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Preamble

Hello and welcome to Manchester City v Aston Villa live coverage from the Etihad Stadium. In case you were at a digital retreat on the Kerguelen Islands last month, here’s how the land is. If City beat Villa they will be champions of England for the fourth time in five years, and Pep Guardiola will be a unique genius. If they don’t and Liverpool win against Wolves at Anfield, City will suffer the nightmare of a trophyless season – not to mention a potential Liverpool quadruple – and Pep Guardiola will be just another bald fraud in a world full of them.

In an ideal world (arf!), every title race would go against it. The inequality of modern football means this is happening less and less. Even in England, where things are relatively competitive, this is only the ninth time this has happened in 30 years of the Premier League. On the last four occasions, starting in 2012, City have been top of the league heading into the final games.

You can trace the modern history of City and the change in its DNA through the extreme emotions of the last day. It could be an eight-episode Netflix series, with a lousy subtitle: From Cityitis to City titles.

Before Abu Dhabi, City was, well, what the acronym says. They lost a relegation decider at home to Luton in 1982-83, signed their own corner-flag death penalty in 1995-96 and put a goalkeeper in front before missing a last-minute penalty to secure themselves. qualify for the UEFA Cup in 2004-05. .

My college friend and City fan, Steve Buckley, has generously highlighted other comedy classics: Eddie Large’s fiasco at Bournemouth in 1988-89 (technically it was the penultimate weekend, but it’s too good to ignore, and damn it, let’s have a bit of Jamie Pollock while we’re here) and Stuart Pearce missing a free penalty – with two goalscoring records on the line – in 2001-02. A Harvard study proved categorically that if Pearce had played for any football club in Christendom at the time, he would have scored that penalty.

That then was, what is now. It was just nostalgia. City don’t do comedy classics anymore, certainly not on a national level. Their identities changed on May 13, 2012, as Dale Cooper possessed by Killer BOB only in reverse, when they recovered from a potentially devastating strain of Cityitis to win the Premier League under unique euphoric circumstances. A part of Manchester City died that day, and their fans don’t want it back.

On the next two occasions City needed a result in their last game to win the title, against West Ham in 2014 and Brighton in 2019, they handled the pressure calmly and got the job done after around an hour. All other things being equal, it will be the same today. But things are not always equal in football, especially not on the final day. Villa getting a result is highly unlikely, but it’s not impossible.

For City, the presence of Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and even Danny Ings at Villa gave this game an unnerving narrative. Liverpool’s nightmare of winning the league would be compounded if Gerrard was on the pitch at the final whistle, cavorting in pull-on brogues like David Pleat in 1983. But the unexpected return of Kyle Walker and John Stones will allay fear watching Fernandinho, in his last game for the club, sent off for a professional foul on Ollie Watkins in the first 10 minutes.

Look, we shouldn’t build this game too much. Villa might get a result, but the likely scenario is that Pep will be doing karaoke, Brobdingnagian cigar in hand, around 10 p.m.

The last day of the season was never about nuances. This can only be done in two ways: another City title or the return of Cityitis.

To start up 4 p.m.

“This David Pleat music video never gets old,” said Simon McMahon. “I’m not really worried about who will win the title today, although regular updates and regular updates to the ‘As It Stand’ table would be nice. And if Pep or Klopp show up in a beige suit and put on brogues, I’ll hand them the trophy right away.

It’s the last day of the season, we have three live blogs going on. Simon Burnton follows Liverpool against Wolves, a game that will become hugely relevant if City fail, and Tim de Lisle is in Jeff Stelling mode: he follows the race for fourth, the race for 17th and everything in between.

Year-end reports (City 9/10, Villa 6/10, since you so kindly asked)

‘neck’ indeed

“Do City deserve the title?” said Michael Wharton. “So many chances to win it now. Not just the missed penalty at West Ham…Not just the endless missed chances at Palace…Not just the failure to punish a Liverpool clearly inferior to the Etihad…Not just the blowing of a lead eight points well into the new year… No surprise to me if Villa get the draw and Liverpool hammer Wolves from a country mile.

The team that wins the league title intrinsically deserves it, discuss it.

City have yet to win three titles in a row, but four out of five is the next best thing. Few teams in England have achieved this: Aston Villa in the 1890s, Arsenal in the 1930s, Liverpool twice in the 1970s and 1980s (with some overlap) and Manchester United (also with some overlap) three times under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Jonathan Liew Match Preview

Preamble

Hello and welcome to Manchester City v Aston Villa live coverage from the Etihad Stadium. In case you were at a digital retreat on the Kerguelen Islands last month, here’s how the land is. If City beat Villa they will be champions of England for the fourth time in five years, and Pep Guardiola will be a unique genius. If they don’t and Liverpool win against Wolves at Anfield, City will suffer the nightmare of a trophyless season – not to mention a potential Liverpool quadruple – and Pep Guardiola will be just another bald fraud in a world full of them.

In an ideal world (arf!), every title race would go against it. The inequality of modern football means this is happening less and less. Even in England, where things are relatively competitive, this is only the ninth time this has happened in 30 years of the Premier League. On the last four occasions, starting in 2012, City have been top of the league heading into the final games.

You can trace the modern history of City and the change in its DNA through the extreme emotions of the last day. It could be an eight-episode Netflix series, with a lousy subtitle: From Cityitis to City titles.

Before Abu Dhabi, City was, well, what the acronym says. They lost a relegation decider at home to Luton in 1982-83, signed their own corner-flag death penalty in 1995-96 and put a goalkeeper in front before missing a last-minute penalty to secure themselves. qualify for the UEFA Cup in 2004-05. .

My college friend and City fan, Steve Buckley, has generously highlighted other comedy classics: Eddie Large’s fiasco at Bournemouth in 1988-89 (technically it was the penultimate weekend, but it’s too good to ignore, and damn it, let’s have a bit of Jamie Pollock while we’re here) and Stuart Pearce missing a free penalty – with two goalscoring records on the line – in 2001-02. A Harvard study proved categorically that if Pearce had played for any football club in Christendom at the time, he would have scored that penalty.

That then was, what is now. It was just nostalgia. City don’t do comedy classics anymore, certainly not on a national level. Their identities changed on May 13, 2012, as Dale Cooper possessed by Killer BOB only in reverse, when they recovered from a potentially devastating strain of Cityitis to win the Premier League under unique euphoric circumstances. A part of Manchester City died that day, and their fans don’t want it back.

On the next two occasions City needed a result in their last game to win the title, against West Ham in 2014 and Brighton in 2019, they handled the pressure calmly and got the job done after around an hour. All other things being equal, it will be the same today. But things are not always equal in football, especially not on the final day. Villa getting a result is highly unlikely, but it’s not impossible.

For City, the presence of Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and even Danny Ings at Villa gave this game an unnerving narrative. Liverpool’s nightmare of winning the league would be compounded if Gerrard was on the pitch at the final whistle, cavorting in pull-on brogues like David Pleat in 1983. But the unexpected return of Kyle Walker and John Stones will allay fear watching Fernandinho, in his last game for the club, sent off for a professional foul on Ollie Watkins in the first 10 minutes.

Look, we shouldn’t build this game too much. Villa might get a result, but the likely scenario is that Pep will be doing karaoke, Brobdingnagian cigar in hand, around 10 p.m.

The last day of the season was never about nuances. This can only be done in two ways: another City title or the return of Cityitis.

To start up 4 p.m.

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