MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 13: The Manchester City players celebrate with the trophy following the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium on May 13, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Manchester City provide fitting climax to dramatic season.
Not often but sometimes (Godfather II,
Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World), the sequel is better. When, in 1999, an incredibly spry looking Alex Ferguson ejaculated ‘Football, bloody hell’ after seeing his Manchester United side effect a miraculous turnaround in winning the Champions League (over Bayern Munich, in Barcelona, marvelous night, etc.), he spoke a timeless truth. Sport can be surprising, and football especially, but seldom more so than on Sunday.
A scripted drama, with such a twist, would be trite. But, while there was plenty of triteness going around on Sunday’s seasonal denouement (see Wigan fans’ 7 minutes of silence before ‘going mental’ in the eighth minute in commemoration of their eighth Premier League season), the climax itself was incredible.
In all likelihood, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero’s double stoppage-time salvo will be little more than a footnote to a history of sustained dominance by oil-rich Manchester City. The victory over 10-man QPR secured by those improbably late goals is ultimately less significant to the season as a whole than the two derby wins (and ‘the 6-1’, given that the title was decided by goal difference for the first time, especially). Soon enough, we will all be justifiably depressed about the League title being on Hire Purchase to the Middle East (although we shouldn’t get too precious, Blackburn Rovers bought the Premier League as long ago as 1995). And there will be justifiable questions raised about the value of a Premier League title won by a squad of such depth that it’s manager was able to alienate (at different times, for distinct reasons and to varying extents) three world class strikers.
Before that happens though, here, for posterity, is a list (in no particular order) of brilliant things that have happened this season:
Papiss Cisse, Manchester United 8 – 2 Arsenal, Arsenal’s discovery of the Song-van Persie paradigm, Swansea City, Peter Crouch’s goal, ‘emotional’ Manchester City fans, a record number of goals, 'dignity', Wayne Rooney’s hair hat, Andy Carroll and Ashley Williams almost doing a proper fight, Andy Carroll, Andre Villas Boas’ experiments with a high-line, Sergio Aguerro’s thighs, the Ewood Park chicken, Karl Henry’s just deserts (karma also saw him linked with Aston Villa at the weekend), ben Arfa’s mazy, Wigan Athletic’s finishing form (7 wins from 9 to stay up), Clint Dempsey, Grant Holt and Leon ‘Xavi’ Britton, ‘Why always me?’, Everton found a striker! and Football, Bloody Hell: 2.0.
There was bad too (Luis Suarez, Liverpool’s statement and those t-shirts). And sad (Fabrice Muamba and Stillian Petrov). But 2011/12 is, right now, a great Premier League season. And I am glad it happened (looking forward, indeed, to the sequel).