Manchester City (Away)
Premier League

Wednesday 5th May 2010

A recent visit to Manchester ended in defeat and the North-West, much like the North-East, is not a favourite part of the world for Tottenham, but there are things in our favour.

Spurs have a good record against Manchester City; something which normally makes me think that it will lead to a reversal of that trend.  City have long spent time trying to match their neighbours, much like Spurs, with a tale of heroic failure in the end ... a bit like Spurs, but without the trophies.  But the difference is that City need to win and a draw would do for Spurs.  not that I would advocate going there to get a draw.  That would be something like Champions League suicide.  A strong mental attitude is what Spurs need and if they don't have it they won't fare too well in the CL anyway.

Two aspects of the game are uppermost in the team doing well.  Firstly, the tempo I have spoken about a lot this season, especially since Christmas.  We seem to leave it at White Hart Lane sometimes, with a sluggish approach away from home, which makes winning harder.  With Bale in the side and Lennon coming back to fitness, their pace might help Spurs attack City, as their back line is not as solid as their attacking options.

Secondly, the taking of chances needs to be as sharp as possible, with too many opportunities having gone begging over the last few months.  The midfielders have been chipping in with goals, but we need Defoe and Crouch, who I expect to start, because Pav is a little light-weight away from home when he starts, to hit the ground running ... or more prosaically, hit the net running.  If Crouch does start, then we need to make sure we don't go route one to him all the time.  Our more recent success has been based on good wing play and build up on the floor.  To abandon that now would be dangerous.   The City defence of four from Toure, Onuoha, Bridge, Zabaltea, Kompany and Garrido can be got at and by moving the ball crisply and with accuracy might leave them chasing our players.  With Given injured, their best keeper is out and while there has been a lot of debate about the relative moral benefits of having brought in Marton Fulop in goal, we have to face him whether we like it or not.  He is still not as good as Given and we have to hope that we have our first choice keeper available, as there will be no loan option for us.

Personally, I would keep the midfield we have been playing rather than bringing in Palacios.  He unbalanced the side at Old Trafford and the midfield we have gives us more attacking options.  It might be more susceptible to being muscled out of the game, but we need goals.

City have been scoring freely of late and it will take a tight defensive performance from whoever turns out for Spurs to keep Adebayour, Bellamy, Tevez, Santa Cruz and Johnson in check.  Dawson is a cert, but I am sure that if Harry can squeeze one more game out of Ledley it will be for this one, rather than save him for Burnley.  Bassong will do a good job if he comes in though and Kaboul looked good at right back against Bolton, but it was only Bolton.  He might be a bit exposed if left one on one with Bellamy.

In midfield, Gareth Barry is the passer, with Nigel de Jong the ball-winner and we will need to be wary of his tackling.  Another "hard man" in midfield that City have is Patrick Vieira and they are likely to play him for his experience.  Match of the Day pointed out the simplicity of his game, but we might benefit from having him in the middle of the pitch, as our players can get around him and he is not as good at tracking back as his younger legs were.  Shaun Wright-Phillips might be deployed to stop Bale's raids up the line with his pace preventing Gareth getting away, but this might blunt their own attacking threat.

Mancini will not have too much experience of playing against Spurs, as he was not in charge when we won 3-0 at the Lane earlier this season and will only have seen Tottenham on TV, but no doubt he will have had scouts at our games, knowing this is the important game.  City have had a run against lesser teams of late and with the exception of Arsenal, where they got a 0-0 draw and Manchester United, where they lost 0-1 in the last minute, it has been a chance to keep the pressure on Spurs and the rack up the goal difference.  How they will respond to playing Spurs in a vital game will be interesting to see.

Winning at Eastlands for either team is not the be all and end all, as the last game still has to be negotiated.  Spurs travel to already relegated Burnley, who will want to give their fans a good send-off with a win over one of the big boys before they return to the Championship, while City go to West Ham United, who have nothing to play for and nothing to help Spurs for.  Both Spurs and City have the ability to mess things up after doing the hard work, so it will still go to the final day whatever the result here.

With the game coming a day before the general election, I am not sure which way I should cast my vote, but will be a tight call, but with both clubs pumped up maybe there will be no overall majority, so I think that it might end up all square.

