MANCHESTER, England — Pep Guardiola spent the day golfing. Raheem Sterling was relaxing on his sofa. Vincent Kompany, trailed by the cameras of Manchester City’s in-house television station, was with his family. In the end, none of them needed to do anything for Manchester City to be crowned Premier League champion.
Guardiola and his team had hoped, of course, to win a third championship in seven years in rather more satisfying circumstances: had Guardiola and City beaten Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium last Saturday, they would have claimed the title on home soil, against their fiercest rival. Despite leading by two goals at halftime, though, City collapsed, losing by 3-2.
Guardiola was phlegmatic in defeat: all City had to do, he said, was win two of its remaining six games.
In the end, one was enough. After 10 days in which City had crashed out of the Champions League quarterfinals to Liverpool and lost the Manchester derby, Guardiola’s team swept Tottenham Hotspur aside on Saturday night, winning by 3-1 at Wembley. On Sunday morning, its lead at the top of the Premier League was 16 points.
United, its nearest contender, had been expected to cut that back to 13 — with five games to play — on Sunday. José Mourinho’s United was at home to West Bromwich Albion, rooted to the foot of the table, all but assured of relegation, and coming to the end of a season in which it has fired two managers, a chairman, a chief executive and a director of football.
Even Kompany was not expecting much at Old Trafford. On Sunday morning, he asked his Twitter followers which games they would be watching on a busy day around Europe. He name-checked eight games — Milan against Napoli, Schalke against Borussia Dortmund, Celtic against Rangers, P.S.V. Eindhoven against Ajax — but not the one that could decide the title.