Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Man City says goodbye to legend Zabaleta in home farewell

Rita Gibson | 19 May, 2017, 21:58

Having invested so much effort in recruiting Guardiola - they first approached him in 2012 before finally landing their man previous year - it is unthinkable City would wield the axe so soon.

A point at Watford on Sunday will guarantee a top-four place for Pep Guardiola's City, but they can secure third place - and, crucially, avoid the Champions League play-off round - if they win.

"I came here to try to win this year, but it was not possible", he told reporters.

"Now we are third so it is in our hands to finish there. We will see what happens at the end of the season", he added.

With one game to play, City have 75 points to fourth-placed Liverpool's 73.

Asked if he meant what he said, Guardiola, who has occasionally expressed frustration at suggestions he has found English football tougher than the Spanish or German games, recognised he may have created headlines.

In London, meanwhile, fifth-place Arsenal had to work harder than expected in a 2-0 win over relegated Sunderland on Tuesday with Alexis Sanchez netting the goals. "At the end of the season we will speak about this".

"Seeing people cry for him and what he has done... it was a ideal day, a special day for Pablo and he deserves everything".

"I can not decide here because there are still a few more days to enjoy here as a Manchester City player". He deserves absolutely everything and we are very happy for that.

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The 46-year-old referred to his stints in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich with the relentless pressure they brought, but thanked City for giving him "a second chance".

De Bruyne curled home a attractive finish from the edge of the area just two minutes later to double the lead following slick buildup play involving most of City's attackers.

It has already been confirmed that Zabaleta - one of City's most popular players - will be leaving City after nine years, and he came on for the final half hour.

Manchester City centre back John Stones is fit to face West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Tuesday after recovering from a muscular problem that has kept him out of action since April 8, manager Pep Guardiola said. I will enjoy it.

Tributes to the defender were plentiful but, in terms of business, City were ruthless with goals coming from Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure.

"I don't understand how the managers speak for the other clubs", he said in response to Wenger.

"But it's such a thin line between winning at this level".

Guardiola reckons his players have been good enough to have achieved more this season, but have paid the price for not being ruthless enough in attack, and for being too generous in defence.

"If you need to go to war in the big games, you know you've got Zaba with you".

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