BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 19:50 GMT, Saturday, 12 December 2009

Saturday football as it happened


Around the grounds - Final Score



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used)

By Chris Bevan

1947: And that's me done and dusted on another eventful, and exciting, day in the Premier League. Alan Green is taking your calls now on 606 on BBC Radio 5 live but I'm heading for home. Thanks for keeping me company over the last eight hours - join me again on Sunday for Liverpool v Arsenal... I look forward to seeing you then.

1945: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on his side's 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa, their first home loss in the Premier League this season: "In the second half we pummelled them and had a lot of good chances but on the day we didn't take any."

1944: We've had some terrific goals today... with my personal favourite being Maynor Figueroa's strike from his own half for Wigan. Basically, you just cannot afford to miss Match of the Day at 2225 GMT on BBC 1... and you can follow that by watching every goal from the Championship, League One and League Two in the Football League Show which is on straight afterwards at 2350.

From Sam, a frustrated Red, via text: "Credit to Villa, they were fantastic, and you can't win them all, but I don't understand why Ji-Sung Park ever plays at Old Trafford, he can only play away - no end product at all, and I am starting to get frustrated with Fergie's refusal to play out-and-out wingers and two upfront. Notably, is that not what Villa did today?"

1936: Liverpool and Arsenal will both get a chance to close the gap on the Premier League's top three when they meet at Anfield tomorrow. That's Sunday's only top-flight game, but it promises to be a cracker.

From Medieval-Evil on 606: "Pressure's really on Arsenal now to get a result tomorrow. Have to capitalise on weekends like this."

1931: So, Villa are the only team in the top six to win today, and go third, eight points behind leaders Chelsea and five behind United. The only other top-flight winners? Birmingham and Wolves... it's been an extremely good day for the west midlands - and Liverpool and Arsenal.

1928: Before tonight, Aston Villa had not beaten United at Old Trafford since 1983. But it's been one of those days in the Premier League, hasn't it? Martin O'Neill's side spent most of the second half defending but United were lacking inspiration going forward, and pay a heavy price.

Full time
1926: FULL-TIME Man Utd 0-1 Aston Villa

1925: James Milner eats up a few more seconds by holding on to the ball near the corner flag. We've played the 93 minutes...

1923: Another opportunity comes and goes for United. Michael Carrick plays a neat one-two with Dimitar Berbatov to open up a sight of goal... but fires wide.

1922: We will have just three minutes of injury time at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson was absolutely livid when he heard that, I can tell you.

1920: For all United's pressure, Villa keeper Brad Friedel has not an awful lot to do... he's earned his corn here, though, with an absolutely stunning save to deny Dimitar Berbatov, who had slammed a low shot towards the bottom corner. Villa are hanging on.

1916: We've got around five minutes of the 90 left at Old Trafford but we have had a few injury delays so expect a sizeable amount of injury time. Villa lead 1-0 but still work for them to do here.

imaginativeme on Twitter: "I can't listen or watch it any more its too tense, so many years of hurt and United comebacks."

1912: United's best effort for a long time. Nemanja Vidic's downward header is cleared off the line by Stewart Downing... who is promptly substituted. Not a bad way to make your final contribution of the evening. Villa bring on Nigel Reo-Coker instead.

Dwaynsta on Twitter: "It sounds like Utd have accepted Chelsea's offer to make the Xmas football period more interesting!"

1910: Time is running out for United and their final ball is not getting any better. The home side are still having all the possession but still cannot find a way through Villa's defence.

1907: Villa make another change - John Carew replaces Emile Heskey, who has a hamstring injury.

1905: It's not happening in front of goal for United tonight. Michael Carrick picks out Dimitar Berbatov with a pinpoint cross but he fails to connect properly with his volley, which does not trouble Brad Friedel.

1904: Wayne Rooney brushes Carlos Cuellar off the ball and tries to slip in Dimitar Berbatov. Sadly for United, Rooney gets too much on the pass and the Bulgarian fails to make a proper run anyway... Brad Friedel rushes from his line to collect.

1900: United boss Sir Alex Ferguson makes his final substitution of the evening. Darron Gibson is on for Anderson, who has been largely ineffective. United have got 20 minutes (plus injury time) to find an equaliser.

scott_allen90 on Twitter: "Sounds like a lot of United pressure but just no end product!"

1857: Villa's first chance for a while. Emile Heskey runs on to James Collins' ball over the top and escapes the United defence. He tries to fire the ball across goal but doesn't get hold of it. Chance gone.

From James, a very happy Wolves fan, via text: "Only two teams have won in the Premier League today, both from the west midlands. Can Villa make it a third?"

1853: Wayne Rooney has a goalbound shot blocked as United come forward again. Villa are going to bring on James Collins for Stephen Warnock... and Dimitar Berbatov is about to come on for United, replacing Ji-Sung Park.

1850: Another half-chance for United. Michael Carrick is in a bit of space when he controls a loose ball on the edge of the area but his shot is rushed, and bounces well wide. Villa's players are dropping like flies at the minute - Stephen Warnock is down again, and this time he is coming off for good.

1849: Michael Owen puts a low ball across the face of the Villa goal but there is no-one there to meet it. Soon afterwards, Wayne Rooney has a pop from distance but his shot is a mile over. United seem short of inspiration at the moment.

1846: Another delay for an injury - Luke Young and Ji-Sung Park had a nasty collision and the Villa defender came off worst. Play eventually resumes but the visitors are down to 10 men, again, while Young has treatment.

1845: Villa are still getting in some dangerous areas too, and Gabriel Agbonalhor brings a low save out of Tomasz Kuszczak after letting fly from about 30 yards out.

1845: Some poor passing by United is undermining any hopes of a fightback at the moment. They are seeing plenty of the ball but keep giving it away needlessly.

1843: Bolton manager Gary Megson on his side's thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester City: "We're delighted given how both football clubs are run. It's a decent result because of that but on the other side of the coin we took the lead three times. But in terms of what's been going on for us then it's a great point. They've got quality all over the pitch and on the bench. Our lads played well and gave it everything."

1841: Stiliyan Petrov had lost a contact lense, I think. Still he's back on the pitch now. Just in time too - United mount their first attack of the second half which sees Wayne Rooney waste possession in a dangerous area before retrieving the ball and trying to beat Brad Friedel with a cheeky chip from outside the box. No chance.

1839: Villa are down to 10 men while Stiliyan Petrov receives treatment for an eye injury.

1837: Well, at least some of you will be happy now. Michael Owen is on for Ryan Giggs and Manchester United have just got the second half under way.

1835: Villa are out and waiting for the second half... but no sign of the United players. Hang on, here they come now - and Michael Owen is among them.

adeelejaz on Twitter: "My fellow Man U supporters.. Berba and Owen needed rest.. They'll get a chance after 70 mins of play.. Have faith in Fergie!"

1830: Manchester City boss Mark Hughes on his side's topsy-turvy 3-3 draw with Bolton: "The first goal was clearly offside and how the hell the official couldn't see that was beyond me. I thought the officials were in general very poor. The decision to send Craig Bellamy off was quite honestly laughable."

