FA Premier League
Sunday 11 May 2014, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Kolarov, Garcia, Toure (Negredo 86), Silva (Milner 76), Nasri, Dzeko (Fernandinho 69), Aguero
Unused: Pantilimon, Lescott, Clichy, Jovetic
Goals: Nasri (39), Kompany (49)
Booked: Demichelis, Aguero
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Yaya Toure
Manchester City are champions of England and have secured their first ever league and cup double. Indeed, victory over West Ham on the final match of the 2013-14 season ensured the Blues took only their second double – the first coming in 1970, when Joe Mercer’s City won the League Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup. Manuel Pellegrini’s City added a top-flight championship to the League Cup.
The home side went into their final match of the campaign knowing that a draw would be enough for them to take the crown – barring any sort of goalscoring miracle at Anfield. Compared to the title win of 2012, the mood inside the stadium was much more relaxed – though there was still the feeling things could go wrong if the Blues weren’t professional.
There was little danger of the team letting this one escape, however, as Pellegrini’s City were always in control of the match and eased to victory. The Manchester weather had been unwelcoming at the start, raining buckets onto an already soaked pitch – though, if anything, it aided the hosts’ slick passing moves.
One of the best moves of the campaign almost finished with a beauty of a goal. Zabaleta, Garcia and Nasri combined to work an opening for the cross from the right, and, as the ball fell to the back post, Silva arrived in time to volley at goal. He caught it sweetly, but got under it slightly too much and it was blasted just over the crossbar.
The home side wanted a penalty two minutes later as Zabaleta appeared to be felled by Diame inside the box, but the referee waved play on. He trod on the defender’s leg and tripped him up – the West Ham man was lucky.
Aguero had his first shot of the game, but he slipped in unleashing the long range effort and it went straight at the goalkeeper. That’s as news came through the Newcastle had taken the lead at Anfield and that the unlikely wasn’t happening in Liverpool. As the fans were settling down to the positive news from Merseyside, Kolarov blasted from long range, too – Adrian tipped his 40-yard effort over the bar.
As it looked like the Blues might end up being level with their visitors at half time, Nasri came up with a cracking strike to break the deadlock. He picked up the ball on the edge of the West Ham box and, after knocking it out of his feet, belted if for the bottom corner. Adrian got his fingers to it, but couldn’t redirect it enough – tipping it onto the post and into the net.
And it could have been two on two occasions going into the break. First, Aguero deflected Nasri’s free kick across the face of goal and the diving Kompany couldn’t reach to touch over the line, before, second, Silva’s deflected effort crashed into the crossbar. The Spaniard wriggled free inside the box and shot for the far post, but it deflected up off a defender in front of him, hit the underside of the bar and bounced to safety.
Early in the second, the home side doubled their advantage: a corner to the near post was half headed away by the visiting defence and half knocked down by Dzeko. Waiting was the captain and Kompany turned to belt the ball past Adrian and into the back of the net.
City were sensing the kill was on the cards. Nasri stung the goalkeeper’s gloves with another long range effort, Aguero tried to angle a header into the top corner but just got slightly too much elevation on the effort, while the Argentine should have scored with just over 20 minutes to play. A low cross from Zabaleta picked out the striker, but he couldn’t adjust his feet quickly enough to turn it into the empty net.
The result never looked in doubt in truth and, with just over 10 minutes to play, the Blues almost had their third. Toure chipped a cute ball over the static Hammers’ back line for Nasri or Zabaleta to run on to. The Frenchman took control and smashed his shot for goal, but Adrian got his foot in the way to keep it out.
In the end, the Blues weren’t able to get their third goal and they finished the season with a solid, professional and comfortable 2-0 win. It was more than enough for the club to lift their second ever Premier League title.