It's not often the title race has gone to the final day of the season recently. In the noughties, it only happened twice: in 2007-08 and 2009-10, and on neither occasion was there any genuine tension. Manchester United survived a couple of scares in 2008 at Wigan, but ultimately won 2-0 comfortably, while in 2010 Chelsea romped to an 8-0 victory over Wigan at Stamford Bridge as United sullenly and pointlessly beat Stoke City 4-0 at home. There were more nail-biters in the 90s: Andy Cole v Ludo Miklosko in 1995, Andy Cole's redemption at Middlesbrough in 1996 and Andy Cole's cute lob against Tottenham to secure the first part of United's treble in 1999. Forget Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and David Silva, if Manchester City want to win the league today, they should have signed Andy Cole.
Unfortunately the denouement of this year's title race could fall into the noughtie camp. All Manchester City have to do to win their first league title since 1968 is beat relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers at home, and save for an untimely bout of Cityitis, James Milner running the ball into the corner to protect the draw with City needing a goal for example, you wouldn't bet against anything else. City's record at home in the league this season is immaculate and reads P18 W17 D1 L0 F52 A10. QPR's away record is P18 W3 D2 L13 F17 A38. They haven't won on their travels 19 November 2011. They let Fernando Torres score a hat-trick against them in their last away game. Squeaky bum time? No, you're unlikely to hear even the teensiest peep today.
City's potential for tragicomedy remains – just look at this shirt – but last week's emphatic win at Newcastle smacked of a team very much in control of their own destiny. In a tight match they could easily have lost, City stayed patient, trusted in their ability and eventually prised open a Newcastle defence that was becoming increasingly stubborn. From the moment that Yaya Toure curled the ball deliciously past Tim Krul at
the Sports Direct Arena St James' Park, City had an iron grip on the trophy and are unlikely to relinquish it now. They threw it away once; surely they're not about to do it again, having made up that eight-point gap on United.
Not now. Not with the finishing line in sight. But Sir Alex Ferguson has already been referencing Devon Loch – though if City blow this, collapsing at the final hurdle will no longer be referred to as a Devon Loch, it will be 'doing a City'. Hear about that horse in the 1956 Grand National? Yeah, it did a City. It's been a strange old season, with unpredictable occurrences all the way through – United blowing an eight-point lead, Barcelona losing to Chelsea, Stewart Downing missing that penalty against Chelsea – and you wouldn't put anything past Manchester City. Not even this version. Even if they're 3-0 up after 15 minutes and this does turn out to be a damp squib. Let's see Richard Scudamore try to hype that up!
Yet while QPR tend to be the most bewildered visitors since Brad and Janet turned up at Frankenstein Place, City might have hoped for opponents with nothing to play for – which is what United have in the shape of Sunderland, whereas Mark Hughes's side are battling to avoid relegation. They can stay up even if they lose, but then they would need Bolton not to win at Stoke; if Owen Coyle's side pick up three points, those celebrations on the pitch at Loftus Road are going to look rather foolish, which would fit in with the QPHAHA vibe they've been going with this season (and for most of the other seasons in the last 15 years to be fair). They won't be short of motivation though, not with Hughes eager to avenge his public humiliation by Garry Cook at this ground in December 2010. A minor point of concern for City will be that Hughes has never lost as a visiting manager at the City of Manchester Stadium. Now wouldn't be a good time to break his duck.
Team news: Three former Manchester City players could be relegated at their old ground: Shaun Wright-Phillips, Nedum Onuoha and Joey Barton all start for QPR. Mark Hughes is going for it as well – he's picked Bobby Zamora and the Lord of the Manor of Frodsham up front. Mario Balotelli is on the bench for City. What odds on him driving on to the pitch in a malfunctioning clown car?
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Barry, Yaya; Silva, Nasri, Aguero; Tevez. Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Milner, Dzeko, De Jong, Kolarov, Balotelli
QPR: Kenny; Onuoha, Hill, Ferdinand, Taiwo; Mackie, Derry, Barton, Wright-Phillips; Zamora, Cisse. Subs: Cerny, Gabbidon, Taarabt, Campbell, Bothroyd, Traore, Buzsaky.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
The own goal contest: three ex-City players in the QPR line-up, but three ex-United players in the Sunderland team. And on that subject, Justin Kavanagh emails in with tales of his dream. It's ok, it's suitable for a family website.
