Tottenham Hotspur 1 Manchester City 5

FA Premier League
Wednesday 29 January 2014, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Clichy, Toure (Nastasic 64), Fernandinho, Navas, Silva (Kolarov 80), Aguero (Jovetic 45), Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Lescott, Rodwell, Negredo
Goals: Aguero (15), Toure (pen 51), Dzeko (54), Jovetic (78), Kompany (89)
Booked: Toure, Demichelis, Aguero, Zabaleta

Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the Match: David Silva

Aguero hits the post.

Aguero hits the post.

City were out of the traps quickly, taking the game to their opponents. Just five minutes had been played when the Blues fashioned the first good chance to open the scoring, but Aguero’s shot bounced off the post and out to safety, as he fired across Lloris. Dzeko blazed over after a neat one-two with Aguero, as he shot from the corner of the box.

But with 15 minutes on the clock, the visitors opened the scoring. Aguero has been in terrific goalscoring form this season and there was no change at the Lane. Silva slipped a brilliant through-ball for the Argentine, who beat the offside trap to place it past Lloris.

It took a brilliant save from the Tottenham goalkeeper to keep the score at 1-0. Clichy crossed for Aguero to head and it looked like his effort was destined for the net, but Lloris clawed it out before it crossed the line. The Argentine quickly had another header cleared off the line, before his volley from the rebound was a foot over the bar. City could have had a penalty for a handball by Dawson, too.

Tottenham thought they had equalised with ten minutes of the half to play, but the offside flag was up against Adebayor in the build up. A free kick was crossed into the middle where the Togolese striker jumped to head it, but missed – leaving the centre-back to nod home. He was onside, but his striker was interfering with play in front of him.

On the stroke of half time, the Blues lost Aguero to another injury. The striker pulled up holding his hamstring and his game was over. Demichelis was booked for a seemingly fair challenge on Adebayor, before the centre-back headed harmlessly over at the near post.

Toure battles for possession.

Toure battles for possession.

Early in the second half, the visitors imposed themselves further on the game. Toure had the chance to add the Blues’ second of the night from the penalty spot when Rose was adjudged to have brought down Dzeko. It looked a harsh decision as the full back looked to have timed his tackle well to win the ball, but the linesman waved his flag and Rose was dismissed. Toure sent Lloris the wrong way.

Three minutes later, City added their third. Silva picked up the ball inside the box from a great pull-back by Zabaleta, and, after carrying it across the face of goal, his shot hit the post and bounced out. The deflected rebound fell to Dzeko, who knocked it past Lloris.

Just before the hour mark, the ten men pulled a goal back. A corner was badly defended by the Blues, as Zabaleta missed the ball completely and it fell kindly for Capoue on the edge of the six-yard box. He was never going to miss, blasting his shot past the stranded Hart.

Dzeko could have had two goals in the space of three minutes as two glorious chances to add City’s fourth were spurned by the Bosnian. First, Clichy picked him out with a great cross from deep and the striker’s first touch was perfect for him to hit, but his effort was well wide. Second, Zabaleta picked out the forward after a fine passing move, but Dzeko got his finish all wrong, chipping it wide weakly.

With just over ten minutes to play, the fourth goal came and it was an opening Premier League goal for Jovetic. Silva slid the ball to the Montenegrin on the left flank, where he cut inside and tried to bend a shot around Lloris. It took a nick on the way through, but it didn’t help the home side and it found the bottom corner.

In the closing stages, it was almost five for the Blues, as a brilliant ball slipped Navas in on the right. His low cross was just behind Jovetic and he couldn’t wrap his foot around it to shoot, but it fell to Kolarov. The Serbian belted it, but Lloris was able to block it behind.

Though, in the final minute, the captain added another. A corner fell nicely to Dzeko, who was able to tee himself up to volley at goal. It was blocked ahead of Lloris and fell kindly for Kompany, who was faced with an open goal. He simply stabbed it over the line, despite Lloris’s best efforts to recover.

With Arsenal dropping points the night before, City go to the top of the league.

