MANCHESTER (AFP) – Manchester City fans flooded the Etihad pitch as the English champions celebrated a third consecutive Premier League title by beating Chelsea 1-0 on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s men clinched a fifth title in six seasons on Saturday when second-placed Arsenal were beaten 1-0 at Nottingham Forest.
That gave Guardiola the luxury of resting most of his star names with one eye on the FA Cup and Champions League finals next month as City go for the treble.
City’s domestic dominance has seen them hailed as one of the best sides English football has ever seen.
But Guardiola ackowledged there is still work to do by beating Inter Milan to conquer Europe for the the first time in the club’s history next month.
“We had the feeling we have done something special,” said Guardiola
“To be considered one of the greatest teams we have to win in Europe, the Champions League. Otherwise people will say our time was not complete here.”
Admiration for the quality of CIty’s football in seven seasons under Guardiola has also been accompanied by questions over their financing.
A takeover by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour in 2008 transformed the club’s fortunes but City face more than 100 Premier League charges for alleged breaches of financial rules between 2009 and 2018.
The strength of squad City have assembled was exemplified by Julian Alvarez, who has spent most of the season as Erling Haaland’s understudy, scoring his 17th goal of the campaign to extend the English champions’ unbeaten run in all competitions to 24 games.
Guardiola made nine changes in all from the side that thrashed Real Madrid 4-0 in midweek.
The youthful hosts were still too sharp for the beleaguered visitors early on and took the lead on 12 minutes. Alvarez continued his stunning season for club and country as the Argentine World Cup winner swept home Cole Palmer’s pass.
Defeat confirmed that Chelsea will end a miserable campaign in the bottom half of the table and with their lowest ever Premier League points tally.
A familiar lack of cutting edge in front of goal showed why the Blues have struggled under three different managers this season.