What was once an inevitability is now a reality. Manchester City is the 2020-21 Premier League champion.
City had a chance to clinch the title on Saturday but fell 2-1 at home to Chelsea. With the club leading 1-0 in the third minute of first-half stoppage time, Sergio Aguero failed to convert a penalty and subsequently apologized for his poor attempt at a Panenka:
Pep Guardiola's squad opened up a sizable gap on United and the rest of its title rivals as the season drew to a close, but early in the campaign, it looked like the club was on shaky ground.
Through eight matches, Manchester City was in 13th and eight points off Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, which both had 20 points in nine fixtures. Guardiola signed a contract extension in November, so his future wasn't in doubt. However, City appeared to need a squad refresh in order to mount another title challenge.
But after a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Dec. 15, the Sky Blues went on a 15-match winning streak. Following the last of those 15 victories, they had climbed to the top of the table, 14 points clear of United in second place.
Ruben Dias is widely viewed as the player most instrumental during Manchester City's dominant run. City surrendered the second-fewest goals (35) during the 2019-20 season, but it tended to panic a bit when it did concede.
Dias has been the top defender in the Premier League and the kind of imposing presence who could lead the back four right out of the gate. With three matches remaining, City has conceded 26 goals.
The Citizens have also been the most prolific offensive team in the league, tallying 72 goals across a balanced attack led by Ilkay Gundogan's 12 goals. Raheem Sterling has added 10, and Riyad Mahrez has scored 10. Sixteen players have scored for City in the league this season, picking up the slack for Aguero. He has only scored twice in 11 games after tallying 12 or more goals in each of his first nine league campaigns and reaching the 20-goal mark six times.
Manchester City's domestic superiority is largely a given with three titles in four seasons. A Champions League triumph has continued to prove elusive, though. That could finally change with City and Chelsea matched up in the Champions League final May 29.
As great as supporters are feeling Tuesday, the 2020-21 campaign might be considered disappointing if the English giants once again fall short of lifting a European trophy.