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Man City Wins Second Premier League Tittle In Three Years

For the second time in three years, Manchester City won the English Premier League title on the final day of the season on Sunday. But by the club’s own dramatic standards, this was a pretty straightforward conclusion to a wild season.

_74779453_74779452In 2012, it relied on a last-minute-of-the-last-game goal to pip Manchester United MANU -2.27%  to the title on goal differential. This time, it was more of a mathematical formality. City entered the final day two points clear of Liverpool in second place and a 2-0 victory over West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium settled it for good.

In the nearly five years since City was acquired by the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Mansour, it has now won two top-tier league titles, matching the total from the previous 129 years of the club’s history.

Liverpool, which came into Sunday praying for a miracle, actually beat City in a crucial game last month. After the end of the 3-2 victory, the momentum appeared to swing firmly in the Reds’ favor, prompting captain Steven Gerrard’s expletive-laden “This does not slip now” speech on the field.

But the club let the title get away from it in the last couple of weeks. First there was the home defeat at home to Chelsea when manager Brendan Rodgers accused the visitors of “parking two buses” in front of its goal. And then came the dramatic 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace, a game Liverpool had led 3-0 with 15 minutes to go.

City pounced in its next game and took over the top of the standings, the 25th and final lead change of the season, according to Opta Sports—the second most in the Premier League era, which dates back to 1992.

But at various points over the winter and spring, City was still considered a quiet outsider. After all, this was a season when Arsenal spent more than 120 days in first place, Liverpool felt close enough to touch its first league title in 24 years and Chelsea looked set to disprove its own manager, José Mourinho, as he insisted the club wasn’t a contender.

The twists and turns made for a hair-raising introduction to the Premier League for the mild-mannered City manager Manuel Pellegrini in his first season in England. He replaced Roberto Mancini last summer after overachieving with Malaga in Spain in 2012-13.

And there were certainly some growing pains. City lost four of its first six games on the road and it was knocked out of the FA Cup by second-tier Wigan Athletic. But the best home record in the league, combined with an often unstoppable attack, more than made up for those. City’s offensive machine finished the year with 102 goals, just one off Chelsea’s Premier League record of 103.

Liverpool finished second, a five-place improvement on last season, with Chelsea in third and Arsenal in fourth again to round out the coveted qualifying spots for next year’s UEFA



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