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Page last updated at 17:19 GMT, Sunday, 4 October 2009 18:19 UK

Sunday football as it happened



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

By Jonathan Stevenson

1815: Hey, thanks a million for your chat this weekend, it's been very gratefully received (most of it, anyway). Check out MOTD 2 tonight, at 2200 BST on BBC Two and this website - 16 goals in four games today and yesterday's netbusters too. I'll be back tomorrow, for what someone delectably dubbed the 'icing on the cake' between Aston Villa and Manchester City. Catch you in 25 hours.

From Capital(RED) on 606: "Our only consolation is that Chelsea knocked United off top of the table. Which isn't much of a consolation, to be honest."

From George, a very happy Chelsea fan, via text on 81111: "I'd imagine John Terry's legs are extra tired playing a whole 90 minutes with Fernando Torres in his pocket."

Chelsea's Didier Drogba: "We lost to Wigan, so it was important to win today and beat a direct opponent for the title. Tactically it was a very good game for both teams. It's good to go to the international break with these points and be top of the league."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Chelsea fully deserved their win and we saw the two sides of Didier Drogba today - the theatrical and the menacing presence, setting up the two goals for Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda. John Terry delivered an immense performance to keep Fernando Torres quiet and it was appropriate that the final action was Chelsea's captain heading the ball out of the penalty area. Liverpool disappointing and a bad week for manager Rafael Benitez."

1758: Just before Chelsea scored their second goal, Rafa Benitez was sarcastically applauding the fourth official for a lack of injury time. Sometimes, you just wonder why they bother.

Full time
1755: Full-time Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool
Hilario made a brilliant save from Steven Gerrard's thunderbolt shot right at the end, but it would not have been enough anyway. Didier Drogba, so often the villain of the piece today, ends up the hero.

1753: Yossi Benayoun brilliantly controls a ball into the Chelsea box and, eight yards out with Hilario to beat, it looks like he has to score, but somehow the Israeli drags wide of the far post.

Chelsea goal: Brilliant stuff from Didier Drogba, who controls a Frank Lampard cross on the right and, through brute force and no little skill gets past two defenders and crosses for Florent Malouda to convert from close-range.

1751: GOAL Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool

1751: We are playing three minutes of injury time.

1749: Liverpool just look short of ideas in the final third and they give a free-kick away as Branislav Ivanovic prepared to clear Ryan Babel's clip into the box and Fernando Torres bumped into him.

1747: Steven Gerrard uncharacteristically gives the ball away on the edge of his own area, and Nicolas Anelka uncharacteristically slices a shot miles wide.

1746: Five minutes left of normal time. Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool.

From Ash, Plymouth, via text on 81111: "See 1734 - why should Drogba be going down with cramp anyway at this stage of the season, this is only Chelsea's eighth league game and he didn't even play in midweek!"

1743: Liverpool haul Emiliano Insua off and send on Fabio Aurelio.

Stoke defender Robert Huth, who met Matthew Etherington's corner to head home his first goal for the Potters in their 1-1 draw against Everton: "We didn't mess about in midfield playing clever stuff. Both teams were physical and went for it. Normally Everton are really good on set plays but we talked beforehand about how we might nick a goal and that was one of the ways we thought we could score."

1741: Woeful finish from Fernando Torres, and that's the first time I've ever written that sentence. Steven Gerrard's shot is bravely blocked by John Terry and it falls to the striker, but his left-foot effort from 10 yards is mis-hit and dribbles wide of the right-hand upright.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Too much of the old Didier Drogba today. Too much time on the floor. John Terry reacted to one particularly dramatic collapse by ordering the stricken striker to get up and get on with it. Fair point well made."

1738: Drogba smashes it in from 25 yards but it swerves narrowly wide of Pepe Reina's right-hand post.

Yellow card
1737: Steven Gerrard is shown a yellow card for a late challenge that raps the ankles of England midfield colleague Frank Lampard. Didier Drogba fancies the free-kick, too...

1737: Liverpool bring Ryan Babel on for Lucas.

1736: Fernando Torres finds some space down the right and surges towards the box, he tries to pick out Steven Gerrard and for a second it looks like it will fall for the Reds skipper, but Ashley Cole gets in the way at a crucial time, great challenge. Chelsea bring Florent Malouda on for Deco.

1735: We have 16 minutes left of normal time at Stamford Bridge, it's Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool.

1734: I wish Didier Drogba would learn the story of the boy who cried wolf. Three times in the last four minutes he has gone down clutching somewhere on one of his legs as if he had been shot. Sure, a touch of cramp we can understand, but the others are plain ridiculous.

