Manchester City wrapped up a tumultuous league season on 81 points and 100 goals following a 5-0 thrashing over Norwich City at home.
Although Manchester City’s league fate has been sealed for some time, today’s match could not have been filled with more storylines. In the end, the season will end on a high, even if the Blues are no longer champions of England.
City were excellent as Kevin de Bruyne made a statement after being denied the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year, David Silva made his final league appearance, Ederson won the Premier League Golden Glove, and City once again hit the 100 goal mark against the already-relegated Canaries.
1. Kevin de Bruyne, undisputed Player of the Season
A Manchester City player has never won the PFA Player of the Year award. City’s Belgian star was already denied the FWA Award in favor of Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, despite finishing with 13 goals and a Premier League record-tying 20 assists.
I firmly believe that even the most ardent Liverpool supporter would agree that on an individual level, De Bruyne has been superior to Henderson this season, and by some margin. Moreover, the standard has been set in the last two seasons that the winner of these awards need not come from the title winning side, as Mohamed Salah pulled in both the PFA and FWA awards while Virgil Van Dijk grabbed the PFA trophy last season despite City winning the title on both occasions. The double standard against City and their players should have ended with the FWA, but hopefully the PFA will do what is right and award the clear best player in the league.
2. Record Equalled
De Bruyne entered today’s match needing an assist to tie Thierry Henry’s record of 20 for a Premier League season, and although he left it late, he did manage to tie it and nearly even break it in the final 10 minutes.
He definitely has a case after having a cross assist against Arsenal dubiously taken away, but whether or not he can lodge an appeal for sole possession of the record this far on is a question that remains unclear. Regardless, he has put his name in the record books, and is truly this league’s best player and one for the history books.
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3. Gracias, Capitán
David Silva may not have received the ovation he deserved in his final Premier League match, but it remained a special moment as he left the Etihad stage he has graced for so many years for the final time. The Spaniard is one of City’s greatest ever players, and it has been such a joy to watch him play in sky blue over the years. He will be dearly missed, and although this day has been marked on the calendar for some time, it was still a highly emotional affair.