시즌의 마지막 홈경기에서 웨스트 브롬은 상대한 맨체스터 시티는 높은 점유율에도 불구하고 20분이 넘는 기나긴 탐색전을 펼쳐야만 했다.
하지만 전반 27, 경기의 데드락은 결국 막을 내렸고 시티는 케빈 데 브루인과 가브리엘 제수스를 앞세워 선제골을 터트렸다. 야야 투레부터 시작된 공격 빌드업은 세지오 아구에로의 백힐을 거쳐 케빈 데 브루인의 크로스로 연결되었고 공을 받은 가브리엘 제수스가 웨스트 브롬의 골망을 흔들며 마무리를 성공시켰다.
그리고 얼마 후, 선제골의 기쁨은 두배가 되었다. 가브리엘 제수스가 아구에로의 패스를 받았지만 웨스트 브롬의 수비로 인해 넘어지며 슈팅을 성공시키지 못했지만 튕겨나온 공을 잡은 케빈 데 브루인이 시티의 거침없는 슈팅을 시도하며 시티의 두번째 골(전반 29분)을 성공시켰다.
Then an excellent spin and through ball for Leroy Sane saw the German winger drag his shot wide from 15 yards.
It took 25 minutes for the visitors to warm the gloves of Willy Caballero but Nacer Chadli’s free-kick was easily stopped by the Blues’ keeper.
The breakthrough came shortly after with a terrific team goal.
Yaya Toure and Aguero combined to send De Bruyne into the box and the Belgian’s low cross was turned in by Gabriel Jesus from close range.
The home fans had barely finished their celebrations when the Blues doubled their lead and the excellent Aguero, dropping deeper and causing havoc, was once again involved.
Kun found De Bruyne who in turn looked to play in Sane who was tackled but the ball fell invitingly into the path of De Bruyne who lashed an unstoppable dipping shot past Foster to make it 2-0.
There were further chances before the break with Aguero and Sane seeing half chances narrowly miss the target.
The Blues continued where they’d left off after the break, completely dominating proceedings and on 57 minutes yet another excellent goal ended the game as a contest.
Yaya Toure was looking for an opening when he spotted the chance of a one-two and Aguero duly obliged, leaving the Ivorian clear on goal and he tucked the ball under the advancing Foster with aplomb.
Then, the moment the home fans had waited for as Zaba finally entered the fray as a replacement for David Silva.
His every touch cheered, the home fans were willing him to cap his last home game with a goal and though Gabriel Jesus came close on a couple of occasions, it was West Brom who had the final say with a consolation goal three minutes from time from Hal Robson-Kanu.
In such a one-sided game, it was the appearance of Zabaleta on the hour-mark that got the Etihad Stadium on their feet and injected a party atmosphere for the last half-hour or so – plus every touch he had was cheered like a goal!
City Matchday App Star Man: Kevin De Bruyne
What it means…
With City and Arsenal both winning on Tuesday evening, little has changed at the top but the Blues are just one point away from guaranteeing Champions League football.
Arsenal face Everton on the final day and Liverpool host Middlesbrough so the Blues will need to win to take third or draw to take at least fourth - assuming Arsenal and Liverpool both win.
City wrap up the 2016/17 campaign with a trip to Watford this Sunday.
There is everything to play for and the Blues will need to leave Hertfordshire without losing (see above) and claim a top four spot.