Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa: Citizens retain Premier League title after  stunning second-half comeback
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Fernandinho of Manchester City lifts the Premier League trophy after their side finished the season as Premier League champions during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium on May 22, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

A five-minute blitz deep into the second half saw Manchester City overturn a two-goal deficit to ensure that it is their name engraved on the Premier League trophy for the fourth time in the last five years.

Story of the Match

Manchester City entered the game knowing that all they had to do was match Liverpool's result against Wolves to deliver yet another Premier League title to the Etihad Stadium. Pedro Neto's early goal at Anfield got the Etihad rocking.

But whilst the fans were indeed up for the occasion, there was little on the pitch to suggest that City would blow Villa out of the water, with the hosts struggling to test stand-in goalkeeper Robin Olsen in the early exchanges.

Gabriel Jesus almost gave City a shock lead when he charged down Olsen's attempted clearance, but the ball span high and wide of the goal as City's heads hit their hands.

The first real chance of the game fell the way of the visitors, and they made no mistake in converting it. Some fine work down the left saw Lucas Digne unleashed on the overlap, with the fullback delivering the ball towards fellow fullback Matty Cash, who powered home a header from close range to silence the Etihad Stadium.

Embed from Getty Images

Pep made one tactical change at the break, bringing on Oleksandr Zinechenko in place of Fernandinho, with John Stones switched from RB to CB to accommodate the Ukrainian.

Zinchenko, who had been heavily criticised for his performance at West Ham United last weekend, was instantly involved in the action, taking on Matty Cash before pulling the ball back for Kevin De Bruyne. However, the Belgian's first-time effort flew high and wide. 

With Liverpool's match against Wolves in the balance, City knew that they needed to step it up a gear, but it was a former Liverpool man who looked to have packaged the Premier League trophy up for a trip to Anfield.

It was all too easy for Villa, as a hopeful long ball forward was flicked on towards Phillipe Coutinho, with the Brazilian turning inside Aymeric Laporte before firing a low effort past Ederson at his near post. The Etihad stunned, Anfield rapturous.

Two more substitutes took to the pitch before the Villa's second, with Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan introduced in place of Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva. It proved to be a masterstroke by Pep, as the two combined to pull City back into the game at the 76-minute mark.

Sterling's deep cross found Gundogan arriving late at the back post, and he made no mistake in heading past Olsen to breathe life back into City's title challenge.

And it did exactly that, as Rodri picked up the ball on the edge of the box and opted against a trademark thunderbolt into the top corner, instead electing to cushion a sidefoot effort past Olsen and into the bottom corner. They couldn't, could they?

Oh but they could.

A hopeful ball forward to Gabriel Jesus broke kindly for the arriving Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgian advanced the ball to the byline before cutting it back for who other than Ilkay Gundogan to tap home his second at the back post.

Embed from Getty Images

Six minutes. Three goals. The Etihad goes bezerk.

All that was left was for the hosts to see out the remaining ten minutes and, whilst Steven Gerrard threw Danny Ings into the action in search of a late leveller, it wasn't to be. 

Embed from Getty Images

City champions, again.

 

 

VAVEL Logo