Manchester City kicked Aston Villa out of the race to finish fourth in the English Premier League while Tottenham won again Saturday to to set up a battle royale for the final Champions League spot.City beat visitors Villa 3-1 while hosts Spurs defeated Bolton 1-0 to ensure they go into Wednesday’s crucial clash between the pair at Eastlands with a one-point advantage.Liverpool could still spoil the party and bag fourth place but they qualified for the Europa League at least as their local rivals Everton drew 0-0 at Stoke, ending their hopes of finishing seventh.Elsewhere, Birmingham defeated Burnley 2-1 while rock-bottom Portsmouth beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 as they warm up for their FA Cup final clash with Chelsea.At Eastlands, City kept up their battle to finish fourth by beating fellow contenders Villa, who must now console themselves with a Europa League place.Norway striker John Carew put the Villains ahead in the 16th minute, his shot beating City’s emergency goalkeeper Marton Fulop.But the hosts turned it round just before half-time thanks to good work from winger Adam Johnson.He was brought down by Stephen Warnock and Argentina striker Carlos Tevez converted the 41st-minute penalty.Two minutes later, Johnson played in Emmanuel Adebayor to put the Blues ahead.Substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips played in Craig Bellamy to blast a shot past goalkeeper Brad Friedel on the Wales striker’s 300th league appearance to seal the victory in the 89th minute.At White Hart Lane, Spurs stretched their impressive home run to eight straight wins with a slender 1-0 victory over Bolton, despite having more than twice as many shots as their visitors.Midfielder Tom Huddlestone blasted in a stunning 22-yard strike in the 38th minute, the ball flying past Trotters goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the top left hand corner of the goal.Spurs therefore held onto fourth place on 67 points, with City one point behind them. Both have one more game after their midweek clash.Aston Villa, with one game left, are on 64 points with Liverpool, who have two matches to go, on 62.While Saturday’s games affected the battle to finish fourth, the title race could be decided Sunday.Leaders Chelsea, a point ahead, could clinch the title at Liverpool if second-placed Manchester United lose at Sunderland in the later match.United will know the outcome at Anfield by the time they kick off against the Black Cats in a match that could see both Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney return from injuries.But with only pride left to play for, it is hard to see Sunderland preventing a final day of drama on May 9, when Chelsea are at home to Wigan and United host Stoke City.Everton blew their slim chances of grabbing a Europa League spot with a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium.The Toffees had the ball in the net at Stoke but Phil Jagielka’s header was correctly ruled out for offside.Birmingham City beat Burnley 2-1 in the last game at St Andrews this season, meaning the Clarets have lost 17 of their 19 away league games.Relegated Portsmouth gave their fans something to cheer in their final game at Fratton Park before bowing out of the top flight with a 3-1 win over Wolves.Third-placed Arsenal visit mid-table Blackburn on Monday.Meanwhile Hull’s relegation will be confirmed if West Ham take a point at Fulham on Sunday or if the Tigers themselves fail to take three points from their trip to Wigan on Monday.AFP
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