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Live - Premier League

Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea

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



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

By Jonathan Stevenson

1935: And that's a wrap. Thanks for your company - I'm desperately sorry I couldn't give you more goals and action, maybe tomorrow will produce the goods. Alan Green is taking your calls on BBC Radio 5 Live's 606 right now, and Match of the Day is at 2240 BST on BBC One and online. Have a cracking night.

From Paul, Sheffield, via text on 81111: "That game was ruined by the awful pitch. Two of the best teams in Europe could hardly put more than four passes together. I feel sorry for the teams playing tomorrow."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "When you are so close and you are only 20 years of age, I don't know why you should be desperate to win something straight away."

1925: Congratulations to Chelsea, but let's hope for better tomorrow when Manchester United and Everton meet, also at Wembley. There needs to be at least one classic FA Cup semi-final per season, doesn't there?

1922: Tell you what - that Ashley Cole's a lucky omen isn't he? He played for Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final in 2001, 2003 and 2005 and for Chelsea in 2007 and today, and he has been on the winning side every time.

From Man from Milan on 606: "Wenger had to prioritize, and the FA Cup is the least important trophy. Still, they were in the game until near the end. Well done Chelsea."
Join the debate on 606

From Shaun in Rochester, via text on 81111: "Is it me, or has Guus turned Malouda the world-class player we thought we bought in the first place?"

1913: Believe it or not (you probably should, because it's true), that is the first time Chelsea have beaten Arsenal in an FA Cup tie since 20 January 1947, when the truly, truly great Tommy Lawton bagged a brace in a third round second replay - a White Hart Lane. I know, you just couldn't make it up.

BBC Radio 5 Live

From BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor: "I'd have to say Chelsea edged it and Didier Drogba was just too strong for Arsenal in the end. Both teams can play better, but it was Chelsea's day and they are still very much in the mix for more than one trophy."


1909: Full-time Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea

1908: There are seconds left at Wembley now...

1906: Two crosses from the Arsenal left and twice Petr Cech barely got near the ball - though on the second occasion, he did appear to punch the back of Didier Drogba's head.

1906: Nicklas Bendtner crosses from the right and it falls for Andrey Arshavin - his right-foot shot is heading wide, but Alex deflects it wide anyway.

1905: Kieran Gibbs swings over a cross from the left but it's easy pickings for Petr Cech. We're heading into injury time and there will be three minutes.

Yellow card

1902: Quite honestly, Arsenal have been useless since they scored, apart from the odd flicker of brilliance from Theo Walcott. Kolo Toure is booked for kicking Didier Drogba to the floor.

1900: Michael Essien volleys wildly over from 18 yards and Arsenal bring on Samir Nasri for Denilson.

1900: Five minutes left for Arsenal to save their FA Cup campaign.


1858: GOAL Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
That might just be your winner. Frank Lampard launches a long ball out from the back and Didier Drogba does magnificently, controlling superbly, rounding the advancing Lukasz Fabianski and keeping his cool to slot into the empty net. He's booked for taking his shirt off in celebration - I don't think he'll care much though.

1858: Emmanuel Adebayor, who frankly has been absolutely rubbish today, is taken off and replaced by Nicklas Bendtner.

1857: Salomon Kalou comes on for Chelsea in place of the relatively ineffective Nicolas Anelka.

1855: It's not great, this. Ten minutes left of normal time.

1853: Didier Drogba does really well to control a high pass and beat Emmanuel Eboue at the same time, but having forced his way into the box the big Ivorian's touch lets him down badly and the ball runs away for an Arsenal goalkick.

From Luke in Co-op, via text on 81111: "What happens if it's a draw? Extra-time or replay? Tell my Arsenal-supporting security guard to do some work - we have had five shop-lifters since the game started!"

Haha. It's extra-time and penos, mate.

1850: Thank goodness for that. Andrey Arshavin is on at last and it's Robin van Persie who makes way - the Dutchman may have picked up a slight injury.

1848: Denilson appears to push referee Martin Atkinson after a decision goes against him - a foul on Frank Lampard. He's booked for his silliness, the Brazilian.

1847: Hmm. Replays suggest Mikael Silvestre may well have handled in the Arsenal box when tussling with Didier Drogba. My word you've seen them given.

BBC Radio 5 Live

From BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor: "Neither side is able to ping their passes about because it isn't rolling properly. I think that's taken something out of the game, and that's a shame."

1843: Fabulous move from Chelsea with some lightning quick interplay, ending with Didier Drogba's pass from the left-hand side of the Arsenal box and Frank Lampard volleying just wide. What a goal that would have been.

1841: Theo Walcott speeds past John Terry's despairing tackle down the Arsenal right and heads towards the box, but with Abou Diaby getting up alongside him, the winger crosses over Diaby's head - roll it along the floor, and it's a fabulous chance.