PREDICTION : -  Manchester City  1     Tottenham Hotspur   1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


MANCHESTER CITY :  - Gareth Barry (doubtful - hamstring); Stuart Taylor (out - knee); Shay Given (out - shoulder); Joleon Lescott (out - hamstring); Martin Petrov (out - knee); Michael Johnson (out - knee)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Ledley King (out - thigh); Carlo Cudicini (out - hip and wrists); Heurelho Gomes (doubtful - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Kyle Walker (out - wrist)


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Radio :  
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 (live coverage)
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If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Manchester City   0   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  City of Manchester Stadium
Wednesday 5th May 2010
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   47,370
Referee :  Steve Bennett (Orpington)
Manchester City kicked off and played towards the away end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Drizzly rain, mild
Teams : - 
Manchester City :

38  Fulop

  3  Bridge
33  Kompany
28  Toure (c)
  5  Zabaleta

11  A. Johnson  (  8  Wright-Phillips  71)
  6  Barry  (24  Vieira  57)
34  de Jong
22  Adebayour

22  Tevez
39  Bellamy (14  Santa Cruz 84)

Unused subs: 
37  Nielsen
  2  Richards
  4  Onuaha

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto     
26  King (c)
20  Dawson
  4  Kaboul     

  3  Bale
  6  Huddlestone     
14  Modric  (12  Palacios  88)
  7  Lennon  (  5  Bentley  71)

18  Defoe  (  9  Pavyluchenko  81)
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
19  Bassong
  8  Jenas
17  Gudjohnsen

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Manchester City

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Manchester City


Tottenham Hotspur

Crouch 82
Cards : -  
Manchester City




Tottenham Hotspur 

Kaboul (foul) 30
Huddlestone (unsporting conduct) 59
Assou-Ekotto (handball)  66   


Match Report : -  
With one nod of his head, Peter Crouch wiped away the memory of two previous headers that hit the post and the keeper and propelled Tottenham Hotspur into the Champions League for the first time in the club's history.  But he was not the only hero on the night, when everyone played their part in the win over Manchester City that kept them out of reach in fifth with a game still to play.

From the start, with City bringing out the cliched tenor to sing rousing football songs to try and get the home crowd fired up, it was obvious that the City team would be going all out to win, needing the three points here to have a good chance of finishing fourth. 

To be fair, the atmosphere was electric for the teams when they emerged from the tunnel. City started like possessed men and kept Spurs pinned back in their own last third for a lot of the first half.  Tevez was expending so much energy, he must have had a carbon footprint the size of a carbon Bigfoot.  He wanted the ball everywhere on the pitch, chased down Spurs player son the ball, ran at the defence and was back in midfield trying to get possession back.  Spurs were not able to play the way they wanted, with City closing down the man on the ball and marking tight the player who might receive it.

It looked a bit ominous, as the first time Bellamy got to run at Kaboul, he cut inside the defender and played a short ball to Barry inside the box, but he couldn't sort his feet out and hit a shot with his wrong foot that went over the bar.  Younes probably learned enough from that one incident to make sure the Welshman did not pass again and with five minutes gone a tackle by the Frenchman left Bellamy needing medical attention.  Tevez had other ideas and a run into the left side of the penalty area found Benny on the wrong side of the pitch and on the wrong side of the Argentinian, making a half-hearted tackle with his wrong foot, which could have gone wrong, but Heurelho Gomes was out quickly to block the shot and the ball bounced off BAE's head and was hacked away.

However, with virtually the first attack Tottenham had they came close to opening the scoring, as Bale's 18th minute right wing free-kick cleared everyone except Peter Crouch at the far post and his header crashed against the post with Kompany far too interested in watching the Spurs striker rather than the ball.  Three minutes later and a corner from the same side, saw Bale swing the ball into the six yard box, where Ledley King rose highest to head home past emergency loan keeper Marton Fulop and a player on the line.  However, celebrations were cut very short, as referee Bennett ruled it out for an arm placed on Barry's back by the Tottenham skipper.

With Spurs being pushed back again, a 27th minute Bellamy corner was cleared, but only to Adam Johnson 25 yards out and he pushed the ball out of his feet enough to strike a shot that brought a very good diving save from Gomes, who pushed it wide of the goal with good hands.  Meanwhile, Kaboul was finishing his job on Bellamy, but earned an early yellow card for it, although it did mean that the former West Ham, Norwich City, Newcastle United, Liverpool and so on and so on winger feared going near our right back again.  He had already had a shouting match with Adebayour, which seemed to affect both players adversely.

With Barry getting away down the left, he played a waist high ball across the penalty area and as Johnson went in for it, but Gareth was tracking back to mark him.  Unfortunately, it came of Bale's old feller and was heading for the bottom corner, until Gomes reacted swiftly to produce a super save by pushing the ball wide again to deny City a 34th minute goal.

But as the game swung the other way, Spurs went close once more, with Aaron Lennon delivering a good cross to the far post after a period of possession football by Spurs, where Crouch headed back for Bale to take a shot with the ball in the air, but he kept it down and it whizzed a foot wide of the post with Fulop helpless with seven minutes to the break.  then a couple of minutes later, a bit of good fortune could have seen Spurs take the lead when Crouch closed down Fulop as he was about to clear and he blocked the ball, only for it to favour the former Tottenham keeper by bouncing back towards his own penalty area.

