Pablo Zabaleta

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Guardiola hails Man City as trophy haul begins

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LONDON — Trophies were expected to come by the bucket load when Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City in the summer of 2016.

It has taken deep into his second season to deliver his first piece of silverware, but Guardiola secured the League Cup trophy in resounding fashion as Man City hammered Arsenal 3-0 in the final at Wembley.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned

Speaking after the game, Guardiola admitted the League Cup isn’t at the top of City’s list of priorities as they set their sights on winning the Premier League and UEFA Champions League in the final months of the season.

“It’s important. There are titles more important than this one, but we are so happy. Congratulations to everyone,” Guardiola said. “Big congratulations for all of Manchester City. From Sheikh Mansour to Sheikh Khaldoon until the last person and fan in the club. That is why it is important to win titles because maybe it is going to help us to win the next games in the Premier League to win the league.”

[ MORE: Kompany reacts to League Cup heroics

The Spaniard also played down the importance of his first trophy in England, as much has been made about his expensive rebuild of a City squad already brimming with talent after trophy successes under Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini.

Guardiola thanked Man City’s owners from Abu Dhabi for sticking by him after a trophyless maiden campaign in England.

“I’m so happy but I am part of Manchester City. Every title we won, we won as a staff in the past. You are part of the group. That is why I am so happy for Manchester City because I cannot forgot how they take care of me last season when it wasn’t so good in terms of results and winning titles,” Guardiola said. “I cannot forgot. I will always remember all the club, Sheikh Khaldoon and all the people who helped to support me. It was so important. That is why Manchester City won.”

Another reason why they won was because City’s veteran core stepped up big time.

After a testing week which saw them lose in the FA Cup at third-tier Wigan, the hopes of an unprecedented quadruple were dashed. They’ll just have to settle for a treble now.

Captain Vincent Kompany was named Man of the Match, scored the crucial second goal and shackled Arsenal’s danger man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Sergio Aguero and David Silva both scored and helped City grab the trophy.

“These three guys plus Yaya [Toure], Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta a lot of names, they helped to be what Manchester City is right now,” Guardiola said. “It is special. Sergio, Vincent and David scored the three goals and they help us to understand what it means in the club. They won titles. They put pressure on us to continue to win titles. If you are able to win more titles in the future, the people who are coming here have to know here have to win titles. That’s why it is so so important. Especially for the performance. The first half was not good but the second half Vincent was all over the game, Sergio started amazingly, despite the brilliant goal the way he played, and in the second half David came back to how he normally is.”

Kevin De Bruyne, the star of City’s season so far, has now switched the focus to sealing the PL title as quickly as possible and focusing on delivering the Champions League.

“We have had a good season already, and now we need to keep going,” De Bruyne said. “We have this one in the bag and now we have to maintain the same focus in the Premier League and the Champions League. The potential for this club is amazing, and the way we play is probably one of the best in the world.”

Guardiola is now off and running in terms of trophies and you get the sense this is just the start.

Reports: West Ham will sign Evra for remainder of season

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Patrice Evra on one side and Pablo Zabaleta on the other?

What are Nemanja Vidic and Martin Demichelis up to?

That theoretical back four won’t be getting together at the London Stadium for West Ham United, but left back Evra could be joining right back Zabaleta with the Irons as soon as Wednesday.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Johannsson’s clever Bremen goal ]

Reports say Evra, who left Marseille earlier this season after kicking a fan in a disgraceful prematch incident, is set to join old boss David Moyes at West Ham for the rest of the season.

West Ham sits 12th, but is just three points out of 18th. Left-sided man Arthur Masuaku has been pretty darn good for the Irons, but was suspended for spitting at Nick Powell during FA Cup play. Aaron Cresswell played in his stead as the left wingback in a 3-5-2.

The 3-5-2 should provide Evra more comfort in building up his game, but will perhaps demand a bit more run-up to match fitness.

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Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Ham United: Stunners split spoils

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  • Spurs hold 31-3 advantage in shots
  • Obiang hits hammer to for shock WHU lead
  • Son’s vicious answer splits spoils

A festive season which began with a thriller closed its final half hour in wild fashion.

Pedro Obiang and Heung-Min Son scored second half Goal of the Season contenders to give West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur a point each at Wembley Stadium on Thursday.