1840: There are 25 minutes left of normal time and we still haven't had a substitution yet.

From Sinspaw on 606: "Eboue is playing brilliantly. He's just not a good midfielder."
Join the debate on 606

1837: Cesc Fabregas tumbles in the area under a challenge from Florent Malouda but it would have been an unbelievably harsh penalty as the ball was running out for an Arsenal corner - which comes to nothing.

1834: Abou Diaby finds Theo Walcott in some space down the right in an advanced position and his cross flies just past a diving Robin van Persie at the far post.

From Mike, Halesowen, via text on 81111: "So someone wants to know when the FA are going to do what the fans want? Lets ask the 40,000 extra fans from Arsenal and Chelsea that wouldn't otherwise have got to go to the game."

1830: John Terry went up for a header in the Arsenal box and seemed to fall awkwardly - the England captain requires a little bit of treatment for what looks like a back problem.

1828: Denilson gets caught in possession and Chelsea move it quickly, Nicolas Anelka attempting to tee up Frank Lampard, but Kolo Toure gets across smartly to make a vital interception. Chelsea have cranked it up a notch now.

1827: Seriously - eight minutes of the second half gone, and the number of empty seats at Wembley is an absolute disgrace. It's making a mockery of English football.

1826: Robin van Persie's teasing cross from the Arsenal left causes a problem, but John Terry battles well for it with Emmanuel Adebayor and Chelsea clear their lines. This game is just waiting to explode.

From messiisgod on 606: "Arshavin needs to be on that pitch."
Join the debate on 606

1822: Arsenal start brightly as they did in the first half and Alex's header falls to Emmanuel Adebayor 18 yards out - but the Togo hitman's shot is useless, slicing miles off target. He needs to raise his game.

1820: After that alarming bout of fence-sitting, the two teams get us back under way. As is always the case with Wembley these days, quite a few "fans" haven't bothered returning to their seats yet. Clowns.

1818: So where's your money? Arsenal have Andrey Arshavin and Samir Nasri on the bench, while Chelsea have Franco di Santo and Salomon Kalou. I'm wavering. Extra-time and penalties might be the order of the day.

From Nigel in Belfast, via text on 81111: "Loving the graphics! I do hope though that there won't be another rise in the TV license fee to cover the cost of them!"

It'd be worth it though, wouldn't it? Go on, admit it.

From MiloCav on 606: "To Mr Butler - Arsenal seem to have picked Ade Akinbiyi by accident..."
Join the debate on 606

From BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at Wembley: "Arsenal may have started the better side but it is definitely Chelsea who end the half in the ascendancy.

"Their midfield trio of Michael Essien, Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack have taken the game by the scruff of the neck and Arsenal, not helped by some hesitant defending, are probably fortunate not to be behind - their boss Arsene Wenger needs to do something during the interval to change the direction of this match."

1805: That half fairly flew by, didn't it? And it was a half of two halves, with Arsenal dominating at the start and Chelsea ending by far the better of the two teams. All to play for after the break.


1803: Half-time Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea

From Mr Butler on 606: "Adebay-who?"
Join the debate on 606

Yellow card

1759: Michael Ballack crashes into Cesc Fabregas from behind, it's another terrible-looking challenge and moments later Michael Essien shoots straight at Lukasz Fabianski. Referee Martin Atkinson goes back and books Ballack, but Guus Hiddink is livid, for some reason.

From Mark Brooks, Blackpool, via text on 81111: "They shouldn't even be playing these games at Wembley. One day the FA will do what the fans want and not think about money all the time."

1755: Robin van Persie is not a happy chappy as he trudges off, but he'll be OK to continue. He had just been involved in a spat with Didier Drogba - where's your money there?

Yellow card

1754: Branislav Ivanovic is rightly booked for a horrible-looking lunge on Robin van Persie on the halfway line. He clutches his ankle in agony.

1752: Arsenal are struggling quite badly right now and Nicolas Anelka takes advantage of some hesitant defending to curl a low left-foot shot from 16 yards against the base of Lukasz Fabianski's right-hand post. All Chelsea.

1750: Theo Walcott fouls Ashley Cole down the Chelsea left but Didier Drogba wastes the opportunity with a hopeless free-kick that the Gunners clear.


1748: GOAL Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea
Arsenal should be good enough to prevent goals like that and there is a suspicion of offside, but you felt Chelsea weren't far away from a leveller. Frank Lampard's 30-yard pass finds Florent Malouda on the left of the Arsenal box, he cuts in past Emmanuel Eboue and rifles in right-footed to Lukasz Fabianski's near post.

From BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at Wembley: "Lone Chelsea striker Didier Drogba came over for a chat with Guus Hiddink after Arsenal scored their goal and has been barking instructions at his team-mates - particularly Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack - ever since.