From Dan (Villa fan from Yeovil, lived most of my life in Swindon) from my flat in Dortmund via text: "I know what's coming 2nd half but that live league table looks so good!"

1826: But the day's not quite over yet, is it? We've got at least another 45 minutes of football at Old Trafford where Villa have been good value for their half-time lead. United have had their chances too, of course, so it sets us up nicely for an exciting second half.

1822: Ahead of this game, Birmingham were the only side to start the day in the top half of the Premier League that managed a win. That's quite something, considering there have been eight games before this one. So, if you want a round-up of what has been a memorable day in the top-flight, give this page a manual refresh and watch 'Around the Grounds' (if you're in the UK).

From Vinan, Man Utd fan, via text: "Fergie has his tactics wrong for once.. We really need a second striker on the pitch! Berbatov will change the game."

1819: HALF-TIME Man Utd 0-1 Aston Villa

1817: Emile Heskey is down after being caught by Wes Brown's flailing arm. We're into added time at the end of the first half.

1813: Five minutes to go until half-time and Villa are defending doggedly. United are still creating chances, mind, but it is just not happening for the champions. Their latest effort sees Ryan Giggs shoot into the side-netting after holding off Luke Young following Darren Fletcher's cross.

1810: Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov are both on the bench for United tonight. They are both warming up at the moment too.

From Scotch Gooner, via text: "Re 1757. Rooney is a serial diver. He's one of the worst offenders because he's normally so good at it. The one against us was inch perfect."

1807: This is end-to-end stuff at the moment and Villa are giving as good as they get. Wayne Rooney is a constant threat but so is Gabriel Agbonlahor for the visitors - both defences are being harried and look nervous... more importantly for Villa, they still lead 1-0.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1804: United are a one-man side at the moment - Yep, it's Wayne Rooney again - taking a delightful touch to bring the ball under control in the Villa area before smashing in a shot that hits the underside of the bar and bounces to safety. You don't get much closer to scoring than that.

1802: Villa should really be 2-0 up, with Darren Fletcher caught out and allowing Gabriel Agbonlahor time in the area with only Tomasz Kuszczak to beat. Agbonalhor hesitates, however, and the chance is gone.

1801: United come forward again, and Wayne Rooney is involved (again). Patrice Evra sends in a teasing low cross and Rooney's touch takes the ball away from Antonio Valencia, who was waiting to tap in the equaliser. That was awfully close though.

Yellow card
1757: A big decision for referee Martin Atkinson this... and a brave one. Wayne Rooney runs into the box, prods the ball past Luke Young - and goes to ground. Replays show no contact was made and it was a pretty blatant dive by Rooney. Atkinson gets it dead right - he books the United striker.

1756: It's Stephen Warnock's neck that is causing him difficulties. He had more treatment on it while his team-mates celebrated Gabriel Agbonlahor's goal.

Aston Villa goal: Just as United seemed to be waking up, Villa take the lead. Gabriel Agbonlahor holds up the ball and feeds Ashley Young on the left before running into the area to nod home Young's cross at the near post. Fantastic forward play by the England striker.

1754: GOALFLASH Man Utd 0-1 Aston Villa (Agbonlahor)

1753: Stewart Downing and Patrice Evra are both back on the pitch and appear to be fine. No need for Emmerson Boyce-style 'Mr Bump' blue bandages here... which in some ways is a shame.

From samfiske on 606: "To mildale: No. Because Owen played 90 minutes midweek and he isn't fit or sharp enough to play so soon afterwards, and because Berbatov is still coming back from injury; he may well have missed this game althogether."

1751: Both physios are very busy at the moment - Patrice Evra and Stewart Downing are down on the ground and receiving treatment after a nasty clash of heads.

1750: We're about 18 minutes in and Villa could be forced into a change. Stephen Warnock has picked up a knock and might have to come off.

1749: Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp after his side's shock 1-0 home defeat by Wolves: "Full credit to Wolves - Mick McCarthy has done a great job. We conceded an early goal and then could not break them down. We had loads of possession but could not find that cutting edge."

1746: We've seen this happen at Old Trafford before, haven't we? United make a slow start but gradually turn up the pressure until their opponents crack. Villa are having to defend deeper, and in greater numbers, now. Wayne Rooney is seeing a lot more of the ball.

mildale07 on Twitter: "If United don't win will Fergie be lambasted in the press for leaving £30million Berba and hat trick Owen on the bench? Nope."

1744: United's first proper attack, in the 10th minute. Ryan Giggs releases Wayne Rooney down the left, who spots Antonio Valencia at the back post but puts over a weak cross that is easily cleared by Stephen Warnock.

1742: Ah. A little bit more info is filtering through about Craig Bellamy's mystery red card at Bolton earlier. It turns out the Manchester City striker had been booked earlier, in an incident nobody saw. So, when the Welshman was harshly booked by Mark Clattenburg for diving, it was his second yellow. At least that explains why Clattenburg got out his red.

1738: Wolves boss Mick McCarthy on his side's surprise 1-0 win over Spurs at White Hart Lane: "We did hang on, it was seat-of-the-pants at times but I think we deserved our victory. We were organised today, we communicated and the players did it for themselves - they were terrific."

scott_allen90 on Twitter: "How can you leave Owen out after his midweek performance! must be a real knock on his confidence! Come on United!"

1737: Villa certainly haven't sat back in the early stages, forcing a corner in the first minute and coming forward when they can. United are still finding their feet a bit.

1736: Hmm, by the looks of this line-up, Manchester United's injury crisis appears to be (mostly) over. Ryan Giggs is playing as their second striker behind Wayne Rooney.

1734: Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti on his table-topping side's failure to beat Everton: "I'm happy with the performance of the team but not the result. This is football. It can happen that you draw at home but the important thing is to maintain control and intensity on the pitch."

1731: Aston Villa get us started at Old Trafford.

1725: So, can Aston Villa hope to get anything at Old Trafford tonight? A win would send them third, and put the cat among the pigeons at the top of the table. Oh, and Martin O'Neill's side have already beaten two of the 'Big Four' this season - Liverpool and Chelsea.

tomlau on Twitter: "That Macheda lad isn't playing thankfully! Would be well in line with today's results if Villa thrashed United. Up the Villa!"

1725: Everton boss David Moyes on his side's 3-3 draw at Chelsea: "It was terrific. With the team we brought here today, to get a result it was top notch. Louis Saha was fantastic. He played like a real centre-forward and caused them problems all day. He was nearly unplayable at times. If we got all our players back we'll be a match for anybody."

From Martin, Everton fan from LIVERPOOL, via text: "Re 1710. Anna in Bristol supporting Liverpool... typical!"

1719: Let's not forget about Wolves' win at Tottenham either... it was enough to see Mick McCarthy's side climb out of the bottom three and only their second victory on the road this season. Not a bad day all round for managers under pressure - although Bolton boss Gary Megson will probably feel his side should have won after leading 10-man Manchester City three times.

AndyCoulthard on Twitter: "The Premier League is awesome! who would have predicted these scores on last week's results?"

