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Live - Premier League

Blackburn 3-0 Stoke
Bolton 2-1 Portsmouth
Fulham 3-0 Middlesbrough
Hull 1-4 Sunderland
West Ham 0-1 Aston Villa


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

By Caroline Cheese

1936: Right, get your gladrags on, it's Saturday night, but make sure you're back in time for Match of the Day on BBC1 at 2250 GMT. See you tomorrow. I literally can't wait.

1932: Your Player of the Day, and indeed the only man to "break the eight" on Player Rater, is two-goal Blackburn hero Benni McCarthy on 8.49. Only Sunderland's Steed Malbranque comes close. Middlesbrough's Julio Arca is very much in the doghouse with a miserable 3.41.
Pick a game, rate the players

1927: Aston Villa move up to third, two points clear of Manchester United, despite a fairly unconvincing performance. Poor old West Ham stay a point above the relegation zone - and they could be in it tomorrow if Manchester City avoid defeat against West Brom.

1926: FULL-TIME West Ham 0-1 Aston Villa

1924: "Craig Bellamy's all round performance has been excellent today - but two goals in 12 games is not good enough for a striker."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Mark Bright

1922: With the clock ticking towards 90, Villa play keep-ball in the corner - which is only going to add to West Ham's frustration. Four minutes of injury time to be played.

1921: "It's just no fun being a Hammers fan."
Mike in Southend, via text on 81111

1918: Big chance for West Ham. The ball pings about in the box and eventually comes to Calum Davenport, who shoots too close to Brad Friedel.

1917: Martin O'Neill is fuming as Ashley Young lies in the penalty area, holding his head. He certainly got caught as Calum Davenport cleared with his boot. Meanwhile, Diego Tristan is on for West Ham, Jack Collison is off.

1914: "Haha, didn't you just KNOW that was gonna happen?"
nufc_mcstueyb on 606
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1912: Villa heading for third as it stands, while the Hammers are looking at a record of one point from a possible 18 at home.

1910: GOAL West Ham 0-1 Aston Villa
How cruel is football? James Milner collects the ball on the left and jinks into the box, he attempts to cross to the far post but it takes a big deflection off Lucas Neill and drops into the far corner. The winger is almost too embarrassed to celebrate.

1907: "What does Zola see in Carlton Cole? He's not good enough for the Premier League. He's too lazy."
Anon via text on 81111

1905: Still more than 15 minutes remaining at Upton Park. I sense that the nation has already sidled off to begin the Saturday-before-Christmas festivities. I shall plough on though.

1901: Ashley Young curls a right-footed shot just wide of the post. A winner for Villa would be very harsh on the hosts.

1858: Carlton Cole holds off the challenge in the box and gets a shot in, but Brad Friedel is there again with the save. Incredible. As Villa look to break, Ashley Young is clattered by Lucas Neill - and that's our first yellow.

1857: Another good corner from the right for West Ham and Calum Davenport balloons a header over. How many chances do they want?

1856: Craig Bellamy escapes down the left and finds Carlton Cole but Brad Friedel makes a double save.

1855: "Take Carlton Cole off and play Tristan or Sears or Di Michele. It's obvious he's not going to get a goal and he really isn't doing much on the pitch."
YeOldHammer on 606
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1852: Lucas Neill swings over a lovely, inswinging cross from the right and Carlton Cole is waiting at the far post - but heads disastrously over. Very poor.

1850: Nigel Reo-Coker feels the wrath of the home fans as he takes his first touch. The midfielder left the Hammers in 2007 for £7.5m.

1848: Injuries on both sides. Lee Bowyer comes on for Valon Behrami, while Nigel Reo-Coker replaces Carlos Cuellar for Aston Villa.

1846: "West Ham are playing some pretty good stuff. They just lack the killer punch up front."
the changed man on 606
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1842: And I'm hearing that Hayden Mullins for Scott Parker was in fact a tactical change by Gianfranco Zola. So there we go.

1841: Time for Lucas Neill to have a go. He heads a corner goalwards - but over the bar. Decent start by West Ham.

1839: Matt Upson rises above the Villa defence to meet a free-kick but fails to find the target. It's nearly a year since Upson scored for West Ham.

