As an excitable Pep Guardiola congratulated his players one by one in the center of the field, a chant of “Champions” rang out from the Manchester City fans in one corner of an otherwise-deserted Old Trafford.
Three more victories and City will indeed be a Premier League winner once again.
A 2-0 win over fierce rival Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday allowed City to climb over the biggest obstacle on its way to retaining the title, a feat no team has achieved in a decade. Beat Burnley away, Leicester at home and Brighton away, and Guardiola’s team will make yet more history.
City moved a point ahead of Liverpool in an oscillating title race in which neither of the two protagonists is backing down. Neither side has dropped points since Liverpool drew 0-0 at Everton on March 3, and City is on an 11-match winning streak in the league.
City’s class of 2018-19 has reached new levels of scoring, too. Thanks to second-half strikes by Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane, City has now scored 157 goals in all competitions for the season — beating the English record for a single top-flight campaign that the team held from the pre-Guardiola era in 2013-14.
While City is arguably getting better, United is seemingly regressing under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. This was a seventh loss in United’s last nine games, with five of them coming in the six matches since Solskjaer was given the full-time job at Old Trafford following an impressive spell in interim manager.
With doubts emerging about the desire and attitude of some of its players, United is set to end the season without qualifying for the Champions League, potentially making Solskjaer’s attempts to rebuild the team even harder.
United is in sixth place — two points behind Arsenal, three behind Chelsea and six adrift of third-place Tottenham — and would drop out of top-four contention with a loss to Chelsea on Sunday.
Arsenal gave United some hope by losing 3-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers in Wednesday’s other match. It is the first time Arsenal has lost back-to-back matches in the league since the opening two games of the season.