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By Sam Lyon
2225: Part one of Man City's momentous week done, then, part two to follow with the FA Cup Final on Saturday. What a week to be a City fan. Congratulations to Roberto Mancini's men in - at least - securing a top four finish, commiserations to a Tottenham side that pushed City all the way tonight. The races for third and fifth is where the drama lies at the top of the Premier League table now - and with bundles of intrigue around the relegation zone too, may I suggest you join
at the weekend for more Premier League commentary? I can? Thanks ever so much. Aces.
lorcanmurray on Twitter:
"If Tottenham and Arsenal get some proper strikers, they will challenge for title next season, with Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City."
JohnGandy on Twitter:
"Any Liverpool fan who's upset at the idea of the Europa League next year isn't allowed to celebrate if we win it. I have spoken."
MAN CITY 1-0 TOTTENHAM Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Eastlands: "So Man City qualify for the Champions League for the first time. It was torture for the home fans at times as they invited pressure from Spurs - but real celebrations greeted the final whistle. Party time at Eastlands."
2217: I know what you're all thinking... what did Phil McNulty make of it all? Well...
yousif_torres9 on Twitter:
"I'm a Liverpool fan and I'm desperate for Tottenham to beat us on Sunday. I will feel no joy if we get into the Europa League!"
2214: Man City boss Roberto Mancini: "Congratulations to all my players. They've had a fantastic Premier League season. We have achieved fourth position and we have another twogames left to push for third. For me, it is an important moment. We have been working for this very hard for a year and we are very happy for the supporters. Anything is possible but we want to try [to catch Arsenal]. It is important we recover our strength in the next few days for the FA Cup final now. We stayed between first and fourth position for a long time and I think we deserve it."
2210: Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp: "I look at this season - and tonight's performance - with great pride. I thought we played ever so well. It's hard to get in the Champions League and, to be fair, we just had a bad run at the wrong time. Overall, I enjoy watching us play and that's the most important thing for me. With a bit of tweaking to the squad in the summer we will go for Champions League football again next season. I'm looking forward to it."
Sam via text: "Well done City, you make me proud to support the blue side of Manchester! But no slacking - we want the FA cup to parade around Manchester."
Dan_beecham on Twitter:
"This leaves a massive game at Anfield for Spurs - did Harry Redknapp ever imagine Spurs not being in Europe at all next season?"
2207: Did you know... tonight's was Peter Crouch's first ever Premier League own goal? Well you do now, thanks to
A crucial one tonight, though, and no mistake - it sends City into Europe's premier club competition for the first time since 1968/1969, when they were eliminated by Fenerbahee in the first round.
2203: Not meaning to dampen Man City spirits at all - enjoy it, folks, really do - but a word of warning: among the nine other teams potentially involved in Champions League qualifying next season, they currently include Villarreal, Bayern Munich, Udinese and Lyon. Wow.
1000: Man City keeper Joe Hart on Sky Sports: "It means the world. We've still got a couple of games to go and we are going to hunt down third spot. We've got some big you-know-whats in this side and we showed that tonight. No [Champions League qualification is not like winning a trophy]. We need a trophy and that's Saturday [in the FA Cup final]. We need to give the fans something they can hold on to."
mg0892 on Twitter:
"Well done Stoke City, the Britannia will be rocking on a European Night. Now ruin Man City's joy on Saturday."
dem4rcus on Twitter:
"Harry Redknapp is a legend for what he has done, but not prioritising 4th was a disaster. Time for us Spurs fans to hide and lick our wounds. Good luck City."
2155: Do you know what I'm not getting for some reason? Very many joyous texts from Man City fans? Where are you peeps? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). Show me the love.
Ben, Wilts via text: "Story of Spurs' season: exciting play, run the game, but no-one can score. Missed a trick with Suarez/Carroll. New striker needed badly."
ElliotDX_Sims on Twitter:
"Man of the match? Got to be Micah Richards. Deserves to be in the Senior England squad, performing like this."
2148: Oh yes, and you know what else - this result also guarantees Stoke City Europa League football next season by way of their place in the FA Cup final. Unbelievable for Tony Pulis's boys.