The point puts Tottenham fifth, three points back of Liverpool, while West Ham moves 15th with 22 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

David Moyes had his men stacked at the back and moving well with Spurs’ usually incisive passing game.

An early chance was cleared by West Ham youngster Declan Rice, and a legit scoring opportunity didn’t arrive until the 28th minute when Kane curled a shot toward the far corner that Adrian punched out of the 18.

Serge Aurier headed down for Kane in a superb set-up, but the English striker didn’t shoot first time and touched it out of play.

The last chance of an attack-starved half saw Adrian tip Christian Eriksen‘s deflected shot over goal, as the half finished with Spurs holding an 11-0 disparity in shot attempts.

A sluggish second half broke open for a moment when Javier Hernandez found plenty of green in the 60th minute, only to be closed down by Davinson Sanchez.

Kane had chance after chance, with a couple for Dele Alli thrown in, but whether offside or denied by West Ham’s defense — Pablo Zabaleta and Winston Reid prominently — it was still scoreless in the 70th minute… for Spurs.

That’s because Obiang smashed a shot past Hugo Lloris with incredible pace to give West Ham a very unlikely lead.

And Son turned around with a strike nearly as vicious, his 84th minute rip leveling the score at 1.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

WATCH LIVE: Manchester City vs. West Ham

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Manchester City looks to keep its unbeaten season alive and push its Premier League lead to eight points as they host David Moyes and West Ham United at the Etihad live on NBCSN and live online at

With a win, Pep Guardiola can equal the record winning streak in Premier League history as City searches for its 13th straight victory. The team has dropped points in just a single game this season, a 1-1 draw with Everton in the second match of the campaign.

WATCH LIVE: Manchester City vs. West Ham live on

Sergio Aguero starts up front for City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench along with Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho. The Belgian defender is being rested after three straight starts, while Fernandinho is on a yellow card and will be saved for the Manchester United match. Leroy Sane has recovered from an illness to make the starting lineup.

For West Ham, Moyes has completely shuffled the deck. Adrian starts in goal for the first time this Premier League season in a forced change with Manchester City loanee Joe Hart ineligible to play against his parent club. Moyes has also decided to bench playmaker Marko Arnautovic in favor of 21-year-old Swiss winger Edimilson Fernandes, while Andy Carroll is injured and Andre Ayew is dropped, leaving Michail Antonio as the lone striker. Pablo Zabaleta captains the team for the first time, coming against his former club.

The Hammers will look to do better against City than last season, when they lost all three matches by a combined 12-1 score. Over their last 25 meetings, City has won 17 to just three for West Ham.


Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Mangala, Danilo, Otamendi, Delph, De Bruyne, D Silva, Sterling, Aguero, Sane.
Subs: Bravo, Kompany, Gundogan, B Silva, Fernandinho, Toure, Jesus.

West Ham: Adrian, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Obiang, Ogbonna, Kouyate, Rice, Antonio, Fernandes, Masuaku, Lanzini.
Subs: Trott, Johnson, Quina, Arnautovic, Ayew, Martinez, Sakho.

Notable stats from the Premier League weekend — Week 11

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What numbers jump out following another entertaining three days in the Premier League? We culled the web, with help from Opta, to find out.

[ MORE: Martino running for USSF presidency ]

— 4 — Points claimed by West Brom in nine matches since opening the season with wins over Bournemouth and Burnley.

— 96.6 — PL-leading pass completion percentage from Man City’s John Stones, almost four percent more than runner-up Davinson Sanchez.

— 5 — Number of Man City players in the Top Ten for passes per game, including Stones, Fernandinho, David Silva, Nicolas Otamendi, and Kevin De Bruyne.

— 4.2 — Leicester City’s Wilfried Ndidi has played every minute for the Foxes, leading the league in tackles per game with 4.2.

— 2.5 — Ndidi also leads the league in times dribbles past per game.

— 22 — Goals conceded this season by Stoke City, Everton, and Crystal Palace, the most in the league.

— 38 — Goals scored by Man City, 15 more than any team in the Premier League.

— 19 — Burnley’s point total this season, one more than the almost historically low total one idiot writer predicted for them before the season.

— 142 — Peter Crouch appearances as a substitute. The giant scored off the bench in a 2-2 draw with Leicester City.

— 5 — Yellow cards each for Man City’s Nicolas Otamendi and countryman/ex-teammate Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham, tops in the PL.