From iknowwhatilike on 606: "Another great substitution - let's forget about any width and play everything straight down the middle for Terry and Carvalho to mop up for the rest of the game."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis on his side's 1-1 draw with Everton: "We were insipid against Manchester United last week but our passion and belief was back here. You have to be committed when you come to Goodison Park - they are a good footballing team but they also hit loads of angled balls to put us under pressure in the box and they bring an army up front for set-pieces. We had to stand firm and we did that today."

1728: Liverpool bring Yossi Benayoun on for Albert Riera.

1726: Football League Macca hasn't had a busy day. In fact, I'd say lazy. Here he is: "It's all over at the Pirelli Stadium and Burton have the three points thanks to Richard Walker's third-minute goal. It's Burton's first win in seven games and takes them into the top half of the table. Rochdale could have gone second, but instead they stay in seventh."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "John Terry reacted to Chelsea taking the lead by gathering his fellow defenders around him for a short, sharp pep talk. Chelsea's captain knows the importance of protecting this precious lead. It is an advantage Chelsea marginally deserve, but plenty of life left in this one."

1724: Didier Drogba meets a Chelsea free-kick from the right but doesn't connect properly with his header, sending it into the arms of Pepe Reina.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson: "I have sympathy for Digkacoi and the referee over the sending off. I didn't see any signs of violent conduct - to call it handbags would be exaggerating it, but the referee is in a position where if a player raises his hands, he gets sent off. The referee should be given more leeway to look at a situation. Phil Dowd is an experienced referee. I don't think he deserves to be sent off."

Chelsea goal: I wish Didier Drogba stayed on his feet all the time, because he's magnificent when he does. Javier Mascherano of all people gets caught in possession and Chelsea break at speed down the left. Drogba has it, and he waits until the perfect moment to send an inch-perfect cross along the six-yard box for Nicolas Anelka to expertly direct into the roof of the net. Awesomely clinical.

1720: GOAL Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool

1719: It's fast and it's furious at Chelsea, but still not much in the way of decent chances being carved out. Just over half an hour remaining, 0-0.

1715: Nicolas Anelka tries to force his way into the Liverpool area and give himself a shooting chance, but Glen Johnson gets in a last-ditch tackle.

From Rob, north London, via text on 81111: "Who would have thought the only team to have kept a clean sheet this weekend are Portsmouth so far?"

1711: Up the other end and Branislav Ivanovic fires in a dipping right-foot shot from 25 yards that Pepe Reina handles well.

1710: Ashley Cole gives the ball away and Steven Gerrard slams in a 30-yard drive that flies over Hilario's crossbar.

1707: England manager Fabio Capello shares a joke with assistant Franco Baldini, the silver-haired old fox, in the stand at Chelsea. The next England squad will be announced at about 2000 BST tonight.

1706: We are back under way at Chelsea, where it's 0-0. Everyone happy? Great.

From Scotch Gooner, via text on 81111: "It would be wonderful if today's early kick off was first on MOTD tonight. If this ends 0-0 is there a chance you can make it happen, Stevo?"
What, and risk Chelsea/Liverpool fans hating me even more? Haha.

1700: But don't let that stop you accusing me of bias. I mean, I'd hate to spoil your afternoon any further :)

1659: Just before half-time, Liverpool did have a real shout for a penalty inside the Chelsea area as Didier Drogba hauled down Martin Skrtel as they both went for a corner. Seen them given.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Shoddy, niggly affair both on the pitch and in the technical area. Liverpool feel hard done by as a result of a couple of penalty appeals and Rafael Benitez has been in animated mood for most of the half - the Spaniard and his assistant Sammy Lee in deep discussion with the fourth official in the closing moments of the half. Chelsea having slightly the better of things as the half progressed but tight. Very tight."

1654: Full-time Everton 1-1 Stoke

1654: Full-time West Ham 2-2 Fulham

1653: Very, very close to a winner for Fulham after Rob Green messes up a clearance, but Eddie Johnson is shackled by Matthew Upson and ends up dragging his shot wide.

West Ham goal: They deserve it, just about, but that's harsh on 10-man Fulham. Junior Stanislas shifts the ball on to his left foot outside the box and hammers in a shot that deflects off Aaron Hughes and flies into the Fulham net.

1651: GOAL West Ham 2-2 Fulham

1649: We're into four minutes of added time at Everton and Jo's shot is well blocked by Rory Delap. There are four minutes of stoppages at West Ham too - the hosts are trying to get a leveller, but they are running out of time.

1649: Half-time Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool

1647: Albert Riera hammers a free-kick towards the Chelsea goal from about 40 yards, hoping someone will get a touch. No-one does and it's suddenly flying towards the far corner, so Hilario has to get down and push it away.

From geniusmutbe on 606: "The passing from these top players is very poor at times."

