Man City clinches third Premier League title in four seasons




Pressure is on Chelsea, says Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City reclaimed the Premier League title with three games to spare after closest challenger Manchester United lost 2-1 to Leicester on Tuesday.

Ending Liverpool’s reign as champions gives Pep Guardiola a third Premier League title in four seasons, adding to the trio of domestic titles he won at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich as coach.

And he could yet complete the season by ending his 10-year wait to win the Champions League again if City can beat Chelsea in the club’s first European Cup final.

Where once United dominated English football, now City is the force with five titles in 10 seasons since first lifting the Premier League trophy in 2012.

It was the influx of Abu Dhabi investment from 2008 that transformed a City side that was playing in the third tier until 1999 and whose only previous English titles were in 1937 and 1968.

It was Çağlar Söyüncü’s header that clinched the victory for Leicester that ended United’s faint hopes of catching its neighbor. City has built up an unassailable 10-point lead in the league and added a second trophy of the season to the League Cup won last month.

In a congested pandemic-impacted season that stretched the resources of teams, City was eight points from the lead in November languishing in 11th place after eight games. But Guardiola turned City’s campaign around.

“This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other — this was the hardest one,” Guardiola said in a statement. “To come through this season — with all the restrictions and difficulties we’ve faced — and show the consistency we have is remarkable. It is relentless. Every single day, they are there, fighting for success, trying always to be better. They have been so, so resilient.”

Unlike last season when Liverpool ended a 30-year title drought, 10,000 fans will be able to see City collect the trophy after the final game of the Premier League season against Everton on May 23 at the Etihad Stadium.

“We have missed the fans so much,” City captain Fernandinho said. “We wanted to do this for them. We will enjoy this moment and we hope the fans do too. Rest assured we will continue to do everything we can to bring the Champions League home this season.”