Manchester City yesterday defeated West Ham 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium to clinch their second Premier League title in three years.
For all the talk about the club spending big money, the team actually deserved the victory.
After a difficult start to the campaign at the back, City struck the perfect balance between defence and attack for much of the season. Competitors Chelsea were solid at the back, but did not score enough goals.
Liverpool meanwhile were devastating going forward and scored one fewer goal than City, but were leakier than a sieve in defence.
In the end their poor defence cost the Reds the title, not Steven Gerrard slipping at a vital moment against Chelsea.
It is difficult to find a good balanced approach, but successful teams do find one and City did just that. Centre-back Martin Demichelis was being labelled a liability earlier in the season, but in the last few months has been outstanding alongside captain Vincent Kompany. The partnership were one of the key factors in City claiming the title.
This season’s Premier League title triumph was the first ever league title in European football for the quiet man Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean has done a fantastic job, normally as an underdog at clubs in Spain. Moving to City was something of a step-up from Malaga.
Pellegrini’s hard work has finally been rewarded with a big piece of silverware and he richly deserves it. The veteran boss has performed the best trick of all at City. He has brought harmony to a dressing room which seemed splintered under former-boss Roberto Mancini.
Pellegrini brought in players with the right personalities and made surely there were no disruptive influences in the dressing room. This title win is largely down to the City boss. Although he has a decent size squad, Pellegrini has lost Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Kompany for spells this season.
City has only been able to field Aguero, Silva, Kompany and Yaya Toure together in six Premier League games this season. Had the quartet been fit all season then it is likely that the Citizens would have claimed the title much earlier, as they are key players for City.
One of the other key factors in City’s title win was that the likes of Pablo Zabaleta, Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart are such strong characters. All four are leaders on the pitch. Toure may look languid in style, but he sets a standard for his teammates.
Zabaleta is one of the unsung heroes of the City team. The Argentinian international is a player that gets on with his work with no fuss or trouble. Zabaleta is a key player for City both going forward and defending.
It was fitting that City captain Vincent Kompany scored City’s second goal against West Ham. He has emerged as one of the best captains in the Premier League. The Belgium international made a big mistake against Liverpool, but as all great players do he has bounced back tremendously.
In yesterday’s game you could see him barking orders out to his teammates and trying to keep everybody focussed.
Keeper Joe Hart has shown a big strength of personality to recover from his terrible early season form. England’s first choice wears his heart on his sleeve (no pun intended) and is a big influence on his defence.
Teams do not win the big trophies without big characters and the current City squad have them in abundance. Ironically for a big spending club like City, Hart, Kompany and Zabaleta are players that were not mega-money signings by Premier League standards, but have character that money cannot buy.
When people talk about Manchester City, people will automatically bring up the amount of money that the Citizens have spent in the last few years. However, money does not always guarantee success.
It takes the right blend of coaching staff and players to find a winning formula. The money also has to be spent on players with the right attitudes. Tottenham spent near enough £100million last summer, but could only finish sixth this season, so money does not always buy you success.
City is the best team in the league and it is up to every other team in the league to show that they can compete on the field, even if City has bigger financial resources than most of their competitors.
For me Manchester City are worthy Premier League champions. They play attractive football with players that fans want to watch. The Citizens want to build the club up and are looking to dominate European football as well as the domestic game.
European domination may be a little time off, but they have the right man at the helm in Manuel Pellegrini and I certainly would not rule City out of putting in a strong challenge for the Champions League next season as well as the Premier League.
Did Manchester City deserve to win the Premier League title?