1837: And we're off. Hayden Mullins replaces Scott Parker for West Ham. An injury I assume.

1836: Quick burst of I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles from the home fans as the players return for our final 45 minutes of the day.

1834: More from Milan's new star Dave B: "I've played in the Champions League quite a few times and loved every minute of it. If it comes around again, then great, but I'm not sure about that."

1832: Hurray for people power! Brad Friedel soars up to 6.97 on Player Rater while Ashley Young is on a far more realistic 7.61. Carlton Cole rightly brings up the rear on 4.65.
West Ham v Aston Villa Player Rater

1828: Meanwhile, David Beckham is officially unveiled at AC Milan. "I've already fallen in love," says the old smoothie. "I love the history behind great teams. It's going to be hard to leave but we all know that I play in America for the Galaxy. But I'm going to have a great time here I hope."

1823: The Player Rater users are up to their old tricks. Ashley Young is streets ahead on 8.27, while Brad Friedel lags behind on 4.77. That's not right is it? Be a love and change it would you?
West Ham v Aston Villa Player Rater

1820: HALF-TIME West Ham 0-0 Aston Villa

1818: Up the other end and Rob Green makes a fabulous double save, first from James Milner and then from Gareth Barry's measured volley.

1818: Valon Behrami unleashes a dipping shot from distance and Brad Friedel can only punch it back into play - but there isn't a Hammers forward anywhere near to take advantage.

1816: Stilyan Petrov nutmegs Craig Bellamy on the touchline and then turns around and say something. Bellamy sees the funny side... eventually.

1814: As if to prove Mark Bright's point, Carlton Cole picks up the ball on the edge of the area and clips the ball into the box - straight into the arms of the keeper.

1813: "I'm looking at Carlton Cole and I'm thinking 'Come on, do something'."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Mark Bright

1810: Martin O'Neill and Gianfranco Zola are both on the edge of their technical areas, kicking every ball. Ooh, and there's Fabio Capello. Plenty for the England boss to check out today.

1808: Lovely move from West Ham. Lucas Neill plays in Craig Bellamy again and the cross comes off Curtis Davies before flying just over the bar.

1804: Calum Davenport gives away a free-kick with a rash tackle on Gabby Agbonlahor. It's about 25 yards out, left of centre. Ashley Young curls it inches wide, with Rob Green rooted to the spot.

1801: Lucas Neill wrestles Gareth Barry to the ground as a cross comes over, but no penalty given. Replays show Neill is probably a lucky boy.

1800: Woooooooah. What is it with defenders passing to Ashley Young? Scott Parker's back-pass goes straight to the winger, who goes past Rob Green but hits the outside of the post with his angled shot. Massive let-off for Parker and West Ham.

1756: Villa break with Gabby Agbonlahor on the left and Steve Sidwell times his run into the box to perfection - but the stabs the cross wide.

1751: Valon Behrami looks like he might actually cry after he is adjudged to have obstructed Ashley Young. The poor boy is distraught. Young tees up Steve Sidwell from the free-kick but the midfielder fails to find the target.

1749: West Ham beginning to look threatening, with Craig Bellamy's running causing the Villa defence all sorts of problems.

1747: Brilliant save by Brad Friedel. Herita Ilunga lifts a lovely ball through for Craig Bellamy, who cuts in from the left, but the keeper sticks out an arm to save the shot.

1744: Crunching coming-together in midfield as Carlos Cuellar and Herita Ilunga go for a 50-50 ball. Cuellar comes off worse, but he is able to limp off and looks like he should be OK.

1743: Mark Noble wins the battle of minds with Craig Bellamy over a free-kick. Instead of shooting, Noble floats it to the far post and Calum Davenport heads it across for Lucas Neill - but the defender can't get any purchase on the shot.

1741: Lucas Neill plays a decent ball into the channel for Craig Bellamy, but the striker's angle is too tight and Brad Friedel comfortably collects.

1738: "I'm actually fairly ashamed of myself. I was one of the many Bolton fans calling for Megson's head, but he's proving everybody wrong at the moment. Seven wins this side of Christmas is a pretty decent return I think."
darrend1234 on 606
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1736: Good start from the visitors, skipper Lucas Neill having to do some frantic organising in the West Ham defence already.

1733: Off we go...