"The upshot of it all seems to be that he wants them further up the pitch and closer to him when he gets the ball. Drogba has lacked support so far because Nicolas Anelka has spent most of the first half-hour defending rather than supporting Drogba - Arsenal are really targeting Anelka's left flank and getting Kieran Gibbs forward all the time."

1746: The pitch has cut up horribly already - frankly it's a rubbish surface to try and play slick, passing football on already, so heaven knows what Manchester United and Everton will find tomorrow.

From Liam, Arsenal fan, via text on 81111: "I was right behind the goal for that goal, Petr Cech should have easily kept it out."

1742: Didier Drogba tries a snap-shot from 30 yards but gets it about 10 yards too high. Might not be a bad idea to try and test young Lukasz Fabianski - he looks awfully nervous, the Pole.

1740: Abou Diaby scampers away from Michael Ballack down the Arsenal left and surges towards goal - he plays it back for Robin van Persie, but the Dutchman scuffs his shot and the danger passes.

From MohamudWarsame on 606: "Chelsea cannot play Arsenal through the midfield, but these balls over the top they're producing are troubling Arsenal's dodgy defence."
Join the debate on 606

1738: Jeez that was close - Florent Malouda fires across the face of goal from out on the left and it seems to go straight through Lukasz Fabianski but just wide of the far post.

1735: Didier Drogba requires a little bit of treatment, you almost certainly won't be surprised to learn. Let's hope Chelsea come out and attack now - they've shown they know how to.


1733: GOAL Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea
Just what the game needed from a neutral point of view. Emmanuel Adebayor tees up Kieran Gibbs down the Arsenal left and his cross to the back post is fired goalwards by Theo Walcott - it hits Ashley Cole's right hand and the deflection wrongfoots the unfortunate Petr Cech in the Blues goal.

1732: Didier Drogba tries to get away in the Arsenal box down their left but Kolo Toure does really well to ensure his cross is straight at Lukasz Fabianski.

1731: Theo Walcott tries to play a one-two with Emmanuel Adebayor but the striker's touch is woefully heavy and the move breaks down.

1728: Chelsea have eased their way into the game now, knocking the ball around a little at the back. Chances might not come along too often.

BBC Radio 5 Live

From BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor: "The surface is certainly not as good as the old Wembley, I think everyone knows that. A lot of other events happen here, so it's not been easy for the groundstaff."

From BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at Wembley: "Arsene Wenger is by far the most animated of the managers so far. When Drogba had that header cleared off the line by Kieran Gibbs, Wenger was halfway across to hacking it clear himself.

"In contrast, Guus Hiddink has stood still and hardly moved a muscle in the first few minutes - from where I am sitting, it looks like someone has put a statue of the Dutchman next to the Chelsea dug-out."

1725: Alex, fresh from his thunderbolt on Tuesday, tries an ambitious free-kick from 45 yards, but it flies into Robin van Persie.

From Vivek, anxious Chelsea fan, SW11, via text on 81111: "See 1710. If the FA Cup is a knockout competition and Chelsea and Arsenal have met 18 times, how can Arsenal win eight times and Chelsea four? What happened to the other six fixtures?!"

Please, please tell me you're joking. Please.

From ggokocha on 606: "In my opinion, Arshavin is on the bench because Hiddink knows him inside out and will know how to stop him."
Join the debate on 606

You might just have something there, ggokocha.

1721: Theo Walcott bursts clear down the right but John Terry gets across really well to tidy up for Chelsea.

1719: Wow. Lukasz Fabianski races out of his goal to try and head clear a long punt into the Arsenal half - but he cannot get there ahead of Didier Drogba, who heads goalwards. Fortunately for Arsenal, Kieran Gibbs hurries back to clear off the line.

1717: Arsenal have bossed the opening few moments - Theo Walcott goes on his first run against Ashley Cole, which is sure to be a key battle today.

1716: Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie get us under way.

1715: Personally, I'm gutted Andrey Arshavin is only on the bench - I love that little genius. Looking forward to the game though - this Chelsea team have really found their attacking feet under Guus Hiddink. Are we destined for a classic?

1713: Terry and Fabregas hand flowers to members of the Hillsborough Support Group - remember, it was at the FA Cup semi-final 20 years ago between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest that English football's most appalling tragedy happened.
Fans remember Hillsborough dead

1711: John Terry and Cesc Fabregas lead their teams out at Wembley and we're not long from getting under way in this FA Cup semi-final.

1710: Yeah, it'd be fair to say I'm a very relieved man right now - James Perch, I genuinely love you. On to Wembley and the match that starts in five minutes between Arsenal and Chelsea. It's their 18th meeting in the FA Cup, with Arsenal winning eight times and Chelsea four.

