Manchester City (Away)
Premier League

Tuesday 10th May 2011

Our now seemingly annual play-off match for qualification to the Champions League sees us take on Manchester City for a second year, with fourth place up for grabs.  But this time it is different.

Liverpool have entered the equation and Spurs travel to Anfield on Sunday, but with Spurs losing two points to Blackpool and losing Gareth Bale, it is not just the Welshman's season that is over.  With an array of drawn matches this season ,even a win in this match would condemn Spurs to rely on other results to achieve a top four finish.

So three games left and to have any chance of qualifying for the top European competition, it would take three wins and then we might still have to wait on other results.  City will be waiting this time and having spent a fortune on their team, they have started to blend their abilities into a more consistent side.  That does not mean that on their day they can lose to anyone, but with Spurs having almost a whole team out injured, the chances of a win like last season must have the odds stacked against them.

With Joe Hart having a very good season in goal, the City defence, which let them down last season, has tightened up considerably.  Joleon Lescott has been very good in the middle of the back four and even though he will be without Jerome Boateng, Vincent Kompany has been a revelation impressing on a regular basis with his power in the air and ability to dribble the ball out of the back line.  Tough tackling Micah Richards should be back to replace Pablo Zabaleta, who was injured late in City's recent match against West Ham United.  Russian Alexander Kholarov has been operating on the other side of the back four, with a marked improvement in his performances since the opening day shocker he had against us.

And that game back in August was perhaps typical of a lot of our games this season, with lots of the ball, but not being able to hit the net and close games out.  Defoe and Pavlyuchenko, as they look like the only two fit strikers we have.  If Harry deploys van der Vaart behind one striker, I fear Spurs will get over-run, as City will push to go a goal or two ahead and then will feel that the job has been done.  Despite Mancini's defensive mind-set, I cannot believe that he will go out to protect a 0-0.

The important part of City's team on Tuesday will be their midfield.  I have never really seen the attraction of Gareth Barry, as he is one paced and appears to be gaining a bit of a temper, which result in unnecessary bookings and his passing is adequate and not in the same class as someone like Tom Huddlestone's or Luka Modric's, but he is an effective player in front of his back four, where he breaks down moves and lays the ball off to someone else.  The real ball-winner in that area is Nigel de Jong, who is a fierce tackler and a highly competitive midfielder.  Sandro will be the only player we have available like that, so he might need to be ready for one of the toughest tasks he has had since he joined Spurs.  If the going gets tough for City, they can also call on the experience of former Gooner Patrick Vieira, while Yaya Toure is another long legged midfiedler who can eat up the ground between the two penalty areas.

James Milner, Adam Johnson, Shaun Wright-Phillips and David Silva are all other options for Mancini to use and I imagine that Milner and Silva will be the two he goes with leaving Johnson to come off the bench when Spurs are tiring.  Milner works hard and the other two are skilful wing players, who would give our normal full backs a torrid time, let alone our second choices.  The key to the game could be how the full backs cope and Rose will be tested in a position he is being touted as having a future in by Harry Redknapp, but a little while ago Danny was a winger himself.

With Carlos Tevez not certain of starting with a hamstring strain troubling him, he may start on the bench, but will be itching to prove his fitness for Saturday's FA Cup final.  A 100%er, Tevez has had a galvanising effect on the City side this season, but has had his fall-outs with Mancini.  A goal-scorer of the sort Tottenham could do with, he is a handy man to have on the bench and Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli could be the expensive striking partnership that Michael Dawson and William Gallas have to pit their wits against.  Dzeko has been up and down since his arrival and has started a number of games among the subs, but he is aware of where his team-mates are around him, with the ability to take chance, although he has found that a bit more difficult since arriving in England.  Balotelli has been all action ... off the field ... while on it, he has made the headlines but not always for the right reasons.  Be it a bib, a foot in an opponent's chest or throwing a strop over being taken off, the Italian has rarely been dull.  How City do sometimes depends on which Mario turns up.

I thought at the start of this season that City might just pip us to fourth.  Recent results means it might not be just, but I do not think we have had the necessary goals in us this season to go there again.  The midfield have chipped in, but our strikers have not scored regularly enough and that has put pressure on the defence to keep clean sheets ... not usually one of our fortes.

For that reason, I think it might be someone other than City heading for Thursday night, Channel 5 ...

