Manchester City claimed their first English title in 44 years in barely believable circumstances on Sunday as stoppage time goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero snatched a 3-2 home victory over Queens Park Rangers.
With Manchester United’s players still on the pitch at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light after a 1-0 victory it looked as though they were about celebrate a 20th Premier League title with City still trailing 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
However, Dzeko’s header made it 2-2 and in almost unbearable tension Aguero burst into the area to angle a shot past Paddy Kenny and spark wild celebrations as City became top dogs for the first time since 1968.
“Five minutes from the end I did not think we could win this game. We deserved to win this championship,” City manager Roberto Mancini told Sky Sports.
“After 44 years I dedicate this to all our supporters.”
City and United both finished on 89 points with City’s better goal difference settling the most gripping title race since Arsenal edged out Liverpool on the final day of the 1989-90 campaign.
City had only needed a win against the London strugglers to prevail but after taking a first-half lead through Pablo Zabaleta the celebrations turned to disbelief as QPR hit back after the break with goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie.
To add some dynamite to an already explosive afternoon former City player Joey Barton was sent off for QPR after an off the ball elbow on Carlos Tevez.
It did not prove too costly, however, as QPR retained their Premier League status at the expense of Bolton Wanderers who were relegated after a 2-2 draw at Stoke city.
On a free-scoring climax to the English season Arsenal finished third, coming from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2 at the Hawthorns, edging Totetnham Hotspur into fourth after their north London rivals beat Fulham 2-0.
Arsenal will join City and United in the Champions League group phase while Spurs face an anxious wait to see if they get a crack at a Champions League qualifying tie.
Should Chelsea win the Champions League they would demote Tottenham to the Europa Lague.