Manchester City retained the Premier League title in the most dramatic of fashion as they hauled themselves back from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 with three goals in the space of a little over fix minutes.
Ten years on from Sergio Aguero’s incredible finish that led to a 3-2 win against Queens Park Rangers, City once again left it late (not that late, however) to produce a memorable finale.
Ilkay Gundogan came off the bench to score twice with Rodri also on target as Pep Guardiola’s men (93 points) held off Liverpool’s title charge to win the league by a point.
With 45 minutes to go in the season, the top two teams were level on points and separated by Goal Difference. One Liverpool goal next, however, would have put heaps of pressure on Manchester City.
At half-time, it was Manchester City trailing 0-1 against Aston Villa and Liverpool were being held 1-1 by Wolves. Incredibly, the next goal came from Aston Villa’s Phillipe Coutinho, once of Liverpool’s colours.
As things stood City were still winning but things looked bleak as Liverpool piled the pressure on Wolves. A win at Anfield seemed like a inevitability so City had to win.
And then came an incredible phase at Etihad Stadium as City scored three goals in less than six minutes to overturn the deficit.
When Liverpool did win their match, City had effectively sealed the deal.
Guardiola had urged his Manchester City side to grasp the chance at greatness by claiming a fourth Premier League title in five seasons and they did just that.
This is Guardiola’s 10th in just 13 seasons as a manager after winning three La Liga and Bundesliga crowns with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Holding off Liverpool this season is arguably City’s finest achievement in Guardiola’s six-year reign and he was in tears after the final whistle.
Jurgen Klopp’s side, who were beaten to the title by City on the last day of the 2018-19 season, were in the midst of an historic attempt to win the quadruple.
Having already won the FA Cup and League Cup, as well as earning a Champions League final date with Real Madrid in Paris on May 28, Liverpool could have become first English club to claim all four major trophies in a single season.
As things ended, it was another creditable second-place by Liverpool, crossing 90 points only to be pipped by a superb City side.
Lucas Digne whipped in a cross from the left and Matty Cash got in front of Joao Cancelo to score with a bullet header.
Former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho doubled Villa’s lead with a cool finish in the 69th minute.
Gundogan started the comeback as he headed in Raheem Sterling’s cross at the back post.
Rodri then side-footed home from outside the box and Gundogan completed the fightback by tapping home Kevin De Bruyne’s cross at the back post.
Guardiola said before the game he wanted no repeat of Aguero’s legendary late strike a decade ago.
But the Calatan was the most relieved man in Manchester as he sealed the 10th league title of his coaching career in just 13 seasons.
Fans swarmed onto the pitch to celebrate at full-time and the crossbar at the goal where City scored all of their goals was snapped under the weight of supporters sitting on it.
Liverpool’s 3-1 win saw goals from Sadio Mane, Mohammad Salah and Andy Robertson.
Liverpool were rocked after just three minutes when Pedro Neto produced a close-range finish from Raul Jimenez’s cross.
Sadio Mane equalised with a clinical strike from just inside the area after sprinting onto Thiago Alcantara’s pass in the 24th minute.
Mohamed Salah poked Liverpool ahead with six minutes left but by then news of City’s extraordinary recovery had reached Anfield, which was in subdued mood by the time Andrew Robertson scored in stoppage-time.
Spurs back in Champions League
Tottenham’s 5-0 rout of relegated Norwich secured fourth place at Carrow Road.
Just a few weeks ago, Antonio Conte had insisted it would take a “miracle” for Tottenham to finish in the top four, but the Italian has masterminded a superb run that ends his club’s two-year absence from the Champions League.
Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min scored two each and Harry Kane also netted.
“I have to be honest, I think it is one of the most important achievements in my career,” Conte said.
Tottenham’s victory left north London rivals Arsenal in fifth place despite their 5-1 win against Everton.
Burnley’s six-season stay in the top tier ended with a 2-1 home defeat against Newcastle, with Leeds staying up after a 2-1 win at Brentford.
The Clarets had to better the result of relegation rivals Leeds to extend their six-season stay in English football’s top flight.
But Burnley lost 2-1 at home to Newcastle while Leeds won 2-1 away to Brentford.
“It’s raw, we’ve got a group of players who are gutted,” Burnley interim manager Mike Jackson told the BBC.
“I don’t think there is any other word to say about that. The effort they’ve put in since we came in has been brilliant.
“Today we’ve come out on the wrong side of chasing the game. We had some really good chances but couldnt take them.”
He added: “There is a lot of emotion in it. I’m gutted for everyone involved but proud as well as I couldn’t have asked any more from them.”
Burnley kicked-off outside the relegation zone, albeit they were only above Leeds on goal difference.
But they fell behind at Turf Moor to Callum Wilson’s 20th-minute penalty following Nathan Collins’s needless handball.
Wilson then doubled Newcastle’s lead on the hour when he headed in from a cross by Allan Saint-Maximin.
Burnley, who sacked long-serving manager Sean Dyche with eight games to go, pulled a goal back as Maxwel Cornet fired in a volley after his first effort had been parried by Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
But that was as good as it got for the Clarets, with Leeds winning away to west London club Brentford thanks to Raphina’s second-half penalty and a goal in stoppage time from Jack Harrison.
Manchester United lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace, but qualified for the Europa League thanks to West Ham’s 3-1 defeat at Brighton.
On a breathtaking final day, Burnley were relegated as Leeds beat the drop, while Tottenham qualified for the Champions League at the expense of their north London rivals Arsenal.
Premier League results on Sunday, the final day of the 2021/22 season:
Manchester City 3 (Gundogan 76, 81, Rodri 78) Aston Villa 2 (Cash 37, Coutinho 69)
Liverpool 3 (Mane 24, Salah 84, Robertson 89) Wolves 1 (Neto 3)
Norwich 0 Tottenham 5 (Kulusevski 16, 64, Kane 32, Son 70, 75)
Arsenal 5 (Martinelli 27-pen, Nketiah 31, Cedric 56, Gabriel 59, Odegaard 82) Everton 1 (Van de Beek 45+3)
Brentford 1 (Canos 78) Leeds 2 (Raphinha 56-pen, Harrison 90+4)
Burnley 1 (Cornet 69) Newcastle 2 (Wilson 20-pen, 60)
Brighton 3 (Veltman 50, Gross 80, Welbeck 90+2) West Ham 1 (Antonio 40)
Chelsea 2 (Havertz 11, Barkley 90+1) Watford 1 (Gosling 87)
Crystal Palace 1 (Zaha 37) Manchester United 0
Leicester 4 (Maddison 49, Vardy 74, Perez 81, 90+4) Southampton 1 (Ward-Prowse 79-pen)
With AFP inputs