Premier League

Man City celebrate title glory with Chelsea win, Leeds in relegation peril

Pep Guardiola’s side marked their third successive title by winning a 12th consecutive league game as Julian Alvarez’s first-half goal extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 24 matches.

Manchester City's Norwegian striker Erling Haaland poses with the Premier League trophy on the pitch after the presentation on Sunday, May 21, 2023. PHOTO/ AFP

Manchester City celebrated their Premier League title triumph with a 1-0 win against Chelsea, while the champions kept the party in full swing at the Etihad Stadium, Leeds slipped closer to relegation on Sunday.

City clinched a fifth title in six seasons on Saturday when second-placed Arsenal crashed 1-0 at Nottingham Forest.

Pep Guardiola’s side marked their third successive title by winning a 12th consecutive league game as Julian Alvarez’s first-half goal extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 24 matches.

That blistering streak has left Arsenal trailing as the Gunners failed to end City’s reign despite leading the table for much of the season.

“Every Premier League is special. And of course when you are three in a row it means the consistency that we had,” Guardiola said just before kick-off.

“Especially against the opponents, in the past it was Liverpool, and this year against an incredible Arsenal. That’s why you give credit to the quality of your opponents. Both teams bring us to our limits.”

City could afford to start with Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias on the bench against Chelsea after starting their title party on Saturday evening.

The fans’ celebrations were going strong as well by the time the City team bus arrived at the Etihad, which was surrounded by flag-waving supporters who set off blue smoke flares as they hailed their dynastic team.

City, seven points clear of Arsenal with two games left, would cement their status as one of English football’s greatest-ever teams if they can add the FA Cup and Champions League to their latest Premier League conquest.

Guardiola’s treble chasers face Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley on June 3, then take on Inter Milan in Istanbul seven days later as they look to win the Champions League for the first time.

United were the last English club to win the treble in 1999 and City would relish the chance to emulate their rivals’ feat.

Chelsea players lined up for a pre-match guard of honour for their City counterparts, who walked out onto the pitch with their children while club anthem ‘Blue Moon’ rang around the Etihad.

Leeds in danger

With City’s players and fans in festive mood, Alvarez ensured Chelsea wouldn’t spoil the party. The Argentine forward produced a clinical finish from Cole Palmer’s 12th-minute pass.

At the other end of the table, struggling Leeds lost 3-1 at West Ham as Rodrigo’s opener was erased by goals from Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini.

Sam Allardyce’s side remain third bottom and are two points adrift of fourth-bottom Everton, with both teams having just one game left.

Even if Leeds beat Tottenham at home on the final day of the season, the Yorkshire club would still be relegated if Everton win their last game against Bournemouth at Goodison Park.

Allardyce’s team, whose goal difference is three worse than Everton’s, are likely to need the Toffees to lose to have a chance of staying up.

Leeds, who last played in the Championship in 2020, have lost twice and drawn once in three games since Allardyce replaced the sacked Javi Gracia earlier this month.

“We haven’t shown the quality when needed. So next week has to be much better to beat Tottenham. That’s all we can do,” Allardyce said. 

Brighton secured European football for the first time in their history with a 3-1 win against Southampton.

Evan Ferguson netted twice in the first half and although Mohamed Elyounoussi got one back for already-relegated Southampton, Pascal Gross wrapped up Brighton’s victory.

Roberto De Zerbi’s sixth-placed side will ensure they play in the Europa League if they take a point from their last two games.

Brighton’s vastly superior goal difference to seventh-placed Aston Villa should guarantee they don’t drop into the Europa Conference League.

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