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Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Saturday, 16 May 2009 17:30 UK

Premier League as it happened

Bolton 1-1 Hull
Everton 3-1 West Ham
Man Utd 0-0 Arsenal
Middlesbrough 1-1 Aston Villa
Newcastle 0-1 Fulham
Stoke 2-0 Wigan
Tottenham 2-1 Man City


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

By Caroline Cheese

1730: Time to say goodbye. It already seems like a lifetime ago that Manchester United lifted the Premier League title for the third year in row. Since then, potentially season-defining goals, saves and decisions have come and gone at the other end of the table. For goodness sake, tune into MOTD, which is on at 2200 BST on BBC2. Yes,BBC2. Apparently, it's the Eurovision Song Contest on BBC1. Watch out for Sweden, I say. I'll see you all again tomorrow.

1724: The mathematics involved in this remarkable relegation scrap are too much for me to handle. If West Brom manage even a point tomorrow, none of the relegation places will have been decided going into the final day of the season.

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From oadbyfox on 606: "Cheese, shouldn't you add that West Brom are down if they fail to win tomorrow against Liverpool?" Join the debate on 606

1720: My apologies, Sunderland fans - although I'm sure you're a lot more familiar with your position in the table than me. The Black Cats need to win at Portsmouth to be safe, a draw would leave them sweating because their goal difference is very similar to Newcastle's.

Newcastle boss Alan Shearer: "I thought it was a poor decision (to disallow Obafemi Martins' 'goal'). There's no law that says you can't stand in front of the keeper. It was a disappointing day. We didn't start well and it's difficult to pick it up. We'll give it a right good go next weekend. It's not over yet. I'm sure there will be more twists and turns."

1711: Everton's win coupled with Villa's draw at Boro means David Moyes' side go up to fifth. Tottenham's late winner against Manchester City means the exciting race for the Europa League goes down to the wire. Fulham, who host Everton in their final game, have a two-point lead over Spurs, who are at Liverpool.

From Rob, Newbury, via text on 81111: "Re Keebs at 1707: Yes, United will rest some players against Hull. But try naming a weak United side, one which isn't better that anything Hull can field!"

From a tearful Andrew in Newcastle, via text on 81111: "Not as impressive as Monday's performance but Newcastle should have got something from that game. Combination of brilliant goalkeeping and poor refereeing denying us."

1707: Sunderland play at Portsmouth, who are now safe, on Monday. A win will secure Ricky Sbragia's side their Premier League status.

From Henry, Sussex, via text on 81111: "People seem to be forgetting that Sunderland can still go down!"

Text in your views on 81111

From Keebs, Leicester, via text on 81111: "With Man United likely to play a weakened side next week, Newcastle and Boro are in big trouble. I cannot see either getting a point next Sunday."

1700: That point for Hull is enough for them to climb out of the bottom three with one game remaining. They host Manchester United next Sunday, while Newcastle travel to Aston Villa. Middlesbrough are clinging on by their fingernails. They need to beat West Ham, hope Hull lose and also make up a goal difference deficit of four. In other words: Gareth Southgate's side are all but relegated.

1659: FULL-TIME Bolton 1-1 Hull

1658: Into the final minute at the Reebok Stadium. Hull out of the bottom three as it stands.

1656: FULL-TIME Middlesbrough 1-1 Aston Villa

1655: FULL-TIME Stoke 2-0 Wigan

1655: FULL-TIME Tottenham 2-1 Man City

1654: Alan Shearer cuts a forlorn figure as he watches his players trudge off the pitch. He has a word with the ref about that disallowed goal by Mark Viduka.

1653: FULL-TIME Everton 3-1 West Ham

1653: FULL-TIME Newcastle 0-1 Fulham

1651: That's a goa... No it's not, it's another absolutely stunning save - this time from Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal, keeping out Nicky Butt's volley from Andy Carroll's knock-down. Heartbreaking for Newcastle fans.

1650: The home fans are heading for the exits at St James' Park. They're into injury time, and these are crucial moments for the Magpies' future.

Text in your views on 81111

From anon via text on 81111: "Boro, please! Newcastle are losing! They are losing, just one more goal, for heaven's sake!"


1647: GOAL Tottenham 2-1 Man City
Micah Richards is penalised for bundling over Fraizer Campbell as the cross comes in from the right. Robbie Keane sends Shay Given the wrong away - and that could keep alive their Europa League hopes.



1645: Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen makes an absolutely sensational save - somehow clawing Daniel Cousin's header up and on to the bar. Unbelievable.

1644: At the Riverside, hands are being wrung as Tuncay heads just over. Boro will stay alive as it stands - but they'll need a miracle.

1642: The camera pans to some very miserable faces at St James' Park. As it stands, Newcastle's fate will not be in their hands heading into their final game of the season at Aston Villa. Hull face champions Manchester United.


1638: GOAL Stoke 2-0 Wigan
Party time at the Britannia Stadium. James Beattie seems to have made the game safe for Tony Pulis' side, heading in from four yards after Matthew Etherington beats Richard Kingson to the ball to send over the cross.


