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City snatch title deep into Fergie time

ESPN staff
May 13, 2012

Unbelievable, Jeff

The best ending to a Premier League season ever? There surely cannot be any doubt. With the game entering stoppage time, Manchester City found themselves needing to score not once but twice to reclaim the title from arch-rivals Manchester United. Edin Dzeko got one of them back with a powerful header from five yards out - this even after Mario Balotelli had been denied in near-identical circumstances - but still, completing the job seemed far from likely.

But that was before Sergio Aguero made his final, decisive contribution of a 23-goal league campaign. Taking the ball inside the box after a nervy passing move and jinking the ball around Taye Taiwo, the Argentine lashed the ball inside Paddy Kenny's near post in the fourth minute of injury-time to complete a remarkable comeback and win the title for Man City. UNBELIEVABLE.

Sick as a parrot

Answer us this, though. In the history of the world, has anybody ever felt as sick as the handful of City fans who, after a 44-year wait for a title, left the Etihad earlier when it appeared their team would disappoint them in the harshest way possible?

A lack of inspiration

By the time next season's final weekend rolls around, can we please have thought up a few alternatives to the prefix "As it stands"? Honestly, if we had a pound for every time the phrase was uttered over the course of the 90 minutes (every Arsenal goal, every Manchester United goal, every Liver... no, wait, that didn't happen) we would... well, we would have long since cleared out our desk and booked a flight somewhere exotic.

A little variety goes a long way in life, so we need a few alternatives. Maybe Whitney Houston's favourite ("At this [one] moment in time")? Or how about the linguistically similar "at this point" or even "for the time being" (which at least has the honesty to acknowledge things are likely to change once again). Just please, no more "as it stands". At least not until someone is prepared to pay us a pound every time it is uttered.

Come fly with me

A couple of last minute awards you might have missed: Paddy Kenny (QPR) will apparently receive a lifetime ticket on all Etihad Airways flights for his failure to keep out the two late chances that handed Man City the title.

Not to be outdone, Fly Emirates will therefore no doubt award Marton Fulop a lifetime pass to all their flights for his remarkably bad goalkeeping to allow Arsenal to take the lead against West Brom on Sunday, and then add the decisive third in a five-goal thriller at the Hawthorns. The Gunners, who finished third, are guaranteed Champions League football next season.

Marton Fulop helped Arsenal secure third © PA Photos
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Cheering for Bayern Munich

Victory over Fulham did not elevate Spurs above their north London rivals as they had hoped, but it did at least confirm the club's fourth-place finish (although Newcastle's defeat to Everton rendered the result slightly irrelevant). Now comes an anxious wait for Harry Redknapp - shorter than his thumb-twiddling period while he waited to hear about the England job, perhaps, but no less fraught.

Tottenham need Chelsea to lose next week's Champions League final if they are to take their place in the qualification stages of the competition, otherwise they will have to make do with a place in the group stages of the Europa League. If Spurs fans ever needed an additional reason to cheer against the Blues, this would probably be it...

More action-packed than a Die Hard film

Kudos to Djibril Cisse on his record since joining QPR. Goal, sending off, goal, goal, sending off, goal, goal, goal, not quite relegated. You can't say the Lord of the Manor of Frodsham didn't make it interesting.

Down and out at Anfield (and everywhere else)

A brief note for Stewart Downing, who successfully overcame the final obstacle to go the whole season without scoring a goal or even providing an assist for Liverpool. Manchester City may get some pointed jibes about "buying the title" tomorrow morning, but at least they never spent £20m on a winger who can't actually wing it, eh?

Re-Coyle in horror

Despite City's comeback against QPR, Bolton nevertheless became the third and final team to be relegated after they drew with Stoke City at the Britannia. And so Owen Coyle joins Scott Dann and Roger Johnson in the ranks of "football people who were once thought to have bright futures in the game but will now struggle to get a Premier League side to touch them".

Record-breaker

Lost amid the excitement - with good reason, as let's be honest such statistics are more 'anal' than 'genuinely exciting' - Dzeko and Aguero's late strikes ensured this season provided a new record number of league goals: 1066. The previous record was 1063. Defending in the league (hello again, Roger Johnson and Scott Dann!) has clearly never been so bad.

Strangeways, here you come

"He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either,"as Friedrich Nietzsche famously said. So, after giving an elbow to Carlos Tevez, planting a knee in the back of Sergio Aguero and then attempting to land a headbutt on Vincent Kompany, heaven knows what Joey Barton - Nietzsche's biggest fan, lest we forget - will be feeling in the morning. Many emotions, we imagine, although remorse might not be one of them...

The last word

Nothing really to add to this, except fair play to Mr Muamba. To go through all that and keep your sense of humour (as Rudyard Kipling probably also said, albeit in infinitely more refined prose)...

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