Premier League

January 22, 2012

Full-time

Man City

3 - 2

Tottenham

Premier League

13:30 +00:00, January 22, 2012

Etihad Stadium

Referee: Howard Webb

  •  

    "[There was] no pressure, I was calm. It was a penalty" - Mario Balotelli, post-match.

  •  

    "This a massive win. We knew it'd be a tough game and they're a very exciting team" - James Milner, post-match.

  •  

    There's no doubt about it - that's the sort of incident and result that can win a side the league title, and City now look more than likely than ever to do so.

  •  

    Very hard not to feel sorry for King there. Given the way Spurs fought back, and almost went ahead, they deserved better. But City were very clinical and showed great determination to eventually win.

  • 94'

    Full-time! Manchester City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur

  • 94'

    Seems very, very cruel on Tottenham and King, given their comeback. Friedel dived the right way but it was a very composed penalty from Balotelli. That's the win, there's not enough time for Tottenham to score.

  • 94'

    GOAL Manchester City 3-2 Tottenham!

  • 94'

    Balotelli to take the penalty. This will decide the result...

  • 94'

    King fouls Balotelli in the penalty area! Can't argue with the decision, and it's the one mistake King's made all afternoon...

  • 93'

    Last minute penalty to Manchester City!!!

  • 92'

    Defoe fires just wide! What a miss! Spurs broke through Bale and the Welshman sets Defoe up for a tap in but the striker just fails to connect as he'd wish and the ball runs wide. So close! Bale should have played the ball sooner, in truth. but the perhaps the game's not yet over

  • 91'

    Assou-Ekotto caught offside. City with the chance to launch the ball forward...

  • 90'

    Spurs obviously playing for the draw now. Though City continue to play with urgency, Spurs arec currently just looking to keep the ball and run the clock down.

  • 88'

    Lennon off, Pienaar on...

  • 87'

    And instead slow the ball down, happy to keep possession and, apparently, play for a draw.

  • 86'

    Balotelli's shot blocked and Friedel collects. Spurs look to counter...

  • 85'

    Balotelli on the flour again - taking some time to get up. Even as a substitute he seems capable of stealing the show.

  • 84'

    Both teams still looking to be positive in possession and hoping to grab a late winner...

  • 82'

    Balotelli next to foul Parker - looked like a deliberate stamp on the head there, Parker's naturally in some discomfort.

  • 81'

    Barry warned for a foul on Parker. Wasn't a definite free-kick but Spurs will take it.

  • 80'

    Good 'keeping again, from Friedel. Reacted to the deflected shot from Nasri by keeping the ball in and preventing a corner.

  • 79'

    Well defended there from Assou-Ekotto on Nasri. Spurs throw-in.

  • 76'

    Friedel collects well again, with Balotelli chasing. His positioning has been superb day, all of his experience showing.

  • 75'

    Goal-kick to Spurs. City appeal for the corner because the last touch came off Walker's head but the referee didn't see it.

  • 74'

    Mancini will clearly hope Balotelli can create more danger than Dzeko has, all afternoon. Dzeko's still an enigma, despite being in England for a year now.

  • 72'

    Spurs now stroking the ball around in midfield...

  • 71'

    Anyone's guess as to how this game could end up.

  • 70'

    Modric fires over for Spurs!

  • 69'

    ...Friedel catches Nasri's corner but the long goalkick, unsurprisingly, fails to reach Defoe. Spurs missing some height up front.

  • 69'

    Superb defending from Parker, dives in front of Richards to prevent the fullback from shooting.

  • 69'

    8 corners to City, 2 to Spurs...

  • 68'

    Another corner to City, following King's defensive header.

  • 68'

    Never a surprise to see Van der Vaart substituted, and it has to be said today hasn't been one of his finest.

  • 67'

    Van der Vaart off, Jake Livermore on

  • 67'

    City corner...

  • 66'

    One of the best goals so far this season, that.

  • 65'

    Lennon, back in possession, cuts the ball back to Bale who curls his shot delightfully into the top right hand corner with his left foot. A perfectly placed shot from Bale - Hart had no chance. Simply superb.

  • 65'

    An absolutely crucial goal!

  • 64'

    GOAL Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur! What a goal from Bale!!

  • 64'

    Which comes to nothing. Spurs begin a counter through Lennon but, unsurprisingly, he runs out of ideas...

  • 64'

    Nasri, clearly boosted by his goal, shoots but his effort is blocked and City win hte corner.

  • 62'

    To Mancini's credit, he manages to smile at Spurs' goal. Good on him.

  • 61'

    A quite aimless long ball is headed apallingly by Savic into Defoe's path, and the striker rounds Joe Hart to score with ease. It has to be said Hart didn't do very well in trying to stop Defoe, though the goal's certainly Savic's fault.

  • 60'

    GOAL Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham! Defoe pulls one back!

  • 60'

    The more Spurs look to get back in the game, the more they'll expose themselves to City's ability to counter. The pressure's certainly on them.

