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Page last updated at 22:48 GMT, Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Premier League as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

2245: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. Check out the homepage of the website for Match of the Day - and if, for some utterly bizarre reason, that isn't your bag, join Mark Mitchener for day four of the fifth Ashes Test why don't you? Thanks for all your company once again folks, you're all legends. I'll see you again on Saturday for one of the great football days of the season - the FA Cup third round. Get your cupset badges ready people... See ya!

2242: Let me hit you with some stats from Infostrada Sports before I bid you adieu and pass you on over to our Match of the Day coverage shall I? Well, Wolves picked up their first league win against Chelsea in over 28 years; Liverpool have lost seven of their ten PL away matches this season - their most at this stage of a top flight season in 57 years; Manchester City have not won in their last 26 league visits to Arsenal; Everton picked up their first home win against Tottenham in almost seven years; and West Ham suffered their heaviest Premier League defeat in four years.

2238: Interesting news for Birmingham and Tottenham fans, by the way - Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed a £7m transfer for Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane to St Andrew's has been sorted, with the move now down to the player.

oliie678 on Twitter: "I'm so wary of all this Man Utd 'definite title winners' talk. We have many tough matches to go and United never do it the easy way!"

Jimmy, Chelsea fan, via text: "And so this most 'unpredictable' and 'open' premier league season of all looks to be wrapped up in early january by Manchester United. Some things don't change..."

2235: Plenty, then, for all of you to keep an eye out for in tonight's Match of the Day huh? That starts in 10 minutes on BBC One and this here website, so don't even think about going anywhere.

sirhcthered on 606: "I've worked it out. If Liverpool get Ray Wilkins, will they win the league? Problem solved!"

fusenUK on Twitter: "What about Sunderland? If I mention Europe would that jinx it?!"

2233: BOLTON 1-1 WIGAN
Les Roopanarine reports:
"You have to admire Wigan's resilience in adversity, and in particular a wonderful performance from substitute keeper Mike Pollitt, but ultimately the Trotters have only their own profligacy to blame for not taking all three points.

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Andy Carroll who? A hat-trick for Leon Best sees Newcastle soar up the table while West Ham plummet back down to the bottom."

Chris Whyatt reports:
"Zut alors! Houllier will have Heskey over his knee as Villa slip into bottom three for first time since 2002."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"Everton continue to fare better against the Premier League's pacesetters and deserved their three points. Spurs never exerted control at any point in a pulsating game."

Mark Ashenden reports:
"Chelsea's worst league run in 14 years. What a stinker for the Stamford Bridge faithful - but Wolves fully deserve the spoils and they're off the bottom."

Marc Vesty reports:
"What could this latest Liverpool defeat mean for Roy Hodgson? That will be the question asked after his hapless side were convincingly beaten by Blackburn."

Jonathan Stevenson reports:
"Odds on the first bookies to stop taking bets on Manchester United to win the Premier League?"

2218: Right then, what did our match reporters make of tonight's action?

flashboy on Twitter: "BREAKING: Every manager in the Premier League has just been sacked except Alex Ferguson, who is now in charge of all clubs."

2216: Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson: "We are very dejected, we though they were poor goals to concede. In the second half the players gave it their best shot, we had plenty of the ball. Who knows, if Steven's penalty had gone in we could have salvaged something from the game. We are very frustrated and disappointed for the fans. We had a very large travelling contingent and I know they were dejected at the end. [But] All I can say to the fans is that if they came into the dressing room they would see people similarly dejected."

grendel20 on Twitter: "Obligatory "Ray Wilkins curse" comment."

Spamburger on 606: "The role of short-term managers is grossly over-rated. If the team doesn't gel or doesn't pull their collective fingers out, managerial musical chairs won't make any more difference than changing the colour of the team's socks."

2214: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "Before the game we wanted to win, but sometimes it happens that the other team plays better than you. I prefer one point and being booed than zero points and being applauded off the pitch." Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "We faced 80% of the game playing against 10 men in the final third, so it was very difficult. We are frustrated, but I'm proud of my team individually and collectively. It's more of a positive 0-0 than a negative one."

2212: Wolves boss Mick McCarthy: "It's a terrific night. We're all delighted, relieved, shattered and it's fantastic for everyone connected with the club. They deserve all the plaudits. We beat the champions so it's great. We rode our luck a couple of times but we were solid. I don't think out performances deserve to have us where we are. Our defence was great."

2210: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "Joey Barton's midfield display was good as I've ever seen. From what I've seen of him so far he deserves an England call-up." West Ham manager Avram Grant: "Results like this can happen sometimes. You can have bad days in the office."

2208: More quotes from a few of the managers coming up, folks. Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is currently bemoaning a host of "individual errors"...

Jaz via text: "@Malchickles: You forgot...'Bye Houllier'"

2205: Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti on his future: "The club support me every day and I have got a good relationship with everyone. I have to do better in my job because now is not enough. It is another defeat, our moment is not so good and it is a difficult moment.Now it's very difficult [to win the title] but the most important thing is to come back and play football, to fight and move on. There is still a lot of games."