From ToffeeMo on 606: "I agree with Tom in Durham, they do, but Chelsea have a stronger team out on the pitch, and I know what I'd rather have."
Join the debate on 606

From Tom in Durham, via text on 81111: "OK, some may be inconsistent/unproven performers, but does anyone else think Arsenal have a stronger bench that Chelsea in terms of game-changing attacking talent?"

1700: Football League update: Wolves are promoted from the Championship, but Charlton are relegated. Leicester are up in League One, while Hereford drop into League Two.

1657: Full-time Portsmouth 1-0 Bolton

1657: Full-time Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham

1656: Full-time Middlesbrough 0-0 Fulham

1656: Full-time Sunderland 1-0 Hull City

1655: Wolves have beaten QPR and are promoted. Now if that's not a Premier League update, I don't know what is.

1654: Full-time Stoke 1-0 Blackburn

1653: Striker Djibril Cisse screams at the Sunderland fans to urge them on for the remaining few moments as he is taken off.

1651: Bobby Zamora blazes over for Fulham. At Portsmouth, there will be six minutes of injury time.

1650: There can't be long left in any of the games now. At Villa, Mark Noble's deflected shot is tipped over by a furiously back-peddaling Brad Friedel.

From NufcNeilo in Stevenage, via text on 81111: "At this rate Newcastle could win all of their remaining matches and still go down!"


1646: GOAL Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham
Overall they probably deserve that - a corner comes over from the Hammers' left, it's half-cleared to Kieron Dyer, and his shot from 18 yards is glanced into the top corner with his head from six yards by Diego Tristan.

1645: Arsenal v Chelsea line-ups
Arsenal: Fabianski, Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Walcott, Fabregas, Diaby, Denilson, Van Persie, Adebayor.
Subs: Mannone, Nasri, Vela, Ramsey, Song Billong, Arshavin, Bendtner.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Ashley Cole, Ballack, Lampard, Essien, Malouda, Anelka, Drogba.
Subs: Hilario, Carvalho, Di Santo, Mikel, Kalou, Belletti, Mancienne.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1644: Clint Dempsey curls agonisingly wide for Fulham after being teed up by Bobby Zamora. Is there a goal in this one?

1643: Stewart Downing hits a shot at Boro and it ricochets up and hits Dickson Etuhu's arm - everyone appeals for the penalty, but nothing is given.

1642: West Ham go close to an equaliser - it's a goalmouth scramble and Mark Noble, Diego Tristan and Luis Boa Morte all have shots either blocked or saved.

1641:Chelsea's former Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole predictably gets a huge jeer from the Gunners fans when his name is read out by the stadium announcer. John Terry returns after suspension for the Blues and partners Alex at centre-back - not sure why Ricardo Carvalho had his kit on so early, he is only on the bench.


1639: GOAL Portsmouth 1-0 Bolton
Nadir Belhadj swings over a corner from the Pompey right - it's almost his first touch - and Kanu, who has also just come on, is standing next to Jussi Jaaskelainen, bundling the ball over the line from a yard.

1638: Niko Kranjcar is stretchered off at Pompey and replaced by Nadir Belhadj, while Nicky Barmby comes on for Hull at Sunderland.

1637: Kieran Richardson is finally on for Sunderland in place of Andy Reid.


1635: GOAL Stoke 1-0 Blackburn
What a massive goal this could be. Danny Higginbotham swings over a cross from the Stoke right, James Beattie flicks it on and Liam Lawrence cuts inside Gael Givet and fires in at the near post. Paul Robinson might be disappointed with that - the local at the Britannia aren't.

1634: Caleb Folan gets his head on to a Hull cross from the right at Sunderland but the striker can only head just past Craig Gordon's right-hand post.

1633: Emile Heskey is taken off at Villa Park and replaced by lively kid Nathan Delfouneso.

1632: I don't know, maybe no-one wants to stay up? Maybe.

From Sam, via text on 81111: "I think the lack of goals this week is fate's way of making us less greedy after last week."

1628: Some of the Boro fans are getting a touch frustrated with the stalemate at the Riverside. It's gone pretty quiet there as it seems to have around the rest of the Premier League grounds.

Yellow card

1626: Stiliyan Petrov is booked on his 100th start for Aston Villa for a potential ankle-breaker on West Ham's Mark Noble.

1625: Breaking FA Cup semi-final team news: Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs has come through a late fitness test despite suffering from a groin problem. The Gunners back-line (right to left) is Emmanuel Eboue, Mikael Silvestre, Kolo Toure and Gibbs. More to follow.

1624: Ashley Young fires wide at Villa Park, while at Sunderland Andy Reid spoons a shot over from 20 yards. I miss goals.

Yellow card

1622: Bolton substitute Nicky Hunt has been booked at Fratton Park. He was talking to a team-mate on the pitch at the time and has been cautioned by referee Phil Dowd. That's as good as it gets right now, sadly.