  • 59'

    Though the corner didn't really threaten, the ball got caught between Parker and Lescott and the defender, falling, takes the ball into the net with his momentum. Unlucky for Spurs, but difficult to see a way back for them now.

  • 58'

    GOAL It's two! Lescott doubles the lead!

  • 58'

    City continue to attack. Corner kick.

  • 57'

    Spurs kick-off...

  • 56'

    Out of nowhere! Silva delicately slides a perfectly weighted pass to put Nasri into space just in front of Friedel and the Frenchman makes no mistake, firing powerfully past the goalkeeper. A very good goal - clinical, and shows the value of having such quality on the pitch.

  • 56'

    GOAL Goal! Nasri scores! Manchester City 1-0 Tottenham!

  • 55'

    Modric crosses for Bale but the Welshman fails to connect with the ball, despite it being an easy chance. Can't say I like the look of Bale in the centre - keep him out on the wings where he can expose the space he's given.

  • 54'

    Spurs counter and win their own corner. Still yet to seriously threaten in possession, though.

  • 53'

    Silva curls the free-kick in for a cross but Friedel punches clear

  • 52'

    Parker booked for fouling Aguero. City free-kick.

  • 51'

    Superb challenge by James Milner! Spurs were attacking through Bale and he had space but Milner tracked back and timed a superb sliding challenge to win the ball back.

  • 50'

    But Van der Vaart wastes the attack by selfishly firing over from nearly 40 yards. Poor effort and poor decision making.

  • 50'

    ...that comes to nothing. Spurs clear and Defoe begins to counter...

  • 49'

    Nasri's cross from the right blocked by Assou-Ekotto. Nasri to take the resultant corner.

  • 48'

    Friedel punches the corner away...

  • 47'

    City win a corner. Richards pushes on into Spurs' penalty area but Assou-Ekotto manages to block his cross.

  • 46'

    Spurs goal-kick. Friedel to take.

  • 46'

    City kick-off. Second-half is underway, and no changes have been made.

  •  

    Teams back out for the second-half. Kick-off just moments away...

  •  

    Given that that's the case, it'd be no great surprise to see City use either/both of Adam Johnson and Mario Balotelli in the second-half. Tottenham have potential game changers of their own, though, with Steven Pienaar and Niko Kranjcar on the bench.

  •  

    Despite committed, intense play from both sides, there's been a lack of real goalscoring chances and it became clear early on that the game could remain goalless at half-time.

  •  

    Half-time: Manchester City 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

  • 45'

    Howard Webb briefly holds City back by getting in Barry's way. That said, was he really going to create anything significant?

  • 44'

    Bale loses the ball in central midfield. For all of his skill and athleticism, he shows he hasn't the necessary intelligence to play in the middle.

  • 43'

    Mancini's obviously stressed and unhappy on the sideline. Making no attempt to hide his displeasure.

  • 43'

    Dzeko fires over! Little threat again.

  • 42'

    ...If Richards continues this form, for how much longer can Fabio Capello ignore him?

  • 42'

    Great energy again by Richards, pressuring Assou-Ekotto deep inside his own half. Spurs throw-in.

  • 41'

    Walker defends well, clears the ball with Clichy chasing the loose ball and looking for the overlap.

  • 39'

    Despite the intensity of the game so far both teams are, to a degree, cancelling eachother out and failing to create many real scoring opportunities.

  • 38'

    Spurs very composed in possession again. Playing some nice one-touch football inside their own half, evem with City attempting to crowd them.

  • 36'

    Kaboul fires the free-kick over. Waste of probably Spurs' best chance so far. Van der Vaart or Modric would have been better options; Redknapp's visibly annoyed.

  • 35'

    Bale fouled by Lescott on the edge of the City area. Free-kick to Spurs. Can be no complaints, an obvious foul.

  • 33'

    Spurs with lots of possession in City's half, but as soon as City's midfield join the defence they're capable of crowding the penalty area and ensuring Spurs can't open them up. Even Lennon and Bale switching wings fails to cause any real confusion...

  • 32'

    ...Spurs win the ball and counter, but Bale - about whom it was reported this morning Spurs value at £150m - loses possession. Spurs struggling to create any clear chances in the final third, so far - Hart yet to be tested.

  • 31'

    Richards had dispossed Bale and creating the shooting chance for Aguero to shoot, which Friedel saves. Superb from the defender, hopefully Fabio Capello took note. City corner...

  • 30'

    Aguero close again!

  • 29'

    Spurs with the ball at the back again...

  • 28'

    The instance had a great through-ball from Nasri. Intelligent play.

  • 27'

    Superb from Friedel. Rushes out to collect the loose ball with Dzeko waiting to shoot.

  • 26'

    Aguero wastes a good chance there - wrongly looks to chip the ball either goalwards, or for a cross, but slices it out of play. Still, good on him for trying.