1638: GOAL Everton 3-1 West Ham
A lovely shimmy from the excellent Steven Pienaar leaves Jonathan Spector trailing and his low cross puts Louis Saha's second on a plate for him.

1637: Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer makes a point-blank save from Obafemi Martins. This is so tense - and I'm a neutral.

1635: And now David Wheater clears off the line for Middlesbrough from Gabby Agbonlahor's header. Potentially season-defining moments right here.


1634: Goodness me. Ball breaks loose to Nicky Barmby on the edge of the area and the Hull veteran's mis-hit shot bounces once before coming back off the inside of the post.

1633: Bolton's corner comes off Hull striker Manucho - but Craig Fagan is there again with his second goal-line clearance of the game.


1630: GOAL Stoke 1-0 Wigan
Ricardo Fuller gets tops marks for persistence - as well as a goal, which may mean more to him. Long ball over the top and he controls it beautifully. He rides one tackle, has one shot blocked before eventually curling in a lovely effort.


1626: GOAL Tottenham 1-1 Man City
Stunning goal by City. A slick passing move ends with Benjani heading on for fellow substitute Valeri Bojinov to volley in his first goal for City.

1624: That Villa goal means Boro are three points from safety as it stands - but not technically down.

1622: Haha. I wrote Gareth Southgate instead of Gareth Barry. Yes, I'm an idiot. I'm not looking at the texts or 606 for a few minutes...

Red card

1619: RED CARD Newcastle
Newcastle in a right royal pickle now. Last defender Sebastien Bassong is sent off for trip on Fulham's Diomansy Kamara.


1618: GOAL Middlesbrough 1-1 Aston Villa
Blimey O'Reilly. Middlesbrough pay a heavy price for failing to clear a cross very far and John Carew fires through a crowd of players to equalise for Villa.

1617: Gareth Barry goes close for Villa - who are all over Boro at the Riverside.

1617: Newcastle really piling on the pressure at St James' - and the crowd are responding.

1615: Kevin Nolan stood in front of Mark Schwarzer at the corner, and the Fulham keeper then couldn't get past him to reach the corner. Looked a harsh decision for Newcastle.

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From Zippy, George and Bungle on 606: "Re 1609: So unlucky for Newcastle. Goal wrongly ruled out for a foul on the goalkeeper. Viduka will be devastated."
Join the debate on 606

1613: Incredible drama this afternoon. That Craig Fagan goal means Newcastle replace Hull in the bottom three as it stands.


1610: GOAL Bolton 1-1 Hull
Danny Shittu fails to deal with a long ball out of defence and Craig Fagan is left to pick it up and finish left-footed past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

1609: Danny Guthrie's free-kick is flicked on by Kevin Nolan but Dickson Etuhu clears over for corner. From the following corner Mark Viduka heads in but referee Howard Webb disallows the strike as a result of Kevin Nolan's foul on Mark Schwarzer.


1609: GOAL Everton 2-1 West Ham
Shocking defending by West Ham allowing a corner to come all the way across goal - where it's slotted in by Joseph Yobo.

BBC Sport's David Garrido at White Hart Lane: "The chant from Spurs fans is "Liam, what's the score?" - aimed at Oasis frontman and City fan Liam Gallagher, who's here. Can City still make the Europa League? Definitely maybe not."

1607: Just the Bolton game yet to kick off in the second half.

1605: Carlton Cole and Jonathan Spector are coming on for West Ham.

A celeb has been spotted

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester United fans are sipping champagne in the streets outside Old Trafford. The 18th title T-shirts are already printed and doing a roaring trade. The party is in full swing."

Ryan Giggs on winning his 11th title: "We wanted to win it in front of own fans, we've only done it once before so that makes it more special. We will enjoy today and tonight, and tomorrow and Monday we will start getting ready for Barca."

Text in your views on 81111

From Ollie, at the Lane, via text on 81111: "The atmosphere is electric - we know Europe is a distinct possibility."

That worked out well last time, didn't it?

From Ged, Tyneside, via text on 81111: "Has Shearer got his skinny tie on? I hope not... You know we don't win when he wears one!"

Man Utd club captain Gary Neville: "Liverpool have finished in title-winning form to be fair to them. But we have not panicked, we have fought hard and had to show some guts to win it this time. The thing about us this season is that you cannot choose our best side. It has been about our squad, and everybody has contributed - whether they have played enough games to win a medal or not."

1553: HALF-TIME Bolton 1-0 Hull

1552: Hull winger Craig Fagan flicks out a vital leg to keep out Gary Cahill's header for Bolton. A vital leg. What am I on about?

1551: HALF-TIME Middlesbrough 1-0 Aston Villa

BBC Sport's David Garrido at White Hart Lane: "Jermain Defoe's just taken out the assistant referee having been tackled by Nedum Onuoha. Mr A Garratt was clutching his hamstring - ouch, could be out for a few weeks."

