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United crumble as City win their first Premier League title

Roberto Mancini guided Man City to their first ever Premier League title.
Roberto Mancini guided Man City to their first ever Premier League title.

Eight years ago today, one of the most unforgettable moments in Premier League history occurred. Manchester City had been fighting toe-to-toe with fierce rivals Manchester United for the title all season long, and with ten games of the season remaining it was Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils who led the way at the top by a single point. 

City, then under the guidance of Roberto Mancini, had sat at the top of the pile for large parts of the season, but a surprise 1-0 defeat to Swansea in March 2012 saw them slip beneath United at the summit of the Premier League. More disappointing results followed for City - a 1-1 draw with Stoke was followed by a 3-3 draw with Sunderland, before Arsenal edged a tight encounter at the Emirates, winning 1-0 - three results which massively harmed City’s chances of winning their first ever Premier League title. 

United on the other hand continued to decimate everything in their path, winning eight straight games between January 14 and April 8. In fact, Sir Alex’s side were so emphatic throughout the early stages of 2012 that they dropped just four points out of a potential 39 in the Premier League; form which saw them leapfrog their noisy neighbours at the top of the division.

An immediate response was needed by City after a dismal month in March saw them take just eight points from a possible 15 on offer. United were doing what United did best; their experience of winning matches and league titles was shining through and City were left licking their wounds in second-place, now five points behind their bitter rivals - the biggest distance between the pair throughout the latter part of the season.

By this point, City had drifted to 11/5 to win the Premier League, while United moved into overwhelming 1/3 favourites. Bookmakers had given the Red Devils a 75% chance of winning the title with just four games remaining. 

Football odds

Few would have anticipated the team who would stop a rampant United in their tracks. A midweek trip to Wigan Athletic resulted in a surprising 1-0 defeat for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, and gave City a route back into the title race after the Sky Blues made light work of West Brom on the very same evening, thrashing the Baggies 4-0 at the Etihad. Hope had been reinstalled. 

A 4-4 draw with Everton just 10 days later heaped more pressure onto United, at a time when City had re-established their previous form with two wins against Norwich (6-1) and Wolves (2-0). Suddenly there were only three points between the two Manchester sides at the top of the Premier League, with United ahead by a whisker heading into the most anticipated derby fixture in recent history.

City edge the derby

It all came down to this. United made the short trip across town knowing that a win would extend their gap at the top of the table to six points. A draw would still give them a healthy four-point cushion but a defeat would be catastrophic and allow City to draw level on points with them with just two games left to play. City have it all to do, win and the title race is blown wide open but a defeat or draw essentially hands United the trophy. 

The game ends narrowly in the hosts’ favour thanks to a goal from talisman Vincent Kompany; it’s game on. United welcome Swansea and then visit Sunderland in their two final fixtures, while City face a trip to Newcastle before hosting Queens Park Rangers in their last two games of the campaign; both need six points, no exceptions.

football tips

With United and City winning their respective penultimate fixtures, the Premier League table is tighter than it’s ever been heading into the final day. City have the better goal difference so just need to beat QPR and the trophy will be theirs, regardless of what United do at the Stadium of Light. 

Manchester City are now given a huge 94% chance of winning the Premier League by the bookies, while United drift to as high as 7/1. 

It’s in City’s hands, their first ever Premier League title. On the face of it QPR did not pose a threat, the Hoops had been battling relegation all season so it looked to be a routine victory. When Pablo Zabaleta notched the hosts in front just before half-time, the job appeared to be done. 

The pressure mounts

Nerves continued to surround the Etihad but there was a feeling of premature elation inside the stadium - 1-0 up against QPR with just 45 minutes left to play, this was going to be their year. United were 1-0 up against Sunderland thanks to a first-half goal from Wayne Rooney, so the pressure was still massively on City to keep their lead throughout the second-half. 

Indeed, just three minutes after the restart and disaster strikes. Djibril Cisse levels things for QPR, and City’s in-play title odds increase to 3/10, while United’s drop to 5/2. Things get worse when Jamie Mackie edges the Londoners in front in the 66th minute and as the clock ticks closer to full-time it looks as though City have blown it. United remain in front at Sunderland and are heading towards being crowned Premier League winners, once again. 

But deep into injury time and the game takes a turn. Edin Dzecko gives City hope by levelling things and we all know what happens next. AGGGUUUERRRROOOOOO!!!! Need I say any more? What. A. Ride.

A 3-2 correct score bet in-play, when City trailed 2-0, was priced up at an astonishing 275/1 - kudos to anyone who landed that. 

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