Advertisements

Manchester City 6 Tottenham Hotspur 0

FA Premier League
Sunday 24 November 2013, 13.30 KO

City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Nastasic (Lescott 45), Clichy, Navas, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure (c), Nasri (Milner 77), Negredo, Aguero (Garcia 69)
Unused: Hart, Richards, Dzeko, Guidetti
Goals: Navas (1, 90+2), Sandro (og 34), Aguero (41, 50), Negredo (55)
Booked: Toure

Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the Match: Fernandinho

Navas chips Lloris in the opening seconds.

Navas chips Lloris in the opening seconds.

With a tricky fixture following the disappointing result on Wearside, City were looking for a quick start to ease the worries. That’s exactly what they got: Just 14 seconds in, Lloris spooned a clearance straight to Aguero. The Argentine shot and the keeper parried, but it dropped to Navas – he expertly lobbed it over the stranded goalie and in off the post.

Five minutes after dropping behind, the visitors almost responded. Lennon got in behind Clichy and drilled a low ball through the box. Pantilimon could only flick it towards the back post. It fell kindly to Lamela, who played it past the stranded goalkeeper, but couldn’t beat Demichelis on the line.

It was nearly two for City after seven minutes, as Aguero and Negredo combined on the edge of the box. The Spaniard’s flick sent the Argentine through on goal, but his attempted dink over Lloris was brilliantly saved at the last second. The move was like a hot knife through butter.

The City fans wanted a penalty for a sliding challenge by Sandro on Nasri shortly after, but the referee ruled the Brazilian had claimed the ball with the Frenchman through on goal. He had to get the tackle right and he just did. It was from behind, though, so perhaps the visitors were lucky.

The away side were growing into the game, however. Vertonghen hit a free kick straight at Pantilimon and the keeper swallowed it up, before Soldado’s shot bobbled wide when he really should have hit the target. It summed up Tottenham’s game: Plenty of possession, but little end product.

And they were punished for it. Fernandinho nodded another poor clearance from Lloris down to Nasri on the left flank. He found Aguero and the Argentine drew the goalkeeper, before squaring for Negredo. His shot took and double deflection and dropped into the net, going down as an own goal for Sandro.

Five minutes from half time, the Blues added their third. The hosts had raised their game following a series of challenges that went unpunished when the Blues thought there should have been free kicks, and the response was to bury another chance. Zabaleta delivered a perfect cross from the right for Aguero to sweep into the bottom corner.

Aguero tries a dink over Lloris.

Aguero tries a dink over Lloris.

The first action of the second half saw Aguero double his tally. Toure burst free from the Tottenham defence and, despite being pushed and pulled all over the place, he managed to stay on his feet to deliver a ball across for Aguero to smash past Lloris. The game was as good as over, with 40 minutes still to play.

It was getting embarrassing for the visitors, who were almost a fifth down three minutes later. Nasri broke free on the right and, with Negredo and Zabaleta in the box, chose to chip Lloris. His effort had the keeper flapping and he got nowhere near it, but must have been relieved when it bounced clear off the underside of the crossbar.

A brilliant turn on the edge of the area from Negredo was rewarded by another goal. Dawson couldn’t get near to the Spaniard as he worked the ball onto his left foot to set himself up to bend it around Lloris. With just 55 minutes played, City had scored five and Tottenham were like rabbits in the headlights.

Chances began to flow for the hosts, who were looking like they could add as many as they wanted. Zabaleta had a shot blocked over, while a low cross from Navas was almost squeezed in by Nasri. Negredo also nodded over from six yards with a free header, while Toure sidefooted over from the edge of the box.

Fernandinho should have scored his first City goal with ten minutes to play, as Navas drilled the ball into the box and found the Brazilian with time and space. However, the midfielder got his feet tangled up and it bounced behind via both of his shins.

With the game trundling towards full time, the fans had one more goal to send them on their way. Milner produced a brilliant ball over the top for Navas to chase with Dawson. The Spaniard out-paced his marked and raced through for a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Lloris didn’t stand a chance, and the man who opened the scoring rounded it off.

