Man City on brink of Champions League spot after beating West Brom
May 18 2017 by Kelly Saunders
The Argentine defender was introduced for the last half-hour of the contest, which saw Pep Guardiola's side seal their spot in the top four thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure.
After nine seasons, two league titles, an FA Cups and a pair of League Cups, there's no doubt Zabaleta can be considered a modern legend.
Guardiola said: "It was a flawless night, especially for Pablo".
West Brom's approach was obvious early on as they sat back and invited City to try and break them down. We needed to win to get three points. "After that you deal with what happens".
"But it's the same with football everywhere, when Chelsea won it's because they played better, more consistent".
As well as their points advantage over Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool also have a superior goal difference (+33 to +31).
My only regret is that we were not able to fight to the end in the Premier League.
"His presence in big games - even when you're losing - there's always a few players you know are going to put in a good performance, even when you don't always get on the right end of it", Kompany said.
Zabaleta has become a firm fans' favorite at Etihad Stadium because of his work rate and touch tackling. The previous one against Leicester was not outstanding, but the second half was good.
Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford looked set to foil Arsenal in the second half, saving from Aaron Ramsey and substitute Danny Welbeck, but in the 72nd minute the hosts' pressure told.
The lead was doubled two minutes later when Danny Wilson's clearance landed in the path of De Bruyne, who brilliantly slotted into the far corner from 20-yards out. "I'd be delighted [if he joined West Ham]".
The arrival of Gabriel Jesus has undoubtedly sharpened Aguero up.
Guardiola has the backing of City owner Sheikh Mansour and City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak but he admitted their patience won't last beyond next season.
Sergio Aguero was instrumental in all three goals.
After the final whistle, Zabaleta reflected on his best memories of being at City.
But yesterday's 3-1 victory over West Brom should be enough to guarantee a top-four finish ― and a place in next season's Champions League ― while a win at Watford will assure City of advancing directly to the competition proper.