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Page last updated at 19:47 GMT, Saturday, 27 February 2010

Saturday football as it happened



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By Caroline Cheese

1944: That's all folks. A muted end to the day, I'd say. Get well soon, Aaron Ramsey. I'll see you all tomorrow for the Carling Cup final, among other things.

More from Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "I am not very happy with the tackle. We know what to expect from other teams but we have now lost three players in five years to horrendous tackles. I refuse to believe it's coincidence when you're hit as many times as we are. We know teams want to be physical against Arsenal - this is the result. When you see how Aaron got injured today in the way that he did, it is not acceptable. I don't accept that. We could see the team was shocked, but we go until the end because we are strong mentally and united. We will do it for Ramsey as well because he deserves it. From a mathematical side of the game it was a good day for us. But we cannot really enjoy it."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "I'm very proud of our game - it was an unbelievable battle from the first minute until the last. We needed to be tough, patient and resilient to come back from the injury. I am very proud and sad because of what happened to Aaron Ramsey. We know it's bad. We need to transfer him to London to see if he needs emergency surgery. We don't know exactly how long he will be out yet, but it's certainly long term."

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas on the Ramsey injury: "In five years, I've seen three of them - Abou (Diaby), Edu (Eduardo) and now Aaron. What can I say? It's difficult. You could ask yourself whether we're not protected enough. I think so… We are sometimes victims. I'm not complaining - but there are things in football that are too much. We learned from when it happened to Eduardo. That day, we lost the league. Today, we showed character."

1933: And as so many of you have pointed out, Arsenal's title challenge started to fall away after they drew 2-2 with Birmingham two seasons ago in the game featuring Eduardo's horrific injury. Today, they go on to win the game 3-1.

1927: Cesc Fabregas gathers his Arsenal troops together in the centre circle for a group huddle. The Gunners are right back in the race now, three points behind leaders Chelsea, who are one ahead of Manchester United.

1926: FULL-TIME Stoke 1-3 Arsenal

1925: I meant to say: Cesc Fabregas appeared to dedicate his goal to Aaron Ramsey by tapping his ankle three times.

Arsenal goal: Into the seven minutes of added time and that should wrap it up. Thomas Sorensen parries Tomas Rosicky's shot but Cesc Fabregas is first to the rebound and he sets up Thomas Vermaelen to tap into the empty net. A lot of Thomas's going on there.

1923: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-3 Arsenal (Vermaelen)

1922: Danny Collins gets away with what looks like a shove on Nicklas Bendnter. No penalty.

Arsenal goal: Danny Pugh has his arms up on the edge of the area and his left one blocks Nicklas Bendtner's attempted pass. He'll say it wasn't deliberate, but you're always in trouble when you have your arms up like that. Thomas Sorensen guesses the right way but Cesc Fabregas manages to squeeze the spot-kick into the far corner.

1919: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-2 Arsenal (Fabregas pen)


1918: Robert Huth wins a vital header at the near post from Cesc Fabregas's cross, with Nicklas Bendtner lurking. Couple of minutes until the 90.

1916: Alex Song dinks a clever ball through for Eduardo, but the substitute shoots wastefully wide.

1914: Cesc Fabregas's free-kick from deep clears everyone - but Sol Campbell is at the far post... he doesn't anticipate it though and fails to attack the ball.

1912: Eduardo is now coming on to make it two up front for Arsenal, with Samir Nasri the man to make way.

From melkshamgooner on Twitter: "Neither side really seems up for it anymore... Come on boys, let's win it for Rambo."

1907: Eleven minutes of normal time remaining at Stoke 1-1 Arsenal, but there will be plenty of added time. Tuncay replaces a tired-looking Ricardo Fuller for Stoke.

1906: Ten-man Stoke bring Dean Whitehead off and send Liam Lawrence on.

1903: Ah actually, Tomas Rosicky replaced Ramsey. Arsenal's second change sees Theo Walcott on for Emmanuel Eboue. I'm finding it hard to concentrate on the football.

1900: It's a rather grim irony that Eduardo is one of the Arsenal players warming up to replace Aaron Ramsey.

1858: Shawcross appeared to be wiping away tears as he walked off in shock. Ramsey is being stretchered off. The likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Cesc Fabregas, in particular, look completely stunned. It's bringing back unhappy memories of the Eduardo injury at Birmingham. Ramsey has an oxygen mask as he is carried off down the tunnel.

Red card
Stoke red card: No, no, no. Even Ryan Shawcross looks traumatised by this - as are a lot of other players. Aaron Ramsey has suffered a horrific injury after a tackle by the Stoke defender. They aren't replaying the incident. I'm not surprised. Ramsey was holding his injured ankle up in the aftermath and it was not at the right angle in any way. Horrible.

1855: RED CARD Stoke (Shawcross)

1853: Thomas Vermaelen wins a header from Cesc Fabregas's free-kick, but he can't get any direction on it and it's a goal-kick for Stoke.

Yellow card
1851: Arsenal midfielder Alex Song goes into the book for pushing Rory Delap by the touchline. First booking of the game.

1849: Stoke boss Tony Pulis sends on defender Danny Collins and it's Abdoulaye Faye who comes off. He looks a bit surprised about that.

1848: Emmanuel Eboue turns and unleashes a viciously swerving right-foot shot, which Thomas Sorensen does brilliantly to push over the bar.

1847: Here's a chance for Stoke to relieve the pressure. Rory Delap has a throw-in. Manuel Almunia flaps at it, but Thomas Vermaelen is there to clear. The referee gives Almunia a free-kick anyway.

1847: Again, Arsenal passing and moving, leaving Stoke chasing shadows, but the move breaks down when Samir Nasri over-hits his through-ball for Cesc Fabregas.

1843: Emmanuel Eboue tries to thread a low cross through for Nicklas Bendtner but it's too close to Thomas Sorensen. Arsenal having the better of it so far in the second half.

1842: Emmanuel Eboue throws himself over to try to win a penalty. Nothing there either, quite rightly.