City have now scored more goals at home this season than any team in the Premier League has scored in total.

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Manchester City 1

FA Premier League
Sunday 21 April 2013, 13.30 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy (Lescott 90), Barry, Y Toure, Milner (Kolarov 45), Nasri, Tevez, Dzeko (Sinclair 83)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Garcia, Aguero
Goals: Nasri (5)
Booked: Y Toure, Hart

Referee: Lee Mason
Man of the Match: James Milner

Spurs1The early pressure from the home side had City on the ropes to begin with, as Kompany was needed to put in a last ditch tackle to deny Parker a shot at goal, before Bale had a go from range. Hart managed to hold it at the second attempt, after it swerved all over the shop in front of him. A cross from the right was then spilt by the goalkeeper, but he recovered before Adebayor could get to the loose ball.

Despite that, though, it was the visitors who took the lead. Brilliant work from Tevez saw him keep the ball by the right corner flag, despite the company of two defenders. He slipped it through to Milner, whose low cross picked out Nasri at the back post and the Frenchman found the bottom corner.

With 20 minutes played, Tottenham had a great chance to equalise. Walker was played neatly in behind Nasri and he was through one-on-one with Hart. He got his head up, looking for the square pass, but couldn’t see an option and chose to take on the shot. That delay allowed Hart time to get off his line and block the effort brilliantly.

Seven minutes later, City should have been two goals to the good. A neat touch from Tevez turned the ball around the corner for Nasri to face goal. He skipped inside the first challenge and around the second, but Lloris was on top of him quickly and he had to stretch to get the touch. He got it past the Tottenham keeper, but it was just wide of the post.

Tottenham stepped up the pressure with 37 minutes played, as Bale smashed a free kick from long, long range into City’s two-man wall. The second delivery into the box allowed Dempsey to get the wrong side of Clichy, but the French full back manager to recover to get the ball behind for a corner, before the Spurs man could shoot.

A moment later, Tevez did well to slide Dzeko through on goal and the Bosnian should have done better than force Lloris into a comfortable save. He was under pressure from the covering defender and on his wrong foot, but the shot was weak and too close to the goalkeeper. A corner to the back post then resulted in Tevez getting a glancing header towards goal, following Nastasic’s nod back, but he couldn’t force it past Lloris.

On the stroke of half time, Tottenham would have been going into the break level had it not been for a brilliant block from Zabaleta. In truth, the Argentine knew nothing about it, but he was in the right place at the right time to prevent the ball hitting the net, after a low ball into the box deflected to the middle. It was a let off for the visitors.

Spurs2Two minutes into the second half, it was Tottenham’s turn to be fortunate with cards: Assou-Ekotto could have seen red for a two-footed lunge at Zabaleta, but he was lucky that it was just a yellow and Zabaleta didn’t make a meal of it. It was a bitty start to the second period that the hosts just about edged, though neither goalkeeper had work to do.

A free kick on the edge of the City box was skied by Bale, before, at the other end, a neat move broke down as Zabaleta crossed into the box. Dawson’s cross, though, landed straight to the feet of Yaya Toure, who smashed his effort first time at the near post. Lloris, though, was across well to hold the snap-shot.

With just over 15 minutes to go, the goal that had been coming came. City were under pressure and a low ball from Bale across the face of goal found Dempsey unmarked at the back post and onside. He had a virtual open goal, with Hart taken out of commission by the cross, and he wasn’t going to miss. The home side were level.

Three minutes later, the home side were ahead. A through ball by Holtby found Defoe behind Kompany. He cut inside and curled a powerful shot towards the back post and Hart couldn’t reach it, as it nestled into the bottom corner.

Another three minutes on and Tottenham were out of sight: Bale was slipped in behind Clichy and found himself one-on-one with Hart. As the goalkeeper came out, he dinked it over him and it dropped into the middle of the goal. City were paying the price for not taking their chances when on top of the game.

