'Welcome to the Champions League' - When Manchester City v Tottenham decided fourth place
Last Updated: 01/04/18 3:53pm
Ahead of Chelsea and Tottenham's crunch contest in the race for the top four, live on Sky Sports, we look back at when Spurs sealed a Champions League spot on the penultimate day of the season.
It will not be the first time that Spurs - who can move eight points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea with victory - have been involved in a crucial top-four clash late in the season.
Ahead of this weekend's showdown, we look back at 2009/10 when Spurs faced Manchester City on the penultimate day of the season, in a game that would decide who finished fourth and who missed out on Champions League football…
With 10 games of the 2009/10 season to go it looked like a four-way shootout for fourth place. Only three points separated Tottenham in fourth and Aston Villa in seventh, with Liverpool and Manchester City in between.
But it was City and Spurs who finished stronger. Spurs beat Chelsea and Arsenal in successive weeks, while City scored 14 goals over three games before dropping points against Manchester United and Arsenal.
City's slip-ups meant Spurs went into their penultimate Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium with a four-point advantage and knowing that victory would secure a Champions League place for the first time in their history.
What they said
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "Being in the Champions League would allow us to progress. It is important for the club and everyone here. The game will probably decide where we finish this season. If we win we have probably a 70-80 per cent of getting fourth."
Being in the Champions League would allow us to progress. It is important for the club and everyone here.
Man City manager Roberto Mancini
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "At the start of the season, we would have been delighted with a European place or being in the top seven, so to have a chance of making the Champions League is great for us. To be involved in something at this stage of the season, is a massive game for us. We have been up there all year looking to try to break into the top four at the end of the season."
How it unfolded
With Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch coming into the starting XI, Spurs went closest in a frantic start as Crouch headed against the post from a Gareth Bale free-kick. The visitors then saw a goal chalked off as Ledley King was penalised for a foul on Gareth Barry as he turned in from a corner.
Heurelho Gomes was called into action at the other end to keep out a shot from Adam Johnson and also prevent an own goal when Barry's cross hit Bale and deflected goalwards.
City lost Barry to injury in the second half and saw on-loan goalkeeper Marton Fulop save well from Jermain Defoe.
Despite both teams continuing to press forward and create chances - with Crouch heading at Fulop from an excellent position from Bale's left-wing cross - it looked like the game was set to finish goalless. But Spurs snatched victory in the 82nd minute as Younes Kaboul beat Craig Bellamy down the right and put in a cross that was palmed out by Fulop and nodded in by Crouch.
Spurs held on to their advantage and then celebrated wildly at the final whistle. Redknapp was reserved as he shook hands with Roberto Mancini but did get soaked with an ice bucket in his post-match interview by a group of celebrating players, including David Bentley, grinning in his underpants.
What they said afterwards
Harry Redknapp: "It's fantastic. It's been a terrific season for us, we've played some great football along the way and we deserve it. It was a good night, we played some good stuff and I could see the goal coming. It was a good performance. Finishing fourth gives me a lot of pleasure. It's great for the club."
Peter Crouch recalling the celebrations in 2017: "When we got back into the dressing room, there were bottles of champagne waiting for us. I'll never forget that because each one said 'Welcome to the Champions League'... You can imagine in our little sanctuary how much they were getting shaken up and fizzed around. The noise, the music was amazing."
When we got back into the dressing room, there were bottles of champagne waiting for us...each one said 'Welcome to the Champions League'
Tottenham striker Peter Crouch
Roberto Mancini: "I am not a magician, I don't have a magic wand. We wanted this place and we tried like Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa. I think we've had a good season because we'll play in the Europa League next year and we've improved a lot. I'm disappointed with this result, but it's football."
What happened next?
Tottenham's first involvement in the Champions League would prove to be a memorable one as they reached the quarter-finals, finishing ahead of Inter Milan in their group and then beating AC Milan in the last 16. They lost to Real Madrid in the last eight and would finish fifth in the Premier League.
Despite speculation that his job could be under threat after the loss to Tottenham, Mancini stayed at City and won the FA Cup in 2010/11. He also led them to a third-place finish in the Premier League and the last 16 of the Europa League, where they lost to Dynamo Kiev. A year later, Mancini would lead City to their first Premier League title.
What's next for Chelsea and Spurs?
After this weekend, both Chelsea and Tottenham only play two sides in the top half of the table in their remaining seven Premier League games.
Spurs play Man City and Leicester at home while Chelsea face Burnley away and Liverpool at home.
While they also both have FA Cup semi-finals to contend with, the relatively kind run-ins for both sides could make Sunday's clash even more pivotal.
Watch Chelsea v Tottenham live on Sky Sports from 3.30pm on Sunday
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