From Anna in Bristol, via text: "Ha ha, what a day as a Liverpool fan, and we haven't even played. Spurs lose, Man City, Chelsea and Everton draw, and Villa and Man Utd can't both do well. Whisper it quietly, but we could be a point off third during this "meltdown" period. oh, and good luck with that ever growing bank balance, Dave (see 1303 and 1707)."

1710: Around 20 minutes to go until kick-off at Old Trafford, where Aston Villa have not beaten Manchester United in any competition since 1983. With Chelsea being held by Everton (in a game of some amazingly fortuitous goals), United can move level on points at the top of the table with a win, while 7-0 victory would send them to the summit.

1709: TEAM NEWS Man Utd v Aston Villa
Manchester United defenders Wes Brown and Nemanja Vidic return after injury and illness and Ryan Giggs is also back, along with Wayne Rooney.
Aston Villa are unchanged from the side that beat Hull last time out.

From Dave, frustrated but slightly better off Spurs fan, via text: "Guess I'm not going to Paris then, bank manager will be pleased."

1707: It's been a busy day for Football League Fletch too - here's his final missive, before he goes home for a deserved lie down: Fair play to Barnsley, who twice came from behind to snatch a point against leaders Newcastle. Another win for Nottingham Forest - 1-0 at Swansea, but how much longer for Brian Laws after his Owls side lost 3-0 at Leicester? League One leaders Leeds are held to a goalless draw at Brentford. Yeovil struck a late goal against Norwich, who in turned scored an even later equaliser - 3-3 at Huish Park. Result of the day? Arguably Morecambe tonking Bournemouth 5-0 - although Burton 6-1 Aldershot makes impressive reading, as does Torquay's 5-0 win over Darlington. Rotherham are going very nicely under Ronnie Moore and won 4-2 at Bradford.

1706: TEAMS Man Utd v Aston Villa
Man Utd: Kuszczak, Fletcher, Brown, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Anderson, Valencia, Giggs, Park, Rooney. Subs: Foster, Owen, Berbatov, Welbeck, Obertan, Gibson, De Laet.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Dunne, Cuellar, Warnock, Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing, Agbonlahor, Heskey. Subs: Guzan, Sidwell, Carew, Delph, Reo-Coker, Beye, Collins.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1705: Just another boring day in the Premier League hey? Sorry about the slight delay just now... my computer just melted - all those goals, I think.

Red card
Portsmouth goal and red card: Portsmouth steal a point in the dying seconds at the Stadium of Light when Sunderland fail to clear and Younes Kaboul is in the right place to poke the ball over the line from close range... he's already been booked so a red card follows swiftly when he celebrates by running to the travelling fans and taking off his shirt. Referee Steve Bennett had no choice but to send him off.

1658: FULL-TIME Chelsea 3-3 Everton

1657: FULL-TIME Sunderland 1-1 Portsmouth

1657: Last chance for Chelsea? Michael Ballack slams in a shot from the edge of the area but it goes the wrong side of Tim Howard's post (from Chelsea's point of view). Everton survive.

1656: FULL-TIME Birmingham 1-0 West Ham

1656: FULL-TIME Bolton 3-3 Man City

1656: FULL-TIME Tottenham 0-1 Wolves

1655: RED CARD Younes Kaboul (Portsmouth)

1655: GOALFLASH Sunderland 1-1 Portsmouth (Kaboul)

1655: FULL-TIME Burnley 1-1 Fulham

1653: And four minutes of added time at Stamford Bridge too. Plenty of time for more goals then...

1652: There will be four minutes of added time at the Reebok Stadium.

1651: FULL-TIME Hull 0-0 Blackburn

1650: Robinho fires inches wide for 10-man Manchester City, who are looking for a winner. Birmingham should have made sure of the points against West Ham but Cameron Jerome shoots wide in a one-on-one with Robert Green.

1649: Any more twists to come today? Joleon Lescott has missed an open goal for Manchester City, while Tottenham have got six minutes of injury time to find an equaliser against Wolves.

1647: Here's Football League Fletch with news from the top of the Championship: Leaders Newcastle are ahead again at Barnsley, while Derby take the lead at Watford, who have been excellent at home of late, and Scunthrope equalise at Reading. Hats off to Southend, who trailed 2-0 at home to Hartlepool in League One but are now leading 3-2. The journey from Torquay to Darlington is going to feel like an extraordinary long way to the away fans. The Quakers, bottom of League Two, are 5-0 down.

From Zippy, George and Bungle on 606: "This is all set up for a deflected Lampard special in the last few minutes of this game. Place your bets now."

1645: Things have settled down at Stamford Bridge - well, sort of. Chelsea are dominating possession but Everton are keeping things tight.

1642: Another chance for West Ham. Alessandro Diamante sees his free-kick fizz narrowly over... and reacts by ripping the front of his own shirt to shreds in frustration.

1641: Andy Reid fires a free-kick against the bar for Sunderland from 25 yards out, with David James beaten. The Black Cats still lead by just one goal.

Man City goal: If 10-man Manchester City get anything from this game, they have one man to thank - Carlos Tevez. The Argentine picks up the ball inside the Bolton half and makes for goal on his own before firing a precise shot through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner. All-square again.

Red card
West Ham red card: Mark Noble catches Christian Benitez with a late tackle. A yellow card? Yes, according to referee Lee Mason. That's Noble's second of the match, so he gets an early bath.

GOALFLASH Bolton 3-3 Man City (Tevez)

1637: RED CARD Mark Noble (West Ham)

1636: Tottenham's best chance of the match - Vedran Corluka crosses from the right but Nico Kranjcar scuffs his shot wide. A bit of a waste that.

1635: The 10 men of Manchester City are pouring forward against Bolton - and leaving gaping holes at the back. All or nothing for Mark Hughes' men now... and they are running out of time.

1634: Lots happening in the lower divisions too - here's Football League Fletch with more: All change at the Ricoh Arena as Peterborough have battled back and are now locked at 2-2 with Coventry. Oh, hold on, Coventry are now leading 3-2. Three goals in seven minutes at Huish Park and Yeovil and Norwich are tied at 2-2. League Two leaders Rochdale trailed at Lincoln but are now heading towards their fifth straight win - they lead 3-1.

1633: Spurs have sent on Peter Crouch and Luka Modric to try to find an equaliser - no joy yet. The home side are enjoying all the possession but cannot open Wolves up.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1630: Chances at both ends at St Andrew's - firstly for Birmingham, where Sebastian Larsson' s free-kick from the left is touched on by a defender, and somehow Liam Ridgwell at the far post puts the ball across the goalmouth rather than in the net. West Ham respond through Kieron Dyer, just on as a sub, who runs from the halfway line before firing against the post.

Everton goal: If you think Everton's opener was lucky, wait until you see this one. Didier Drogba tries to nod away a cross from the left, but nods the ball against Louis Saha's head... and it loops over Petr Cech and into the net. Everton are level... again.

Red card
Man City red card: Confusion at the Reebok Stadium, and not just for me. Craig Bellamy goes down under a challenge as he runs towards goal - it looks a foul. Instead, Mark Clattenburg books the striker, seemingly for diving, then immediately produces a second yellow card and red. Bellamy is mystified but Manchester City are 3-2 down... and down to 10 men.

