Manchester City holds off Arsenal to win record fourth-straight Premier League title

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The final day of one of the most thrilling Premier League title races in recent memory didn’t disappoint.

Manchester City beat West Ham United 3-1 on Sunday to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive Prem crown. No other club has claimed more than three in a row the 136-year history of England’s vaunted top division.

Arsenal came from behind to top Everton 2-1, finishing second for the second straight year. The Gunners finished with 89 points, two fewer than City. Liverpool took third, the Reds ending up with 82 points after a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton in manager Jürgen Klopp’s final match.

Here are three quick thoughts following Championship Sunday.

Man City takes care of business to make history

After winning its game-in-hand last Tuesday away to Tottenham Hotspur and leapfrogging the Gunners atop the Prem standings, the Sky Blues knew that a win at home against West Ham would be enough to take a fourth straight title — and City’s eighth since 2012.

Arsenal had stayed on the Cityzens’ heels for weeks, much to the credit of Mikel Arteta’s squad. But even before Liverpool ran out of steam down the stretch, it always felt inevitable that it would play out exactly like this, that history was more theirs to lose than the Gunners’ to thwart.

Sure enough, recently anointed Premier League player of the season Phil Foden put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead with a worthy opener before some fans had even reached their seats at Emirates Stadium. A second Foden strike doubled the hosts’ advantage before the game was 20 minutes old.

City threatened to run away with the game at that point. But Mohammed Kudus made things interesting when he cut the champs’ lead in half just before halftime, especially with Arsenal having equalized around the same time in North London.

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Guardiola’s team was still well in control, and there was no way back for the Hammers — or Arsenal — when Rodri scored City’s third around the hour mark, sealing the Sky Blues’ place in English soccer lore.

Arsenal can be proud for doing its part

There’s no question that Gunners supporters felt that, 20 years after the club’s last league honor, this could be their year. Last season’s near miss had hardened the resolve of Arteta’s men. Reinforcements like Declan Rice had arrived to confirm Arsenal’s reemergence as one of Europe’s marquee teams.

But while they squandered a substantial lead and allowed City to overtake them toward the end of 2022-23, Arsenal was excellent down the stretch this year. They made City earn this one, forcing Foden & Co. to post a 9W-0L-1T record over their last 10 Prem games. And they shook off the worst start imaginable on Sunday, knowing full well that they didn’t control their own destiny. Kai Harvertz got the winner in the final minute of the second half: 

As dominant as City has been for the last decade and more, the day will come — perhaps as soon as next season — when they don’t win the title. Over the last 10 months, Arsenal has shown that it is best positioned to challenge the champions long-term, starting again in late summer.

An anticlimactic final day at the bottom

Most years, the relegation battle at the foot at the table is more compelling than the title race at the top. This season, two of the bottom three had been confirmed for the drop to the second tier long before Sunday’s finale.

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Sheffield United’s fate was sealed last month; the hapless Blades have since set the record for the most goals conceded in a single Prem campaign. Burnley joined them last weekend. Luton Town, meantime, went into its final match mathematically still alive. But the Hatters were still clearly doomed as a practical matter, with 17th place Nottingham Forest three points ahead and holding a plus-15 lead on goal difference, which would’ve served as the first tiebreaker had Luton and Forest finished the season even on points.

It was moot in the end. Luton lost 4-2 to Fulham on Sunday, its 28th defeat in 2023-24. Meantime, Forest compounded Burnley’s misery with a 2-1 victory.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer reporter for FOX Sports. He was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports before joining FOX Sports in 2021, and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at FIFA World Cups on five continents. Follow him @ByDougMcIntyre.


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