Man City record sensation three-goal comeback to retain title as Burnley drop on final day
• Arsenal thrash Everton, miss Champions League ticket to Spurs
Manchester City were forced to do it the hard way, but at the end, the defending champions rallied to end Liverpool’s last minute challenge.
The champions, who are billed for an open bus title celebration today, were all but lost in the first 75 minutes of the game as Aston Villa, led by former Liverpool captain, Stephen Gerard and propelled by his former Reds’ teammate, Phillipe Coutinho, raced to a 2-0 lead at the Emirates.
Manchester City staged a stunning late comeback with three goals in five minutes to beat Aston Villa and win the Premier League as their title chances looked to be slipping away amid dramatic scenes at Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s side needed victory to secure their fourth title in five seasons but were facing the prospect of ending the season empty-handed as goals either side of the interval from Matty Cash and Coutinho put Villa 2-0 ahead and in control.
It looked as if Gerrard might help his former club secure the title – until City turned the game on its head in an atmosphere bordering on hysteria.
Ilkay Gundogan, on as a substitute for Bernardo Silva, gave City hope with a far-post header in the 76th minute, and Etihad Stadium was a wall of noise when Rodri drove a low finish past Villa keeper Robin Olsen two minutes later.
The title-winning recovery was complete with nine minutes left as Gundogan once again arrived at the far post to put City in front, the decisive contribution on this nerve-shredding final day.
City did need those three points as Liverpool beat Wolverhampton Wanderers – with City boss Guardiola overcome with emotion and breaking down in tears at the final whistle.
Liverpool’s hopes of a dramatic last-day Premier League title win were dashed by Manchester City’s remarkable second-half comeback, with the 3-1 home win over Wolves not enough to maintain their quest for an unprecedented quadruple.
For a long period, with their rivals losing at home to Aston Villa, belief coursed around the ground but the dream was extinguished in the space of six minutes in which Pep Guardiola’s men turned things around.
It meant the Reds finished second by a point, with a 92-point tally which would have been good enough to win the title in 25 of the previous 30 seasons.
For 75 minutes, it looked like they might just do that and with Sadio Mane’s 11th league goal at Anfield cancelling out Pedro Neto’s surprise opener there was a feeling that something special was happening.
But by the time Mohamed Salah had put his side 2-1 up with his 23rd league goal – to share the Golden Boot with Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, City were ahead.
Chelsea and Tottenham secured the last Champions League places with wins over Watford (2-1) and Norwich (5-0), while Arsenal, who beat Everton 5-1 and Manchester United, who lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace, will play in the Europa League.
West Ham was the big loser as their 3-1 defeat by Brighton condemned them to the Europa Conference League. Leeds survived the drop with a surprise 2-1 defeat of Brentford away from home, with the victory condemning Burnley to relegation alongside Watford and Norwich.