As Sergio Agüero levelled the game at 1-1 in the face of Brighton resistance, there was an air of inevitability about what would happen next. Three goals later, and Manchester City’s Premier League aspirations had been met.
Retaining the league title is never an easy feat, yet with City the expectation was that they would do this anyway. Liverpool deserve credit for having the resilience to fight until the end, but it’s Pep Guardiola’s time to shine at a time when he’s bending the league to his will.
Just ask Sir Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho about that – two men who had periods of dominance that changed the landscape of what was possible in the league, but with Guardiola, it’s difficult to think how his team can be stopped.
Arsenal were the first team to learn, and re-learn of this blue juggernaut’s qualities. A 2-0 win in that game seemed to lay down the foundations for another dominant season as the two teams drifted in opposite directions.
Along the way, Manchester United wouldn’t even be in the picture, Chelsea were swatted away with relative ease and Tottenham Hotspur flattered to deceive.
The main theme we can take away from this season, and the season before, is that with Guardiola at the helm, City are setting new standards that make a mockery of what can be described as the norm.
The numbers speak for themselves – 32 wins, with 95 goals scored and a goal difference of +72 brought about a points total of 98, just two shy of last season’s triumph. Bar Liverpool, the rest of the league should be sent for routine timeouts, reflecting on how they have let this happen.
After Ferguson and Mourinho, many would have thought that such dominant eras couldn’t be possible. With the money circulating around the top six, as well as the credentials of their managers and players, the gap was supposed to become smaller.
Yet City have found a way to set themselves apart, and a mixture of experience and newcomers have taken this team to a different level.
Players such as David Silva and Agüero have not only improved, but have found their undeniable importance under Guardiola. Fresh legs in the form of Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte were found.
And although the quadruple dream has been shelved for another season (well at least one that involves the Champion’s league), another league triumph and a domestic treble adds on to the glittering model of consistency that City have become. Guardiola has done it in Spain, and then in Germany, and now England must feel what it’s like to be under his spell.