England: Arsenal, Man City, Reading win

City fans are indebted to Zabaleta for his role in this seismic power shift.

"We are there and we are going to travel to London to try and finish third and go direct to the Champions League. If I were Chelsea, they don't have to qualify for the Champions League, so it's our fault or it could be better, not because of the opponents".

Pep Guardiola's men now need only a point at Watford to secure a top-four place and even a defeat would only see them drop to fifth if Arsenal both beat Everton and engineer a six-goal swing in doing so.

Aguero did not get on the scoresheet but was instrumental as City moved up to third in the Premier League while Zabaleta bade an emotional farewell to the Etihad Stadium.

Asked about the Arsenal boss' comments, Guardiola said: "I don't understand how the managers speak for the other clubs and the other teams". The Premier League match against Albion will mark his final home appearance, and the club are planning tributes to mark the occasion.

Toure's City career looked to be over when he was left out for the first three months of the season after comments from his agent Dimitri Seluk criticising manager Pep Guardiola.

When the players resumed for the second half, the countdown was on for the introduction of Zabaleta.

"That was the reason we didn't fight (for the title) until the end of the season".

So unless we go goal insane while winning the last two games against Sunderland and Everton, I see Man City as being the team to catch.

"This club had not played in Europe for 30 years".

Kevin De Bruyne was the architect of that opening goal and within two minutes, the Belgian playmaker had put his side 2-0 up, via a superb first-time finish.

"His impact here was incredible, he was one of the first players to come here, he has helped the club to where it is right now", Guardiola added.

West Brom are eighth in the table, but have not won in their last seven league matches, although Guardiola is expecting opposite number Tony Pulis to field a team that will make life tough for the home side.

The delay in appearing for his mandatory press conference initially led to suggestions that Guardiola was giving his players a changing room dressing down despite the 3-1 victory, but the Spaniard soon appeared in a chirpy mood to explain himself with a very good reason.

  • Julie Sanders