1548: HALF-TIME Tottenham 1-0 Man City

1547: HALF-TIME Everton 1-1 West Ham

1547: HALF-TIME Stoke 0-0 Wigan

1547: HALF-TIME Newcastle 0-1 Fulham

1545: Jonas Gutierrez's shot is on target for Newcastle but former Magpies defender Aaron Hughes makes a vital interception.

1545: As it stands, Newcastle, Hull and Middlesbrough all have 34 points - but the Magpies would stay out of the bottom three on goal difference.


1542: GOAL Newcastle 0-1 Fulham
Erik Nevland stays onside to collect the pass and race away down the right. He keeps his cool as the keeper closes him down and squares for Diomansy Kamara, who has time to take a touch before lashing the finish high into the net.


1539: GOAL Everton 1-1 West Ham
Louis Saha tucks away the penalty to get Everton back on level terms.

Red card

1537: RED CARD West Ham
Tim Cahill bursts into the box and is tripped by the outstretched leg of James Tomkins. Penalty and red card.

1535: Rory Delap has just scored my favourite disallowed goal of the season. The Stoke man throws it straight into the net. Wigan keeper Richard Kingson gets a touch on it - but he was apparently fouled.

1533: Just after Bolton's goal, Manucho sidefooted high from 10 yards after a low Michael Turner cross. Hull were wrongly awarded a corner from which Manucho flicked it on to the far post where Nick Barmby failed to deal with the pace of the ball and headed wide from close range.

BBC Sport's David Garrido at White Hart Lane: "I've been waiting patiently to trot out this statistical gem. Spurs have now gone more than 600 minutes without conceding in the league at the Lane. Sad, I know, but at least I'll be able to sleep soundly tonight."


1530: GOAL Tottenham 1-0 Man City
Cross from the right from Tom Huddlestone and Jermain Defoe manages to cheekily flick it home. Deserved lead for the hosts.


1528: GOAL Bolton 1-0 Hull
Ball comes out to Gretar Steinsson on the edge of the area and his daisy-cutter appears to take a slight deflection on its way into the far corner. Nightmare for Hull.


1525: GOAL Everton 0-1 West Ham
Radoslav Kovac's first goal for the Hammers and it's a beauty. The midfielder strolls forward and sends a 35-yard missile whistling past Tim Howard. The goalkeeper may have been contending with a low sun at Goodison Park - as well as a stupendous strike though.

1523: Your latest Stewart Downing update: he's down again and not looking likely to carry on... yes, he definitely is going off, on a stretcher in fact. Big round of applause from the home fans - and that could be the last they see of him at the Riverside. Marlon King replaces him.

1522: As it stands, Boro would stay 19th but would only be a point away from safety heading into the final game.

1521: Oh. Drama over. Stewart Downing looks like he will be carrying on after all.

1520: All Spurs at White Hart Lane - and Shay Given keeps out Jermain Defoe's shot on the line.

1518: Trouble here for Stewart Downing who has his foot trodden on by Stiliyan Petrov as he running at full pelt down the left. He immediately signals that he can't carry on. Looks like a potentially nasty ankle injury.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Sir Alex Ferguson's traditional title-winning speech on the Old Trafford pitch is interrupted by another Carlos Tevez love-in as fans plead with their manager to sign the Argentine. The voices of dissent are soon silenced as Ferguson, who completely ignored those demands, says: "Now we look forward to a nice trip to Rome and we are going to bring that cup back."


1516: Newcastle almost respond to that goal straight away - but Obafemi Martins' shot at the near post comes back off the post after a neat one-two with Kevin Nolan.


1514: GOAL Middlesbrough 1-0 Aston Villa
Stewart Downing's cross loops off the defender and, crikey hellfire, Tuncay meets it with a tremendous overhead kick. What a start by Boro...

1513: Even start at St James' Park, neither keeper has made a save yet.

1511: Stephen Pienaar fires a shot narrowly over for Everton - might even have brushed the bar.

1508: Hull striker Manucho catches Danny Shittu with an elbow, leaving the Bolton defender with a big egg on his forehead. He's bandaged up and will soldier on.

1507: Three trophies down for Manchester United - with the Champions League final still to go. A truly superb achievement by Sir Alex Ferguson's men - but now it's back to the action.

A celeb has been spotted

1505: Club captain Gary Neville lifts the trophy to spark the celebrations - tickertape and fireworks going off. That is Fergie's 11th title - and only the second one he has been able to celebrate at Old Trafford.

1504: Out comes Sir Alex Ferguson, followed by the United players jumping up and down arm in arm. Paul Scholes gets an enormous roar as he receives his medal.

1503: We're under way in all the 3pm kick-offs - and already Middlesbrough have gone close. Inside a minute Marvin Emnes released Stewart Downing and his cross from the left was poked to safety by Gareth Barry. Jermain Defoe has a goal disallowed for Tottenham.

1502: Here come the members of the United squad who haven't played enough games to qualify for a medal - including Federico Macheda.

1500: Four army servicemen slowly carry the Premier League trophy and medals out on to the Old Trafford pitch.

