x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Manuel Pellegrini tells why he stuck with the under-fire goalkeeper, Loic Remy fires Newcastle to victory over Cardiff, Hull held at home by Aston Villa.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, centre, keeps the ball from Everton's Philip Jagielka. Jon Super / AP Photo
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, centre, keeps the ball from Everton's Philip Jagielka. Jon Super / AP Photo

MANCHESTER CITY 3

Negredo 17’, Aguero 45’, Howard 69’ (og)

EVERTON 1

Lukaku 16’

Manuel Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, described his decision to stick with Joe Hart in goal for their 3-1 victory over Everton yesterday as “very difficult”.

There were doubts over Hart’s position after he was culpable for two of Bayern Munich’s goals in City’s Uefa Champions League defeat on Wednesday.

Hart, 26, got his hand to Romelu Lukaku’s shot in the 16th minute but could not keep it out.

This time the goal did not prove costly as Alvaro Negredo equalised and Sergio Aguero put City ahead just before half time. The third arrived in the 69th minute, Tim Howard saving Aguero’s penalty only for the ball to rebound off a post and back in off the Everton keeper.

Asked about his decision to choose Hart ahead of Costel Pantilimon, Pellegrini said: “It wasn’t a simple decision, it was a very difficult decision, but I think Joe needs the trust of all of us – of me, the other players and the fans.”

CARDIFF CITY 1 Odemwingie 58’ NEWCASTLE UNITED 2

Newcastle Remy 30’, 38’

Loic Remy alleviated the pressure on manager Alan Pardew as his double helped Newcastle to a 2-1 win at Cardiff.

The striker took his tally to five goals in his three appearances as he produced two excellent first-half finishes to put the Magpies in control in the Welsh capital.

The home side, inspired by substitute Jordan Mutch, pulled a goal back from Peter Odemwingie but they could not find a leveller.

FULHAM 1

Bent 83’

STOKE CITY 0

Darren Bent repaid Martin Jol’s faith with a late goal as the vultures prepared to swoop on the under-fire Fulham manager.

Brought in by the Dutchman after being marginalised at Aston Villa, the loanee came off the bench to secure a 1-0 win and potentially the Dutchman’s position at the helm.

It was not a comfortable victory for the home side, far from it, but it was their first since the opening day of the season and first at Craven Cottage since April 1.

HULL CITY 0 ASTON VILLA 0

Hull City and Aston Villa played out a 0-0 draw at the KC Stadium in a match where endeavour comfortably outstripped inspiration.

It is a result that should go down relatively well in both camps, with each side heading into the international break unbeaten in three Premier League matches and arguably ahead of their own schedules.

Despite that, neither side went in search of a draw and the chronic shortage of clear goalscoring opportunities can instead be put down to a lack of an X-factor in the final third.

* Press Association