Manchester City claimed the 2011/12 Premier League in the most dramatic circumstances. Here are 6 key victories that lead to Roberto Mancini’s side lifting their first league title in 44 years:
1. Manchester City 3-2 Queens Park Rangers – 13 May 2012
A home victory for Manchester City against the side with the fewest points away from home was the requirement for Roberto Mancini’s side. When Pablo Zabaleta had fired City in front, with help of Paddy Kenny the title looked destined to be lifted at the Etihad Stadium. In a bizarre turn of events in the second half, Djibril Cisse took advantage of a poor header from Joleon Lescott to level for the visitors. Joey Barton’s red card 10 minutes into the second half gave City an extra helping hand to lift the crown. However, Jamie Mackie headed QPR into a shock lead, before the most dramatic ending to a Premier League season in its 20 year history.
The full-time whistle had gone at the Stadium of Light with Manchester United fans thinking their team had won their 20th top flight title. Back in Manchester, Edin Dzeko promptly headed in Manchester City’s equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time to give Roberto Mancini’s side a glimmer of hope of lifting their first league title in 44 years. Then, Sergio Aguero wrote his name into Manchester City folklore when he belted the ball home in the fourth minute of stoppage time to win the Citizens the 2011/12 Premier League.
2. Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United – 30 April 2012
What was billed as the title decider and the biggest Manchester derby in history, Vincent Kompany’s solo goal in first half stoppage time saw Manchester City overcome an 8-point deficit in April to leading the Premier League by 8 goals going into the final two games of the season.
Manchester United played a heavily-criticised formation that included both Park Ji-Sung and Chris Smalling making their first starts for a while and Antonio Valencia left out of the starting line up. Playing to eliminate the threat of Manchester City’s vibrant attack, Manchester United failed to turn things around in the second half after going a goal behind. Joe Hart’s gloves were as clean at full time as they were at the start as the visitors failed to produce a single shot on target all game.
3. Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester City – 6 May 2012
Despite heading into this game top of the table with lowly Queens Park Rangers to play afterwards, Roberto Mancini had claimed Manchester United were still the favourites to retain their Premier League title. A victory for Newcastle would have put them in 3rd spot heading into the final weekend of the station, following a 2-0 victory at Chelsea midweek prior to this match.
Roberto Mancini’s inspired substitution, replacing Samir Nasri for Nigel de Jong proved to be the most important he made all season. This allowed Yaya Toure to push forward as Manchester City went in seek of a winning goal. And within 10 minutes of Mancini’s first substitution, it was Yaya Toure who broke the deadlock in the 70th minute with a sweetly struck effort from outside of the penalty area. The Ivorian put the game beyond reach in the 89th minute and in stoppage time the visiting fans finally began celebrating like they believed their team were going to lift the Premier League title.
4. Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City – 23 October 2011
Manchester City had a 2 point lead advantage over their local neighbours going into the first league clash between the top two of the season. Manchester United had already overturned a 0-2 deficit to win the Community Shield back in August, but the multi-million spending side weren’t going to roll over in this one.
Mario Balotelli had opened the scoring midway through the first half en route to revealing his now-famous shirt. Within two minutes of the second half restart, the controversial Italian was involved in a game-changing moment when he was brought down by Jonny Evans that lead to the United centre back being dismissed. Balotelli, added a second before Sergio Aguero put the game out of reach for the hosts. Darren Fletcher scored a consolation but the three goals scored from the 90th minute onwards proved to be key later in the season. Edin Dzeko scored a brace either side of David Silva’s goal. Manchester City had an 8-goal advantage going into the final game of the season, out of United’s reach.
5. Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea – 21 March 2011
A defeat to Swansea City in their previous outing left Manchester City 1 point behind leaders Manchester United; a deficit that had been increased to 4 before this game. Chelsea had been experiencing new life under caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo; winning his first 4 games in charge.
When Gary Cahill opened the score on the hour, the title looked to be slipping away from Manchester City. Midway through the second half, Roberto Mancini brought on the returning Carlos Tevez. After fellow countryman Sergio Aguero equalised from the penalty spot with 12 minutes remaining, it was Tevez’s who’s superb flick put in Samir Nasri who coolly chipped Manchester City in front with 5 minutes remaining. The Citizens held on and kept within 1 point of the leaders heading into the final 9 games of the season.
6. Manchester City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur – 22 January 2012
Tottenham Hotspur had lost 1 of their last 19 Premier League matches heading into this one; 5 points behind the league leaders with some pundits claiming Harry Redknapp’s side were genuine contenders for the Premier League title. Meanwhile, Manchester City had won just 2 of their 4 league games heading into this one, eliminated from the FA Cup by Manchester United and losing the first leg of their Carling Cup semi final match against Liverpool. Was the pressure getting to the league leaders?
After a goalless first half, Manchester City flew out to a 2-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes of the second half through goals from Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott. Roberto Mancini’s side had won all 10 of their Premier League games at the Etihad this season but were quickly pegged back through strikes from Jermain Defoe and a cracking equaliser from Gareth Bale. Those two then had the opportunity to combine for Tottenham’s winner in stoppage time. Bale broke clear down the left wing and attempted to square the ball to an unmarked Defoe at the back post. However, the ball was a fraction too far in front of the England striker who failed to make enough contact with the ball to stick it into the unguarded net. Moments later, a long ball up field lead to Ledley King bringing down Mario Balotelli inside the box and the Italian converting the resulting penalty to earn City a dramatic 3 points.