PREDICTION : -    Manchester City    2      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 :  -  Carlos Tevez (doubtful - hamstring); Jerome Boateng (out - knee); Micah Richards (doubtful - hamstring); Shay Given (out - shoulder); Michael Johnson (out - knee); Gareth Barry (hopeful - hamstring); Pablo Zabaleta (out - ??); Kolo Toure (out - drug use)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Wilson Palacios (out - knee); Ledley King (out - groin); Alan Hutton (out - knee); Luka Modric (doubtful - hip); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - hamstring); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Bongani Khumalo (out - foot); Gareth Bale (out - ankle); Jermaine Jenas (doubtful - thigh); Peter Crouch (doubtful - back)


Sky Sports 1/Sky Sports HD1/Sky Sports 3D - (live coverage)
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)

Commentary may be found on on
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
>  TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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.

For travelling fans who may wish to make use of some hostelries who are offering food/drink/accommodation,
please click here and see if there are any such facilities who have contacted MEHSTG in the area near to the ground.

Also, just visit, fill in form and receive 5x10% vouchers for selected places to stay on your travels to away matches.


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

Premier League
Venue :  -  Eastlands
Tuesday 10th May 2011
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   47,029
Referee :  Mike Dean (Cheshire)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand in the first half.
Weather :  -  Mild/chilly
Teams : - 
Manchester City :

25  Hart

  2  Richards
  4  Kompany (c)
19  Lescott
  5  Zabaleta (13  Kolarov 57)

42  Y Toure
34  De Jong
  7  Milner     

21  Silva  (32  Tevez 83)
10  Dzeko
11  Johnson  (
24  Vieira 66)

Unused subs: 
  1  Given

38  Boyata
  8  Wright-Phillips
45  Balotelli

Tottenham Hotspur :

23  Cudicini

22  Corluka
20  Dawson (c)
13  Gallas  (  4  Kaboul 88)
25  Rose

  7  Lennon
30  Sandro
12  Palacios  (40  Pienaar 32    )
14  Modric

11  van der Vaart

15  Crouch (18  Defoe 78)

Unused subs: 
19  Bassong
21  Kranjcar
  9  Pavyluchenko

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Manchester City

  Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Manchester City

Crouch (o.g.) 30

Tottenham Hotspur


Cards : -  
Manchester City

Milner (foul)   80


Tottenham Hotspur  

Pienaar (foul)   83


Match Report : -  
For the second season running, a Peter Crouch goal at the South Stand end at Eastlands confirmed Champions League football, but after the highs of 2010, this time it was in his own net and handed Manchester City the victory that sees them replace Tottenham as one of the country's representatives in Europe's top competition.

Nobody would have banked on Crouch being the only scorer and certainly not where he put the ball away from ... almost the exact spot 370 days ago to ensure a Champions League campaign for Spurs.  And despite Tottenham controlling a large portion of the game with good possession, the failure to turn that into goals once more underlines the difference in our success of last season and the lack of turning winning positions into points this time around.

Harry made five changes, with Gomes out with a "bad back" and Kaboul replaced by Corluka, Spurs set up with four at the back and four in midfield, with Lennon starting and Palacios returning in the middle of the midfield with Sandro.  Rafael van der Vaart played in behind Peter Crouch as the front man.

While Spurs looked comfortable in possession in opening phase of the first half, it was City who threatened goal first with a 10th minute move that saw Silva escape past Corluka and pull a low pass back form the dead ball line for Edin Dzeko, eight yards out, but the striker's shot was blocked by Cudicini, who took the ball in his bread basket.

Spurs then started to move the ball into the City half and keep it there, apart from one break when the annoyingly dramatic James Milner went down in a should to shoulder challenge by Michael Dawson in the area, but referee Dean waved play on.  Lennon and Luka Modric both had efforts blocked and Crouch shot over, before Modric should have opened the scoring.  A pacy run by Aaron Lennon took him from the halfway line to the edge of the City box and he looked up to play a square ball inside to the Croatian midfielder and he was half falling as he hit a shot from just inside the box that went six inches wide on the left of the City goal in the 28th minute.

In another moment, atypical of our season, City went ahead two minutes later when they worked a short corner, with Tottenham slow on the uptake and Milner played a quick low ball into the six yard box and Crouch was back defending, but could only knock it into his own net to make it 1-0.  He couldn't do much else with Lescott coming in behind him, but it was a strange twist of fate that saw him score from virtually the same place as he did last season.

