Manchester City win fourth consecutive Premier League title, Foden shines

Foden has already won the Football Writers’ Association and Premier League Player of the Year accolades.

Few would argue against a clean sweep if the Professional Footballers’ Association finally verifies theirs.

Foden, at 23, has six titles to his record. He is a long way behind Ryan Giggs, who owns the record with 13.

However, it is worth remembering that Giggs did not reach his sixth until he was 26, and while the Welshman was 39 when he scored his last, given City’s current supremacy, Foden is expected to continue chipping away at that figure in the immediate term.

Guardiola feels there is further improvement in the England international, but he has already developed his all-round game, makes better runs with and without the ball, and his close control is sublime.

James Ward-Prowse must have felt he was chasing shadows as he closed in to make a tackle when Bernardo Silva provided Foden with a square pass. But with one touch, Foden ghosted away from the West Ham man before delivering the perfect finish.

There was no real evidence of nerves in the crowd before kick-off. City had not lost at home all season and they had a 100% winning record against West Ham on home soil since Guardiola arrived in 2016.

The visitors had nothing to play for, manager David Moyes is leaving and top-scorer Jarrod Bowen was ruled out with tonsillitis.

But any home anxiety that did exist was rapidly swept away.

Foden’s second – his 26th goal of the season – wasn’t long in arriving as Jeremy Doku delivered a slide-rule, square pass through a crowd of bodies to the edge of the six-yard area. Foden was calmness personified in a frantic situation and found the net with a first-time finish.

Only a bit of bad luck and West Ham keeper Alphonse Areola prevented West Ham being completely swept away in the first half hour.

The France keeper turned away De Bruyne’s vicious free-kick, repelled Doku twice and also denied Manuel Akanji. Rodri, Erling Haaland, acrobatically, and Josko Gvardiol all missed the target from reasonably close range.

Guardiola’s insatiable quest for success
Guardiola spoke in the build-up about West Ham’s four brilliant attacking players, who could create something from nothing.

Bowen was absent but Kudus had already forced Stefan Ortega into a save before pulling a goal back with a superb overhead kick just before the break.

It was then that Guardiola turned into his most expressive on the sidelines as his insatiable desire to win took over.

The Catalan’s reaction to a near miss from Foden was to spin round with his head in his hands, while a seemingly routine passage of play down the City left immediately in front of him prompted wild applause.

As he saw Rodri’s shot hit the net – a goal reminiscent of his Champions League winner against Inter Milan in June – Guardiola clenched his fists and drew them to his body in satisfaction before turning round to pick out the familiar faces of chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak and chief executive Ferran Soriano in the stand high above him in salute at another piece of silverware collected.

Guardiola has now won 12 league titles in 15 seasons as a manager, 16 years if you include the sabbatical he took when he left Barcelona in 2012.

It cannot be denied he has presided over top-class squads assembled at vast cost. However, that is to ignore the fact other clubs have spent just as much without achieving anything like the same success.

On the day Liverpool bade farewell to his old managerial adversary in both Germany and England Jurgen Klopp, there can be no debate in silverware terms who has won the personal battle. In recent English football history, only Sir Alex Ferguson can be mentioned as inhabiting the same stratospheric levels.


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.