Spoiler alert. Strange dreams last night, which appeared in split-screen, like the old Woodstock movie: In the red screen, Sunderland went two goals up thanks to the errors of Rio and Johnny Evans (one playing with a Zimmerframe, the other in a clown's outfit). Meanwhile, in the blue half, Joey Barton tweeted successfully for the existential necessity of a penalty to QPR before the teams had left the dressing room. An incandescent Balotelli then hit Joe Hart for not saving it, and City were a goal and two men down before kick-off. With three minutes to go, they equalized through Tevez, playing in natty golfing shoes and cap. But meanwhile in the red frame, late-sub Berbatov was flicking in two "screw-you Fergie" goals between cigarettes. This led to a besuited Niall Quinn jumping on a beautiful Arabian racehorse called Rock of Djibril Cissé and dashing into the blue frame screaming to the City players that they might need another goal. But as this was happening, Roberto Mancini took off Tevez, Agüero, and Džeko, with the words "safa-ty first, is for best, no?" Just then Wayne Rooney nodded in the title-winner and lifted his shirt to reveal the legend "Why not me City, why not me?" I'm sorry if this spoils the drama for everyone today: I must lay off the cheese before bedtime.
I saw Joe Kinnear in London last night. Despite my profession, I was disappointed he didn't call me a ****.
Elsewhere on the sports desk, they're trying to work out what to call this most momentous of Sundays - Sunday won't do. Nor will Super Sunday. But if they'd done their homework, they'd know that Phil Brown has already coined Seismic Sunday. If we're not careful, we'll all be talking Phil soon.
Required pre-match reading: 10 small moments that had a big impact on the title race. Do you have any more suggestions?
"I'm in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where the press have dubbed it "Significant Sunday"....hmmm not too sure about that," says John Gullidge. "On the plus side the satellite tv here is showing no fewer than five live games, they've even created a new channel today just to show Stoke/Bolton." FOOTBALLFOOTBALLFOOTBALLFOOTBALLBALLFOOT!!!!!!!!!
"This may sound strange from a Blackburn fan but rooting for a City win," says Jonathan Morgan. "In a region already hard hit by the recession (and job losses of 40% predicted for us after relegation), really hoping Bolton manage to stay up today. First part of that is City beating QPR; harder part is Bolton beating Stoke."
I reckon Championship sides should be wanting QPR to stay up. They'd be stronger opposition than Bolton.
The wonderful Alessandro Del Piero has scored in his final appearance for Juventus today. This is a lovely celebration.
Manchester City's players are in the tunnel. City are wearing those blasted blue tracksuit tops again. This has to stop.
The players are out of the tunnel at sunny City of Manchester Stadium. City seem calm and composed. Surely they can't mess this up. Surely.
We're off. QPR, in their red and white away shirts, get things going. They're kicking from right to left. City have already lost the toss then. Typical City. City jigger about with the ball on the edge of the City area, before Ferdinand cuts out a pass through to Aguero. "10 small moments was good though could have used a few where City screwed up to make things tighter than necessary. How about a 10 refereeing decisions that influenced the race? Not necessarily mistakes just close decisions that were important," says Gene Salorio. "I'm in the USA watching an excellent stream of the match on ESPN3. Unfortunately the audio is unlistenable-to since it is polluted by the oleaginous Ian Darke and a mindless Macca - they make announcers on ITV sound like Kenneth Clark."
2 min: QPR have yet to touch the ball, beyond a few clearances belted into the City half. The pattern of this one is set.
3 min: This is a fine start from City. Aguero diddles across the QPR area from the left, and then slips a pass through to Tevez. He can't quite bludgeon his way through, Taiwo booting it behind for a corner. Silva takes it, but can't beat the first man. Overrated. "Counterfeit Manchester City replica shirts appearing in the sports bars of Beijing, the surest sign yet of MCFC's forthcoming global domination?" says Steve George.
5 min: "On this time of looking back, on the last day of the Season, compliments for being, Howard Webb to Lord Ferg style, my second-favourite MBM-officiator!" says Ryan Dunne. "Be honest: do you MBM guys not miss the excitement during the off-season? Luckily this year there's the Olympics and Euro 2012 (and presumably multiple times *daily*) MBMs to look forward to!" Second favourite? Dead to me. During the summer, you can find us all weeping in the corner of a darkened room.
