Vincent Kompany won his fourth Premier League title
But the 2019 title was not won in the 38th minute today.
Eventually, this will probably always be remembered as “the Vincent Kompany title”, following the unlikely thunderbolt he scored against Leicester to set up this finale.
The myriad of minions behind the scenes at the club were introduced individually to form a lengthy guard of honour for the players on the Amex Stadium pitch.
But certainly there was no more popular man than the long-standing Man City captain to do the honours amid the inevitable fireworks and ticker-tape.
Calmer analysis, once the singing and dancing that was still going on in the dressing room over an hour after the final whistle, may decide that in real terms this second successive trophy was won on January 3.
Even Pep Guardiola admitted ahead of the final day denouement that it would have been game over several months ago if Liverpool had won at the Etihad to take a 10-point lead in the title race.
The truth is, though, that the 2018-19 Premier League trophy was not even won this season.
It was already in the bag when Pep Guardiola stunned his players by telling them he was not happy that they had wrapped up last season’s canter to the title by April 15.
Vincent Kompany scored a screamer against Leicester
He wanted them to get to 100 points.
Vanity project? Not a bit of it. Cunningly, he was preparing them for days like today. When silverware, not a footnote in history was at stake.
By contrast, this season has been the toughest, greatest run-in ever in English top-flight football. Nobody was blinking.
This was Nicolas Mahut against John Isner – the two players who infamously fought out a fifth set in which neither of them lost his service game for eight hours at Wimbledon in 2010. But with even bigger balls.
Coming into the final game, all the pressure was again on Manchester City not to slip up. It was there’s to lose against a side who had mischief-making as their only motivation.
This was the game Guardiola was preparing his players for when he pushed them at the end of last season. Winning and winning and winning again, right to the final whistle of the final game. 14 wins in a row, in the end.
“You have a few doubts of the mentality of the players,” the City boss admitted. “But after what they did last season… why should they doubt what they do every training session?
“They follow us, they follow me. At the end, we won. We have done it. When the competition is coming again, though, we’ll be there again.”
Even when they went behind a few minutes after the home fans had ignored Guardiola’s requests for no Anfield updates by playfully chanting, “One-nil to Liverpool,” City simply moved it up a gear.
Pep Guardiola became the first manager to defend the Premier League since Alex Ferguson in 2009
83 seconds to get back level, the rest of the afternoon to finish Brighton off at their leisure.
Last season began in Brighton, this one ended there. It was a round trip during which they collected 198 points over two campaigns and the remorseless way they kept Liverpool off their backs makes them the greatest side ever in Premier League history. No argument.
They may not have been quite Invincible – Arsenal fans will be quick to point that out. More impressively, though, is that they showed themselves to be something even more fearful – they became the Untouchables.
“He pulls a knife, you pull a gun; he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue!” Sean Connery says famously in the 1987 gangster film of that name.
In the best possible footballing terms, the title race had become that cutthroat. Ruthlessly, the Chicago way became the City way.
Vincent Kompany captained City to a fourth Premier League title
It is the fourth time in seven years that City have won the Premier League, but this was something different.
The best team ever, though?
“If people suggest we could be one of the best, that’s enough,” Guardiola said modestly. “If people are talking about this team in 10, 15, or 20 years, then it’s because we are a really good team.
“It’s like a movie which sustains the passing of time.”
Pep Guardiola won his second Premier League with City
A movie such as The Untouchables, perhaps.
When a journalist tried to tell Guardiola after the game that there were no weaknesses in his squad, his response was instant.
“There are weaknesses,” he said. “They are not the tallest of guys. So every set-piece we concede I go to the church to pray. There is always a drama.”
If Liverpool do pull out that gun next season, rest assured by then Guardiola will have an even bigger one.