Not only had Tottenham lost a goal, but Wilson Palacios cold not carry on and was replaced by Steven Pienaar, who, for a little while, could not pick up the pace of the game.  City had their best spell of the first half and put the Spurs defence under a little pressure, but could only produce a long range shot from David Silva that dipped over the top form 25 yards out as he cut in from the left.  Then towards the end of the first half, it was Tottenham's turn to frustrate the home side, with their fans getting anxious, as Spurs camped in the last third.  But alas, all that they could produce was a tame volley from van der Vaart in the last minute of added time.

The half time break was not a joyous time for the Spurs fans, who had been on a long trek this season and were so hoping that a repeat of last season might happen, but we travel in hope and are not always rewarded, so the second half needed to start well for any hope of a comeback.  With Tottenham attacking the goal in front of us, it took only a minute and a half for a clear chance to be created, as City looked nervy.  Lennon got away on the right and cut the ball back into the heart of the box in the air and running in was Pienaar, who headed back across Hart and downwards towards the inside of the side netting, but the goalie dived left and got a good hand to knock the ball out before it was cleared away.

City had to make do with ten men for a while as Zabaleta had head-butted Crouch's elbow and blood poured from his nose.  While the City crowd were not happy with the clash, Crouch's arm was straight and therefore, it looked as though the elbow was not swung a the City full back.  He was replaced and following two efforts on goal by van der Vaart - neither which troubled Hart - the substitution that changed the game happened.  Taking off Adam Johnson, Patrick Vieira came on to shore up the midfield and suddenly Spurs found it harder to get through. 

In between poor efforts from Pienaar and Lennon that sailed into the crowd, Vieira broke on the right to pass inside for Silva and looking well placed for a shot on goal, he slipped and the ball was taken up-field.  But Tottenham came back with a rising shot from Rose that flicked a City player for a corner, following a corner that was not cleared properly and then van der Varrt shot off target.  It was catching, as Dzeko hit Milner's cross almost to the back of the stand.  The striker wasn't that impressive, but he looks like he could be a handful when he is on form. 

As the game wore on and the Tottenham player s looked ever more weary, City brought fresh legs on in the shape of Carlos Tevez and he first played in Vieira to dink over Cudicini only to see a limping William Gallas rush back to head over the bar and the with almost the last attack of the game, the Argentinian got onto a long loose ball that Dawson left for Cudicini and Cudicini left for Dawson, so getting it on the edge of the box, he stepped right and curled a shot that he hoped would end up in the top corner of the net.  However, Cudicini was equal to it and beat the shot out before rescuing it before it crossed the line.

And shortly after, the final whistle went and the celebrations at the end where the Spurs fans stood were missing this time, as City supporters jumped up and down around the ground.  Good luck to them, as over the season, their team has probably deserved it and now Harry Redknapp will have to show what he is made of with the side needing re-shaping before next season's campaign.

Peewee, Hertford





League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 36 22 10 4 73 34 76 +39
2 Chelsea 36 21 7 8 67 30 70 +37
3 Arsenal 36 19 10 7 68 39 67 +29
4 Manchester City 36 19 8 9 55 33 65 +22
5 Liverpool 36 17 7 13 59 41 58 +18
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 36 14 14 8 52 46 56 +6
7 Everton 36 12 15 9 50 44 51 +6
8 Stoke City 36 13 7 16 46 44 46 +2
9 Bolton Wanderers 36 12 10 14 49 50 46 -1
10 Newcastle United 36 11 11 14 51 52 44 -1
11 Sunderland 36 11 11 14 41 53 44 -12
12 West Bromwich Albion 36 11 10 15 52 68 43 -16
13 Fulham 36 10 15 11 45 41 42 +4
14 Aston Villa 36 10 12 14 45 58 42 -14
15 Blackburn Rovers 36 10 9 17 42 56 39 -14
16 Birmingham City 36 8 15 13 36 54 39 -18
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 36 10 7 19 41 62 37 -21
18 Blackpool 36 9 9 18 49 71 36 -22
19 Wigan Athletic 36 7 15 14 36 59 36 -23
20 West Ham United 36 7 12 17 41 64 33 -23

Position before the match :  6th
Position after the match :  6th

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