Arsenal defeat hands Man City Premier League title

·3-min read
Hard to take: Arsenal players react after losing 1-0 to Nottingham Forest and handing Man City the Premier League title
Hard to take: Arsenal players react after losing 1-0 to Nottingham Forest and handing Man City the Premier League title

Manchester City won the Premier League for the fifth time in six seasons after second-placed Arsenal lost 1-0 at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

A second consecutive defeat for the Gunners left Mikel Arteta's men still four points adrift of City with one game left for them to play.

Taiwo Awoniyi's winning goal also had huge ramifications at the bottom of the table as Forest are now safe from relegation in their first season back in the top flight for 23 years.

Arsenal topped the table for the majority of the season but have collapsed down the final straight, winning just two of their last eight games.

"Congratulations to City for winning the championship. Obviously, it's a really sad day for us after everything we've done in the season but now we have to face the reality," said Arteta.

"We should have been better as a team and in the last few weeks we have fallen short."

City's title triumph could be the start of a treble as Pep Guardiola's men face Manchester United in the FA Cup final and Inter Milan in the Champions League final next month.

They also become just the fifth side to win three consecutive English top flight titles.

"The Premier League is without doubt the most demanding and competitive league in the world so that tells you everything about what an achievement this is," said City captain Ilkay Gundogan in a club statement.

"This squad is so talented and so special and to have been captain this season has been an enormous privilege."

City's ascent to the dominant force of the English game since an Abu Dhabi-backed takeover transformed the club's fortunes in 2008 has been accelerated during Guardiola's reign.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has now won 11 league titles in 14 seasons as a coach.

But City's stranglehold on the title threatens to turn a league that prides itself on its competitiveness into a one-horse race.

Arsenal pushed the defending champions most of the way but crumbled in the decisive final months of the season to allow City to canter over the line with three games to spare.

The visitors rarely even looked like scoring as a raucous atmosphere at the City Ground roared Forest onto survival.

"I have the feeling we could play for three hours (without scoring)," added Arteta. "It's my responsibility and I have to take it."

Arteta's decision to name an experimental back four without any recognised full-backs backfired inside the first 20 minutes.

Morgan Gibbs-White teed up Awoniyi to dink home his fifth goal in three games over Aaron Ramsdale.

Forest were then happy to retreat and defend their lead, but Arsenal were a shadow of the vibrant side that shone in the early months of the season.

Arteta's squad is the second youngest in the Premier League and they have run out of steam just as City have hit top speed.

The newly-crowned champions are unbeaten in 23 games in all competitions, including a 4-1 thrashing of Arsenal when the sides met in a top-of-the-table clash last month.

At the other end of the table, Forest move six points clear of the drop zone meaning two from Everton, Leeds or Leicester will join Southampton in the Championship next season.

"It's a day for the supporters and the players. It's been a unique season in the way we've gone about our work," said Forest boss Steve Cooper, who had to bed in 30 new signings this season.

"Nobody gave up and in the end we've managed to get over the line."