After the season-long struggle between Manchester City and Liverpool to determine which club would have the slightly more perfect season and be named Premier League champion, it all came down to today, the final matchday of the season. And while it was tight there for a while, City did as expected and beat Brighton & Hove Albion to win their second consecutive league title.
Man City went to Brighton knowing that a win would seal the title. In the only other match that mattered today—the relegation, Champions League, and Europa League places were for all intents and purposes already locked in after last week’s fixtures—Liverpool hosted Wolves knowing they needed to win and to get some help from Brighton to bring their nearly three-decade title drought to an end.
For neutrals most interested in seeing some drama, today got off to a great start. Liverpool got out to an early lead through a Sadio Mané goal in the 17th minute, which ratcheted up the pressure on City:
Ten minutes later, Brighton took a shock lead when Glenn Murray scored from a corner in the 27th minute, and it looked like things would get really interesting:
Liverpool’s dream of their first title since 1990 wouldn’t last too long, though. Just seconds after Brighton took the lead, Sergio Agüero got City level:
About ten minutes after that, Aymeric Laporte had an open header from a corner and converted it to give City the lead:
Brighton never really looked like scoring, even when they did score, but with only a one goal lead, City’s title didn’t yet feel secure. Security wouldn’t come until Riyad Mahrez scored the prettiest goal of the match in the 63rd minute to put City ahead by two goals:
City scored again a few minutes later to really erase all doubt about whether they’d collapse right at the finish line. Liverpool eventually did beat Wolves, 2-0, but it didn’t matter. City’s 4-1 win meant the Citizens won the title for the second year running.
This has been the best title race in years, and from a quality and consistency perspective, probably the best one ever. Though only a single point separated the two, City very much deserved to lift the trophy: the Mancs won the head-to-head matchup against Liverpool (the two matches between them finished with a draw and a City win), won 32 games to Liverpool’s 30, scored the most goals in the league, allowed the second fewest by giving up only one goal more than the Pool Boys, and, per Understat’s advanced metrics, had the far better expected goal stats.
As happy as we are to see the best team win, though, we would have greatly preferred the “You’ll Never Walk Alone” performance of the ages we would’ve been in for had Liverpool won, since instead we had to sit through another rendition of garbage-ass “Wonderwall”.