1621: Can't believe I'm being blamed for the lack of goals. Unbelievable. Meanwhile, Leicester are winning at Southend, a result which would seal their promotion to the Championship.

From psifla on 606: "How will we feel if Mark Schwarzer helps relegate us?"
Join the debate on 606

1616: Matty Etherington heads wide at the far post from Liam Lawrence's right-wing cross at Stoke continue to plough forward.

1615: Liam Lawrence hits a fabulous half-volley from the right-hand angle of the 18-yard box that forces a really good tip over from Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson.

1614: George Boateng shoots wide for Hull at Sunderland - the Dutchman today has become the third foreign player to make 350 appearances in the Premier League after Dwight Yorke and the aforementioned Mark Schwarzer.

1612: Villa pick up where they left off in the first half and West Ham are again grateful to Robert Green for keeping them in it, the keeper denying Emile Heskey from point-blank range after John Carew's scooped pass had set his strike partner clear.

1612: Marlon King flicks nonchalantly back to Stewart Downing and his rising left-footer is tipped over by Mark Schwarzer, who is proving a big obstacle to his former employers.

1610: Championship update: Wolves are beating QPR and if that stays the same, they are promoted to the Premier League.

1609: Mark Schwarzer saves very impressively with his right hand to deny Tuncay, who headed goalwards from eight yards. At Sunderland, Kenwyne Jones has the ball in the net, but it's ruled out for offside.

1608: Villa played the first half without names on their shirts due to a late change - they've had that sorted out at half-time haven't they? It's not the world's richest league for nothing.

1607: With seconds gone at Sunderland, Djibril Cisse forces a save from Boaz Myhill. In the mixer at Boro and Villa now too, full house.

1606: We're up and running at Sunderland and Portsmouth too.

1606: Abdoulaye Faye and El-Hadj Diouf, who used to be Senegalese team-mates, were arguing as they came out after half-time at Stoke. Thomas Sorensen had to pull them apart - but not before Faye was booked. They're back under way.

From BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at Wembley: "The little girl sat next to me on the tube was a bit bemused when our carriage was invaded by Arsenal fans at Finsbury Park station. When it was explained to her that they were going to Wembley, she replied 'are they lost?'.

"Now, it's been 10 years since the Gunners were last here, but I'm pretty sure they still know their way. And it looks like Arsene Wenger remembers too - the big screen has just shown the Arsenal team coach arrive in the bowels of the stadium, to ripples of applause from their supporters."

1602: Can I level with you? I'm going through hell right now. It's 0-0 at the City Ground and my word do we need to win today. I can hardly bear it. Must this happen EVERY season?

From Mac in shopping hell, via text on 81111: "Just been told off by the wife for continually checking my phone for the West Ham score as we shop. Harsh. Come on you Irons!"

Mrs Mac - give our boy a break, please? Isn't it enough that he's with you in body, if not spirit?

From trythisthen on 606: "We only get to see one game here in Canada on a Saturday and we're stuck with Stoke v Blackburn. Are either of them trying to win the game? Jeez. I watched Arsenal last week and it's hard to believe either of these two today are even in the same league."
Join the debate on 606

The sun is out

From BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at Wembley: "Wembley is bathed in spring sunshine as the turnstiles open and the first few fans find their seats. The Chelsea players have just been out on the pitch to inspect the turf - which was criticised by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger this week - and they looked super-relaxed, particularly Ricardo Carvalho who was wearing his suit trousers and smart shoes but was already wearing his match shirt."

1552: Half-time Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham

Yellow card

1552: Would you believe that Djibril Cisse has just been booked for the manner in which he celebrated his second league goal of the calendar year? Now if that's not enough to crack out the booking graphic, blow me, I just don't know what is.

1550: Half-time Middlesbrough 0-0 Fulham

1550: Half-time Sunderland 1-0 Hull

1550: Half-time Portsmouth 0-0 Bolton


1548: GOAL Sunderland 1-0 Hull
It's been poor so far, but Sunderland won't care now. Andy Reid's cross from the left is flicked on and nodded in from about six yards out by Djibril Cisse.

1547: Half-time Stoke 0-0 Blackburn

1547: If I change my predos to 0-0, will that bring us goals?

1545: Bobby Zamora fires a shot wide at Middlesbrough - they've played some lovely stuff in recent minutes, Fulham.

From an anxious Arsenal fan, via text on 81111: "Hopefully all the goals are being saved for the FA Cup match later. Come on the Gunners."

From hugrrr on 606: "I think the day's been cursed by the introduction of the symbol - thousands of 606ers wishing for anything worthy of a symbol to happen, and absolutely nothing is. Get rid of the symbols Stevo!"
Join the debate on 606

1539: Ricardo Fuller tumbles under a challenge from Chris Samba at Stoke, but their penalty appeals are turned down once more. The hosts are on top in that one.

