LONDON – Manchester City have been crowned Premier League champions for the third time in four seasons after Manchester United lost at home to Leicester.
Pep Guardiola’s side have added the league title to the Carabao Cup and will go in pursuit of a Treble in the Champions League final, against Chelsea, on May 29.
Manchester City had hoped to secure the title against Chelsea at the weekend, but were only made to wait three days with goals from Leicester pair Luke Thomas and Caglar Soyuncu ensuring United are now unable to catch their neighbours.
It only took a minute or so for the City players to take to social media to rejoice at their achievement, with Raheem Sterling leading the celebrations on Twitter.
‘It’s the champions babyyyy’, Sterling said after reacting to the club’s Premier League champions confirmation tweet.
Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres followed suite, celebrating their new status as champions of England.
Former City goalkeeper and Premier League Great Shay Given congratulated his old club on their achievement, applauding their impressive feat of winning three titles in four seasons.
Given tweeted: ‘Congrats to my old team @ManCity winning the @premier again 3 titles in 4 seasons. Amazing.’
Gary Lineker also took to social media to congratulate Guardiola’s men, tweeting: ‘Congratulations to @ManCity on winning the Premier League title. A truly superb team full of wonderful players, brilliantly coached by Pep Guardiola.’
England and Manchester City women’s captain Steph Houghton also paid tribute to the club’s men’s side, congratulating them for their achievement.
Meanwhile, fellow Champions League finalists Chelsea made a classy gesture by saying City were ‘worthy champions’ in a post on Twitter.
‘Congratulations @ManCity, worthy 2020/21 @PremierLeague winners,’ the Blues’ official Twitter account said.
City’s title win on Tuesday also means the club have finished above rivals Manchester United every season since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, further confirming that the power has well and truly shifted in the north west.
Confirmation of City’s fifth Premier League title also prompted an intriguing debate between BT Sport’s punditry team of Robbie Savage, Rio Ferdinand and Joleon Lescott, who were arguing whether Sir Alex Ferguson or Guardiola was the best Premier League manager of all time.
Savage said: ‘They were 14th in the table (when Guardiola took over). He’s evolved the side. Amazing performances. Pep improves players and for me, he is the best manager I’ve witnessed in the Premier League.’
United legend Ferdinand insisted that he had to give credit when credit was due and said his old club’s rivals were ‘deserved champions’.
‘You’ve got to give credit where it’s due,’ Ferdinand said. ‘Pep and his men have bounced back. He went back to the drawing board, fixed things up and they came out flying. Deserved champions.
‘Pep, I love him. I think he’s a maverick. He thickened up the midfield. It was more about dominating the possession and strangling the life out of teams. What they’ve done in the last 10 years is ridiculous.’
We’ve got one take at this! Let’s go!
While fans and players were quick to react to the title win, City themselves weren’t waiting about to start the celebrations.
On Twitter, the club gave fans a glimpse of the Premier League trophy on the Etihad pitch by posting a video of a drone making its way in and around the 55,000-capacity ground before finishing at the centre circle where the famous trophy sat on top of a podium, dressed with blue and white ribbons – City’s colours.
Outside the stadium, the new champions unfurled a banner of the City players celebrating below the word ‘Champions’.
City fans congregated outside the ground to celebrate the reaching the summit of English football.
The Premier League is the second leg of what City hope will be a treble triumph in another extraordinary season.
They beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 to lift the Carabao Cup at Wembley last month and overcame Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 on aggregate last week to reach the Champions League final.
City have never reached that showpiece match but winning the Premier League title will prove a major boost as they begin to plan for Istanbul.
Despite the prestige of the European final to come, City boss Guardiola had insisted winning the Premier League is the true test of any team.
‘Always I’ve said the Premier League is the most important title,’ he said on Friday.
‘Financially for the club, qualification for the Champions League is the most important title, maybe, but there is no doubt what is the most important thing.
‘Of course the Champions League is so special, it’s nice, but this one means consistency and many things.’
It’s been a remarkable campaign for the club, who could yet win the Champions League too.
City will contest 61 matches this season, including the Champions League final, averaging one game every four days.
Guardiola managed more while at Barcelona — 64 in 2012, 62 in 2011 — but the truncated nature of this campaign has made it his most intense yet.
It is the ninth league title of Guardiola’s managerial career following three in Spain with Barcelona, three in Germany with Bayern Munich and now three with City.
City started the season slowly by their high standards as a result of the short turnaround between the Champions League finals in Lisbon and the new campaign.
They lost 5-2 at home to Leicester City in their second match of the Premier League season and also dropped points against Leeds, West Ham and Liverpool, before a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham.
However, a 5-0 thrashing of Burnley at the Etihad Stadium on November 28 sparked a staggering 19-match unbeaten run that included 17 victories and extended through until March.
That incredible sequence propelled them above their rivals and ultimately clear at the top of the Premier League as the challenge of Man United faded.
Although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team ended the run with a 2-0 win at the Etihad on March 7, City immediately returned to winning ways and a 2-0 win at Leicester on April 3 meant it was a matter of time before they got over the winning line.
Their 2-0 win at Crystal Palace last Saturday took them to the brink but the postponement of Sunday’s match between Man United and Liverpool due to fan protests meant the title couldn’t be wrapped up last weekend.
They then failed to get the job done against Chelsea, losing 2-1 on Saturday, but have now wrapped it up with three games to go following Leicester’s win at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
City’s only disappointment this season came when Chelsea ended their hopes of an historic Quadruple in the FA Cup semi-final last month.