Manchester City 3, Aston Villa 2
Ilkay Gundogan was City’s late hero as they overturned a 2-0 deficit at home to Aston Villa in five minutes to win 3-2 and lift the Premier League title.
It was the second time in ten years that City needed a comeback win to lift the Premier League title with a 3-2 scoreline and they dug deep again into their collective memory to drag themselves over the line after going behind.
Matty Cash and Philippe Coutinho thought they had put a spoke in City’s title charge but once City again dug deep and came back to win with a scoreline of 3-2 thanks to a brace of goals by Gundogan either side of a Rodri thunderbolt.
City boss Pep Guardiola made just two changes from the side that drew at West Ham last weekend.
Phil Foden and John Stones were drafted into the side while Jack Grealish and Oleksandr Zinchenko stood down.
Fernandinho captained the side for the final time and started at centre back with Stones at right back.Embed from Getty Images
And the drama never stopped after a poor first half when City went in 1-0 down at the break to a Matty Cash flying header.
Philippe Coutinho doubled that lead in the 69th minute to make things even bleaker for misfiring City after a couple of errors allowed the Brazilian put Villa into a massive lead with City nerves jangling.
City were still ahead on goal difference but with Liverpool threatening to score and snatch the title from them City upped a gear and scored three times in five minutes through Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri before Kevin De Bruyne laid on the winning goal for Gundogan with 9 minutes to spare.
Liverpool finally put themselves into the lead against Wolves but Villa had no more favours to give to them as City saw out the tense final few minutes to win a fourth Premier League title in five years.
It was the perfect end of an era for for captain Fernandinho who bowed out of the Etihad having helped the club lift 12 trophies – the joint most in club history alongside Sergio Aguero.
PLAYER RATINGS – Manchester City 3, Aston Villa 2
Ederson: 6. Early save from a cross in the box by Villa. Also had to cope with Ollie Watkins’ runs on goal but could do little with Matty Cash and Philippe Coutinho’s goals.
Fernandinho: 6. Spraying balls around from centre half but was sacrificed at half time as City needed to reorganise after Aston Villa were targeting him with Ollie Watkins.
John Stones: 6. Back from injury and filling in at right back. Still rusty including a poor touch to let Ollie Watkins in but he got away with that one.
Aymeric Laporte: 6. Relatively free to go about his business but was rounded by Philippe Coutinho for Villa’s second.
Joao Cancelo: 6. Played high up the left flank. Had a couple of fruitless shots but his touch seemed to desert him. Was better after switching to the right.
Rodri: 7. Shielded the back four. Shot wide in the second half and missed a header from Robin Olsen’s big punt upfield. Redeemed himself with City’s equaliser.
Kevin De Bruyne: 7. Popped up across midfield for City – a lung busting run in the first half that deserved a better finish but his shooting radar was off as he passed up several late chances. Crucially he came up with the goods when it mattered and laid on the winner for Ilkay Gundogan with a cross into the box for him with 9 minutes to go.
Bernardo Silva: 6. Sat slightly deeper to help protect the back four, he worked hard but was largely anonymous going forward and was taken off as City chased goals.
Riyad Mahrez: 5. Quiet first half as big switches went to Cancelo on the left. Taken off for Raheem Sterling.
Gabriel Jesus: 5. Positive forward play, winning the ball back including a moment when he charged down a nervy clearance by Robin Olsen but the ball bounced wide. Could have done better with a hatful of chances later in the game including one from 4 yards out which he skied and a shot which was blocked. Never gave up though.
Phil Foden: 6. All energy display and some good touches too. Fired wide midway through the first half during a counter attack and also intercepted a poor ball to release Gabriel Jesus. Started rushing himself as nerves took over but never gave up despite not being involved in the business end of things.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (on for Fernandinho, 46): 8. Put good balls into the box and helped City regain some forward momentum culminating in the cutback for Rodri’s equaliser.
Raheem Sterling (on for Riyad Mahrez, 56): 8. Some touches from the right flank and his cross released Ilkay Gundogan to pull one back.
Ilkay Gündoğan (on for Bernardo Silva, 69): 9. Late change for City but he came up with the goods – two goals to get City back into the game and win the title for them.
GOALS – Manchester City 3, Aston Villa 2
Man City 0, Aston Villa 1: 37. Lucas Digne put in a cross and Matty Cash evaded the City defence and his flying header flew in past Ederson who couldn’t save it
Man City 0, Aston Villa 2: 69. A big punt upfield by Robin Olsen was missed by Rodri, Ollie Watkins headed it to Philippe Coutinho who rounded Aymeric Laporte and fired the ball in.
Man City 1, Aston Villa 2: 76. Raheem Sterling’s right wing cross was converted by Ilkay Gundogan with a header.
Man City 2, Aston Villa 2: 78. Rodri low piledriver 25 yards out beat Robin Olsen at the near post after Oleksandr Zinchenko cut the ball back to him.
Man City 3, Aston Villa 2: 81. Ilkay Gündoğan arrived to stab in his second of the game after a raking cross from the right.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City 3, Aston Villa 2
Man City: Ederson, Fernandinho (C) (Zinchenko 46), Stones, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva (Gundogan 69), Mahrez (Sterling 56), Jesus, Foden
Man City subs not used: Carson, Walker, Ake, Grealish, Palmer, McAtee
Goals: Gundogan 76, 81; Rodri 78
Aston Villa: Olsen, Cash, Chambers, Mings (C), Digne, McGinn, Luiz, J Ramsey, Buendia (Young 88), Coutinho (Nakamba 72), Watkins
Aston Villa Subs not used: Sinisalo, Sansib, Traore, Ings, Chukwuemeka, Chrisene, Iroegbunam
Booked: Mings, Nakamba
Goals: Cash 37; Coutinho 69
Referee: Michael Oliver
Attendance: 53, 395