At 2-0 to Aston Villa with less than 15 minutes to go, even the most ardent City fan had to fear the worst, knowing they needed a win to secure the league win.
The game and the title seemed to be slipping away until this side once again proved just how special they are by scoring three times in five minutes to deliver a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League season that many will remember for some time.
It was a victory worthy of the occasion. A fourth league title in five years is nothing short of remarkable and a testament to what Guardiola has done since arriving at the Etihad Stadium six years ago.
“Four Premier League. These guys are legends already, people have to admit that,” Guardiola said after an extraordinary Sunday.
“This group of players is absolutely eternal at this club because what we have achieved is so difficult.”
irony of return
City were just minutes away from booking their place in the final of European football’s most prestigious competition, but snatched defeat from the jaws of victory after caving under pressure from Madrid – ultimately losing the second leg 3 -1.
It’s a result that could have crushed City’s players immediately after, but this title win will go some way to healing those wounds.
“I called Real Madrid and they gave me good advice!” Guardiola joked with reporters when asked how his side finished the comeback against Aston Villa.
“No explanation in Madrid, no explanation today. It’s in the momentum. Sometimes it’s nice to experience these kinds of situations. I had the feeling that it will help us to be stronger next season .”
Even before winning the title, the team that Guardiola had assembled was already considered one of the best the country has ever seen and they claim quality in all areas.
Sure, money has been spent to bring top players to the Etihad, but spending money doesn’t always guarantee success – just ask Manchester’s red side for proof.
This success goes far beyond the purchase of success. What Guardiola did was create a philosophy, a model for the club that ushered in an era laden with trophies that even its wealthy owners must be surprised at.
And it’s a philosophy that seeped through the cracks of the club and influenced the entire pyramid of English football – and arguably the world, for that matter.
Guardiola’s style of play, once deemed inappropriate for the physical rigors of the Premier League, is now played everywhere and held up as the example that every football purist wants to see their club play.
But that alone can’t win you as many titles as City have won in recent years.
Alongside the fine way Guardiola asks his team to play, there is almost a blind attitude towards league games – beating whatever is in front with metronome precision.
City’s ability to maintain possession and control plays has an almost hypnotic effect at times.
Having passed their opponent’s formation upside down, this City side bite with fluid attacking flair and a lethal dose of finishing.
He was relentless again on Sunday and, although he didn’t play well for much of the game, the style proved effective as the Aston Villa defense buckled under increasing pressure from City in the second period.
The perfect example of this is Ilkay Gundogan, who was sent on by Guardiola with City chasing the game, and scored two goals which came from late runs at the back post.
Champions League Dreams
But you can’t talk about City winning this year and not credit their best player: Kevin De Bruyne.
The Belgian was in scintillating form when charging for the title and was named Premier League Player of the Season for the second time in his career.
His driving runs and accurate passing were a huge factor in the success of this team and there are few superlatives left to describe his talent.
Fans will be delighted to see how he links up with the incoming Haaland as there are no signs of this Manchester City machine slowing down.
With such a prolific striker on board, City will be running out of excuses not to add a European trophy to their domestic dominance next campaign.
Spare a thought for Liverpool, however, who pushed this City side in the dying minutes of the season and have now been lifted to the Premier League by just one point for the second time in three years.
And Gundogan paid tribute to the rivalry that defined this era of the Premier League.
“If Liverpool weren’t there and playing the way they do, I don’t think the league could be as attractive. They’ve played an amazing season and we’ve pushed ourselves to the limit,” he said. declared.
“Even though it’s a sad day for them, we have to appreciate what they’ve done. We can’t wait to play them next season.”