1642: What a chance that is for Fernando Torres. He meets Dirk Kuyt's cross from the Liverpool right and when he gets there you'd fancy him to score, but he heads straight at Hilario.

1640: Liverpool fail to fully clear a corner and Michael Essien's left-foot shot is saved low down by Pepe Reina. Patrick Vieira is in the crowd at Stamford Bridge.

1639: West Ham are enjoying the lion's share of the possession against 10-man Fulham, but are struggling to create chances. The visitors break and Clint Dempsey, who has had the most shots in the Premier League this season without a goal to show, has an effort saved by Rob Green.

1638: An update: West Ham 1-2 Fulham and Everton 1-1 Stoke are both coming towards a finish. At the Bridge, it's Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool.

1636: A Deco free-kick is headed over by Michael Ballack at Chelsea. I wonder if Jorge Valdano is watching.

1636: Everton bring on Jo for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Yakubu for Leon Osman. Stoke swap Salif Diao for Glenn Whelan.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Bubbling up nicely between Liverpool striker Fernando Torres and Chelsea's central defensive pair of John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho. The England captain was floored by a nasty early challenge from Torres and one or two meaty challenges have resulted. A scrappy affair - to be very kind."

1633: Steven Gerrard balloons a free-kick over the Chelsea bar from 25 yards at the Bridge. Half an hour gone, stalemate. It is a bit stale, too.

1631: Louis Saha whips over a quality cross from the Everton left right on to the head of Tim Cahill, but the usually prolific Australian heads straight at Thomas Sorensen from six yards. You'd have put your house on him there.

1630: Wonderful work from Michael Essien down the Chelsea left to win the ball back and fire over a cross that Nicolas Anelka heads goalwards, Pepe Reina falling to his left to make the save.

1628: Didier Drogba heads goalwards from Nicolas Anelka's cross, but Pepe Reina makes a comfortable save.

From Matt, Blackburn, via text on 81111: "As a Blackburn fan, I'd like to see Paul Robinson given another chance. Against Arsenal this afternoon he proved his credentials at a brilliant time, with Green and Foster disintegrating this weekend. Come on Fabio... let him out the doghouse!"

1625: Liverpool are playing with a very narrow defence today, it's almost like Glen Johnson and Emiliano Insua are playing alongside Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher. They are asking Chelsea to go around them, which is a bit difficult without wingers on the pitch.

1623: Everton has reasserted their authority at Goodison Park after quickly getting back on level terms. Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scuffs two shots at Thomas Sorensen, while Ricardo Fuller mis-hits at the other end.

1621: Cracking bit of gamesmanship there from Javier Mascherano, going down clutching his knee despite not even being touched by Michael Essien. Disappointing that from the Argentine. Albert Riera hammers over from 25 yards.

From Murtini on 606: "Huge credit to Fulham, but questions are going to be asked over Zola now."

1619: Here's a stat courtesy of Football League Macca, delving into the top flight: "Lampard's barren spell is not as unusual as it sounds. Last season he scored in Chelsea's win over Sunderland and then went 10 games for his club without a goal. This season he's gone eight games since he notched against guess who? Sunderland of course. Funny old game."

Fulham goal: What on earth are West Ham playing at? Fulham's 10 men have turned it around completely, as Paul Konchesky swings over a corner, Rob Green flaps at it and Zoltan Gera steers it in at the back post. What Fabio Capello would give for a decent English goalkeeper ahead of next summer's World Cup.

1617: GOAL West Ham 1-2 Fulham

1616: Very, very good save from West Ham keeper Rob Green after Paul Konchesky's free-kick takes a massive deflection.

Everton goal: That is a little beauty and gets the home team back on level terms. Leon Osman gets the ball back off Johnny Heitinga and curls and absolute crackerjack in-off the crossbar from 22 yards, left-footed. Super finish.

1613: GOAL Everton 1-1 Stoke

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Deco rather than Frank Lampard playing at the point of Chelsea's midfield diamond formation. Should suit Lampard more - so much better arriving late in the penalty area, as eight games without a goal might suggest."

1611: Defences on top early on at Chelsea, as well they might be. Both teams got a good telling off in midweek, so there are bound to be some cautious players on show, at least to begin with.

Stoke goal: That is very much against the run of play. A corner is swung over from the Stoke right and Robert Huth climbs up above Tim Cahill (how often do you say that?) to thump a header past Tim Howard.

1608: GOAL Everton 0-1 Stoke

Fulham goal: That's how to play with 10 men. Lone striker Diomansy Kamara forces his way into the box and Matthew Upson foolishly clambers all over him, hauling the frontman down. Danny Murphy steps up and calmly slots home his fourth of the season.

1606: GOAL West Ham 1-1 Fulham


1604: Back under way at Everton and West Ham and 10-men Fulham have brought on defender Chris Baird for striker Andrew Johnson.