1837: Good start by Arsenal, one-touch passing in midfield. Eventually, Cesc Fabregas plays in Aaron Ramsey, who goes down under Abdoulaye Faye's challenge. No penalty, says Peter Walton. Not a bad shout actually, Faye has his arm over Ramsey's shoulder.

1834: Nicklas Bendtner and Cesc Fabregas get the second half under way at the Brit Stad.

From PanasonicVieira on Twitter: "Taking a point from the Britannia is not a disaster. But three would so much be preferred, in light of events today."

From SportsDeskLive on Twitter: "Bendtner scores in back-to-back PL matches for the first time in nine months, since netting three goals in two matches in May 2009."

1822: Couple of reminders: England coach Fabio Capello is expected to name his squad to face Egypt at about 2000 GMT tonight. Stay tuned to the BBC website for that. Match of the Day is on at 2230 GMT on BBC One. I wouldn't recommend missing it. I really wouldn't. Even aside from THE (lack of) HANDSHAKE, there has been some proper drama today.

BBC 5 live summariser Kevin Gallacher: "I'm just looking forward to second half. I hope they can keep up their intensity because it's been fantastic so far from both sides."

1818: HALF-TIME Stoke 1-1 Arsenal

1817: Into stoppage time at the end of the first half. This game feels like it's been going for about five minutes.

1813: Flashpoint as Cesc Fabregas lunges a bit wildly at Ryan Shawcross, who isn't at all happy. They square up briefly before Peter Walton calms tempers.

1812: Sol Campbell there with a crucial clearing header from Rory Delap's cross. Stoke put the ball straight back into the box and Arsenal make a bit of a meal of clearing, before Thomas Vermaelen eventually does so.

1810: Dean Whitehead trips Emmanuel Eboue to give Arsenal a free-kick about 25 yards out. Cesc Fabregas's effort straight into the wall though.

1806: Rollicking good game this. Glenn Whelan plays a stunning ball crossfield to Ricardo Fuller, who bursts into the box and twists and turns cleverly before the ball eventually runs away from him.

Arsenal goal: Just as I was about to tell you that Arsenal have started to make a real fight of this... Cesc Fabregas crosses from the right and Nicklas Bendtner pulls away from his marker to send a looping header back past Thomas Sorensen. By the way, Arsenal are now making a real fight of this.

1802: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-1 Arsenal (Bendtner)

1757: Cesc Fabregas chests the ball down about 25 yards out and hits one on the volley. Thomas Sorensen seems to have it covered but fumbles it around the post to give Arsenal a corner and the chance to apply some pressure. Fabregas's second corner evades everyone and only just misses creeping in at the far post.

1753: PANIC! Rory Delap flings another one in and Danny Pugh is again threatening to get on the end of it at the far post, but Bacary Sagna does just about enough.

1750: There appears to be panic in the Arsenal defence almost every time Stoke attack. Thomas Vermaelen's hurried clearance gives Stoke a throw-in - and you know what that means. The Gunners defence survive this time though.

1747: Wow. Apparently that is the fourth time Arsenal have conceded a goal from a Rory Delap throw-in. I'll say that again: wow.

Portsmouth boss Avram Grant: "I believe football should be decided on the pitch. Not in the courts, not in the Premier League offices, but on the pitch. The fans should not be victims in this scenario. Of course we should not be docked nine points. All my life I have been fighting for justice and in the interests of fair play, we need football to be decided on the field. Maybe someone, somewhere will think about the fans, who have done nothing wrong."

1743: Here's Arsene Wenger speaking earlier this week about Rory Delap's throw-ins: Wenger said: "Delap is dangerous through his throw-ins because they are horizontal, you have no time to get to the ball, it comes like an arrow, it comes flat and it's so difficult to defend against. Of course I would use it, why not? I can understand completely why Stoke use the throw-in. But unfortunately Delap is the only one who has a throw like that. Stoke are good on set pieces in general but the problem with Delap is that any throw inside our half is as good as a corner."

1741: And the Stoke fans turn up the noise big time to celebrate that goal by Danny Pugh, his first of the season on his first league start of the season.

Stoke goal: A second Rory Delap throw and Arsenal again don't deal with it - in any way, at all. Ryan Shawcross heads it on and Danny Pugh loses his marker to apply the finishing touch at the far post. He looks over at the linesman - but he needn't worry, Thomas Vermaelen was generously playing him onside.

1738: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-0 Arsenal (Pugh)

From Daniel, London, via text: "Argh no!!! An almost vitally important game for Arsenal and every pub I've gone to so far to try and watch it in is showing the boring rugby! I might just go in and annoy the locals by shouting 'hand-ball' with every pass to show my frustration."

1735: The Arsenal defence get their first look at a Rory Delap throw. Well they may see it, but they don't get a touch on it. Mamady Sidibe flicks on - but straight out of play.

1734: Bacary Sagna needs a spot of treatment after a collision with Ricardo Fuller I think it was. He's OK though.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez after defeat by Birmingham: "We put a lot of pressure on them but that penalty decision sums up our season. The first-half performance was not good enough."

1731: Stoke immediately on the attack and Ricardo Fuller cuts the ball back from the right towards Mamady Sidibe, but Sol Campbell gets there first.

1731: Referee Peter Walton gets us under way at the Brit.

1726: Sol Campbell marches out at the Britannia Stadium for his Premier League start for Arsenal since 2006. Theo Walcott is on the bench today, but he is expected to be in Fabio Capello's England squad after being left out of the Under-21s. Cracking atmos at the Britannia - as always.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish on the win over Wigan: "We'll play better than that. But I would have bitten your hand off for 40 points at this stage of the season - it was a perfect day for us."

1722: In answer to Phil from Baker Street's text, you lot reckon West Ham, Crystal Palace and Leeds have all been relegated with more than 40 points.

