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The Etihad Stadium club were confirmed as champions on Sunday after Manchester United suffered a shock loss to West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford. City still have five games to play this season.
In what has been a season of so many highs, Guardiola was able to pick out the 1-0 win over Chelsea, the then champions, at Stamford Bridge as a crucial one, per Chris Burton of Goal.
“I think winning at Stamford Bridge gave us the confidence that we could do it,” he said. “Because last season against other contenders we were not so good. We won few games. Winning at Stamford Bridge gave us a feeling of, ‘OK, against the last champions, we are able to come here and play.'”
Journalist Richard Burns also believes that win was a big moment for the City players:
The league was won when City won at Old Trafford in December. The real heavy lifting was done when they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at the end of September. Was clear then they were a cut above everybody in the league.
City were excellent that day, as a stunning goal from Kevin De Bruyne capped off a dominant performance against the Blues. After the weekend’s fixtures, Chelsea sit a remarkable 27 points behind Guardiola’s side.
As noted by OptaJoe, to wrap up the title so quickly has rarely been done in the history of the English top flight:
5 – Man City have won the Premier League title with five games remaining; equalling the English top-flight record. They have equalled the efforts of Manchester United (1907-08 and 2000-01) and Everton (1984-85) who all won the top-flight title with five games to spare. Cruise. https://t.co/SbeV1CXB0u
It’s a measure of the quality City have showcased throughout a campaign in which they’ve been far ahead of the rest of the division.
Guardiola may have spent massive money ahead of the season to bolster his squad, but the signings made gave City an edge. Additionally, the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, David Silva and especially De Bruyne have all made huge strides under the coach.
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It’s De Bruyne, in particular, who has stood out this season for City, and his goal at Chelsea was an illustration of what he is capable of. The Belgium international lashed home a fierce shot from distance with his weaker foot to see his side to three huge points that day.
After another brilliant display from De Bruyne in the 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Sam Lee of Goal was full of praise for the midfielder:
Sam Lee @Sammy_Goal
De Bruyne was at it again, too. Some lovely touches and feints. Got a feeling Salah’s gonna get player of the year now (and I can understand that) but De Bruyne’s had a phenomenal season, he’s such a special player.
The style of football played by City has also made this title win special, as they’ve swept aside so many opponents with their possession-based attacking philosophy.
In the past, so many Premier League winners have been associated with power and counter-attacking prowess. City have done things a little differently, with Guardiola demanding all of his players, including goalkeeper Ederson, use the ball effectively.
After a brilliant beginning to the season, things did come together to great effect at Chelsea in September, and the authority on display from City that day was indicative of potential champions.
It’s their first Premier League win under Guardiola, and given the plans implemented this season, you sense it won’t be the last time they finish top of the pile under him.