6 min: Aguero's persistence, refusing to let the ball run out for a goal-kick on the left, leads to the first half-chance. He plays it back to the edge of the area. Tevez has a comical swipe and miss, and then Toure blasts a shot well wide under pressure. "The title is over, so today is purely about Mancini vs Hughes," says Ethan Dean-Richards. "Mancini is Dustin Hoffman, Mark Hughes is the taxi driver, and maybe Brian Kidd is the Jon Voight (looked it up) character."
7 min: QPR have hardly been out of their half. Kenny has to deal quickly with a panicky backpass from Ferdinand, which was stabbed straight at him from some pace. There's the first shot on target from either side.
9 min: That beeping sound you can hear is the QPR bus reversing into their goal. Their main method of attack so far has been to pass it back to Kenny for him to whack it up the pitch. "Survival Sunday," says Peter Wahlberg. "That's what they're calling it here in the US, despite the fact that most of the action is at the top of the table ). They're also showing all 10 matches between the dedicated soccer channels and ESPN, though even the potential excitement of watching Norwich-Villa live is having difficulty competing with the fire engine with its ladder up at the building across the street. (Everything looks to be okay and all, but, y'know, fire.)"
10 min: QPR have an extended period of possession for three seconds, before Twitter and Newsnight's Joey Barton gives the ball back to City. You're not playing for them any more, Joey.
11 min: Nasri drags a speculative effort well wide from 30 yards out. For all that they can't keep the ball, QPR haven't overly been troubled yet. But you'd have to expect City to carve out chances sooner rather than later.
12 min: An explosion of noise from their QPR fans as
their team puts together four passes in a row they hear that Jonathan Walters has put Stoke ahead against Bolton. If it stays like that at the Britannia Stadium, it doesn't matter if QPR lose here, which isn't the best news for Manchester United.
14 min: "Blackburn's very strange win at Old Trafford; the only other side United have lost to at home was City," says Jonathan Morgan, offering up significant moments. "Fergie's bizzare selection against us, really has cost them. They would of been top of the league if they had drawn or beaten us at Old Trafford back in January." They were ravaged by injuries at that point, although Park and Rafael in the centre was weird.
15 min: Silva drives a cross into the area from the left. It should be a simple take for Kenny, but for a moment it looks like he's dropped it at the feet of Nasri in hapless fashion. He managed to retrieve the ball.
16 min: This is better from Kenny. From a similar position, Silva hammers a shot on target. It's straight at Kenny, but firmly hit, and the QPR goalkeeper does well to hold on to it. He seems to have hurt his fingers making the save though.
18 min: Kenny is now putting tape on his fingers. QPR appear to be on the verge of calamity at any point in defence. Silva hangs a cross to the far post. It should be comfortably dealt with by Taiwo, but he bizarrely cushions his header back into the six-yard box. Luckily for him, it fell to a QPR defender, or else that could have been very costly and very embarrassing.
19 min: A stoppage in play after Joey Barton gets a bang on the head challenging for a header. There's not much sympathy for him from his former supporters.
20 min: Could it be on? Is it really on? Really? Wayne Rooney has made it Sunderland 0-1 Manchester United. The champions, as it stands, are top by two points. The stadium has suddenly gone a bit quiet. City need a goal and they need to improve in the final third, because QPR are digging in.
21 min: It's probably not on. Zabaleta fizzes a cross into the area from the right. At the far post, Tevez flings himself at the ball like Keith Houchen. But gets nowhere near it.
22 min: City's support is awful. They're just waiting for their team to score, but they need encouragement against obdurate defending from QPR. They're defending as if their lives depended on it.
23 min: The first sight of goal for QPR. Gareth Barry catches Cisse with a high boot just outside the City area, offering QPR a chance to test Hart with a free-kick in a promising position. Can they bring on Adel Taarabt just for this?
24 min: Hart makes a good save to keep out Cisse's effort. It was tapped to him, and he beat the ball with a skidding shot that Hart got down well to save. He would have seen that late. "Whilst I realise the Merseyside clubs are not priority, same goals for, against, and only a point apart, I was about to ask what happens if they're totally equal come end of the day," says Duncan Smith. "Then realised my maths was rubbish. Then Everton scored. Ignore me."
