Manchester City crowned champions

Manchester City crowned champions
Manchester City crowned champions

This time, they spared the emotions of their supporters. There was no late drama. No bedlam. For once, Manchester City resisted any temptation to make life unnecessarily hard for themselves. Instead, they just rolled up their sleeves and set about finishing off their work. They are the champions of England and they did it in a way that made the old City, the club where once they said it should have a Government health warning, feel like a fading memory.
By the time it was all done, Manuel Pellegrini’s team had clocked up 102 goals and it was probably just a surprise they did not manage to get one more to equal Chelsea’s 2010 record from the Premier League era. Sergio Agüero is probably thinking the same after the sitter he passed up from one of Pablo Zabaleta’s overlapping runs.
No matter. The final goal of the afternoon, courtesy of Vincent Kompany, could not generate the moshpit that Agüero set in motion on the final day two seasons ago but, for once, City’s crowd will probably appreciate a party with a chill-out zone.
They were ahead, six minutes before the interval, when Samir Nasri picked out the bottom corner from 25 yards but the crowd’s nerves had already been soothed by that stage because of the news of Martin Skrtel’s own goal at Anfield.
The positions had not changed when Kompany made it 2-0 four minutes into the second half and, ultimately, Liverpool’s second-half recovery was immaterial. By that stage, nobody at the Etihad was concerning themselves too much with what was going on the other end of the M62.
‘Nobody remembers who comes second,’ read one of the banners. And City – calm, professional, slick, and showing a level of know-how that was once beyond them – made absolutely certain this wild, oscillating title race had had its final twist.
West Ham were generous opponents in what could conceivably be Sam Allardyce’s last game in charge. They defended stoutly for the opening half an hour but it has never been the structure and organisation of Allardyce’s team that dismays their supporters. It is the absence of real creativity and, if this is the farewell, the lingering image will be of the chance that came to Andy Carroll from Stewart Downing’s cross in the second half. The first touch sent it out for a corner and Carroll was substituted a few minutes later.
At that stage, the victory songs had already started and the Etihad was in the process of its third Poznan of the afternoon. For Yaya Touré, the celebrations were tarnished by a hamstring injury that forced him off before the end and, briefly, Agüero’s barge on Mark Noble led to a confrontation between the two sets of players that was completely out of keeping with the rest of the afternoon. Yet by the end the biggest problem for City was getting their supporters off the pitch so they could start the presentation. “We want to see the trophy,” the public announcer reminded everyone.
Nasri had set it up with the accuracy of his finish before the interval, taking advantage of the way Kevin Nolan and Matt Taylor did not close him down to rifle in a diagonal shot from 25 yards. Adrián, the West Ham goalkeeper, got a glove to the ball but it went in off the post and a happy air of inevitability descended.
Kompany’s goal came after a lucky ricochet off Nolan from a corner, leaving him with the ball inside the six-yard area, and what a moment it was for City’s captain bearing in mind it was his mistake at Anfield last month that had threatened to extinguish his team’s chances of glory


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