2147: The end very much justifies the means, then, as City - outplayed for large periods tonight - hold on to a victory that ensures a top-four finish for them this season. The Eastlanders can even still overhaul Arsenal in third, in fact. Fourth place, remember, earns you a place in the Champions League final qualifying round with third earning you automatic Champions League group stage qualification. As for Tottenham, their focus is solely on their battle with Liverpool for fifth and Europa League qualification - and those two meet at the weekend at Anfield.
2142: FULL-TIME Man City 1-0 Tottenham
2140: Spurs are probing but City are holding strong...
2138: Eastlands, for arguably the first time tonight, is properly bouncing as the reality of their Champions League qualification sinks in with the time ticking down.
2137: Five minutes of stoppage time at Eastlands.
2136: One last chance for Tottenham... Vedran Corluka working it well on the right and crossing towards Jermain Defoe, but Micah Richards tracking the Spurs man's run excellently to clear from inside his six-yard box.
2134: It's Gallas's last involvement as he is replaced by Younes Kaboul.
2133: My word, brilliant from William Gallas. City - out of nothing - create a chance to wrap the game up as Carlos Tevez feeds Patrick Vieira running into the box, but the midfielder's clipped finish is cleared off the line by the back-tracking Gallas brilliantly. It was doubly good, too, considering the Frenchman has barely been able to walk in the last 10 minutes.
2132: Tottenham push down the left as they look to snatch something out of a game they've bossed, but City are back in numbers again to clear Steven Pienaar's cross.
2130: Carlos Tevez is on - to huge cheers - in place of David Silva.
2129: Another cynical foul - Steven Pienaar on Patrick Vieira time - and the Tottenham substitute goes into the book.
2128: At the other end, James Milner gets clear and picks out Edin Dzeko in the box but the Bosnian's effort is awful, high, wide and not very handsome.
2127: Tottenham corner... fed to Rafael van der Vaart sat deep... the Dutchman's effort flying well wide. Into the last 10 minutes at Eastlands.
2126: First booking of the match and it's a correct one as James Milner cynically takes out Danny Rose on the left flank.
2125: Carlos Tevez warming up for City. Tottenham's sting looks drawn.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Eastlands: "Female Man City fan in her 70s (at least) doing the Poznan in front of the press box. If only her team had that sense of adventure."
2124: Tottenham change - Jermain Defoe on for Peter Crouch.
2123: Ooh, almost a glimpse at goal for City as David Silva's flick finds Edin Dzeko bearing down on goal, but Michael Dawson is there to clear. From the resulting corner, the hosts push two - TWO - players into the opposition box.
2122: As we enter the final 15 minutes, looks like Jermain Defoe is warming up for Spurs.
2120: The game's gone a touch 'bitty' now as a few players break down here and there with the odd niggle. That will suit Man City, who are desperate to see this out and confirm their Champions League qualification. It's hardly the most inspired way to do it, but it's proving effective at least.
2117: Another break in play as William Gallas receives more treatment. Can City regroup in this time?
2114: Man City are attacking! A bit! However, after David Silva fails to get on the end of Yaya Toure's cut-back, it's Tottenham back in possession once again...
2112: Something - anything - has to change for City, but it's hardly the most attacking one from Roberto Mancini as Patrick Vieira is brought on for Adam Johnson. Are the hosts going to sit on the 1-0?
2111: I cannot impress upon you enough just how poor and unadventurous City have been this half. Spurs, possession-wise at least, are battering them.
2109: ...into the wall from Rafael van der Vaart.
2108: Another fine spell of possession from Tottenham ends with Luka Modric earning them a free-kick 30 yards out, centre of goal...
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Eastlands: "Manchester City fans getting increasingly fired up about their side's lack of ability to get out of their own half and I don't blame them - it's an approach that has cost them before this season and it's a problem Carlos Tevez may be required to solve."
2106: Half a chance for Spurs as Rafael van der Vaart is found on the edge of the box, but the Dutchman blazes over. Shame.
2105: It is all Spurs. Completely.
2103: Further evidence, as if it were needed after the '1993 frog dissection incident', that I was not destined to be a doctor as Pablo Zabaleta IS forced off with that injury, Alkesandar Kolarov on.
2101: As Spurs continue to knock it about nicely on the pitch, off it Pablo Zabaleta continues to receive treatment with the City doctors struggling to stop the flow of blood. Ouch.
2059: We'll have a break as Pablo Zabaleta is cleaned up after an aerial clash with Peter Crouch draws blood from the City defender. He'll be fine, though, I'm sure.