It was a game that summed up City’s season: Good in spells, but not good enough overall.

Manchester City 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1

FA Premier League
Sunday 11 November 2012, 13.30 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic (Maicon 57), Clichy, Y Toure, Barry, Kolarov, Silva, Tevez (Dzeko 73), Aguero (Garcia 90)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Razak, Sinclair
Goals: Aguero (65), Dzeko (88)
Booked: Zabaleta

Referee: Michael Oliver
Man of the Match: Gael Clichy

City began the game the brighter, but were struggling to forge any good goalscoring opportunities against a very stubborn Tottenham side. Several balls over the top ran through to Friedel as the midfield looked for the runs of Tevez and Aguero, while Nastasic flicked a header across goal from a corner, but there was nobody there to knock it into the net for the home side. Kolarov tried a shot from long range from a free kick, but it was simple for Friedel.

Despite the dominance from the hosts, it was the visitors who went ahead. Aguero gave away a free kick on the right flank and it was whipped into the centre from the dead ball. Caulker got to the cross ahead of the defence and nodded it at goal. Hart got two hands to it, but could only palm it into the side netting. It was quite a soft goal to concede and another from a set piece.

For the next few minutes, City were rattled and had seemingly lost their heads. Huddlestone tried an effort from range that he drilled just inches wide of Hart’s right hand post, after some good work by Adebayor to skip away from Zabaleta in the box.

At the other end, there were big shouts for a penalty as Gallas appeared to handle the ball in the box from an Aguero spin and shot, but the claims were waved away by the referee. It was the same result a few moments later when Zabaleta was blocked off in the box, but that claim would have been a harsher penalty than the first.

With half time approaching, City should have gone in level. First, Aguero skied a shot from the edge of the box as he picked up a loose ball from some poor defending from the visitors. Then Tevez side-footed a one-on-one straight at Friedel, after he was played through by Silva. It really should have been the equaliser, but the home side went into the break a goal down.

Early in the second half, Roberto Mancini made a vital decision that changed the game. He switched to 3-5-2, introducing Maicon as a right-wing-back and moving Zabaleta and Clichy inside. The change was bold and it worked, giving the hosts more control of the ball in offensive areas. It soon paid off: Yaya Toure burst forward and the ball found its way to Silva. He slid it to Aguero, who took it onto his left foot and rolled it into the far corner of the goal.

City took the game to Tottenham following the equaliser. Maicon smashed a shot across goal and was unlucky to see nobody had gambled at the back post to touch it in. Tevez fired a shot just wide of the post as the home side looked to get themselves in front.

Tottenham, though, were still dangerous on the break: Bale stole the ball in the City half and drove at goal, leaving Hart to make a good save and push the effort away. Clichy was in the right place to boot the ball clear, over his own head. A moment of defensive slackness almost cost the hosts their hard work.

Silva latched on to a neat through ball from Aguero and skipped inside the challenge, as City looked to get themselves in front. He cut onto his left foot and tried to drill the ball into the bottom corner, but he skewed it slightly and it dribbled wide. Aguero then found himself on a one-on-one with Friedel and the American blocked the initial shot, with the Argentine unable to steer the rebound past the floor goalkeeper. It was looking like it might not be City’s day.

But City’s hard work did pay off. With Dzeko on for Tevez and with just a few minutes to go until added time, the substitute provided another crucial goal from the bench. He was just onside from a ball over the top and brilliantly smashed a shot into the back of the net, over Friedel, with his left foot.

It was another game that City had had to work hard to win and another game where the blues needed to come from behind. But it’s something City have learnt how to do and it keeps them within touching distance of the top of the Premier League.

Manchester City 3 Tottenham 2

English Premier League
Sunday 22 January 2012, 13.30 KO

City: Hart, Richards (c), Savic, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Barry, Silva, Nasri, Aguero, Dzeko (Balotelli 67)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Onuoha, de Jong, A Johnson
Goals: Nasri (56), Lescott (59), Balotelli (pen 90+5)
Booked: Clichy, Balotelli

Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the Match: David Silva

It was a nervy opening from both sides, who spent the first few minutes probing each other, looking for the first chance of the game. It turned out to be the visitors that took the initiative, breaking away from a poor Nasri corner. Lennon, though, wasted the opportunity to cross, finding Hart’s gloves instead. Bale then drilled a low cross through the area, but it missed everybody and Clichy was able to clear.