1626: GOALFLASH Chelsea 3-3 Everton

1626: RED CARD Craig Bellamy (Manchester City)

1625: Here's Football League Fletch, back for more: Joy for Barnsley as Emil Hallfredsson equalises for them against Newcastle, who had not conceded in their previous four games. In-form Southampton are heading for their fourth straight win after Dan Harding puts them ahead against lowly Tranmere. More misery for Bournemouth, who now trail 4-0 at Morecambe and are down to 10 men.

Chelsea goal: Everton's resistance is broken... Branislav Ivanovic's cross from the right finds Didier Drogba at the back post and he beats Tim Howard with a coolly taken side-footed volley. More goals in this one?

1622: GOALFLASH Chelsea 3-2 Everton (Drogba)

Burnley goal: The Clarets are relying heavily on their home form this season so it's probably just as well for them that they have levelled against Fulham. A Stephen Jordan cross is headed clear, but straight to Wade Elliott, who smashes home a spectacular stinging volley. A great strike, but not great defending by the Cottagers to be honest.

1618: GOALFLASH Burnley 1-1 Fulham (Elliott)

1617: Chelsea are pressing hard against Everton without really opening the visitors up. The Toffees are defending in numbers, and clinging on.

Bolton goal: Man City have come back from a goal down to level twice already today... and they will have to try to repeat the trick a third time. Paul Robinson's cross is flicked into the path of Ivan Klasnic and he turns the ball past Shay Given. Hope for Gary Megson... despair for Mark Hughes.

1613: GOALFLASH Bolton 3-2 Man City (Klasnic)

Birmingham goal: Talk about a purple patch - Lee Bowyer finds the net for his third goal in four games, running on to a Christian Benitez pass and slotting past Rob Green. Bowyer, playing against his former club, does not celebrate his goal.

1611: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-0 West Ham (Bowyer)

Fulham goal: Bobby Zamora likes to silence his critics, doesn't he? The big striker latches on to a ball over the top from a quickly-taken free-kick, shrugs off Steven Caldwell and hammers home a low shot into the corner.

1609: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-1 Fulham (Zamora)

1608: And, finally, top-of-the-table Chelsea begin their second half against Everton. If the scoreline stays the same, Carlo Ancelotti's side will be three points ahead of Manchester United - who face Aston Villa in today's late match.

1607: And at Sunderland and Bolton. Strange scenes at the Stadium of Light where Hermann Hreidarsson was booked by Steve Bennett as soon as he stepped back on to the pitch - apparently for something he said as he walked off at half-time... did the big Icelandic defender hide from Bennett during the interval?

1605: We are back under way at Tottenham and Hull. And Burnley and Birmingham.

From a frustrated Sunderland fan, via text: "Sat here at a freezing Stadium Of Light having sat through 45 minutes of pathetic defending, niggly challenges and terrible refereeing. Both teams have been frankly awful."

1558: Here's a half-time round-up from Football League Fletch: Ipswich appear to be heading for their second home win of the season after Jack Colback put them 2-0 up against high-flying Blackpool. In League One's battle of the sharp-shooting strikers, Huddersfield's Jordan Rhodes has put Town 2-1 up against a Gillingham side that took the lead through Simeon Jackson. Aldershot have been doing well of late but they are 4-0 down at Burton in their League Two fixture.

1556: Man City and Chelsea may be level, but Tottenham are still trailing to Wolves. I hope nobody is going to accuse the Premier League of being predictable... ?

From anon, via text: "My fiancee is a Bolton season ticket holder. Bolton could win the league and she would want him [Megson] out, along with 95% of Bolton fans. He's a dead man walking."

1553: HALF-TIME Tottenham 0-1 Wolves

1553: HALF-TIME Sunderland 1-0 Portsmouth

1551: HALF-TIME Chelsea 2-2 Everton

1551: HALF-TIME Burnley 0-0 Fulham

1551: HALF-TIME Bolton 2-2 Man City

Everton goal: Seconds after he comes on to replace the injured Jo, Yakubu is on the scoresheet. After the mother of all goalmouth scrambles, the ball hits Ricardo Carvalho, who is on the deck, and falls for the Nigerian to slam it past Cech from about six yards out.

1550: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-2 Everton (Yakubu)

1549: HALF-TIME Birmingham 0-0 West Ham

1549: HALF-TIME Hull 0-0 Blackburn

Man City goal: Another top-quality goal - we've had a few of them already today. This time it is Manchester City who come forward with a fluid passing move, and it ends when Craig Bellamy slides Micah Richards through on the right of the area - he slots home and City are level, again.

1547: GOALFLASH Bolton 2-2 Man City (Richards)

1547: Tottenham are still on the hunt for an equaliser and seem to be getting closer. Tom Huddlestone breaks into the box and skips past a challenge before poking a shot just wide after he had slipped to the ground. Typical of Spurs' afternoon, things are not coming off for them. Wolves simply content to sit back and defend their lead.

Bolton goal: Do Bolton fans still want to get rid of boss Gary Megson? Not at this rate they won't. A neat turn by Gary Cahill gives him space on the edge of the area - he looks up and curls a magnificent shot into the top corner past Shay Given. Unstoppable.

1545: GOALFLASH Bolton 2-1 Man City (Cahill)

1544: More injury news. West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green looks to have tweaked something clearing the ball - he didn't follow through properly with his kick and hopped around on one leg for a while. Looks like he will wait until half-time to get proper treatment on it.

1543: Wondering what's happening outside the top flight? Here's Football League Fletch to tell us: Coventry have not won in the Championship since September but are in control against rock-bottom Peterborough thanks to two goals from Freddy Eastwood. Looking as though there will be no end this week to Mark Cooper's wait for his first win as Posh boss. Bristol Rovers are well on top against local(ish) rivals Swindon in League One, while League Two high-fliers Bournemouth trail 3-0 at in-form Morecambe.

1541: Tottenham seem to be getting their act together too - although they are still behind. Jermain Defoe connects with Vedran Corluka's low cross from the right but the striker's near-post volley is comfortably saved by Marcus Hahnemann. Wolves are throwing themselves into every challenge and frustrating their opponents but there are some signs that Spurs are starting to find their rhythm .

1539: It's all gone a bit scrappy at Turf Moor after a lively start. Burnley have not done much going forward for a while... although Chris Eagles did force a save from Mark Schwarzer after running into the area. Fulham felt he was offside but play was allowed to continue.

1538: Manchester City have improved significantly at Bolton since they levelled and Gareth Barry just wasted a golden chance to put the visitors ahead, latching on to a Stephen Ireland pass but shooting woefully wide.

Spurs4ever1 on Twitter: "No way, plenty of time...Defoe will score at least twice today...I feel it."

1533: West Ham have been on the backfoot against Birmingham but are almost ahead after a fantastic individual effort by Alessandro Diamante. The Italian beats three men and drills a fizzing shot a fraction wide of Joe Hart's left-hand post from the corner of the box.

1532: Stoke boss Tony Pulis on Maynor Figueroa's spectacular goal for Wigan: "I cannot wait to see it again. I know I should not say that but it is a goal in a lifetime. I don't think he will score another like that."

