Snatching victory from the jaws of a self-inflicted defeat, Manchester City beat out Manchester United to win the Barclays Premiere League on goal differential.
Man City looked set to run away with the season during the first half, but their success rate slowed and stalwart Manchester United, the ancien regime of the Premiere League, looked set to snatch back the lead. But the season was always City's to lose, as was this last game of the season. The numbers were such that City would clinch the title if they won, or if United lost. City scored more than ten more goals than United this season, which is what pushed them over the top. In truth, the season saw the two rival clubs tie for first, but City's victory is a far better story than had United won out.
United did what they could, beating Sunderland calmly 1-0, while City faced lowly QPR, fighting to remain in the Premiere League at all, and led by former City manager, Mark Hughes.
City did not play well, and while they enjoyed nearly 80% possession throughout the match, QPR were scrappy and full-hearted, and played bravely against huge odds. City could have put the game away but ran repeatedly into QPR's defensive wall. It was, tactically, reminiscent of Mourinho's Inter beating Barcelona, or indeed the recent surprise victory of Chelsea over Barcelona. Wave upon wave of attack got nowhere.
Only Pablo Zabaleta looked truly dangerous, and he provided the first goal for City which, for a long time, seemed like it might be the only goal. QPR managed to score on a Joleon Lescott error, when Djibril Cisse broke free and finished solidly.
Then the idiocy of John Terry versus Barcelona infected this match, too, and hot-tempered Joey Barton (dubbed "a moron" and far worse by world press), struck Carlos Tevez in the face and, when receiving a red card, kneed Sergio Aguero in the back (perhaps in homage to John Terry, both members of the selfish idiot hall of fame).
Down to 10 men, QPR bravely muscled on and, miraculously, scroed again through a beautiful bit of counter-attack. Suddenly mighty City were down 1-2 with thirty minutes left.
With around 30 shots on goal to QPR's 3, and around 20 corner kicks, City attacked and attacked but could not score. On came Dzeko and Balotelli, and still nothing. City couldn't buy a goal against QPR's 10. It looked as if they would lose, rather than QPR winning, and so much there was to lose.
Then, in the final 5 minutes, including stoppage time, the endless corners finally bore fruit and Dzeko headed in a goal. There was hope, but they had to win. With two minutes to go in injury time, Aguero slipped free in the penalty box and struck home. 3-2 City, and the potentially bleak afternoon ended in rejoicing.
This match turned out okay for QPR as they managed to survive and remain in the Premiere League. But it came down to the wire and, had Joey Barton not made an idiot of himself and ruined his team's chances, it is almost certain that QPR would have tied or even won. A moment of selfish stupidity nearly dumped the whole QPR team into a lower league, costing them millions. As many journalists have suggested already, Barton should be fired straight away. He is a wonderful player, but such a liability (from Twitter scandals to the field) that he is simply not worth having on a team.
City can rejoice, winning the league for the first time in four decades. They earned it over the season, though they very nearly lost it for thmeselves. No longer the "nosy neighbors," they are now every bit United's equal, much as United will hate to admit it. The two Manchester teams ran away with the Premiere League, and it is fitting that they should tie--but tht City should edge ahead.