Manchester City did not have it easy on their way to winning consecutive Premier League Titles.
Let’s first take a look at what happened in the league season that just concluded.
Liverpool just finished the league season on 97 points. As was mentioned earlier, no Premier League team prior to the 2017-18 season had ever gotten more than 95 points in a single season. Liverpool’s points total literally would have won them any Premier League title race prior to 2017-18.
Liverpool’s points total was, at least by modern Premier League standards, far and away the highest points total any runner-up has ever finished with. Prior to this season, the largest points total a runner-up had ever finished with, and still failed to win the Premier League title, was 89 when Manchester United lost the league on goal difference to Manchester City in 2011-12.
The points total they finished with, however, was far from their only impressive feat. Liverpool finished with the fourth best goal difference in EPL history, and they joined 2004-05 Chelsea, and the 2003-04 undefeated “Invincibles” Arsenal team as the only sides to ever have lost one or fewer games during a Premier League season.
Their sole loss, was their 2-1 defeat at the Etihad on January 3rd. That was the day that Manchester City were able to reduce their lead from seven points to four, thereby re-opening the door to the title race.
Liverpool just finished with the most points they’ve EVER gotten in a league season where wins counted for three points. Only their title winning side of 1978-79 would have finished on a higher points total (98) than they did this year (it was the previous top flight record until Manchester City got 100 points last season). However, their points per game this year was even better than that record setting side (The 78-79 side would have had 98 points over 42 games (2.33 per game), versus 97 in 38 (2.55) for their 18-19 team).
Considering their storied, accomplished history (they’ve won the second most top-flight titles (18) of any English side ever), that’s an unbelievable feat!
This Liverpool side was one of the greatest teams they’ve ever had, and was clearly one of the best Premier League sides ever too. Yet, for all of the incredible heights they reached, it still wasn’t enough for them to beat Manchester City this season.
The rest of the Premier League was no push over either. Even though Fulham and Huddersfield at the bottom of the table were among some of the worst sides in EPL history, the top picked up the slack.
Spurs, who finished fourth, and were 27 points behind City by the end of season, beat City on away goals in the Quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. They’re set to face Liverpool in the UCL final in June.
Chelsea finished 26 points behind City. They’re set to face Arsenal, who finished 28 points behind City, in the UEFA Europa League Final.
This was the first time that all four finalist spots in UEFA’s top two competitions were occupied by English sides. In fact, it’s the first time that ANY league has provided all four finalists in UEFA;s two competitions.
It’s also just the second time ever that the UCL Final is being contested by two English sides too (the other was 2008 when Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties).
Despite all of this, Manchester City were still able to repeat as champions.
Where does City’s title defense rank when looking at bigger picture?