Five moments that defined Manchester City’s second Premier League title

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source: AP


October 19, at West Ham United – Manchester City started the season with one point in its first three road games, sparking myriad speculation as to whether Manuel Pellegrini was having trouble adapting to the Premier League. Just as that theory started to gain momentum, City got two goals from Sergio Aguero at Upton Park, with David Silva adding a third in the Citizens’ 3-1 win. After going 0-1-2 in its first three, City would finish with 34 points away from home. Only Arsenal and Liverpool (35, each) had more.


source: Reuters


December 14, vs. Arsenal – Throughout the season, Pellegrini was never shy about going for goals, often leaving Vincent Kompany and Martín Demechlis isolated as City committed players forward. For those doubting whether the approach would hold up, Arsenal’s late-fall visit offered a proof of concept. Five different players would combine for six goals as City downed the Gunners, registering 22 shots while winning, 6-3. The Citizens’ 102 goals would fall one short of the league record.


source: Getty Images


December 21, at Fulham – If City’s road form wasn’t the first major test of the Pellegrini era, the goalkeeping position was. After Joe Hart’s mistake cost the Citizens a point at Stamford Bridge on Dec. 14, the England number one was benched, with Costel Pantillimon taking over for the next seven games. At Fulham, after City gave up three to Arsenal, Hart was back in the starting XI. City would go on to win their next seven in a row, with Pellegrini having successfully put his goalkeeper on track without sparking lingering controversy.


source: Getty Images


April 27, Liverpool vs. Chelsea – Stumbles at Anfield and at home to Sunderland gave control of the title race to Liverpool, who had won 11-in-a-row before its visit from Chelsea. Despite the Blues starting a depleted squad, Chelsea used goals from Demba Ba and Willian (and a memorable slip from Steven Gerrard) to take three points from the leaders. City was back in control of its destiny.


source: Getty Images


May 3, at Everton – Those who forecast another turn in the title race after City regained control were looking at the Citizens’ trip to Goodison. After Ross Barkley’s highlight reel goal put Everton up after 11 minutes, those predictions were set to come true, but thanks to a quick response from Sergio Aguero and two goals from Edin Dzeko, City recovered. The 3-2 win proved the Citizens’ final major hurdle on its way to a second Premier League crown.

Ferguson still being asked about Moyes: “We chose a good football man”

David Moyes Alex Ferguson
AP Photo/Martin Rickett/PA
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In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.

Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.

[ MORE: Tax evasion charges dropped against Messi, but not his father ]

One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.

In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.

From the BBC:

“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.

“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”

The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.

What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.

Tax evasion charges against Messi dropped; Case vs father continues

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, Barcelona F.C. star Lionel Messi, left, arrives at a court to answer questions in a tax fraud case in Gava, near Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona prosecutors are calling for the arrest of Messi's father in a tax fraud case. Prosecutors have cleared Messi of wrongdoing but are seeking an 18-month prison sentence for his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, for allegedly defrauding Spain's tax office of 4 million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
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Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.

Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.

From the BBC:

Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.

Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.