1717: Just while we await kick-off at the Britannia, can I urge you like never before to tune into MOTD2 tomorrow. Adrian Chiles has pledged to wear a Wolves shirt as part of Danny Baker's Shirt of Hurt campaign in aid of Sport Relief. Are there no lengths to which people will go to raise money for brilliant causes? Apparently not.

1714: TEAM NEWS Stoke v Arsenal
Stoke, unbeaten in 2010, welcome back captain Abdoulaye Faye and Andy Wilkinson from suspension and bring in Danny Pugh for Tuncay. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger makes two changes to the side which beat Sunderland 2-0, with Sol Campbell and Bacary Sagna replacing Theo Walcott and Mikael Silvestre. Sagna slots in at right-back with Eboue moving up onto the wing.

From Phil, Baker St, via text: "Birmingham have reached the 'magic' 40 points. Has anyone ever been relegated from the Prem with 40?"

1710: TEAMS Stoke v Arsenal
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Wilkinson, Delap, Whelan, Whitehead, Pugh, Sidibe, Fuller. Subs: Begovic, Lawrence, Beattie, Kitson, Diao, Tuncay, Collins.
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Campbell, Clichy, Eboue, Fabregas, Song, Ramsey, Nasri, Bendtner. Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Eduardo, Vela, Walcott, Silvestre, Traore.

Football League Danny: "So, here are your headlines in a nutshell. In the Championship, Newcastle and West Brom win, Forest lose. Reading smash Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 and Sheffield United edge out Plymouth 4-3. Middlesbrough beat QPR, while Ipswich draw again, 0-0 with Bristol City. In League One, Norwich edge out Oldham 1-0, while Southampton smashed Walsall 5-1 after going behind early on. Stockport beat Wycombe 4-3 in a foot-of-the-table cracker, and high-flying Colchester lost 3-2 at Bristol Rovers. In League Two, Rochdale won again, and with Bournemouth losing and Bury drawing, it's a great day for Dale."

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti on the defeat by Man City: "It was not a good day. The only good thing is that we still have one point more than Manchester United. We have more chance to win the title than either them or Arsenal because that is what the table says."

1703: Birmingham put their recent wobble behind them with a hard-fought win over struggling Wigan. The Blues are unbeaten in 10 league games at home, but they had only won one in six league games before today. They go above Everton into eighth, leaving Wigan a point above the drop zone.

1700: FULL-TIME Birmingham 1-0 Wigan

1659: Superb win for Portsmouth at the end of an unbelievably trying week. Burnley boss Brian Laws looks very glum, as well he might. Defeat at home to the bottom side is a significant blow to his side's survival hopes.

1657: FULL-TIME Burnley 1-2 Portsmouth

1654: Mainly because of that injury to the linesman, there will be seven (SEVEN) minutes of added time at Birmingham where the hosts lead Wigan 1-0.

Red card
Pompey red card: Portsmouth will have to play out four minutes of added time with 10 men after Ricardo Rocha gets a second yellow card for barging into Jack Cork.

1653: RED CARD Portsmouth (Rocha)

1652: FULL-TIME Bolton 1-0 Wolves

1652: Hugo Rodallega prods a shot inches wide for Wigan.

1650: Into stoppage time at the Reebok where Matt Taylor canters down the left in a three-on-three counter-attack - but he wallops a left-footed (obviously) shot well over. Not sure Owen Coyle will be too pleased with that one.

Football League Danny: "Emphatic. Simon Cox makes it West Brom 3-1 Derby, and Paul Gallagher and Andy King make it Leicester 3-0 Nottingham Forest. Great day for Newcastle and West Brom, bad for Forest. Couple of humdingers - in the closing minutes it's Sheff Utd 4-3 Plymouth and in League One, Owain Fon Williams' own goal makes it Stockport 4-3 Wycombe - Stockport were 4-0 up remember."

1646: Approaching full-time and Birmingham, Bolton and Portsmouth are hanging on to one-goal leads. A win for Bolton would send Hull into the bottom three to join Portsmouth and Burnley.

1642: The referee's assistant at St Andrew's, Trevor Massey, is in all sorts of trouble. He has spent the last two minutes sat on the floor, receiving treatment, after being hit on the head by the corner flag. Looks like he's got a nasty cut on his head and may not be able to continue. The flag had been the victim of a crunching tackle by Liam Ridgewell. Yep, Steve Bennett comes on to replace him. Massey looks OK, but a bit shaken. This has been one crazy, crazy day.

1640: Burnley keeper Brian Jensen makes a decent save to prevent Jamie O'Hara making the points safe for Portsmouth. The way Pompey's season is going, they may need a two-goal cushion...

Football League Danny: "Turnaround o'clock. Chris Brunt makes it West Brom 2-1 Derby. A great few minutes for the Baggies, after Championship promotion rivals Nottingham Forest slipped behind at Leicester."

Pompey goal: It'll be a conundrum for Brian Laws whether Clarke Carlisle keeps his place in the Burnley team. The defender gives away his second penalty of the game, clipping John Utaka. Hassan Yebda tucks away the spot-kick.

1638: GOALFLASH Burnley 1-2 Portsmouth (Yebda pen)


Football League Danny again: "Massive Championship goal. Leicester 1-0 Nottingham Forest. Bruno Berner with a right-foot volley. Further down the table, it's a horrible day for Sheffield Wednesday, a great day for Reading. The Royals lead their relegation battle 5-0."

Football League Danny: "Fans of equalising goals may be interested to hear that West Brom have levelled at home against Derby (that's now 1-1) and Crystal Palace's Kieran Djilali has made it 1-1 away at Doncaster. Looks like I put the hex on Stockport (see 1623) as Wycombe have pulled two quick goals back at Stockport - it's 4-2. Oops. Sorry, Hatters. And it's Bristol Rovers 2-1 Colchester, thanks to Jo Kuffour."

Yellow card
1632: Andy Keogh is on for Wolves for his first appearance in three months - and is booked less than 30 seconds later for a lunging tackle on Paul Robinson. Good stuff.