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce: "We haven't got what we deserve, but these things happen rather too regularly when you play the big clubs and it's another shout for technology. I'm not saying we would have won the game but we'd have had an opportunity to get level. It should've been a penalty and a red card maybe - that's maybe why the referee didn't give it. After that we capitulated and died."

1602: Hanna, from much, much earlier (about 1339) - people are asking how you've spent the last few hours, and where you're watching the game, so don't leave your public hanging. Oh, and we are under way at Stamford Bridge in the west of old London town.

1558: The teams are out at Chelsea, so we'll be under way shortly in a very, very big game at the top end of the Premier League. Frank Lampard, by the way, has not scored in his last eight Blues games - and when's the last time that happened?

From Matt_Utd_FC on 606: "Baffled again at Rafa. However good Torres has been this month I'd argue that Benayoun has been more influential to Liverpool's upsurge in form - especially as Gerrard has been playing below his usual outstanding standards. So in a game where arguably Liverpool need to win, why does Benayoun not start? Baffling."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez will be delighted to have Javier Mascherano back after the ill-fated pairing of Lucas and Fabio Aurelio in midfield against Fiorentina. If Daniel Agger is fit enough to be on the bench, Benitez must surely have been tempted to put him straight back in instead of the out-of-sorts Martin Skrtel. Chelsea, as expected, draft in Hilario to replace the suspended Petr Cech. Pressure on him."

1549: Half-time West Ham 1-0 Fulham

1548: Just before the break, Stoke had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Andre Marriner after Leighton Baines appeared to tangle with Rory Delap inside the Everton area.

1547: Half-time Everton 0-0 Stoke

1546: Zavon Hines nearly doubles West Ham's lead, curling a bit high and a bit wide from 16 yards. Could be a long afternoon for Fulham.

1545: Chelsea welcome back Didier Drogba and Deco, while keeper Hilario gets the nod over Ross Turnbull and plays in place of the suspended Petr Cech. Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano returns after a hamstring problem and Daniel Agger is on the bench following a recent back operation.

1543: Well that's left a bad taste in the mouth - what was the 24-year-old thinking of? Fulham are now 1-0 down in a London derby and have more than a half to play with 10 men. Scott Parker was booked for his involvement in the incident, not sure why.

Red card
1541: SENDING OFF Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham)
The South African is sent off on his first start for the Cottagers. There is a lot going on at Upton Park and he appears to stick his hand in the face of Scott Parker. After a very long wait, referee Phil Dowd brandishes red.

1539: Everton are putting a fair bit of pressure on Stoke, pumping a lot of balls into the visitors' area. Leon Osman goes very close to an opener there, picking up a ricochet and lashing in a rising 25-yarder that Thomas Sorensen does brilliantly to tip over.

From Ken in Liverpool, via text on 81111: "Feeling a little nervous about going into uni this week. Only Stoke fan on my course and all the tutors are Everton die-hards. And I have exams this week. We'll all know the reason if I get a fail and Stoke win :)"

1535: Nice stuff from West Ham at Upton Park and the move ends with Scott Parker firing in a low shot from 30 yards that Mark Schwarzer gets down well to gather.

1534: Chelsea v Liverpool line-ups:
Hilario, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Ballack, Essien, Lampard, Anelka, Deco, Drogba.
Subs: Turnbull, Joe Cole, Malouda, Zhirkov, Kalou, Sturridge, Belletti.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Kuyt, Mascherano, Lucas, Riera, Gerrard, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Agger, Aurelio, Benayoun, Kyrgiakos, Babel, Ngog.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

From Dan_The_Pool on 606: "What are Arsenal on? Can Liverpool please have some?"

1530: Blackburn fans: refresh. It's not half-time, it's full-time. Blimey, imagine...

1528: Poor Paul Robinson. He performed terrifically today, but he's now conceded 47 goals in only 16 games against the Gunners.

Full time
1526: Full-time Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn
I think I've almost run out of superlatives. Tell you what, though, Thierry Henry picked a hell of a game to come back and see his beloved Gunners. Doing OK without you, aren't they Titi? A spellbinding performance.

1524: Andrew Johnson runs on to Danny Murphy's well-weighted slide-rule free-kick but side-foots his shot wide under pressure from Hammers keeper Rob Green.

1524: Good that Blackburn have allowed Paul Robinson to impress in front of Fabio Capello, anyway. Theo Walcott lashes one in from 20 yards that Robinson acrobatically gets across to catch. Blackburn since the break have been abysmal.

1522: Another headed chance for Stoke, after Everton fail to clear their lines from a corner. Salif Diao dinks in an inviting cross from the left-hand edge of the area but Ricardo Fuller heads it down into the ground from the edge of the six-yard box and it ends up bouncing into the hands of Tim Howard.

