On this day, May 9, 2018: Manchester City smash Premier League records
Guardiola's side beat Brighton 3-1 at the Etihad as fans say goodbye to midfielder Toure
The Premier League records were being smashed left, right and centre.
Pep Guardiola's rampant Manchester City side has just brushed aside Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium, thanks to goals from Danilo, Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho.
The victory had taken them to 97 points, with one game to go, which meant Guardiola's team surpassed the 95-point tally set by Chelsea under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05.
Another Chelsea record – this time from 2009-10 when Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti was in charge – had bitten the dust when Silva had slotted home the second, taking City to 104 goals for the season. Fernandinho took them to 105.
And finally, with another three points safely in the bag, 31 victories in 37 games passed the 30 registered by – yes, you've guessed it – Chelsea last term and equalled the all-time top-flight record set by Tottenham Hotspur's double-winning team of 1960-61.
But Guardiola – who had seen his team clinch the title with five games to spare; another Premier League record – was certainly not finished. For that season and beyond.
He said: "We cannot deny, we are so proud [of the records]. I am not saying we are the best [PL side] but we did the best season ever.
"Nobody scored more goals, more points. Now it's 97 so if someone wants to beat that record they have to be good and win a lot of games. Today is a special day.
"Ninety-seven points, a lot of goals, a lot of wins, that is a consequence of the season we have done.
"We want 100 points to finish this almost perfect season in the Premier League.
"To be considered one of the best, you have to win more. To be alongside [Manchester] United in the 1990s or Liverpool in the 1980s you have to win more.
"I am not saying we are a legend team, I am not saying we are better than them. No, because you have to make more years to do that."
The night would also see City fans give midfielder Yaya Toure an emotional send-off after his final appearance at the Etihad.
Toure, named captain for the first time since April 2016, was given a standing ovation when he was taken off after 85 minutes.
At full-time, his brother Kolo – who also played for City – emerged to present his younger brother with a commemorative shirt.
The 34-year-old had Ivorian had been a key player throughout his eight seasons in Manchester, winning three titles and seven trophies in total, after moving from Barcelona for £24 million (Dh108.8m) in 2019.
Add to that an impressive 82 goals from 316 appearances and his importance to the City revolution under their Abu Dhabi owners was clear.
“He will always be part of the club and will be loved. His speech afterwards in the changing room was absolutely amazing,” Guardiola said. “Without doubt one of the most important players in our history."
And what was Toure's over-riding takeaway from his time at the club? “United was in our way. When I came to City, to be a big club, we had to remove them,” he said.
“The fans have been so long in the shadows of United and now they live in this city like they are the kings.
“I said when I came I wanted to leave the club with big achievements. We made it and it was perfect.”
In their final game, City would beat Southampton 1-0 at St Mary's Stadium, thanks to a last-gasp winner from substitute Gabriel Jesus, and reach 100 points for the season.
They finished 19 points ahead of nearest rivals Manchester United and broke Tottenham's 57-year-old record for victories in a single top-flight season.
Published: May 9, 2020 06:58 AM