1729: Here comes the players. Just time for a quick stat attack: Nicky Barmby's goal for Hull earlier was his first in the Premier League since May 2003 and means he joins Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand and Marcus Bent as the only players to have scored for six different clubs in the top flight.

1727: West Ham skipper Lucas Neill gives former Blackburn team-mate Brad Friedel a warm welcome in the tunnel.

1723: Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody is the song of choice at Upton Park as the players warm up. That song came joint first in BBC Sport's unofficial poll for the best Christmas song earlier today, sharing top spot with Wizzard's I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. A poll of five people I should point out...

1716: As Ricky Sbragia is speaking to the BBC after Sunderland's 4-1 win at Hull, Sunderland players wander past on three separate occasions and shout "give him the job". It's going to be hard not to give it to him now...

1714: "At the moment Roque Santa Cruz is the farthest thing from my mind. I'm just going to enjoy this victory tonight. I'll take it up tomorrow or Monday."
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce
Santa Cruz hints at Rovers exit

1711: West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola picks the same side that drew at Chelsea last weekend, while Aston Villa, who named a shadow side in Wednesday's Uefa Cup defeat by Hamburg, are unchanged from the team that thumped Bolton in their last Premier League outing last Saturday.

1709: "If Man City get relegated and QPR do not get promoted would that not make the Championship a very rich league?"
SimpreZola on 606
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1704: TEAMS West Ham v Aston Villa
West Ham: Green, Neill, Davenport, Upson, Ilunga, Collison, Noble, Parker, Behrami, Bellamy, Cole. Subs: Lastuvka, Boa Morte, Mullins, Faubert, Tristan, Bowyer, Di Michele.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Davies, Laursen, Luke Young, Petrov, Milner, Sidwell, Barry, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Harewood, Delfouneso, Knight, Reo-Coker, Shorey, Gardner.

1700: What a day it's been already. 14 goals in four games. And there's more to come! Aston Villa travel to West Ham with the chance to go third while Manchester United enjoy a nice holiday in Japan.

1657: Replacing Sunderland in the bottom three are Manchester City... yes, Manchester City. Sam Allardyce's first win as Blackburn boss means Rovers are now three points from safety. Pompey are down to 10th, Fulham up to eighth, Bolton ninth.

1656: bealog (see 1648) isn't kidding by the way. Sunderland move from the drop zone and up to 12th with that thumping win over Hull. That's the second game in a row they have scored four goals - and Ricky S is going to find it hard to avoid the full-time job now.

1655: FULL-TIME Blackburn 3-0 Stoke

1655: FULL-TIME Hull 1-4 Sunderland

1653: FULL-TIME Bolton 2-1 Portsmouth

1653: FULL-TIME Fulham 3-0 Middlesbrough

1650: GOAL Hull 1-4 Sunderland
Djibril Cisse races down the inside right channel and produces a deadly finish from a difficult angle. And we get to see the celebration again. How marvellous.

1648: "This league is mad. One week your team is in the relegation zone, then a win and you've zoomed up. Hope this continues until the end of the season. Magic!!"
bealog on 606
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1647: "Boro could quite easily get relegated this season if we're not careful."
Chris, Leeds, via text on 81111

1645: "Christmas cracking atmosphere here at the Cottage. All the home fans desperate for Zamora to score - as is he judging by the number of wayward shots."
IanH via text on 81111

1643: GOAL Hull 1-3 Sunderland
Steed Malbranque twists and turns on the right and crosses for Kenwyne Jones to nod in from close-range. There follows one of the finest goal celebrations I have had the pleasure of watching, featuring Jones and Djibril Cisse waving their arms around like windmills. Match of the Day, that's all I'm saying.

1639: RED CARD Hull
Shortly after earning his first yellow card for a bad tackle, Sam Ricketts commits another shocker on Phil Bardsley and is given a well-deserved second.

1636: GOAL Hull 1-2 Sunderland
Deserved - but lucky - goal for Sunderland. Kieran Richardson lets fly from outside the area and it takes an enormous deflection off defender Kamil Zayatte to wrong-foot Boaz Myhill.

1636: And now Benni McCarthy smacks a deflected shot against the post as he looks for his hat-trick.

