2011-2012: Aguero at the last
|Champions||Manchester City||Biggest Win||Arsenal 7-1 Blackburn Rovers|
|Runners-Up||Manchester United||Highest Scoring Game||Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal|
|Third Place||Arsenal||Top Goalscorer||Robin van Persie (30)|
|Relegated||Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Wolverhampton Wanderers||Goals Scored||1066|
The 20th Premier League season produced the most dramatic finale we’ve ever seen and it is very unlikely to be beaten. Just goal difference ultimately separated the two Manchester clubs with Manchester City snatching the title off Manchester United in stoppage time of the final game of the season.
Both Manchester clubs strengthened in pre-season. City added Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri to their ranks, whilst United acquired Ashley Young and Phil Jones. They also managed to tempt Paul Scholes out of retirement to return to the fold in January. For much of the campaign, it was a two-horse race with both teams playing some blistering and exhilarating football.
Momentum shifted direction between the two Manchester sides. City’s 6-1 hiding of the champions in October – made memorable for Mario Balotelli’s “Why Always Me?” t-shirt he revealed after scoring had them setting the pace. Mid-season setbacks at Everton and Swansea City though handed the initiative to Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. When Manchester City lost 1-0 to Arsenal, United were eight points clear with just six games left.
Yet, City came back again. United lost to Wigan Athletic and threw away a 4-2 advantage at home to Everton. On a lively Monday Night Football, City went top again after skipper Vincent Kompany powered home the only goal of the game to defeat United. It was going to the wire.
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal at the Stadium of Light as Manchester United won away at Sunderland. Manchester City led at home to Queens Park Rangers but were losing 2-1 going into injury-time against 10 men. Cue late goals from Edin Dzeko and finally, Sergio Aguero to wrestle back the title when all looked lost. Martin Tyler’s words summed it up: “Balotelli, Aguerooooooooo! I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again. So watch it, drink it in!”
Despite losing 8-2 to Manchester United in August, Arsenal rallied to finish third. Robin van Persie was top goalscorer and cleaned up all the major individual awards in his final season in north London and club legend Thierry Henry made the briefest of returns in January to help out. Rivals Tottenham Hotspur finished fourth but missed out on UEFA Champions League football. Chelsea’s sensational success in the UCL final over Bayern Munich ensured they took the final spot. Harry Redknapp left shortly after the season concluded.
In the league, Chelsea finished a distant sixth and were never a factor in the title hunt. Andre Villas-Boas was sacked in March and it was former Blues’ player Roberto di Matteo who finished the season as manager. Alan Pardew guided Newcastle United to a stunning fifth-place finish. Everton beat Liverpool FC in the table for just the second time in Premier League history. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches during the season for racially abusing Patrice Evra and despite winning the Carling Cup and reaching an FA Cup final, Kenny Dalglish lost his job at the season’s end.
It was a miserable season for Lancashire as both Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers were relegated, along with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
2011-2012 was the season where Premier League dreams did come true for Manchester City.