Who needs a workout when you’ve got a final day like that?
It was an exhilarating, 140bpm, two-hour long routine, featuring exercises such as jumping up off the sofa, channel hopping, running to the bathroom, running to the fridge, putting your hands on your head in disbelief, shouting regular expletives, and even the occasion ‘Look at Leeds!’.
Guardiola: Focus on tactics is to make players feel 'more comfortable'
But we’ll start at the top, where Manchester City pipped Liverpool to the title by one point after both sides won their last games of the domestic season. Sounds simple, positively boring, when you put it like that, but what unfolded was arguably the second-best final day of the Premier League era – right?
Nothing will top Agueroooo, but this ran it close, particularly for that incredible 15-minute spell after Aston Villa took a 2-0 lead at Manchester City. Those who weren’t dual-screening were torn for which match to watch, knowing Liverpool were one goal away from going top, but by the time they eventually edged ahead in the 84th minute at Anfield, City had somehow* completed the turnarounds of all turnarounds so complete another 3-2 final-day win and collect a sixth Premier League title.
*Somehow comes with an asterisk because, for as much as Steven Gerrard will get stick for seemingly doing his old side a favour until Villa’s capitulation did the complete opposite, it was Pep Guardiola who made the changes that mattered and Ilkay Gundogan writing his name into City folklore.
Guardiola, whether you like City and what they represent or not, goes down as a certified Premier League great after picking up his fourth league medal in five years, overtaking Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger to stand alone behind Sir Alex Ferguson, and you get the sense there are many more to come.
- 'Legends already' - Guardiola compares City players to Ferguson's Manchester United
- 'Story of my life' - Klopp on finishing second
- ‘We will be remembered’ - Guardiola pride over Man City triumph
Liverpool ran them oh so impressively close, and while the prospect of Erling Haaland in sky blue next season has us wondering what that could do for the competition, City’s focus must be on conquering the continent next time around.
That is Liverpool’s focus now, with Paris just five days away and Jurgen Klopp ironing out a few concerns before the Champions League final with Real Madrid, namely injuries.
Tottenham can also start preparing for Champions League life, too, while Arsenal have another season of Thursdays and Sundays, so too Manchester United and, well, let’s just say it’s best to skip over them after a season to forget.
Further down you’ve got a cluster of seven teams separated by seven points who will all be dreaming of more next term, and so too Leeds, who had the euphoria of a last-day survival at Burnley’s expense. Pat Raphinha Cash may not be their next season, but he gave the fans an iconic moment when celebrating their escape in the stands.
That’ll do, right? The three-month wait for the next Premier League campaign starts now, but if you need to slowly drip-feed off it, why not work out your PFA Team of the Year and furiously comment on why Jarrod Bowen didn’t make the final cut when the PFA eventually reveal theirs – maybe this week, maybe next.
“L’aventure continue…” Kylian Mbappe tweeted on Saturday, which roughly translates to the journey goes on, or something along those lines.
- Mbappe celebrates new contract with a hat-trick in PSG's 5-0 thumping of Metz
- 'Attacks economic stability of European football' - La Liga hit out at Mbappe PSG deal
- Mbappe extends PSG contract in hammer blow to Real Madrid
The transfer that wasn’t goes down as a mighty saga nevertheless, and while the Mbappe-faced dartboards in Madrid are a shooting practice of sorts, they’ll do little by way of helping them during a Champions League final week.
Mbappe confirms PSG stay, delivers video message on top of Parc des Princes
Real would be best off letting La Liga continue to froth at the mouth, although it all seems a little overboard for a scenario where ultimately PSG have held onto their best player. Okay, PSG have seemingly (reportedly) made Mbappe their new player-owner (?) who can now hire, fire, buy and sell who he likes (?) with Leonardo, Pochettino and Neymar (?) supposedly on their way out, but this was always a battle PSG were determined to win, and they had the cash to make it happen.
This was about new money vs old money. The princes at Parc des Princes did not want to be trumped by the “Kings of Europe” over in Spain, and quite literally did everything within their power to convince Mbappe to stay, with reports even French President Emmanuel Macron, Gustave Eiffel and Joan of Arc whispered in the striker’s ear urging him to keep in France.
It helps, of course, that Mbappe is Paris-born, although you get the sense the 23-year-old left the door open for Real, or tried to at least, when claiming he would be their “biggest fan” in this week’s final, which of course just so happens to be in Paris.
IN OTHER NEWS
Lyon stun Barca!
A nod to the Women’s Champions League final on Saturday, played in front of a 32,257-strong crowd at the Juventus Stadium to show the game keeps going from strength to strength across the continent.
Barcelona have played a huge role amid UEFA’s revamp of the competition, and it turned out they do indeed have competition when it comes to the European stage, as they fell 3-1 to Lyon despite being heavy favourites going into the match.
After a mere 30 wins from 30 to win La Liga, it is a healthy sight to see that Barca will not get it all their own way in Europe in the coming years, and while Lyon are a storied team themselves, they were underdogs on Saturday but played like anything but, capitalising on some Barcelona jitters to reclaim a title they won five times between 2016 and 2020.
The next test will be for the chasing pack to claw down the world’s best clubs, with the WSL needing to play catch-up, but after a mightily successful tournament, the platform is there.
IN THE CHANNELS
Away from the Premier League, the man who recorded the assist for that Aguero goal 10 years ago pulled off what the kids might call a madness yesterday, and by presuming the kids call it that then the term is probably as old as that Aguero goal.
Anyway. Here’s Mario Balotelli with a handful of stepovers and rabona to finish.
IN THE CHANNELS II
Gareth Southgate, are you watching? You’re trending, that’s for sure, because the calls for Fikayo Tomori to not just make the England squad but start regularly grew even more after he helped AC Milan win Serie A.
Here’s some footage from last night that easily could have been from FIFA 22.
What’s left? Don’t worry, there is play-off fun to come, a Europa Conference League final, and internationals in June! Tonight? A Scottish Premiership play-off, Bundesliga too, and throughout the day why not tuck into the French Open on discovery+. Go on.
‘If someone were to take the ball he would punch’ – Guardiola impressed by Haaland’s hunger
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