How Man City turned things around against Aston Villa - with Guardiola changes & Gundogan magic

With 15 minutes remaining Manchester City were 2-0 down, but somehow came back to beat Aston Villa 3-2 and win the league.

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A decade on from Sergio Aguero’s 94th-minute winner against Queens Park Rangers and Manchester City produced another unbelievable final-day triumph to wrap up the 2021/22 Premier League title.

Pep Guardiola’s men trailed Aston Villa by two goals as they entered the final 15 minutes, but three strikes in five minutes ensured the champions came back to win 3-2 and retain their crown.

But what happened in that final, hectic period of the game, and how did City manage to turn things around?

Manchester City claimed a sixth Premier League title on Sunday. Credit: Getty.Manchester City claimed a sixth Premier League title on Sunday. Credit: Getty.
Manchester City claimed a sixth Premier League title on Sunday. Credit: Getty.

Gerrard’s alteration

On 72 minutes, with Villa leading 2-0, Steven Gerrard made an alteration in the middle and took off Philippe Coutinho for Marvelous Nakamba.

Admittedly, the Brazilian was clearly struggling fitness-wise, and hadn’t made much of an impact in the game, but the change did disrupt Villa’s midfield structure.

From there, City suddenly had more time on the ball, were driving through the middle, and Nkamba’s introduction did not have the intended effect, and failed to add more protection for the defence.

Guardiola’s changes

While Gerrard got his changes wrong, Guardiola certainly got his right. Oleksandr Zinchenko, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan were brought on in the second half, while ex-Villa man Jack Grealish remained on the bench.

Guardiola collected a fourth Premier League title. Credit: Getty.Guardiola collected a fourth Premier League title. Credit: Getty.
Guardiola collected a fourth Premier League title. Credit: Getty.

All three of City’s goals in the latter stages involved substitutes, with Sterling crossing into Gundogan for this first, while Zinchenko provided the assist for Rodri’s equaliser.

But the title-winning goal was netted via Gundogan, with the German ghosting in at the back post and touching in Kevin De Bruyne’s exquisite cross.

Gundogan’s magic

Was this the greatest cameo appearance in the history of the Premier League? Perhaps so.

But Gundogan came on with 22 minutes of normal time remaining and produced an assist and two goals to hand City the title.

The midfielder seemed to be on a one-man mission and Villa could do nothing to stop him driving forward with the ball and finding great spots in the box.

Gundogan played a part in all three City goals. Credit: Getty.Gundogan played a part in all three City goals. Credit: Getty.
Gundogan played a part in all three City goals. Credit: Getty.

Villa’s collapse

Was it written in the stars? Destiny? The perfect way to end an outstanding title race? Who knows, but the moment City got their first, it felt as if the tide had turned.

The stadium immediately was on its feet, cheering, pushing the sky blue men towards two more strikes. There was something relentless, unstoppable from that point on, and it was only a matter of time until City came from behind.

Despite that, Villa did their best to assist Guardiola’s men in their pursuit of glory. The side had defended stoutly for so long and then just simply folded under the pressure.

The Villans couldn’t keep the ball, were unable to stop City’s passes and couldn’t pick out Ollie Watkins with his clearances.

Running down the clock

While it was a late comeback from City, they actually netted their third goal in the 81st minute, meaning they had over 10 minutes left to play including injury-time.

But the Premier League champions found every way possible to run down the clock; winning fouls, heading into the corner and earning plenty of throw-ins and corners.

When the board was held up to indicate four minutes of added-on time, Ederson and Kevin De Bruyne conveniently picked up little niggles which managed to eat up a few seconds and kill any potential hope of a Villa fightback.