Premier League Weekend in 20 Pictures: Manchester City Claim EPL Title

Tim Collins@@TimDCollinsFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

Premier League Weekend in 20 Pictures: Manchester City Claim EPL Title

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Manchester City claimed its second Premier League title in three years on Sunday, brushing aside West Ham 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium to propel the Citizens away from the chasing Liverpool.

    A first-half goal from Samir Nasri quickly extinguished the possibility of intense final-day drama, before Vincent Kompany's close-range effort effectively ended the title race with 40 minutes still to play.

    After claiming the League Cup with victory over Sunderland in March, the capture of the league title ends a successful first season in charge for City boss Manuel Pellegrini, who has lifted the club away from the often turbulent times witnessed under Roberto Mancini.

    With the season now complete, we can relive the action through 20 of the defining images from the final weekend of the 2013-14 Premier League season.

Norwich Suffer Relegation

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    Norwich City's relegation wasn't mathematically confirmed prior to Sunday's encounter with Arsenal, but the Canaries were never a realistic chance of reaching safety.

    The 2-0 loss to Arsene Wenger's side simply made it official. 

    It's been a disappointing season at Carrow Road, with the team's struggles costing Chris Hughton his position as manager at a time when the club's players failed to muster any genuine excitement and optimism among their fans.

Mutual Respect Between Mourinho and Bellamy

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    It's possible that Craig Bellamy has played his last Premier League match after representing 10 clubs across an 18-year career that began in 1996.

    That was recognised by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho on Sunday, as the Portuguese manager shook Bellamy's hand as he left the pitch during Sunday's 2-1 loss at home to the Blues.

    In a season of confrontation for Mourinho, it was a rare moment of public appreciation for an opponent.

Fulham Wave Goodbye to the Premier League

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    A forgettable season came to an end for another club on Sunday, as Fulham waved goodbye to the Premier League for now with a 2-2 draw to Crystal Palace.

    Three men had a go at attempting to steer the club to safety in 2013-14, as both Martin Jol and Rene Meulensteen saw their tenures come and go before Felix Magath took over a sinking ship.

    One feels that a vast clearing out is needed at Craven Cottage before the next campaign begins.

Nemanja Vidic Waves Goodbye

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Nemanja Vidic made his final appearance for Manchester United on Sunday, with the club captain set to depart to Inter Milan next season.

    The defender's departure is another symbol of United's changing eras, given that the Serbian was once a pillar of strength and stability in the middle of Sir Alex Ferguson's back four.

    At the end of a tumultuous season, Vidic was forced to wave goodbye on the back of another disappointing result.

Aaron Ramsey and What Might Have Been

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey scored once more on Sunday to provide another insight into what might have been for the North Londonders had the midfielder not missed a substantial chunk of the season through injury.

    Indeed, from the moment Ramsey went missing this season, Arsenal's title challenge began to fade, as the Welshman's box-to-box power and goal-scoring ability were vanquished from Arsene Wenger's team.

    If the Gunners are to mount another challenge next season, a fit Ramsey will be a must.

Lukaku Finishes Everton Stint in Style

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    Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    Romelu Lukaku gave Everton one last glimpse of his considerable talent on Sunday, scoring the final goal of his team's season in a 2-0 victory over Hull City.

    While Roberto Martinez would love to extend the stay of the precocious striker, the Belgian is likely to have a number of Europe's leading clubs looking for his signature after a fine season on Merseyside.

Spurs Secure European Football

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Tottenham eased to a comfortable 3-0 win over Aston Villa at White Hart Lane to ensure Spurs will participate in the Europa League next season.

    It's been a rocky season at Tottenham following Gareth Bale's departure to Real Madrid, and Tim Sherwood will likely be relieved that it's all come to an end for now after taking over from Andre Villas-Boas in difficult circumstances.

    Capturing sixth place and securing European football was an important task for the club.

Rickie Lambert Caps off Southampton's Fine Season

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Southampton's rise from relegation candidate to top-half surprise packet has been mightily impressive in 2013-14, as a collection of English stars has propelled the club to lofty heights.

    Among those names have been Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert, the latter of which scored the opening goal to ensure the Saints collected a point on the final day of a superb season.

    Ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, Lambert and some of his teammates look likely to be strong candidates for selection into the England squad.

Vincent Tan Looks on at His Own Mess

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    Like Fulham, fellow relegated club Cardiff City has endured a terribly difficult campaign in its first season after promotion.

    Despite owner Vincent Tan's financial backing of the Welsh club, the Malaysian businessman's wayward running of the team has created a toxic atmosphere in the capital in which success has been nigh-on impossible.

    On Sunday, Tan dejectedly looked on from the stands as his club played its last game in England's top flight.