Arsenal goal: Another goal right out of the very top, top drawer of football strikes, this time from the young Dane Nicklas Bendtner. He picks the ball up on the left, cuts infield, past two static Rovers defenders and leathers a right-foot shot from 20 yards that flies in off a post. Phenomenal.

1521: GOAL Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn

1520: Problems with marking early on for a usually solid Fulham at Upton Park, Alessandro Diamanti fires over a corner this time and James Tomkins heads wide unmarked at the back stick.

1519: Here's a surprise - it's only Football League Macca: "There's the not-so-small matter of a League Two game, with mid-table Burton hosting seventh-placed Rochdale. It's going against the form book so far as Richard Walker has given Burton an early lead in that one."

1518: Everton's first chance falls to Tim Cahill, who finds space in the box to stoop and meet Marouane Fellaini's cross from the left but sees his header fly straight at Thomas Sorensen.

West Ham goal: It's not been pretty so far, but Gianfranco Zola and the hosts won't care now. Alessandro Diamanti swings over a free-kick from the West Ham right and Carlton Cole rises high to head past Mark Schwarzer into the Fulham net.

1516: GOAL West Ham 1-0 Fulham

From Anon, via text on 81111: "Four assists and one goal from Fabregas, plus countless other stunning passes. One of the best performances you'll ever see. 10 out of 10."

1514: Paul Robinson v Arsenal continues, this time Theo Walcott beats the offside trap and is through, but he's going so fast he loses his balance and can only poke goalwards, Robinson's save and Gael Givet's clearance doing the job for Blackburn. We've had 82 minutes at the Emirates.

1512: Great save from Paul Robinson with his feet after Robin van Persie's brilliant backheel sent Nicklas Bendtner clean through on goal.

1511: By the way, after the fifth goal Arsenal hauled off Andrey Arshavin and Cesc Fabregas and sent on Nicklas Bendtner and Aaron Ramsey.

1509: Ricardo Fuller is still on the pitch at Everton, but he seems to be struggling with a groin injury that he has just recovered from. Boss Tony Pulis does not look happy with the Jamaican at all.

Arsenal goal: That is simply sensational. From one end to the other, the Gunners score a quite beautiful goal. On the edge of his area Cesc Fabregas gives it to Andrey Arshavin and he races down the left flank. He gets to the edge of the Rovers box, plays it across to Fabregas and he flicks it into the path of Theo Walcott, who does not have to break stride to whack the ball low into the far corner. Sublime.

1507: GOAL Arsenal 5-2 Blackburn

1506: Just seen a replay of David Hoilett's shot that hit the post - Thomas Vermaelen got a head to it, a vital head as it turned out. At the other end Abou Diaby plays a one-two with Cesc Fabregas and drags his left-foot shot wide of the far post.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1505: Ooh, almost 4-3. Arsenal fail to clear their lines once again and David Hoilett volleys against Vito Mannone's left-hand post from 10 yards. Unlucky, son.

1503: After some good work from Ricardo Fuller, Matty Etherington sends over a cross for Stoke at Everton and ex-Toffees striker James Beattie heads into the arms of Tim Howard.

1502: Blackburn's Benni McCarthy's afternoon didn't last long - 11 minutes, to be precise. He limps off, replaced by David Hoilett.

1501: Theo Walcott comes on to a great ovation from the Arsenal fans, his first action of the season due to injury. Tomas Rosicky gets a very well deserved round of applause for his afternoon's work.

1500: We are under way at West Ham and Everton and Carlton Cole volleys over from 20 yards for the Hammers.

1500: "Theo, Theo," is the cry from the Arsenal fans as their England winger starts warming up down on the touchline. Not exactly what you want if you're a Blackburn defender with already twisted blood.

1458: Benni McCarthy bends a free-kick into the arms of Vito Mannone from 25 yards. There are 25 minutes left, it's still Arsenal 4-2 Blackburn.

From Pepe MUFC Consoli on 606: "Cesc is special. I wish United had him. One of two Arsenal players who would really benefit the United team, the other being Arshavin."

1455: Dreamy stuff at times. Tomas Rosicky cuts in from the left and crashes a sizzling right-foot shot that flies a couple of feet wide of Paul Robinson's left-hand upright.

1454: Good example of the commentator's curse, that. David Dunn is hauled off and Benni McCarthy comes on - Dunny doesn't look best pleased and rightly so.

1452: David Dunn's had a really good game for Blackburn and he surges forward again on to a Franco di Santo flick-on, firing in a shot from the edge of the box that Vito Mannone punches away. Unlucky his shot was straight at the keeper.