1634: Lovely flowing move from Blackburn - and we haven't said that much this season - but Morten Gamset Pedersen's shot is saved by Steve Simonsen. The keeper again keeps the scoreline down a moment later, saving from Jason Roberts.

1632: Daniel Cousin has the ball in the net for Hull, but he's offside.

1630: Unlucky Bolton. Ricardo Gardner drives through the midfield and slides the ball through for Johan Elmander, who is thwarted by David James. The ball comes out to Gardner, who curls a left-footed shot just past the post.

1627: Hull goalscorer Nicky Barmby is taken off. Sunderland are well on top at the KC. As it stands, Manchester City are heading for the drop zone.

1624: "A penalty given against Hull, one not given against Arsenal, and now one given against Fulham. I wish these things would hurry up and 'balance themselves out' like everyone says they will!"
Tom in Middlesbrough, via text on 81111

1623: Kevin Nolan latches onto Kevin Davies' knock-down ahead of David James but stabs the ball wide. Chance after chance at the Reebok.

1623: Pompey boss Tony Adams gives Real Madrid-bound Lassana Diarra a hearty high-five before he comes on to replace Richard Hughes.

1621: Kevin Davies' header is cleared off the line by a combination of David James and Niko Kranjcar.

1619: GOAL Fulham 3-0 Middlesbrough
Andy Johnson escapes down the left and slips the ball inside for Danny Murphy who sets up Clint Dempsey to slot in the third. Boro torn apart there. They may still be fuming about that penalty decision, which was harsh on Tony McMahon if you ask me.

1615: David James gets away with an absolute howler even he might be proud of. The keeper goes to belt the ball clear but makes only the slightest of contact. Johan Elmander is in, but James recovers to collect the ball.

1614: "Djibril Cisse looks like an absolute muppet."
SSWnumber12 on 606

1613: GOAL Fulham 2-0 Middlesbrough
Tony McMahon's clearance hits Bobby Zamora and then cannons back onto the defender's arm. The linesman urgently waves his flag for the penalty - and the ref eventually spots it. Big complaints from the Boro players, but Danny Murphy steps up to squeeze the spot-kick inside the post.


1610: If you want to see Djibril Cisse's latest 'do', try picture 10 of the gallery...
Saturday's football photos

1608: Abdoulaye Faye heads over the bar from about a yard out. An early Stoke goal might make things interesting.

1605: And we're back under way everywhere.

1604: Julio Arca is substituted at half-time for Middlesbrough - good news for the safety of Fulham players after his awful first-half tackle on Andy Johnson. Mido on.

1559: "Re 1553: Allardyce's reign ended with Newcastle in 11th. As a Rovers fan, I think I'd take that, right now."
jcamero on 606
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1557: "Bad cross, bad defending, bad shot, bad save, bad goal. Been a terrible game at the Cottage, and the goal sums it up quite well..."
Anon via text on 81111

1553: The Zog on 606 reminds us that Newcastle led Bolton 3-0 at half-time in Sam Allardyce's first game in charge. The game ended 3-1, the reign didn't end quite so well.

1550: HALF-TIME Blackburn 3-0 Stoke

1549: HALF-TIME Bolton 2-1 Portsmouth

1548: HALF-TIME Fulham 1-0 Middlesbrough

1548: HALF-TIME Hull 1-1 Sunderland

1547: Portsmouth are coming back into it against Bolton... Peter Crouch chests down a cross and sets up Hermann Hreidarsson, who sort of falls over the ball in quite embarrassing fashion.

1545: "Re 1534: you have realised Blackburn are at home to Stoke right? Just wait until they play a decent team!"
Steve, London, via text on 81111

1541: GOAL Fulham 1-0 Middlesbrough
Bobby Zamora brings down John Pantsil's cross, turns and shoots and though Ross Turnbull saves, Jimmy Bullard is there to put the rebound into the roof of the net. Give that man a pay rise!

1538: Julio Arca takes out Andy Johnson with a brutal tackle. That prompts Roy Hodgson to have a few sharp words with Gareth Southgate. Southgate does not respond. Arca gets away with a yellow.

1536: Fulham's Simon Davies curls a 16-yard shot which beats Ross Turnbull but also his left-hand post.

