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Real Madrid
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Bayern Munich
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Manchester City
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 By Simon Curtis

Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus link up to cap Manchester City's record-breaking season

An absolutely peerless season from Manchester City reached 100 points with the last kick of a truly sleepy match to end the campaign. Totally out of sync with the rest of this scintillating season, City stumbled across the finishing line with one final defiant piece of skill from Kevin De Bruyne and one last bit of ultra-clinical finishing from Gabriel Jesus to bring the curtain down on an unrepeatable effort with a 1-0 win against Southampton.


A sun-drenched stroll on the South Coast was petering out without some of the records that had seemed within City's grasp, until the 93rd minute, when De Bruyne finally found his range with a peach of a ball over the top and Jesus, still adjusting to the pace of the match, lobbed Alex McCarthy with a precision that had been notable by its absence in the game up to that point.


It would be easy to pass negative comment on a disjointed, disinterested first half and an only marginally more brisk second, but that would be trite in these unparalleled circumstances.

Manager rating out of 10

10 -- Clearly not a manager to be beaten or bamboozled by the various quirks of the English game, Pep Guardiola has conquered it in two short years. A masterwork by the Catalan rounded off on this occasion by the brush strokes of a Brazilian genius in the very last seconds of an unforgettable season for City fans.

Player ratings (1-10, 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK, Claudio Bravo, 6 -- Had started with a slightly unorthodox one-handed save when Jack Stephens broke through and shot and never looked totally at home with the fast-paced back passes being fired at him, particularly an airborne rocket from John Stones that sailed over his head whilst he was out for a stroll in the second half.

DF, Danilo, 7 -- Covered the runs of Nathan Redmond down the Southampton left pretty well. Adjusted to defensive changes when Fabian Delph came off and helped out in attack when he could.

DF, Aymeric Laporte, 7 -- Tidy and comfortable when pressed and composed and elegant bringing the ball out of defence. Rounded two tackles like a well-balanced midfielder on the most impressive of these forward raids.

DF, John Stones, 7 -- Some trouble marking Charlie Austin, a muscled man who seems unable to withstand even the gentlest of tackles without dropping to the ground. Header tipped over from Saints keeper Alex McCarthy and a majestically overhit lob back to Bravo that almost carried into the net.

DF, Fabian Delph, 6 -- Loose distribution early on, but comfortable after that. Swapped for Gabriel Jesus after only 58 minutes to spice up a wilting City attack.

Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring Man City's late winner at Southampton.
Gabriel Jesus' late goal earned Manchester City yet another record in their runaway Premier League-winning season.

MF, Ilkay Gundogan, 6 -- Apart from a weak shot wide, little or no effect in central midfield.

MF, Fernandinho, 7 -- Kept things ticking over as usual. Two most notable touches were a shinned volley that almost left the stadium and a block on the line when brilliantly positioned for Dusan Tadic's shot after Bravo had been rounded.

MF, Kevin De Bruyne, 7 -- Usual gold standard had not been reached but kept plugging away and fired over a wonderful assist for Jesus's last-minute clincher to claim the Premier League's inaugural Playmaker of the Year award with 16 assists.

MF, Leroy Sane, 7 -- Too fast for Cedric Soares down the left and represented City's main threat for large parts of the match.

MF, Bernardo Silva, 6 -- Quiet and unobtrusive display typified by a lazy pass to where he thought Delph might be running but wasn't. Replaced by Brahim Diaz on 78 minutes.

FW, Raheem Sterling, 8 -- Nominally City's most advanced player and also the most energetic. Keen to win the ball back in midfield, always on the front foot attacking the Southampton box, he hit the post after 59 minutes and never gave up the struggle.


FW, Gabriel Jesus 7 -- Came on early for Delph and immediately pepped things up. Was still showing when De Bruyne's majestic pass sailed in to the space in front of him. Still had plenty to do to get the ball down, under control and lift it over the onrushing McCarthy. Produced a celebration not unlike that of Sergio Aguero exactly six years earlier during a similarly late but crucial City winner.

MF, Brahim Diaz, NR -- Came on for Bernardo on 78 minutes to stretch a tiring home defence.

MF, Phil Foden, NR -- Late appearance for Gundogan on 81 minutes. Still time to show his class with a run to the by-line down the right, which produced a cross needing acrobatic attention from McCarthy.

Simon is one of ESPN FC's Manchester City bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @bifana_bifana.


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