Manchester City celebrated their Premier League title on Sunday, beating Chelsea 1-0 with an early goal by Julian Alvarez in the team’s home finale at a sun-drenched Etihad Stadium.
Treble-chasing City, who wrapped up the title when Arsenal were beaten by Nottingham Forest on Saturday, have won 12 successive games in the top flight.
They have 88 points from 36 games, seven more than Arsenal who have played 37 games. Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are 12th with 43 points and one game remaining.
Alvarez scored in the 12th minute for a largely a second-string City side, slipping the ball under keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from a pass by Kyle Walker. He had another goal chalked off for a handball in the build-up.
With nothing on the line on Sunday and two huge games on the horizon – the FA Cup and Champions League finals – Pep Guardiola left his big guns including goal-scoring machine Erling Haaland on the bench for most of the game. City still dominated, proving they are a well-oiled machine no matter what parts the mastermind manager has to work with.
City were crowned champions for the third season in a row and fifth in six years a day earlier than expected when Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat doused any hopes the Londoners had of catching them.
The mood on Sunday was festive. Chelsea sportingly gave the City players, who had watched the Arsenal game together the previous evening, a guard of honour before kickoff while thousands of fans rushed onto the field after the final whistle.
Haaland was a late substitute and did not extend his record of 36 goals in a single Premier League season.
In the day’s other league matches, Brighton & Hove Albion ensured they will play in Europe next season for the first time in their history after beating Southampton 3-1 at the Amex Stadium, with teenage striker Evan Ferguson scoring twice.
Brighton are sixth in the standings on 61 points and can no longer be caught by eighth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, meaning they are guaranteed a spot in Europe next season – either in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League.
After Kaoru Mitoma and Carlos Alcaraz both squandered chances in a lively start, Brighton went ahead in the 29th minute through Ferguson’s powerful effort, which squirmed under Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
A moment of individual brilliance from Mitoma doubled Brighton’s advantage 10 minutes later, as the Japan international outmuscled Romeo Lavia on the left wing before setting up Ferguson with a pinpoint cross with the outside of his boot.
Mohamed Elyounoussi got on the end of a James Ward-Prowse corner in the 58th minute to pull one back for Southampton and the goal appeared to momentarily stun Brighton.
Southampton launched several attacks in the next few minutes and Theo Walcott had a goal disallowed for offside after a VAR check, but any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out when Pascal Gross cut inside and fired a low shot past two defenders inside the near post.
Brighton’s fans, who were watching their team in the third-tier League One just 12 years ago, were in full party mode and the hosts nearly gave them a fourth goal to cheer, but McCarthy made an excellent save to deny Gross’s low shot.
Bottom club Southampton, who have already been relegated, remained on 24 points.
West Ham United forward Jarrod Bowen set up one goal and scored another to inspire his side to a 3-1 at the London Stadium and deepened the relegation crisis at Leeds United.
Declan Rice and Manuel Lanzini were also on the scoresheet for the hosts as they rallied from a goal down after Rodrigo had given the visitors a first-half lead.
Leeds remain in the relegation zone with 31 points from 37 games, two points behind 17th-placed Everton with the home visit of Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season next Sunday. Everton welcome Bournemouth to Goodison Park.
It completes an excellent week for West Ham, who climb to 14th in the table having booked their place in the Europa Conference League final with a win over AZ Alkmaar.
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