Spurs go fourth, City and Reds draw

The highly-anticipated Premier League clash between Champions

League-chasing rivals City and Liverpool failed to live up to

expectations in a disappointing goalless encounter at Eastlands. If

this was an audition for Europe’s elite club competition, then

neither would gain entry next season as there was a distinct lack

of quality on both sides. Liverpool’s Jose Reina was the only

goalkeeper to make a genuine save, tipping Emmanuel Adebayor’s

second-half shot on the turn around his post as the importance of

not losing over-rode the desire to push for victory. At the DW

Stadium, a brace from substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko steered Spurs

into the top four. Jermain Defoe, who scored five goals against

Wigan earlier in the campaign, made the breakthrough in the 27th

minute from what appeared to be an offside position. Pavlyuchenko

then finished with a flourish with two goals in the final minutes

of the game to floor Wigan. Spurs are above Manchester City on goal

difference, although Roberto Mancini’s men have a game in hand.

Liverpool are a point back in sixth spot. Earlier, Stewart Downing

scored his first brace of top-flight goals for Aston Villa, who put

a poor first-half performance behind them to beat Burnley 5-2 at

Villa Park. The Clarets took a shock 10th-minute lead through

Steven Fletcher and all Villa could muster before half-time was a

fortuitous equaliser from Ashley Young. But four goals in 13

minutes after the break from Downing (two), Emile Heskey and

Gabriel Agbonlahor changed the picture before Martin Patterson’s

injury-time consolation. Elsewhere, Bobby Zamora fired a dramatic

late winner as Fulham came from behind to edge a scrappy clash with

Birmingham 2-1. Zamora struck a beautiful free-kick in the 90th

minute to claim his 15th goal in 32 starts, provoking chants of

‘Bobby for England’ – although watching national-team coach Fabio

Capello had already left Craven Cottage. An inexplicable own goal

from Chris Baird had given Birmingham a third-minute lead before

Damien Duff fired a spectacular equaliser just before the hour

mark. In the noon kick-off, Blackburn added to the woes of local

rivals Bolton with a 3-0 win. Goals from Nikola Kalinic, Jason

Roberts and Gael Givet saw Rovers to what was a comfortable win in

snowy conditions at Ewood Park. The victory eased Blackburn further

clear of danger – they are beginning to look safe – but Bolton

remain in the drop zone after a fifth league game in a row without

scoring.