ThorpeMP on Twitter: "Absolutely epic from Rovers tonight! Just the result we needed. Ronaldinho wouldn't have got in the team today!"

Mark Galli via text: "Typical!!! The results fall perfect for Spurs but we unfortunately don't decide to take advantage. It hurts to see that happen."

Malchickles on Twitter: "Bye Ancelotti. Bye Grant. Bye Hodgson."

2156: My word, that was... breathless. I might just take 30 seconds to catch my breath if you don't mind. Blimey.

Full time
2155: FULL-TIME Bolton 1-1 Wigan

2154: Still a minute left for a spot of late drama at the Reebok - and if any side is going to provide it, it looks like it'll be Bolton who are camped in the Wigan half.

Full time
2153: FULL-TIME Everton 2-1 Tottenham

2151: Tottenham just can't get hold of the ball at Goodison Park and this looks like another impressive win against one of the big boys at home for Everton.

Full time
2149: FULL-TIME Blackburn 3-1 Liverpool

2148: Liverpool continue to throw the ball - and plenty of bodies - forward, but Blackburn centre-half pairing Ryan Nelsen and Chris Samba have been absolutely magnificent all night and they are gobbling this up at the moment.

2147: We'll have eight minutes of added time at the Reebok Stadium.

2146: Around two minutes of normal time left at Goodison Park, but Tottenham just starting to look as if they have run out of puff on the back of a fabulous festive period.

2144: Bolton winger Martin Petrov forces a fine save from Wigan's substitute keeper Mike Pollitt at his near post from range. The hosts finishing the stronger there.

Full time
2142: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland

2141: Absolutely nothing is going right for Roy Hodgson this season is it?

Someone has won a penalty
Liverpool missed penalty: The visitors are handed a golden chance to set up a barnstorming finish when Michel Salgado pulls Steven Gerrard down inside the box, but the Liverpool captain spoons the spot-kick over.

2141: MISSED PENALTY (Steven Gerrard, Liverpool)


Full time
2139: FULL-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Man City

2139: Robbie Keane is on for Tottenham - can the Irishman say goodbye with an equaliser?

Full time
2138: FULL-TIME Newcastle 5-0 West Ham

2138: FULL-TIME Wolves 1-0 Chelsea

Wigan goal: Wigan equalise through Dutch defender Ronnie Stam, who tucks the ball in at the far post from Steve Gohouri's slide-rule pass. There must be a good quarter of an hour left in this one following the delay for Kirkland's injury, so it's game on.

Liverpool goal: The start of a stunning comeback? Steven Gerrard fires in from close range after Fernando Torres sees his snap-shot blocked from inside the area.

2136: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-1 Wigan (Stam)

2135: GOALFLASH Blackburn 3-1 Liverpool (Gerrard)

Everton goal: Advantage Everton. Again. Seamus Coleman is in the right place at the right time to head into an empty net after Heurelho Gomes can only parry Louis Saha's long-range strike.

Red card
Man City & Arsenal red cards: Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta are involved in a bit of handbags on by the touchline. It looks innocuous, but Sagna appears to move his head in towards the Argentine's and he is shown a straight red card. So too, to his absolute dismay, is Zabaleta, who wasn't really to blame for any of it.

2133: GOALFLASH Everton 2-1 Tottenham (Coleman)

2132: RED CARD ARSENAL (Sagna)

2132: RED CARD MAN CITY (Zabaleta)

Red card
Sunderland red card: It's 10 men each at Villa Park, Bolo Zenden getting his marching orders for a second yellow given for foul on Stiliyan Petrov.


2130: Everton have bossed things in this second half at Goodison Park - but only a fine point-blank save from Tim Howard keeps them on level terms, Rafael van der Vaart again the man denied, this time from close range after excellent work from Luka Modric.

2128: It continues to be as comfortable for Newcastle at St James' Park as the scoreline suggests. West Ham looking every inch a broken team.

Sunderland goal: It's his first ever senior goal in English football - and what a way to get it. Phil Bardsley collects a half-clearance outside the Villa box, looks up, and crashes an unstoppable shot into the corner from 25 yards. Brilliant.

2126: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland (Bardsley)

2125: How good are tonight's results looking for Manchester United right now by the way?

2123: It continues to be wave after wave of Arsenal attack at the Emirates but Manchester City - somehow, and in some ways admirably - are just about hanging on. About 10 minutes of normal time left in that one.

2121: Chances at both ends at Goodison Park now. First Tim Howard sprawls to his right to keep out Rafael van der Vaart's 20-yard effort and then Louis Saha misses a decent chance on the volley on the edge of the area at the other end, his shot taking a crucial deflection on its way wide of the Tottenham goal.

2119: It could be 2-0 Wolves at Molineux but Stephen Hunt, clear down the left, takes far too much time deciding whether to cross or shoot and the Chelsea defence gets back to clear.

