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Foden strikes twice as City defend Premier League crown

Phil Foden struck twice early on as Manchester City secured an historic fourth successive Premier League title with a convincing win over West Ham.

There were few signs of last-day nerves from Pep Guardiola’s dominant side, although a spectacular effort from Mohammed Kudus just before half-time at the Etihad Stadium did give rivals Arsenal brief hope.

Yet that was soon extinguished as Rodri drove home City’s third to complete their sixth league success in seven seasons under the inspirational Pep Guardiola on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

The victory ensured they could not be caught by the second-placed Gunners regardless of their result against Everton.

Arsenal had needed a favour from West Ham, who were already confirmed in ninth place and were playing out the final match of David Moyes’ second spell as manager.

With City having shown little sign throughout the run-in of pressure affecting them, only optimistic Arsenal supporters were expecting them to slip up.

It took less than two minutes to dash even their hopes as City powered out of the traps to put the matter beyond all reasonable doubt.

With the sun blazing down and their player of the season Foden at his magical best, they did it in style.

Foden took a Bernardo Silva pass on the right and cut inside, skipping past a challenge from James Ward-Prowse and drilling a left-foot shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.

The atmosphere had already been buoyant but it was at this point the party really seemed to begin and City revelled in the occasion.

West Ham, without Jarrod Bowen due to tonsillitis, could do little to repel the hosts and it seemed only a matter of time before they doubled their lead as Jeremy Doku twice tested Alphonse Areola.

Rodri also lashed an effort wide but the second goal duly arrived on 18 minutes as Doku pulled the ball across the box and Foden swept home with a first-time shot.

Erling Haaland looked set to add another but Konstantinos Mavropanos did just enough to put him off as he shaped to shoot before Areola also denied the Norwegian.

The Hammers stirred before the break as Kudus forced a save from Stefan Ortega and then pulled one back with a stunning overhead strike.

It came following a corner as the ball struck Tomas Soucek and was flicked up into the air, with Kudus reacting instinctively to connect with a powerful bicycle kick.

With news filtering through soon after that Arsenal had equalised against Everton, to some the seeds for second-half drama may have been planted, but in reality there was little chance.

Haaland fired narrowly over and Kevin De Bruyne shot just wide soon after the break.

City tightened their grip and West Ham had seen little of the ball when Rodri powerfully guided home City’s third from the edge of the box just before the hour.

There seemed little motivation from West Ham to respond and City calmly stroked the ball around.

Haaland went close to adding another when the ball glanced off his shoulder and flew inches wide.

Some hearts may have been in mouths when Soucek put the ball into the net two minutes from time but it clearly struck his arm and was disallowed by VAR.

City saw out five minutes of stoppage time without alarm and the celebrations began in earnest with thousands of fans ignoring requests to keep off the pitch.


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