Blue Moon rising

Blue Moon rising
Man City midfielder Samir Nasri (left) celebrating his goal with team-mate Pablo Zabaleta after scoring against West Ham to clinch the EPL title.

Fifteen years ago, when they were a basket case of a club marooned in England's third flight, the Manchester City fans first started singing "We're not really here".

They still do, but when they look at the final league table for this most extraordinary of seasons, they have proof they are there. They are top. City are champions.

A club who waited 44 years for a league title now have two in the space of three seasons. Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany scored to see off West Ham yesterday.

It was a final-day procession, unlike the incredible events of 2012, but City could savour the lack of injury-time drama this time.

Instead, this was a fitting finish as they rounded off their season with a fifth successive win.

It is a triumph for Manuel Pellegrini, the understated import whose debut campaign in England has finished in glory, and his team of cavaliers.

Exactly a year to the day since Roberto Mancini's last game ended in an FA Cup final defeat by Wigan, his successor has taken City to the top of the English game.

It was symbolic Nasri scored. He was one of a legion of unhappy, underachieving players last season. Now, he has been revitalised by Pellegrini.

City are a happier club and a more successful one. They are scoring more, celebrating more. Few ought to begrudge Kompany his goal, either. The Belgian's leadership has been invaluable.

Most of the stars of their season have been attackers, though. Pellegrini had promised City would approach the game with their usual adventurous intent. He was true to his word.

They were confronted by the massed ranks of the West Ham defence. They kept probing.

David Silva volleyed over, Yaya Toure curled a shot just wide and Aleksandar Kolarov had a thunderbolt tipped over but the pressure was relieved with the news that Newcastle were leading at Anfield.

City's afternoon became even better when Toure found Nasri, whose dipping drive went in off the inside of the post.

Silva almost added a second, his shot flying up off Andy Carroll's foot and on to the bar.

Kompany did double the score, converting like a striker after Edin Dzeko hooked down Nasri's corner.

Sergio Aguero somehow missed a chance to make it three and equal Chelsea's Premier League record of 103 goals but that was only a statistical blip.

Dzeko, Silva and Toure, three who have made major contributions this season, departed to standing ovations as City revelled in a season that has brought two trophies.

For West Ham, it could end in acrimony. This will probably prove Sam Allardyce's final game as manager.

This was a typical Allardyce display, concentrating on defence but lacking the flair the Hammers want.

It was a typical City win too.

This article was published on May 12 in The Straits Times.

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