1536: Bolton go close to a third... David James saves Ricardo Gardner's shot with his foot and is then stranded as Matt Taylor looks to bury the rebound but Hermann Hreidarsson is there to block.

1535: Sunderland keeper Marton Fulop manages to tip over a stunning Geovanni free-kick.

1534: "I think Big Sam's shopping list is only going to have champagne and party poppers on it today! Who says he needs new players?"
mindajax on 606
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1532: Fulham are doing their best to join the goals. Andy Johnson is clean through but Ross Turnbull deflects the shot wide. Zoltan Gera is injured for Fulham, and is replaced by Bobby Zamora.

1529: "I was a massive fan of Hull doing hugely unexpectedly well. Until it was our turn. C'mon Sunderland, let's get the sort of result we would have expected at the start of the season! Goalfest today, loving it."
Superstu88 on 606
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1527: GOAL Blackburn 3-0 Stoke
Benni McCarthy flicks the ball on brilliantly for Jason Roberts and then is in the right place to slam in the rebound after Roberts' shot is saved. Ewood Park erupts.

1526: Middlesbrough's first good chance falls to striker Tuncay who steals in to connect with Stewart Downing's corner, but sees his 12-yard bullet header fly wide of the Fulham left-hand upright.

1525: This may be a perfect start for Sam Allardyce - but he's received two absolute gifts from Stoke. The Potters have the worst away record in the league - and on this form, that's not surprising.

1524: Fulham v Boro finally comes to life. Fulham's Andy Johnson swivels and shoots but his effort is deflected wide for a corner. From the set piece defender John Pantsil misses from three yards with a header at the far post.

1520: GOAL Bolton 2-1 Portsmouth
Niko Kranjcar uses the outside of his boot to curl in a deep cross to the back post where Peter Crouch heads back across goal and into the net to pull Pompey back into the match.

1520: GOAL Hull 1-1 Sunderland
Boaz Myhill pumps a long free-kick into the box where Michael Turner's shot is brilliantly saved by Marton Fulop but the loose ball is eventually smashed in by Nicky Barmby - his first goal since May.

1517: GOAL Blackburn 2-0 Stoke
Brett Emerton drives the cross in from the right and instead of clearing it, Ryan Shawcross directs the ball to Jason Roberts who cannot miss - and doesn't.

1517: "What the......!? Djibril Cisse's hair looks like a Christmas tea cosy..."
Steph via text on 81111
Indeed. The zany Frenchman has dyed his barnet green this week.

1515: Fulham-Middlesbrough are yet to come to the goals party. Indeed, by all accounts, that game is nowhere near any sort of party right now. Plenty of time yet...

1511: GOAL Hull 0-1 Sunderland
Fabulous strike. Steed Malbranque picks up the ball about 22 yards out and arrows a right-foot shot into the top corner. Ricky S's army marches on...

1510: "I knew my keyboard was magic, every time I press refresh Bolton score!"
Paul in Solihull, via text on 81111

1509: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Stoke
That is such a clear penalty, it's almost two. Morten Gamst Pedersen takes the ball past Ibrahima Sonko and is almost split in two by the defender. Benni McCarthy slots in the spot-kick to give Sam Allardyce the perfect start.


1507: Those Bolton goals didn't allow me the chance to tell you the games have kicked off. Believe me, they have kicked off though.

1506: Glenn Whelan's cross bounces off the bar as Stoke go close at Ewood Park.

1504: Portsmouth are in all sorts of bother. Gretar Steinsson beats Niko Kranjcar on the right, but three players narrowly fail to connect with his low cross.

1503: GOAL Bolton 2-0 Portsmouth
I hardly need tell you but Portsmouth are all over the shop. Matt Taylor heads another long ball back across goal for Ricardo Gardner to hammer in. Bolton's first goal came after 48 seconds.

1501: GOAL Bolton 1-0 Portsmouth
What a start for Sam Allardyce... 's old team. Kevin Davies flicks on a long ball and Matt Taylor flicks the ball over the defender and volleys in.

1459: Big Sam hovers in the tunnel for a few moments before emerging wrapped in a Blackburn scarf. Sounds like a decent reception too. Incidentally, Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen was injured in the warm-up and is replaced by Steve Simonsen.