2057: A better couple of minutes here from City, though. Well... the hosts are out of their half, at least.
2055: Any suspicion Harry Redknapp or Tottenham don't want this are being put to bed right now - just as in the first half, they are almost completely dominating possession.
2053: Super save! A fantastic Tottenham break sees Rafael van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon link well before the latter's cross is headed goalwards by Steven Pienaar, Joe Hart somehow changing direction and palming the effort away full stretch. Excellent goalkeeping.
2051: We're back under way, Man City 1-0 Tottenham.
2050: Right, the players are back out and the second half is moments away... are City just 45 minutes away from Champions League qualification?
Rimes87 on Twitter:
"It wouldn't surprise me if Mancini turns to defensive tactics, he's done that often, he should really go for the second!"
Sule456 on Twitter:
"Could it possibly be... Arsenal - the only team to come 4th in a two horse race? I wouldn't be surprised!"
Luke in Oxford via text: "Are Tottenham the same without Bale? Just like Liverpool used to be without Gerrard or Torres, we have a similar situation with Bale and Modric."
2043: Want to discuss the irony of the fact Peter Crouch looks to have scored another goal that will determine Champions League qualification? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). Now.
MatthewHewitt on Twitter:
"This HT score brings bad memories of Goodison at the weekend. City need to come out strong and get a second to be sure of it."
2038: HALF-TIME Man City 1-0 Tottenham Chief football writer Phil McNulty's
HT snap-shot: "Manchester City hold a slender lead that will take them into the Champions League if they can retain it - but Spurs have shown more than enough to suggest they can make life uncomfortable for Eastlands after the interval."
2036: The half-time whistle blows.
2033: It's all Spurs once again all of a sudden - City don't half take their foot off the pedal sometimes don't they? - but Rafael van der Vaart's speculative long-ranger is straight at Joe Hart to end a fine spell of possession from the Londoners.
2031: We'll have four additional first-half minutes.
2029: Better from the visitors - Aaron Lennon, who has Pablo Zabaleta on toast this evening, driving down the right and clipping towards Steven Pienaar in the box, a City defender just about clearing with the South African primed to volley goalwards.
2027: Not much in the way of a Tottenham response so far. Unless you count injuries as a 'response'. William Gallas is down now receiving some strapping on his left groin.
2024: Peter Crouch appeals for a penalty under half a challenge from James Milner in the box - it never was, and Mike Dean agrees.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Eastlands:"Eastlands is awash with relief after Peter Crouch's own goal. Great to watch David Silva and Luka Modric in opposition. Small stature. Giant talent."
2023: They were off the pace for a good 10 minutes before the opening goal - but City are all over Spurs now, flying into tackles and generally 'wanting' it more all over the pitch. David Silva pings one in from range but it creeps over the bar.
2021: Huge cheers from the Eastlands crowd... Carlos Tevez off the bench warming up.
2019: City, tails firmly up, look to take advantage of more slack Spurs defending as David Silva surges at goal, but this time William Gallas recovers ground well enough to clear the Spaniard's cross towards Edin Dzeko.
2018: Double trouble for Tottenham as Wilson Palacios is forced off injured in the aftermath of that goal, Steven Pienaar on to replace him.
Man City goal: Luka Modric's profligacy punished immediately. Man City work a short corner routine and James Milner has the freedom of Eastlands to dash into the box, his fierce cross deflected into his own net four yards out by Spurs striker Peter Crouch. City are Champions League-bound and no mistake.
2016: GOALFLASH Man City 1-0 Tottenham (Crouch og)
2014: Big chance - big miss. Aaron Lennon breaks and picks a fine pass to find Luka Modric running into the City box in acres of space, but the Croatian contrives to guide his shot wide with the goal gaping. Terrible effort, that, and a real waste.
2013: Peter Crouch lines one up from 20 yards... but the Spurs striker spoons it well off-target.
2011: Eastlands just getting a bit restless as Spurs enjoy a couple of minutes of possession. Danny Rose, attacking from deep, looks a decent outlet for the visitors so far.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Eastlands: "Nice and open - but a real feeling that the longer this stays goalless the greater the sense of frustration and concern inside Eastlands will be. Harry Redknapp's animated touchline demeanour is that of a manager who really wants something from this game, despite a perceived lack of interest in Europa League qualification."