1458: TEAM NEWS Stoke v Wigan
Stoke are unchanged from the side that beat Hull last time out as full-back Andy Wilkinson overcomes a back strain.Luis Antonio Valencia is out for Wigan as South Korea international Cho Won-Hee steps into the starting XI.

1457: TEAM NEWS Middlesbrough v Aston Villa
Middlesbrough make three changes to the side that was beaten at Newcastle as David Wheater comes in for Andrew Taylor, Adam Johnson is preferred to Mohamed Shawky and Julio Arca replaces Afonso Alves. There are two changes for Aston Villa, who are without the injured Luke Young and he is replaced by Carlos Cuellar with James Milner moving to right-back, while Emile Heskey takes the place of Zat Knight.

1452: Liverpool fans, look away now... Manchester United match the record of 18 top-flight titles, but Sir Alex Ferguson said yesterday he isn't satisfied yet. "The prospect of winning more titles with this team resonates with me far more than equalling someone else. This team has got a bit more to go yet."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester United did not do it in style today but they did it - job done. And the thunderous applause reverberating around Old Trafford underscores the scale of the achievement of Sir Alex Ferguson's team as they celebrated a third successive Premier League title. And judging by the resounding messages being aimed in the direction of Anfield, that record-equalling 18th title means so much to Old Trafford. Arsenal made sure United did not earn their prize easily today, but United are deserved champions and the celebrations can start."

1446: The triumphant United squad are persuaded to leave the pitch - so they can come back on again for the trophy presentation in a few minutes.

1445: Odd. The United players don't really look that bothered. I'm kidding of course. They are pogo-ing about in the centre circle, while Sir Alex Ferguson tries to shakes hands with each and every one of them - including super-sub Federico Macheda and Carlos Tevez.



1442: FULL-TIME Man Utd 0-0 Arsenal

1442: TEAMS Middlesbrough v Aston Villa
Middlesbrough: Jones, Bates, Wheater, Huth, Hoyte, O'Neil, Adam Johnson, Arca, Downing, Sanli, Emnes. Subs: Turnbull, Taylor, Shawky, King, McMahon, Grounds, Walker.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Milner, Davies, Cuellar, Shorey, Ashley Young, Petrov, Barry, Agbonlahor, Carew, Heskey. Subs: Guzan, Sidwell, Delfouneso, Knight, Reo-Coker, Gardner, Clark.

1441: A grinning Anderson comes on to replace Wayne Rooney - who gets an immense reception from the home fans.

1441: Free-kick for Arsenal... Robin van Persie's angled effort flicks off the wall and behind for a corner - cleared.

1439: We are into three minutes of added time.

1439: TEAM NEWS Everton v West Ham
Everton boss David Moyes promotes Leon Osman and Louis Saha from the bench after their second-half cameos against Tottenham last week. Marouane Fellaini moves up front while Lars Jacobsen has recovered from injury to start. Jack Collison makes his first league start for West Ham since dislocating his kneecap against Wigan on 4 March. Mark Noble is also included as Junior Stanislas drops out.

1438: TEAM NEWS Tottenham v Man City
Tottenham defender Ledley King plays despite being arrested and bailed by police this week over an incident that took place while he was drunk in the early hours of last Sunday. Fellow defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto is fit to return at left-back and boss Harry Redknapp fields three strikers, with Robbie Keane, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe all starting. Manchester City are without the injured Robinho so Martin Petrov starts on the left in the only change from the side that lost to Manchester United last weekend.

1436: Robin van Persie does well to work the space on the right of the box but instead of crossing, he goes for goal and it's easy for Edwin van der Sar. Four minutes remaining.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester United still giving the ball away too much for Old Trafford's liking and there is real tension around the place as the clock ticks down towards a title triumph. The nerves are jangling here."


1433: Alex Song plays the ball out to Cesc Fabregas and Edwin van der Sar gets the slightest of touches on the Arsenal skipper's fierce shot before it hammers the outside of the post. Massive wake-up call for United.

1432: TEAM NEWS Bolton v Hull
Bolton make two changes as centre-back Andy O'Brien is replaced by Danny Shittu and Mark Davies comes in for Tamir Cohen in midfield. Hull central defender Kamil Zayatte fails to win his fitness battle and is out. Andy Dawson is expected to move from left-back and step in for Zayatte with Kevin Kilbane dropping back from left midfield into defence. Strikers Geovanni and Manucho start with Daniel Cousin dropping to the bench.

1432: TEAM NEWS Newcastle v Fulham
Newcastle striker Michael Owen picked up a groin injury in training on Friday and misses the game, so Obafemi Martins will start in attack alongside Mark Viduka.Fulham boss Roy Hodgson keeps faith with the men who claimed a 3-1 win at Aston Villa last weekend, with strikers Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora fit again and on the bench.

1431: Bacary Sagna and Wayne Rooney go sliding off the pitch together as they challenge for the ball and the Arsenal defender's momentum takes him into the advertising boards. Nasty.