2118: Expect plenty of stoppage time at the Reebok Stadium, where Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland is still receiving treatment fully five minutes after coming off worse from a challenge with Johan Elmander. He'll have to be replaced.

BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at the Emirates Stadium on Twitter: "I could watch Adam Johnson all day. An audacious back-heel sends Richards down the right, briefly anyway. How can Jo start ahead of him?"

Someone has struck the woodwork
2116: The woodwork is putting some work in tonight. Didier Drogba hits the upright for Chelsea and then, moments later, Stephen Hunt whacks a free-kick against the bar for Wolves. Chelsea still look really flat as Carlo Ancelotti brings on Nicolas Anelka. The visitors need something from the French striker big time.

Red card
Aston Villa red card: The hosts are reduced to 10 men when Emile Heskey squares up to Jordan Henderson after a foul and pushes the Sunderland midfielder in the face - Kevin Friend brandishes the red card.


Blackburn goal: Less than an hour gone in this game - and perhaps less than half an hour left in his job for Roy Hodgson? Junior Hoilett is the creator down the left, getting to the bye-line and laying it back for Benjani to side-foot home.

2112: GOALFLASH Blackburn 3-0 Liverpool (Benjani)

Bolton goal: Deadlock broken at the Reebok and it's no less than the hosts deserve for a bright start to the half, Rodrigo Moreno lashing in at the near post from Mark Davies's pass.

2111: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-0 Wigan (Moreno)

2109: Half a chance for Everton at Goodison Park as Seamus Coleman bursts into the Tottenham area from deep, but his shot - when he could have crossed - is straight at Heurelho Gomes.

Newcastle goal: Newcastle could rack up any score they want tonight, they really could. Joey Barton's clipped cross from the right is poked in by Peter Lovenkrands from close range - and West Ham are in tatters.

2108: GOALFLASH Newcastle 5-0 West Ham (Lovenkrands)

2106: And who's watching from the stands at St James' Park? Alan Shearer. How fitting.

Newcastle goal: A night to remember for Leon Best, who completes his hat-trick with a slammed finish after collecting Kevin Nolan's pass completely unmarked on the edge of the West Ham area. The Hammers, I have to say, have been woeful tonight.

2104: GOALFLASH Newcastle 4-0 West Ham (Best, hat-trick)

2104: What a save, City keeper Joe Hart at full stretch to tip Arsenal forward Robin van Persie's ripper from 25 yards over the bar.

2104: And the second half is now up and running at Bolton and Everton.

2103: The game's opening up at Molineux with chances starting to come at both ends - Wolves, this time, almost threatening an opening when Steven Fletcher leads a three-on-three counter-attack, but the Scot's pass is wayward and the chance is gone.

BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at the Emirates Stadium on Twitter: "City could do worse than buying those two goalposts off Arsenal this transfer window. With them behind Hart, they look impossible to beat."

2100: Back under way at Ewood Park - how big a 45 minutes could this be for Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson?

2059: Sunderland's best chance of the game at Villa Park, Darren Bent wriggling free inside the box and firing past keeper Brad Friedel - but James Collins is back to clear the striker's effort off the line.

2058: No signs of West Ham staging a remarkable comeback at St James' Park yet - despite the introduction of Valon Behrami and Victor Obinna - with Newcastle stroking the ball about at will as it stands.

2056: Chelsea should be level, Salomon Kalou released by Frank Lampard's back-heel into the box but then sending his slide-rule shot across goal and past the far post with just the keeper to beat. A waste.

2055: And talking of picking up where they left off, Arsenal are back in control of proceedings against Man City, Theo Walcott inches away from collecting Jack Wilshere's fine through-ball for a one-on-one.

2052: We're back up and running in all the 1945 kick-offs, then, and it's as you were so far at Molineux with Wolves more than holding their own against a disjointed Chelsea.

Half time
2051: HALF-TIME Blackburn 2-0 Liverpool
Marc Vesty's HT snap-shot:
"Penny for Roy Hodgson's thoughts. Liverpool have been stunned by two Blackburn goals but in fairness the home side have deserved it with the Reds showing little quality and Rovers plenty of endeavour."

Half time
2050: HALF-TIME Bolton 0-0 Wigan
Les Roopanarine's HT snap-shot:
"A fairly entertaining 45 minutes, but with only one shot on target so far - and that from a Hugo Rodallega set-piece - tonight's MOTD highlights will be brief unless things change dramatically in the second half."

Half time
2049: HALF-TIME Everton 1-1 Tottenham
Chief football writer Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot:
"Entertaining first half with the promise of more to come. Everton once again looking accomplished against a better side - but the threat from Rafael van der Vaart is ever-present."

2047: And it's half-time too now at Goodison Park, as the 1945 kick-offs start getting back under way.

2046: That's the half-time whistle at the Reebok and Ewood Park.

2044: Disallowed goal at Goodison Park as Peter Crouch slots in Gareth Bale's slide-rule pass only to be given offside. It was the right call.

BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at the Emirates Stadium on Twitter: "HT 0-0 but totally one-sided for most of it. Arsenal dominant, City hanging on, but level at the break and they will be delighted with that."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Goodison Park: "Settled down after that frenetic start but still opportunities for both Everton and Spurs pressing forward. Everton players in animated discussion in the centre circle when Gareth Bale was receiving treatment. Clearly unhappy about some part of their game plan."

2041: Yep - Wolves are beating Chelsea not Liverpool (@2036). Cheers!

Half time
2040: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland
Chris Whyatt's HT snap-shot:
"Strewn with tired technique, the pick Heskey's miss from four yards. Metaphorical football litter everywhere."

Half time
2039: Newcastle 3-0 West Ham
Saj Chowdhury's HT snap-shot:
"The home fans must have been stunned at the inclusion of Leon Best and even more surprised that he's scored twice. West Ham have been awful though - they haven't won at St James' since 1998 and that won't change today."

Blackburn goal: There's more misery for Roy Hodgson and Liverpool as Benjani picks up the ball inside the box, spins Sotirios Kyrgiakos expertly and smashes a fierce effort past Pepe Reina and into the roof of the net.

2037: GOALFLASH Blackburn 2-0 Liverpool (Benjani)

Half time
2036: HALF-TIME Wolves 1-0 Chelsea
Mark Ashenden's HT snap-shot: "Tale of two bosses. Mick McCarthy - noisy all half but happy. Carlo Ancelotti - chewing gum all half but less happy. Chelsea look flat and disjointed and Wolves are hanging on to their lead as a result."

Half time
2036: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Manchester City
Jonathan Stevenson's HT snap-shot: "Arsenal have hit the woodwork three times and had a great penalty shout ignored. Man City have Carlos Tevez. Even it is not, level it is."

2035: And there's the half-time whistle at Villa Park and St James' Park, too.

2034: Hugo Rodallega has just forced the first save of the night at the Reebok Stadium, obliging Jussi Jaaskelainen to palm away a 25-yard free-kick. Most of the action has been at the other end, however, with Wigan defending manfully in the face of some intense Bolton probing.

2033: The half-time whistle blows at the Emirates and Molineux.

Newcastle goal: Jonas Gutierrez's cross from the right is cleared from the six-yard area by James Tomkins but only as far as Kevin Nolan, who slots the ball past Robert Green from just inside the 18-yard box.

Blackburn goal: Deary me, you can almost sense Reds boss Roy Hodgson bending over under the pressure. It's a terrific finish from Martin Olsson, though, the Swede clipping inside the near post from Mame Diouf's lay-off for his first of the season.

2031: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-0 Liverpool (Olsson)

2030: GOALFLASH Newcastle 3-0 West Ham (Nolan)

2029: Wolves boss Mick McCarthy blasting orders from the touchline as his anxiety levels rise with Chelsea slowly cranking up the pressure. John Terry volleys over the bar and Florent Malouda looking dangerous on the left but the home defence holding on. Just.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2028: Big miss. Bolo Zenden, just on for injured David Meyler, bizarrely fails to clear so Stewart Downing robs him of possession on the bye-line and his simple low cross along the six-yard box presents Emile Heskey with the simplest of chances. The bar is still shuddering, though, as the former England man finds it with unerring accuracy.

2027: Liverpool have fallen away a touch since their bright early start at Ewood Park, but they're almost ahead when Ryan Nelsen deflects Joe Cole's attempted cross inches past his own post.

BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at the Emirates Stadium on Twitter: "Another escape for City. Walcott's cross clearly hit Kompany's hand. Referee Mike Jones says no. I think everyone else in the ground saw it."

Newcastle goal: What an inspired selection this is turning out to be. Leon Best doubles his tally and Newcastle's lead with a slammed close-range finish after Danny Gabbidon could only half-clear Peter Lovenkrands's cross. Deserved.

2025: GOALFLASH Newcastle 2-0 West Ham (Best)

2024: Bit penalty shout at Arsenal as Theo Walcott's attempted cross strikes the arm of Vincent Kompany inside the box, but referee Mike Jones waves the appeals away. The City defender's arm was outstretched...

2022: Some fine football on show at Goodison Park - and most of it from the hosts, it has to be said - Jermaine Beckford blazing their latest effort over from eight yards out.

2021: Newcastle dominating matters against West Ham, though Jonas Gutierrez sees the hosts' latest effort kept out low down by Rob Green.

2019: Man City breach the Arsenal backline for the first time, Carlos Tevez set through by Jo but the Argentine - with very few options in the box - lashing over with an optimistic effort from the angle.

2018: It's an open game, too, at Ewood Park so far but neither side are dominating. Fernando Torres is showing signs that he might be in the mood, which is generally a really good sign for Liverpool.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Goodison Park: "Tasty start here. Louis Saha wakes from this season's slumbers to put Everton ahead but Rafael van der Vaart has punctured the early optimism around Goodison Park with that headed equaliser. Wide open game so far - which may suit the pace and threat of Spurs."

