United’s Shock Slip Hands Premier League Title to Manchester City
Of all the scenarios Pep Guardiola would have dreamed up for securing the Premier League title, playing golf with his son would not have been on the list.
But that’s how it played out on Sunday, as Manchester United suffered a shock 1-0 loss at home to West Bromwich Albion to gift wrap to the title for Manchester City.
While United were slipping to a shock defeat to the Premier League’s bottom club courtesy of a Jay Rodriguez header, Pep was whacking balls around Sandiway Golf Club.
It is not the way he would have liked to do it – although playing a round of golf alongside European Tour star Tommy Fleetwood must have been a joy – as it is something of a deflating feeling. City had their chance to do it in front of their own fans eight days previous, but surrendered a two-goal lead at home to United.
Guardiola’s players will get the opportunity to celebrate in front of their fans against Swansea City next weekend, but for United it is back to the drawing board.
The win over City, which came courtesy of a rip-roaring comeback of brilliant attacking football, was supposed to be the turning point for Jose Mourinho and his squad. Instead, it appears they have turned down a cul-de-sac. For as brilliant as they were in the second half against City last week, they were the exact opposite against a side who are bottom of the table.
Quite simply, West Brom wanted it more. Mourinho’s players went through the motions from the first whistle and duly paid the price.
Sooner or later City would have secured the title themselves even if had United beaten West Brom, so the outcome would have been the same. The Red Devils are also secure in their place in the top four, meaning Champions League football will come their way, but to fall so limply at Old Trafford is a huge concern.
You can be absolutely certain Pep will not rest on his laurels. Falling at the quarter-final stage in the Champions League would have hurt the Spaniard and ensures he drives his side forward next term. United need to meet that challenge head on but defeat to West Brom raises the question as to whether they will be up to the task.
The table shows United are 16 points adrift of City. With Guardiola sure to tinker with his squad to bring about improvements, Mourinho will need to produce the work of a magician in order to close that gap in one summer.
City are champions and it could be just the beginning.
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