Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan lifts the trophy as he celebrates with teammates after winning the Premier League Image Credit: Reuters

Manchester: Manchester City celebrated their third consecutive Premier League title on Sunday as a much-changed side was still good enough to beat Chelsea 1-0 at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola's men clinched a fifth title in six seasons on Saturday when second-placed Arsenal were beaten 1-0 at Nottingham Forest.

That gave Guardiola the luxury of resting most of his star names with one eye on the FA Cup and Champions League finals next month as City go for the treble.


The strength of City's squad was exemplified by Julian Alvarez, who has spent most of the season as Erling Haaland's understudy, scoring his 17th goal of the campaign to extend the English champions' unbeaten run in all competitions to 24 games.

But a festive afternoon for City was marred at full-time as thousands of fans spilled onto the pitch despite pleas from the club to remain in the stands.

Guardiola made nine changes in all from the side that thrashed Real Madrid 4-0 in midweek.

The youthful hosts were still too sharp for the beleaguered visitors early on and took the lead on 12 minutes.

Alvarez continued his stunning season for club and country as the Argentine World Cup winner swept home Cole Palmer's pass.

Palmer made the most of a rare Premier League start and was unlucky not to double City's lead when his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by Trevoh Chalobah.

Defeat confirmed that Chelsea will end a miserable campaign in the bottom half and a familiar lack of cutting edge in front of goal showed why the Blues have struggled under three different managers this season.

Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan lifts the trophy as he celebrates with teammates after winning the Premier League Image Credit: Reuters

Raheem Sterling should have marked his return to the Etihad with at least one goal but was denied by a fine save by Stefan Ortega when one-on-one with the German goalkeeper.

Moments later Conor Gallagher headed onto the post with just Ortega to beat.

But the lack of jeopardy for both sides shone through as the majority of the game was played out at a snail's pace under the unusually baking Manchester sun.

Not that the home fans minded as they serenaded their side with cries of "championees" and bounced around doing the Poznan celebration with their backs to the pitch.

Chelsea had the better chances in the second-half to at least avoid a seventh defeat in nine games under caretaker boss Frank Lampard.

Even when the stand-in City goalkeeper Ortega was finally beaten by Sterling, John Stones was on hand to clear off the line.

Mykhailo Mudryk and Cesar Azpilicueta also wasted late chances to grab a point.

At the other end, Kalvin Phillips was inches away from his first City goal as the England midfielder's header came back off the inside of the post.

Alvarez had a second goal ruled out for handball by Riyad Mahrez 20 minutes from time before Guardiola gave the home crowd what they wanted by unleashing Haaland from the bench.

The Norwegian went for goal with his first touch and nearly teed up Rico Lewis with a shot across goal.

But he was made to wait for his 53 goal of the season as City serenely played out the final stages to open up a seven-point lead at the top of the table with two games remaining to Arsenal's one.

Fans celebrate Premier League title

The fans' celebrations were going strong as well by the time the City team bus arrived at the Etihad, which was surrounded by flag-waving supporters who set off blue smoke flares as they hailed their dynastic team.

City, seven points clear of Arsenal with two games left, would cement their status as one of English football's greatest ever teams if they can add the FA Cup and Champions League to their latest Premier League conquest.

Guardiola's treble chasers face Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley on June 3, then take on Inter Milan in Istanbul seven days later as they look to win the Champions League for the first time.

United were the last English club to win the treble in 1999 and City would relish the chance to emulate their rivals' feat.

Chelsea players lined up for a pre-match guard of honour for their City counterparts, who walked out onto the pitch with their children while club anthem 'Blue Moon' rang around the Etihad.

Leeds in danger 

With City's players and fans in festive mood, Alvarez ensured Chelsea wouldn't spoil the party. The Argentine forward produced a clinical finish from Cole Palmer's 12th minute pass.

At the other end of the table, struggling Leeds lost 3-1 at West Ham as Rodrigo's opener was erased by goals from Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini.

Sam Allardyce's side remain third bottom and are two points adrift of fourth bottom Everton, with both teams having just one game left.

Even if Leeds beat Tottenham at home on the final day of the season, the Yorkshire club would still be relegated if Everton win their last game against Bournemouth at Goodison Park.

Allardyce's team, whose goal difference is three worse than Everton's, are likely to need the Toffees to lose to have a chance of staying up.

Leeds, who last played in the Championship in 2020, have lost twice and drawn once in three games since Allardyce replaced the sacked Javi Gracia earlier this month.

"We haven't shown the quality when needed. So next week has to be much better to beat Tottenham. That's all we can do," Allardyce said.

Brighton secured European football for the first time in their history with a 3-1 win against Southampton.

Evan Ferguson netted twice in the first half and although Mohamed Elyounoussi got one back for already-relegated Southampton, Pascal Gross wrapped up Brighton's victory.

Roberto De Zerbi's sixth-placed side will ensure they play in the Europa League if they take a point from their last two games.

Brighton's vastly superior goal difference to seventh placed Aston Villa should guarantee they don't drop into the Europa Conference League.