With 25 minutes on the clock, City had livened up. Aguero fashioned a shooting chance for Silva, but the Spaniard’s shot was a yard wide of the post. Richards broke down the line and got the ball across to Aguero shortly after, but the Argentine’s shot was well saved by Friedel, after he’d skipped inside the challenge.

Lescott fouled Bale on the edge of the City box and it gave the visitors the chance to shoot at goal with the first half slowly ambling towards half time. But Kaboul smashed the kick well over the bar. Tottenham had perhaps edged the first half, but it was goalless at the break and there could have been few complaints about the scoreline from either side.

City, though, stepped up their game in the second half. Richards’s cross was blocked by Assou-Ekotto’s elbow in the area, but it would have been a very harsh penalty. Milner then pulled out a cracking tackle to deny Bale a free run on goal; it was timed perfectly to nick the ball away from the Welshman inside the City box.

With the hour mark approaching, Silva found Nasri with a brilliant through ball. The Frenchman was through on goal and, with the veteran Spurs keeper bearing down on him, the former Arsenal man smashed the ball past Friedel and into the back of the net. City’s pressure had earned them the lead.

And it got better: From a right wing corner, the ball fell to Lescott at the back post and, from no more than half a yard out, the centre-back scrambled it into the back of the net. It wasn’t the prettiest of goals, but it put the hosts two up in three minutes.

Within a minute, though, the visitors pulled one back. A ball over the top wasn’t cut out by Savic and he could only flick the ball on. Defoe broke away from the line of defence and skipped around the onrushing Hart, leaving himself with an easy finish into the open goal. It handed the initiative to the away side.

It didn’t take long for Tottenham to seize that initiative, either. Bale picked up the ball from 20 yards out after City had struggled to clear their lines. His stunning effort found the top corner and Joe Hart’s best efforts couldn’t keep it out. In the space of ten minutes, City had gone two goals in front and Tottenham had pulled it back.

With 20 minutes of the match to play, the game became very stretched. Spurs survived a string of City corners, before they broke away at pace, looking to get themselves in front. But neither side could get the breakthrough, both unable to forge a clear shooting chance. Balotelli was very lucky to escape a red card for a kick out at Parker after the Italian’s shot was charged down.

As the game entered stoppage time, Tottenham should have stolen the points. A mistake by Savic in the middle of the pitch gifted the ball to Bale, who broke on Lescott with a two-on-one. The Welshman sprinted down the line and crossed for Defoe at the back post, who was unmarked, and, from a yard out, he couldn’t stretch enough and somehow put the ball wide with the goal gaping.

And it turned out to be costly. With under a minute of added time to play, a Clichy clearance bounced nicely for Balotelli to run on to into the box. There, a challenge from King brought his run to an abrupt half and the referee pointed to the spot. Balotelli stepped up and won the game for City.

Tottenham 1 Manchester City 5

English Premier League
Sunday 28 August 2011, 13.30 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta (Richards 64), Lescott, Kompany (c), Clichy, Nasri, Barry, Silva, Y Toure, Aguero (Savic 75), Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Milner, A Johnson, Tevez, Balotelli
Goals: Dzeko (35, 41, 55, 90+2), Aguero (60)
Booked: Barry, Zabaleta, Y Toure, Savic

Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: Edin Dzeko

Tottenham could have taken the lead inside 30 seconds as, from kick-off, a neat one-two between Bale and Assou-Ekotto sent the full back clear down the left wing. He pulled the ball back across Hart’s goal, but it missed everybody until Lennon picked it up at the back post. He shot through Clichy’s legs, but he dragged the shot wide. Krancjar then curled a shot wide from the edge of the box.

