EPL Week 37 Review: Man City retain the title after battering Brighton
Manchester City becomes the first team to retain the English Premier League title after beating Brighton at the Amex by 4-1 with Liverpool winning at home against Wolves 2-0.
Not since men with deep pockets ran an electric razor over the scalp of the old First Division to create the English Premier League (EPL) back in 1992 have we had such a riveting battle at the top.
It’s just a shame that we didn’t have a Game of Thrones Red Wedding style ending.
On any given day, any team in the EPL can beat any other, but with Manchester City winning 13 straight EPL ties, there was no way that Brighton was going to be the horse kick in the chest that Liverpool fans needed to win their first top tier title since 1989-90.
Maybe the scales would have been more balanced if going into the final day, Brighton was still lying in the corner on the receiving end of a cold relegation hose down, alongside Cardiff, but that matter resolved itself last weekend. Sure, Brighton would earn an additional £1.9m had they won, and Southampton lost, but players don’t care about balance sheets.
On the other hand, Liverpool, fresh from their 4-0 mauling of Barcelona, were facing Wolves at home. Wolves had secured 7th place, the first time in 45 years that they have finished in the Top 10. They had also knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup, so this was going to be a much tougher battle. Sadio Mané calmed the nerves around Anfield after getting on the end of a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross to put Liverpool ahead on 17-minutes.
Then more hope.
Over at the Amex, in the 27th minute, Glenn Murray got to a near-post corner before anyone else to head Brighton into an unlikely lead. Unfortunately, by the time the news had reverberated around Anfield, City had equalised with Sergio Agüero finishing off a slick move involving Aymeric Laporté and David Silva.
Then the anticipation and excitement of the final battle fell as a dead canary dropped down a mineshaft. City moved up a gear and destroyed Brighton. Glenn Murray gave the ball away, which led to a corner, and the club’s top marksman lost Laporté who headed City into the lead. Second half strikes from Riyad Mahrez and a stunning free-kick from Ilkay Gündogan sealed a 4-1 win, cue celebrations.
Over at Anfield, Wolves, who were outstanding, were unlucky not to equalise before the same pairing struck again. Alexander-Arnold flung a cross in from the right, and Mané headed home to give Liverpool a 2-0 win. And it was an important goal because it meant he would share the golden boot with Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after all, three players finished in 22-goals each.
City won the title despite being seven points adrift of Liverpool at the turn of the year, but Liverpool drew too many games, the muzzle came off, and Pep Guardiola’s side was one point ahead by early March. Since that time neither party lost a game, in an incredible show of consistency under such extreme circumstances.
It’s the first time a team has retained the EPL title since Man Utd did so in 2009, and the double is still on the cards with City facing Watford on Saturday.
Liverpool only lost one goal all season, scoring 89 times, and conceding 22 (the best defensive record in the league). Numbers that will mean nothing if Jürgen Klopp’s side ends the season without silverware. They face Spurs in the Champions League Final in Madrid on June 1.
Results in Full
Spurs 2 v 2 Everton
Man Utd 0 v 2 Cardiff
Watford 1 v 4 West Ham
Southampton 1 v 1 Huddersfield
Leicester 0 v 0 Chelsea
Fulham 0 v 4 Newcastle
Liverpool 2 v 0 Wolves
Crystal Palace 5 v 3 Bournemouth
Brighton 1 v 4 Man City
Burnley 1 v 3 Arsenal
1. Man City – 98
2. Liverpool – 97
3. Chelsea – 72
4. Spurs – 71
5. Arsenal – 70
6. Man Utd – 66
7. Wolves – 57
8. Everton – 54
9. Leicester – 52
10. West Ham – 52
11. Watford – 50
12. Crystal Palace – 49
13. Newcastle – 45
14. Bournemouth – 45
15. Burnley – 40
16. Southampton – 39
17. Brighton – 36
18. Cardiff – 34
19. Fulham – 26
20. Huddersfield – 16
Golden Boot Winner
1. Mohamed Salah – 22
2. Sadio Mané – 22
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 22
5. Sergio Aguero – 21
6. Jamie Vardy – 18
*If Arsenal win the Europa League they qualify for the Champions League.
** Wolves qualify for the Europa League if Man City beat Watford in the FA Cup.
***Watford qualify for the Europa League if they beat Man City in the FA Cup Final
Promoted from the Championship
One to qualify from Leeds United, West Brom, Aston Villa and Derby.
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