Manchester City swoop in to claim the 2011/2012 Barclays Premier League title with a dramatic late win over relegation side Queens Park Rangers Thanks to a draw from Bolton as they faced off against Stoke City, Queens Park Rangers escape the relegation zone by two points and will see another season in the Barclays Premier League.
Manchester City dominated in their final fixture, well aware that a good result from their neighbors Manchester United against Sunderland could cost them the title. City did manage to close the eight point gap between themselves and the other side from Manchester and skip to the top of the table after their dramatic victory in the title-deciding Manchester derby in April. With 80% of the possession in their favor, it was no surprise that City were eventually the victors but Queens Park Rangers demonstrated admirable perseverance as their Premier League football was on the line. QPR were the first side to concede, managing to keep the attacking power of Nasri, Silva, Aguero and Tevez at bay until the 39th minute. With the help of Toure and Nasri, Argentinian defender Zabaleta scored his first, and well-timed, goal of the season, firing the ball past Kenny and settling the nerves around the stadium as United had taken the lead at Sunderland with just six minutes gone. City fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief and sit through halftime comfortably with a 1-0 lead while QPR fans lamented the possibility of relegation since Bolton had the 2-1 halftime lead in Stoke City. Coming into the second half, Manchester City continued to dominate but the brave Queens Park Rangers battled on. With just three minutes of the second half underway, Cisse struck gold at the Etihad. The striker took advantage of a wayward header from Lescott and had the composure to move forward and slot the ball past Joe Hart. The spirits in the Etihad began to drop and the nerves set in once again. The traveling QPR fans were elated, however, for anything more than a loss was enough to keep them above the drop zone. Their spirits were soon dealt a blow and the hopes of the City fans boosted when QPR dropped to ten men in the 55th minute. An elbow to Carlos Tevez from the notoriously hot-headed Joey Barton meant that the controversial midfielder was sent off. As of the red card wasn't bad enough, a frustrated Barton added to his problems by kicking Kun Aguero as he exited the pitch. High nerves, high intensity and everything on the line for both sides made for a nervy remainder of the second half. Manchester City fans were anxiously listening in for news from the Stadium of light while QPR fans prayed for an equalizer from Stoke. In the 66th minute, Jaime Mackie did the impossible. With ten men and the necessary points to remain in the top flight, Queens Park Rangers pressed on, fueled by the intensity of the fans and their unfavorable circumstances. A cross from Traore into the Manchester City penalty area was met by the head of Mackie and QPR took an astonishing lead at the Etihad, threatening Manchester City's hope of clinching the title. Mancini began desperately fueling his attack, bringing on strikers Edin Dzeko and the controversial, although quite entertaining, Mario Balotelli. The clock continued to tick in Manchester and the City fans were reduced to a deliriously nervous group. Queens Park Rangers fans were able to relax a bit after word cam through that Stoke had equalized in the 77th minute and Bolton needed a miracle to stay up. A miracle would come, but not in favor of Queens Park Rangers. Stoppage time set in on Manchester City. They were running out of time and Kenny had done an admiral job of keeping the 15 on-target efforts from the home side out of the back of his net. City continued to bombard the goal. The final statistic was 38 total shots taken on the Queens Park Rangers goal. 15 were on frame and 23 went wide. In stoppage time, Edin Dzeko hit the back of the net when it mattered most. Every City fan in the stadium and the entire bench on the side of the pitch were pressing their men, urging them to push forward and take advantage of the 10 men protecting the QPR goal. Dzeko's header brought out some cautiously optimistic cheers from the City fans as they inched closer to their destiny with every second that ticked on the clock. With two minutes left to secure the win, Manchester United fans were surely preparing themselves to celebrate in dramatic style in front of their defeated neighbors but Kun Aguero, the South American who had scored so many crucial goals for City since they acquired his services last summer, scored one of the most crucial goals of his career in the closing moments of the final game of his first season in the English top flight.