2016: Plenty of hard graft on show at Villa Park - but little craft in the final third. Stiliyan Petrov and Ashley Young have both done wrong in the box when well placed. Visitors Sunderland won't be too miffed, though.

2014: That's the closest Chelsea have come to an equaliser, an outstretched leg from Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey just keeping Salomon Kalou's close-range effort from Florent Malouda's cross out.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2013: How are Arsenal not ahead? Cesc Fabregas rocks the inside of one post with a low 18-yard effort, the ball falling to Theo Walcott who rattles the inside of the opposite post with a rising shot from eight yards. Unbelievable let-off for City.

Tottenham goal: Who else? Rafael van der Vaart has been on fire this season and he's drawn Spurs level within eight minutes, nodding in from Peter Crouch's nod-down on the back of a deep Alan Hutton cross.

2010: GOALFLASH Everton 1-1 Totteham (Van der Vaart)

2009: It's quite a lively start at the Reebok Stadium, too, but problems for Wigan early doors as Tom Cleverley looks like he is going to be forced off with a hamstring injury.

BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at the Emirates Stadium on Twitter: "Jo looks an absolute liability down City's left. Theo Walcott's pace v Jo & Zabaleta must be giving Roberto Mancini kittens."

2008: Two chances in quick succession for Tottenham, Rafael van der Vaart first slamming a wicked effort inches off target from range and then Peter Crouch heading a cross from the Dutchman wide from close range.

2007: Wolves may not have beaten Chelsea for 18 years but they're dominating possession at Molineux. The Blues well off song at the moment.

BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at the Emirates Stadium on Twitter: "Arsenal's movement on & off the ball bamboozling City. Jack Wilshere having a storming game so far. He's everywhere. All Arsenal at the mo."

Newcastle goal: A long ball from Joey Barton is headed on by Leon Best to Peter Lovenkrands. The Dane plays the ball back to his strike partner who calmly slots the ball past Robert Green. That's his first competitive goal for Newcastle, too.

Everton goal: It's his first league goal in 11 months and Louis Saha has put Everton in front, the Frenchman cutting in from the left and slamming low into Heurelho Gomes's bottom corner from 20 yards.

2004: GOALFLASH Newcastle 1-0 West Ham (Best)

2003: GOALFLASH Everton 1-0 Tottenham (Saha)

2001: And when I say White Hart Lane, I of course mean Goodison Park. Nnngg.

2000: Under way at Ewood Park, the Reebok Stadium and Goodison Park now.

1958: He makes it look good but he had to save it, Steve Harper, the Newcastle keeper, just about beating away a long-ranger from Hammers midfielder Scott Parker that barely stopped swerving at any minute.

1957: It is absolutely shelting it down at Ewood Park, by the way. I can't think why Samba Star Ronaldinho wouldn't have fancied it.

1956: No great reaction from Chelsea to going a goal down at Molineux yet, where the slippery surface is causing a few problems for both sides. Didier Drogba, at least, is looking a bit lively.

1955: Arsenal are all over Man City and Samir Nasri is at the heart of everything. This time the Frenchman causes yet more panic in the visitors' defence before the ball falls to Jack Wilshere, whose snap-shot is kept out low down by Joe Hart in the City goal.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1954: So close. Robin van Persie collects Samir Nasri's pass, takes a couple of touches, and then spanks a fine effort against the foot of the post with City keeper Joe Hart beaten.

1953: Villa, meanwhile, have started quite brightly against Sunderland on the back of their 3-3 draw with Chelsea - Emile Heskey, in particular, causing a few early problems.

Wolves goal: Stephen Fletcher is claiming it but the final touch is from Jose Bosingwa two yards out, the Chelsea defender shinning into his own net from a beauty of an inswinging corner. Carlo Ancelotti looks shell-shocked.

1950: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-0 Chelsea (Bosingwa og)

1950: Early chance for Newcastle, but Leon Best's initial effort is saved and his follow-up is headed over.

Les Roopanarine reports:
"With his Bolton squad severely depleted by injury and other factors, Owen Coyle is once again able to muster just four of the permitted seven substitutes. That means only one change to the side that lost 2-1 at Anfield, with Paul Robinson returning from suspension at the expense of Marcos Alonso. Wigan boss Roberto Martinez make three changes. Maynor Figueroa and James McArthur start, while Chris Kirkland starts in goal in place of Ali Al-Habsi, who is on loan from Bolton and ineligible to play against his parent club."

Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Moreno, Muamba, Mark Davies, Taylor, Kevin Davies, Elmander. Subs: Bogdan, Petrov, Blake, Alonso.
Wigan: Kirkland, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Gary Caldwell, Stam, Figueroa, Thomas, Watson, Cleverley, McArthur, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Gomez, Steven Caldwell, Diame, Lopez, McManaman, Robinson.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1947: And now Man City bounce forward and James Milner, fed by Yaya Toure, drives past the far post from wide of the area. What a start at the Emirates.

1947: Lightning start from Arsenal and it's almost 1-0 immediately, Samir Nasri releasing Jack Wilshere wide in the box and the youngster's cross - he could've shot - just eludes Robin van Persie's right foot in front of goal.

