Manchester City’s Premier League title win comes with looming charges

MANCHESTER, England — They already had the huge “Three in a Row” celebratory banner hanging above the main entrance to the Etihad Stadium ahead of Manchester City’s final crowning as Premier League champions. They’re wasting no time updating City’s list of achievements but again it’s becoming an annual occurrence as far as Pep Guardiola’s side are concerned.

– Dawson: Man City’s reservations about Chelsea as title celebrations begin

Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest on Saturday night confirmed City as champions without a ball kicked against Chelsea on Sunday, making it the third time in three years – and the fifth time in six seasons – the Etihad was dressed for a title party. There were party scenes inside and outside the stadium, the smoke from the blue flares accompanying the City team bus as it arrived for the game, but far from that blue corner of Manchester, City’s latest success was met with apathy and suspicion in equal measure.

Winners tend to be hated afterwards, especially serial winners, but that’s different with this City side. No one really knows what to feel.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga and more (US)

On the one hand, Guardiola’s side are arguably the best the Premier League has ever seen. They decimate their opponents with ruthless consistency, playing a brand of football that makes them unbeatable every day. Just ask reigning European champions Real Madrid, who were destroyed in a 4-0 second leg in the Champions League semi-finals last Wednesday.

But City are also facing more than 100 Premier League charges for allegedly breaching financial regulations. The club vehemently deny all charges and have pledged to fight to overturn each one, but the indictment is so lengthy and comprehensive that no one outside the Etihad is prepared to bring a toast to Guardiola’s team as simply the best.

City are charged with 50 breaches for providing inaccurate financial information, eight breaches over manager pay from 2009 to 2013, 12 breaches over player pay from 2010 to 2015, five breaches relating to UEFA’s financial regulations, 25 profitability and sustainability failures and 30 failures to assist the Premier League investigation, dating back to March 2019. If found guilty, City face penalties ranging from fines and points deductions to expulsion from the league, which makes the stakes incredibly high.

Some teams or athletes stand out among the greatest of their generation, perhaps of all time. Usain Bolt won gold medals as the best sprinter the world has ever seen and Tiger Woods did the same on the golf course for over a decade. Cyclist Lance Armstrong did the same, but he was ultimately stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France victories after being exposed as one of the sport’s most prolific cheaters.

City could be football’s Bolt or Woods, but until they clear their names – or otherwise – on the 115 charges, the risk of being bracketed alongside Armstrong instead remains.

The problem for Guardiola, who has won 10 major trophies since joining in 2016, and his players is that a resolution is unlikely to be imminent. It could take years for these accusations to be resolved, which means this team may not get the recognition it deserves – good or bad – until many key figures have moved on.

Within the City bubble, there is no doubt and the team’s successes are celebrated, with any outside scrutiny met with hostility from supporters on social media. Journalists who refer to the Premier League accusations are accused of working with a scheme against the club, while Guardiola said his club had “already been condemned” by their rivals. Good job, then, that the charges are being handled by lawyers rather than football club owners and managers.

But while the investigation against the club is a fact, there is also no question of jealousy from rival clubs and supporters towards City’s success. They now dominate as Manchester United did in the 1990s and 2000s and Liverpool in the 1970s and 1980s. They play the best football in the world, they employ the best manager and their team is filled with superstars like Erling Haaland and Kevin DeBruyne.

Against Chelsea, Guardiola made nine changes to the side that beat Real: he rested virtually all of his best players as he had £475m of talent on the bench. If it was an example of City having the biggest credit card in football, the presence of three local boys on the pitch – Phil Foden, Rico Lewis and Cole Palmer, who provided the assist for Julian Alvarez’s winning goal – was a will. to the club also developing top talent which costs nothing in transfer fees.

It’s also worth noting that despite winning the Premier League for the third consecutive year, City have done the same at Under-21 and Under-18 level, making their dominance clear at all levels. . Money obviously helps, but City have also hired the best coaches and administrators, and that depth of talent is as big a factor in their success as the quality of the players on the pitch.

So while their rivals might question the way City have funded their era of dominance, they simply must find a way to overcome them on and off the pitch where, for two consecutive years, City have dominated the Deloitte Football Money. League as a club. with the biggest commercial revenue in the game. They now have the opportunity next season to become the first team in English football history to win four successive titles.

If they win the FA Cup and Champions League this season – completing the treble – Guardiola’s side will earn their place in the history books while hoping they won’t be given an asterisk in years to come . But from a purely footballing point of view, this team is in a different league from the others, and it looks like they are only getting better.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button