Toure was being given a tough time in his normal position, but when he came forward for corners, he got more joy, winning three set pieces in the air.  Unfortunately for him, he could only get the last one on target, but with no power in it to trouble Gomes, while he put the two easier efforts off target when he had free headers.

There was one more chance in the half, when Tevez ran at the left side of the Spurs defence and King shepherded him wide and the little forward hit a shot into the side-netting instead of pulling the ball across, which might have caused more danger to Tottenham.  The whistle for the break came as a relief, as Tottenham were halfway towards their aim, but while it remained 0-0, there was always the chance that City might get the goal they so dearly sought.

With the Spurs section buoyant and loud in their singing, City's fans had to be whipped up again and produced a few songs, but for much of the second half, they came out second best to the Spurs vocal support, much like their team came out second best to the Spurs team.

It was a bit surprising that they seemed to go into their shell and similarly to the game at the Lane, they looked like they were a bunch of individuals who hadn't played much together before.  It made Tottenham's task easier and they passed the ball better after the interval, although there were some times they tried to find Crouch's head with wayward passes.

An early opportunity to City saw Johnson's cross elude everyone and Barry latch onto it at the far post, getting something on the ball to get it past Gomes, but the ever reliable Michael Dawson was there to clear from behind his keeper.  Within five minutes of the restart, Spurs had started to find their range, with Assou-Ekotto and Lennon hitting shots on goal, albeit off target, then in the 55th minute, they finally got on on goal.  Bale played the ball through for Jermain Defoe to get on the end of and with his first clear chance, he struck a shot form just inside the area with the outside of his right foot and as it was going to Fulop's left, he plunged low to turn the ball away for a corner with a fine finger-tip stop.

The game then became a bit scrappy for ten minutes, with Barry going off with an ankle problem to be replaced by Vieira, who was quite ineffectual and Hud getting booked and being lucky not to be sent off.  He escaped from Vieira, de Jong and another City player, who all dived in on him, catching him late, but Tom stamped his foot back, which might have been a red card in another referee's book.  He then instinctively handled the ball as it flew past him in midfield and was let off with a telling off rather than a sending off.  A similar, but harsher, handball earned Benoit a yellow card.

When the bookings were over (and the ref let City's players off lightly and gave them some soft free-kicks), it was left to Tottenham to control the rest of the game, as City ran out of steam and ideas.  Dawson looped a cleared header onto the top of the goal, then, with twenty minutes to go, Assou-Ekotto got away on the left and slid a ball through the corridor of uncertainty, leaving Defoe and Crouch both agonisingly too far away from sliding the ball into the net, with keeper and defenders wary of getting the wrong touch on it. 

77 minutes and the chance that should have won the match for Tottenham came along.  Bale had been working the left wing, but had not been getting as telling crosses in as he had been doing in recent matches, but one cross picked out a Spurs head in the six yard box and it was Crouch's.  he headed the ball down, but into the centre of the goal, where Fulop was on his backside, but managed to kick the ball away.  It looked as though that might have been the big chance Spurs had to take and that missed chances might come back to haunt them again.

However, City hadn't banked on Ledley King playing out of his skin.  His third appearance in eleven days alongside the resolute Michael Dawson, Ledley showed just why he is so important to Tottenham.  When Tevez lined up a shot from distance, it seemed to carry enough power that might have troubled the Tottenham keeper, but Ledley (for the second time in the game) put his head in the way to take the ball away from goal.

It proved to be the last shot that the home side had, as Spurs began to move the ball better and City lost the tracking of the forward runners.  Shortly after Pavylucheno came on for Defoe a cross from the left by Bale cleared everyone and was played right to Kaboul.  Faced with Bellamy, he ran at the winger and the feeble challenge failed to prevent Younes reaching the dead ball line.  From just on the edge of the box, he let fly with a fierce cross-shot that flicked off Wayne Bridge and forced Fulop to react to at his near post.  He was only able to push the ball up into the air and Crouch got around a defender and to the ball before Kompany's attempted overhead kick to nod it high into the net and launch a frenetic mass of Spurs fans celebrating behind that goal.  The sections either side with City fans in was as still as some of their defenders had been, while the leaping Spurs fans replicated Crouch's reaction to give Tottenham the all-important goal they needed with just eight minutes left.