1631: James McCarthy plays a lovely ball through for Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega. Birmingham keeper Joe Hart does well though, parrying the shot.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1629: Kevin Foley leaves the post shuddering with a thumping effort from just inside the box. Wolves so unlucky.

From JamesDuffin1 on Twitter: "Re 1618: Why did O'Hara take the pen? Everyone knows Spurs players can't take them this season."

1625: Substitution o'clock. Burnley boss Brian Laws makes a double change, bringing on Jack Cork and Chris Eagles, taking off Andre Bikey and Wade Elliott. For Wolves, Sylvain Ebanks Blake is on, while Ivan Klasnic comes on for Bolton. Birmingham are bringing on Super Kevin Phillips.

Football League Danny: "Stockport fans have not had a good season, so they should enjoy a rare celebration today. It's Stockport 4-0 Wycombe. The Hatters are very much the League One table-proppers but are surely going to bag their fifth win of a difficult season against their fellow strugglers. In League Two, Chris O'Grady has put unstoppable football machine Rochdale 1-0 up on Macclesfield. With rivals Bournemouth losing, Dale could go five points clear at the top tonight."

1623: What a chance for Burnley to take the lead against Portsmouth. Martin Paterson escapes down the right and Steven Fletcher is gloriously unmarked in the middle but heads over the bar. At Bolton, Matt Jarvis races through for Wolves but his shot is deflected over.

1621: Hmmm, not sure Jason Scotland is ever going to get the hang of this Premier League lark. The Wigan sub shoots high, wide and over from a good position.

Football League Danny: "It's Watford 0-2 Newcastle thanks to Andy Carroll's header - much to the delight of travelling fans including Ant and Dec. Elsewhere, Championship fans, Preston have just lost Paul Coutts to a second yellow card. But Jon Parkin's second has extended their lead to 2-0 at home against Cardiff."

Someone has won a penalty
1618: Not so clever now, Clarke Carlisle. The Burnley defender, who was on Countdown this week, brings down Frederic Piquionne to give Pompey a chance to go ahead. Quite a long delay before Jamie O'Hara gets to take his penalty, and Brian Jensen guesses the right way to make a potentially crucial save.

1618: PENALTY SAVED (Jensen from O'Hara)


1616: Oooh, close, very close, Tom. David Jones smacks the post with a 25-yard free-kick.

From Tom, via text: "Re 1607: Cheesey make Wolves score and also go to 442. Cheers."

Football League Danny adds: "Oldham 0-1 Norwich. Grant Holt with the goal for the Canaries, who go five points clear at the top of League One with victory following Leeds' earlier draw."

Football League Danny: "Here's one for you - West Brom 0-1 Derby, Chris Porter with a goal for the Rams at the promotion-chasing Baggies. It's a strike which will probably be loudly cheered by their high-flying local rivals Nottingham Forest - who are currently scoreless at Leicester. And a goal at each end early on in the second half at Bramall Lane - it's Sheff Utd 3-1 Plymouth."

1610: Yes I know Bolton have scored. I was just saying that if they had gone six games without scoring, that would have been a record. Anyway, Scott Dann has a free header from a free-kick but goes wide. Still no Prem goal for the Birmingham defender.

1607: And the games at Birmingham and Burnley are off and running again. Jason Scotland and Victor Moses come on for Wigan, replacing Paul Scharner and Charles N'Zogbia. I think that means Wigan have gone 4-4-2, thus making another texter's dream come true. Anyone else?

1604: Under way at the Reebok where Bolton striker Kevin Davies almost immediately finds himself in space but shoots at the keeper.

From Joe, Wigan, via text: "Cheese, I presume you are joking about the contact, i have seen it about five times and I can assure you there was none. Two games where we have been affected by their terrible decisions. We probably deserve to be behind though, we can't keep playing this 4-5-1. It's useless."

From In_Arshavin_we_trust on 606: "Stoke cost Liverpool four points last year, points which would have won them the title on goal difference, so I'm not as confident as other Gooners on here but I still have the faith..."

Football League Danny: "It would seem that 2-0 is quite the fashionable scoreline in the Championship right now. Here's the half-time evidence - Middlesbrough 2-0 QPR, Reading 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United 2-0 Plymouth. Doncaster, Preston, Swansea and Newcastle are all 1-0 up, the other matches are goalless."

1556: Excellent work by the anonymous texter there, creating not one but two goals just before half-time. Now, I'm looking at the Melchiot penalty incident from a different angle now and the contact is very, very minimal. Looks like Fahey stands on the outstretched foot if anything.

1550: HALF-TIME Burnley 1-1 Portsmouth

1550: HALF-TIME Birmingham 1-0 Wigan

1549: HALF-TIME Bolton 1-0 Wolves

Birmingham goal: Keith Fahey is running away from goal but Wigan defender Mario Melchiot still thinks it wise to flick out a foot on the edge of the box. Contact is light but it's contact nonetheless and referee Anthony Taylor points to the spot. James McFadden does the rest.

Bolton goal: Chung-Yong Lee dribbles along the goal-line on the right and puts it on a plate for Zat Knight to sidefoot home from four yards. Probably just about deserved for the hosts.

1548: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-0 Wigan (McFadden pen)


1547: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-0 Wolves (Knight)

From anon via text: "Can we have a goal please Caroline? As a Man United fan, haven't quite stopped running around in celebration but only two goals yet?"

Someone has struck the woodwork
1543: At Turf Moor, Jamie O'Hara's left-foot curler pings back off the bar, and Danny Fox clears Danny Webber's shot on the follow-up.

1542: Maybe Chris Kirkland's making a late play for the England squad. The Wigan keeper makes a fabulous point-blank save to prevent Titus Bramble putting the ball in his own net under pressure from James McFadden.

Football League Danny: "Championship Sheffield United are 2-0 up on struggling Plymouth. Meanwhile, in League One, it seems Walsall made an error in taking an early lead at Southampton. Saints have now hit three in reply, most recently from Lee Barnard."