2008: Chance for Tottenham now as Peter Crouch nods Danny Rose's cross back to Aaron Lennon, the winger's shot blocked and Luka Modric's follow-up deflected wide. Still pretty entertaining stuff.
2006: David Silva and Yaya Toure - as so often - are looking City's string-pullers-in-chief tonight.
2005: Having seen the replays, I'd suggest no penalty is a good decision. Might have been even been outside the box anyway.
2004: Big penalty shout as Michael Dawson gets back to tackle winger James Milner inside the box - City claim illegally - but referee Mike Dean says no spot-kick. For a man with a reputation for giving penalties, that's a big shout.
2002: Bit better from Spurs in the last few minutes, though, with the visitors finally getting Luka Modric on the ball. He looks far more comfortable coming inside but he's doing OK out on the left so far.
2000: Man City on top now with Tottenham struggling to keep their shape defensively.
1958: Carlo Cudicini, by the way, has played seven times against Man City and won them all, conceding just once.
1957: Chance! And it's a great one, too. Edin Dzeko's flick releases David Silva behind the Spurs defence and the Spaniard's reverse pass begs to be slammed home eight yards out by the Bosnian, his shot is well saved by Carlo Cudicini, though. Should have done better, there, Dzeko but a good save.
1954: It's fairly open at Eastlands I have to say - a refreshing surprise - but not a huge amount in the way of chances just yet. A fine Sandro tackle ends City's latest break. The Brazilian has impressed me in recent weeks.
1952: And now an even better break at the other end, Adam Johnson's excellent pass releasing Micah Richards wide in the Spurs box - his cross well cleared by Michael Dawson's lunge.
1951: First half-break of the match as Aaron Lennon is released down the right, the Spurs winger beating one, beating two, but not beating three as his surge is stopped on the edge of the City box.
1949: Cagier than Battersea Dogs Home in the early stages in Manchester, Tottenham looking enthusiastic enough but City arguably edging the 'silky' stakes in the opening exchanges.
1946: Tottenham get us up and running at Eastlands.
1944: Now then, I don't do predictions - and I never will - so
I've rolled some dice.
They say Man City 3-4 Tottenham. Erm...
1943: Here come the players at Eastlands, the ground filling up in typical leave-it-to-the-last-minute styleee... hope the pints and pies are worth it, folks.
1941: MAN CITY v TOTTENHAM (1945) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports: "Tottenham confirmed their place in the Champions League with victory at Eastlands near the end of last season - now the tables are turned as three points tonight will see Manchester City secure a slot in next year's competition. Spurs have endured such a decline that their main priority now is battling with Liverpool for fifth place while City will want to get this piece of pressing business done and dusted before Saturday's FA Cup Final against Stoke City at Wembley."
1938: Better news for Man City, though... Peter Crouch has scored only four goals in 33 Premier League matches - 1734 minutes of football - since he scored the winning goal for Spurs last season at City, on 5 May 2010. Blimey.
ShaunForster on Twitter:
"Since when were Spurs that good that they can pick and choose whether or not they want European football? Excuses."
1935: No Gareth Bale either for Tottenham tonight, of course, following
the ankle injury he sustained against Blackpool
on Saturday. Spurs fans looking for a fillip to that news, though, will like this nugget from
... the Londoners have won 1.53 points per match with him playing in 30 Premier League matches this season, but have won 2.0 points/match in five matches without him.
1932: MAN CITY v TOTTENHAM (1945) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports: "One in and one out creating a stir at Eastlands. Carlos Tevez is on the bench and hoping for the chance to show Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini he has recovered sufficiently from the hamstring injury he suffered at Liverpool to stake his claim for Saturday's FA Cup Final against Stoke City at Wembley. And there is no Heurelho Gomes in the Tottenham team after his error at Chelsea and the rush of blood that gave Blackpool a second penalty at White Hart Lane on Saturday. Spurs say this is because of a back injury sustained in training."
Stribz in Brum via text: "Why is nobody talking about Liverpool pipping both these guys (Harry and Mancini) to fourth spot?" Ignoring the fact I mentioned it at 1902 mate, I'd say it's because no matter how good their form is they've left it a little too late for most people's money.
SamReadbsr on Twitter:
"Very 'attacking' team from City compared to what we're used to seeing.... expect a very open game..."
