City celebrate title glory with win over Chelsea, Leeds in relegation peril

Published May 22, 2023
MANCHESTER: Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan lifts the trophy as his team-mates celebrate after the Premier League match against Chelsea on Sunday.—Reuters
MANCHESTER: Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan lifts the trophy as his team-mates celebrate after the Premier League match against Chelsea on Sunday.—Reuters

LONDON: Manchester City celebrated their Premier League title triumph with a 1-0 win against Chelsea and while the champions kept the party in full swing at the Etihad Stadium, Leeds slipped closer to relegation on Sunday.

City clinched a fifth title in six seasons on Saturday when second placed Arsenal crashed 1-0 at Nottingham Forest.

Pep Guardiola’s side marked their third successive title by winning a 12th consecutive league game as Julian Alvarez’s first-half goal extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 24 matches.

That blistering streak has left Arsenal trailing as the Gunners failed to end City’s reign despite leading the table for much of the season.

“Every Premier League is special. And of course when you are three in a row it means the consistency that we had,” Guardiola said just before kick-off.

“Especially against the opponents, in the past it was Liverpool, and this year against an incredible Arsenal. That’s why you give credit to the quality of your opponents. Both teams bring us to our limits.”

City could afford to start with Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias on the bench against Chelsea after starting their title party on Saturday evening.

The fans’ celebrations were going strong as well by the time the City team bus arrived at the Etihad, which was surrounded by flag-waving supporters who set off blue smoke flares as they hailed their dynastic team.

City, seven points clear of Arsenal with two games left, would cement their status as one of English football’s greatest ever teams if they can add the FA Cup and Champions League to their latest Premier League conquest.

Guardiola’s treble chasers face Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley on June 3, then take on Inter Milan in Istanbul seven days later as they look to win the Champions League for the first time.

United were the last English club to win the treble in 1999 and City would relish the chance to emulate their rivals’ feat.

Chelsea players lined up for a pre-match guard of honour for their City counterparts, who walked out onto the pitch with their children while club anthem ‘Blue Moon’ rang around the Etihad.

With City’s players and fans in festive mood, Alvarez ensured Chelsea wouldn’t spoil the party. The Argentine forward produced a clinical finish from Cole Palmer’s 12th minute pass.

At the other end of the table, struggling Leeds United lost 3-1 at West Ham United as Rodrigo’s opener was erased by goals from Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini.

Sam Allardyce’s side remain third bottom and are two points adrift of fourth bottom Everton, with both teams having just one game left.

Even if Leeds beat Tottenham at home on the final day of the season, the Yorkshire club would still be relegated if Everton win their last game against Bournemouth at Goodison Park.

Allardyce’s team, whose goal difference is three worse than Everton’s, are likely to need the Toffees to lose to have a chance of staying up.

Leeds, who last played in the Championship in 2020, have lost twice and drawn once in three games since Allardyce replaced the sacked Javi Gracia earlier this month.

“We haven’t shown the quality when needed. So next week has to be much better to beat Tottenham. That’s all we can do,” Allardyce said.

Meanwhile, Brighton & Hove Albion secured European football for the first time in their history with a 3-1 win against Southampton.

Evan Ferguson netted twice in the first half and although Mohamed Elyounoussi got one back for already-relegated Southampton, Pascal Gross wrapped up Brighton’s victory.

Roberto De Zerbi’s sixth-placed side will ensure they play in the Europa League if they take a point from their last two games.

Brighton’s vastly superior goal difference to seventh placed Aston Villa should guarantee they don’t drop into the Europa Conference League.

SCOREBOARD

(Tabulated under played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):

Manchester City 36 28 4 4 93 31 88

Arsenal 37 25 6 6 83 43 81

Newcastle United 36 19 12 5 67 32 69

Manchester United 36 21 6 9 52 41 69

Liverpool 37 19 9 9 71 43 66

Brighton & Hove Albion 36 18 7 11 70 50 61

Aston Villa 37 17 7 13 49 45 58

Tottenham Hotspur 37 17 6 14 66 62 57

Brentford 37 14 14 9 57 46 56

Fulham 37 15 7 15 54 51 52

Crystal Palace 37 11 11 15 39 48 44

Chelsea 36 11 10 15 36 42 43

Wolverhampton Wanderers 37 11 8 18 31 53 41

West Ham United 37 11 7 19 41 53 40

Bournemouth 37 11 6 20 37 70 39

Nottingham Forest 37 9 10 18 37 67 37

Everton 37 7 12 18 33 57 33

Leeds United 37 7 10 20 47 74 31

Leicester City 36 8 6 22 49 67 30

Southampton 37 6 6 25 32 69 24

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2023

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