Nasri then burst through the Tottenham defence to lay the ball off to Silva, who smashed a shot at goal from the edge of the box, but Friedel was equal to it and palmed it away. The rebound fell to Nasri, but he stood on the ball as he tried to get his shot away. Dzeko’s effort was then deflected wide by a red and black shirt, in an offside position.

With nine minutes played, Van Der Vaart turned neatly on the edge of the box and forced a nice save from Joe Hart at his near post, as the game continued in its furious opening pace. Assou-Ekotto then tried to nick the ball but sliced through Aguero as he was played through on the right flank and found himself in the book. Dzeko then finished a neat passing move slicing a shot wide of the post.

It took a good tackle from Corluka to deny Nasri a shooting chance in the box, after some neat one-touch passing between Silva and Dzeko on the edge of the box. Silva then forced a brilliant save from Friedel after another City passing move released the midfielder on the edge of the box. He shot low at the far post and the veteran goalkeeper flicked it wide. Dzeko then had a turn on shot blocked by Dawson.

Van Der Vaart then won a free kick from Barry and stood up to take it himself from the left side of the box. He curled it towards Hart’s near post, but the England international got across well to push the ball away for a corner. Zabaleta then saw yellow for a late challenge on Bale.

Gareth Bale then missed a sitter for Tottenham, after some good build up from the home side. Lennon cut the ball back across goal from the right wing and it fell to the midfielder on the back post. With Hart bearing down on him, he skied his shot high and wide. Gareth Barry then went close to adding to his tally for the season as Dzeko let the ball run to him on the edge of the box, but his first time shot for the top corner was just wide.

After a possible handball in the City box, City broke away neatly down the left. Clichy and Nasri linked up well, before Nasri played a lovely one-two with Aguero to set up the crossing opportunity. Nasri then found Dzeko in the box and he found the back of the net, stealing in to get his tow on the end of the ball, giving the away side the lead.

Peter Crouch should have pulled Tottenham level with a diving header as he was unmarked at the back post, after Van Der Vaart had an effort brilliantly blocked by Lescott. Clichy then blocked a Corluka cross for a corner, which Lescott cleared. From that clearance, Yaya Toure broke away with Silva and Nasri, before the cross found Dzeko in the box and he doubled the visitors’ lead with a brilliant header.

Dzeko almost had a first half hat trick after he unleashed a fierce shot from the edge of the box, but it was well pushed away by Friedel, before Silva shot just wide of the American’s post, as City looked for their third goal before the break. Bale tried to pull one back on the break from a City corner, but it was deflected wide and Hart claimed the resulting corner from Van Der Vaart.

Tottenham began the second half the brighter, with early pressure, but attacking moves were undone twice by Crouch. First, he handled inside the box before he could get a shot away and then he was caught offside as he tried to break through on goal. Huddlestone was then lucky not to go into the book for a late challenge on Zabaleta.

Dzeko was then inches away from his first City hat trick, as he nodded a cross towards goal from the edge of the box. Friedel through himself at it, couldn’t get to it, but fortunately for the Tottenham keeper, it landed just wide of the post.

But then, from a City corner, Dzeko did get his third. The initial cross was cleared by the defence, but it was picked up by Barry, who found Aguero on the edge of the box. His pass sent Toure clear and the Ivorian’s low cross was smashed into the net from two yards by the Bosnian.

Aguero then got himself on the scoresheet with an hour played. He picked up the ball on the left flank and nipped in past the defender. Faced with Friedel, he smashed the ball into the top corner and gave City a four goal lead at the Lane. He could have had his second pretty soon after, but his effort from the edge of the box whistled just wide of the post.

Joe Hart had to be alert to tip a Defoe effort over the bar as he smashed a shot from range. Kaboul then pulled a goal back for the home side with a free header from the resulting corner, as the Tottenham man found space in the box. Joe Hart then denied another strike from Defoe from outside the box.