26 min: Shaun Wright-Phillips does his best to give City a penalty with a preposterous handball on the edge of the area. It's this far outside. Silva's free-kick clangs into the wall.
27 min: Nigel De Jong has been sent to warm up by Mancini. Surely he won't be introduced already? It was his introduction, of course, at Newcastle that allowed Yaya Toure to move forward and score the two goals that should be decisive in the title race.
28 min: I thought City would be 100-0 up by now. Shows what I know.
28 min: An excellent cross by Cisse from the right. Pinpoint. Unfortunately every other QPR player was camped inside their own six-yard box. Manchester City have had 80% possession in the first half.
30 min: Silva pokes a pass through to Aguero. He strains to throw Ferdinand off him, but the QPR defender stays firm and refuses to allow him to turn. The ball breaks clear in the area, but it simply won't fall for any City player. QPR are defending excellently.
31 min: "Nothing better than the As It Stands graphic on the last day," says Simon McMahon. "Are City really going to blow this? And by the way, you're my favourite." Steinberg 1-0 Smyth.
32 min: Tiki-taka has taken a real battering in recent weeks. If games were judged on possession alone, City would already have won the league. Instead they haven't created a good chance yet.
33 min: Intricate build-up play from City ends with Tevez laying a pass back to Silva, and he strikes it wide from 20 yards out. There's a strange lack of conviction from City around the area at the moment, which hasn't been present in the last five games.
35 min: This is not going to plan for City. Yaya Toure has gone down clutching his hamstring. He's limping and stretching it out, but it doesn't look good for him. I didn't know wrecking balls had hamstrings.
36 min: Mario Balotelli is sitting down on the touchline, a brooding expression on his face. What's he planning? What's he up to? How many custard pies is he hiding underneath his shirt?
37 min: Aguero, for the first time, gets round the back of the QPR defence, but his cross is too high and too far ahead of any of his team-mates. It goes out for a throw-in to QPR on the far side. City have tightened up here. They need something to lift them; even a stirring tackle will do at this point.
38 min: The problem for City is that they don't really have the attacking presence to start flinging the ball into the area, so with QPR following the Chelsea example against Barcelona, their one-twos and through-balls need to be judged to perfection. So far, they haven't worked.
GOAL! Manchester City 1-0 QPR (Zabaleta, 39 min): Out of nothing, Manchester City take the lead and it's thanks to a player signed by Mark Hughes. David Silva slipped a pass into the area for Yaya Toure, who simply shuffled it on to the onrushing Zabaleta, who had made a strong burst into the area. For the first time, he had a clear sight of the QPR goal. However he shot straight at Paddy Kenny, who helpfully kneeled down, parried the ball up into the air and then allowed it to spin agonisingly into the net. For some very strange reason, he couldn't move quickly enough to retrieve the error.
40 min: Just before City scored, Bolton equalised at Stoke thanks to Mark Davies. Another Bolton goal and QPR will be in the bottom three. But worryingly for City, after Zabaleta's goal, Toure was down again. Will he make it back out after the break? It looks unlikely. He's a passenger.
43 min: Now QPR are actually going to have to attack, which could be tricky with the 10-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0 formation they're currently employing.
44 min: Now they simply have to: it's now Stoke 1-2 Bolton. What a turnaround in the last few minutes. As it stands, QPR are going down.
45 min: Yaya Toure limps off, unable to shake off his injured hamstring, and Nigel De Jong comes on. There will be three added minutes of half time. "More likely indoor fireworks under Balotelli's shirt," honks David Parkinson.
45 min+2: For all the glorious attacking talent at City's disposal, the first goals in their last three games have been scored by Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta. Does that make them False Nines?
Half time: Manchester City 1-0 QPR. Mike Dean brings the first half to a close and as it stands, Manchester City are 45 minutes from winning their first league title since 1968 and QPR are going down, and it's all thanks to the buffoonery of Paddy Kenny. It's been fraught, nervous and tense, as is befitting of a title decider. No one said it was going to be easy*.
*I might have said it was going to be easy.
Half time emails.