1456: "Are we human or are we dancer?" sing the Killers, a question the Ewood Park crowd are no doubt asking themselves as they await the arrival of Big Sam.

1453: Uh-oh. There's a bundle involving the mascots at Ewood Park. Pottermus pays the price for taunting the two Rovers characters and comes off a lot worse. Let's hope there were no kids watching.

1452: "All the games today seem too close to call. Would like Fulham to win, as Roy Hodgson seems like a nice bloke. Good Grandad material. Bet he has a bag of Werthers Original in his pocket."
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1449: Santas, Santas everywhere... except at Ewood Park where Santa Cruz is conspicuous by his absence. Still waiting for Big Sam's big entrance.

1446: Anyone else a bit disappointed we've been denied the big Muamba v Mvuemba battle? No? Just me then...

1445:Bolton make one change from the side that was beaten by to Aston Villa last weekend, bringing in Ricardo Gardner for Fabrice Muamba. Portsmouth make two changes from the side that lost to Newcastle, with Hermann Hreidarsson and Papa Bouba Diop taking the places of Nadir Belhadj and Arnold Mvuemba.

1443: "Hello Cheesy. Do you realise that if every match today is a draw and Spurs win big tomorrow then we will be in the top 10? Easy."
Anon via text on 81111

1441: Reading beat Birmingham 3-1 away from home, moving them into an automatic promotion spot in the Championship.

1439: "Re 1425: So did the guy above me in our league who's been giving me some very smug chat this week. Love it."
Paul, working hard on an mba, no really... via text on 81111

1436: "Ricky S shouldn't get job full time - but should be kept on as coach, he's clearly doing something right. Gonna try to watch the game on my laptop today. Fancy us to beat Hull today."
Liam, Mackem stranded in Scarborough, via text on 81111

1433: Let's get back to the normality of team news shall we? Hull make just one change from the side that drew 2-2 at Liverpool and it is an enforced one, with defender Paul McShane not eligible to play under the terms of his loan deal from Sunderland - so Richard Garcia comes in. Sunderland stick with the same XI that trounced West Brom 4-0, though Dean Whitehead is fit enough for the bench.

1431: Sometimes we get some weird texts, eg "Another month, another year, another smile, another tear, another winter, summer too but there will never be another you. Send This To Everyone You Care About.... I just did... merry christmas x x x"

1430: Fulham striker Bobby Zamora has recovered from a hip injury but can only manage a place on the bench.Middlesbrough midfielder Didier Digard misses out because of a groin strain with Mohamed Shawky coming in to replace him. David Wheater, who returns from suspension, Mido and Andrew Taylor, both back from injury, are substitutes.

1428: Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce starts his reign by making three changes from the side that lost at Wigan in Paul Ince's last game. Roque Santa Cruz - at the centre of more transfer speculation - is out with a calf injury suffered in training on Friday - and Benni McCarthy comes in. Jason Roberts comes in for Matt Derbyshire, while David Dunn makes his first appearance since 23 August as Tugay drops to the bench. Stoke boss Tony Pulis also makes three changes to the team which drew 0-0 at home to Fulham with Vincent Pericard, Ryan Shawcross and Richard Creswell replacing Mamady Sidibe, Andy Wilkinson and Danny Pugh.

1428: TEAMS Hull v Sunderland
Hull: Myhill, Mendy, Turner, Zayatte, Ricketts, Garcia, Ashbee, Boateng, Geovanni, Barmby, King. Subs: Duke, Doyle, Windass, Halmosi, Marney, Cousin, Giannakopoulos.
Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Nosworthy, Ferdinand, Collins, Malbranque, Tainio, Richardson, Reid, Jones, Cisse. Subs: Colgan, Whitehead, Edwards, Murphy, Leadbitter, Yorke, Healy.

1425: "Re 1412: After careful thinking I made a bold move this morning and brought Roque Santa Cruz into my dream team and made him captain. Words can't describe my fury."
Chris, annoyed at work, via text on 81111
What sort of careful thinking was that?!