1429: TEAMS Bolton v Hull
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Shittu, Samuel, Kevin Davies, Muamba, McCann, Mark Davies, Taylor, Elmander. Subs: Al Habsi, Hunt, Riga, Puygrenier, Makukula, Cohen, Basham.
Hull: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Dawson, Kilbane, Fagan, Boateng, Garcia, Barmby, Geovanni, Manucho. Subs: Duke, Doyle, Hughes, Halmosi, Marney, Cousin, Cooper.

Yellow card

1426: Alex Song's barge on Cristiano Ronaldo earns him a yellow card - and it's almost double punishment as Ronaldo's free-kick flies an inch wide of the top corner.

1426: Substitution number three for Arsenal sees Emmanuel Eboue replace Kieran Gibbs.

1425: Fifteen minutes remaining at Old Trafford. As it stands, Manchester United are champions. Most pointless 'as it stands' of the day? Probably.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Sir Alex Ferguson suffers the rare experience of feeling the full force of Old Trafford's disapproval as Carlos Tevez is substituted. The displeasure of United's fans is still being expressed well after his departure - and Tevez milks the situation, not only with a flamboyant series of waves as he goes off but with an additional acknowledgement of the crowd from the bench. Ferguson, however, is not a man to be forced or bullied by anyone and that did look very much like a bidding of farewells to Old Trafford from Tevez."

1424: TEAMS Stoke v Wigan
Stoke: Sorensen, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Cort, Wilkinson, Lawrence, Delap, Whelan, Etherington, Beattie, Fuller. Subs: Simonsen, Olofinjana, Cresswell, Pugh, Diao, Kelly, Tonge.
Wigan: Kingson, Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, Scharner, Cho, Brown, Cattermole, N'Zogbia, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Edman, Mido, Watson, Koumas, De Ridder, McManaman.

1423: TEAMS Newcastle v Fulham
Newcastle: Harper, Beye, Steven Taylor, Bassong, Duff, Guthrie, Butt, Nolan, Gutierrez, Martins, Viduka. Subs: Krul, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Smith, Ameobi, Lovenkrands, Carroll.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey, Etuhu, Murphy, Gera, Nevland, Kamara. Subs: Zuberbuhler, Johnson, Zamora, Dacourt, Gray, Kallio, Baird.

1422: TEAMS Tottenham v Man City
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto, Huddlestone, Keane, Jenas, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Hutton, Bale, Zokora, Bentley, Campbell, Chimbonda.
Man City: Given, Richards, Dunne, Onuoha, Bridge, Kompany, De Jong, Ireland, Elano, Petrov, Caicedo. Subs: Hart, Zabaleta, Bojinov, Fernandes, Mwaruwari, Sturridge, Berti.

1421: Cristiano Ronaldo is flagged offside as he collects Ji-Sung Park's pass and then sets up the Korean for the tap-in. Replays show Bacary Sagna might just be playing Ronaldo on.

1419: You won't believe this. It's raining again! Honestly, I can't keep up. Theo Walcott has got that ill-advised fluffy moustache again.

1418: Arsenal respond with two changes. Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner on, Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin off.

1415: Drama. Well, as dramatic as substitutions get. United make their first change, bringing Ji-Sung Park on. Whose number goes up? Carlos Tevez's. That prompts boos from the Old Trafford faithful and as the Argentine comes off, he first applauds them - and then, perhaps significantly, waves.

1415: TEAMS Everton v West Ham
Everton: Howard, Jacobsen, Yobo, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Neville, Cahill, Pienaar, Fellaini, Saha. Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Castillo, Jo, Vaughan, Rodwell, Gosling.
West Ham: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Collison, Noble, Kovac, Boa Morte, Tristan, Di Michele. Subs: Kurucz, Lopez, Nsereko, Cole, Spector, Payne, Stanislas.

1410: Patrice Evra's handball gives Arsenal a free-kick, which Robin van Persie hits straight into Michael Carrick's head. One groggy United midfielder.

1408: Carlos Tevez fends off the challenge of Kolo Toure, but Lukasz Fabianski comes out quickly to force the Argentine striker backwards. Ball comes to Cristiano Ronaldo, but he blazes wildly over the bar. Tevez resisted the temptation to go over when challenged by Fabianski - would have been an interesting decision for Mike Dean if he had.

1408: Lovely move from Arsenal. Cesc Fabregas slips comically onto his backside as the ball comes across but it arrives with Kieran Gibbs, who lashes his shot into the side netting.

1405: Trip by Cesc Fabregas on Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo is lining this up... Through the wall but blocked by Alex Song in the penalty area.

The sun is out

1404: The sun's out now! Crazy!!!

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Feisty start to the second half - with Arsenal showing some unusually aggressive intent. Interesting to see Manchester United's approach as this half progress and the stalemate remains. Will they hold on to what they have - the point that would give them the title - or press forward for the win? A torrential rainstorm has hit Old Trafford at the start of the second half, which might just spice things up even more on a very slick surface."

1400: Carlos Tevez comes through the back of Cesc Fabregas and that does look like a yellow card - but doesn't get one. Strange start to the half - and it's now tipping down with rain.

