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Manchester City: The major figures underlying the Triple Crown

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This season, Manchester City’s magic number is three.

By defeating Inter Milan in the Champions League final on Saturday, they won the first continental Triple, becoming just the eighth team from Europe to do it, following nearby Manchester United in 1998–99.

They matched the achievement accomplished by Huddersfield Town, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United (twice) by winning the Premier League this season and completing a hat-trick of championships.

The number 115, which represents the amount of Premier League charges brought against City for alleged financial rule violations and which the club vehemently contests, will continue to be used as a talking point by its critics.

But for City supporters, the only statistics that matter are the extraordinary ones that reflect their team’s prowess on the field and demonstrate what has been their most successful season ever.

In order to give a picture of how Pep Guardiola’s team advanced to conquer Europe and complete their amazing Treble, BBC Sport looks through them.

We shall begin with the triumph that clinched it, one that City has been working toward ever since the group led by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan took control of them in 2008.

After Liverpool (six times), Manchester United (three times), Chelsea, Nottingham Forest (both twice), and Aston Villa, City is the sixth English club to win the European Cup at their 13th try.

The Blues have endured a protracted wait, with several heartbreaking close calls in previous seasons. Their first experience with intercontinental play was in the European Cup in 1968–1969, the year before they took home their first significant trophy outside of England, the 1970 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

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After making a comeback to the European Cup (now known as the Champions League) in 2011–12, they have participated ever since, making it to three quarterfinals, two semifinals, and one final (which they lost 1-0 to Chelsea in 2021) before their run to victory in Istanbul.

They maintained the status they have enjoyed since the group stage by entering Saturday’s match as strong favorites to win the trophy (Opta’s prediction model gave them a 74% chance of doing so), and they delivered by winning.

With an overall record of eight victories and five draws from their 13 games, they were able to finish the competition this season as the only unbeaten squad.

Additionally, they outscored their opponents by 27 goals during those games, scoring 32 goals while only giving up five. Their biggest victory was a 7-0 thrashing of the German club RB Leipzig in the second leg of their round-of-16 match. In a single game, no team was able to score more than one goal against them.

In a Champions League season, only two teams have ever recorded a superior goal differential: Bayern Munich in 2019–20 (+35) and Real Madrid in 2013–14 (+31). Naturally, they both prevailed in those seasons’ battle.

The final on Saturday marked City’s 60th competitive game in 2022–23 and their 44th victory.

Only one team has defeated City this season, and that team is Brentford, who defeated Guardiola’s squad both at home and away in the Premier League. This is impressive considering how often City has thrashed opponents to death.

In 31 games this season across all competitions, they scored three goals or more. Only four teams have ever accomplished 20 such scorelines in a single Premier League season: Liverpool in 2013–14 (21), City themselves in 2017–18, and City themselves in 2011–12 (20).

City led all teams in Europe’s top five leagues with 150 goals scored this season across all competitions. The Citizens also scored the other three — 156 in 2013–14, 169 in 2018–19, and 150 last season — making this the fourth time an English top-flight team has scored as many in a single campaign.

They also tied their own record set in 2018–19 for the most home goals in all competitions scored by an English top-flight team in a single season with 100 goals scored at Etihad Stadium this season.

Well done, United
Last Saturday, there were only two teams left that could prevent City from capturing the Triple Crown, and by a strange twist of destiny, one of those teams was the group attempting to maintain their position as the only English team to have done so thus far.

Manchester United gave it their all in an effort to preserve the distinction of their 1998–1999 accomplishment, but it was not to be as City’s triumph and continuation of their Treble were secured by the in-form Ilkay Gundogan’s double.

It was City’s seventh FA Cup victory, tied with Aston Villa for sixth most in the competition’s history; Arsenal has won the trophy the most times, with 14.

After 2018–19, they achieved the league and FA Cup Double again with the 2-1 victory at Wembley. After Arsenal (1970–71, 1997–98, 2001–02) and Manchester United (1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99), they are the third team to have done it on several occasions.

Unsurprisingly, City led all scorers in the FA Cup this season from the first round on with 19 goals. The Citizens were the last side to score more goals in a single season, with 26 goals en route to winning the trophy in 2019.

Gundogan’s goal in the first minute and a half of the FA Cup final, which beat Louis Saha’s strike for Everton against Chelsea in 2009 after 25 seconds, set the record for the fastest goal ever scored at Wembley.

After Steven Gerrard of Liverpool (2006) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal (2020), Gundogan went on to become the third captain to score twice in an FA Cup final in the twenty-first century. He also became the first player to ever score twice from beyond the box in a single FA Cup final (since 1963).

With this season’s haul, City have now won 16 major domestic trophies in the last 13 seasons, including the domestic treble of league, FA Cup, and League Cup in 2018–19. City are no strangers to success in England, especially under Pep Guardiola (more on him later).

By winning three consecutive top-flight championships this season, City joined a rare group that also includes Huddersfield Town (1923–26), Arsenal (1932–35), Liverpool (1981–84), and Manchester United (1998–2001 & 2006–09).

With this hat-trick, they have now prevailed in seven of the previous 12 years. They are the third team to accomplish this feat after Manchester United (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001) and Liverpool (1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984). They have also won it in five of the previous six seasons.

With nine victories, they are now tied for fourth place with Everton in the list of all English Premier League titles. Only three teams have amassed more victories than City in the English premier division since 1888: Manchester United (20), Liverpool (19), and Arsenal (13).

According to statistics, City’s 2017–18 season, when they smashed multiple records, including scoring 106 goals and earning 100 points, was their most spectacular or dominant season.

Additionally, the contest wasn’t as close as in some past elections, such those in 1967–1968, 2011–12, 2018–19, and 2021–22, where they won on the very last day (or, in the case of 2011–12, literally on the very last second).

Unusually, they were forced to follow a resurgent Arsenal who had the lead early but faded over the closing stretch for much of the season.

Only 42 of the 296 days of the season saw City in first place in the Premier League. In the history of the renamed top-flight, only two teams—City themselves in 2013–14 (15 days) and Manchester United in 2002–03 (31)—have held the top spot for fewer days while winning the championship.

City only held the number one spot between September and April, and never for more than three nights in a row.

Guardiola’s team had been eight points behind the Gunners as recently as April 7 with 10 league games remaining, but a run of 12 straight victories saw them emphatically catch up. It is the third time a team that was eight or more points behind the leader as late as April has won the championship; City was also responsible in 2011–12 and 2013–14.

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