Manchester City win Premier League for third successive season after Arsenal lose
Manchester City have been crowned Premier League champions for the third successive season after title rivals Arsenal lost at Nottingham Forest.
The Gunners, top for the majority of the campaign, are four points behind City with only one game left to play after being beaten
Pep Guardiola’s side have won the title in five of the past six campaigns.
They also have a chance to claim the Treble, with FA Cup and Champions League finals to come next month.
Only Manchester United, in 1998-99, have previously achieved that feat – and it is their derby rivals whom City will meet at Wembley on 3 June, before facing Inter Milan a week later in Istanbul, where they will hunt a first Champions League triumph.
Captain Ilkay Gundogan – who has scored four goals in the past two league games – said: “The Premier League is without doubt the most demanding and competitive league in the world, so that tells you everything about what an achievement this is.
“To have won this trophy three times in a row and five times in six years is incredible. That quality and consistency helps sum up what Manchester City stand for and ensures the club will continue to strive for success going forward.
“It has been a season I will never forget.”
City, champions for a ninth time in the club’s history, had trailed Arsenal by eight points on 7 April, although they had played one game fewer than Mikel Arteta’s leaders at that point.
It is only the fourth time that a team has been as many as eight points clear after at least 28 Premier League games and failed to win the title.
Only one team has ever had 69 points with 10 games remaining – as Arsenal did – and failed to win the title. That was Liverpool in 2018-19, when they finished on 97 points, one behind City.
But City have won 11 league games in a row – and dropped just two points from a possible 42 – to overhaul Arsenal and clinch the title with three games remaining.
“Arsenal have pushed us right to the limit,” said full-back Kyle Walker. “They’ve been fantastic and full credit to them, but I think we just went on an incredible run, and we’ve managed to end up where we have now. They’ve had a few hiccups and we’ve managed to capitalise on that.
“It’s the players we’ve got. We’re a bunch of lads who have achieved so much over the last number of years and we understand the standards we’ve set.”
City are only the fifth club to win three successive top-flight titles in England, following Huddersfield Town (1924-26), Arsenal (1933-35), Liverpool (1982-84) and Manchester United, who did it twice under Sir Alex Ferguson (1999-2001 and 2007-09).
It is also the third occasion Guardiola has managed to win three league titles in a row, having done so in La Liga with Barcelona from 2009-11 and in the Bundesliga from 2014-16 with Bayern Munich.
City’s Premier League dominance of five titles in six seasons was last achieved by Manchester United between 1996 and 2001 – a period where they also won the Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.
United also won seven titles in nine seasons between 1993-2001; as well as five titles in seven seasons between 2007-2013 – so City’s current dominance is not unprecedented.
Before that, Liverpool in the late 1970s and early ’80s enjoyed similar periods of league success.
City will complete their league campaign with away games against Brighton and Brentford, before resuming their Treble bid.
Their push for that achievement has been driven, in part, by Erling Haaland’s remarkable goalscoring record since the forward joined from Borussia Dortmund last summer.
The 22-year-old Norwegian has scored 52 goals in 48 games in all competitions – including a record-breaking 36 goals in 33 Premier League appearances.
Haaland is just the second player in English top-flight history to score more than 50 times in all competitions – and the first to do so for 95 years.
He broke the Premier League record for goals in a season with his 35th at the start of March, which moved him one clear of Andy Cole and Alan Shearer – whose 34-goal tallies had come in a 42-match campaign.
The title win comes three months after City were charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation. The charges cover the period of 2009-2018, since the 2008 takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group, led by billionaire Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
They are accused of effectively falsifying their accounts and artificially inflating sponsorship and commercial deals over a number of years to allow them to spend more but stay within Uefa and Premier League rules.
City said they were “surprised by the charges” but welcomed the “review of this matter by an independent commission to impartially consider” their case, which City said was supported by a “comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence”.
City, who have always denied financial wrongdoing, said they “look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all”.
The club has been referred to an independent commission, which can impose punishments ranging from a fine and points deduction to expulsion from the Premier League. It is not known how long the process will take.