Pep Guardiola’s side claimed the crown for a third year in a row and the fifth in the last six years, once again putting together one of those relentless winning runs that gives an air of inevitability to their eventual success.
City have been in plenty of tight title races over the years. Twice they have pipped Liverpool by a single point, one of those occasions coming last year when Ilkay Gundogan’s late goals to come from behind against Aston Villa brought back memories of Sergio Aguero, QPR, and all that in 2012.
There was nothing like that feeling of drama this time. City have finished the season with an five-point cushion over Arsenal, having won the title without kicking a ball with three games to spare when the Gunners lost 1-0 to relegation-battling Nottingham Forest.
Even when City were eight points behind at the end of March, most observers outside of north London foresaw Pep Guardiola’s men grinding down their rivals mentally and physically, and so it proved.
An unbeaten run that stretched to 25 games in all competitions before the final day defeat to Brentford had City fans believing the league title is just the first part of a treble which can be completed over the next two weeks.
It seems bizarre to think now that right up until the World Cup questions were being asked as to whether Erling Haaland, who finished the Premier League season with 36 goals from 35 league appearances, actually made Guardiola’s side worse as they sacrificed a midfielder to accommodate him.
Instead, the Norwegian has added a ruthlessness to City, a killer instinct to a side that can still pass you to death if they so wish, but who can now also shift the ball from their own box to the back of the opposition’s net in the space of a few seconds.
And so City have become the first side to make it back-to-back-to-back titles since Manchester United between between 2006/07 and 2008/09. Can anybody stop them making it four in a row?
Arsenal were not expected to be City’s primary challengers this season, but Mikel Arteta is well ahead of schedule in his project to make them contenders again. A lack of squad depth told in the end, but Arsenal built their challenge on a number of young talented players, and will surely come again.
Behind that, Manchester United have shown improvement under Erik ten Hag and Newcastle have forced their way into the top four for the first time in 20 years.
If Jurgen Klopp can get Liverpool’s midfield rebuild right this summer and Mauricio Pochettino can make sense of Chelsea’s undoubtedly talented but hugely unwieldy squad, next season promises an intense scrap for top four places.
Yet it is hard to pick one of those sides and say with any real certainty they are on City’s level or all that close to it. The only cloud on City’s horizon is that of the 115 Premier League charges against them.
Arsenal put together a superb first half of the season, on pace to match City’s Premier League record of 100 points at the midway point, but that only highlights the extent of their dip towards the end.
Third-placed United have a trophy in the cabinet and the opportunity still to scupper City’s treble hopes in the FA Cup final, but Ten Hag’s men are 14 points adrift in the table, a gap that still feels like a chasm.
Something radical needs to change this summer. Otherwise that old feeling of inevitability will quickly return.