Arsenal goal: If a player ever deserved a goal... twice Cesc Fabregas tries to play little passes (shall we call them Cescy passes?) on the edge of the Rovers box, and twice it doesn't quite come off. He can't be bothered to try again, so he swings a left-foot volley into the top corner from 20 yards. Magical. He's been absolutely magical today.

1449: GOAL Arsenal 4-2 Blackburn

1447: Morten Gamst Pedersen comes on for Brett Emerton at the Emirates.

1446: Here's the real Toffees team news: Everton make three changes from the side that beat BATE in the Europa League on Thursday. Tony Hibbert, who filled in as an emergency centre-back in Belarus, returns to right-back and, with Joseph Yobo still not fit, Johnny Heitinga partners Sylvain Distin in the middle of their defence. Louis Saha and Jack Rodwell also come in, with Dan Gosling, Jo and Yakubu making way.

1445: Ignore the Everton chat below, more to follow on their line-up today...

1443: Two chances in a minute for Robin van Persie, the first brilliantly set up by Cesc Fabreas, but the Dutchman chests it down and Paul Robinson can gather. Seconds later, Van Persie's shot from 20 yards is straight at Robinson.

1442: Good stuff from Blackburn as Martin Olsson hits a scorching left-foot volley from all of 30 yards that forces Vito Mannone to fly across his goal and push the ball away to safety.

1440: David Dunn rolls back the years with a canny little dribble into the Arsenal box and he trips over Thomas Vermaelen's outstretched left leg inside the area. No penalty given, and no real appeals from Rovers players, strangely.

1439: Matthew Upson returns to the West Ham defence after recovering from the calf injury that ruled him out of Monday's 3-1 defeat Manchester City, with Manuel Da Costa making way. Zavon Hines is recalled to the starting XI in place of Radoslav Kovac. Fulham boss Roy Hodgson makes six changes from the side that beat Basle in the Europa Cup on Thursday. Stephen Kelly, Chris Baird, Bjorn Helge Riise and Jonathan Greening drop to the bench while Bobby Zamora and Chris Smalling don't make the squad. In come John Pantsil, Aaron Hughes, Brede Hangeland, Zoltan Gera, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Diomansy Kamara.

1437: Surely the second half can't be anywhere near as good as the first, can it? We're back under way and about to find out.

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry: "I was a bit embarrassed going out there to be honest, I didn't know what to do. But I love the fans and the club, it was a little bit emotional."

From aaronarsenal, via text on 81111: "I know people think we're thin on the ground, but compare any team in the league with Nasri, Walcott, Fabregas, Van Persie, Arshavin, Rosicky, Eduardo... surely there can't be a better set of attacking players anywhere?!?"

1431: Everton make one change from the side that beat BATE in the Europa League on Thursday. Tony Hibbert, who filled in as an emergency centre-back in Belarus, returns to right-back and, with Joseph Yobo still not fit, Johnny Heitinga partners Sylvain Distin in the middle of their defence. Stoke, who lost 2-0 to Manchester United last weekend, make three changes as they move to a 4-4-2 formation. Ricardo Fuller partners ex-Toffees striker James Beattie up front and Salif Diao makes his first appearance of the season in midfield. Dave Kitson, Glenn Whelan and Liam Lawrence all drop to the bench.

From boringoldblue on 606: "Much as I love Chelsea, the chances of Chelsea v Liverpool being anywhere near as exciting as this are highly unlikely. I may live to regret this, but it's far more likely they will both just cancel each other out."

1427: Everton v Stoke line-ups:
Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Osman, Rodwell, Cahill, Bilyaletdinov, Fellaini, Saha.
Subs: Nash, Jo, Gosling, Yakubu, Neill, Agard, Baxter.
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Collins, Delap, Diao, Whitehead, Etherington, Beattie, Fuller.
Subs: Simonsen, Cort, Whelan, Lawrence, Kitson, Wilkinson, Sanli.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

1425: West Ham v Fulham line-ups:
West Ham:
Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Noble, Parker, Jimenez, Diamanti, Cole, Hines.
Subs: Kurucz, Spector, Behrami, Da Costa, Payne, Stanislas, Nouble.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Gera, Murphy, Dikgacoi, Dempsey, Andrew Johnson, Kamara.
Subs: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Baird, Riise, Greening, Nevland, Eddie Johnson.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1423: What a brilliant half of football that was, and as well as credit to Arsenal for the way they played and the way they fought back from being behind, huge kudos to Blackburn for refusing to lie down. Great entertainment.

1421: Half-time Arsenal 3-2 Blackburn

1418: We're into first-half stoppage time at the Emirates. I don't want it to ever end.

1416: Magnificent stuff from Tomas Rosicky - that's why he was so badly missed. He clips an outrageous outside-of-the-foot cross in for Cesc Fabregas and after his header is saved by Paul Robinson, the Spaniard is denied a goal on the rebound by a great challenge from Pascal Chimbonda.

From democracythreat on 606: "Arshavin terrorizes defenders like Ronaldo used to do. There are not many footballers around who look so dangerous no matter how many defenders are between them and the goal."

1411: And to think, this is just the hors d'œuvre prior to Chelsea v Liverpool later. It's turning into a mini-classic.

Arsenal goal: That's what it feels like. Three Blackburn defenders commit to winning a header and when they don't and it drops for Cesc Fabregas, they are in trouble. He slips another inch-perfect pass to the inside left channel inside the area and Andrey Arshavin slams this one past Paul Robinson and into the far corner. Another top finish.

1409: GOAL Arsenal 3-2 Blackburn

1407: Arsenal continue to pound away. I bet they'd just like to know what it feels like to be ahead in this one. We've had 35 remarkable minutes, and it's 2-2.

Arsenal goal: Bit like basketball, isn't it? Blackburn ask the question and the Gunners come up with an answer as Cesc Fabregas slips a fabulous pass in for Robin van Persie to take a touch and rifle past Paul Robinson from just inside the area, left of centre. Very good response.

1405: GOAL Arsenal 2-2 Blackburn

Rovers goal: I guess that's what they do, then. From Robinson's save, they counter with a long ball out of defence from El Hadji Diouf. Keith Andrews takes it up, finds David Dunn inside the Arsenal area and he cuts inside and sends in a right-foot shot that crashes against William Gallas and loops agonisingly past Vito Mannone. Classic breakaway goal.

1403: GOAL Arsenal 1-2 Blackburn

1402: Cesc Fabregas pulls the trigger again and again Paul Robinson makes a brilliant one-handed save.

1401: Blackburn are defending in lines, asking Arsenal to try and break them down. It's predictable, but I'm not sure what else they could do. If they came out to play, they'd just get picked off.

From Darren, Bristol, via text on 81111: "Stevo, my advice to Hanna is make use of the sauna and Jacuzzi!"

1356: Arsenal knock it around with ease before captain Cesc Fabregas pulls the trigger from 30 yards and it's a good low shot that Paul Robinson does really well to get down to and block, denying Robin van Persie from the rebound too.

From onithor on 606: "Could Vermaelen be the world's first deep-lying centre-forward? HOLY! I am shaking, that is how good that was."

1351: Thirdly, as a goalscoring centre-back in his day, Ronald Koeman must have loved watching that strike.

Arsenal goal: Two thoughts: firstly, he's not a centre-back; secondly, since when were Arsenal allowed to keep shooting from outside the box?! Thomas Vermaelen wins the ball in midfield, Abou Diaby gives it to Cesc Fabregas and when the Spaniard lays it off to the Belgian, he gets it on to his left foot and crashes a 22-yarder past Paul Robinson. Fabulous hit.

1349: GOAL Arsenal 1-1 Blackburn

1347: I'd put good money on Arsenal having at least 60% possession for the rest of this game. With Andrey Arshavin, Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky all on the pitch, they will not give it up easily. No recent chances - though Keith Andrews just flashed a header across his own goalline.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1343: While Hanna, below, prepares for another four hours of pounding away at the treadmill, Arsenal begin to pound away at Blackburn. They get it out to the right where Andrey Arshavin floats over a cross and Cesc Fabregas loops a header against the crossbar.

From Hanna, via text on 81111: "I thought I'd be clever and watch Chelsea v Liverpool at the gym cos my tv's broken. I thought it started at 1.30. I don't know how long I can last, Stevo."

1339: Good test of Arsenal's title credentials now - make no mistake, Blackburn will not come out to play, they will sit on exactly what they've got. For 84 minutes if they have to.

Rovers goal: He doesn't do scripts does he, Big Sam? Paul Robinson pumps a very long ball indeed into the Arsenal box and Thomas Vermaelen is beaten in the air by Steven Nzonzi, who heads the ball on, up and over young Vito Mannone.

1336: GOAL Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn

1336: Some terrific messages coming in from emotional Arsenal fans about the appearance of Thierry Henry on the Emirates pitch. Easy to forget when you support another team just what a special player he was for Arsenal. Talking of special players, AZ Alkmaar coach Ronald Koeman is among the spectators.

From Shed End Boy Since 1988 on 606: "Stevo, any chance you could give a shout out to the Cheltenham Town supporters who won their second ever game this morning, beating AFC Seymour from Gloucester 4-3 AET in the County Cup. CTSFC had 10 men for the last 40 minutes, cracking performance. Ta."

1332: I love football, me. Arsenal v Blackburn, the first part of a brilliant Sunday offering, gets up and running in north London, courtesy of our referee Peter Walton.

1328: The teams walk out at Arsenal, we're not far off getting under way. It's a decent October afternoon and the atmosphere is very, very contented. Can Blackburn spoil Monsieur Wenger's party?

1325: Arsenal did the double over Blackburn last season, thrashing Rovers 4-0 both home and away. At the Emirates this afternoon, Barcelona striker Thierry Henry walks out on to the pitch prior to kick-off and takes the adulation of the crowd.

From Luke, Birmingham, via text on 81111: "Stevo, here's my predictions: Arsenal 2-0 Blackburn. Everton 1-1 Stoke. West Ham 3-1 Fulham and Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool."

1318: There's a little cracker going on north of the border, though right now they're taking a deserved breather after a 45 minutes of furious end-to-end action. If you'd like to follow events from Ibrox Park at all, Thomas McGuigan is in the chair.

1315: In-form and flying at home, it's hard to see past an Arsenal win today. Though hope for Blackburn comes in the knowledge that Sam Allardyce is the English manager who has caused Arsene Wenger the most problems during his stint on these shores, with the Gunners gaffer winning eight of their 19 meetings.

From Pickles91 on 606: "If you look at the league it really, really is close if Liverpool win today and Arsenal win their games in hand. Even Spurs and Man City are close enough. Hope Arsenal win it though, the way they play is just incredible."

1308: Arsenal make one alteration from the team that beat Olympiakos in midweek, with Bacary Sagna replacing Emmanuel Eboue. Blackburn ring the changes as they opt to bring in Gael Givet, Martin Olsson, Brett Emerton and Keith Andrews for Chris Samba, Ryan Nelsen, Vincenzo Grella and Morten Gamst Pedersen.

1305: It's astonishing to think that it is 13 years since a bespectacled Frenchman few people had ever heard of walked into Highbury and played his part in revolutionising the British game. Wenger's first match in charge was against today's opponents Blackburn in October 1996, with Live From Studio Five co-host Ian Wright bagging a brace in a 2-0 win at Ewood Park. I wonder what Melinda Messenger was doing that day...

1300: Stevo's Predos:
Arsenal 4-1 Blackburn
Everton 2-1 Stoke
West Ham 2-1 Fulham
Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
Lawro's predictions

1257: Arsenal v Blackburn line-ups:
Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Fabregas, Song Billong, Diaby, Rosicky, van Persie, Arshavin.
Subs: Szczesny, Walcott, Ramsey, Silvestre, Eboue, Gibbs, Bendtner.
Blackburn: Robinson, Jacobsen, Givet, Chimbonda, Olsson, Emerton, Andrews, Nzonzi, Diouf, Dunn, Di Santo.
Subs: Brown, McCarthy, Pedersen, Kalinic, Hoilett, Salgado, Jones.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

From Roverdamus on 606: "As long as Rovers don't get totally embarrassed like last season, then I won't be too upset. Can't see us getting anything out of the game, but I live in hope."

1253: But enough of all that. Chelsea v Liverpool kicks off at 1600 BST, that's four o'clock in your old-fashioned English hours. A good hour prior to that, Everton entertain Stoke at Goodison and West Ham and Fulham go all London on us at the Boleyn Ground. Firstly, however, Arsenal's longest-serving manager pits his wits against Big Sam's Blackburn.

1249: Oh, how I love Chelsea-Liverpool meetings. It's the time of the season (or five times) when I get most accused of bias. If you get furious about how it's going, feel free to take it out on me via text on 81111 and on the 606 thread too. I can take it, honestly. I'm here for you.

1245: In the last five years, Chelsea and Liverpool have met a mind-numbing 25 times. There have been some absolute shockers in that time, as I'm sure Jorge Valdano would happily agree (Google it). But if they are all going to be like the last one, I'd happily watch them all day every day.

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Premier League results

4 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn R
Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool R
Everton 1-1 Stoke R
West Ham 2-2 Fulham R

Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 8 12 21
2 Man Utd 8 11 19
3 Tottenham 8 7 16
4 Arsenal 7 14 15
5 Liverpool 8 10 15
6 Man City 6 7 15
7 Sunderland 8 3 13
8 Aston Villa 6 4 12
9 Burnley 8 -9 12
10 Everton 7 -2 10
11 Stoke 8 -4 9
12 Wigan 8 -7 9
13 Bolton 7 -1 8
14 Birmingham 8 -3 7
15 Fulham 7 -4 7
16 Blackburn 7 -7 7
17 Wolverhampton 8 -7 7
18 Hull 8 -12 7
19 West Ham 7 -3 5
20 Portsmouth 8 -9 3

see also
Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool
04 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn
04 Oct 09 |  Premier League
West Ham 2-2 Fulham
04 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Everton 1-1 Stoke
04 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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