Champions Manchester City finish with a flourish at home
Manchester City celebrated their latest Premier League title triumph with a straightforward 1-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s treble-chasing side had already been confirmed as champions for a fifth time in six seasons after Arsenal’s loss to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
That meant the Etihad Stadium was in celebratory mood for the visit of the Blues and a much-changed side gave the fans another success to cheer courtesy of an early Julian Alvarez goal.
Chelsea had a few bright moments but City, without getting anywhere near the intensity with which they crushed Real Madrid in midweek, always seemed in control.
Fans had arrived to party in the sunshine and the ‘Poznan’ was seen on more than one occasion.
City were given a guard of honour by their opponents as they entered the field and they went on to knock the ball around with a such a swagger that – perhaps embarrassingly for a Chelsea side that aspires to the heights City have reached – it appeared the Londoners faced a long afternoon.
It seemed only a matter of time before the opening goal came and it arrived after 12 minutes as City seized possession in midfield and Cole Palmer picked out Alvarez in front of goal.
The Argentina World Cup winner took a touch and then emphatically drilled a shot across Kepa Arrizabalaga. It was City’s 100th home goal in all competitions this season.
Chelsea looked well off the pace, much as they have done throughout what has been a dispiriting end to the season under temporary boss Frank Lampard.
Former City forward Raheem Sterling attempted to rouse them. The England international twice got behind the City defence but was unable to pick out a team-mate the first time and then had a shot saved by Stefan Ortega.
Conor Gallagher then went closer when he headed against the post from a Lewis Hall cross.
Yet City always seemed in command and Phil Foden was only narrowly off-target with an attempted chip and Kalvin Phillips, finally making his first league start for the champions, blasted wide.
Phillips was inches away from getting on the scoresheet after the break when he met a Riyad Mahrez free-kick with a firm header but it rebounded off the foot of the post.
At the other end, Hall and Sterling both shot at Ortega. Sterling had another effort cleared off the line by City substitute John Stones, although an offside flag was raised anyway.
Alvarez thought he had claimed a second with just under 20 minutes remaining but Mahrez controlled the ball with his arm before teeing up the Argentinian.
With it being City’s last home match of the season, star pair Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne were given a run-out in the latter stages. Rodri also came off the bench as City closed out their 12th successive Premier League win.
Thousands of fans invaded the pitch after the final whistle, delaying the trophy presentation.
After the celebrations subside, City have further league games at Brighton and Brentford before they play the FA Cup and Champions League finals next month.