"Hi Jacob," writes Shannon Campbell, "I was following the MBM from that Smyth bloke and he mentioned you were tippy tapping the tiki taka tales from Maine Road. What a breath of fresh air you are. Young, dynamic and full of verve like those Man City lads. Just a whisper between us, its about time some of the old guard got a hoot under their perch. Lets hope Man City can pull this off. Oh, a goal, Hurrah!!"
"A blunder by Paddy Kenny," says David Holmes. "In slow motion it looked he was trying to squeeze the ball like it was a large lemon. No surprise then it slithered up and into the goal. It's not what I learned to do in goal-keeping classes."
"A forward thinking manager would adopt a 11-0-0-0-0-0-0-0…" says Peter Robertson. Paddy Kenny as the libero yeah?
"What a brilliant colour for a shirt," says Andrew Robinson, referring to Juventus's pink number. Like a bicycle shirt."
"I'm hoping City do end up dropping points today, for no other reason than to try and cement Rob Smyth's use of 'bottlejobbery' in every football fan's vocabulary," says Tom Eden. "He used the term in his preamble for the United game, and i cant be the only one who would enjoy the pre season more if The Guardian fronted campaign during the close-season. It's wonderfully expressive, with a hint of vulgarity – perfectly capturing the feelings of city fans if the unthinkable happens today."
"On the evidence all over the league today, it is clear that the goalkeeper's union not only thinks that a 39th game overseas is a terrible idea, but is also under the impression that there are only 37 games each season," says Prateek Chadha.
46 min: City get us going again. Can they seal the deal and win the league? Can QPR stay up? Can QPR muster a shot? Will they get into City's half. Clichy whips a cross in from the left and Aguero dashes across Hill at the near post, but Kenny this time opts not to help his improvised effort into the net. Well done Paddy! A corner to City, but it comes to nothing.
47 min: Nasri whacks an ambitious free-kick over the top, when everyone was expecting a cross. "I am 37 year old New Zealand male, looking for a Visa to remain in Britain, so I may just take you up on that offer!" says Shannon Campbell. I took that as a given.
INCREDIBLE! Manchester City 1-1 QPR (Cisse, 48 min): Cityitis strikes again! Wright-Phillips lobs a hopeful pass forward. Joleon Lescott spots Djibril Cisse making a run off him, so effortlessly heads it through to him. Oh. Cisse dashes clear of the City defence and lashes a brilliant volley past Joe Hart. What an astonishing cock-up. That was an excellent finish, and now City have to do it all over again. Manchester United lead the table again and QPR are staying up. Football? Bloody hell.
50 min: Tevez swivels in the area, but shoots straight at Kenny from a tight angle. City are stunned. They would have been expecting this to be a stroll. But it's Manchester City.
51 min: Both sides are trying to outdo each other when it comes to shooting themselves in the foot. Nasri marauds down the right and his cross is awkwardly hoicked over his own goal by Clint Hill.
52 min: What a chance for Sergio Aguero to restore City's lead. From the corner, Silva and Tevez tried the old Anderton-Sheringham routine, but it was crucially read by a QPR defender. The ball was cleared as far as Zabaleta, who tried to repeat his earlier heroics with a fierce volley through the crowd. It was going wide, but ran through to Aguero, unmarked three yards out, but he could only divert it over the bar. He was onside as well, but to be fair to him it came to him too sharply and he couldn't react in time.
54 min: Has Joey Barton pressed the self-destruct button? Play was going on elsewhere when the linesman started flagging furiously, because Carlos Tevez appeared to have been elbowed by Joey Barton on the edge of the area.
55 min: JOEY BARTON IS SENT OFF! AND THEN KICKS OUT AT SERGIO AGUERO! After a short while and plenty of remonstrations from both sets of players, Mike Dean sends him off. What an absolute moron. Mike Dean and the linesman discussed the incident for a while, and the decision was ultimately a simple one because he appeared to throw an elbow at Tevez. Once he was sent off, he went mental, knees Sergio Aguero up the backside, just like John Terry, and then tried to headbutt Vincent Kompany. He's talked off the pitch by Micah Richards, but not before starting an argument with, of course, Mario Balotelli. He's led down the tunnel by a member of the QPR backroom staff and the police.
58 min: That was perhaps the most farcical incident I've ever seen on a football pitch. The upshot of it all is a free-kick to City on the edge of the area. Tevez's effort spins up off the wall and through to Nasri, who shoots straight at Kenny. He saves with his feet.