1539: Here's Macca, with some stat chat: "James Milner has been heavily involved for Villa so far on his 200th Premier League appearance. He's the second youngest to achieve that landmark - doing so at the age of 23 years and 104 days. Only Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (22 years and 346 days) was younger." Top drawer.

1537: Glen Johnson shoots from just inside the Bolton box and Jussi Jaaskelainen touches it on to a post. There aren't many goals, but it's frantic. Bet you wish we had a woodwork graphic, don't you?

1536: Oh my life. Andrew Johnson cuts inside past David Wheater and shoots towards the far corner of the Boro net - it hits the inside of the post and pretty much rolls along the line - to safety. Gasps around the Riverside.

From Rick in Tottenham, via text on 81111: "I'm actually willing someone to get sent off just to find out what other graphics you've got in your locker Steve-O."

1532: Some nervy moments for Boro as Fulham start to put real pressure on them for the first time, while there are a few handbags at Stoke between Ryan Shawcross and Andre Ooijer. You could cut the tension with a knife.

1531: Mark Noble's backpass goes straight to Emile Heskey and the big striker is stretching as he shoots on the slide and the ball hits the inside of the West Ham post.

1529: Glen Johnson is playing in midfield for Pompey and he's having a whale of a time - but he should score this time, forcing a decent save from Jussi Jaaskelainen after being played in by Niko Kranjcar. Moments later at the other end, David James saves brilliantly from Johan Elmander.

1526: Ashley Young hits the outside of a West Ham post with a left-foot shot at Villa Park, while at Sunderland, Craig Gordon saves well from ex-Mackem Kevin Kilbane's header.

1525: Glen Johnson runs at the Bolton defence, skips past one tackle and hammers a right-foot shot that Jussi Jaaskelainen does well to parry away.

1523: James Beattie goes down in the Blackburn box under a challenge from Andre Ooijer, but despite his protests there's nothing doing.

1522: Lovely football from Villa, with Gareth Barry and John Carew opening up West Ham down the left, but Barry's cross just evades Emile Heskey and then James Milner's shot is deflected over. Very, very lively at Villa Park.

From Longblade, Birmingham, via text on 81111: "Emile Heskey is the most underrated forward in Europe. Top quality signing."

1520: Tuncay gets away down the Boro right and his cross is hammered goalwards but it's blocked - moments later Tuncay crosses from the left and Jeremie Aliadiere shoots at Mark Schwarzer.

1518: Not sure West Ham want to score. James Tomkins slips David di Michele through and Brad Friedel makes another brilliant save, with Tomkins horribly shinning the rebound over from 12 yards.

1516: Almost a horrible moment for Stoke defender Abdoulaye Faye, who nearly heads past his own keeper Thomas Sorensen. The Dane spares his team-mate's blushes.


1514: GOAL Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham
Villa have their second attack of the game and it's enough to put them in front - Gareth Barry finds James Milner down the right and he crosses for Emile Heskey to slip in his second goal for the club.

1513: Gareth Barry gets his head on to Nicky Shorey's left-wing cross and glances it agonisingly wide as Aston Villa go close to opening the scoring.

1513: Boro piling forward and Jeremie Aliadiere's cross comes all the way over to the left to Stewart Downing, who sees his left-foot shot blocked by Aaron Hughes.

1511: James Milner's saving tackle denies Junior Stanislas again at Villa Park, while Bolton's Fabrice Muamba comes on for the injured Ricardo Gardner at Portsmouth.

1510: Hull's Boaz Myhill twice has to be alert to deny Djibril Cisse, first rushing out to intercept Grant Leadbitter's neat pass then coming out of his area to head clear.

1508: Middlesbrough have started the better of the two teams at the Riverside and Sunderland are ploughing forward at the Stadium of Light - there's mayhem in the Hull box for a while, but they eventually clear their lines.

1506: Junior Stanislas bursts through a ludicrous gap at the heart of the Aston Villa defence and is suddenly one-on-one with Brad Friedel - but the youngster's shot is deflected just wide by the American keeper.

1504: Belatedly, the claret-and-blue derby with very minimal claret is under way at Villa Park.

1502: Good start from Stoke, Ricardo Fuller crossing from the right and Matty Etherington just failing to get anything on it. Under way at Boro.

1502: They've started at Sunderland too.

1501: Massive lack of claret at Villa Park - the hosts are in an all-white strip. Looks all-white, anyway, know what I mean? Apparently, ref Rob Styles said West Ham's away kit was too close to Villa's home one, so Villa are playing in their third kit.

1500: Under way at Portsmouth and Stoke.

1458: Remember: five Premier League games; lots of other important stuff in the other divisions; FA Cup semi-final to come. Appetites whet all round. Buzzing.