Man City goal: Craig Bellamy's cross should really be cleared by Bolton but instead it comes out to Carlos Tevez, just outside the box. The Argentine takes a touch and smashes in a shot that deflects off Tamir Cohen and flies into the roof of the net. City are level, but their goal came completely against the run of play.

1529: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-1 Man City (Tevez)

1528: Tottenham are struggling to find a way back into things against Wolves, who are defending stubbornly. Spurs' lack of creativity has been noted by their own fans, who have voiced their displeasure with a chorus of boos.

1527: Football League Fletch has stepped into Macca's shoes for the rest of the afternoon: More misery for under-pressure Sheffield Wednesday boss Brian Laws as his team are trailing at Leicester. Barnsley, Bristol City, Blackpool, Plymouth and Scunthorpe are also behind in the Championship. Stockport are bottom of League One and losing at home to high-flying Charlton. Sticking with struggling sides, Darlington, with just eight points to their name all season, are 1-0 down at Torquay in their League Two fixture.

From redandblackT1899 on 606: "Hibbert v Drogba. That sort of mismatch should be illegal."

Sunderland goal: Neat stuff from the Black Cats. Jordan Henderson crosses from the right and Andy Reid volleys the ball back into the path of Darren Bent, who sweeps the ball home for his 10th league goal of the season. A great finish.

1525: GOALFLASH Sunderland 1-0 Portsmouth (Bent)

Chelsea goal: Well, it had been coming. Everton cannot clear their lines from a corner and Branislav Ivanvic slips the ball to Nicolas Anelka, who prods it into the roof of the net.

1523: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-1 Everton (Anelka)

1522: It's all Bolton at the Reebok Stadium, where Manchester City have just lost Shaun Wright-Phillips to an ankle injury. And Chelsea are coming forward in waves at Stamford Bridge too - Everton holding out for now, though, but the home side look very dangerous.

JamesDuffin1 on Twitter: "Oh well then looks like Spurs will be finishing 7th after all.No consistency whatsoever!"

1520: A first shot on goal by West Ham - Mark Noble's run on the left drags two defenders out of position and creates space for Junior Stanislas to exploit with a strong shot which is safely gathered by Birmingham goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Chelsea goal: Ignore what I wrote at 1517, Chelsea are level. After a neat build-up, Frank Lampard tees up Didier Drogba on the edge of the area and his first-time finish is perfect - straight into the top corner. Tim Howard had no chance.

1518: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-1 Everton (Drogba)

1517: Out of the three top v bottom clashes today, the struggling sides are winning all three - Wolves, Everton and Bolton are all ahead.

Bolton goal: Lee Chung-Yong drives a shot against the foot of Sylvinho and the deflection drops perfectly for Ivan Klasnic in front of goal - although the Croatian appeared to be in an offside position.

1515: There's been plenty happening at the KC Stadium too. Craig Fagan - put clean through on goal - misses a clearcut chance to open the scoring for Hull against Blackburn following a lovely pass from George Boateng. Paul Robinson, diving low to his left, saves the day for Rovers.

Everton goal: To call this a lucky goal is a bit of an understatement, but Everton won't care. Leighton Baines curls over a free-kick from the right, and it comes off John Terry's back under a challenge from Louis Saha, hits a post and rebounds of Petr Cech and over the line.

1513: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-0 Man City (Klasnic)

1512: GOALFLASH Chelsea 0-1 Everton (Cech og)

1510: Here's Football League Macca, with his first update of the afternoon: The fastest goal of the afternoon goes to Roy Keane's Ipswich and it took them a super-swift 31 seconds. Jon Stead is the scorer against high-flying Blackpool. In League One Gillingham are also ahead at Huddersfield through Simeon Jackson and back into the Championship the leaders Newcastle are in front through goal lover Kevin Nolan.

1509: Jo gets a sight of goal from the edge of the box and lets fly for Everton... to bring a rather nervy looking save from Petr Cech - he does just enough to turn it round the post but that was hardly convincing.

1508: An early scare for West Ham at Birmingham - Sebastian Larsson's corner from the left is flicked on by Roger Johnson and only kept out by an instinctive block by West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green, who then has to smother Liam Ridgewell's point-blank follow-up shot.

1505: An early chance for Fulham at Burnley too. Damien Duff runs clean through in the opening 60 seconds but, in trying to chip Brian Jensen, he slices wide. Jensen then has to block a low Erik Nevland shot with his legs.

Wolves goal: What a start at White Hart Lane. Menad Milijas curls in a free-kick from the right and Kevin Doyle gets the slightest of touches to divert the ball into the net.

1502: GOALFLASH Tottenham 0-1 Wolves (Doyle)

1502: We're only waiting for Burnley now. The other seven 1500 GMT Premier League games have all started.

1500: We are under way at White Hart Lane - the last time Spurs played there, they scored nine goals.

vj_cfc on Twitter: "Joey to prove himself. Mikel to be raw meat if he commits an error. Time for Lampard to step up. Go Blues !"

1457: Got your breath back yet? Good. Me too, just about... I don't think the next 90 minutes or so are going to be particularly quiet, either.

1454: TEAM NEWS Bolton v Man City
As expected, Kevin Davies returns to the Bolton side after serving a one-match suspension against Wolves but Ivan Klasnic retains his place as Gary Megson reverts to a 4-4-2 formation.
Sylvinho makes his first Premier League start for Manchester City in place of the injured Wayne Bridge while Craig Bellamy is back in the starting XI after missing the win against Chelsea with a mild case of swine flu. Stephen Ireland is on the bench after recovering from a knee injury.

1453: TEAM NEWS Birmingham v West Ham
Birmingham stick with the same starting XI who beat Wigan 3-2 last week.
Robert Green starts in goal for West Ham having been forced to come off during last week's 4-0 loss to Manchester United with a stomach upset, and Mark Noble returns to the side after illness to make his 100th league appearance. Former Birmingham defender Matthew Upson is out with a hamstring injury, Jack Collison drops to the bench and up front Alessandro Diamanti starts in place of Zavon Hines.

From Tractorboy, via text: "Another missed penalty! Could someone settle this bet for me? I say more Premiership penalties have been saved this season but my mate reckons more have been scored. There's a round riding on this."

1452: TEAM NEWS Burnley v Fulham
Steven Caldwell returns for Burnley with Kevin McDonald dropped to the bench, while Fulham are unchanged from the team that started against Sunderland last weekend.

1451: TEAM NEWS Sunderland v Portsmouth
A defensive crisis forces Sunderland boss Steve Bruce into four changes. Nyron Nosworthy starts despite receiving stitches in a head wound last weekend, and he is joined in defence by Paulo Da Silva and George McCartney, who returns to the side following a hamstring strain. Fraizer Campbell replaces Steed Malbranque on the right of midfield.
Portsmouth manager Avram Grant likewise brings in four fresh faces. David James displaces Asmir Begovic in goal while Younes Kaboul returns from a one-match suspension, demoting Steve Finnan to the bench. Kanu comes in for Tommy Smith, while Richard Hughes replaces the virus-stricken Kevin-Prince Boateng.

