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5 decisive games in Manchester City’s title-winning season

Manchester City have lifted the Premier League trophy for the third time in a row.

There were times when the Cityzens looked below their usual standards, allowing Arsenal to take a healthy lead into the second half of the season.

However, as they always seem to do, Pep Guardiola’s men hit an unstoppable run of form and took control of the title race.

Here are five key games in their run to glory.

Manchester City 4-2 Crystal Palace

Man City picked up seven points from their opening three games – a strong return for any average side, but perhaps a little below their otherworldly standards.

They suffered an early scare in game number four, indicating they may not be as strong as usual.

The visitors made the perfect start when John Stones diverted the ball into his own net in the fourth minute. And just moments later, Joachim Andersen doubled the Eagles’ advantage.

However, the hosts switched it on after the break and turned the game around. It began in the 53rd minute when Bernardo Silva cut inside and saw his effort deflected in at the near post.

Less than ten minutes later, they were level when Phil Foden’s cross was nodded in by Erling Braut Haaland. And the Norwegian completed the comeback shortly afterwards, finishing from close range.

Late on, Haaland put the finishing touches on a dazzling second-half performance. He latched onto Ilkay Gundogan’s through ball, muscled off two defenders and clinically found the bottom corner for his hat-trick.

It was a huge game for the Norwegian, who showed what he was all about with an emphatic performance. And more importantly, it was an impressive three points for the home side.

Manchester City 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Five months on, and Man City find themselves in a similar situation. Having lost their previous two outings, they find themselves two goals down at home to Tottenham Hotspur due to strikes by Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal.

But, once again, they found a way back. Twelve second-half minutes proved to be decisive, as they turned a two-goal deficit into a lead in a matter of moments.

Julian Alvarez kicked off the recovery, finding the top corner from close range. This was swiftly followed by an equaliser, with Haaland heading in from Riyad Mahrez’s square ball.

The Algerian then went from creator to finisher, firing in at the near post to put his side in front. And in the closing stages, he added another to his personal collection, delicately lifting the ball over the onrushing Hugo Lloris.

Manchester City 4-1 Liverpool

In recent years, Man City and Liverpool have been the top two sides in England. This year, however, they have been a world apart, and their meeting at the Etihad Stadium encapsulated this. Even without star striker Haaland, the Cityzens cruised to victory.

Mohamed Salah gave the Reds a surprise lead, but this was the end of the pleasantries for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Alvarez grabbed an equaliser before half-time, finishing from Jack Grealish’s low cross.

Within seconds of the restart, Kevin De Bruyne made it 2-1 with a tap-in from Mahrez’s cross. And when Gundogan struck on the rebound from Alvarez’s blocked shot, Man City knew they were well on their way to another three points.

And just for good measure, they added a fourth. De Bruyne cut the ball back for Grealish, and the £100 million man swept into the far corner.

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal

While City were pursuing the title, Arsenal were also putting up a strong fight. A run of seven wins in a row had taken the Gunners five points clear at the top of the table with nine games remaining.

That winning run came to an end at Anfield, and in disappointing fashion. The north Londoners seemed to be on the path to an impressive victory when Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus gave them a 2-0 lead.

However, Salah pulled one back before the break, shifting the momentum of the game. From then on, it was the Reds who looked most likely to get the next goal.

Arsenal withstood wave after wave of Liverpool pressure, even getting a let-off when Salah struck his penalty wide. But they eventually made the breakthrough, with Roberto Firmino heading in from close range from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross.

It could have been worse if not for two stunning Aaron Ramsdale saves in injury time. Nonetheless, it was two points dropped for the Gunners. This result kicked off a terrible run of form, which saw them win just two from eight.

Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal

After three consecutive draws, Arsenal had allowed Man City into the driving seat in the title race. Despite this, Mikel Arteta’s men knew a victory would put them back in control.

Unfortunately for the visitors, they were utterly outclassed all evening. De Bruyne began a stellar performance for the Cityzens, finishing brilliantly at the near post after some fine work from Haaland.

Shortly before half-time, it was 2-0 as Stones headed in from De Bruyne’s free kick. The goal was initially ruled offside, but a VAR check showed the England defender to be just on.

Within ten minutes of the second-half kick-off, Man City sealed the three points with a third goal. Once again, Haaland fed De Bruyne, who found the far corner.

Rob Holding pulled one back for Arsenal, but their celebrations were soon quelled by Haaland’s late finish. The goal was his 33rd of the league season, breaking the Premier League record for a 38-game campaign.

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