Yellow card

1358: And now Samir Nasri has a little go at Evra - although it's only the slightest of touches and doesn't look worthy of a yellow card. Is this Arsenal revenge for Evra's "men against boys" comments after the Champions League semi-final?

1356: Patrice Evra is back on his feet, but Robin van Persie tries to finish the job off by immediately grappling with the left-back. Van Persie, already on a yellow card, gets a final warning from Mike Dean, who also has a word with skipper Fabregas.

Yellow card

1355: Cesc Fabregas runs into Patrice Evra leaving the left-back hopping about, clutching his knee. Yellow card.

1354: And we're off.

1352: Glory, Glory Man United... is the song being played as the players appear for the second half. Sir Alex Ferguson turns to the Stretford End and urges them to make some more noise.

Text in your views on 81111

From Isla via text on 81111: "Berbatov for Tevez. He was excellent on Wed, we need him up top in this game big time. Arsenal all too wary of us on the break."

1346: What would a Saturday be without Danny the Stat? Much like any other Saturday, you say? You are mean, you lot, mean. Anyway, here he is... "Forty-five minutes from the Premier League title they might be, but Man Utd's players haven't won over the users of our Player Rater. Wayne Rooney's the United top man with 7.20, but the overall lead is with Andrey Arshavin who has 7.75. Meanwhile, in the battle of the players with similar-sounding surnames, Ryan Giggs is beating Kieran Gibbs 6.53 to 5.76. Go on Giggsy Gibbsy! Get involved..."
Man Utd v Arsenal Player Rater

A celeb has been spotted

1342: Hurray, I get to watch a bit more Usain Bolt during half-time. He's signing some autographs in between yawning and looking at his mobile phone. Britain's 400m Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu is sitting a couple of seats away, nattering away on her phone. To hell with it, I'm dusting off the celebrity champagne graphic (which may well morph into a title-winning graphic later on).

Famous cricket man and Man Utd fan Sir Geoffrey Boycott: "They're not playing special, are they?"
Live text - England v West Indies

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Not quite what Manchester United's supporters had in mind when they packed out Old Trafford today. Arsenal have given a far better account of themselves here than in the two recent Champions League games - although the pressure is completely off Arsene Wenger's side today. United need to get their big guns into the game. The odd flounce and waving of the arms from Cristiano Ronaldo, but not much in the way of serious influence. Still a result that would give United the Premier League though, so no serious cause for alarm for Sir Alex Ferguson."


1337: HALF-TIME Man Utd 0-0 Arsenal

1336: Cristiano Ronaldo beats the wall - but his free-kick goes well wide. That should be about that for the first half.

Yellow card

1335: Andrey Arshavin catches Michael Carrick late - but play continues until Samir Nasri is penalised for handball. Mike Dean then brings out the yellow for Arshavin, who doesn't complain.

1333: Andrey Arshavin finds Samir Nasri on the edge of the box. His fierce shot is going wide before it hits Robin van Persie.

1332: A bit of a muddle between Nemanja Vidic and Edwin van der Sar as the defender jumps in front of his keeper to head Robin van Persie's free-kick behind.

Get involved on 606

From SuperiorBerbatov on 606: "I think Tevez is finally being found out today. The same thing happened when he started against Liverpool - and we all know how that ended. A quiet mention for Giggs - poor."
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1329: Wayne Rooney passes inside to Ryan Giggs, who gets a lucky break of the ball but then wastes it when he shoots way over.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "No sign of Sir Alex Ferguson moving from the dug-out to the technical area yet - but his right-hand man Mike Phelan has been spending plenty of time on the touchline. There will be some concerns for Manchester United because Arsenal are enjoying plenty of possession and Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney have been on the periphery so far. Old Trafford is subdued at the moment, reflecting one or two anxieties about their team's failure to exert dominance on Arsenal."

1323: Free-kick to Arsenal. No idea what for. Robin van Persie takes a 100m run-up and boots it straight into the wall from about 35 yards.

Yellow card

1321: Robin van Persie takes a break from his onrunning battle with Nemanja Vidic to tackle Cristiano Ronaldo after the ball has gone. Yellow card.

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From guymanboy on 606: "This is why Berbatov is such an important player. United need someone up front who can keep hold of the ball for more than four seconds."
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1317: Andrey Arshavin gives the ball away with a bizarre, crossfield pass to absolutely no-one. Wayne Rooney sends Patrice Evra away down the left - but Carlos Tevez can't get his head to the cross.

1315: That's a foul... oh, no it's not. Mike Dean waves away Denilson's protests after he appears to be tripped just outside the box.

1312: Cristiano Ronaldo wins a free-kick after running into Alex Song. Just outside the right-hand corner of the box - and Ryan Giggs thwacks it left-footed straight into the stands. Hopeless - and he knows it.

1311: Darren Fletcher bundles into Alex Song in the Arsenal area - and the Gunners midfielder stays down. Bit of treatment, but he'll be OK.

