The fight for fourth hit fever pitch tonight when the top two contenders, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspurs, did battle at The City of Manchester Stadium. The top four teams in the Premiership are guaranteed Champions League football and an additional cash boost which has reported to be close to Pounds 50 Million. A place in the Champions League can also have a lot of pull when it comes to bringing World Class players to your team, something that big spenders Manchester City will certainly look forward to.
The bets were flying for this game. The odds for a Manchester Win were Evens while Tottenham were out to 11/4, with 5/2 for the Draw. Clearly the home team were favored in this crunch tie, but that Pounds 50 Million price tag was sure to bring out the best in both teams.
City began as the better team but it was Spurs who came the closest when Crouch hit the post early on. Ledley King then had a goal disallowed after he leant on Barry when heading the ball in from a corner. The game was open though and City had some chances of their own, with Gomes forced into making some good saves from Carlos Tevez and Adam Johnson. The first half ended goalless with Martin Fulop having little to do in the City goal despite some plentiful play from Tottenham.
The City ‘keeper was tested ten minutes into the second half when Defoe broke through and looked to slot the ball in, the reserve Goalkeeper got his hand to it to make a great save. Tottenham came close to grabbing the opener on seventy minutes when a driven cross begged for Defoe or Crouch to latch onto but neither of them could get a foot onto the ball as it whizzed across the box.
As the game moved into the final fifteen minutes Crouch was gifted a great chance in the box, but his header from six yards was directed straight at the ‘keeper who saved with his legs. A good save but the big forward really should have scored and he did just that five minutes later. Huddlestone drove a shot from a very tight angle, the ball smashed against the ‘keeper and rebounded perfectly for Crouch who headed the ball into the empty net.
That goal proved to be the winner and may have also been the one to give Spurs that 50 million Pounds they will get from finishing fourth, which they are now assured to do.