From anon, via text: "I hope England dont play Denmark at the World Cup. Nobody can score a penalty against Sorensen at the moment! Come on Birmingham today!"

1449: TEAMS Tottenham v Wolves
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Huddlestone, Palacios, Kranjcar, Keane, Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Hutton, Bale, Modric, Crouch, Giovani, Rose.
Wolverhampton: Hahnemann, Stearman, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Milijas, Henry, Edwards, Jarvis, Ebanks-Blake, Doyle. Subs: Hennessey, Surman, Iwelumo, Mancienne, Foley, Maierhofer, Castillo.
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

1448: TEAMS Sunderland v Portsmouth
Sunderland: Fulop, Nosworthy, Turner, Da Silva, McCartney, Campbell, Henderson, Cana, Reid, Bent, Jones. Subs: Carson, Malbranque, Murphy, Meyler, Healy, Anderson, Noble.
Portsmouth: James, Yebda, Kaboul, Ben-Haim, Hreidarsson, Wilson, Brown, O'Hara, Hughes, Kanu, Dindane. Subs: Begovic, Mokoena, Diop, Piquionne, Finnan, Webber, Belhadj.
Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent)

1446: Phew. That was quite a finale to the game at the Britannia - Stoke were hanging on at the end and had Thomas Sorensen to thank for his penalty save that earned them a point.

1445: TEAMS Hull v Blackburn
Hull: Myhill, McShane, Gardner, Zayatte, Dawson, Garcia, Boateng, Marney, Hunt, Geovanni, Fagan. Subs: Duke, Barmby, Altidore, Mendy, Kilbane, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Olofinjana.
Blackburn: Robinson, Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Hoilett, Nzonzi, Grella, Emerton, McCarthy, Di Santo. Subs: Brown, Roberts, Pedersen, Andrews, Diouf, Kalinic, Salgado.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

1444: FULL-TIME Stoke 2-2 Wigan

1443: We're into the third minute of five that have been added on at the end of the 90.

1442: Thomas Sorensen was a mile off his line when he saved that spot-kick with his legs but that's still his third penalty save in four games. Wigan are still pushing for the winner, mind, and have just had three shots blocked in quick succession.

1441: First things first, it shouldn't have been a penalty - Jordi Gomez was well offside when he ran on to Mario Melchiot's pass and was felled by Robert Huth inside the box. Justice is done, however, when Hugo Rodallega's weak penalty is easily saved by Thomas Sorensen.

1440: MISSED PENALTY (Rodallega)

1439: PENALTY to Wigan

1438: A rare Wigan attack sees Hugo Rodallega attempt to release Jason Scotland with a lobbed pass but they are on completely different wavelengths. Scotland has gone 19 games without scoring, so he is due a goal.

1435: TEAM NEWS Hull v Blackburn
Boaz Myhill returns to the Hull goal, while Craig Fagan, as expected, deputises for knee injury victim Jimmy Bullard. A third change sees Geovanni return to lead the attack as he is preferred to Jozy Altidore.
Visitors Blackburn consign El Hadji Diouf to the subs bench, promoting 19-year-old David Hoilett to the starting XI in the only change to the team who drew with Liverpool last week.

1434: TEAMS Chelsea v Everton
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Mikel, Ballack, Lampard, Joe Cole, Anelka, Drogba. Subs: Hilario, Malouda, Zhirkov, Paulo Ferreira, Matic, Belletti, Borini.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Neill, Heitinga, Baines, Rodwell, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Jo, Saha, Pienaar. Subs: Nash, Yakubu, Coleman, Duffy, Agard, Akpan, Mustafi.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1433: Vest off. Beattie on. He has seven minutes to make his mark.

1432: James Beattie is coming on for Stoke. He's replacing Ricardo Fuller, whose last contribution is to fire wildly over from 25 yards out. Beattie will have to take off his vest before he comes on though - I have no idea why!

1431: TEAMS Burnley v Fulham
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Eagles, Alexander, Bikey, Elliott, Blake, Steven Fletcher. Subs: Penny, Kalvenes, McDonald, Gudjonsson, Nugent, Thompson, Guerrero.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Greening, Baird, Dempsey, Duff, Nevland, Zamora. Subs: Stockdale, Gera, Murphy, Riise, Smalling, Dikgacoi, Elm.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

1430: Just over 10 minutes left at the Brittania Stadium. Stoke are looking more dangerous, but we know what happened last time I wrote that. (see 1421 and 1422). Matthew Etherington delivers another fantastic ball from the left but Tuncay cannot quite reach it.

1428: TEAM NEWS Tottenham v Wolves
Tottenham midfielder David Bentley fails to make the squad, while Peter Crouch is replaced by skipper Robbie Keane in the only change to the team that drew with Everton.
Wolves are unchanged from the starting XI which beat Bolton.

1427: TEAMS Bolton v Man City
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Muamba, Cohen, Taylor, Kevin Davies, Klasnic. Subs: Al Habsi, Samuel, Elmander, Mark Davies, Ricketts, Basham, Andrew O'Brien.
Man City: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Sylvinho, Wright-Phillips, Kompany, Barry, Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez. Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Zabaleta, Ireland, Robinho, Santa Cruz, Petrov.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

Stoke goal: Stoke are behind for just one minute and 52 seconds. Matthew Etherington sends over a corner and Ryan Shawcross beats Maynor Figueroa to the ball and powers in a header. We're all-square, again.

Wigan goal: A truly magnificent strike this one folks. Stoke concede a free-kick just inside the Wigan half and a quick-thinking Maynor Figueroa steps up to smash it over Thomas Sorensen and into the corner of the net. That was truly special - watch Match of the Day later today to see it for yourselves.

1423: GOALFLASH Stoke 2-2 Wigan (Shawcross)

1422: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-2 Wigan (Figueroa)

1421: Stoke are turning the screw now. Glenn Whelan should have found the target when he met an inviting cross from Matthew Etherington in front of goal but instead his flick sailed wide. Seconds later, Tuncay's goalbound shot on the turn is brilliantly blocked by Paul Scharner.

1420: TEAMS Birmingham v West Ham
Birmingham: Hart, Carr, Roger Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, McFadden, Jerome, Benitez. Subs: Maik Taylor, Phillips, Fahey, McSheffrey, O'Shea, Carsley, Vignal.
West Ham: Green, Faubert, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Ilunga, Stanislas, Parker, Noble, Kovac, Diamanti, Franco. Subs: Kurucz, Dyer, Spector, Da Costa, Nouble, Collison, Payne.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

From Tom, Blackburn fan, via text: "Re anon, via text. I think you will find that station is Pleasington not Pleasingdon! Up the Rovers!"

1417: James Beattie is warming up for Stoke... do any of you fancy him to come on and score a late winner? We've got about 25 minutes left for someone to do just that, for either side.

From Pablo Aimless on 606: "Stoke have scuffed more shots than I can keep track of, they must practice with a medicine ball."

1414: Wigan's defence is all at sea after they fail to tidy up a Chris Kirkland clearance and Paul Scharner picks up a booking for fouling Matthew Etherington as Stoke mount a promising attack. Tuncay steps up to take it, but curls his effort over the bar from the left-hand side of the area.

