MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City had been here before, losing at home and risking losing the title.
Would the leaders suffocate like never before in the Premier League?
The prospect of a first-ever change of leadership on the final day grew as Villa led 2-0 at the stunned Etihad Stadium as challenger Liverpool chased a win over Wolverhampton.
Much like when they made a comeback in 2012 to win their first Premier League title with two goals in stoppage time, City have once again made a splashing recovery.
This time it took three goals – all scored in five minutes from the 76th minute – to turn it around against Villa and win 3-2 and successfully defend the title by a single point.
Even when City were losing, Liverpool were still in second place as they tied just 1-1 with Wolves at Anfield.
But the significance of lkay Gundoğan’s second goal in the 81st minute was heightened moments later when Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool the lead against Wolves before Andy Robertson sealed a 3-1 victory for Liverpool.
“We came back from the dead today and won the game,” captain Fernandinho said after his last game for City. “It’s a great feeling.”
Relief, followed by pure bliss.
No wonder thousands of City fans poured onto the pitch at the final whistle, defying new orders against field invasions. Soon the stadium was shrouded in blue smoke.
After the field was cleared, the Premier League trophy could be handed to City for the sixth time in 11 seasons.
Liverpool – the only team to disrupt City’s run of titles since 2018 with the success of 2020 – had to settle for second. However, Jürgen Klopp’s FA Cup and League Cup winners are still on a triple with the Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday.
Tottenham will return to the Champions League next season after a two-season absence thanks to a 5-0 loss to Norwich in last place to take fourth place.
There will be no return to the top league of European football for Arsenal after five seasons away following a collapse that was corrected by finishing the season by beating Everton 5-1 to finish fifth.
Manchester United join Arsenal in the Europa League under new manager Erik ten Hag, despite a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. West Ham lost the chance to knock United from sixth place after a 3-1 loss to Brighton, sending the Europa League semi-finalists into the Europa Conference League this season.
Burnley will leave the Premier League after six seasons after a 2-1 loss to Newcastle. Leeds capped off his recovery under American coach Jesse Marsch by beating Brentford 2-1 to avoid relegation.
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