West Ham United went down 2-0 to champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Goals from Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne ensured the Hammers suffered a seventh winless game in all competitions.
It wasn’t a night to remember for the Londoners. Boss David Moyes opted to play with an ultra-defensive line-up and that simply played into the hands of Pep Guardiola’s side.
West Ham’s disappointing night was compounded when Ryan Fredericks was stretchered off on the hour mark. The 27-year-old appeared in some discomfort with his shoulder and was replaced by Pablo Zabaleta.
Having a player as experienced as the Argentine in reserve isn’t particularly a bad thing. The 35-year-old has played over 300 times in the Premier League, winning two Premier League titles with Manchester City.
Appearances have proved hard to come by this season for the veteran. Last night’s cameo was just his 10th Premier League appearance of the campaign, with other players typically preferred.
Afterwards, he took to Twitter to speak of his disappointment at the result, but also to thank the City fans for the reception he received as he played at the Etihad for the last time.
His tweet didn’t go unnoticed to one of his form team-mates during his time at City. Alvardo Negredo scored 23 goals in 49 appearances for the Citizens and he responded to Zabaleta’s heartfelt message with a one-word reply.
— Álvaro Negredo 9️⃣ (@AlvaroNegredo9) February 20, 2020
It just goes to show what his peers think of Zabaleta and he will have to be remembered as one of the Premier League’s greatest model professionals.
Both City and West Ham fans have appreciated the man with 58 caps for Argentina. It’s fair to say he will go down as one of the Premier League’s best ever right-backs.
West Ham are in the relegation zone right now. There is little doubt that Zabaleta would dearly love to lead the Hammers to safety as his Premier League swan song.