Ten years on from Sergio Aguero and all that, Manchester City are set for another nerve-shredding final day of the Premier League season.
Pep Guardiola’s team missed the chance to put one hand on the trophy at West Ham on Sunday, where they drew 2-2 in a dramatic penultimate game of the campaign.
City came from two goals down at half-time to avoid defeat – Jack Grealish and a Craig Dawson own goal cancelling out Jarrod Bowen’s double – but wasted the chance to open up a six-point lead on title rivals Liverpool when Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty.
While their fate remains in their own hands, the slip has given renewed hope to the quadruple-chasing Reds, who have a game in hand.
It means that City will likely have to win their final game on Sunday – just as Aguero and his team-mates did to win the club’s first Premier League crown in 2012.
“Ten years ago belongs to Sergio,” said Guardiola. “It’s similar because of the maths. It will be tough because it will be emotional.
“I can assure you something: we will give them all of our lives to do it. It’s an incredible privilege to have the chance to become champions in front of our people at home and I’m looking forward to it.
“We will rest for a couple of days and try to be ready for [Aston] Villa but the positive thing is it’s still in our hands. They are desperate to win it and we have showed that all season.
“I have a feeling every time that you win a title that it gets more difficult. But this is what you expect when you are up against a team like Liverpool. We know we can’t make a mistake.”
Jittery Manchester City
A win over West Ham would have left City needing just a point from next week’s visit of Aston Villa to wrap up their fourth title in five seasons.
Instead they will require a win if, as expected, Liverpool return from Southampton with three points on Tuesday evening
City looked jittery at the London Stadium, just as they had when capitulating in the Champions League against Real Madrid earlier this month.
They responded to that with consecutive five-goal wins over Newcastle and Wolves. How they could use a similar response against Villa in six days’ time.
Guardiola’s men could be celebrating before then, in the unlikely event that Southampton beat Liverpool.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side are three wins away from an unprecedented sweep of the four major trophies on offer to them and have shown few signs of letting up.
They completed the second leg of the quadruple in the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday and face Real Madrid in the Champions League final later this month.
West Ham not done yet
It would have been easy for West Ham to fade after the disappointment of Europa League semi-final defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.
But they showed their season is not done yet with a diligent and dangerous display that frustrated City and repeatedly exposed their high defensive line.
Bowen raced clear to round Ederson for the opening goal and added a second with a smart low shot amid disarray in the visitors’ defence.
A draw assured the Hammers of a top-seven finish and a place in the Europa Conference League next season – at least.
They could yet overtake Manchester United, who are two points ahead, however, and pip them to a spot in the Europa League with a final-day win at Brighton.