Manchester City clinched a sixth Premier League title in 11 seasons Sunday by scoring three times in five minutes to come from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-2 in the finale to avoid being toppled by challenger Liverpool.
City was trailing 2-0 to Villa until İlkay Gündoğan began the comeback in the 76th minute. Rodri equalised two minutes later and Gündoğan put City in front in the 81st.
At one point even when City were losing, it was still set to defend the title as Liverpool were only drawing 1-1 to Wolverhampton. But Mohamed Salah then put the second-place side in front in the 84th minute, which would have taken Liverpool into first place had City not mounted their fightback at the Etihad Stadium. Andy Robertson then sealed Liverpool's 3-1 win.
Had City conceded a late equaliser, Liverpool would have snatched the trophy away but Pep Guardiola's side held on for the win in a thrilling climax.
Guardiola's defence of the trophy was secured on the final day in a more jittery way than expected when City briefly had a 14-point lead in January.
City's fourth championship success in five seasons produced a first for Guardiola. It is the first time City have sealed the title in front of their fans who spilled onto the field in their thousands at the final whistle against Villa.
Although it went down to the wire, this one came without any of the anguish of 10 years ago when City's first Premier League title was only clinched in the final minutes of the season.
That success, which produced City's first championship crown in 44 years – with Roberto Mancini as manager – ushered in the era of dominance enjoyed by a club transformed by the influx of investment from Abu Dhabi.
City are now enjoying the steady stream of titles they once had to watch crosstown rival United sweep up under Alex Ferguson. The rise of City has coincided with the retirement of the Scot – who won the Premier League 13 times from 1993 to 2013 – and the decline of Manchester United.
The teams entered the final round Sunday with City 32 points ahead of United and with Liverpool the greater threat to Guardiola's side. In the last five seasons, the only time City did not win the trophy was when Liverpool's 30-year title drought ended in 2020.
But it will be another season ending with City unable to win the biggest prize in European football – the Champions League – while Liverpool will be contesting the final against Real Madrid on May 28.
While Liverpool's net spending on transfers has been around $250 million in the last five years, City's has been more than $530 million.
City's financial might was not enough to convince Tottenham to sell Harry Kane ahead of this season, leaving Guardiola to achieve this title without a recognisable striker. Yet, City were able to break the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish for 100 million pounds ($139 million) even though the midfielder only started sparingly.
City have already reinforced their attack for next season, with a deal clinched with Borussia Dortmund to sign Erling Haaland for 60 million euros ($63 million), adding one of Europe's most exciting young forwards into the squad.