The Associated Press MANCHESTER (AP) — Manchester United gifted the Premier League title to fierce rival Manchester City in improbable fashion — by losing 1-0 to last-place West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
A week after preventing its neighbor from clinching the title in front of its own fans by rallying from 2-0 down to win 3-2, United delivered a similarly unlikely result as managerless West Brom pulled off one of the shocks of the season.
Jay Rodriguez headed in a 73rd-minute winning goal to seal only a second win since August and allow City to clinch the title without kicking a ball.
City manager Pep Guardiola might have rubbed his eyes in disbelief at events at Old Trafford when he returned from his round of golf with his son. His decision to forego the match looked justified considering West Brom’s dreadful form, but the visitors easily coped with United’s ponderous attacks and looked dangerous going forward.
West Brom is still nine points from safety and looks destined for relegation.
United should have had a first-half penalty after Craig Dawson caught Ander Herrera, but complacency seeped in and West Brom showed the fight under caretaker boss Darren Moore that has been sorely lacking this season.
United was too narrow and predictable, with wide players Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata constantly cutting inside and leaving the midfield congested. By the hour mark, Mourinho had brought on attacking players Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial for central midfielders Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba but things didn’t really improve.
It wasn’t the best day for Romelu Lukaku against his former club, either. He found Ben Foster an impenetrable barrier as the West Brom goalkeeper produced impressive saves from Lukaku in each half.
“Manchester City, we won it for you,” chanted the West Brom fans at the end of a match greeted by jeers by United supporters.
City could yet finish the season with the most points, goals and wins from a single Premier League campaign. In sealing the league at this stage, City matched the record for the earliest title win — held by United since 2001.
“Unbelievable season for us,” said midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, perhaps City’s standout player over the past eight months. “Very happy to call us champions this year.”
Schalke takes Ruhr derby
BERLIN (AP) — Schalke beat rival Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the Ruhr derby on Sunday to consolidate second place in the Bundesliga and take a giant step toward guaranteeing a Champions League spot.
Second-half goals from Yevhen Konoplyanka and Naldo gave Schalke an eight-point cushion over fifth-place Leipzig with four rounds remaining. The top four qualify for the Champions League.
“It’s something special. A derby win at this point in the season is a highlight,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said.
Dortmund dropped to fourth, below Bayer Leverkusen on goal difference.