1539: Birmingham keeper Joe Hart fumbles a corner, but he gets away with it as his defence mop up. Hart won't want any high-profile errors on the day Fabio Capello announces his England squad. Yes that's today, not tomorrow, like I said earlier.

Football League Danny: "Not many goals in the Championship at the moment. But differing fortunes for the two promotion-hunting Welsh clubs. Swansea lead 1-0 at home against rock-bottom Peterborough, but Cardiff trail by the same score at Preston."

Burnley goal: Coo-ee, what a scorcher. Brian Jensen's long kick is flicked on by Steven Fletcher and Martin Paterson hooks a stunning lob over David James's enormous afro and into the net. Brilliant.

1532: GOALFLASH Burnley 1-1 Portsmouth (Paterson)

From yorker_129-7 on 606: "Go on Pompey. I think quite a lot of people would like to see you do well for the remainder of the season."
Not sure many Burnley fans would agree with you there

Portsmouth goal: Just after Burnley's Steven Fletcher has a goal ruled out for offside, the visitors take the lead in front of their delirious fans. Jamie O'Hara finds Danny Webber, who catches Burnley's defence flat-footed with a low ball to the far post, which is turned in by Frederic Piquionne.

1527: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-1 Portsmouth (Piquionne)

Football League Danny: "Told you they were in-form (see 1519). John-Joe O'Toole quickly levels for Colchester and they're 1-1 with Bristol Rovers."

1523: Hehe. Birmingham midfielder Sebastian Larsson slips over as he swings over a corner from the left - but it's a decent delivery nonetheless. Scott Dann - looking for his first Premier League goal - heads wide. Over at the Reebok, Stuart Holden blazes over from 20 yards after a jinking run by Jack Wilshere.

From Dan from London in Stoke, via text: "Our biggest game of the season. If we win today we will win the league. Come on you Gunners."

Football League Danny: "Some League One information for you. Veteran Neil Harris puts Millwall 1-0 ahead against Hartlepool. And Dominic Blizzard puts Bristol Rovers 1-0 up on in-form promotion hunters Colchester."

1519: Martin Paterson goes past Hermann Hreidarsson, but David James gets a firm hand on his cross and the defender behind can clear.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1518: First clear chance at St Andrew's - Sebastian Larsson whips in a free-kick and Liam Ridgewell gets between two Wigan defenders to send a thunderous header against the bar. Unlucky.

1516: Portsmouth have the ball in the net... but the flag is up. Danny Webber flicks in Nadir Belhadj's cross from the left but the striker is indeed offside.

1513: Wolves having the better of it at Bolton so far. Trotters keeper Jussi Jaasklelainen has to be out quickly to meet Matt Jarvis, who is forced to shoot well over.

1511: Promising start by Wigan, Charles N'Zogbia cutting inside from the left and seeing his shot ping off Barry Ferguson and wide. At Burnley, Danny Webber picks up a loose ball inside the box but shoots wide. Bit of a waste.

1510: Hugo Rodallega drags a shot wide for Wigan against Birmingham. Quiet start isn't it?

Football League Danny: "Great start from Championship leaders Newcastle. Fabricio Coloccini's header puts the Magpies 1-0 up at Watford. Not the earliest goal of the afternoon mind you - that's from Walsall's Matthew Richards at Southampton after but three minutes."

1505: While Manchester United fans celebrate Manchester City's win over Chelsea, Arsenal supporters may also be raising an eyebrow or two. The Gunners, six points off the lead, are at Stoke later and then face Burnley, Hull, West Ham and Birmingham.

1504: David James has a Fellaini-sized afro held back by a white headband. Footballers eh...?

1502: The three 3pm kick-offs are under way.

1458: Right. Number one: the Burnley boss is indeed Brian Laws. Well spotted. Number two: the Ballack red card description somehow didn't make it in originally. It's there now. He stupidly went in late on Tevez, and got a well-deserved second yellow.

Craig Bellamy on the Terry/Bridge situation: "You guys make a lot more of it. I know what JT is like and nothing surprises me about him. Everyone knows what he's like. But that's off the pitch. On it he's an outstanding player and a great captain."

1450: There is a suggestion that Portsmouth's administrators could sell players at any point and then loan them back - but not play them in case they get injured. That could spell doom for David James's World Cup hopes.

1448: TEAM NEWS Birmingham v Wigan
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish names an unchanged side with James McFadden once again preferred to Christian Benitez up front. Titus Bramble returns to the Wigan defence after a hamstring injury. Bolivian striker Marcelo Moreno is the man who makes way as boss Robert Martinez goes for a 4-5-1 formation.

1447: TEAM NEWS Burnley v Portsmouth
Burnley boss Brian Laws brings Martin Paterson in for his first league start since September in the absence of the ineligible David Nugent, while Robbie Blake and Wade Elliott also return to the starting XI, but there is no place for Graham Alexander who has failed to shake off a calf strain. Portsmouth make two changes at the end of a week in which they officially entered administration, Ricardo Rocha and Danny Webber drafted in at the expense of Papa Boupa Diop and Aruna Dindane.

1445: TEAM NEWS Bolton v Wolves
Bolton make six changes from the side thrashed by Tottenham in the midweek FA Cup replay. Striker Kevin Davies and Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere come back in, with Matt Taylor dropping to the bench. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy names an unchanged side from the 11 who started in the 2-0 defeat at home to Chelsea last Saturday.

1443: John Terry is applauded off the pitch by the home fans. The Chelsea skipper had a little moan at Mike Dean before he disappeared down the tunnel. Didn't see him try to shake any opposition hands - maybe he learnt his lesson.

1443: FULL-TIME Chelsea 2-4 Man City

1441: City fans ole-ing as they watch their team play a bit of keep-ball... What a day for Manchester City and Roberto Mancini. Booted out of the FA Cup in midweek as they made it two wins in eight games - and now convincing winners over the league leaders at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea goal: With the clock ticking down to 90, Nicolas Anelka - Chelsea's best player today - jinks into the box and is fouled by Gareth Barry. Another penalty and Frank Lampard converts. Too late, surely - but we'll have five minutes of added time.