1927: As for Harry Redknapp - well the Spurs boss is equally relaxed, mostly it seems because he wouldn't be all too devastated if his team were to miss out on European football altogether next season. "Teams who get into the Europa League want to get out of it," he Redknapp this week. "Half of them put reserve teams out in the early stages and it's difficult to play every Thursday and Sunday. It disrupts things. We didn't have European football last year and we finished fourth. That was a big advantage to us. If there are teams around you in the Europa League, you want to keep them in it. If we were in it next year, and you were one of the other clubs around us, you'd want us to stay in that competition because it takes its toll. I wanted Man City to stay in it this year because they were playing every Thursday night, slipping off to Azerbaijan to play a team out there. It's unreal, but that's how that competition is."
1923: You might think Roberto Mancini is a nervy man ahead of tonight's match following his side's defeat at Everton on Saturday. Not a word of it. "I don't think we have a problem for fourth spot," said the City manager. "We still have three games left and we only need three points. Tottenham are still a very good team. [But] they have played Champions League and when you do that the season is very difficult. That is what we are trying to achieve and if we beat Tottenham, it is finished."
Calum_Elder on Twitter:
"Why do Spurs not want Europa League? Keeps up their Euro co-efficient, so higher seedings if they qualify for Champs League."
1920: MAN CITY v TOTTENHAM (1945) Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta, Milner, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Adam Johnson, Silva, Dzeko. Subs: Given, Wright-Phillips, Kolarov, Vieira, Tevez, Boyata, Balotelli. Tottenham: Cudicini, Corluka, Dawson, Gallas, Rose, Lennon, Palacios, Sandro, Modric, Van der Vaart, Crouch. Subs: Pletikosa, Kaboul, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe, Bassong, Kranjcar, Pienaar. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
TrueBlue1979 on Twitter:
"I can see City doing this the City way... last day of the season win at Bolton keeping City fans on the edge of their seats!!"
1917: Full line-ups to follow as soon as I get them, people, but I can tell you that Mario Balotelli will start alongside Carlos Tevez on the bench, no doubt exhausted by
his recent anti-bullying antics in Manchester.
That man is a headline writer to end all headline writers isn't he?
pompeyboyz on Twitter:
"I think Spurs will be more up for this as defeat tonight could end their season. Man City might have one eye on the cup final."
Pete, Liverpool via text: "Spurs are without Gomes? They might have a chance then!"
- and my money is firmly in my pocket. For a change. Ahem. You lot, you don't have the privilege of sitting on the fence. If you want your voice heard, you've got to have an opinion right? Well let me know yours by Tweeting the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). The best/most outlandish/funniest opinion wins.* No prizes will be offered for having an opinion. Sorry.
1909: So don't, whatever you do, count your chickens just yet - a Tottenham win tonight and the race for fourth might just be right back in the mixer. And with the small matter of
an FA Cup Final looming large on the horizon,
what on the face of it looks like being a truly momentous week for the Eastlanders might yet take a turn for the decidedly sour if they're not careful. So... where's your money?
1907: TEAM NEWS SNAP Carlos Tevez starts on the bench for Man City after a hamstring injury. Tottenham are without keeper Heurelho Gomes (back injury).
1906: ...BUT... stranger things happen at sea, as they say, right? And Tottenham's superb record against Man City - they have 19 wins to City's three in their Premier League head-to-head - suggests not everything will necessarily be plain sailing for the boys in blue tonight.
1905: But the game's not played on paper now is it? I mean, yes, City's home form this season is excellent, unbeaten - as they are - in their last eight at Eastlands; yes, Tottenham need something like divine intervention if they are to sneak into the Champions League for a second season running; yes, Tottenham have earned just one win since
their 1-0 defeat of AC Milan at the San Siro in February;
and yes, City's defensive record suggests they should be more than comfortable against Spurs' misfiring strikers this evening. BUT...
1902: Yep, two teams seemingly heading in different directions as we reach the season's end. Man City, despite
Saturday's 2-1 reverse at Everton,
can guarantee at least fourth in the table with victory tonight - a result that would even put resurgent Liverpool's slim Champions League hopes to bed. Tottenham, on the other hand, look every inch a club whose remarkable first season in Europe's top cup competition has
rather taken it's toll of late,
with even a top-six finish not yet safe for them. On paper, it's a home win all night long.
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