Newcastle Sap the Energy out of Liverpool

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    Clint Hughes/Associated Press

    If Liverpool were to send a ripple of concern through Manchester City on Sunday, the Reds had to do so with a barrage of early goals.

    Instead, Martin Skrtel found the back of his own net after 20 minutes to give the lead to the visiting Newcastle side, sapping the energy completely out of Anfield.

    Immediately, the news of the goal sent a wave of relief through the Etihad Stadium, undoubtedly helping City cruise to a comfortable victory.

Liverpool Get a Glimmer of Hope

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Once Manchester City had scored, the likelihood of Manuel Pellegrini's side slipping up against West Ham was extremely small.

    However, Liverpool gallantly fought their way into the lead after falling behind to Newcastle in the opening half at Anfield.

    Daniel Agger drew the Reds level just after the hour mark, before Daniel Sturridge found the net again this season to give Brendan Rodgers' side a glimmer of hope with 20 minutes remaining in the season.

Rodgers Thanks Fans as Liverpool Complete an Amazing Season

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Whichever way you look at it, Brendon Rodgers has led Liverpool to an incredible season in 2013-14.

    With a delightfully free spirit and an audacious attitude, Rodger's team has bolted from seventh in 2012-13 to a phenomenal second this time around, missing out on the Premier League title by a mere two points.

    Throughout the campaign, the club's supporters have provided a sensational atmosphere at Anfield, which is something Rodgers is always quick to acknowledge.

Samir Nasri Scores the Critical First Goal

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    To avoid a repeat of the unfathomable events of this day two years ago, City needed to set the tone by scoring first on the pivotal afternoon.

    Thanks to Samir Nasri, Pellegrini's side did just that.

    From Nasri's strike onward, City were never troubled by the travelling West Ham outfit, cruising their way to a second Premier League title in three seasons.

The Captain Secures the Title

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    It was fitting that it was Vincent Kompany who scored the final goal of Manchester City's triumphant season, given that it was the captain himself who had helped to give the title advantage to Liverpool with a critical error in the side's 3-2 loss at Anfield in April. 

    So often it has been Kompany who has stood firm for his side, leading the way with both his performances and admirable demeanour. 

    That it was the Belgian who finished off the campaign without being punished for an extremely rare mistake was fitting.

The Pitch Invasion at the Etihad

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Thousands of Manchester City fans poured onto the pitch at the Etihad Stadium when the full-time whistle was blown to officially finish City's triumphant season.

    Although the scenes weren't quite the same as those witnessed in 2012, the club's players were mobbed by their adoring fans in the seconds after the title was officially captured.

    It's a feeling that City fans might be able to get used to over the coming years.

No Sympathy from City's Fans

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Manchester City fans have endured plenty of heartache throughout the years, but they certainly aren't in any rush to spare some sympathy for their defeated rivals.

    Liverpool, of course, fell an agonising two points short of Manchester City and the title, despite holding the momentum and apparent advantage after defeating Manuel Pellegrini's side just a month ago.

Noel Gallagher Celebrates City's Title Win

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Among the most notable of all Manchester City fans are the Gallagher brothers, Noel and Liam.

    Both kept their distance from one another at the Etihad on Sunday, but Noel was among those on the pitch celebrating the club's title-clinching victory in the moments after the contest had ended.

    As he did, his own song, "Wonderwall," rang around the stadium.

A Fan Sums Up Pellegrini Well

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    As ever in a Premier League season, 2013-14 has seen its fair share of controversial remarks made by the managers of the league's 20 clubs.

    However, unlike Chelsea's Mourinho, Pellegrini has endeared himself to many observers of the English game with his polite and reserved manner.

    During the post-match celebrations, this fan unveiled a rather apt sign, summing up the qualities of Manchester City's unflappable boss.

Manuel Pellegrini Thrown into the Air by His Players

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    Pellegrini completed a fine debut season in the Premier League in 2013-14, guiding Manchester City to the title after taking over from troubled reign of Roberto Mancini.

    With his calm and holistic approach, the Chilean has overseen a vast improvement in the team's unity in addition to instilling a beautifully attacking approach into his City side.

    After claiming the title at the Etihad on Sunday, it was obvious how highly the club's players respect their composed and likeable manager.

Manchester City Lift the Trophy

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    It wasn't like last time. There was no nail-biting finish or edge-of-your-seat drama. No palpable tension.

    Instead, City cruised to the Premier League trophy on the final day, brushing aside West Ham comfortably like a team that has done it all before.

    As Vincent Kompany and his teammates lifted the trophy draped in sky blue ribbons, there was no doubt as to which team was most deserving of the title.