1438: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-4 Man City (Lampard pen)


1437: Carlos Tevez, who has been brilliant considering he hasn't trained with the team for weeks, is replaced by Sylvinho.

Man City goal: Chelsea, with their nine men, pile forward in search of a goal - and inevitably leave gaping holes at the gap, not ideal when you're up against the pace of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Craig Bellamy. Carlos Tevez plays in Wright-Phillips on the right and he squares for Bellamy to tap in at the far post.

1434: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-4 Man City (Bellamy)

1434: TEAMS Birmingham v Wigan
Birmingham: Hart, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Fahey, Jerome, McFadden. Subs: Taylor, Phillips, Benitez, Michel, Parnaby, Vignal, Gardner.
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Caldwell, Bramble, Figueroa, Thomas, Scharner, Diame, McCarthy, N'Zogbia, Rodallega. Subs: Stojkovic, Scotland, Moses, Gomez, Sinclair, Boyce, Moreno.

1433: TEAMS Bolton v Wolverhampton
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Ricketts, Knight, Robinson, Muamba, Lee, Wilshere, Holden, Elmander, Kevin Davies. Subs: Al Habsi, Taylor, Riga, Klasnic, Cohen, Andrew O'Brien, Weiss.
Wolverhampton: Hahnemann, Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Henry, Guedioura, Foley, David Jones, Jarvis, Doyle. Subs: Hennessey, Elokobi, Ebanks-Blake, Keogh, Vokes, Milijas, Mancienne.

1432: TEAMS Burnley v Portsmouth
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox, Elliott, McDonald, Bikey, Blake, Fletcher, Paterson. Subs: Weaver, Duff, Edgar, Jordan, Thompson, Eagles, Cork.
Portsmouth: James, Finnan, Rocha, Hreidarsson, Belhadj, Wilson, Webber, O'Hara, Yebda, Owusu-Abeyie, Piquionne. Subs: Ashdown, Mullins, Diop, Brown, Utaka, Dindane, Kanu.

1431: Nicolas Anelka dances into the penalty area but Shay Given is alert to the danger and smothers the shot.

From Andy, M38 Red, via text: "You will never see a Carlos Tevez goal in a Manchester City shirt celebrated as much by a Manchester United fan ever again."

Red card
Ballack red card: Michael Ballack has been walking the tightrope for a while, and now he's fallen right off it. The Germany midfielder clatters into the back of Carlos Tevez and gets a deserved second yellow. Stupid.

1428: RED CARD Chelsea (Ballack)

Football League Danny: "Full-time: Huddersfield 2-2 Leeds. Not the result either side really wanted, but it keeps them both right in the League One promotion mixer."

1425: With 12 minutes remaining, Roberto Mancini withdraws Wayne Bridge from the action, sending Roque Santa Cruz on in his place. Bridge heads straight down the tunnel and now won't have to worry about shaking hands - or not - with the opposition at the end of the game.

Red card
Man City goal: Julian Belletti loses out to Gareth Barry on the left and as the England midfielder scampers into the box, Belletti just runs into the back of him. Mike Dean points to the spot before showing Belletti the dreaded red. Carlos Tevez puts his penalty low into Hilario's bottom right corner.

1424: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-3 Man City (Tevez pen)


1419: Still 18 minutes remaining at Stamford Bridge where Man City lead Chelsea 2-1. As it stands, Man City go fourth and Chelsea's lead at the top stays at one point.

From anon via text: "Re 1317: Turns out the creme egg was at the bottom of his sports bag all along so was shared between them before kick off. Sticky, chocolate-covered hand shakes all round."

Football League Danny: "Cracking League One lunchtime match. Gary Roberts has levelled for the home team to make it Huddersfield 2-2 Leeds. Five minutes to go, and the Terriers look like extending their unbeaten run to 11 league games."

1417: A third and final change by Carlo Ancelotti as Salomon Kalou replaces Ricardo Carvalho. he joins Nicolas Anelka, Didier Drogba and Danny Sturridge on the pitch.

Yellow card
1415: Brilliant from Nicolas Anelka, neat footwork taking him past two defenders before his shot is blocked by Shay Given. Ricardo Carvalho plays a wonderful ball back in from the left for Didier Drogba, but the angle is too tight and Given smothers the shot. Michael Ballack is the latest to go into the book. Not sure why - perhaps for appealing to vociferously for a corner.

1413: Carlos Tevez plays a stunning ball over to Craig Bellamy, but Branislav Ivanovic tidies up with a well-timed challenge for a relieved Chelsea.

1410: Aah, lovely. It's what they all came to see. Carlos Tevez takes on John Terry down the left, the England defender winning that particular battle. Tevez then shoves Terry, and the pair go chest-to-chest. Well, it's more head (Tevez) to chest (Terry) because of the height difference.

1407: Shay Given makes a wonder save from Nicolas Anelka, palming his header over the bar. The whistle had already gone for Anelka's handball, but still... Shaun Wright-Phillips replaces Adam Johnson. Double change for Chelsea, Jon Obi Mikel's bad day is over as he makes way for Julian Belletti - and there are boos from the home fans as Joe Cole comes off to be replaced by Daniel Sturridge. Be interesting to see if Cole makes Fabio Capello's squad tomorrow.

Yellow card
Yellow card
1405: Bookings a go-go. First it's Pablo Zabaleta for trying to get someone else booked. Didn't see who. Then Branislav Ivanovic quickly follows for running into Gareth Barry. That one looked a bit harsh. Shaun Wright-Phillips about to come on...

1402: Didier Drogba's free-kick flicks off the end of the wall and flies only narrowly wide, with Shay Given completely wrong-footed. This is a much better spectacle than the first half, by the way.