1946: And now at Molineux and St James' Park.

1945: Under way at Villa Park and the Emirates.

1944: Here we go then people, are you ready?

1943: Here come the players for the 1945 kick-offs, then, which just gives you time to have a look at Lawro's predictions doesn't it?

BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at the Emirates Stadium on Twitter: "Gunners chat on my tube to the game all about City's spending and how Arsene must get his wallet out. Pretty confident about tonight though."

Buffalloz on Twitter: "Cahill is going to be a big big miss for Everton ! A livewire on the pitch and he makes something out of nothing!"

1938: Just so you know, I'm still waiting to be handed the confirmed line-ups for Bolton-Wigan - when I have them, you'll know them.

1937: If you give this page a refresh, by the way, Final Score video will appear at the top and Five Live audio on the right-hand side. Happy days.

BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at the Emirates Stadium on Twitter: "12.5. Years since David Platt's last app for Arsenal, and, er, stone that he's put on since? Platt out on pitch now for City's pre-game prep."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"So Robbie Keane is on the bench for Tottenham, despite Birmingham City confirming they in talks about setting up a reported £7m deal for the Republic of Ireland striker, while Peter Crouch gets the nod up front. Everton manager David Moyes responds to his side's lack of goals by pairing Jermaine Beckford and Louis Saha up front, while John Heitinga replaces the injured Phil Jagielka at the back. Tim Cahill, of course, is on duty at the Asian Cup."

Marc Vesty reports:
"After being beaten 3-0 by Sunderland last time out, Blackburn boss Steve Kean makes three changes tonight. Defender Chris Samba, who has been linked with a move away from Ewood Park, comes in, along with Michel Salgado and Benjani. Brett Emerton is away with Australia. Steven Gerrard returns to Liverpool's starting XI with boss Roy Hodgson making four changes to the side which beat Bolton 2-1 on New Year's day. Joe Cole starts along with Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Paul Konchesky. Daniel Agger and Dirk Kuyt are on the bench. Fabio Aurelio and Raul Meireles miss out."

Will, Kidderminster via text: "Milijas, Ebanks-Blake and Ward all in form and McCarthy drops them all for Doyle and Edwards and Fletcher. The latter two who aren't rated as much in the terraces... He better know what he's doing!"

Mark Ashenden reports:
"Wolves welcome back fit-again strikers Kevin Doyle and Steven Fletcher. Visitors Chelsea make three changes from the draw with Aston Villa and it's Nicolas Anelka dropping to the bench. Salomon Kalou gets the nod up front for Chelsea, while Branislav Ivanovic replaces teenager Jeffrey Bruma to shore up the defence. Jose Boswinga also starts at the back."

Milton_OG on Twitter: "I would love to see Chelsea and Liverpool win tonight. Two good teams being shadows of themselves at the moment."

Jonathan Stevenson reports: "Well I'll be damned - Arsenal have only gone and named an unchanged team for the visit of title rivals at the Emirates. Man City recall three back-four members in Micah Richards, Pablo Zabaleta and Kolo Toure, while James Milner and, surprisingly, Jo, come in for the dropped Adam Johnson and the injured David Silva."

YousifPasses on 606: "Aurelio is better than Konchesky - fact. So why does Hodgson insist on playing Konchesky!? Could that be his downfall?"

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"So Newcastle striker Leon Best makes his first start this season, partnering Peter Lovenkrands in attack. West Ham name fit-again Mark Noble in the starting line-up. The midfielder, who came on as a substitute in the 2-0 win against Wolves, replaces midfielder Junior Stanislas."

Bunn, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Hoilett, Dunn, Pedersen, Olsson, Mame Diouf, Mwaruwari. Subs: Fielding, El-Hadji Diouf, Linganzi, Doran, Goulon, Hanley, Morris.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Konchesky, Cole, Gerrard, Lucas, Maxi, Torres, Ngog. Subs: Gulacsi, Agger, Jovanovic, Kuyt, Babel, Poulsen, Kelly.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

Chris Whyatt reports:
"Quite rare this in these days of constant squad rotation: Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier and Sunderland counterpart Steve Bruce both name unchanged sides. That means Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has recovered from the slight groin injury which saw him taken off late in the 3-3 draw at Chelsea on Sunday. He partners Emile Heskey in attack. Black Cats midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady has also overcome concussion sustained in Sunderland's 3-0 win over Blackburn at the weekend."

Howard, Neville, Distin, Heitinga, Baines, Coleman, Arteta, Fellaini, Pienaar, Saha, Beckford. Subs: Mucha, Hibbert, Bilyaletdinov, Osman, Yakubu, Rodwell, Anichebe.
Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Dawson, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Modric, Jenas, Bale, Van der Vaart, Crouch. Subs: Pletikosa, Pavlyuchenko, Keane, Palacios, Bassong, Kranjcar, Corluka.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Tflex on Twitter: "Wenger should have just accepted his mistake at Wigan. Proof? An unchanged side today!"

Harper, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Barton, Nolan, Tiote, Gutierrez, Lovenkrands, Best. Subs: Krul, Williamson, Guthrie, Routledge, Perch, Ranger, Ferguson.
West Ham: Green, Ben-Haim, Tomkins, Upson, Gabbidon, Sears, Parker, Kovac, Noble, Piquionne, Cole. Subs: Boffin, Reid, Barrera, Spector, Behrami, Hines, Obinna.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

1920: By the way, if my inane mutterings are failing to fulfill your needs ahead of kick-off, why not give Claridge Kicks Off a view? This week, Steve talks about the flurry of sackings in the Football League, a possible takeover at Watford and the solidarity between the mascots of Sheffield United and Preston. Which is nice.

newtona on 606: "There was a time when Chelsea would rest there big names such as Lampard and Drogba - but not tonight. A big win is needed for them."

Bobby Manc via text: "Jo over Adam Johnson... I really don't understand the logic. Talent and flair or useless and slow? Hmmm - sort it out."

Aston Villa:
Friedel, Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Clark, Ashley Young, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Downing, Agbonlahor, Heskey. Subs: Marshall, Pires, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Bannan, Lichaj, Herd.
Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Bramble, Richardson, Elmohamady, Meyler, Henderson, Malbranque, Welbeck, Bent. Subs: Mignolet, Zenden, Angeleri, Da Silva, Riveros, Gyan, Adams.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

mather23 on Twitter: "Do Bolton not have a youth team that they could fill the bench from?!"

Hennessey, Zubar, Stearman, Berra, Elokobi, Jarvis, Foley, Edwards, Hunt, Fletcher, Doyle. Subs: Hahnemann, Ebanks-Blake, Ward, David Jones, Milijas, Batth, Doherty.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Kalou, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Sturridge, Anelka, Kakuta, Bruma, McEachran.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

Fabianski, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, van Persie. Subs: Szczesny, Rosicky, Denilson, Squillaci, Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner.
Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Toure, Zabaleta, De Jong, Barry, Toure Yaya, Milner, Tevez, Jo. Subs: Given, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Adam Johnson, Boateng, Lescott, Vieira.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

UgoSmart on Twitter: "Sam, should I watch, last time I did, it left a sour taste. If Chelsea drop points against wolves, I'll quit. But who cares?"

Nicolas Anelka is dropped to the bench by Chelsea at Wolves. Over at the Reebok Stadium, meanwhile, Bolton are only able to field four substitutes against Wigan.

Both Aston Villa and Sunderland are unchanged.

nufanatic on 606: "Newcastle vs West Ham has to be best game tonight. Goals galore..."

Peter Crouch partners Rafael van der Vaart up front for Tottenham at Everton. Jermaine Jenas also starts for the visitors.

Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Paul Konchesky all start for Liverpool at Blackburn.

Jo starts alongside Carlos Tevez up front for Man City against Arsenal as one of five changes to the team that beat Blackpool.

Zain_Patel on Twitter: "All the 'W' teams in the relegation places will win leaving an all new bottom three of Aston Villa, Birmingham and West Brom."

TheIncredibleRiseOfGomes on 606: "Bale v Phil Neville PART 2!"
Can Phil Neville repeat his fine display in the reverse fixture at the Lane I wonder?

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"Spurs hope to keep up the pressure on the Premier pacesetters with the shadow of David Beckham and a possible loan move to White Lane looming over their current progress. Everton boss David Moyes expressed an interest in Beckham but he was not interested in a move to Merseyside. Moyes insists he will not quit Everton despite a poor season and a lack of cash to invigorate his squad - but he needs a result tonight to quell growing concern among fans."

Mark Ashenden reports:
"The only way is up for Wolves. They may be bottom of the table but Mick McCarthy's boys might just fancy grabbing the spoils tonight against the defending champions who have won once in eight league games. Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti says he's "lucky" to still have his job but with the Blues in fifth and a Champions League spot seriously under threat, losing at Molineux might just encourage owner Roman Abramovich to start sharpening his axe on one of his mammoth yachts."

Leon Best will partner Peter Lovenkrands in attack for the Newcastle. Fit-again midfielder Mark Noble returns to the West Ham starting line-up.

are unchanged for the visit of Man City.

Marc Vesty reports:
"So Ronaldinho looks set to turn down the allure of Ewood Park in favour of heading home to Brazil but a more pressing concern for boss Steve Kean is that Blackburn have eight players out tonight and have only won one of their last five games. Every defeat for under-fire Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is followed by calls for his head and the Reds' exasperating inconsistency and record of one away win all season hardly helps his job security."

MattAlbans on Twitter: "For the first time I'm hoping West Ham beat Newcastle tonight. I'd love to see Villa and Baggies in bottom the 3 with Wolves."

Les Roopanarine reports:
"After suffering successive defeats at Stamford Bridge and Anfield, Bolton will be relieved to return to the Reebok Stadium, where they have lost just once all season. If they are to maintain that almost unblemished record, Owen Coyle's injury-hit side will have to do so without a raft of absentees. That should offer some encouragement to Wigan, who are looking to bounce back from the home defeat against Newcastle on Sunday which ended their four-game unbeaten run. A draw looks a distinct possibility."

Chris Whyatt reports:
"This crazy season makes no sense. On Sunday, brilliant Villa secured a thrilling draw at champions Chelsea. Now they must beat Sunderland to guarantee they don't enter football hell [aka the relegation zone] tonight. Bemused Black Cats boss Steve Bruce believes players are being "flogged to death" on a punishing conveyor-belt of five games in 13 days. Yet his sixth-placed team, crushed by Blackpool last week, are still six points off a Champions League spot. Form. Window. Chuck? Who knows…"

petetongismydad on Twitter: "Come on the Mighty Spurs! Hoping for a draw from Arsenal v Man City."

Jonathan Stevenson reports: "Third hosts second, and this time there is a title to challenge for as well as bad blood to deal with. Ex-Gooner Emmanuel Adebayor is too busy (allegedly) fighting with team-mates and being injured to feature but expect the Emirates to reach boiling-point tonight as two clubs who have gone without trophies for too long lay put their Premier League credentials on the line. City's last win at Arsenal was in 1975 - 27 trips ago."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"It's January and the bottom half of the league is almost as cosy as it was after the first month of the season. A win can get you out of the mire as easily as defeat could land you back in it. Victory could push West Ham five places up to 13th, however they have not won at St James' Park since 1998. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew may have a point to prove against his former employees as he continues his New Year revolution."

1847: Right then, as we await team news, here are our reporters...

The Whinger on 606: "Just a little miffed that David Silva is injured - he has been the best player for City over the last month. We will miss is creativity."

Jay, in Liverpool, via text: "I'm curious as to what category you put Everton into there, Sam. My heart says European pushers - my head tells me otherwise. Nil satis nisi optimistic??"

1844: All right, before we hear from our match reporters for this evening, let me highlight one or two things to look out for tonight; which of the chasing pack is going to put pressure on Man Utd at the top of the table? Which, if any, of the bottom four are going to drag themselves away from the drop zone? Which manager - and I'm mostly looking at you Avram Grant, Gerard Houllier, Carlo Ancelotti and Roy Hodgson - will end the night under the most pressure? Will David Beckham be spotted anywhere around the grounds tonight? And, as an aside, will any player respond to criticism in quite as daft fashion as Aldershot Town striker Marvin Morgan? Surely not.

kishanpaun01 on 606: "If Liverpool don't win today, I would be happy to pick up the paper tomorrow and find that Roy Hodgson has been sacked."

Harmeet, London, via text: "Wow..really looking forward tonight! Gonna be a cracker. Got my Cambridge medicine application decision day tomorrow some good old live text then MOTD to take my mind off it!"

GOONER_keatinge on Twitter: "I'm so excited for the Arsenal game I can't sit down. Come on you Gunners!!!!"

1841: I'm banking on you lot having bundles of chat tonight, I won't lie. So why not get involved? You know what to do... Tweet me @sampatricklyon, text me via 81111 or get on 606. Have it.

1837: Ahem, anyway, what exactly do we have in store tonight, I hear you ask? Only seven of your very finest Premier-League-fixtures-that-happen-to-fall-on-Wednesday-5-January that's all...
(1945 kick-off unless stated)
Arsenal v Man City
Aston Villa v Sunderland
Blackburn v Liverpool (2000)
Bolton v Wigan (2000)
Everton v Tottenham (2000)
Newcastle v West Ham
Wolves v Chelsea

Will tonight's fixtures be ones we look back on at the end of the season and consider as pivotal in determining issues at the top, the bottom and everything in between? Fasten your seatbelts folks...

1835: Robots.

1834: You see those people around you not dripping with excitement? They're robots. Robots I tell you.

1833: I mean, it's the night that's got something for everyone isn't it? Title-challengers? Check. Europe-chasers? Check. Relegation-battlers? Check. In short, if you're not pumped about tonight's offerings, you're not human. You hear me? You're not even human.

1830: Let's be honest, this is a midweek Premier League football night that needs absolutely no build up whatsoever... right?

Print Sponsor

Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 5 Jan 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 20 24 44
2 Man City 22 17 42
3 Arsenal 21 20 40
4 Tottenham 21 6 36
5 Chelsea 21 17 35
6 Sunderland 22 3 33
7 Bolton 22 5 30
8 Newcastle 21 3 28
9 Blackburn 22 -6 28
10 Stoke 21 0 27
11 Everton 21 -2 25
12 Liverpool 20 -3 25
13 Blackpool 19 -5 25
14 Fulham 21 -2 22
15 Birmingham 20 -5 22
16 West Brom 21 -13 22
17 Wolves 21 -13 21
18 Aston Villa 21 -15 21
19 Wigan 21 -15 21
20 West Ham 22 -16 20

see also
Wednesday's football photos
05 Jan 11 |  Football

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