From I tried to teach Bent the offside rule but he wouldn't listen on 606: "(See 1448) It was September 8th 1965 Stevo, two days before Rolling Stones went number one. Sonny and Cher hit the top of the charts with 'I got you Babe'. Classic aint it?"
Join the debate on 606

I'd have to say it is, yeah.

From Warren, Loughton, via text on 81111: "How can this day get any better? Well, we could be paid to watch it. When do you retire Stevo?!"

I'd have to say it's more likely I'll get sacked before I get to retire, wouldn't you agree, fellas?

1448: Here's a question for you. When was the last time Stoke hosted Blackburn in the top flight and who was at number one in the UK at the time?

The sun is out

1445: Everyone ready? Only 15 minutes until kick-off now. I presume it's gloriously sunny everywhere in Britain today, as it usually is on FA Cup semi-final day. God I love these days.

From Alex from Newport, via text on 81111: "Stevo, I'm still pale from Tuesday night's thriller. Hope Petr Cech gives me no more heart problems."

Hmm, Petr Cech. I wouldn't be surprised to see the big Czech on his way out of Stamford Bridge in the summer. He seems like a lovely fella, but he's a liability these days.

1440: Blackburn Rovers make three changes from the makeshift side that lost 4-0 at Liverpool last week. Benni McCarthy, Morten Gamst Pedersen and El-Hadji Diouf return at the expense of Keith Tracey, David Dunn and Tugay. Tony Pullis keeps faith with Stoke side that drew with Newcastle last time out as Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie continue up front. On the bench Henri Camara takes the place of Michael Tonge.

1437: I'm getting a bad atmosphere from Sunderland fans who, it would be fair to say, are enraged by the Black Cats line-up today. Spatzee and Ben in particular on the texts are livid that Kieran Richardson and Steed Malbranque are on the bench. Can I change my predo?

1434: Sunderland name an unchanged side for their crucial match against Hull at the Stadium of Light. As for Hull, Daniel Cousin is only fit enough for the bench because of a recent back injury and he will sit alongside Bernard Mendy, who has been troubled by a foot problem.

1432: Stoke v Blackburn line-ups
Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Lawrence, Whelan, Delap, Etherington, Beattie, Fuller.
Subs: Simonsen, Olofinjana, Cresswell, Pugh, Kelly, Camara, Sonko.
Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Diouf, Andrews, Mokoena, Warnock, Pedersen, McCarthy.
Subs: Bunn, Dunn, Grella, Khizanishvili, Villanueva, Olsson, Doran.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

1430: Martin O'Neill makes two changes to his side as Aston Villa look for a first win in 11 matches, bringing in Carlos Cuellar and Emile Heskey in place of Zat Knight and Gabriel Agbonlahor. West Ham are unchanged from the side that lost 1-0 at Tottenham last week.

From Murtini on 606: "Was thinking the other day, who is the most passionate player in the Premier League? I reckon Tuncay could be, he always looks really gutted when Boro lose, and when they win, he jumps in with the crowd and pushes stewards over. He's my hero."
Join the debate on 606

1426: Sean Davis has recovered from his knee problem to start for Portsmouth against Bolton and as expected England defender Glen Johnson returns to the side. Bolton's Nigerian international Danny Shittu misses the match with an ankle injury after colliding with Didier Drogba against Chelsea last weekend.

1423:Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has named an unchanged side from the one that secured the vital 3-1 win over Hull last weekend as they go in search of successive wins for the first time in 31 matches. This is currently the longest run of any club in the highest division without successive victories. Fulham are also unchanged as they seek to continue their recent good form - last time out they came from behind to beat Man City 3-1 at Eastlands.

1422: Aston Villa v West Ham line-ups
Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Davies, Cuellar, Shorey, Milner, Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Heskey, Carew.
Subs: Guzan, Sidwell, Delfouneso, Knight, Salifou, Reo-Coker, Gardner.
West Ham: Green, Tomkins, Upson, Collins, Ilunga, Neill, Boa Morte, Stanislas, Noble, Di Michele, Tristan.
Subs: Lastuvka, Lopez, Dyer, Nsereko, Sears, Payne, Hines.
Referee: Rob Styles (Hampshire)

1420: Sunderland v Hull line-ups
Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Davenport, Ferdinand, Collins, Edwards, Leadbitter, Tainio, Reid, Cisse, Jones.
Subs: Fulop, Malbranque, Richardson, Ben-Haim, Murphy, Yorke, McShane.
Hull: Myhill, Ricketts, Zayatte, Turner, Dawson, Fagan, Geovanni, Boateng, Marney, Kilbane, Manucho.
Subs: Duke, Doyle, Barmby, Mendy, Halmosi, Folan, Cousin.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

1419: Portsmouth v Bolton line-ups
Portsmouth: James, Kaboul, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Johnson, Davis, Mullins, Nugent, Kranjcar, Crouch.
Subs: Begovic, Pennant, Pamarot, Utaka, Hughes, Kanu, Belhadj.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Andrew O'Brien, Cahill, Samuel, Basham, McCann, Gardner, Kevin Davies, Elmander, Taylor.
Subs: Al Habsi, Hunt, Muamba, Smolarek, Puygrenier, Makukula, Cohen.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

From Brian, who should be studying, Clapham, via text on 81111 and made me laugh out loud: "Big day for Forest Johnno. Does it really stand for Fighting Off Relegation Every Saturday Teatime?"