1413: Stoke make their first chance. Glenn Whelan is on for Salif Diao... James Beattie will have to wait a bit longer to get his chance.

From anon, via text: "At a train station in the sticks called Pleasingdon going to see Fulham play Burnley. At these rural stations do I have to stick my hand out to stop the train? Score a hat-trick today and Fulham fans might just about forgive Bobby Zamora for that outburst last week. All 100 of us likely to be there."

1410: Stoke's turn to go agonisingly close to taking the lead. Ricardo Fuller breaks clear inside the box but scuffs his shot horribly with only Chris Kirkland to beat. The ball is rolling just wide and it is also just too far in front of Tuncay, who cannot quite divert it inside the post... the Turkish striker looked suspiciously offside in any case but, no matter, the chance is gone.

1406: Speak of the devil... Paul Scharner is inches away from restoring Wigan's lead when he is first to a corner from the left but sees his header fly just wide. A bad hair day?

Spurs4ever1 on Twitter: "What type of hair colour does Paul Scharner have today?"

Quite boring by his standards actually - bleached blonde.

1401: Stoke have definitely been the stronger side since the restart and they are creating chances too. Robert Huth should probably have got his header on target when he met Matthew Etherington's cross, but instead could only guide it over the bar.

1359: It was a very late decision to replace Boyce, who has concussion, by the way... he was on his way out for the second half when the Latics decided not to risk him any longer.

1357: We won't see that blue bandage again either. Emmerson Boyce is not able to continue, so Scott Sinclair comes on instead.

1354: Wigan have started the second half with 10 men... Emmerson Boyce has been getting more treatment in the dressing room.

1352: The Stoke players are having a bit of a debate with referee Mike Dean as they come out for the second half. If we do get a winner in the next 45 minutes, three points for Stoke would see them climb to eighth in the table, while victory for Wigan will send them 12th.

From anon (i'm guessing it's not Dave's girlfriend), via text: "Re 1303. Dave, are you mad? Of course Spurs will win at home to Wolves! You are supposed to make those sorts of agreements when you aren't favourites to win!"

From Adam Longden via text: "Wigan have been so difficult to predict this season, beating teams like Villa and Chelsea but conceding nine against Spurs. I'm going for a 4-4 this afternoon!"

1341: Stoke and Wigan aren't doing a bad job of keeping us entertained so far - both sides have had a few decent efforts and the half-time scoreline is probably a fair reflection of the game. The Potters started slowly but were on top before the break... but all to play for in the second half.

JamesMNaylor on Twitter: "Good game so far. Fans sound as loud as ever!"

1338: HALF-TIME Stoke 1-1 Wigan

1336: Ricardo Fuller helps Stoke win the ball off Wigan inside the visitors' half but ruins his good work by slicing a rather hasty shot about a mile wide of Chris Kirkland's post.

1335: Tuncay's involved again - this time getting booked for handball. We will have four minutes of added time at the end of the first half, and there are about three minutes of that left.

From Jesus Saves but Jinky taps in on the rebound on 606: "That is why all the Middlesbrough fans loved Tuncay. He never let his head go down and came up with moments of sheer magic like that. Expect to see that week in week out Stoke fans."

1331: Wigan have been quiet for a while, but are almost back in front. Charles N'Zogbia whips in a vicious free-kick that zooms past Thomas Sorensen but is a whisker wide of his right-hand post. that was very close.

1329: Tuncay has a go at making it two goals in two minutes, swivelling to meet Rory Delap's throw. His overhead kick is on target but Wigan's Mr Bump - Emmerson Boyce - is in the way to block the shot.

Stoke goal: The home side's best spell of the game ends with them finding an equaliser. Wigan push up, trying to catch Tuncay offside - but he times his run perfectly and has time to cut in from the left before burying a powerful low shot past Chris Kirkland and into the back of the net. That's his first goal for Stoke, and a top-class finish.

1326: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-1 Wigan (Tuncay)

1325: A shout for a penalty for Wigan when Paul Scharner goes down at the far post as he waits for a cross. Replays prove inconclusive - but I've seen them given, and the Austrian's prolonged protests show what he thinks about the incident.

From Chip it like Vela on 606: "Wasn't Tuncay brilliant there? Didn't care about the ball - all he wanted to do was take Kirkland out...ha ha."

1322: Chris Kirkland is still being kept busy too - with Tuncay seemingly under orders to stay as close as possible to the Wigan keeper. Those two leap to challenge for a high, bouncing ball - Kirkland catches it but drops it... mainly because Tuncay jumps straight into him. The Stoke fans are excited but Mike Dean has already blown up for the free-kick.

1320: Stoke one dimensional? Not a chance. With everyone expecting another missile-type throw-in from Rory Delap, he cheekily lobs it short to Robert Huth who whips in a dangerous cross. Wigan, understandably, are confused and only just manage to clear their lines.

1317: Better from Stoke. A long throw from you know who - yes, Mr Delap - is met by Ricardo Fuller, who beats two defenders to the ball at the near post but sees his header fly narrowly high and wide.

From John in York, via text: "Re Dave. Top four or bank balance? Surely a question only Leeds United can answer!"

1310: He's been patched up, and Emmerson Boyce is now back on. Stoke haven't managed much of a response since going behind.

1309: Emmerson Boyce is still getting treatment now, and will play the rest of the game with a big bright blue bandage on his head. That will go nicely with his luminous orange shirt.

Wigan goal: Yes, I know. It was a goal after all - and Emmerson Boyce certainly went in where it hurts to get on the scoresheet. Thomas Sorensen does brilliantly to keep out Hugo Rodallega's header from a Jason Koumas free-kick, but Boyce is first to the loose ball to nod it over the line... getting a hefty kick in the head from Salif Diao as he does so. The ball is in the net but Boyce and Sorensen are both down and getting treatment - and it is a while before Wigan's fans realise they can celebrate.

1304: GOALFLASH Stoke 0-1 Wigan (Boyce)

1304: A bit of confusion whether Wigan have scored or not. Bear with me.

1303: A much better free-kick from Wigan, this time from Hugo Rodallega. His low effort beats the Stoke wall and has a bit of power behind it, but flies straight at Thomas Sorensen.

From Dave, confused Spurs fan, via text: "If Spurs win today I have promised to take the girlfriend to Paris for New Year - if they lose or draw I don't. I am in two minds over what result I would like today, what's more important, top four or bank balance??? Help!"

Top four, every time. Right?

1259: Another Rory Delap throw finds its way all the way to Tuncay, who is standing on the Wigan goal-line with Chris Kirkland right behind him. A flick either way by the Turkish striker and we've got our first goal of the day but Kirkland does well to reach around him and push the ball away.

1257: A bit of a delay while referee Mike Dean sorts the Stoke wall out for a Wigan free-kick, about 30 yards out. After all that, Jordi Gomez steps up and smacks the ball straight into it. Not worth the wait.

themib on Twitter: "How come Wigan are wearing dayglow orange against Stoke's red and white stripes? Too confusing..."

1254: Stoke's Dean Whitehead pounces on a cross on the edge of the area, takes a touch, and fires the ball goalwards... it bounces a yard or two wide. Quite a lively start then. More of the same please.