We have seen Spurs stuff it up from this sort of position before, but the defence stood firm ,the midfield worked the ball well and kept hold of it and the forwards began to pull the City back four around.  Crouch went through on the left and then produced a pass out to their right, where Pav ran in and shot on goal, but once more Fulop dived to push the ball off for a corner.  Two short corners later, the clock had been run down sufficiently to allow Steve Bennett to blow the final whistle when the ball was pumped into midfield and the scenes of joy was bitterly counter-pointed by the desolation on the faces of the Manchester City players and fans.

With the Spurs players joyously hugging anyone in Spurs white and blue that moved, the stadium that had started emptying even before the goal, was rapidly becoming a light blue sea of empty seats.  No lap of honour for the home team and no happy ending for once for their fans.

But for Tottenham, a new era beckons.

Champions League football for the first time and with a qualifier against a potentially tough side to come, there is no guarantees in that competition.  But then there never is with Tottenham.  That is why supporting them can feel so good sometimes.

ted maul





Fan Reaction : -



The pub was packed out and finding my mates, we looked forward to an evening of football in which it was akin to a fourth place play off final.  

Man City came out of the blocks like a train with Tevez looking like he was on a mission, coming really close to earning a penalty.  Kaboul got stuck into Bellamy and that was the last we saw of him.  Having weathered the storm, Spurs started to play.  Crouch hit the post, Ledley scored with a header but Mr. Bennett said no and Bale hit a great shot that just went wide.  City had a shot on target which was saved by Gomes as well as a "back pass" from Bale which was goal bound, but again Gomes came to the rescue.  The first half ended with no goals but with all to play for.

The second half was all Spurs. Though City had a lot of possession it was the North London giants that had the chances.  Defoe's shot was saved by a keeper who looked like he was going to win man of the match; Bale put in a great cross that neither Defoe or Crouch could get to. Huddlestone was lucky to stay on the park when he tried to stamp on a City player, which bought gasps from the crowd in the pub and people muttering that he was lucky. 

Dawson and King were outstanding at the back with last ditch tackles and bodies being thrown in the manner of, they shall not pass.  Kaboul ran down the wing put in a cross (or was it a shot ?) that was pushed out onto the head of Crouch.


We went radio rental in the pub.  How long of the match is left ?  Can we hang on ?  The answer was YES.  

Champions league here we come ! Hang on, we still have to qualify.

My pace maker cannot take much more of this !

City will get to the promised land and then the top four will be blown wide open, until then we will have our day in the sun.


mario sergides

I felt sick all day worrying about the game and I have probably never been as nervous watching a Spurs match as watching this one (and that includes the 1984 UEFA Cup final penalty shoot-out).  

I have probably never watched a match so gripping and only when the final whistle went could I release the pent-up frustration of years of following Spurs.

I know we have only qualified to qualify for the Champions League, but it is a start.

And it was a fine performance and one that I thought I might never see form a Tottenham team.  To go away in such a big game and play their attacking football to get the result they needed, was truly the Tottenham way.

It might be that it doesn't count for much in some other club's fans' eyes, but to me it means the world ... or Europe at least.

marco van hip

I had to write in after last nights fantastic result, what a game, so tense I thought I was going to be sick! Even down to the last 15mins wither side could win!

So over the moon I can hardly put it into words! COYS!
Now hopefully Fulham can hold the goons and we can stuff BOURN-lee!

alan o'brien



Other League scores this mid-weekend :
Fulham 0 Stoke City 1 Wednesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 37 26 5 6 95 32 83 +63
2 Manchester United 37 26 4 7 82 28 82 +54
3 Arsenal 37 22 6 9 79 41 72 +39
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 37 21 7 9 65 37 70 +28
5 Manchester City 37 18 12 7 72 44 66 +28
6 Aston Villa 37 17 13 7 52 38 64 +14
7 Liverpool 37 18 8 11 61 35 62 +26
8 Everton 37 15 13 9 59 49 58 +10
9 Birmingham City 37 13 11 13 37 45 50 -8
10 Stoke City 37 11 14 12 34 44 47 -10
11 Blackburn Rovers 37 12 11 14 40 55 47 -15
12 Fulham 37 12 10 15 39 42 46 -3
13 Sunderland 37 11 11 15 47 54 44 -7
14 Bolton Wanderers 37 9 9 19 40 66 36 -26
15 Wigan Athletic 36 9 9 18 36 69 36 -33
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 36 8 11 18 32 57 35 -25
17 West Ham United 37 8 10 19 46 65 34 -19
18 Hull City 37 6 10 21 34 75 29 -41
19 Burnley 37 7 6 24 38 80 27 -42
20 Portsmouth 37 7 7 23 34 65 19* -31

*   9 points deducted for going into administration.


Position before the match :  4th
Position after the match : 
Position after the weekend :

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