Sport

SOCCER

Pep Guardiola holds off pupil Mikel Arteta as Manchester City clinch record fourth successive league title

Pep Guardiola holds off pupil Mikel Arteta as Manchester City clinch record fourth successive league title
Kyle Walker lifts the Premier League trophy alongside teammates after Manchester City beat West Ham 3-1 to capture their fourth straight title. (Photo: Alex Livesey – Danehouse / Getty Images)

Arsenal beat Everton 2-1 on the final day of the Premier League season. But it was not enough to see the Gunners dethrone Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s mentality monsters cruised to a 3-1 over West Ham to retain their league crown.

In the 10th English Premier League title race to be decided on the final day of the season, it was Manchester City who displayed their extensive experience in such situations as they beat West Ham United 3-1 to win a record fourth league title on the spin.

Fellow title hopefuls Arsenal came into the final stretch trailing log leaders City by two points. They needed to win and for London neighbours West Ham to take points off City

However, goals by two of City’s best players this season — Phil Foden (two) and Rodri — ensured that the Sky Blues clinched their sixth English Premiership title over the past seven seasons.

History was never on the side of Arsenal. On the nine previous occasions that the destination of the league crown had been decided on the final day of the campaign, the team that came in placed second had never usurped the leader.

Ominously for the Gunners, Manchester City had been involved in four of the last nine instances of final-day battles for the league crown. The experience of Guardiola and his men shone through as they navigated the Hammers’ threat with relative ease.

Arsenal Premier League

Declan Rice of Arsenal looks dejected following their Premier League match against Everton at Emirates Stadium in London on 19 May 2024. (Photo: Julian Finney / Getty Images)

Master vs student

By winning this latest league crown, the master Pep Guardiola beat his former pupil Mikel Arteta to the league crown for the second season in a row.

Guardiola and Arteta share a history that goes back more than two decades. Their friendship began when both were players at Barcelona.  

“We met when I was 15 years old. He was my idol, he was the one to emulate if I wanted to be a first-team player at Barcelona, and we built that relationship from there,” Arteta has said about his relationship with Guardiola.

“Then it was weird because when I was still playing and he was the Barcelona manager and Bayern Munich manager, he would call me to ask about English teams and how would you play against that… And we built that relationship.”

When Arteta retired as a player in 2016 after a career spent mostly at Everton (before he signed for Arsenal), Guardiola roped him in to be part of his technical team at City.

Arteta soaked up all he could while working alongside his friend, compatriot and mentor. He took the Arsenal job at the end of 2019.

Since then, the former Gunners midfielder has grown. However, just like last season, Guardiola has shown him that he remains the master in the relationship.

Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool Football Club fans stop to take photographs beside a new mural of manager Jürgen Klopp outside Anfield Stadium. (Photo: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

Jürgen Klopp’s lap of honour

“It’s not important what people think when you come in. But what they think when you leave.”

That was said by Jürgen Klopp nine years ago during his first official press conference after being appointed as the Liverpool manager.

After delivering a first league title in 30 years for the Reds, the German has certainly left his mark in Merseyside. He also delivered a sacred Uefa Champions League crown, plus an FA Cup and a Carabao Cup.  

At a raucous Anfield on Sunday, Klopp signed off with victory as his charges downed Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0. Before the match, the departing manager spoke about how special it was to play at Liverpool’s home ground, which became a fortress during his time in England.   

“You walk out and they sing You’ll Never Walk Alone and it’s never the same. Never ever is the same. I don’t know how many home games I had, 200-something, and it was not one time the same. It’s always special. That’s only because of the people,” Klopp said.

Jürgen Klopp Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp, wearing a ‘Thank You Luv’ hoodie, acknowledges the fans following the Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers – his last match as Liverpool manager – at Anfield on 19 May 2024. (Photo: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)

“With what we achieved in the last nine years, if you talk about Liverpool in the outside world, they know Liverpool for the right reasons again. Maybe 10 years ago people would have said in America, ‘Where are you from? Liverpool? Oh, you used to have a good football team.’ 

“So, now maybe they have said for the last nine years, ‘Wow, you have a really good football team.’ It’s cool. It’s cool to do that for the people.”  

Next on Klopp’s agenda? A holiday. That will include watching the Champions League final in London between Real Madrid and his former team Borussia Dortmund. DM

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