Manchester City have won the 2021/22 Premier League title on the final day of the season.
They came into today needing a victory to clinch the championship and a despite going 0-2 down against Aston Villa, Pep Guardiola’s substitutes turned the game on its head and City roared back with three goals in the last 15 minutes of the game to give them the win they needed. City ended with 93 points, one point clear of runners-up Liverpool who pushed them all the way.
Before kick-off, Sky Sports co-commentator Gary Neville said that a fourth City title win in six years under Pep Guardiola, “would signify dominance of English football in this period,” and sure enough, that’s what happened.
Man City have scored 3+ goals in the second half of a Premier League game for the 7th time this season.
More final day drama at the Etihad. 🍿 https://t.co/s75giLmTaJ
— Squawka (@Squawka) May 22, 2022
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Manchester City’s dominance under Pep Guardiola has been so impressive that comparisons to his peers are no longer apt, instead we have to look at the greatest manager in English football history to find the Catalan some competition.
Sir Alex Ferguson managed Manchester United for 26 years from 1986 to 2013, winning the Premier League title a record-shattering 13 times over those years as he roused the Red Devils from their state as a sleeping giant to the most dominant force in the English game.
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“When I arrived, the people here said the Premier League is so difficult, it is the toughest one. Everyone wins, different ones [teams], just Sir Alex Ferguson with United was able to win three or four championships, four in five years,” said Guardiola before the final day, exalting the achievements of the Scottish coach; “so when this happened, you realise the magnitude of this United in this period that was able to do it many, many times.”
The Catalan then made a bold statement by (sort of) comparing his City side to United’s achievement. “We are close to do it or be part of that, and we have to try to take it.”
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So is Guardiola right? Do his Manchester City side stack up to Sir Alex Ferguson’s United? Well, it’s really hard to put into words just how dominant Manchester United were under Sir Alex Ferguson. After six seasons of struggle when he first took over, Ferguson first guided United to win the inaugural Premier League season in 1992.
After that first win, they went to an entirely different level. Not only did they win 13 of the next 21 seasons (an absurd total; only Liverpool have won more league titles than that in the century-plus of professional football in England) but they never finished below third place again and only once went more than a single season without winning the title (2003-2006).
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Guardiola’s dominance is obviously less long-spanning, but nevertheless impressive. In Pep Guardiola’s first season City finished third (his lowest-ever finish as a manager for his whole career, by the way) and since then they have won four Premier League titles in five years.
They sealed English football’s first-ever 100 point season in 2017/18, followed that up with 98 points the year after as they beat Liverpool to the Premier League title by a single point on the final day (sound familiar?) to cap a ridiculous domestic treble.
City crashed in the lockdown interrupted 2019/20 as Liverpool romped their way to win their first title for 30 years, but they rebounded in style by securing the Premier League again in 2020/21 before retaining it for the second time this season.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side have now matched the streak of title wins that Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United managed in the first five years of the Premier League, retaining the title twice either side of finishing second.
Pep Guardiola is the first non-British manager in English football history to win four top-flight league titles. 🏆🏆🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/mZvu6VAW3f
— Squawka (@Squawka) May 22, 2022
However that was just one of the times when United won four in five. After losing the title to Arsenal in 1997/98, United then won three titles in a row before finishing third but rebounding by winning the title again.
Then after the aforementioned three barren years, United threepeated yet again, before claiming a fourth title in five years after Chelsea interrupted their title march in 2009/10.
So, yes, Pep Guardiola has equalled one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s dominant periods, but Sir Alex Ferguson had three dominant periods, and if Guardiola wants his Manchester City side to be compared to the great Manchester United sides of the 1990’s and 2000’s then they have got a lot more league titles to win!