1423: "Aston Villa have as much chance of winning the league as Blackburn have of keeping Santa Cruz."
Anon via text on 81111

1419: TEAMS Bolton v Portsmouth
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Davies, Nolan, McCann, Taylor, Gardner, Elmander. Subs: Al Habsi, Muamba, Smolarek, Riga, Shittu, Basham, Obadeyi.
Portsmouth: James, Pamarot, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Diop, Davis, Hughes, Kranjcar, Defoe, Crouch. Subs: Ashdown, Diarra, Nugent, Little, Kanu, Armand Traore, Wilson.

1417: TEAMS Blackburn v Stoke
Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Emerton, Dunn, Andrews, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts. Subs: Brown, Kerimoglu, Khizanishvili, Mokoena, Simpson, Judge, Derbyshire.
Stoke: Simonsen, Shawcross, Sonko, Abdoulaye Faye, Higginbotham, Delap, Whelan, Amdy Faye, Cresswell, Pericard, Fuller. Subs: Sorensen, Olofinjana, Soares, Pugh, Davies, Tonge, Wilkinson.

1415: TEAMS Fulham v Middlesbrough
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard, Murphy, Gera, Dempsey, Johnson. Subs: Zuberbuhler, Zamora, Nevland, Etuhu, Stoor, Andreasen, Kallio.
Middlesbrough: Turnbull, McMahon, Riggott, Huth, Pogatetz, Johnson, Shawky, Arca, Downing, Aliadiere, Sanli. Subs: Jones, Taylor, Mido, Emnes, Alves, Wheater, Walker.

1412: Un petit peu of early team news for your perusal. Roque Santa Cruz does not play for Blackburn today because he has a calf strain.
Santa Cruz hints at Rovers exit

1410: "Re 1345: Chelsea are the only team out the "Big Four" to beat Villa this season so far. So why shouldn't they aim for the title. Wenger still thinks Arsenal have a chance, and look at their season so far."
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1407: Ha. Just as I published that last comment, Kevin Phillips scored an absolute belter to equalise for Birmingham, so it's 1-1. Ooh, it's like 'Live text - Championship'.

1406: No early Prem game today, but there is a top-of-the-table clash in the Championship - with Reading leading Birmingham 1-0 - as well as the usual SPL fun and games.
Live text - Scottish Premier LeagueLive text - Birmingham v Reading

1402: "Re 1345: I don't think Ricky should get the job on the merit of four games, he's done a fantastic job so far but i think we need someone with a lot more managerial experience."
SAFC_Snapples on 606
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1358: To answer a question from merseybeats over on 606, Manchester City will be in the bottom three at the end of the day if Sunderland avoid defeat against Hull at the KC Stadium. How about that for a bit of pressure on Mark Hughes' side - who travel to West Brom tomorrow.

1356: "Re 1349: If Steve Gibson, Mohhamed Al-Fayed, Randy Lerner et al don't qualify as 'wealthy' then I'm going to go ahead and assume you're eating solid gold scones as we speak."
Zippy, George and Bungle on 606
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1351: "Re 1345: Hahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahah! Villa for the title? Hahahaha... those are my thoughts."
grandCRM on 606
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1349: "Re: 1330. Do you mean it has the look of well run clubs who haven't got the millions of a wealthy investor and who constantly have to put up with journalistic bias as a result? If so, I suppose you're right."
Anon via text on 81111

1345: Couple of things for you to mull over. Number one, in his Sun column, Terry Venables says Aston Villa shouldn't just be targeting Champions League football, they should be after the title because the top three are hardly pulling up trees. Number two, Ricky Sblg… Ricky Srbla… Ricky S will get the Sunderland job on a permanent basis if they win their next two games. Thoughts?

1342: I'm still struggling with one of those nasty festive bugs that are going around, so I'm very much hoping you will be doing most of the work today. Text me on 81111 or get involved on 606. It really is as simple as that. Remember you get special (imaginary) bonus points if you're going to a game...
Join the debate on 606

1337: "I want goals. Is that too much to ask for?"
HeWasJustOnside on 606
Join the debate on 606

1330: To mark the return of Big Sam, today's Premier League fixture list has a very Big Sam look about it. Know what I mean?

Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

see also
Blackburn 3-0 Stoke
20 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Hull 1-4 Sunderland
20 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Fulham 3-0 Middlesbrough
20 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Bolton 2-1 Portsmouth
20 Dec 08 |  Premier League
West Ham 0-1 Aston Villa
20 Dec 08 |  Premier League

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