Man City goal: Interesting... Craig Bellamy has been quiet so far but not anymore. Gareth Barry sends the Welsh wizard galloping away down the left, leaving Jon Obi Mikel in his wake, but the angle is so tight, he can't score fro... he can you know! Hilario surely at fault again, as Bellamy manages to squeeze the ball into the far corner.

1358: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-2 Man City (Bellamy)

Football League Danny: "Comeback o'clock at the Galpharm. It's now Huddersfield 1-2 Leeds, Luciano Becchio with Leeds' second. Leeds move level on points with leaders Norwich with victory, for a few hours at least..."

1357: Free-kick about 25 yards out and Wayne Bridge is going to take it. The headline-writers have their pens poised... but he's thwacked it straight into the wall.

Yellow card
1355: John Terry is booked for a swinging a punch at Wayn... ha, not really. He tripped Adam Johnson.

Football League Danny: "Jonathan Howson has levelled for Leeds at Huddersfield. It's 1-1 - 30 minutes to go there..."

1353: Back under way at the Bridge.

1349: Turns out it was Wayne Bridge's hoofed clearance that set up the Manchester City equaliser. How about that?

From optajoe on Twitter: "Carlos Tevez has scored in his last four Premier League starts against Chelsea, for three different teams in total. Nemesis."

From collinus on Twitter: "Crying inside at that terrible defending. A month without Cech is going to feel like a year for Chelsea."

1338: Carlos Tevez's goal means Manchester City avoid making Premier League history. No team has gone eight games without scoring at an opposition ground - and City have now avoided that fate at Stamford Bridge.

1337: HALF-TIME Chelsea 1-1 Man City

1336: This game has suddenly come to life - albeit in slightly bizarre fashion. Joleon Lescott pulls away at the back post, but heads wide from Craig Bellamy's free-kick.

Man City goal: A comedy of errors... here we go: Joe Cole has a chance to make it 2-0, but his shot is deflected into Frank Lampard's path. His effort is weak and hoofed clear by the defender. Jon Obi Mikel in the centre circle manages to head it back towards his own goal, John Terry misses his clearance, allowing Carlos Tevez to run through. The Argentine scuffs the shot completely but it dribbles past Hilario's outstretched hand and over the line.

1333: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-1 Man City (Tevez)

Chelsea goal: Manchester City try to play offside, but Micah Richards hasn't read the script so Joe Cole can slip the ball through for Frank Lampard to run through and finish expertly into the corner.

1329: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-0 Man City (Lampard)

1327: Nicolas Anelka cuts inside and lets rip with his right foot - but his goalbound shot is blocked by Frank Lampard's arm.

From GreatWhitePathan on 606: "City are sitting so deep that they won't even be able to counter attack when the opportunity arises. Mancini just wants a point, but Chelsea are making more opportunities and I can't see City holding on for a draw."

1324: Frank Lampard mis-kicks his shot, but it turns out to be a perfect pass for Didier Drogba, who volleys narrowly over. Offside flag is up, but I'm not sure why.

1323: Florent Malouda takes a free-kick on the left - straight out of play the other side. He's getting a few quizzical looks from his Chelsea team-mates. Unbelievably bad, and summing up the first half I'm afraid.

1319: Clang! Didier Drogba rises for a header and clashes heads with Pablo Zabaleta, and as he falls to the floor, he manages to knee Micah Richards in the head, leaving all three lying on the turf. Richards and Drogba are OK, Zabaleta still a bit groggy.

1319: Almost a calamity for Vincent Kompany who stretches for Didier Drogba's inswinging cross, and sees the ball fly only just over the bar.

1317: Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass back to Shay Given. City not showing a huge amount of cutting edge at the moment.

From anon via text: "My nephew is playing an under 11's match later today against his ex best friend who he thinks stole his creme egg at school last week. Do you want me to report in on the handshake (or lack of)?"
Yes please. I've got the graphic ready and everything

From darkanddom on Twitter: "Micah Richards is going to gift Drogba two easy goals today. He is visibly terrified of marking Drogba. City better make an adjustment there."

1311: Lovely ball by Bridge to set Craig Bellamy away down the left... but the offside flag is up. Wrong decision as it turns out. Up the other end, Didier Drogba has probably the best chance yet, heading over from Branislav Ivanovic's cross.

1310: Well, there's not a lot going on here, to be honest. City focused on defending, and Chelsea looking a bit sluggish. The booing of Bridge has not ceased, but it's not as loud as it was.

1304: Adam Johnson is seeing plenty of the ball on City's right, hoping to exploit Florent Malouda at left-back. He wins a free-kick, which is whipped in and narrowly missed by Carlos Tevez, so Hilario can collect. First sign of danger from City.

1304: Brilliant hold-up play from Didier Drogba, easily seeing off Micah Richards's challenge before clipping a dangerous ball to the far post. No-one there though. City yet to get going.

1302: Micah Richards might have got a bit of ball there - but he certainly got plenty of Didier Drogba in the process. Free-kick out left. Drogba lays it back to Frank Lampard, but his shot is comfortably blocked. Bit wasted.

1259: Piledriver from Florent Malouda, which just fizzes over the bar. Manchester City's defence is sitting very deep, so Chelsea look like they'll have plenty of chances to shoot from distance.

1256: England coach Fabio Capello is in the stands. Not sure if he was in his seat for the non-handshake. Big chance for Joe Cole today, in particular.

From optajoe on Twitter: "Manchester City have failed to score in their last seven visits to Stamford Bridge, and eight of their last 10 games v Chelsea. Drought."

Football League Danny: "Huddersfield are unbeaten in 10 in League One and they've started well against second-placed Leeds. Anthony Pilkington's put them 1-0 up. The top six in League One seem to be getting ever closer...."

1252: Frank Lampard is in space about 25 yards out, but blazes well over. Chelsea controlling possession early on.

From anon via text: "My dad keeps re-winding it to see the infamous 'non handshake' over and over. So we are about four minutes behind."