Savic then picked up a bizarre booking for coming onto the pitch before the referee was ready, before Nasri pulled out a brilliant pass for Silva inside the box, lifting it over the back line to the Spaniard. He tried to take it first time, but his effort was just wide of the post. Edin Dzeko was then denied his fourth by a good save from Friedel.

Dzeko then rounded the game off in style by adding his fourth goal of the afternoon. He played a nice one-two with Barry, before side-footing a wonderful left footed effort into the top corner. Tottenham were well and truly beaten and City turned in one of their best performances ever.

Manchester City 1 Tottenham 0

Barclay’s Premier League
Tuesday 10 May 2011, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott, Zabaleta (Kolarov 58), de Jong, Milner, Y Touré, Silva (Tevez 84), A Johnson (Vieira 67), Dzeko
Unused: Given, Boyata, Wright-Phillips, Balotelli
Goals: Crouch (OG 30)
Booked: Milner

Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany

The penultimate midweek of the season and City had their rearranged fixture with Tottenham to play before thoughts could turn to the FA Cup Final. And it was almost a repeat of last season’s rivalry, although this time Tottenham behind on points and City could qualify for the Champions League with a victory over last season’s tormentors.

Though it was the visitors that got off to the better start with some pressure from Modric and Lennon, it was City who fashioned the first shooting chance of the match, but Yaya Touré’s effort from the edge of the box was sliced wide. And with 10 minutes played, Dzeko should have given the home side the lead, as Silva found him on the edge of the six yard box, but Cudicini spread himself well to block.

City wanted a penalty on 17 minutes as Milner went down inside the box, but it was a soft challenge and the referee waved away the protests. Crouch then wanted the same at the other end, but, again, the complaints were rightly dismissed. Modric should have put the visitors in front on 28 minutes, but his placed shot was just inches wide of Hart’s post, with the City keeper scrambling.

And then, against the run of play it has to be said, the home side got their goal. A break in the Tottenham pressure came with a City corner and it was taken short between Milner and Silva. The visitors, not switched on, didn’t defend it properly and Milner had the chance to drive a low cross into the six yard box. Lescott and Kompany were nearby, but the vital touch came from Peter Crouch, scoring in the same net as he did last season, but this time for a different team.

City could have doubled their lead seconds after the restart, as the ball broke to Silva via Richards, but the Spaniard couldn’t find room for the shot and his pass to Dzeko in the box was cut out before the Bosnian could get the shot in. Tottenham tried to get themselves into a shooting position, but there was nothing to trouble Joe Hart at the end of the first half.

The second half came and with it came the expected Tottenham onslaught. In the opening stages, it took a fantastic save from Hart to deny Pienaar an equaliser, as he flicked the ball around the post with Lescott saving the corner. The visitors must have been sick of the sight of the City keeper this season.

Peter Crouch was fortunate to escape punishment as he caught Zabaleta with a flying elbow as the two challenged for a high ball, the latter having to leave the pitch eventually through injury as the medical team were unable to sort it out to get him back into the game. Vieira joined the action for City to give the midfield some bite and it worked, getting the home side some more of the ball and relieving the constant pressure.

Milner could have got his first Premier League goal for City as a neat touch took him into the area, but he squared instead for Silva, but the ball was intercepted before it reached its target. This was just after Silva couldn’t connect to a Yaya Touré’s low ball to smash it home. Dzeko then skied an effort from the edge of the box, after Milner had delivered the ball to him on a plate.

Tevez then joined the action and almost immediately forged a game winning chance, as he broke into the area and knocked the ball for Vieira to shoot. The big Frenchman waited for Cudicini to go to ground and just lifted it over him. It was goalbound until a brilliant header from Gallas put the ball over the bar for a City corner.

The visitors’ attacks became more desperate as the game entered stoppage time and the centre-back pairing of Lescott and Kompany were eating every one of the balls into the box up, leaving City the chance to break. Kompany tried it, as did Kolarov, but neither could force that second goal. It didn’t matter, though, as the whistle went before Tottenham could get the ball into the box and City will finish at the very lowest in fourth place this season.