Champions! 5 key moments that won Manchester City the Premier League

Manchester City are Premier League champions for the fifth time in 10 seasons - underlining their status as the dominant side in English football.

Champions! 5 key moments that won Manchester City the Premier League

Manchester City are Premier League champions for the fifth time in 10 seasons – underlining their status as the dominant side in English football.

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A third league title of Pep Guardiola’s reign was anything but a foregone conclusion in the early months of a season like no other, played out almost entirely in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Manchester City stumbled in the early weeks of the campaign but found their groove in mid-December to streak clear of the chasing pack and wrap up the title with three games to spare.

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Below, a look at FIVE defining moments that swung the title race Manchester City’s way:

Ruben to the rescue

After a 5-2 thrashing by Leicester in their first home league game of the season, it was hard to imagine Manchester City would go on to boast by far the best defensive record in the Premier League.

However, within 48 hours of the Foxes running amok at the Etihad, Ruben Dias arrived for £62 million to end Guardiola’s defensive woes.

The Portugal centre-back not only brought his own mix of physical power and poise on the ball, but brought out the best in a revitalised John Stones as they formed a solid partnership.

In the 10 Premier League games they started together between December and February, City conceded just two inconsequential goals in taking a maximum 30 points to seize control of the title race.

West Brom crisis meeting

“I didn’t like what I saw,” said Guardiola after Manchester City dropped points for the seventh time in their opening 12 Premier League games in a 1-1 draw at home to West Brom.  

“I felt this is not the team I can recognise myself.”

The Catalan went back to the drawing board with his staff, while captain Fernandinho called a crisis meeting among the squad.

“We had to come back to our game, move the ball quicker, do more passes, stay in position, run less with the ball, do it together. We don’t have a specific player to win games, we have to do it together,” Guardiola later added.

A 21-game winning run followed to not only build a huge lead in the title race, but keep City on track for a treble.

Chelsea defeated despite Covid outbreak

Manchester City’s final game of 2020 at Everton was postponed just hours before kick-off due to a coronavirus outbreak among the squad that shut down the club’s training ground.

Less than a week later, Guardiola’s men travelled to Chelsea with just 15 senior players available due to positive cases.

Despite the adversity, City produced to that point their best performance of the season, sweeping the Blues aside with three goals in the first 34 minutes.

Fortress Anfield falls

Victory at Anfield was one of the few Premier League feats that had not been achieved by Manchester City since their Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008.

Liverpool’s title defence was already crumbling – after a 68-game unbeaten at home in the league stretching back nearly four years, Brighton and Burnley both won at Anfield prior to City’s visit.

City did not just end an 18-year wait for a league victory at Liverpool but did so emphatically with a 4-1 win thanks to a combination of sumptuous attacking play and two huge errors from Reds’ goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

Manchester United feel the pressure

Liverpool’s capitulation left Manchester United as the only other contenders to stop Manchester City, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men felt the pressure as soon as they became title contenders.

A 2-1 win at Fulham on January 20 took the Red Devils top of the table, although City had a game in hand to overturn a two-point deficit.

In United’s next league match, rock-bottom Sheffield United won at Old Trafford, kicking off a run of two wins in eight games that ended any realistic hope Solskjaer’s side had of ending an eight-year wait to win the title.

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Source : The South African More   

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State Capture: Lucky Montana wants evidence leader to recuse himself

Former Prasa boss Lucky Montana faced some grilling over his property purchases which total R36 million

State Capture: Lucky Montana wants evidence leader to recuse himself

The former Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Prasa, Lucky Montana has demanded that the evidence leader of the State Capture Commission, advocate Vas Soni, recuse himself from proceedings.

Soni has been cross-examining Montana in relation to his controversial tenure at the rail agency, as well as allegations that he used R36 million of its funds to  purchase properties around Gauteng with lawyer Riaan van der Walt.

Montana’s questionable property purchases in lush suburbs have faced immense scrutiny, even outside of the commission and he has denied there was anything dubious behind them.

Lucky Montana claims Vas Soni is biased

Advocate Soni grilled Montana about his business relationship with Van der Walt, the director of a company called Precise Trade. He also had links to Siyangena Technologies, a company which irregularly scored billions worth of contracts with Prasa. Both Montana and Van der Walt have enjoyed a rather profitable relationship, to say the least.

“Soni should recuse himself. He is showing signs of being biased. It is not in the interest of justice to continue like this. This narrative that Siyangena was given R4 million in contracts. The allegations were that it, for sure, made payments towards my properties through TTM Holdings,” Montana said.

“There is no Siyangena in any of the properties I have invested in. He is conflicted. He is so emotionally invested and passionate about this, because if I was not here, we were going to move from the basis that TTM paid Precise Trade. TTM did not pay Precise Trade”

Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana

It is alleged Montana used a shell company named Trade and Invest to purchase the houses through Van der Walt who has since left the country.

This isn’t the first time Montana has taken issue with Soni, having told the commission back in April that he is conflicted, having done work for Werksmans Attorneys.

The Johannesburg-based firm was conducted a series of forensic investigations into suspicious contracts awarded by Prasa. Montana, who headed Prasa from 2010 until 2015, is accused of abusing his power at the entity and awarding lucrative contracts to some of his associates.

Source : The South African More   

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