The Man City headline that predicted domination over Manchester United after 2012 Premier League title

Manchester Evening News Sports 2 weeks ago

"Blue Heaven but Reds' Hell" read the front page of the Manchester Evening News on May 14, 2012.

Manchester City couldn't have written it any better. Needing to match United's result on the final day, City headed into injury time against QPR having thrown it all away.

But an equaliser from Edin Dzeko gave the Etihad an inch of hope, before Sergio Aguero wrote himself into City legend with that goal after 93 minutes and 20 seconds.

It's a moment that will never be repeated - two rivals going down to the last kick of the season. The title-starved Blues earning their first league triumph in 44 years ahead of the giants across town who had lauded their success over City for too long.

The 'Noisy Neighbours' comments from Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2009 only galvanised City to overtake United, and when it came three years later it was in the sweetest of circumstances.

But while the title was secured so dramatically on the final day, it was arguably won earlier in the season with two other hammer blows against United.

 

The first of those blows wasn't even fully felt at the time. Yes, City humiliated United with their 6-1 rout, but if they hadn't been so ruthless at Old Trafford back in October, the title could have ended up at United at the end of the season regardless of Aguero's iconic goal.

City finished a healthy eight goals ahead of United in the final league standings. The five goals they gained on United that day was the margin between winning the title on goal difference and losing it that way.

The second decisive blow over United, the hard-fought 1-0 win in April thanks to the thumping head of Vincent Kompany, was as vital to the title race as Aguero's goal.

With six games to spare, United were eight points ahead. City had lost 1-0 at Arsenal to put the title in United's hands. Roberto Mancini's squad would have to wait another year to lift the title they so desperately wanted to take from Old Trafford.

 

Not quite.

After slipping up at Wigan, United squandered a healthy lead at home to Everton to draw 4-4 two games later. That was five points dropped. City, full of confidence and with nothing to lose, welcomed United to the Etihad in the next game.

Step up Kompany, whose jumping celebration after his winning goal is as iconic a moment in the 2012 triumph as Aguero's. Eight points turned into zero points.

 

United had squandered their healthy advantage and the title was now in City's hands - beat Newcastle and QPR and it was theirs.

We all know what happens next. But it's easy to forget that the foundations for the historic 'Aguerooooo' moment were laid in those two devastating knockdowns of United earlier in the campaign. Aguero just delivered the final blow.

This wasn't a one-off. This was a statement of intent: Blue Heaven and Red Hell was a premonition of things to come for the rest of the decade - not just an reflection of what happened on that crazy day on May 13, 2012.


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