  • 24'

    ...from which the counter, Aguero dangerous in possession. Sets-up Silva to shoot the Spaniard fires wide from a tight angle. Superb from Aguero.

  • 24'

    Van der Vaart plays a sloppy pass that runs out of play. City throw-in...

  • 24'

    Foul by Walker on Clichy in City's penalty box. Free-kick to City, Hart to take.

  • 22'

    Spurs delightful to watch at times, playing the ball from left to right with ease and continually changing positions.

  • 22'

    Mancini looking particularly stressed this afternoon. Probably not a reflection on the game, but of the title race itself.

  • 21'

    Parker shoots wide! Little danger.

  • 21'

    City defend well again. Spurs throw-in.

  • 20'

    Spurs corner. A delightful pass from Modric provides Assou-Ekotto with a crossing opportunity but City defend well and clear.

  • 19'

    City on the attack again...

  • 18'

    City go close again! Great work from Nasri and Silva, who combine to set-up Aguero for a shooting opportunity that results in a Spurs goal-kick after Dzeko deflects Aguero's effort wide.

  • 17'

    City now enjoying a spell of possession in midfield. They look composed on the ball.

  • 15'

    Bale gets in behind Micah Richards but his dangerous low cross isn't met by anyone. That's why Defoe's there; he should have gambled on that.

  • 14'

    Spurs back in possession and look to build from the back, continually exchaning possession, particularly between King and Parker.

  • 13'

    Which Nasri wastes! Terrible corner - doesn't even reach the penalty box. Really not happening for him at City so far.

  • 12'

    Aguero was running towards Spurs' goal, found some space and shot but King blocked well. City corner

  • 12'

    First real danger of the game there, well defender from King!

  • 11'

    Assou-Ekotto very wasteful there. Had time and space to deliver a cross, with at least five Spurs players in the City box awaiting the delivery, and he fails to even get the ball beyond the first defender. Very poor.

  • 10'

    Very cynical from the French full-back. Though off the pitch, he blocks Walkers attempts to take a quick throw-in with his hands and deserved the booking.

  • 10'

    Clichy booked

  • 9'

    Great pace and tempo on display from both teams, and some nice football being played. Shows exactly why these two are in the Premier League's top four.

  • 8'

    Spurs waste the free-kick and City look to counter...

  • 7'

    Clichy with the foul on Walker down the right wing. Spurs free-kick.

  • 6'

    The platform they play on shows what an absolutely crucial player Parker is for Spurs - without him Tottenham's defence would be exposed regularly.

  • 5'

    Tottenham back in possession. Modric and Van der Vaart already roaming with the freedom that's come to be expected of them.

  • 4'

    ...until Assou-Ekotto - Tottenham's weakest link - fails to control the ball and gifts City a throw-in.

  • 4'

    Tottenham continue to exchange possession confident and spread the ball around.

  • 3'

    Samir Nasri is unsurprisingly getting booed by Spurs fans due to his Arsenal links. His first moment on the ball results in him losing possession and gifting Tottenham a goal kick.

  • 2'

    Parker gives the ball away with a sloppy pass that runs out the play. City throw-in.

  • 1'

    Early exchanges suggest Tottenham are relaxed. Comfortably playing the ball around at the back.

  • 1'

    Tottenham kick-off...

  •  

    Stat: Harry Redknapp's first ever Premier League defeat as manager came away to City in August 1994. He has lost 21 of 25 career Premier League visits to the city of Manchester.

  •  

    Barry is a declining force, while Samir Nasri has failed to impress for City since his big money transfer from Arsenal in the summer.

  •  

    The crucial battle, for me, could be how Scott Parker and Luka Modric - Tottenham's greatest strength - compete with City's midfield trio of Gareth Barry, James Milner and Samir Nasri.

  •  

    City's front three of Edin Dzeko, David Silva and Sergio Aguero can be exceptionally dangerous, but Spurs have captain and classy defender Ledley King back, and one of the signings of the season - Brad Friedel - to give them confidence at the back.

  •  

    On-loan Emmanuel Adebayor is ineligible against his parent club, so Spurs have Jermain Defoe up front, with Rafael van der Vaart supporting him.

  •  

    Of course, Spurs will be confident with the presence of Stefan Savic in City's line-up, but if they're to be considered genuine title contenders they have to win today's game.

  •  

    Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 at White Hart Lane at the start of the 2011/2012 Premier League season, but Spurs have dramatically improved since - many consider them to be genuine title contenders.

  •  

    Less than ten minutes to kick-off...

  •  

    Tottenham team: Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Modric, Parker, Bale; Van der Vaart; Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Dawson, Kranjcar, Livermore, Pienaar, Pavlyuchenko.

  •  

    Manchester City team: Hart, Richards, Savic, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Barry, Aguero, Silva, Nasri, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Onuoha, De Jong, Johnson, Balotelli.

  •  

    ESPNsoccernet will bring you live minute-by-minute commentary of Tottenham's trip to Manchester City, which kicks off at 13.30 GMT.