1252: Wigan's first attempt on goal sees Charles N'Zogbia lets fly from oooh, 30 yards. It bobbles harmlessly into Thomas Sorensen's hands.

1251: Rory Delap hoists a long throw into the Wigan penalty area. We could be seeing a lot of that today. In fact, as soon as I wrote that, he repeats the trick. Chris Kirkland catches it and Wigan clear their lines.

From caxi19 on 606: "Stoke may have scored the least this season but Wigan have managed only one more. Got a feeling their backline are in for somewhat of a pummelling today."

1248: Wigan get us under way. Stoke striker James Beattie is all smiles on the subs bench.

1243: Here come the players now. Wigan are in that luminous orange away kit of theirs.

JamesMNaylor on Twitter: "Beware Ryan Shawcross, he has got to be in the WC squad for England. 2-0 Stoke. Pulis would win with a piledriver."

1240: Not long until we get started at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke have scored the fewest goals in the Prem this season (16) but Wigan have conceded the most (34). So does that mean we can expect lots of goals in this one, or none at all? I can't decide.

HB_14 on Twitter: "That time of year again for Chelsea!? Two defeats on the trot, a draw on Tuesday. Ancelotti could be gone come February?"

Chelsea have gone three games without a win but can you ever describe a top-of-the-table side as being 'in crisis'? I think not...

We've moved on - Pulis

1234: Wigan boss Roberto Martinez on the bust-up between Stoke boss Tony Pulis and striker James Beattie after last weekend's defeat by Arsenal: "It doesn't surprise me because I've worked in a British dressing room for many years now and I know how the emotions run high, and it goes with the culture.

"It will make big headlines because people don't really understand it, but it's the nature of the game, you say what you feel and sometimes you get that sort of reaction."

From sewey89 on 606: "I think that United will beat Villa quite convincingly today! I really do. Would be a different story at Villa Park but can't see United dropping points at OT. Same goes for Chelsea and Everton - can't see Chelsea dropping points at Bridge."

1228: I wouldn't bank on that mince pie (see 1218) if I were you. Here's Phil Brown on Sam Allardyce, his mentor at Blackpool and Bolton, and the Blackburn manager's recovery from recent heart surgery: "I have been in constant contact with the big man and he is in good form. I'll be having a nice pint with him after the game, for sure, but hopefully that will taste sweeter than it did last year (when Hull lost 2-1). I'm looking forward to locking horns."

EmJayLambert on Twitter: "The team I coach lost 9-1. Told them it happens, ask Wigan. I'd be happy with 1-0 v Wolves, cant remember our last clean sheet."

1223: TEAM NEWS Stoke v Wigan
Stoke boss Tony Pulis and James Beattie might have patched up their differences but the striker has been struggling with a knee injury and has to settle for a place on the bench. Ricky Fuller comes in for Mamady Sidibe, while Dean Whitehead and Ryan Shawcross are also recalled.
Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland is fit to play, while Jason Koumas and Jordi Gomez come in for Jason Scotland and Hendry Thomas.

From James, a West Ham fan in Essex, via text: "Re 1156. I did my shopping weeks ago. So I can just sit back and enjoy! And I'm a bloke!"

1220: TEAMS Stoke v Wigan
Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Huth, Delap, Diao, Whitehead, Etherington, Fuller, Sanli. Subs: Simonsen, Higginbotham, Whelan, Beattie, Sidibe, Pugh, Collins.
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, Gomez, Koumas, Diame, Scharner, N'Zogbia, Rodallega. Subs: Kingson, Amaya, Cho, Scotland, Sinclair, De Ridder, McCarthy.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

From Mike in Beijing via text: "Will be tuning in today for (hopefully, please!!) Gary Megson's last game. I gave him the benefit of the doubt for a long time, he deserved it for keeping us up in his first year and saving us from meltdown post little Sammy, BUT the last few weeks the team has looked like they don't know each other, what to do or where to be. Inexcusable over two years on..."

1218: Is it me, or are all Premier League managers even grumpier than usual this season? If they're not arguing with their players (see below) or amongst themselves, they're having a sarcastic pop at their critics - yes Rafa Benitez, I'm talking about you. No danger of any of fallings out at the KC Stadium today, though, because Hull boss Phil Brown and Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce are firm friends. If they don't shake hands at the final whistle, I'll buy you all a mince pie.

1215: No wrestling after all (see 1208). James Beattie is on the bench for Stoke today... full team news is on its way.

1214: More good news. If you're reading this in the UK and you give this page a manual refresh, Football Focus will appear at the top. We spoil you, we really do.

The view from Steve Wilson's hotel room
The view from Steve Wilson's hotel room at the Reebok Stadium
1212: BBC Sport's Steve Wilson, who is commentating on Bolton v Man City today: "It's very weird to open your hotel room curtains and see men marking out a football pitch. This is the view from my room at the hotel attached to the stadium.
"I could actually watch the game from the throne if you get my meaning!"

1210: Then we've got seven matches at 1500 GMT, including a few tasty-looking top v bottom clashes (Chelsea-Everton, Bolton-Man City and Tottenham-Wolves), before Manchester United host Aston Villa at 1730.

1208: First up today is Stoke v Wigan (at 1245), which will be preceded by a wrestling match between Tony Pulis and James Beattie in the centre-circle. Well, possibly not that last bit - those two have kissed and made up now - but you never know.

From 20ledge-kb on 606: "Re. an excuse for not going shopping, most men don't need an excuse - I'm pretty sure there is a gene in males that prevent them from going Christmas shopping until the 24th of December, as it never overlaps with football."

1204: I want you lot to get involved as well you know. Of course I do. You know the drill: Be sweet and drop me a Tweet on Twitter, text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (international), and join the chat on 606.

1200: As well as the top flight, there's plenty going on elsewhere too in a full Football League programme. And the really good news is that, if you stay here for the next eight hours or so, you won't miss a thing (hopefully). So, forget about getting the presents in - we've got today wrapped up (ahem) already.

1156 GMT: In need of a half-decent excuse to avoid going Christmas shopping this afternoon? You're in luck. How about nine Premier League games which could dramatically change the appearance of the top and bottom of the table. Plus it's cold outside, the shops will be packed out and you won't be able to find what you want anyway. Trust me.

Print Sponsor

Premier League table

Saturday, 12 December 2009 19:30 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Premier League table
1 Chelsea 16 27 37
2 Man Utd 16 20 34
3 Aston Villa 16 12 29
4 Arsenal 14 20 28
5 Tottenham 16 13 27
6 Man City 15 8 26
7 Liverpool 15 11 24
8 Birmingham 16 0 24
9 Fulham 16 3 23
10 Sunderland 16 0 21
11 Stoke 16 -4 21
12 Blackburn 16 -12 19
13 Burnley 16 -14 18
14 Wigan 16 -17 18
15 Everton 16 -8 17
16 Hull 17 -17 17
17 Wolves 16 -13 16
18 West Ham 16 -7 14
19 Bolton 15 -12 13
20 Portsmouth 16 -10 11

see also
Premier League photos
12 Dec 09 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.