1309: That's a nervous clearance by John O'Shea and Arsenal pick up possession again. Crosses just not finding their target for Arsenal at the moment.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Arsenal have started brightly - no sense that they are here simply to be the guests at this party - while Manchester United are struggling to bring some rhythm and composure to their game. Plenty to encourage Arsenal's vociferous away fans, the ones Arsene Wenger was so keen to lavish with praise earlier this week. It's not exactly a nervous Old Trafford, but United's supporters are starting to realise this will not be a formality."

1305: Wayne Rooney brilliantly anticipates Michael Carrick's ball in but he heads just past the post.

1303: Andrey Arshavin goes on a run, cutting in from the left with the ball stuck to his foot. He produces a sudden burst of pace to beat John O'Shea and Nemanja Vidic but his shot is eventually scrambled away.

1302: First chance - and it goes to Arsenal. Andrey Arshavin's cross and Robin van Persie heads over.

1302: Wayne Rooney finds Cristiano Ronaldo on the left with a sensational crossfield pass. Stepover, stepover, stepover, stepover, stepover, stepover, cross blocked.

1300: Alex Song gives the ball away in midfield and Cristiano Ronaldo scampers away down the right. He finds Wayne Rooney but the shot loops up off Kolo Toure and behind.

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From jashana on 606: "Already Arsenal are looking better in the first 10 mins than over two Champions League ties."
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1258: Samir Nasri plays a quick one-two with Abou Diaby, and bursts into the box. His scuffed shot is easily saved - but he's penalised for handball anyway. Promising move though.

1256: Cristiano Ronaldo runs into trouble in midfield and stays down, clutching his ankle, before having a little moan at referee Mike Dean.

1254: Big cheer from the home fans as Andrey Arshavin plays a pass forward straight out of play. Arsenal haven't lost with the little Russian in their side.

1253: Frantic start at Old Trafford. Ryan Giggs is playing in central midfield for United, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney either side of Carlos Tevez.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Crackling atmosphere inside Old Trafford - with an understandable sense of expectation as a third successive Premier League title stands only one point away. Arsenal's fans are making plenty of noise, although they were urged to make more by Robin van Persie in the warm-up. Arsenal are cast in the role of party-poopers here today, but what an opportunity for them to make a statement on behalf of embattled manager Arsene Wenger, who has been on the receiving end of increasing criticism after four years without silverware."

1249: Straight away, a promising break from Cristiano Ronaldo on the right but he has to cut back and Arsenal are back in enough numbers to clear.

1248: Away we go.

1247: Tell you what, the Man United mascot has some sensational hair - big mop of blonde curls. Apparently, Emmanuel Adebayor has a slight groin injury or something, so there you are.

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From Sam via text on 81111: "I'm bursting with excitement. I'm going out tonight and hopefully some champagne. Come on United!"

1243: That last comment is dedicated to Nottingham Forest loon Jonathan Stevenson. Fanfare at Old Trafford as the teams emerge from the tunnel. The two captains are holding hands with mascots - but who's that with Carlos Tevez? It's little Florencia Tevez, wearing a United shirt with 'Papa' on the back. Lovely.

1239: Here's a thing: Usain Bolt tells BBC 5 Live that when he plays football, he plays in defence! He'd be like a modern-day Des Walker, although obviously not as quick.

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From PlantpotTheRed on 606: "Arsenal's midfield and forward line scare me to death!! If they are up for it I can see the title race going down to the wire next week."
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1232: Shall we have a sweepstake on how many times the cameras will pan to Usain Bolt today? I'm going for 192.

1230: Arsenal, of course, are hoping to at least postpone the title celebrations with victory today - but the build-up to today's game has been dominated by Arsene Wenger's rather mournful pleas to the Gunners fans to give his youthful side a bit of time and patience. "You sit here, you're in the last four of Europe, and every day you feel you have killed someone," he said yesterday. Someone give that man a hug.

1226: Arsenal this week denied rumours that Pat Rice is considering retirement, but the assistant boss isn't overseeing the warm-up at Old Trafford, first team coach Boro Primorac is.

1220: In case you haven't seen, Argentina coach Diego Maradona reckons Tevez phoned him and said "that old man doesn't like me" in reference to Ferguson. Brave man.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "No hard feelings from Sir Alex Ferguson about apparently being called an 'old man' because Carlos Tevez starts ahead of Dimitar Berbatov - a decision that will no doubt receive the usual uproarious approval here at Old Trafford. Lots of Manchester United fans are wearing golden Roman gladiator's helmets in readiness for the Champions League final against Barcelona - many are emblazoned with the words "Rome - Scouse Free Zone". Cruel words those."

Fergie on his friendship with Wenger: "It's not a new friendship. We always got on well. Obviously, when we're in competition, we compete hard and sometimes it's been a bit fractious - but we've still had respect for each other."

Sir Alex Ferguson on criticism of Arsene Wenger: "It's the culture we're in I'm afraid. You lose a few games and the hounds are out. The press have to have headlines - but when the expectations as high as they are for Arsene and myself, it's hard to live up to them every year. But Arsenal have had a lot of injuries this season and people forget that."

