In the latest instalment of our 2017-18 season review we take an in-depth look at City’s run of games in April.
It was a month that saw City run the full gamut of emotions from the blow of exiting the Champions League to the joy of securing a third Premier League crown. Here we reflect on April game-by-game...
April began with a trip to Liverpool for the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final and, once again, City were left cursing our Anfield hoodoo with the Blues only having recorded one win at the ground in 37 years.
Pep Guardiola’s men had gone into the game on the back of an excellent run of form and began much the better team.
But a spell which saw the hosts score three first-half goals in under 20 minutes would ultimately prove decisive in determining who reached the semi-finals.
Mohamed Salah opened the scoring on 12 minutes before the Merseysiders then doubled their advantage on the half hour through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 20-yard shot. And a minute later Salah turned provider as his cross found Sadio Mane who headed in to leave the hosts firmly in the box-seat.
A run of huge fixtures continued three days later in the enticing shape of an Etihad derby against Manchester United with City going into the fixture in the knowledge that three points would secure us the Premier League crown.
All seemed set fair in a quite brilliant first 45 minutes which saw the Blues at their bewitching best. The Etihad was rocking when skipper Vincent Kompany headed in a 25th minute opener with a virtual carbon copy of his famous goal against United back in 2012.
City should have been home and hosed by half-time with several other gilt-edged chances going begging and we were made to pay for that profligacy when United staged a shock second-half comeback.
Paul Pogba struck twice in two minutes to turn the game completely on its head before Chris Smalling’s header compounded our frustration and left the Blues having to wait at least another week to officially be crowned champions.
We were back at the Etihad three days later for the deciding leg of our Champions League quarter-final with Liverpool.
Needing a quickfire start to help overturn that 3-0 deficit, City stormed out of the blocks with Gabriel Jesus opening the scoring inside two minutes. The Blues were in complete control and it looked as though we had struck again just before half-time but Leroy Sane’s effort was controversially ruled out for offside.
And as City chased the game, Liverpool took advantage and, against the run of play, they levelled through Mohamed Salah before another breakaway attack saw Firmino seal the tie.
Yet again, fortune had far from favoured the brave and after such a draining and disappointing seven-day stretch, a return to league action at Wembley to take on Maurico Pochettino’s in-form Spurs looked like a fixture fraught with danger.
We should have known better.
Those who wondered about City’s mental strength witnessed the perfect answer in the form of a quite sensational display that saw Pep’s players produce an attacking masterclass.
Tottenham were left simply chasing shadows and our dominance was rewarded with a cool 22nd minute finish from Gabriel Jesus before Ilkay Gundogan then dispatched a 25th minute penalty.
Though Christian Eriksen reduced the arrears with a fortuitous strike just before the break, City were not to be denied and a quite breathtaking victory was secured when Raheem Sterling struck from close-range.
Attention then switched to United’s home game with rock-bottom West Brom the following day where a defeat for the hosts would confirm City as champions.
And a shock 73rd minute winner from Jay Rodriguez earned the Baggies three points and sparked scenes of wild celebration amongst City’s players, staff and supporters with the 2017/18 Premier League title officially secured.
Seven days later, the title party really started in earnest at the Etihad with Swansea the visitors and the newly-crowned champions proved a class apart as the visitors’ relegation fears deepened.
City then rounded off a hectic month by once more donning their Sunday best, this time away at West Ham, where the Blues recorded a 30th league win of the season to equal Chelsea’s record which was set in 2016/17.
Once again, the poise and panache which had helped cement the Blues as a class apart all season were evident from the first whistle and a Leroy Sane effort and own-goal from former City star Pablo Zabaleta soon had the Hammers rocking on their heels and also brought us up to 100 league goals for the season.
Though Aaron Cresswell’s free-kick lifted the hosts’ spirits before the break, City were in irresistible mood and further goals from Brazilian duo Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho set the seal on another magnificent all-round display.
April may have started on a frustrating note but the brilliant Blues ended it on the highest of highs.