Manchester City crowned champions at the Etihad as Huddersfield claim vital point

Manchester City celebrated their superlative domestic season by lifting the Premier League trophy on Sunday, but only after a result most uncharacteristic of their last nine months.

For only the second time this season, Pep Guardiola’s side failed to score in a Premier League match. For the first time, they failed to score at home. Blessed with the top-flight’s largest wage budget, they came unstuck against the club with its smallest.

Huddersfield Town were, instead, the ones with most to celebrate - taking a precious point away from the Etihad to raise their hopes of playing against at this level next season. David Wagner’s job is not done yet but this richly-deserved draw represents a welcome step towards safety.

At a sun-baked Etihad, the champions walked out to their third guard of honour since the title was confirmed, with members of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison’s 1968 First Division winners applauding them onto the pitch.

Chances in the game were few and far between (Getty)
Chances in the game were few and far between (Getty)

Kevin de Bruyne, Kyle Walker, Ederson and Raheem Sterling all emerged with young children in their arms, and as each of them juggled a toddler while performing the pre-match handshakes, one wondered whether this celebratory, end-of-term mood might irk the visitors.

After all, Huddersfield had no cause to celebrate just yet. Their season was far from finished, survival at this level by no means a certainty, and the Terriers refused to be City’s lapdogs in an closely-contested first half.

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Huddersfield could have taken an early lead when Aaron Mooy, formerly of these parts, cleverly slipped Florent Hadergjonaj through with a daisy-cutter of a free-kick. Hadergjonaj - a full back deputising in central midfield - had time and space to pick his spot but, in uncharted waters, he produced a tame effort that was safely held.

City fans were in a jubilant mood (Getty)
City fans were in a jubilant mood (Getty)

De Bruyne bit back a few minutes later with an attempt that zipped wide, but David Wagner’s side continued to threaten and Alex Pritchard came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first 45 minutes. After collecting Hadergjonaj’s pass 25 yards out, the Tottenham Hotspur youth product forced Ederson to tip a hissing shot around the post.

Huddersfield were not finished yet. Chris Löwe could and perhaps should have done better shortly after Pritchard’s shot when Mooy’s cute pass presented him with a sight of goal, but his strike was wide and high at the near post.

As City struggled on the pitch, problems arose off it too. A malfunctioning fire alarm caused some confusion in the Colin Bell Stand and led to a safety message being displayed on the Etihad’s big screen.

Strangely, the hosts improved once the screeching stopped, pinning their visitors back, but still they failed to create a clear-cut opportunity before the interval. Perhaps this most innovative of Premier League-winning outfits would have to resort to more tried-and-tested methods.

(Getty)
(Getty)

Leroy Sané’s corner at the start of the second half was dropped directly on top of a crowded six yard box and fumbled by Jonas Lossl, who collided with with his striker Steve Mounié. A goalmouth scramble briefly threatened to break out but Christopher Schindler was on hand to clear before City could stab home.

The attacking threat Huddersfield had shown in the first half ebbed away as Wagner’s side focused fully on their defensive duties. City, still, could not break them down. John Stones saw an attempt blocked, Gabriel Jesus headed over from an unmarked position and Bernardo Silva fired wide from a corner. Not one of them ever looked like scoring.

Rather than a City , there would instead be another late Huddersfield surge. Bernardo's slip allowed his fellow substitute Scott Malone to collect the ball from him and dart through on goal. Yet with an expectant away end willing him on, Malone struck straight at Ederson. There would be no late winner, but still much for both teams to celebrate.

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