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From Dean_Machine89 on 606: "I'm really looking forward to this game. Both sides playing attacking line-ups. Plenty of match-winners within the teams. Man United only need a draw but I cannot see them settling for a draw. Arsenal will be wounded from their Champions League exit and will be looking for revenge. I think this will be a high scoring game. 2-2."
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1206: TEAM NEWS Man Utd v Arsenal
Carlos Tevez starts ahead of Dimitar Berbatov as Manchester United look for the point that will secure them a third straight Premier League title. In midfield, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs replace Anderson and Paul Scholes. Arsenal are without injured pair Manuel Almunia and Emmanuel Adebayor, but Andrey Ashavin is available again after missing the defeat by Chelsea with flu.

1200: TEAMS Man Utd v Arsenal
Man Utd: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Ronaldo, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney, Tevez. Subs: Kuszczak, Neville, Anderson, Berbatov, Park, Scholes, Rafael Da Silva.
Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Song, Gibbs, Nasri, Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas, Arshavin, Van Persie. Subs: Mannone, Vela, Walcott, Ramsey, Silvestre, Bendtner, Eboue.

1157: Fergie has emerged from the tunnel at Old Trafford to sign some autographs. Someone is waving a tube of Skittles in his face, which the United boss duly signs and hands back. Should have held on to them, might have made a refreshingly fruity change from the old chewing gum.

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From Frankland, Sheffield via text on 81111: "Re 1141: Stopping Ronaldo falling over while running is like stopping MPs claiming expenses. It just ain't gonna happen, no matter who advises you."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "No signs of a party atmosphere at Old Trafford just yet - all still being made ready for what they hope will be a Premier League title celebration later. There was much debate earlier in the week when Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard edged out several Manchester United stars to win the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year Award - and Sir Alex Ferguson makes an award of his own in his programme notes. 'People ask me who I think is United's Player of the Year? For me it's the whole lot of them!' So there you go."

1141: And there's sprint king Usain Bolt, sporting a gigantic United scarf. Bolt, in case you've had your eyes closed for 24 hours and missed it, met the United squad yesterday and gave Cristiano Ronaldo some tips on how to run quickly without falling over, so we'll see how that works out.
Bolt's tips for Ronaldo

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From John, via text on 81111: "Re 1132: Did Toure have Silvestre in the suitcase? He'll have to carry him today..."

From Matt, Leeds, via text on 81111: "Another game, another week and yet more negativity to Man Utd from Cheese. Like the title race nothing changes eh Cheese?"

Seriously Matt? Can I give your number to the several thousand Liverpool fans who think I'm anti-Liverpool?

1132: Sorry, temporarily distracted there, because I was watching the Arsenal boys getting off the coach at Old Trafford. Not much to tell you really. Kolo Toure had a suitcase with him... but I don't know why.

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From Nick, a stupidly optimistic Baggies fan, via text on 81111: "Re 1116, Liverpool will have lost three by tomorrow."

From Mike, Stockport, via text on 81111: "As a Man Utd fan, Liverpool's record is impressive. But the idea is surely to win games? Liverpool might have lost less games but they've also won less. The table doesn't lie, whether Benitez likes it or not."

1123: The Rafa quotes to which Tom (see below) refers: "When you talk about United you're talking about a side spending big, big money on every player, every season. For me that is the main difference between the teams."
Man Utd money the key - Benitez

From Tom via text on 81111: "Morning Cheese. Rafa talking about money too. Robbie Keane?"

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From LFCfan128 on 606: "Arsenal have got something to play for today, pride. With Arshavin back, who knows? But I guess it will be a very difficult game for Arsenal to win."
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1116: You can see why Benitez might be begrudging. Liverpool could become the only team in history to lose only two games in a season and not win the title. Still, interesting philosophical point that: do more points make you a better team or just better at winning points? Or, er, what?

1113: Now, I don't know about you but I very much enjoyed Rafa Benitez's response to the question: are United the best team in the league? "It just means they have more points. There are some very good teams in different positions in the table. To say who is the best in one moment is not easy."

1107: Oh, go on then, it is done and dusted isn't it? And it's almost curtains for Middlesbrough, who will end their 11-year stay in the Prem if they fail to match Newcastle and Hull's results today.

1100: Hello there. You'd be forgiven for thinking this title race is done and dusted. This morning's papers are full of eulogies to Sir Alex Ferguson and his side - who, lest we forget, still need one more point to win their 18th title and third in a row.

Print Sponsor

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
How the Premier League was won
16 May 09 |  Premier League
Alan Hansen's column
16 May 09 |  Football
Race for the title in photos
16 May 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd dream team
16 May 09 |  Man Utd
Man Utd 0-0 Arsenal
15 May 09 |  Premier League
Bolton 1-1 Hull
16 May 09 |  Premier League
Everton 3-1 West Ham
16 May 09 |  Premier League
Middlesbrough 1-1 Aston Villa
16 May 09 |  Premier League
Newcastle 0-1 Fulham
16 May 09 |  Premier League
Stoke 2-0 Wigan
16 May 09 |  Premier League
Tottenham 2-1 Man City
16 May 09 |  Premier League

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