The moment Manchester City created that 'will never be seen again' in Premier League football

The moment Manchester City created that 'will never be seen again' in Premier League football

Mark Kinyanjui 21:00 - 16.05.2024

The 2023/ 2024 Premier League title is set to be determined on the last day between Arsenal and Manchester City, but 12 years ago, City created a dramatic winning moment that may never be seen again.

The 2023/2024 English Premier League title is now destined to be decided on the last day, with Manchester City and Arsenal in the run-in to lay their hands on the heavily coveted piece of silverware.

The title is certainly in City's hands. They lead the league on 88 points, with Arsenal second on 86 points, and all they need to do is beat West Ham at home on Sunday to lay their hands on their eigth crown since 2012, and the sixth of Pep Guardiola's reign in the blue half of Manchester.

However, stranger things have happened. Manchester City could suffer a shock loss to West Ham on Sunday, with the London outfit keen to give David Moyes a proper send off. This would allow Arsenal to win the title by a point should they beat Everton at the Emirates on Sunday.

It would not be the first time a title would be won under dramatic circumstances. Let us bring you up to speed with the 11/12 season.

All City had to do was beat QPR at home- easy, right?

On the final day of that season, City faced Queens Park Rangers in a match that would go down in football history as one of the most dramatic ever witnessed. 

The game, played at the Etihad Stadium, was not just about securing three points for Manchester City but also about clinching the Premier League title, a feat they had not achieved since 1968.

The narrative surrounding this match was rich with subplots and shared history between the two clubs. Mark Hughes, then the manager of QPR, had previously been at the helm of Manchester City before being sacked unceremoniously in 2009. 

His desire to thwart his former club's title ambitions added an extra layer of intrigue to the fixture.

Furthermore, QPR's starting XI featured several players with connections to Manchester City, including Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton, and Nedum Onuoha. Wright-Phillips, in particular, was a fan favorite at City, while Barton's departure from the club had been less amicable. 

Onuoha's unique distinction of playing for and against the eventual title winners in the same season added another dimension to the match. He had made an appearance for the club against Wigan that January before leaving for QPR.

Manchester City entered the game on the back of a five-match winning streak, fueled in part by the return of Carlos Tevez to the squad after a tumultuous period.

Tevez had notoriously been placed on gardening leave after Mancini alleged that he refused to come on as a substitute against Bayern Munich, with the City boss vowing he would never play for the club again.

With no suitors in the January window, two incredibly stubborn men put their differences aside for the run-in, and Tevez’s return reignited the club’s faltering title charge.For the first time all season, City’s line-up suddenly resembled what was quite clearly their best group of players, with Mancini naming the same side in each of the season’s final four games.

In fact, to date, it remains the most recent case of City naming the same starting XI in four successive league matches. Evidently, after some ultra-professional performances against Wolves, Manchester United and Newcastle in the weeks prior, Mancini didn’t want to risk changing a thing.

The match itself was a tense affair from the outset, with City dominating possession but struggling to break down QPR's defense.

Wayne Rooney puts Manchester United ahead at Sunderland

 News of a goal by Manchester United against Sunderland , courtesy of Wayne Rooney in the 20 minutes heightened the anxiety among City fans in the stands. However, Yaya Touré provided a moment of relief with a well-crafted assist to Pablo Zabaleta, who opened the scoring for City.

Despite City's lead, QPR refused to capitulate, and Djibril Cissé stunned the home crowd with an equalizer early in the second half. The match took a chaotic turn when Joey Barton, in a fit of frustration, was sent off for violent conduct, sparking a melee on the pitch.

Barton decided to offer Carlos Tevez a swift elbow to the jaw. The linesman saw everything, and referee Mike Dean wasn’t going to turn down the chance to brandish a red card for the 58th time in the Premier League.

Not in the habit of leaving quietly, Barton then kneed Sergio Agüero in the thigh and tried to headbutt the bigger headed but less big-headed Vincent Kompany. Former teammate Micah Richards tried to calm Barton down, while Mario Balotelli, who himself hadn’t made an appearance since being sent off a month prior, tried to do the opposite.

Amidst the chaos, QPR capitalized on City's defensive vulnerability, as Jamie Mackie headed home a cross to give the visitors a shock lead.

Dzeko and Ballotelli get subbed on

City, now trailing and with time running out, threw caution to the wind, bringing on attacking reinforcements in Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli.

As the clock ticked into stoppage time, City launched wave after wave of attacks, desperate to salvage their title hopes. A corner kick in the dying moments presented an opportunity, and Dzeko rose highest to head home the equalizer, setting the stage for a grandstand finish.

Two minutes remained. There was noise in the crowd – news had reached that Manchester United had beaten Sunderland. As of full-time in their match they were Premier League champions, only having to wait now to hear confirmation of full-time at the Etihad.

With seconds remaining, Sergio Agüero, who had endured a goal drought, found himself in the right place at the right time to receive a pass from Balotelli. In a moment of pure brilliance, Agüero evaded a challenge and rifled the ball into the net, sparking jubilant celebrations among City players and fans alike.

The final whistle confirmed Manchester City's 3-2 victory, sealing their first Premier League title in dramatic fashion. As the Etihad Stadium erupted in joy, the significance of the moment was not lost on anyone. This was more than just a football match; it was a testament to resilience, determination, and the unyielding spirit of champions.

The victory marked the beginning of a new era of success for Manchester City, as they went on to secure multiple league titles in the following years. For City fans, the memories of that unforgettable day in May 2012 will forever be etched in their hearts as a reminder of the indomitable spirit that defines their club.

As the dust settled on an extraordinary season, one thing was clear: the 2011-12 Premier League campaign had delivered a finale that would be talked about for generations to come.

In the words of commentator Martin Tyler, "I swear, you’ll never see anything like this ever again." - This is unless-of course-City sensationally lose or draw against West Ham, while Arsenal pulverise Everton to win it on goal difference if the latter situation happens.