1416: Middlesbrough v Fulham line-ups
Middlesbrough: Jones, McMahon, Wheater, Huth, Taylor, Aliadiere, Sanli, Bates, Downing, King, Alves.
Subs: Turnbull, Hoyte, Riggott, Digard, Emnes, Shawky, Adam Johnson.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora.
Subs: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Gera, Kamara, Dacourt, Stoor, Baird.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

From dodger9 on 606: "(See 1353) Actually, both Villa and West Ham will be wearing claret and blue today. Villa will wear their home kit which is mostly claret with some blue and West Ham will be wearing their away kit which is mostly blue with a little claret."
Join the debate on 606

That clears that up, then.

From Will via text on 81111: "Jon, so excited about the football today I have let the missus spend the day in Harrods so as not to disturb me."

1408: "It is not just about playing nice football, they have to be street fighters at this time," said Boro boss Gareth Southgate ahead of their home game against Fulham today. My word do they need to win - their next two games are at Arsenal and at home against Manchester United.

1406: I'd be enormously surprised if we didn't get team news quite soon, so stay tuned for all the line-ups. It's odd not having an early game - like stepping back in time, to an era when football was played at three o'clock on a Saturday with no questions asked. I've gone all misty eyed.

1403: It's quite a big day in the Football League and in non-league footy too, with a fair few ups and downs potentially decided come 1645 BST. I'll try to keep you up to date with the biggest of those, OK?
Ups and downs

1400: Stevo's Predos (after unprecedented demand - no, really):
Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham
Middlesbrough 2-1 Fulham
Portsmouth 2-2 Bolton
Stoke 1-0 Blackburn
Sunderland 3-1 Hull
Arsenal 3-2 Chelsea
Lawro's predictions

1356: There are plenty of teams who are desperate for points today, and plenty of teams rubbishly out of form. Sunderland, for example, are without a win in seven games. They meet Hull, who have one win in 16 matches. Something, as legend would have it, has pretty much got to give.

1353: Believe it or not, there is actually a game between two teams in the top half of the table too, with hopelessly out-of-form Aston Villa hosting European-chasing West Ham in the Claret-and-Blue derby at Villa Park. Though they won't both be wearing Claret-and-Blue today, clearly. That would just be plain daft.

From Lawrence, Southampton, via text on 81111: "Oh I'm feeling the graphic!"

Which makes it all worthwhile, Lawrence.

From FoxForever on 606: "Hopefully there's goals galore in the Premier League this afternoon, setting us up nicely for the mouth-watering FA Cup tie. I'll go for a 2-1 Arsenal win. Shaky defence but lethal attack."
Join the debate on 606

1344: More graphics where that one came from, you'll be absolutely delighted to learn. Meanwhile, let's focus on the wrong end of the Premier League (once upon a time, I knew it very well indeed). Seven of the bottom nine are in the mixer and as a colleague put it this morning, today really is 'Six-pointer Saturday'.

Text in your views on 81111

1340: What's that? A graphic on a football live text? My word, how the world changes. Yep - today is the day they are sure to one day call 'The day they put graphics on the BBC's live football text'. Anyway, it's supposed to be a phone - which is your cue to get smashing those texts over on 81111. You know what comes next - 606, mixer. Bang.
Join the debate on 606

1335: If it's tight at the top, it must be squeaky bum time squared at the bottom of the Premier League these days. It's not trophies and bonuses and glory we're talking about here - it's careers on the line.

For Gareth Southgate, Ricky Sbragia, Paul Hart, Gary Megson, Tony Pulis, Sam Allardyce and Phil Brown, days do not come much more fraught with danger than this.

When the five three o'clock kick-offs are over, it'll be time to turn our attentions to the home of football, as Arsenal meet Chelsea at Wembley for the first FA Cup semi-final.

I know it's sunny outside. But how awesome are days like this?

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
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
18 Apr 09 |  FA Cup
Sunderland 1-0 Hull
18 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Stoke 1-0 Blackburn
18 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Portsmouth 1-0 Bolton
18 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Middlesbrough 0-0 Fulham
18 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham
18 Apr 09 |  Premier League

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