As blue flare smoke surrounds the Etihad, a post-match pitch invasion welcomes another Manchester City title success.
In the most dramatic circumstances, an astonishing late comeback seals the deal.
A six-minute comeback from two goals down to win remains one of the Premier League’s most memorable endings, falling just short of the club’s famous ‘Aguero moment.’
City was stung twice by a well-organized Villa team after toiling for the majority of the contest and lacked creativity.
However, somehow summoned up three quick goals to move onto 93 points – one ahead of runners-up Liverpool.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Ederson; John Stones, Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo; Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva; Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden.
SUBS: Scott Carson, Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, James McAtee, Nathan Ake, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Cole Palmer, Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish.
ASTON VILLA (4-3-2-1): Robin Olsen; Matty Cash, Calum Chambers, Tyrone Mings, Lucas Digne; John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey; Philippe Coutinho, Emiliano Buendia; Ollie Watkins.
SUBS: Viljami Sinisalo, Bertrand Traore, Marvelous Nakamba, Ashley Young, Tim Iroegbunam, Carney Chukwuemeka, Ben Chrisene, Morgan Sanson, Danny Ings.
VILLA LEAD! City, go behind! On the counter, Villa surge down the left through Ramsey, and an overlapping run from Digne ends with the French full-back flipping in an inviting cross for Cash, who proceeds to steer his header into the bottom corner! With Liverpool level at Anfield, the title race is very much alive.
VILLA, GO TWO UP! City’s title hopes hang by a thread as Villa strikes on the counter again! Former Liverpool man Coutinho jinks clear from head-on by Watkins, turning Laporte inside out and finding the bottom corner with a precise finish. It’s City 0-2 Villa, and the ball is in Liverpool’s court.
CITY BACK IN IT! The champions reduce their arrears as Gundogan arrives at the back post to plant a powerful header past Olsen following Sterling’s floated cross. However, it’s just 2-1 to Villa, and the comeback is on.
CITY PULL LEVEL! Incredible scenes in Manchester, as Zinchenko becomes the second substitute for setting up a crucial goal; laying the ball into the path of Rodri, who coolly side-foots a finish into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the area! It’s 2-2 at the Etihad, and City are back on top as things stand!
CITY LEAD! What a comeback! The champions have one hand on the trophy, as De Bruyne pounces ruthlessly on a Mings error to surge into the box and pull the ball across goal for Gundogan to again arrive at the back post. Turning it into the net with a close-range tap-in! A fantastic comeback in under 10 minutes!
So, what’s next?
A fourth Premier League title under Guardiola – with only Sir Alex Ferguson winning more – takes City’s spiritual leader one clear of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. It was all wrapped up most improbably.
Though his initial selections were perhaps flawed, second-half substitutes Zinchenko and Sterling set up goals. Meanwhile, Gundogan’s double proved decisive.
What a climax to an absorbing two-horse race: with their second successive comeback from two goals down, Nevertheless, City are champions!