59 min: Djibril Cisse is replaced by Armand Traore. QPR just have to defend this for 30 minutes with 10 men. Joey Barton should be sacked.
60 min: Goal-line technology anyone? No, it's not needed here. A clearance ricochets to Tevez in the area and his snapshot is brilliantly kept out by Kenny, leading to an absurd goalmouth scramble. There's a shout for a handball by Onuoha, which isn't given, and then the ball falls to Aguero, six yards out ... he turns it goalwards, Kenny half-saves it and then somehow scrambles back to grab it on the line.
62 min: Joey Barton is claiming Tevez struck him in the face first. The replays haven't shown that. Yet. To be honest, there hasn't been a proper replay of the incident that led to the red card in the first place.
64 min: A ridiculous red card from the captain of a west London club away to a great side? We've seen this before.
65 min: "Joey Barton's Twitter motto reads "All know the way. Few actually walk it." That'd be 'the way' to the Etihad away team dressing room, right?" says Ben Stanley. He is a total liability.
ABSURD! Manchester City 1-2 QPR (Mackie, 66 min): Typical City! The subsitute, Armand Traore, goes on a superb run down the left, beating Kompany wonderfully. He then sends a cross to the far post and with City's defence all over the shop, Jamie Mackie is there to send a header down into the ground and up into the net, past Joe Hart! This is astonishing. There are Manchester City fans in tears. Their team now needs to find two goals against 10 men in the next 24 minutes. Cityitis.
68 min: Silva carefully works a shooting opportunity, like a snooker player lining up a shot, but then wonks a shot miles over from the edge of the area.
69 min: Having seen a close-up replay of the incident, Tevez did kind of flap his arms in the general direction of Barton, but more to shake him off than to deck him. Barton then flung a half-hearted elbow at Tevez's chin or chest and the City player went down ridiculously easily. Edin Dzeko comes on for Gareth Barry.
70 min: "Let's face it, Mr Steinberg, if Carlos Tevez really did poke Joey Barton in the snoot, he only did what millions of less talented Britons have been longing to do for years!" points out Hasdrubal Gonzaga.
71 min: How City could do with Yaya Toure on the pitch. There's still no sign of Mario Balotelli either...
72 min: A crucial header from Hill, getting the merest of glances on a cross, denies City a certain goal. From the resulting corner, Kenny tips Tevez's header over. From the next one, Kenny flaps at it, Derry mistimes his clearance and De Jong's shot is desperately deflected wide. This is crazy.
73 min: Tevez ends a mazy run in from the left with a terrible shot from 15 yards out. On the touchline, Mancini goes ballistic. "It's tough picking an MBM favourite. Let's run through some pros and cons," says Mac Millings. "First, Smyth. Pros: Petty; Obsessive; Life-affirmingly self-loathing. Con: Retains vestiges of hope. Steinberg. Pros: (According to half time email) "Young, dynamic and full of verve". Cons - see "Pros". Who to choose? Who to choose? Only one winner. Scott Murray."
74 min: This should calm everything down. Mario Balotelli will be on soon. "I wonder if Mario is thinking he can top Joey Barton's performance?!?" says Brett LeQuesne.
75 min: Nasri smashes a shot high and wide from long range. He's been largely anonymous. A waste of money? Let's not say anything definitive for the next 15 minutes. Especially as Balotelli is on for the wasteful Carlos Tevez.
76 min: Jay Bothroyd joins the QPR rearguard, on for Bobby Zamora. And another cheer in the QPR end because a Jonathan Walters penalty has made it Stoke 2-2 Bolton.
77 min: Bothroyd's first contribution is to give away a foul on the edge of the area and then gets booked for timewasting. Onuoha heads it away. It's been a towering performance from him.
78 min: How did that stay out? Dzeko meets Nasri's cross at the near post with a low sidefoot. Most of the ground thought it was in and so did I, but instead it flies into the side-netting thanks to a vital touch from Kenny/a QPR defender.
79 min: From a preposterous angle, Balotelli slams a shot goalwards. Kenny can only parry it straight out and is relieved to see it fall to Wright-Phillips, who resists the urge to put it into the empty net.
81 min: I haven't seen a more extreme example of defence v attack since Barcelona v Chelsea two weeks ago.