From Chelseablue-in-Isle-of-Man via text: "Re 1236: Boris Becker is a Chelsea fan as well as Bayern. I met him in a restaurant in Florida one lunchtime in 2001. He was reading the back pages of an English paper - a Chelsea match. I went over and got chatting about the Blues. He was big into Chelsea and said he was friends with Vialli. Then he signed my napkin. Nice guy."

1249: A cacophony of boos as Wayne Bridge picks up the ball from Shay Given's throw - and a massive cheer as his pass is cut out. On the plus side, bright sunshine at the Bridge.

1247: Actually, I say DRAMA, but the non-handshake was done with the minimum of fuss. I'm just glad it's all over... and the game is now under way. Phew.

Terry had his hand out, but Bridge looked in his eyes and walked straight past. DRAMA!

1241: Stand by your beds, the players are in the tunnel... John Terry has a new haircut - shaved at the sides, longer on top. Almost a mohawk, you might say. Seriously, I promise it will be all football after 1245... or maybe 1247.

1239: Don't worry people, in about five minutes, we can stop talking about THE HANDSHAKE (or lack of). The teams are being read out at the Bridge and John Terry's name gets an inevitable roar of approval from the home fans.

1236: There's Boris Becker at Stamford Bridge! He's wearing a Chelsea scarf - but he's a Bayern Munich fan, I'm sure. Tsk, some people will do anything for a posh seat...

From NickMotown on Twitter: "I say you can't go wrong with the classic 'electric buzzer in the palm'..."

From anon via text: "For once my wife wants to watch a 'football' match. I wonder how long she will last in front of the screen after the handshake/non-handshake."

Football League Danny: "A very busy day in the lower leagues, with all the top sides in all the divisions in action. Here are some tidy looking fixtures for you. Leicester (5th) v Nottingham Forest (2nd) in the Championship. Shrewsbury (6th) v Bournemouth (2nd) in League Two. And in League One, Huddersfield (6th) host Leeds (2nd) - that one has just kicked off."

From west-ham4europe on 606: "Would anyone be surprised if they just shook hands and got on with the game?"
Not surprised... disappointed maybe. Today's not about the game is it? (I'm joking)

From weecrickey on Twitter: "What are the odds that JT jokingly wears a fake hand? As Bridge shakes very tightly it falls off... That would lighten the mood."

1227: TEAM NEWS Chelsea v Man City
Chelsea make two changes from the team that lost at Inter Milan, with Hilario replacing the injured Petr Cech and Joe Cole coming in for Salomon Kalou. That means Florent Malouda stays at left-back, with Paulo Ferreira on the bench. Manchester City make three changes from the team that lost to Stoke in the FA Cup, with Nigel De Jong, Carlos Tevez and Adam Johnson replacing Nedum Onuoha, Emmanuel Adebayor and Stephen Ireland.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "Wayne must play well, focus on the game. I explained everything to him, and told him don't listen to any words. It's an important game. If we want to finish in the top four, we must win if possible."

1223: That's as may be Keon (see below), but nonetheless, if UK users were to manually refresh their page now, they would be able to see Football Focus, and then they would be able to see THE HANDSHAKE (or lack of) live.

From Keon, Essex, via text: "This is a football match, not an episode of Jeremy Kyle."

From JamieCutteridge on Twitter: "Forget the handshake, the first time they both go in for a tackle will be far more interesting."

From Oli in Manchester, via text: "Re the Terry-Bridge handshake: what are the odds on a 'Gerrard with Chelsea mascot' moment?"

1217: Anyway, no doubt you have something to say about THE HANDSHAKE (or lack of). Personally, I'm hoping for either a Gary Neville v Patrick Vieira-style stare, or alternatively a Mr-Handshake-Man-off-Banzai four-minute shake. I'm on 81111 (UK),+44 7786200666 (World), 606 or Twitter.

1213: Here they are. A smiling Wayne Bridge applauds the away fans as he runs out. I think I might have heard some boos then.

1211: John Terry runs out to warm up and is given a round of applause by the home fans. No sign of Wayne Bridge and his City team-mates...

1208: And I am just being told that they are planning to play a football match after THE HANDSHAKE (or lack of) which is a nice idea. It'll be good to have something to take our minds off the main event. Chelsea could open up a four-point gap at the top if they beat a Manchester City side who've had a shaky couple of weeks, but are boosted by the return of Carlos Tevez today.

1205: Generally (so Wikipedia tells me) it is considered inappropriate, if not outright insulting to the initiator side, to reject a handshake without good reason (such as an injured right hand). Tony Blair and Colonel Gaddafi; Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat; Saddam Hussein and Donald Rumsfeld; Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao. Could John Terry and Wayne Bridge join that list of momentous handshakes today?

1202: TEAMS Chelsea v Man City
Chelsea: Hilario, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, Malouda, Ballack, Mikel, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Joe Cole. Subs: Turnbull, Paulo Ferreira, Kalou, Sturridge, Matic, Alex, Belletti.
Man City: Given, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Bridge, Zabaleta, De Jong, Barry, Bellamy, Tevez, Adam Johnson. Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Wright-Phillips, Santa Cruz, Sylvinho, Toure, Ibrahim.

1200: Hello there. A warm handshake to you... And you... And you... But not you.

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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 27 Feb 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 28 39 61
2 Man Utd 28 42 60
3 Arsenal 28 35 58
4 Man City 27 17 49
5 Tottenham 27 22 46
6 Liverpool 27 16 45
7 Aston Villa 26 16 45
8 Birmingham 27 -2 40
9 Everton 26 1 38
10 Fulham 27 3 37
11 Stoke 27 -5 34
12 Blackburn 27 -14 34
13 West Ham 27 -8 27
14 Sunderland 26 -12 26
15 Bolton 27 -19 26
16 Wigan 27 -27 25
17 Wolves 27 -24 24
18 Hull 27 -29 24
19 Burnley 27 -29 23
20 Portsmouth 27 -22 19

see also
Saturday's football photos
27 Feb 10 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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