LONDON-Manchester City won the Premier League for the fifth time in six seasons on Saturday, taking a first step to a possible golden treble of trophies as second-placed Arsenal lost 1-0 at Nottingham Forest.
The Gunners’ challenge finally evaporated after a second consecutive defeat left Mikel Arteta’s side four points adrift of City with one game left for them to play. Taiwo Awonyi’s first-half goal also ensured Forest avoided relegation in their first season back in the top flight for 23 years. City’s third successive English title has turned Sunday’s league game at home to Chelsea into a celebration match.
Pep Guardiola’s men will now look to complete a treble when they face local rivals Manchester United and Italian giants Inter Milan in next month’s FA Cup and Champions League finals respectively. City have become the dominant force in the English game since an Abu Dhabi-backed takeover transformed their fortunes in 2008. But admiration for the quality of their football under manager Guardiola has also been accompanied by questions over their financing, with City facing a mammoth 115 charges for breaking Premier League rules.
Nevertheless, City captain Ilkay Gundogan insisted his side had been pushed hard this season. “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,” he said. But for Arsenal manager Arteta, a former assistant to Guardiola, there were thoughts of what might have been for the longtime leaders.
Manchester United and Newcastle were on the brink of qualifying for next season’s Champions League after Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa. United’s 1-0 victory at Bournemouth, combined with Liverpool’s failure to beat Villa, left Erik ten Hag’s men and Newcastle within touching distance of ensuring top-four finishes.
Fourth-placed United and Newcastle, in third, are both three points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool, who have only one game left. At the Vitality Stadium, United took the lead in the ninth minute through Casemiro’s acrobatic bicycle kick from close-range.