82 min: The cameraman manages to pick out a City fan absolutely losing it in the crowd, furiously hopping up and down on the spot, flinging his arms about like a man who's realised someone's cancelled the recording of Mad Men on the Sky Plus.
83 min: Dzeko shoots from eight yards out. Throw-in to QPR.
84 min: I reckon there'll be around three days of stoppage time. Balotelli blasts a free-kick into the wall, hitting it so hard it floors Wright-Phillips. Play continues. QPR are defending with nine men! And still City can't find a way through!
85 min: Dzeko flicks a header towards the left corner, but it's a rudimentary stop from Kenny. Joe Hart's just taken a throw-in. It's reached that stage.
86 min: Anywhere will do for QPR. Mancini is crouching down in the technical area.
87 min: Mancini isn't far away from putting himself on. "Typical City?" says Matthew Coyle. "Typical United more like. Sit quietly, win 1-0 and wait for your rivals to totally blow it. Unbelievable."
88 min: QPR ARE IN MANCHESTER CITY'S HALF!!!
89 min: We're nearing Mancini Time.
90 min: Balotelli twists and turns and shoots, but it's deflected wide by the superb Onuoha. Corner to City. Another corner to City. Another corner to City.
90 min+1: From the third corner, Balotelli meets it from six yards out and Kenny wonderfully claws it out. He then catches the second corner. He;'s more than made up for his error that led to Zabaleta's goal. Again it looked like he had to score. There will be five minutes more of this. City need two goals.
IT'S ON! Manchester City 2-2 QPR (Dzeko, 90 min+2): Edin Dzeko powers a header past Kenny from close range from Silva's corner. Manchester City need one goal to win the title. They have three minutes.
90 min+3: Two minutes. Manchester United have done their bit: they've won 1-0.;
GOAL!!!!!! Manchester City 3-2 QPR (Aguero, 90 min+4): Sergio Aguero has won the Premier League title for Manchester City! Balotelli made a nuisance of himself on the edge of the area, the ball ran free on the edge of the area, Aguero burst on to it and as QPR defenders collapsed around him, he smashed it past Paddy Kenny from eight yards out! The stadium erupts, Aguero whips off his shirt and the man engraving the trophy lets out a long sigh. Michael Thomas, eat your heart out.
90 min+5: Everyone's happy. QPR will stay up because Bolton haven't won at Stoke.
MANCHESTER CITY HAVE WON THE PREMIER LEAGUE!!! The final whistle blows and the fans are on the pitch! It looked like they'd done their level-best to City it up, but two goals from
Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero turned it around in the most remarkable fashion. They've done to Manchester United what they did to Bayern Munich in 1999. Jaw-dropping.
Roberto Mancini, draped in an Italian flag, speaks. "We deserved it ... I have never seen a finish like it ... Crazy, crazy."
Don't forget that QPR were heroic - save for one eedjit - and have stayed up at the expense of Bolton.They deserve it too. There was no way that performance merited relegation.
It also mirrors the 1999 Division Two play-off final. Then Manchester City were 2-0 down against Gillingham in stoppage time and somehow came back to score twice and then win it on penalties. Sergio Aguero is the new Paul Dickov.
This Manchester City is not the best side to win the Premier League, but for drama and excitement, maybe this is the best title race of all time. It's certainly the most stunning finish to a season since Liverpool v Arsenal in 1989.
All that's left now is for Manchester City to lift the title. And for their fans to get monstrously drunk tonight (not that the Guardian encourages binge drinking). To think there were people walking out before Edin Dzeko's goal.
Geoff Shreeves is interviewing Roberto Mancini again. Shouldn't he have been at the Sunderland game to tell Ferguson City had won?
Spare a thought for Joey Barton. Just to mull over what a hilarious disingenuous disgrace he is.
Manchester City had 44 shots to QPR's three. 81% possession to 19%. 19 corners to 0. Three goals to two, though, is the most important piece of information.
Roberto Mancini strolls out on to the pitch, leading his victorious team out. He walks past two bizarre alien figures, shakes hands with various City figures. The team are up on the stage to collect their medals, each player getting a huge roar as he goes up. Although is it worth winning the league if you have to shake hands with Richard Scudamore? Vincent Kompany hoists the trophy into the air - and they might not be letting go of it for a long time. Thanks for reading. Bye.