United hand EPL title to Man City after West Brom stumble, Arsenal crash to Newcastle

By Editor on 15/04/2018

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Joy knows no bound: Pep and his Players

A week later than they would have preferred Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions on Sunday as second-placed Manchester United suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat by bottom club West Bromwich Albion.

United had to at least draw to keep the title race mathematically alive but they were stunned at Old Trafford when Jay Rodriguez headed home after the break.

City manager Pep Guardiola might have missed one of the proudest moments of his career, however, after admitting on Saturday that he had a round of golf booked with his son and was not planning to watch United's game.

He would have been as surprised as everyone else that the title, seemingly a foregone conclusion for months, was rubber-stamped in such strange circumstances.

A week after City surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to United and squander the chance to wrap up the title in perfect style against their arch-rivals, it was relegation-bound West Brom who served it up on a plate.

West Brom had lost eight of their previous nine games and last won on January 13.

"We've won the league for you, Man City, Man City," West Brom's fans chanted after the final whistle.

City, who rebounded from the United loss and a European exit at the hands of Liverpool by beating Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, have 87 points with five games left.

United have 71 also with five to play.

It is Abu Dhabi-owned City's third title in seven seasons and their first since former boss Manuel Pellegrini achieved the feat in 2013-14.

Guardiola, who failed to land a trophy in his first season in charge at The Etihad, opened his account by winning the League Cup in February against Arsenal.

But a first Premier League title, to go with the three La Liga titles he won as manager of Barcelona and the three Bundesliga titles he delivered for Bayern Munich, will be particularly satisfying.

He is the first Spanish manager to win the Premier League title -- a prize he says is the hardest to claim in Europe.

Not only that but he did it with five games remaining, equalling the English top-flight record of United (1907-08 and 2000-01) and Everton (1984-85).

Elsewhere, Arsenal crashed to a fifth consecutive away defeat in the Premier League as Matt Ritchie fired Newcastle to a 2-1 win at St James' Park on Sunday.

Arsene Wenger's side took an early lead through Alexandre Lacazette, but Ayoze Perez equalised before Ritchie bagged the second half winner.

Newcastle's fourth successive win ended Arsenal's unbeaten run of seven games in all competitions.

West Brom

The sixth-placed Gunners are 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with only five games remaining in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

Realistically, Arsenal already had no chance of making the top four and Wenger had been prioritising their Europa League campaign for several weeks.

Arsenal saw off CSKA Moscow in the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday.

They face Atletico Madrid in the last four and will qualify for the Champions League if they win the competition.

With little to play for in the league, Arsenal were unable to find enough momentum to maintain their recent revival, even though Lacazette opened the scoring in the 14th minute.

Just moments after he was left writhing on the turf following a crunching challenge from Kenedy, Lacazette exacted revenge.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ran onto a long ball into the Newcastle area and picked out Lacazette, who stretched to volley home at the far post for his 13th goal of a difficult first season following his move from Lyon.


Alex Iwobi almost doubled Arsenal's lead moments later with a stinging strike that forced a good save from Martin Dubravka.

Jonjo Shelvey's long pass picked out Dwight Gayle in the Arsenal area and, with Gunners defender Shkodran Mustafi out of position, he was able to lay off to DeAndre Yedlin.

Perez made a perfectly-timed run to meet Yedlin's cross with a fine finish that flashed by Petr Cech at his near post.

The Spanish forward's third goal in his last three appearances was a clinical effort, but Wenger would have been furious with how easily Newcastle carved open his defence.

Calum Chambers could have restored Arsenal's lead before the interval, but the defender shot wide from Mustafi's knock down.

Manchester City

Ritchie tested Cech before 18-year-old Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock's poor finish wasted an opportunity to mark his Premier League debut with a goal.

Iwobi lashed narrowly wide from long-range as Arsenal chased their first away point of 2018.

But it was Newcastle who landed the knockout blow in the 68th minute.

More sloppy Arsenal defending let in Islam Slimani and his header was flicked on by Perez to Ritchie, who beat Cech from close-range.

Ritchie clearly saves his goals for the big occasion, having scored the winner against Manchester United in February.

Kenedy, on loan from Chelsea, came close to putting the result beyond doubt with a looping effort that hit the crossbar with Cech beaten.

Lacazette should have equalised in the closing stages, but he shot into the side-netting.

Lukaku

And it was achieved by playing a brand of football that has had the purists purring all season with City racking up 93 goals so far and on course to top the 100-point barrier.

"We did it in the way we wanted to do," Guardiola said at Wembley on Saturday. "We have spent a lot of money to have these amazing players, to make that possible.

"These players deserve all my respect because they have been unbelievable all season.

"Winning the Premier League is going to be one of the best three seasons I have ever had as a player and as a manager."

City skipper Vincent Kompany has now won three Premier League titles since joining 10 years ago.

Only former Chelsea skipper John Terry and Manchester United's former captain Roy Keane can match that.

"Champions!!!!!! What a great feeling!! So happy to be able to share another trophy with our amazing fans," the 32-year-old Belgian defender said on Twitter.

 

Source Supersport

Posted on April, 15 2018

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