Saturday 06 July 2013
Premierleague.com profiles all 20 Premier League venues, continuing with Manchester City's home ground, the Etihad Stadium.
Year built: 2002
First League match: Man City 1-1 Portsmouth, 23 August 2003
Manchester City moved in to the Etihad Stadium, formely known as the City of Manchester Stadium, in 2003 after 80 years at their previous home, Maine Road.
The Etihad, standing in the eastern area of Manchester, opened for business in 2002 as the Athletics Stadium for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The impressive venue was soon converted in to a single-purpose football stadium and Man City didn’t have to wait long to make their bow at the venue in the Barclays Premier League.
Housing over 47,000 spectators, the Etihad hosted Man City in a competitive match for the first time when they drew with Portsmouth at the start of the 2003/04 season. David Sommeil had the honour of scoring Man City’s first league goal there, and they secured top-flight survival in a landmark campaign for the club, which also included a 4-1 home victory over local rivals Manchester United.
Since promotion to the top flight in 2002, Man City have been ever-present in the Premier League. Their upturn in fortunes has also coincided with two ownership changes. Firstly, Thai businessman Thaksin Shinawatra took over the Citizens in 2007 before the Abu Dhabi group, backed by Sheikh Mansour, bought the club in 2008 and oversaw the best period of the club’s recent history.
Man City brought a plethora of stars to the club and they soon challenged for honours, winning the FA Cup in 2011 and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time. In the 2011/12 campaign, the club won their first Barclays Premier League title in dramatic fashion. That was followed up by a second-place finish in the 2012/13 campaign, as well as another FA Cup final appearance.
City have also enjoyed a formidable record at the Etihad Stadium in recent years, and they are currently on a run of scoring in 50 consecutive home matches in the Barclays Premier League. During their title-winning 2011/12 season, they picked up 55 points from a possible 57 in front of their home fans.
14 Mar 2004: Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United
Manchester City earned a famous 4-1 victory over local rivals Manchester United in their first Barclays Premier League campaign at the newly built Etihad Stadium. The impressive win moved Man City six points clear of the relegation zone, while Man Utd’s hopes of catching league leaders Arsenal were dented as a result. Robbie Fowler gave City the lead after just three minutes and Jon Macken doubled the hosts’ lead on the half-hour mark with a first-time volley. Paul Scholes got one back for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side with a long-range strike but Trevor Sinclair restored the two-goal advantage before Shaun Wright-Phillips wrapped up a memorable win for the Citizens with a superb strike in stoppage time.
22 Jan 2012: Manchester City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur
An injury-time penalty from Mario Balotelli gave Manchester City a three point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League table as they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in a pulsating encounter. Man City scored two quick-fire goals just before the hour mark through Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott but Spurs, who were five points behind Man City at the start of play, fought back in devastating fashion. Jermain Defoe pulled a goal back a minute after Man City’s second before a brilliant curling strike from Gareth Bale levelled proceedings. In an end-to-end finish, Tottenham striker Defoe was inches away from connecting with a Bale cross and giving Spurs the win, but Balotelli was then fouled for a 95th-minute penalty and the Italian picked himself up to calmly stroke the spot-kick past Brad Friedel to seal the victory.
13 May 2012: Manchester City 3-2 Queens Park Rangers
In arguably the most dramatic conclusion to the title race in the history of the Barclays Premier League, Sergio Aguero scored a last-gasp winner as Manchester City were crowned 2011/12 champions in a five-goal thriller against Queens Park Rangers. Robert Mancini’s side needed to equal or better local rivals Manchester United on the final day, as they had a superior goal difference, but the Etihad Stadium were stunned by relegation-threatened QPR, who came from a goal down to take a 2-1 lead with 25 minutes left.
The tension was mounting in the stands at the Etihad as Man Utd looked set to snatch the title from their rivals’ grasp, but Man City won the league with a remarkable comeback in extra time. Edin Dzeko gave City a lifeline on 92 minutes with a header and Aguero sent the home fans into bedlam three minutes later with virtually the last kick of the season, as he coolly slotted past QPR goalkeeper Paddy Kenny. The Man City fans poured on to the pitch on the final whistle as they celebrated their maiden Premier League crown.
"The supporters have never lost faith or patience - even in the last five minutes today - and we are so pleased that this season, we have delivered some history for them. Our form at the Etihad has been fantastic this season with 18 victories and only one draw and that is great credit to the supporters.
"Every week the ground is full and the noise for the team is huge. I have said many times this season that no-one should underestimate the help that players get from having a crowd supporting them in this way. It drives us on when things are possible not going so well."
Roberto Mancini after Manchester City clinched the 2011/12 Barclays Premier League title with a 3-2 win over Queens Park Rangers.
For a 3D tour of the Etihad Stadium and a video profiling Man City and their home ground, click here >>