A Season of Winners


Congratulations to Manchester City, Premier League champions after a remarkable late rally to overturn a 0-2 deficit at home to Aston Villa. 

With 15 minutes to go at the Etihad it seemed an ex-Liverpool double act of manager Steven Gerrard and attacker Philippe Coutinho had snagged the title for the Reds at City's home patch in a delightfully wicked turn.

Manchester City.
Man City win the league again

But then Pep Guardiola's method worked its magic with three fairly effortless-looking strikes to win the title. The Catalan beat Jurgen Klopp this time in the biggest Premier League manager duel since Alex Ferguson fought Arsene Wenger in the noughties.

Who can break this hegemony? Thomas Tuchel is the obvious interloper and with a new monied owner in place at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea must be title contenders next season. For Tuchel to finish third, reach two cup finals and the Champions League quarter-final in his first full season at the club with all the negativity surrounding Roman Abramovich's messy exit was indeed an unsung act of heroism.

The quadruple would have been an amazing dream for Liverpool but winning two or three trophies in a season is still pretty special. Should the Reds get their revenge against Real Madrid in Saturday's Champions League Final then they will have won all three knock-out cups, which would constitute an extraordinary campaign alongside a very near-miss for the league title. 

Klopp has both domestic cups in the bag but has already won the holy grail of the title and European Cup, the two most treasured pieces of silverware Reds fans grow up worshipping. Guardiola has won the two domestic cups and league title at City but has famously yet to regain the Champions League he won so impressively with Barcelona. 

Klopp won the Cup.
Klopp won the Cup

But the German has also won the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup while at Anfield, leaving the modest F.A. Community Shield (twice finalists) and the UEFA Europa League (2016 finalists) as the only trophies he has failed to win.

Given the Community Shield is hardly a big prize and the Europa League is unlikely to see Liverpool for the foreseeable future, Klopp's CV is as good as perfect. It is hard to believe he once had a reputation for being a loser of finals.

Tuchel steadied the ship at Chelsea.
Thomas Tuchel steadied the Chelsea ship in 2022

With more than enough for posterity already achieved, how much more of his wonderful reign in the rain of Merseyside will we witness? Will Guardiola ever win the Champions League with City and will it be royal blue shirts running the Reds close for the league title next season?

A resurgent Chelsea and a still-improving Arsenal and Tottenham promise an unusually appetising Premier League campaign in 2022-'23.

There have surely been more than one champion team in England this season.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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