Spurs and City set up fourth place showdown

Premier League Round-Up

Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City set up a Champions League showdown next Wednesday when they both won today to knock Aston Villa out of the race and leave Liverpool's hopes of fourth place hanging by a thread.

Spurs beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at White Hart Lane while City came from behind at home to beat Villa 3-1. Spurs now have 67 points with two games to play, with City, who host Tottenham on Wednesday, fifth on 66, also with two games remaining.

Villa, with one game left, are on 64 and cannot now finish fourth. Liverpool, seventh on 62 points have to win their last two games to have any hope. The first of them is at Anfield on Sunday against title-chasing Chelsea.

Chelsea top the standings on 80 points, one ahead of Manchester United, who visit Sunderland on Sunday.

Arsenal are on 72 points and look certain to finish third. They visit Blackburn Rovers on Monday.

Events seemed to be going Tottenham's way as John Carew put Villa ahead early thanks to a blunder by debutant Man City goalkeeper Marton Fulop and Tom Huddlestone sumptuously shot Spurs ahead from 25 metres after 40 minutes against Bolton.

Considering the size of the prize it was a low-key opening 40 minutes at the City of Manchester stadium but the game exploded into life in a frantic last five of the first half.

Carlos Tevez equalised with a 41st-minute penalty after Stephen Warnock tripped Adam Johnson, Carew hit the bar for Villa a minute later then City broke and Emmanuel Adebayor put them 2-1 up.

The second half reverted to type with neither side showing the commitment to attack that might have been expected given the situation.

With Fulop, signed on an emergency loan from Sunderland in midweek, looking a nervous wreck, City's fans were gnawing their nails in the final stages. They were no doubt cursing the club official who failed to insert a release clause in the loan agreement with Birmingham City that meant no return for Joe Hart to cover their goalkeeping injury crisis.

They were able to breathe again a minute from time when Shaun Wright-Phillips broke from his won half and set up Craig Bellamy for an emphatic finish.

"We didn't deserve to be behind but we continued to play well, got those two goals at the end of the first half," City manager Roberto Mancini told Sky Sports News.

"It was important that we continued to play football."

"I think we must beat Tottenham, it will be a massive game."

A season that promised so much for Villa ended in disappointment all round with defeat in the League Cup final, the FA Cup semi-finals and now their failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Spurs can still dream though after piling on the pressure in the second half at White Hart Lane. Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Gareth Bale and Peter Crouch all went close but they also needed a goalline clearance by Younes Kaboul to prevent Matt Taylor equalising.

They ran out deserved winners though and are now tantilisingly close to a first appearance in the Champions League.

In the day's other games bottom club Portsmouth beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1, Birmingham City beat relegated Burnley 2-1 while Stoke City against Everton was goalless.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas