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Page last updated at 18:32 GMT, Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year's Eve football as it happened


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By Chris Bevan

Champagne moment
1812: Right, it's time for me to depart. What a day, and what a year! I suggest you celebrate the end of 2011 in style by watching Match of the Day at 2220 GMT on BBC One and this website (in the UK). Me? I'm off to lie down in a darkened room for a few hours until the Premier League resumes on Sunday with West Brom taking on Everton and Sunderland playing Manchester City, who go into the New Year top of the table after Blackburn ruined Sir Alex Ferguson's 70th birthday. I hope to see you, and your hangovers then. Thanks for helping make this a day to remember, and hope you have a great night as we see in 2012. See you on the flip side.

Arsenal matchwinner Robin van Persie on what was more important - breaking records or beating QPR: "I was one short of [Alan] Shearer's record but I have the Arsenal record in my hands. For me, the main thing today was the win. Man U lost, Chelsea lost and Spurs dropped two points, so it's a big day for us. As a sportsman you want to achieve the highest and on a personal note the highest was to score three today. But after the Wolves draw, there was only one thing on my mind - to win today."

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas on being asked whether his side can still win the Premier League this season: "I don't think so. It is fantasy. Our reality at the moment is a fourth-placed finish and that is not good enough. We have to continue to play for the best possible finish."

1805: Just before I go, can I point you in the direction of the Football Association's report which has just been released and details the reasons behind Liverpool's Luis Suarez's eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra. If you want a more easily digested read, then check out our story about it elsewhere on the BBC website, here.

jcanham1986 on Twitter: "Can we get some positive comments for Villa please. Great performance with belief. Chelsea didn't just lose it. We won it."

Full time
FULL-TIME Arsenal 1-0 QPR
David Ornstein reports: "What on earth would Arsenal do without Robin van Persie? The Dutchman strikes again to move Arsenal up into fourth and QPR down to 17th."

Full time
FULL-TIME Swansea 1-1 Tottenham
Peter Shuttleworth reports: "Swansea City highlighted the character they require if Brendan Rodgers' men are to remain in the Premier League - but this was two points dropped for Tottenham."

Full time
FULL-TIME Stoke 2-2 Wigan
Arindam Rej reports: "What a finish. Ben Watson showed commendable bravery to score from the spot - his first touch after being brought on - and earn 10-man Wigan a late draw that they deserved. Stoke were disappointing."

Full time
FULL-TIME Norwich 1-1 Fulham
Mike Henson reports: "After a bright start from Fulham, Norwich's waves of late attacks wash away the visitors' hopes of a rare away win."

Full time
FULL-TIME Chelsea 1-3 Aston Villa
Owen Phillips reports from Stamford Bridge: "Villa got their tactics spot on at Stamford Bridge and were worthy winners. But as impressive as a Stephen Ireland-inspired Villa were, Chelsea's failings are becoming an all-too familiar tale for the home side."

Full time
FULL-TIME Bolton 1-1 Wolves
Alistair Magowan reports: "Bolton earn their first draw at home this season but slipping to the bottom of the pile after Blackburn's shock win will cause concern with some tough games coming up."

Full time
FULL-TIME Man Utd 2-3 Blackburn
Saj Chowdhury reports: "Happy birthday Sir Alex Ferguson? No. Manchester United were poor and deserved to lose to a resilient and gutsy Blackburn, who can now look forward to 2012 with slightly more optimism."

1753: Time for a recap of today's events in the Premier League. And no, I'm not making all this up - it really did just happen...

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, after his side saw off QPR, on his side's recent resurgence: "The spirit is good, the attitude is good and we keep going. We were 17th after five games, now we're fourth after 19. It's a fantastic achievement by the players who have come in and gelled well together. We keep going and get stronger."

1748: I'm just surprised Stephen Ireland didn't show off his Superman pants again today. They would have been appropriate.

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish on Stephen Ireland, who starred at Stamford Bridge days after being controversially pictured on Twitter smoking a pipe and wearing snakeskin trousers: "He must have caught everybody's eye today, he was excellent. We don't expect him to be an enforcer but the Villa fans expect to seen him closing down and his reading of the game was reminiscent of his Man City form and he has to be like that in every game."

From Rachel in Lincoln, via text: "Re 1704. City have to play two games in three days. 2012 is going to have a suitably cataclysmic beginning, one feels."

From anonymous Man City fan, via text: "Re 1704. One result doesn't make a winter. Settle down Chelsea & Man Utd fans. If all games went to plan there'd be no point playing them. Title race is far from done."

From anon, via text: "Have to give massive credit to Arsenal, given how poorly they started the season, to end 2011 in 4th place is a great achievement. Hope to continue this form into the new year!"

HazZ117 on Twitter: "Re 1704. Blaming AVB won't get us anywhere. We've got a mediocre squad needing some creativity. Squad overhaul required."

teewhy_aj on Twitter: "Re 1704. Can't see AVB's fault in all this. Torres is woeful,David Luiz is hopeless! Chelsea were a disaster waiting to happen!"

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy confirms he has signed Arsenal's Emmanuel Frimpong on loan from 1 January: "I hope he'll be available for the Chelsea game [on 2 January]. It's done and I'm delighted because I think he's a terrific young player."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp hails Swansea after seeing his team held by the Welsh side: "The way Swansea play, it's difficult. They are a credit to the game the way Brendan Rogers has them organised and playing. He's done a great job. Not many teams will come here and win, so taking a point is acceptable. I'll be surprised if Swansea aren't in the Premier League next year."

1727: It's not ALL good news for Arsenal fans today. Arsene Wenger has just revealed that Thomas Vermaelen is out for "two or three weeks" with the injury he sustained against QPR. Wenger also confirmed he's trying to sign a defender but only on loan, and Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong has sealed his loan switch to Wolves for the rest of the season. More on all of this in a moment or two.

oreo_g on Twitter: "Re 1704. Chelsea players aren't communicating with each other, both at the back and up front. How can something like that just disappear?"

ChrisTheSarf on Twitter: "Re 1704. Chelsea of all teams should know better than to keep changing managers..."

Norwich manager Paul Lambert after seeing super-sub Simeon Jackson rescue a dramatic late draw for his side: Fulham are a really well-drilled side and I'm delighted with point. After getting beat last time it was important to bounce back. In the second half we were relentless, the lads go to the wall every time I ask them. We have are up and downs like everyone, but if we stick together we will be alright. Simeon was a massive player for us last season, he has waited his turn and I am delighted for him.

Fulham boss Martin Jol after his side were denied victory by a Norwich goal deep in injury time: "It would have been nice to end this year on a very good note and after seeing the first half I really thought we should have scored a second, but we had some tired legs out there and they always look strong in the air. But in the fourth minute of injury time it is disappointing. Sometimes one goal is enough but it wasn't to be today. Two goals would have been a better cushion but in hindsight perhaps they deserved it."

Der_Wanderfalke on Twitter: "Very delighted Villan here, very good today on the break and great win! Scored more goals at the Bridge this year than Torres!"

Nick13413 on Twitter: "As a Chelsea fan, I backed AVB since day 1. However, today was an atrocious performance. The experiment has failed. I'm raging."

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas after his side's shock home defeat by Villa: "Hopefully 2012 brings us better results. We need to improve on a couple of aspects and we know what they are. Villa punished us well in the final stages of the game."

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez after his side picked up a point with a late penalty at Stoke after having a man sent off: "We showed unbelievable character. We defended really well and then, to go down to 10 men and get back to level terms, was the least we deserved."

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish after his side's 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge: "I thought in the end we deserved it. We looked very dangerous on the break."

AronBaines on Twitter: "Re 1704. I think we need to stick with AVB, getting rid of him won't fix anything, and who would replace him now?"

FOOTBALL LEAGUE UPDATE: In League Two, Crewe thumped Bristol Rovers 5-2 with Nick Powell bagging a double for the Railwaymen. Southend easily overcame AFC Wimbledon 4-1 and Bradford beat Shrewsbury 3-1. It was goalless between Torquay and Oxford United while Northampton stay bottom of the table after losing 2-1 at home to Swindon.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE UPDATE: It was an afternoon of comebacks in League One. Brentford staged a dramatic second half fightback to draw 3-3 against MK Don. Three second-half goals salvaged the game having been 3-0 down at half-time. Oldham overturned a 2-1 deficit to beat Notts County 3-2 and Jimmy Ryan's injury-time strike ensured Scunthorpe gained a point against Chesterfield. Elsewhere, Colchester beat Exeter 2-0 while Walsall and Rochdale played out a stalemate.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE UPDATE: In the Championship, Middlesbrough were unable to join Southampton at the top of the table as the Posh scored a late equaliser through Tommy Rowe and Cardiff snatched a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest. Martin Paterson's solitary goal was enough to give Burnley the victory over Hull and Coventry moved off the bottom with the 2-0 win against Brighton.

CSharpin27 on Twitter: "As much as I hate to say it, looks like Spurs are going to be the best challengers to Man City this year."

1704 Er, care to pick the bones out of today's action? Is this the the end of Chelsea's title bid? Should it be the end of AVB? Do United fans feel any better after seeing the Blues beaten and Spurs held? And what do Manchester City fans make out of today's, er, somewhat unexpected results? Questions, questions. If you have the answers, tweet me @chrisbevan_bbc or text in via 81111 (UK). I'm waiting.

From Chelsea fan via text: "I was very supportive of AVB but I'm furious, now a massive embarrassment."

From anon via text:"Are City going to win the league or is everyone else going to lose it?!!"

FULL-TIME Swansea 1-1 Tottenham

FULL-TIME Stoke 2-2 Wigan

FULL-TIME Norwich 1-1 Fulham

FULL-TIME Chelsea 1-3 Aston Villa

FULL-TIME Bolton 1-1 Wolves

FULL-TIME Arsenal 1-0 QPR

Full time
1655: The final whistle has just blown at the Britannia, meaning it is full-time everywhere in the Premier League. It also means I might be able to get my breath back. I need a new set of fingers after that little lot...

Norwich goal: Just time for one final twist in the tale at the end of what has been a crazy day in the Premier League. Elliott Bennett sends over a cross and Norwich super-sub Simeon Jackson heads home his side's equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Someone has won a penalty
Wigan goal: Ryan Shotton pulls Hugo Rodallega's shirt and he goes down very easily. Referee Michael Oliver is convinced, though, but that is a very soft penalty. Substitute Ben Watson, a penalty specialist, is then brought on and scores from the spot with his first touch. Has there ever been a quicker goal by a sub in the Premier League? Impossible. You could not make today up.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1652: Phew. The goals keep coming, don't they? In the middle of all that, Bolton almost shoot themselves in the foot. Substitute Tuncay almost scores a crucial own goal, when he diverts Matt Jarvis's near-post corner against Jussi Jaaskelainen's upright. Close.

1651: GOALFLASH Norwich 1-1 Fulham (Simeon Jackson)

Villa goal (1-3): Disaster for Chelsea. Frank Lampard gives the ball away to Stephen Ireland, who surges forward before playing in Darren Bent to tuck away his shot past Petr Cech. The Blues need something very special to rescue a point here now.

Stoke goal: Peter Crouch's flick plays in Jon Walters and he finds Cameron Jerome to fire Stoke into the lead (briefly!).

Swansea goal: Scott Sinclair capitalises on a goalkeeping error from Brad Friedel as Tottenham Hotspur stopper fails to claim Angel Rangel's deflected right-wing cross and Sinclair scores in an open goal. All-square in Wales.

1645: GOALFLASH Stoke 2-2 Wigan (Ben Watson, who comes on as a sub to take the pen)

Villa goal (1-2): Well, the Premier league was never going to let us see out 2011 quietly, was it? Ciaran Clark plays in Stiliyan Petrov who coolly beats Petr Cech, moments after Villa had two penalty appeals turned down. Chelsea had been turning the screw in the last few moments, with Jose Bosingwa going close from distance.


1643: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-3 Aston Villa (Darren Bent)

1642: GOALFLASH Stoke 2-1 Wigan (Cameron Jerome)

1641: GOALFLASH Swansea 1-1 Tottenham (Scott Sinclair)

1640: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-2 Aston Villa (Stiliyan Petrov)

1639: What's happening at the Reebok? Bolton are on top and carving out the better chances with visiting keeper Wayne Hennessey again preventing them from taking the lead. This time he saves Gretar Steinsson's header from a corner and Wolves are looking like they will settle for a point.

Someone has won a penalty
Red card
Stoke goal: Late drama at the Britannia Stadium. Latics defender Gary Caldwell makes a great diving save to keep out Cameron Jerome's header - and that's a clear penalty. Caldwell gets shown a straight red too, perhaps harshly because there were other Wigan players between him and the goalline. Anyway, they are down to 10 men, and Stoke are level. When the penalty is eventually taken after a lengthy protest by Hugo Rodallega, Jon Walters slams it home.

1636: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-1 Wigan (Jon Walters)

1635: RED CARD for Wigan's Gary Caldwell


1633: So, any sign of a QPR comeback? Sort of. Adel Taarabt brings a solid stop from Wojciech Szczesny and then goes down in the box under a challenge from Francis Coquelin. QPR want the penalty, but referee Martin Atkinson is having none of it.

1630: There's a pitch invader at Stamford Bridge, for a moment or two anyway. He is led off while Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov receives treatement. Apart from that Fernando Torres effort, Chelsea have been short of ideas in this second half. Villa are defending stubbornly, as you would expect from an Alex McLeish team.

1629: Bad news for Tottenham. Scott Parker has been struggling with a knee injury for most of the game and has had to concede defeat. He limps off as part of a double switch - Goalscorer Rafael van der Vaart is also off, replaced by Jermain Defoe and Jake Livermore.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: In the Championship, Birmingham are comfortable against Blackpool, leading 2-0 through Curtis Davies and Marlon King and Scott McDonald has put Middlesbrough 1-0 up against Peterborough. Coventry are moving off the bottom having doubled their advantage against Brighton to lead 2-0. In League One, Wycombe and Stevenage is goalless and in League Two, Swindon have equalised against Northampton while Southend have turned it around against AFC Wimbledon to lead 2-1.

1626: Hope for Swansea? Almost. Luke Moore creates their best chance of the game against Tottenham but, after skipping past two defenders, the striker's shot is deflected just wide. The Swans keep knocking on the door, though, and Angel Rangel goes even closer from the subsequent corner with a low drive

harataiki on Twitter: "Walcott proving we need Henry for a couple of months! what a miss!"

Someone has struck the woodwork
1623: More woodwork. This time for Stoke. One of those Rory Delap throw-ins finds Robert Huth but his header strikes the inside of a post. So close.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1621: Almost an instant impact by Chelsea substitute Fernando Torres. He makes the chance himself, creating space for a shot on the edge of the box and sees his lofted effort come back off the bar. Will he finally come alive on the last day of 2011? It's about blinking time.

Arsenal goal: They have had to wait a while but it was all too easy for Arsenal in the end. QPR give away the ball in their own half and Andrey Arshavin slides in Robin van Persie to cooly slot past Radek Cerny. That's his 35th Premier League goal of the year, taking him one clear of Thierry Henry's club record and leaving him one behind Alan Shearer's all-time Premier League record from 1995.

1618: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 QPR (Robin van Persie)

1616: More frustration for Arsenal, and an awful miss from Theo Walcott at Emirates Stadium. Aaron Ramsey sends Walcott racing through on goal but he drags his finish horribly wide when one-on-one with Radek Cerny. He won't enjoy watching that on Match of the Day later. Still 0-0 in the north vs west London derby.

1615: Grant Holt has made a difference for Norwich since coming on and the Canaries are getting closer to an equaliser. Wes Hoolahan squandered a good chance when his touch let him down and Kyle Naughton has just seen an angled shot fly over the bar.

1614: Thomas Vermaelen is not having the best of days. He was booked wrongly before the break and now he has limped off to be replaced by Francis Coquelin. Arsenal's defensive injury crisis continues but, looking on the bright side, at least Vermaelen won't be sent off now.

1612: A sniff for Villa. Charles N'Zogbia sends Gabriel Agbonlahor racing clear, but Petr Cech keeps out his low shot. At the Reebok, Wayne Hennessey has produced a top-drawer stop to claw away a skidding drive by Fabrice Muamba.

1609: Keeper Michel Vorm, so often Swansea's hero this season, is again their saviour as he brilliantly keeps out Younes Kaboul's strike after his marauding run. Emmanel Adebayor also goes close from the subsequent corner, but there is still only one goal in it at the Liberty Stadium.

From Nick via text: "Can't believe what's happening to my team Bristol Rovers, 1-4 down at half time at home to Crewe! Conference beckons, Buckle out!"

Wolves goal: A few question marks over whether this was a free-kick in the first place but Matt Jarvis bends in a delicious ball when he takes it, and Steven Fletcher escapes Sam Ricketts to nod home at the far post. Bolton are back on the bottom of the table, as things stand.

1606: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-1 Wolves (Steven Fletcher)

1605: Wigan get the second half started.

1603: We are back under way everywhere in the Premier League, except for Stoke. By the way, Atkinson cannot rescind that incorrect booking so Vermaelen will be sent off if he does collect another yellow.

1601: Norwich are making a change at the break. Grant Holt is on for David Fox. The Canaries need a goal - will Holt deliver this time?

1559: A couple of incidents at the Emirates that I didn't have time to tell you about before half-time. Aaron Ramsey had a volley headed off the line by Joey Barton, shortly after referee Martin Atkinson booked Thomas Vermaelen for a foul on Shaun Wright-Phillips - when it was Laurent Koscielny who had commited the offence. As you would expect, the Arsenal bench were not too happy with that case of mistaken identity. Could it be crucial? Watch this space.

Half time
Swansea 0-1 Tottenham
Peter Shuttleworth's HT snapshot:
"Rafael Van der Vaart's goal-poaching skills are the difference at The Liberty Stadium as Tottenham edge an entertaining game and Swansea have yet to win a Premier League point after going behind."

Half time
Stoke 0-1 Wigan
Arindam Rej's HT snapshot: "Wigan are trying to play the Martinez way. Frustratingly for the Spaniard, they keep losing the ball far too cheaply - but finally got it right just before the break. After a bright start, Stoke have looked tame."

Half time
Norwich 0-1 Fulham
Mike Henson's HT snapshot:
"No Andy Johnson or Bobby Zamora, but with Sa, Dembele, Dempsey, Frei and Ruiz, Fulham have plenty of snap and crackle up front. Will Lambert throw on Holt to give the Canaries some bite?"

Half time
Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa
Owen Phillips' HT snapshot from Stamford Bridge: "Chelsea have failed to build on a decent start and Drogba's opener and their confidence seems brittle. Villa have the pace and quality to exploit it so it should be a cracking second half."

Half time
Bolton 1-0 Wolves
Alistair Magowan's HT snapshot:
"Despite Stephen Ward's effort against the bar, Bolton have looked pretty solid at the back and the more you look at Sam Ricketts's goal the better it gets. An absolute peach."

Half time
Arsenal 0-0 QPR
David Ornstein's HT snapshot:
"After a lethargic start, Arsenal finish the half by laying siege to QPR's goal. The visitors hold out, but can they cope with another 45 minutes like that?"

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: In the Championship, it's been a quiet half with Burnley winning 1-0 against Hull and Coventry leading against Brighton. In League One, Lee Hughes and Neal Bishop have put Notts County 2-1 ahead at Oldham and MK Dons look to have put the game to bed already, leading 3-0 at Brentford. In League Two, Bradford are moving up the table as they are 2-0 in front at Valley Parade to Shrewsbury and Crewe are 4-1 up at Bristol Rovers.

From James in Bristol, via text: "Poor old Blackburn, they beat the champions away but as it stands, it'll make no difference to the league table - they stay bottom!"

Half time
1549: It is half-time everywhere in the Premier League. Some pretty unlikely scorelines out there - Tottenham are the only team in the top 12 (at the start of play) to be ahead.

Tottenham goal: Rafael van der Vaart eventually gives Tottenham the breakthrough at Swansea with the first real chance of the game as he fires in his eighth of the season, with the little help from an Ashley Williams deflection, after Benoit Assou-Ekotto's left-wing cut-back was deflected into the Dutchman's path.

Wigan goal: A real sucker punch before the break, this one. Ronnie Stam plays in Hugo Rodallega down the right and his low cross is turned home by the onrushing Victor Moses to finish off a well-worked team goal. Not a bad day for the teams who were in the bottom three at the start of play, so far at least.

1545: GOALFLASH Stoke 0-1 Wigan (Victor Moses)

1544: GOALFLASH Swansea 0-1 Tottenham (Rafael van der Vaart)

1543: Swansea defender Jazz Richards is having a rum old battle with Gareth Bale so far at the Liberty, and has already picked up a yellow card. Bale has just joined him in referee Phil Dowd's book, though, after a pretty blatant dive over Mark Gower's leg. Still 0-0 in that one, and Bale is getting booed by the home fans every time he touches the ball. That can't happen to him in Wales that often.

1539: You probably remember from last season that Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa fancies his chances from long range against Thomas Sorenson and the Honduran has just tried his luck from near the half-way line again. This time, he is off target. Worth a go, though.

1537: It's still goalless in Wales too, but it's not exactly dull. Scott Sinclair got the pulses of Swansea fans racing when he let fly from 25 yards out but his effort goes just wide of Friedel's left-hand post. Spurs midfielder Scott Parker still feeling a knock he picked up earlier, and Harry Redknapp looks a touch concerned

From Ruth in Clitheroe via text: "I'm a very happy Rovers fan today! But it's getting seriously soured by comments saying the Rovers fans deserve their team to be relegated. Can't say I've ever been Kean's biggest supporter but have always been behind the team - don't lump all the fans in one group."

Someone has struck the woodwork
Someone has struck the woodwork
1533: Almost a second goal for Fulham at Carrow Road. Stephen Kelly stands up a lovely cross and Clint Dempsey powers his header against the bar. And Wolves have hit the woodwork too... they have a corner half-cleared and the ball falls for Stephen Ward to smash in a shot from 25 yards. Jussi Jaaskelainen gets his fingertips to it, and does just enough to push it on to the bar.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: In the Championship, West Ham failed to close the gap on leaders Southampton after losing 2-1 against Derby. Leeds have suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat at Barnsley where Ricardo Vaz Te bagged a hat-trick and Watford beat Doncaster by the same scoreline. In League One, both Sheffield clubs enjoyed victories, with United beating Hartlepool and Wednesday winning at Preston and in League Two, Macclesfield defeat Port Vale 2-1 and Morecambe shared a 2-2 with Burton Albion.

Villa goal: Charles N'Zogbia surges into the left-hand side of the area and squares the ball for Stephen Ireland. His first shot is blocked by the arm of John Terry, but his follow-up finds the net. Villa are level - put that in your pipe and smoke it.

1529: Arsenal's turn to threaten. Robin van Persie latches on to a long ball from Thomas Vermaelen but lashes over - that's the third time he has gone close in a matter of minutes. Walcott has also volleyed wide but it reamins 0-0 at the Emirates.

Bolton goal: Having been injured since February, Sam Ricketts has chosen the perfect time to score on his return to the side and it was a pearler too. With not much on, the Welshman runs down the inside left channel unchallenged, cuts inside and curls a shot into the top corner from at least 25 yards.

1528: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa (Stephen Ireland)

1526: We have not seen much of Wigan going forward today, well not until now anyway. The Latics come to life, first when Ronnie Stam cuts in from the right and forces Thomas Sorensen to tip his shot over the bar. Hugo Rodallega also goes close, attempting a lob that the Stoke keeper cannot reach but Ryan Shawcross races back to scrambles clear.

Someone has won a penalty
Chelsea goal: No doubt about this penalty, with Richard Dunne taking out Didier Drogba with a badly mistimed sliding challenge. Drogba steps up to take the spot-kick himself, and fires it straight down the middle. That's his 150th goal for the club.

1523: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa (Didier Drogba pen)

1523: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-0 Wolves (Sam Ricketts)


1521: Daniel Sturridge fires over for Chelsea, in what was their first real effort on goal - Villa are soaking up a lot of the Blues' possesion. In Wales, you can can see why Swansea have such an impressive home record this season. They are closing Tottenham down quickly in midfield and and have not let the vistors have so much of a sniff of goal yet.

From Alex via text: "Even as a united fan I'm genuinely chuffed for Steve Kean, and hope a lot of Blackburn 'fans' start behaving like real supporters."

1519: Plenty of Norwich pressure in response to falling behind at Carrow Road. Zak Whitbread's header is pushed onto the crossbar by David Stockdale's fingertips before John Arne Riise blocks Steve Morison's effort from six yards out from the resultant corner.

1518: News from the Britannia now. Stoke could have had a penalty when the ball hit Wigan defender Gary Caldwell's arm in the area as he tussles for a high ball with Peter Crouch. Nothing given. Moments later, Robert Huth heads wide from close range from - guess what? - a Rory Delap throw-in. Stoke are being their usual selves, peppering Wigan with troublesome set-pieces.

From United fan Adam in Exeter via text: "The criticism for David de Gea is pathetic. Yeah, he was awful for the third but he's saved our skins many times already this season. He needs our backing, not condemnation. I hate fickle, spoilt United supporters."

From Tom in Hampshire via text: "Day for the underdogs maybe ? After Blackburn's result can QPR, Villa and Swansea make LFC's win last night seem even better? Here's hoping."

1516: Things have settled down at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are still marginally on top but Villa look full of pace and dangerous on the break. And their fans are enjoying reminding the home supporters about their lack of European Cup success.

1515: It's QPR who are pressing at the Emirates. They enjoy two openings in quick succession as Jay Bothroyd sees a low drive saved by Wojciech Szczesny and the Pole then foils Shaun Wright-Phillips, who gets in behind Per Mertesacker to meet Adel Taarabt's through-ball.

1513: Another chance for Fulham. What is it with strikers with short names this season? Orlando Sa comes close to a second as he latches onto Kerim Frei's astute pass and guides the ball past John Ruddy. On this occasion though full-back Kyle Naughton is on hand to hack the ball away as it trundles towards the bottom corner. At the other end, Bradley Johnson's shot is deflected a whisker wide as the Canaries look to hit back.

Blackburn manager Steve Kean after his side upset Manchester United to climb off the bottom of the table: "We'll go a long way to beat that today. We built on last week's draw at Anfield .The young lads are growing up very quickly and did really well. It shows the fighting spirit that we've got and we had to have that today. It was a physical game but this result is massive - but it's no good if we don't build on that against Stoke next. It's great to win, and great to win here."

1509: No chances to tell you about at the Emirates yet. Arsenal are dominating possession but QPR are looking comfortable at the back. It's pretty scrappy at the Reebok too, with Wolves looking slightly more threatening.

Fulham goal: Some start by the Cottagers with Orlando Sa wriggling free on the edge of the box after great work by Moussa Dembele, and firing a rasping shot past John Ruddy and into the bottom corner of the net. Norwich have never won this season after falling behind, so could Fulham's notoriously poor away form be about to improve?

1507: GOALFLASH Norwich 0-1 Fulham (Orlando Sa)

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after his side's shock defeat by Blackburn on his 70th birthday: "We didn't expect that. It was a bad one to lose. It was great to come back to 2-2 and I thought we'd go on and win as we had the momentum but the third goal was a killer. We're missing the craft of Michael Carrick in midfield and the experience of Ryan Giggs."

1504: Swansea are first to threaten at the Liberty Stadium, with Nathan Dyer curling in a shot from 25 yards which is well saved by Brad Friedel.

1503: A strong start by Chelsea aganst Villa, and they have already fired some dangerous balls into the visitors' box. Villa almost create something on the break, mind, and it takes a decent interception by Juan Mata to stop the ball reaching Marc Albrighton inside the Chelsea area.

1501: Bolton defender Gary Cahill's name was cheered when it was read out at the Reebok Stadium pre kick-off. (Bolton) Wanderers fans will be hoping he says goodbye with a rare three points at home today.

1500: All six of our 1500 GMT top-flight games are now under way.

BBC Sport's Dan Walker on Twitter: "I wonder if Fergie regrets that phone call now? Draw at Anfield, win at Old Trafford. Kean in!"

Blackburn Rovers striker Jason Roberts on Twitter: "COYB.....GET IN....what an effort from the young boys!! They deserve everything!!! ....COYB.....!!!"

Blackburn two-goal hero Yakubu after his side's shock win over Manchester United: "Yes I'm so please because of the way we played, we fought for each other as a team and gave everything. Give credit to the players. To keep fighting like this it's a great day for the club. Give credit to the manager. All season he's been under pressure but we are behind him and to get a result at Old Trafford is great."

Swansea v Tottenham
Peter Shuttleworth reports: "Swansea
make six changes following their draw with QPR. Garry Monk comes in for on-loan centre-back Steven Caulker as he cannot play against his parent club and fit-again full-back Neil Taylor replaces the injured Angel Rangel. Brendan Rodgers also drops top scorer Danny Graham. Harry Redknapp names an unchanged starting line-up but striker Jermain Defoe and defender Michael Dawson return from hamstring and Achilles injuries to take a place on the Tottenham bench."

1455: In all the excitement at Old Trafford, I neglected to tell you that Final Score has started. Give this page a manual refresh and to listen to Chelsea-Aston Villa (on 5 live) and Middlesbrough-Peterborough (on sports extra) from 1500 GMT.

Norwich v Fulham
Mike Henson reports:
"After their defeat by Tottenham last time out at Carrow Road, Norwich consign captain Grant Holt to the bench. Winger Antony Pilkington comes in, along with centre-half Daniel Ayala, full-back Kyle Naughton and midfielder Bradley Johnson. Adam Drury, Ritchie de Laet and Andrew Crofts also miss out. Fulham are unchanged from the side that drew 1-1 at Chelsea. Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson's absences are likely to fuel rumours of January moves."

Stoke v Wigan
Arindam Rej reports: "Peter Crouch returns after missing the last two games with a virus and replaces Kenwyne Jones. There are three other Stoke changes from the Boxing Day draw against Aston Villa, with Andy Wilkinson, Rory Delap and Jermaine Pennant all recalled. Hugo Rodallega, Wigan's memorable match-winner at Stoke on the final day of last season, replaces Conor Sammon - who is a substitute, having had his red card against Manchester United rescinded by the FA."

Arsenal v QPR
David Ornstein reports:
"Robin van Persie has one last chance to break Alan Shearer's Premier League goalscoring record for a calendar year - he starts up front for an Arsenal side featuring three changes from Tuesday's draw with Wolves. Theo Walcott has recovered from illness and replaces Yossi Benayoun on the right wing, Aaron Ramsey comes in for Tomas Rosicky in central midfield and Andrey Arshavin is preferred to Gervinho on the left. There are five changes for QPR from the draw at Swansea - in come Radek Cerny, Danny Gabbidon, former Gunners Mathew Connolly and Jay Bothroyd, and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Another ex-Arsenal player, Armand Traore, starts at left-back."

From Michael, via text: "Hows about a mention for Chelsea's Sam Hutchinson? Had retired from the game but he has fought his way back and makes the bench today. Determination."

Very true. A great story and I'd love to see him get on.

Arsenal v QPR line ups:
Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Song, Arteta, Walcott, Ramsey, Arshavin, van Persie. Subs: Almunia, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin.
QPR: Cerny, Young, Connolly, Gabbidon, Traore, Faurlin, Barton, Mackie, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd. Subs: Murphy, Orr, Hill, Derry, Campbell, Smith, Helguson.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

From Robert in Glasgow via text: "Want to hear what sir Alex has to say about this. This has been absolutely pathetic."

From Mike in Lincoln via text: "Maybe this will be a wake up call to Fergie that we are not good enough and need to buy in January."

United fan Joe Hoyle on Twitter: "Need a midfielder of quality in January. Carrick and Valencia in defence with Rafael in midfield and Welbeck on the left? Madness.

Myqal Owuor on Twitter: "De Gea is the new Fabien Barthez. Shocking."

Swansea v Tottenham line-ups
Vorm, Richards, Williams, Monk, Taylor, Dyer, Dobbie, Allen, Gower, Sinclair, Moore. Subs: Tremmel, Britton, Graham, Routledge, Lita, Rangel, Agustien.
Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Assou-Ekotto, Kaboul, Gallas, Modric, Parker, Sandro, Bale, Van der Vaart, Adebayor. Subs: Cudicini, Defoe, Dawson, Kranjcar, Rose, Livermore, Pienaar.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

BBC Sport's Owen Phillips at Stamford Bridge: "The score from Old Trafford has just been announced at Stamford Bridge. It's safe to say the home fans enjoyed that but maybe, as John Terry's programme notes suggested, they need to think about catching Tottenham before they can realistically ponder a crack at the title?"

Matt Jorgensen on Twitter: "So pleased for Steve Kean & Blackburn's players. Shame I think the fans deserve to have their team relegated. Conflicted."

OptaJoe on Twitter: "3 - Blackburn Rovers managed only three shots on target in this match against Manchester United, but scored with all of them. Stunned."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC pundit Jimmy Armfield at Old Trafford on Radio 5 live: "This must be the biggest win of Steve Kean's career and the shock of the season so far. Manchester United ran out of resources and it showed in the midfield today. It's a great day for Blackburn and possibly for Manchester City as well."

Bolton v Wolverhampton line-ups
Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts, Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Muamba, Petrov, Ngog, Klasnic. Subs: Bogdan, Robinson, Eagles, Sanli, Kevin Davies, Wheater, O'Halloran.
Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Elokobi, Hunt, Henry, Ward, Jarvis, Fletcher, Ebanks-Blake. Subs: De Vries, Edwards, Hammill, Doyle, Doherty, Foley, Guedioura.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

1441: I defy any Blackburn fans to call for Steve Kean's head tonight. The last day of 2011 and Blackburn have served up the biggest Premier League shock of the year. No birthday cake for United's players tonight.

Full time
1440: FULL-TIME Man Utd 2-3 Blackburn

1439: Wow. what a block by Chris Samba to deny Will Kean on the turn. That's a corner. Patrice Evra launches himself at it but Blackburn half-clear, and Phil Jones sees his shot cannon back off Kean. Rovers are hanging on for dear life here.

1438: United are camped in the Rovers half but the final ball is eluding them. Blackburn have got everybody back as David de Gea pumps the ball downfield.

Norwich v Fulham line-ups
Ruddy, Martin, Whitbread, Ayala, Naughton, Pilkington, Johnson, Fox, Surman, Hoolahan, Morison. Subs: Rudd, Crofts, Holt, Jackson, Bennett, Barnett, Wilbraham.
Fulham: Stockdale, Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, John Arne Riise, Ruiz, Murphy, Dempsey, Frei, Orlando Sa, Dembele. Subs: Etheridge, Sidwell, Baird, Kasami, Duff, Hughes, Etuhu.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

1435: United have got four minutes of added time to find an equaliser.

1434: Will Kean sends a cross into the crowd behind Mark Bunn's goal and Blackburn are making another change. Yakubu is off, after a superb performance - he can have as many mince pies as he wants tonight. Teenager Jordan Slew is on for his debut.

Rachel T on Twitter: "If Blackburn take points off the Champions today, then surely the dissenting fans should apologise to Steve Kean."

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: Still plenty of football to come with the 1500 GMT kick-offs. In the Championship, Middlesbrough can move joint top with a win against Peterborough and Coventry can come off the foot of the table with a victory against Brighton. Birmingham entertain Blackpool and Nottingham Forest play Cardiff. In League One, leaders Charlton travel across London to face Leyton Orient (at 1720 GMT) and MK Dons are at Brentford. In League Two, AFC Wimbledon host Southend, Bradford face Shrewsbury and bottom side Northampton are at home to Swindon.

Nayim Zaman on Twitter: "Back to the honours list. Worst signing EVER: David De Gea!"

Chelsea v Aston Villa line-ups
: Cech, Ferreira, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Romeu, Meireles, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Lampard, Torres, Malouda, Bosingwa, Kalou, Hutchinson.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Albrighton, Petrov, Clark, N'Zogbia, Ireland, Agbonlahor. Subs: Marshall, Hutton, Bent, Delfouneso, Bannan, Weimann, Gardner.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

1430: Manchester United is in a stunned silence as Dimitar Berbatov heads over - he will have to wait for his hat-trick. Both sides are making changes - Will Keane is on to make his United debut, replacing Rafael, while Blackburn bring on David Goodwillie for Mauro Formica.

Blackburn goal: Incredible. As I said earlier - who saw this coming? David de Gea has an absolute shocker as Grant Hanley beats him the air to meet a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner and then to nod the dropping ball over the line with the keeper on the deck. United have come back from 2-0 down already today, now they have ten minutes to rescue themselves again.

1426: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-3 Blackburn (Grant Hanley)

Arsenal v QPR
David Ornstein reports:
"Arsene Wenger admits 2011 was 'a very difficult year' for his Arsenal team, but says the Gunners stayed 'resolute, united and brave' and he wants them to end it on a high with victory over a 'dangerous' QPR side. Rangers boss Neil Warnock concedes his men are 'going to need a bit of luck' at Emirates Stadium and might have to 'board the goal up' to stop the hosts scoring."

Stoke v Wigan line-ups
Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Etherington, Walters, Crouch. Subs: Begovic, Jones, Diao, Whitehead, Upson, Shotton, Jerome.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Stam, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Jones, Gomez, Diame, McCarthy, Moses, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, McArthur, Sammon.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

1422: Antonio Valencia has been a dangerman down the left since switching wings with Nani at half-time, but he should do better here. A corner drops for him at the back of the area, and he has time to pick his spot... instead, he blazes wastefully over.

Norwich v Fulham
Mike Henson reports:
"Norwich boss Paul Lambert has congratulated his players on a superb 2011, but warned there is plenty more to do in the New Year. 'Everybody predicted us to be in the bottom three, and we've surpassed people's expectations,' he said. 'Of course, we all know there's a long, long way to go.' Fulham manager Martin Jol is wary of Norwich's ability in attack. 'They have strength up front with Steve Morison and Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan in the hole, but hopefully we can take the initiative to them.'"

Bolton v Wolves
Alistair Magowan reports: "Bolton
pick defender Gary Cahill in what could be his last game for the club, with Sam Ricketts making a long-awaited return to the starting line-up after an Achilles injury last February. Wolves shuffle the pack in Nenad Milijas's absence, with George Elokobi, Richard Stearman and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake all coming into the side."

Swansea v Tottenham
Peter Shuttleworth reports:
"Harry Redknapp feels Tottenham must take points at places like Swansea if they are to be in contention to win their first title since 1961: "Swansea have done brilliantly but this is a game we have to win." Swansea have lost just once at home but captain Garry Monk warned against complacency: "The talk has been about not looking at the names on the shirts. If you fear it too much, there is no point in playing the game."

1416: It's not all one-way traffic, mind. Mauro Formica's shot flicks off Michael Carrick's thigh, and that's a corner. David de Gea makes a hash of it under pressure from Adam Henley, but the ball eludes Chris Samba at the far post.

1414: It was all hands to the pump for Blackburn in their draw with Liverpool on Boxing Day, and it is going to be the same if if they are going to get anything here. Under 20 minutes to go at Old Trafford, and the score is 2-2. United continue to sniff around the Rovers box, showing plenty of intent.

Harry White on Twitter: "Very impressed with Berbatov today, stepped up his game and is even chasing the ball down. Playing for the badge!"

Bolton v Wolves
Alistair Magowan reports: "Bolton
manager Owen Coyle is still convinced his team can stay up despite their perilous Premier League position. 'If we bring the performances that we have at various times and have consistency with it, there is no doubt that we can move up this league,' he said. Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has sympathy with his colleague. He said: 'When you lose the players that they've lost, that's going to cause problems to anybody.'"

Chelsea v Aston Villa
Owen Phillips reports from Stamford Bridge: "Fernando Torres and Frank Lampard both drop to the bench as Chelsea make three changes from the side held by Fulham last time out. Didier Drogba leads the line, Ramires returns after suspension and Paulo Ferreira replaces Jose Bosingwa at right-back for his first Premier League start this season. Darren Bent is fit again after three games out with a groin injury but Aston Villa's top scorer only makes the bench so the only change to the starting line-up sees Stephen Ireland come in for the injured Emile Heskey."

1411: United can scent a winner now, after a really topsy-turvy day. Dimitar Berbatov's dinked cross causes Blackburn a few problems, and Mark Bunn and Grant Hanley combine to scoop clear from almost under their own crossbar.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC pundit Jimmy Armfield at Old Trafford on Radio 5 live: "The attitude of Manchester United has changed in the second half. Blackburn were winning the 50-50 balls in the first-half, but they haven't been doing anymore."

United goal: Dimitar Berbatov scored five against Blackburn at Old Trafford last season, and he has two today too. After a poor clearance from Morten Gamst Pedersen, he swivels to expertly turn in Antonio Valencia's cross. A real striker's finish.

1407: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-2 Blackburn (Dimitar Berbatov)

1406: An hour gone at Old Trafford. Blackburn are still defending in numbers, still battling on, and still lead 2-1.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: In the Championship, Frank Nouble has pulled a goal back for West Ham at Derby and now trail 2-1 and hotshot striker Marvin Sordell has given Watford the lead against Doncaster. In League One, the game at Bramall Lane seems to be over at half-time where Sheffield United are 3-0 up against Hartlepool and city rival Wednesday lead 2-0 at Preston. In League Two, Morecambe and Burton Albion are tied at 1-1 and Macclesfield are 1-0 ahead against Port Vale.

Chelsea and Liverpool target Gary Cahill starts for Bolton against Wolves. I suspect that might be the last time anyone gets to write that particular sentence.

Mark Weatherby on Twitter: "Reminds me of the Utd-Blackpool game last season. Losing 2-0. Won 3-2."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC pundit Jimmy Armfield at Old Trafford on Radio 5 live: "Manchester United are piling the pressure on now and it's time for the Blackburn youngsters to stand firm."

1401: Incredible. United come within an inch of levelling. Patrice Evra's shot deflects off Chris Samba and Mark Bunn has to scramble to beat it away at his near post. Anyway, Rovers have made a change. Ruben Rochina is off, and 20-year-old full-back Josh Morris is on.

Man Utd goal: It takes United a matter of seconds to respond - 21 to be precise. Straight from the restart, Patrice Evra's cross finds Rafael and his mis-hit shot is headed home by Dimitar Berbatov on the edge of the six-yard box. The comeback starts here?

1358: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-2 Blackburn (Dimitar Berbatov)

Blackburn goal: What the? Unbelievable. Blackburn are further ahead. Yakubu battles past Michael Carrick and then past Phil Jones - far too easily - to get into the box then buries a fierce shot past David de Gea.

1356: GOALFLASH Man Utd 0-2 Blackburn (Yakubu)

1355: Another United penalty appeal, when the ball hits Adam Henley's hand inside the box, but referee Mike Dean is unimpressed, because Antonio Valencia's cross was fired at Henley at point-blank range.

Yellow card
1353: Nani has switched over to the left flank and is immediately involved, dashing on to a ball down the left. He is sent flying by Jason Lowe, who picks up a yellow card. Blackburn clear the free-kick but United are soon back on the attack. We might see this happen a lot in the next 45 minutes.

1351: Blackburn get the second half under way. One change by United at the interval - Anderson, who has been sidelined by a knee injury for the last couple of months, is on for Javier Hernandez.

1350: The players are back out at Old Trafford. No sing-songs for Fergie at the break, I'd wager. By the way, Manchester United have lost the last three Premier League home matches in which they have been behind at the break.

Lal Chadeesingh on Twitter: "Sir Alex needs a central midfielder for his birthday."

Pete Humphreys at Old Trafford on Twitter: "'I Need Dollar' playing at Old Trafford. Bet you don't hear that at Manchester City's ground... "

From Zaher in London, via text: "That's the beauty of the Premier League, there's always going to be twists and turns, the stats about being top at Christmas then winning the league are long gone, talking of twists and turns, Steve Kean can sleep a little easier tonight if this scoreline stays the same."

Edward Cook on Twitter: "I would not like to be in that United dressing room for this team talk."

Blackburn striker Jason Roberts on Twitter: "Didn't wanna say anything until HT at least but I am BUZZING for the young own situation is not the issue right now...COYB....!!"

Bolton v Wolves
Alistair Magowan reports:
"Bolton boss Owen Coyle has billed this game against Wolves as the 'biggest of the season'. But will he pick defender Gary Cahill, who is set to join Chelsea? Wolves will fancy their chances with the hosts losing eight of their nine home games this season, but they are short in midfield with Nenad Milijas suspended and Jamie O'Hara still injured."

Swansea v Tottenham
Peter Shuttleworth reports:
"It is a top of the table battle at The Liberty Stadium - as first in the Fair Play league visit second. Only leaders Manchester City have made more passes than Swansea but only Stoke have fired off fewer shots, and therein lies manager Brendan Rodgers' problem. But Swansea, who have won just once in eight, have the tightest defensive home record in Britain and have not lost at home to Tottenham Hotspur since 1946."

Stoke v Wigan
Arindam Rej reports: "After a momentous year, Stoke will be sad to see 2011 come to an end. But, if they're being ultra-greedy, there's one desirable achievement that eluded them - a top-half finish in May. They missed that after losing at home to Wigan so revenge today would be a fitting New Year's Eve celebration. Don't under-estimate Wigan after their mauling at Old Trafford though. Recent draws against Liverpool and Chelsea, and victory at West Brom, show they are on the up."

Norwich v Fulham
Mike Henson reports:
"Victory over Fulham would carry Norwich into the top half of the table at the half-way stage of their Premier League return. The Canaries were sent packing from English football's top table back in 2005 with a 6-0 thrashing against the same opponents, but a repeat seems unlikely at Carrow Road. Martin Jol's Londoners have found victory hard to come by away from the capital. They have just 13 wins from their last 123 league away trips, with one from nine this term."

Chelsea v Aston Villa
Owen Phillips reports from Stamford Bridge: "Three successive 1-1 draws and a four-point gap to third-placed Tottenham means there is a growing edginess around Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are entering must-win territory in pretty much every league game. But the need for victory now seems more about avoiding the unthinkable of failing to qualify for the Champions League than chasing titles. Goal-shy Aston Villa's league form is hardly inspiring though. Tough to beat they may be, but they have only won once on their travels, have drawn eight games this season and have failed to score in five of their last seven. A repeat of the 4-4 thriller from Boxing Day 2007 seems unlikely."

Arsenal v QPR
David Ornstein reports:
"It is 17 years to the day since QPR's last win at Arsenal and while a repeat of that is unthinkable for the top-four chasing Gunners, it would do nicely for a Rangers side desperate to pull away from the relegation zone. Robin van Persie needs a hat-trick to break Alan Shearer's all-time Premier League goalscoring record for a calendar year, but all Arsenal will care about is three points."

1340: Right, while we ponder the possibility of Blackburn holding on to cause one of the biggest shocks in Premier League history, let's look ahead to our six 1500 GMT top-flight kick-offs...

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC pundit Jimmy Armfield at Old Trafford on Radio 5 live: "Incredible, who would have thought this? Manchester United have been a shadow of their recent form and we have not seen enough of the midfielder. The Blackburn defence have been tremendous and their attitude has been first-class. United have had more of the ball but they've done nothing with it. That is the kind of thing which gets the crowd irritable."

Half time
Man Utd 0-1 Blackburn
Saj Chowdhury's HT snapshot:
"It's NYE, not 1 April right? Sir Alex Ferguson's birthday party seems a little flat at the moment. His team are playing like they've got a night out on Deansgate on their minds although, at this rate, they're more likely to be re-paving Fergie's drive."

Dan Ammonds on Twitter: "I know Sir Alex has been offering support to Steve Kean this week but I didn't realise it stretched as far as this!"

1336: HALF-TIME Man Utd 0-1 Blackburn

1334: ....But Morten Gamst Pedersen clears easily enough, just before the half-time whistle blows.

1333: United are ending the half by piling on the pressure, and with a series of corners. Nani is going to bend this one in...

1332: There will be three minutes added on at the end of the first half, and Mark Bunn has just kept out United again. A free-kick ricochets off Morten Gamst Pedersen and eventually into the path of Javier Hernandez, but his shot from a tight angle is blocked by Bunn's leg at his near post.

1331: Nani's been United's best player so far, but he has not exactly faced much competition. He's just had his side's best effort of the half too, finding space for another snap-shot inside the box, which Mark Bunn does well to push round his post. A solid stop.

Fraser Ivison on Twitter: "At a glance, Formica looks like Kaka."

Kelvin Yip on Twitter: "Park and Rafael. The worst CM partnership to grace the premiership?"

1328: United are (briefly) down to 10 men while Nani has treatment off the pitch for an ankle injury. He's back on now, though. I gave out a few awards earlier - how about 'United's worst first-half performance of 2011' for their efforts so far?

From Sam in Nottingham, via text: "When was the last time a centre mid partnership (Carrick and Jones) became a central defensive partnership? Think that tells the story of our season."

1326: Blackburn's young side have grown up quickly at Old Trafford. They may not be seeing much of the ball but they are defending well, and keeping United at arm's length. For the umpteenth time, the home side have to resort to a pop from long range... and Nani's effort flies well over the bar.

From Ollie, via text: "If things stay as they stand, Blackburn will have picked up half their total points against Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal."

From Flash at Old Trafford, via text: "United's final ball is costing us so far, distribution from the wings has been shocking."

1322: A few of you are wondering if Sir Alex got a new hairdryer for his birthday. If the score stays the same until half-time, then I think the United players will find out.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: Leicester went behind at home to Portsmouth after Marko Futacs put Pompey 1-0 up but the Foxes equalised minutes later through former Pompey striker David Nugent. The second half has just started at the King Power Stadium. Elsewhere in the Championship, Derby go 2-0 ahead against West Ham inside 10 minutes with goals from Callum Ball and Paul Green and Ricardo Vaz Te has opened the scoring for Barnsley against Leeds. In League One, Danny Batth has put Sheffield Wednesday ahead against Preston at Deepdale and Bournemouth also lead at Yeovil, while it's still goalless in the four games in League Two.

1318: A bizarre decision denies Blackburn a corner when Mauro Formica's shot clearly deflects wide off Phil Jones... but a goal-kick is given. United are still doing most of the attacking, mind, but their latest foray forward ends when Nani skews his snap-shot wide.

1317: Turns out it was Javier Hernandez who got in Phil Jones' way for that United chance, not Grant Hanley. Anyway, the little Mexican does rather better when he next picks up the ball, turning on the edge of the area to flash a shot inches past Mark Bunn's far post.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC pundit Jimmy Armfield at Old Trafford on Radio 5 live: "I've been really impressed with Jason Lowe, Grant Hanley and Adam Henley so far. They have done really well for Blackburn so far."

1315: Superb defending from Blackburn's Grant Hanley, who puts his body in the way of Phil Jones's shot as he looks to sweep in a corner from close range. Just under half an hour gone, and Rovers still lead 1-0.

Yellow card
1312: Poor Mauro Formica has been in the wars today. He's now been clattered by Phil Jones, Patrice Evra and Michael Carrick, who got a card from referee Mike Dean for his trouble, and joins Nani in the book. Rovers are still defending with plenty of energy and heart - you get the feeling they will need a lot of both if they are going to hold out.

Lewis Bates on Twitter: "Okay forget what I said earlier, Steve Kean should be sacked... (a now spiteful United fan)."

1310: United's turn to appeal for a penalty, when Patrice Evra bursts into the box and goes down under a challenge from Radosav Petrovic. Just a shame he didn't have the ball with him at the time.

OptaJoe on Twitter: "14 - Blackburn Rovers have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League this season (14). Issue."

1307: How will United respond? By coming forward again. Patrice Evra gets down the left but Nani cannot capitalise at the near post and Rafael's daisy-cutter from the edge of the box is easly saved by Mark Bunn. No end product for United at the moment.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC pundit Jimmy Armfield at Old Trafford on Radio 5 live: "This is a shock scoreline and the crowd have livened up. They know their team is in for a game now."

Someone has won a penalty
Blackburn goal: Er, this wasn't in the script. Dimitar Berbatov and Chris Samba have a wrestling match in the United box, which ends with Berbatov hauling the Rovers defender to the floor. Mike Dean points to the spot and Yakubu steps up to do the rest. He sends David de Gea the wrong way, and Blackburn have the unlikeliest of leads. Just the 75 minutes for them to hold out...

1303 GOALFLASH Man Utd 0-1 Blackburn (Yakubu pen)


1300: Hmmm, by the look of him, Yakubu did not embark on an intensive fitness drive over Christmas. In fact, he seems to have hit the mince pies in a big way. Anyway, all the action is taking place at the other end, where United are still trying to open up this massed Blackburn defence.

1257: There are a whole raft of Championship games starting at 1300 GMT, and you can listen to commentary from one of them - Derby-West Ham to precise. In the early kick-off, Leicester and Portsmouth are all-square at 1-1 as they approach half-time. More on that game shortly.

1255: More United pressure. Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov have had shots blocked inside the box, and now Nani has fired wide from outside the area. Danny Welbeck's movement is starting to expose a few cracks in the Rovers defence but they are holding out for now. Just under 10 minutes gone and it is still 0-0.

Charles Bailey on Twitter: "We maybe switching between De Gea and Lindegaard but only 2 goals conceded since THAT day #MUFC "

1252: Ouch. Phil Jones cleans out Blackburn's Mauro Formica after chasing his own poor control. It probably should have been a booking but referee Mike Dean decides a chat will do the job instead. United are still completely on top but Blackburn are defending well at the moment.

1250: United have had most of the ball so far but they haven't done much with it yet. Nani has floated a cross over Mark Bunn's bar and almost got on the end of Antonio Valencia's clipped pass, but that is the nearest we have come to a chance.

1248: Just before that pre-kick-off sing-song, Sir Alex Ferguson explained his team selection too: "Wayne Rooney has not trained well this week, He's missed a few days. Hopefully, he'll train today and the next two days ahead of Wednesday's match against Newcastle. There's great spirit in the dressing room. Some players have emerged like Michael Carrick and Patrice Evra, whose experience is helping us. We've suffered with the defenders though, we've got four centre-halves out."

1246: Manchester United get us under way.

1245: Sir Alex Ferguson looks pretty chirpy right now, because the Manchester United Foundation Choir are singing 'Happy Birthday' to him. He responds by giving them a round of applause.

1243: Right then. We are almost good to go at Old Trafford - give this page a manual refresh to get that 5 live commentary. Win or draw, and Manchester United will end the year on the top of the Premier League. Lose, and Blackburn will end 2011 at the bottom. In fact, Rovers could win today and still end up going into 2012 in 20th place... but I think the three points would be some consolation, wouldn't they?

Alex Phillips on Twitter: "Re. Samadgili at 1220. Viv Anderson's on that United bench too."

Martin Keown on Football Focus, speaking about Thierry Henry's return to Arsenal: "This is a wily move by Arsene Wenger. There is never any room for sentiment from the boss. I was watching Henry in training and they could hardly take the ball off him. I think they are trying to take the pressure off him, but he is one of the best athletes I have ever played with and him being there can only be positive."

Ewan Suttie on Twitter: "Lindegaard one week, De Gea the next. Make your mind up Fergie! Lindegaard for me BTW."

Blackburn boss Steve Kean on his line-up against Manchester United: "We're missing experience. We've got a very young side, much like the side that played against Liverpool. But we come here with a bit of confidence, on the back of the performance at Anfield. The experience of playing at Old Trafford today will help. It can be the making of the young guys."

Andy Bird on Twitter: "Could today be the final nail in the coffin for Steve Kean? I'm expecting at least a 5-0 again!"

From anon, via text: "Re. 1209. "Does that mean that the last MUFC loss at this time was 4-1 against QPR? The Dennis Bailey hat-trick?"

It must be. Nobody who saw that game - and it was live on ITV on New Year's Day 1992 so quite a few people did - will ever forget it.

Mark Lawrenson on Football Focus, again on Sir Alex's future: "There will be massive media speculation over the next manager and in that way I am slightly surprised he has announced it is three years."

Martin Keown on Football Focus, on Sir Alex Ferguson's pledge to spend three more years as Manchester United boss: "You have to respect his decision, but I suppose now it is all about who will be next at Old Trafford. Martin O'Neill, who has just started at Sunderland, is doing a good job, could it be him? Who knows."

Andrew Magorrian on Twitter: "Fair play Steve Kean, abuse everyday, any other manager would have walked in his position, keep faith - use will stay up - FACT."

PatrickScully95 on Twitter: "Has to be the weakest United squad I've seen in a while, if Blackburn go at them today they could be there for the taking!"

1224: And 'RVP 2' is trending on Twitter too. So that makes him your player of 2011, right?

OptaJoe on Twitter: "2 - Since conceding six against Man City, United have shipped just two goals in the last nine matches and kept seven clean sheets. Tighten."

BBC Radio 5 live
1220: Just a reminder that you can listen to commentary from four games this afternoon too. On BBC Radio 5 live, Man Utd-Blackburn (1245 GMT) is followed by Chelsea-Aston Villa (1500 GMT). And on Radio 5 live sports extra, you can listen to Derby-West Ham (1300 GMT) and Middlesbrough v Peterborough (1500 GMT).

SamadGigii on Twitter: "All this talk of legends back at clubs, look at #mufc's bench - Keane and Cole! (not really Roy and Andy though!) #legends"

Chris Bessant on Twitter: "What does Fergie think he's doing to us Fantasy Managers?! I transfer Rooney in for 2 easy home games and he gets 15 mins!"

Man Utd v Blackburn line-ups
Man Utd:
De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Jones, Carrick, Evra, Nani, Valencia, Park, Welbeck, Hernandez, Berbatov. Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Diouf, Pogba, Will Keane, Fryers, Cole.
Blackburn: Bunn, Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Pedersen, Henley, Nzonzi, Petrovic, Rochina, Formica, Yakubu. Subs: Kean, Slew, Blackman, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Morris, Linganzi.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

1216: Our first game of what promises to be a memorable end to 2011 has just started too. Leicester versus Portsmouth has kicked off at the King Power Stadium.

Man United v Blackburn
Saj Chowdhury reports:
Injuries in defence have left Manchester United with very few options, so Michael Carrick and Phil Jones fill in at centre-back. Full-back Rafael also returns from injury to take his place in the starting line-up, while Anderson is on the bench. Striker Wayne Rooney does not feature at all, with Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez paired in attack. Blackburn are without influential midfield pair David Dunn and Junior Hoilett, who are both injured.

1213: Right folks, give this page a manual refresh and if you're in the UK, you can watch Football Focus. Former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is the guest today. Will Martin Keown be there to do star jumps in his face during his interview though?

Lewis Bates on Twitter: "Blackburn boss Steve Kean has to be man of the year. 2 take such abuse and hounding from his own fans and still lead his team out each week"

1209: Here's a cracking stat from Infostrada to whet the appetite for Man Utd-Blackburn, which is fast approaching. Did you know that United have never lost a Premier League home match at Old Trafford over the Christmas period (from 25 December to 6 January, over the 12 days of Christmas). They have managed 24 wins and 5 draws since 1992. Are there any Rovers fans out there confident of ending that remarkable run today?

1206: ... I'm pretty sure that makes him your signing of the year, though.

1205: A cracking response from you lot to the BBC Football New Year's Honours List. We seem to have got 'Demba Ba 3' trending on Twitter, which might seem confusing at first...

Man United v Blackburn
Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Few things in football perplex Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but it appears this still does. "For anyone to sack Sam Allardyce, you would think they were off their head," he said of his friend who was dumped by Blackburn last December. The man who, surprisingly, took over, Steve Kean, is still in his job despite feverish protests from fans. The Scot says he wants to strengthen the Rovers squad in January - although he won't be letting the world know about it. Ronaldinho and Raul? "This time, with the benefit of hindsight, we will not mention anyone," said Kean."

1200: Ah, I'm told there are already plans in place for a Sir Alex Ferguson statue, to be in place for August 2012. Definitely a good idea, that.

Phil Jones is back from that jaw injury he sustained against Fulham before Christmas, and will play at centre-back against his former club, alongside Michael Carrick. Wayne Rooney is not in the starting XI. I'll bring you Blackburn news in just a tick.

nickcarr1 on Twitter: "Re. thedanthomas. Balotelli Top 5: 1) Bib fun 2) Firework party 3)'Why always me?' 4) Grass allergy 5) Paying visit to school bully"

From Matt in Luton, via text: "Rotten tomato #4 should be "worst miss". Torres' open goal howler against United in front of Stretford End, every time - no other contender!"

1148: Sir Alex just goes on and on, doesn't he. Surely there will be a statue of him at Old Trafford (to go with the stand named after him) by the time he does retire? Mind you, Arsene Wenger will probably try to sign him when that happens...

1145: Some breaking news from Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson, who turns 70 today, has pledged to carry on as United boss for three more years. He told MUTV: "I think I've got three years at the club," Ferguson said. "As long as my health stays up, and as long as I'm still enjoying it and still getting the satisfaction of the team doing its best."

thedanthomas on Twitter: "Think we need a whole honours list just for Balotelli. So many great moments. Long may it continue in 2012."

Callum Vass on Twitter: "Why aren't more people mentioning David Moyes (as manager of the year)? He's the only manager not to spend any money yet Everton are 10th."

1136: I'm tempted to introduce a 'rotten tomato' type award for 2011 too - so, worst player, worst signing, worst manager and so on... At £35m, Andy Carroll has made a big push for 2), hasn't he? But would you hand it to £50m Fernando Torres instead? Or somebody else... I'm guessing who Blackburn fans are going to vote for 3).

Nick Main on Twitter: "1) Juan Mata. 2) Demba Ba. 3) Alan Pardew. 4) Daniel Sturridge's cheeky backheel v Sunderland. 5) Anything Balotelli does!"

Harry White on Twitter: "1) RVP 2) Phil Jones 3) Harry Redknapp 4) Rooney vs City 5) England beating Spain!"

From Gaz in Darlington, via text: "Man Utd to win 5-0 today and top of the league for Fergie's 70th. Happy birthday and New Year to the master."

Alex Kingsley on Twitter: "1) Jordan Henderson 2) Andy Carroll 3) Steve Kean 4) Torres' 2nd vs United.. oh 5) Fireworkotelli."

So, Steve Kean does get a vote after all... will he get a vote of confidence from the Venky's though?

Henry Rudd-Clarke on Twitter: "Actually, for 3) I think it's quite obviously been Nigel Adkins. Genius."

Man United v Blackburn
Saj Chowdhury reports:
"So it's 'Happy Birthday' to the new member of the septuagenarian club, Sir Alex Ferguson. And what better way for the manager of champions to celebrate, then with a home fixture against the Premier League's basement club. Victory for United would move them back on top, for at least a day. What about Blackburn? They're only five points from the safe-zone, so it's not like they're gone without hope. The revival does not start today, though."

FOOTBALL LEAGUE UPDATE: Lots of early kick-offs in the Football League as the year comes to an end. The pick of the Championship games sees Leicester entertain Portsmouth and a feisty Yorkshire derby where Barnsley face Leeds and Derby play second-placed West Ham. In League One, Preston host Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United are against Hartlepool and bottom club Chesterfield are at Scunthorpe. In League Two, Plymouth can move off the root of the table with a win at Aldershot, Morecambe host Burton Albion and Oxford United travel to Torquay.

MaxZhukov7 on Twitter: "1) Daniel Sturridge 2) Demba Ba 3) Paul Lambert 4) Dzeko fourth vs Tottenham 5) Balotelli scoring with his shoulder."

(Birmingham fan) fraserwest on Twitter: "1) Robin van Persie 2) Demba Ba 3) Harry Redknapp 4) Craig Gardner v West Ham (CC semi-final) 5) Stephen Carr lifting the cup."

From Max H in Worthing, via text: "1) Robin Van Persie 2) Demba Ba 3) Harry Redknapp 4) Wayne Rooney vs Man City 5) Cesc Fabregas finally leaving Arsenal."

1110: There's a definite theme emerging with Mario Balotelli, who is has provided a lot of favourite moments by the looks of things. No surprise, seeing as he's been pure gold in the entertainment stakes - I'm hoping for a big year from him in 2012. Good luck trying to predict what he will do next, though.

mike_mutt182 on Twitter: "1) Phil Jones 2) Demba Ba 3) 'Arry 4) Rooney v Man Citeh 5) Baloteli setting his bathroom alight!"

stefansealey on Twitter: "1) Vincent Kompany 2) Scott Parker 3) Harry Redknapp 4) Bale vs Norwich 5) Balotelli subbed for a failed backheel."

GeorgeSmith_96 on Twitter: "1: Demba Ba 2: Sergio Aguero 3: Kenny Dalglish 4: Rooney vs. Man City 5: Balotelli needing help to put a bib on (twice!)"

srobbo90 on Twitter: "1) David Silva 2) Demba Ba 3) Harry Redknapp 4) Nani's 1st vs City in Community Shield 5) Balotelli (Why always me)."

1102: Keep your awards coming in folks. Meanwhile, Phil McNulty has been given the unenviable task of trying to predict what will happen in the world of football in the next 12 months. "As he says, In the game this would be called a hospital pass and is accompanied by the supposedly consoling words from your superiors such as: "Don't worry. No one will remember if you get it wrong." It's only fair if you lot have a go too, isn't it?

1100: Hmmm, plenty of support for Harry Redknapp but I'm yet to see anyone nominate Blackburn boss Steve Kean as manager of the year... maybe if the category had the prefix 'least-liked by his own fans'...

From Rob in Waltham, via text: "1.) Robin van Persie 2.) Demba Ba 3.) Harry Redknapp 4.) Rooney vs Man City 5.) Thierry Henry crying at his statue."

From Chris in London, via text: "1) David Silva. 2) Demba Ba. 3) Paul Lambert. 4) Rooney vs Man City. 5) United 8-2 Arsenal (Rooney was my Fantasy Football captain that day!)."

ashulpatel on Twitter: "1) Robin Van Persie 2) Demba Ba 3) Harry Redknapp 4)Rooney v City 5) Balotelli allergic reaction to grass."

Gunner77JF on Twitter: "1- Robin van Persie 2 - Demba Ba 3 - Mancini 4 - Van persie vs Everton 5 - Mario Balotelli, everything about him!"

nedthomasisablu on Twitter: "Highlight of 2011 for me has to be seeing Craig Bellamy play for Cardiff City. A dream come true "

1048: Here's mine, anyway: 1) Robin van Persie 2) Luis Suarez 3) Roberto Mancini 4) Wayne Rooney vs Man City 5) Anything that Mario Balotelli did, ever. I really want to hear yours, though...

1047: There are five categories: 1) Your player of the year, 2) signing of the year, 3) manager of the year, 4) goal of the year and 5) champagne moment. Get involved: #BBCFootball, Tweet me @chrisbevan_bbc or text in via 81111 (UK).

1046: Plenty to talk about this morning, then. As well as transfer gossip and the usual pre-match chat, I want to know who is on your New Year's Football Honours List for 2011? (If the Queen can have one, then so can I).

1043: If I'm being honest, the best thing about New Year's Eve for me these days is that it means the transfer window is about to open. It doesn't matter that most teams leave it to the last few minutes of January to conduct their business, either, because the rumour mill is already in full swing. According to the latest gossip, Liverpool are hoping to gazump Chelsea's move for Bolton defender Gary Cahill, but who will your team try to sign - and, more to the point, who should they sign? Check out our club-by-club guide to the January transfer window, featuring the thoughts of Lee Dixon and Alan Shearer plus a host of former players, here.

1039: So, will your 2011 end with a bang... or a whimper? Here's what's happening, and when, in the top flight today. It's not going to be dull, I promise:
All kick-offs at 1500 GMT unless stated
Man Utd v Blackburn (1245 GMT)
Arsenal v QPR
Bolton v Wolves
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Norwich v Fulham
Stoke v Wigan
Swansea v Tottenham
What else? Try a full(ish) programme in the Football League too. More on that shortly...

1035: Yep, your very own New Year's Eve Football Extravaganza begins right here. Time to reflect on the last 12 months, and look forward to 2012 too. Oh, and hopefully enjoy an avalanche of thrills, spills and goals in the next few hours. I'm not asking for too much, am I? Or am I?

Champagne moment
1032 GMT: Hello. By my watch there is less than 14 hours of 2011 left, and a job lot of football to be played. Let's get this party started, shall we?

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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 31 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man City 18 38 45
2 Man Utd 19 32 45
3 Tottenham 18 15 39
4 Arsenal 19 9 36
5 Chelsea 19 13 34
6 Liverpool 19 9 34
7 Newcastle 19 1 30
8 Stoke 19 -10 26
9 Aston Villa 19 -2 23
10 Norwich 19 -6 22
11 West Brom 18 -7 22
12 Everton 17 -2 21
13 Fulham 19 -5 20
14 Swansea 19 -5 20
15 Sunderland 18 0 18
16 Wolves 19 -13 17
17 QPR 19 -15 17
18 Wigan 19 -20 15
19 Blackburn 19 -13 14
20 Bolton 19 -19 13

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