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Sprint finish! Man City's run-in pedigree

FINAL COUNTDOWN: David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane

FINAL COUNTDOWN: David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane

With four games of the Premier League campaign remaining, there is still everything to play for as Man City seek to seal a place in the top-four and, with it, qualification for next season’s Champions League.

Pep Guardiola’s men are currently in fourth place in what has become a tightly-congested pack at the head of the table.

Going into the final month of the season, City are three points behind third-placed Liverpool but with a crucial game in hand, while they are a point ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United and boast a better goal difference.

With three of City’s final four fixtures in Manchester - Crystal Palace, Leicester and West Brom must all visit the Etihad before the season finale at Watford - the Blues will be looking to make home advantage count as they bid to rubber-stamp that all-important top-four place.

And if recent history is any guide, the omens are on City’s side as, in the majority of recent campaigns, the Blues have more often than not managed to finish with a flourish just when needed.

Here Neil Leigh looks at how City have fared in their final four league fixtures over the past five campaigns.

Man City v Crystal Palace: Key info

Man City v Crystal Palace: TV info

2011/12

The unforgettable season that saw City set the template for every other club in terms of how to stage the perfect finish.

From being written off by everyone after finding themselves eight points behind leaders Manchester United with just six games left, the Blues staged the mother of all comebacks and kept their nerve and composure over the final furlong.

A pair of excellent 2-0 wins away at Wolves (via goals from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero) and Newcastle (Yaya Toure on target twice) respectively were bookended by a memorable 1-0 Monday night derby win over United courtesy of Vincent Kompany’s header.

That set the scene for the most dramatic afternoon in the Club’s history when, once again with the odds seemingly against them, City fought back from 2-1 down against Queen’s Park Rangers to score twice in injury time, Sergio Aguero’s legendary 94th minute winner sparking unforgettable scenes to secure City a first-ever Premier League crown.

Last four league results:

2-0 Wolves away (W)

1-0 Utd home (W)

2-0  Newcastle away (W)

3-2 QPR home (W)

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2012/13

Twelve months later it was a case of so near BUT yet so far as City had to settle for finishing runners-up in the league, as well as being edged out by Wigan in the FA Cup final.

With their title hopes already all but over, City nevertheless staged a respectable finish to the campaign, securing a goalless draw at Swansea, edging out West Brom 1-0 at the Etihad thanks to Edin Dzeko’s strike and then running out 2-0 victors at Reading via goals from Aguero and Dzeko.

The only sour note came on the last day of the season when mid-table Norwich claimed a shock 3-2 win at the Etihad, taking the shine off Jack Rodwell’s brace for the Blues

Last four league results:

0-0 Swansea away (D)

1-0 West Brom home (W)

2-0 Reading away (W)

2-3 Norwich home (L)

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2013/14

Manuel Pellegrini’s first season at the helm saw City stage another formidable fightback to secure a second Premier League title inside three seasons.

From being written off for the title after a 3-2 loss at Liverpool in mid April, the Blues ignored the brickbats and proved that lightning can strike by staging another storming finish to overhaul the Merseysiders and be crowned champions once again.

The catalyst was a dramatic Sunday afternoon that saw leaders Liverpool lose at home to Chelsea before City – inspired by goals from Dzeko and Yaya Toure - won 2-0 at Crystal Palace to move within touching distance at the top.

A double strike from Dzeko then helped fire the Blues to a vital 3-2 win at Everton and when Liverpool threw away a commanding lead at Selhurst Park to only draw 3-3, City took full advantage.

Dzeko claimed another brace at a rain-drenched Etihad as City saw off a dogged Aston Villa 4-0 to place one hand on the title, Stevan Jovetic and Yaya Toure rounding off victory.

And the title was then secured in exemplary fashion on the final day courtesy of a 2-0 Etihad win over West Ham, Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany with the all-important goals.

Last four league results:

2-0 Crystal Palace away (W)

3-2 Everton away (W)

4-0 Aston Villa home (W)

2-0 West Ham home (W)

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2014/15

City bounced back from the disappointment of a 4-2 derby defeat at Old Trafford by reeling off six straight wins in their remaining fixtures to stage yet another rousing end to the campaign.

The final month of the season started with an impressive 1-0 win at, Aguero grabbing the winner, before City then hammered relegation-bound Queen’s Park Rangers 6-0 at the Etihad, Aguero bagging a hat-trick with Aleks Kolarov, James Milner and David Silva also on target.

A brace from Yaya Toure helped drive the Blues to an impressive 4-2 win at Swansea in their penultimate fixture – Milner and Wilfried Bony also netting – before the Blues sealed runners-up spot with a final day 2-0 win over Southampton at the Etihad. Frank Lampard marked his Etihad farewell with a goal with Aguero sealing another fine end to a campaign.

Last four league results:

1-0 Tottenham away (W)

6-0 QPR home (W)

4-2 Swansea away (W)

2-0 Southampton home (W)

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2015/16

Twelve months ago City found themselves in similar circumstances to this term, as they vied with United in a battle to seal a top-four finish.

The final four game stretch opened with a fine 4-0 thumping of Stoke with Kelechi Iheanacho bagging a brace and Fernando and Aguero also on target.

Kelechi again struck twice at Southampton but couldn’t prevent a disappointing 4-2 defeat before the final Etihad fixture of the season saw the Blues and Arsenal share the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling netting for the hosts.

That left City – barring a statistical miracle – needing to avoid defeat at Swansea in what was Manuel Pellegrini’s final game in charge to seal fourth spot.

An early strike from Iheanacho helped earn City a 1-1 draw and so secure their Champions League ticket.

Last four league results:

4-0 Stoke home (W)

2-4 Southampton away (L)

2-2 Arsenal home (D)

1-1 Swansea away (D)

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