If two Cities could celebrate, Manchester City had known their coronation was only a matter of time. But the likelihood of Leicester City joining the new champions in the Champions League had diminished with each setback so the result that decided the 2020-21 title may have a greater eventual significance for the 2016 winners.
Leicester’s top-four push had been faltering. They lost 4-2 to Newcastle. They failed to beat 10-man Southampton, but in defeating a Manchester United side with 10 alterations, they ensured this opportunity was not squandered. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s decision to prioritise Thursday’s rearranged game with Liverpool may not meet with approval on Merseyside but victory puts Leicester nine ahead of Jürgen Klopp’s team and eight clear of West Ham. “A huge step,” said Brendan Rodgers. “The players have definitely overachieved with all the big teams around.” They are tantalisingly close to earning their place among the European elite. They can look forward to Saturday’s FA Cup final with renewed confidence.
“A chance for history at the weekend,” added Rodgers. They have already made some in recording a notable double over the finalists of continental competitions. They became only the fourth team to win away at both Manchester clubs in the same Premier League campaign. Seven months after a historic 5-2 demolition of Pep Guardiola’s team, Caglar Soyuncu secured victory at Old Trafford. His header was as emphatic as it was cathartic: Soyuncu had been horribly culpable against Newcastle but, as Jamie Vardy’s drought continued, two of Leicester’s defenders compensated.