manchester City.
It was clearly a disappointing finish to the season considering the club's placement just a few weeks earlier. Liverpool lost to Chelsea and managed only a draw against Crystal Palace, knocking them out of first place.
However, manager Brendan Rodgers remained hopeful for the future in his statement after the match, via the EPL Twitter account:
Rodgers: "We’ve made the supporters dream & that’s the best thing about it. We will strengthen & we will definitely be better next season"— Premier League (@premierleague) May 11, 2014
Considering the squad was in seventh place a year ago, fans should be happy to see such a big improvement. Going forward, there should be a lot of confidence that the team should be able to contend for more trophies over the next few seasons.
Tottenham 3, Aston Villa 0
While the main storyline heading into the day was the battle for first between Manchester City and Liverpool, there was another interesting competition between Tottenham and Manchester United.
Spurs came into the day in sixth place with a three-point lead over United. With a win or draw, they would ensure the league's final spot in Europa League instead of it going to the defending league champs.
Luckily, they were able to take care of business right away with an early goal from Paulinho. As Squawka Football noted, this gave the club a strong chance to earn that sixth-place spot:
Paulinho gets his 6th of the season in the Premier League. Spurs' grip on that Europa League spot is tightening. pic.twitter.com/Xhs4bHwL7v— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 11, 2014
After an own goal by Nathan Baker, Emmanuel Adebayor sealed things with a penalty shot:
The 3-0 lead was enough to keep sixth place, although it was not even needed considering Manchester United could only manage a 1-1 draw against Southampton. Still, this is a fine way to finish the year as they once again earn the right to play in the Europa League.
Considering Spurs had some success in the continental competition this season before focusing on EPL play, they should be able to once again challenge for a deep run.
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