The 2011/12 Premiere League was a rollercoaster ride. Few would have predicted the championship to go to the final match day, a day when either Manchester United and Manchester City could have won the premiership. When Man U defeated Sunderland earlier in the day, all pressure was on Robert Mancini´s side to deliver a victory in their final match against the lowly Queens Park Rangers. The odds were heavily stacked against what would be only the second title for the light-blue half of the famous Manchester football dynasty for the last 44 years. The blues seemed to be cruising when the 10-men QPR, against the run of play, went 2-1 ahead after a 66-minute strike by Jon Mackie. City seemed destined for a humiliating defeat after a season that promised so much. Then, Edin Dzeko scored, two minutes into extra time. Still, City were not out of the woods; they needed an outright win. Four minutes into extra time, seconds before the final whistle, Sergio Agüero shimmied into the box to slot home the season-defining goal and ensure a fairy-tale finish to the season for Man City.
It was pandemonium at the City of Manchester Stadium as the packed 40,000-strong crowd erupted in disbelief. There have been very few such nail-biting finishes to a top-flight football league in Europe. Before the start of the season, football pundits were betting high on City, but the belief was that the side was still too callow, too dependent on a handful of stars, its players too pampered on sky-high wages, to be able to pose a serious challenge to Man U´s stranglehold over Premier League in the last two decades. City proved once again that off-field analysis of premier league is as predictable as English weather. There were other interesting asides to the 2011-2012 season: the amazing performances of Newcastle and Totthenham, both of which finished above giants like Chelsea and Liverpool, the latter of which had a forgettable season, finishing without a single trophy; as if that was not enough, they even failed to qualify for next year´s Champions League.
The sixth-place finish of Chelsea, the finalist in this year´s Champions League, is an indication of the level of competition in top tier English football. Going by the fan base in Nepal, Man U undoubtedly has the biggest following of all football clubs, as it does in most other countries. But the growing fan base of Man City seems to be catching up. These days the jerseys of Agüero and Dzeko are as ubiquitous on Kathmandu streets as that of Rooney and Scholes. If Man City continues to play at the level they have shown they are capable of this season, Mancini´s brand of free-flowing, attacking football is sure to win many-many more hearts here and right around the world. Who´s your bet next season? We believe the City will be pretty hard to dislodge from the top come 2013