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Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sunday football as it happened



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used)

By Jonathan Stevenson

1820: Have some of that, Premier League naysayers. Another spellbinding weekend comes to a close, but don't forget to watch Match of the Day 2 wrap it up on BBC Two and online at 2230 GMT. Cheesy is in the seat on Monday for Wigan v Bolton and I'll see you in a few days. Have a fabulous Christmas, each and every one.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola: "The attitude today was magnificent and I think we should have got more from that game. The penalty was the reason why they got a point and we're disappointed the referee trusted the linesman even though at the start he didn't think it was one."

From JackHughesByZola on 606: "All teams will drop points. Chelsea are dropping fewer than the rest, that's all."

From The_Only_Martin on Twitter: "What is it with Chelsea these days? Surely Carlo Ancelotti isn't Luiz Felipe Scolari in disguise?"

Chelsea goalscorer Frank Lampard: "I didn't need to have to take three at all, especially after missing that one a few weeks ago. I wish I'd have been able to re-take the one at Man City when players were encroaching! We didn't turn up in the first half, but we came back well after."

West Ham's Scott Parker: "It was do or die for us, we came up against a very good side and we needed to show fight and passion which we might not have done recently, and we did that today."

From Sam, via text on 81111: "Tell Scott Parker to stop playing so well. We still want him at West Ham in February!"

1758: Chelsea go four points clear at the top of the Premier League with that point, while West Ham move to within two points of safety. The Blues are at Birmingham on Boxing Day, while the Hammers host Portsmouth. What a big game that is already.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Ray Parlour: "Fantastic game, end-to-end stuff, really exciting. West Ham definitely deserved their point, possibly three because they played so well - and if they keep that up, they'll have no problem staying up."

1754: Full-time West Ham 1-1 Chelsea

1753: Almost disaster as Julien Faubert's back header looks a bit too strong for Robert Green, but the Hammers keeper manages to cling on to the ball. Relief for the hosts.

1751: We are now into three minutes of injury time.

1750: West Ham whip over a free-kick from their left and Guillermo Franco's header forces Petr Cech to save - but the flag had gone up anyway.

1749: West Ham half-clear a corner and it falls to Yuri Zhirkov 25 yards out - the Russian chest it down and half-volleys over the crossbar. Two minutes left of normal time.

1746: Yuri Zhirkov fastens on to a ball down the left from Frank Lampard and the Russian's cross-shot is parried away by Rob Green, with the Hammers defence clearing the ball from inside their six-yard box.

1745: England captain John Terry is booked for an "enthusiastic" challenge on Julien Faubert.

1742: West Ham take a corner from the right and Ricardo Carvalho is all over Guillermo Franco - there have been a very good shouts for penalties today not given, and that's another one. Petr Cech plucks the next corner out of the sky.

1742: Ten minutes left. West Ham 1-1 Chelsea. Where's your money?

1740: Alessandro Diamanti, with more than a flash of Paolo di Canio about him, twists brilliantly inside a Chelsea defender to create a yard of space in the Blues box, but his goalbound right-foot drive smacks against John Terry.

From redandblackT1899 on 606: "I fancy Scott Parker to snatch Michael Carrick's place in the England team for the World Cup!"

1736: Yuri Zhirkov comes on for Chelsea in place of Joe Cole. There are 15 minutes left of normal time.

1735: Herita Ilunga fails to get rid of the ball after a cross from the Chelsea right and Joe Cole has time to take a touch, only for the midfielder to balloon his shot over the hosts' crossbar. Got to hit the target.

1733: Alessandro Diamanti's shot from 22 yards forces a decent save from Petr Cech away to his right, before Mark Noble curls an effort over from the left-hand corner of the Chelsea box.

1732: I thought it would catch fire after that penalty incident, but it hasn't. West Ham would snatch your hand off if you offered them a point right now - though midfielders Mark Noble and Scott Parker, who have been monumental, probably want to go and win it.

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Upton Park: "Chelsea fans chant '3-1, 3-1' after Lampard nets a thrice-taken penalty. The midfielder is called a Chelsea legend in the blurb for his 'Super Frank' DVD stocking filler. He has spent eight years at the Blues after nine with West Ham."

1729: We're halfway through the second half, and it's West Ham 1-1 Chelsea.

1726: What just happened surprised me. And on a weekend where nothing should surprise anyone anymore, that's quite surprising.

From HenryWhitfield on Twitter: "Are you KIDDING ME MIKE DEAN?! How many times does Lampard have to score?!"

Chelsea goal: For God's sake that was needless - it wasn't even a penalty. Matthew Upson makes a fabulous challenge on Daniel Sturridge inside the West Ham box, but the assistant referee points to the spot and ref Mike Dean gives it. At first glance, to be honest, I thought it was a peno, but after a couple of replays, it's a good tackle. Upson is booked for his protests and Frank Lampard steps up not once, not twice, but three times to beat Rob Green on every occasion and eventually the third penalty is allowed to stand.

1722: GOAL West Ham 1-1 Chelsea

1721: This is ridiculous - there's another re-take. I'm sorry about this, both times there have been about seven players already in the area.


1721: GOAL West Ham 1-1 Chelsea


1718: Chelsea, just to remind you, have scored in their last 22 league games and last 33 in all competitions. Barcelona were the last team to stop them scoring, in the Champions League in April.

From Coxy50, via text on 81111: "West Ham should bring on Paul Collingwood to shore up their defence in the second half."

1715: Chelsea are going to do a lot of attacking and West Ham a lot of defending in this half. Michael Ballack falls to the floor like he's been shot, and the ref waves for him to get on with it.

1713: Mark Noble is booked for arguing with referee Mike Dean after a free-kick is given away by Robert Kovac 35 yards out. Frank Lampard's delivery comes to nothing.

1710: That's utterly outrageous. It would have been the goal of the season. Didier Drogba chases a long ball down the Chelsea right and decides to shoot from outside the area at an impossible angle on the right - he volleys it up and over Rob Green, but it lands a foot the wrong side of the far post. World-class.

From Gerrardswhiskers on 606: "Wish Rafa would be that decisive with his subs. Good manager, Ancelotti. Here come the Chelsea goals."

From sensationalbodhran on 606: "Is there a good team in the Premier League?"

1706: Daniel Sturridge and Jon Mikel Obi have both come on at half-time for Chelsea, replacing Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou. We're under way in the second half.

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Upton Park: "Looked a soft penalty but the Boleyn Ground is jumping as bottom (nearly) lead top. West Ham have beaten Aston Villa and drawn with Arsenal at home this season and have shown real spirit so far."

From henrywinter on Twitter: "Great win for Wolves. He still damaged the integrity of the Premier League by mass midweek resting. Imagine if Man U win PL by two points..."

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy: "I'm delighted that I have a group of players that believe in me and have trust in me to make the right decisions and then perform like that and get wins. I have to say that there has been one or two dubious characters who have been giving me a bit of stick. They have questioned my honesty and integrity when I think I stand up for all those things. I've never cheated in my life so that does bother me. I'm not looking for vindication by it, I'm looking for points."

From Mark, Warrington, via text on 81111: "A 1-1 draw - David Moyes wants to be careful, you know what happens if you draw games at the moment, just ask Mark Hughes."

1654: Impressive display from Birmingham defensively there - you know, maybe we should start calls for the magnificent Roger Johnson to join Bobby Zamora in the next England squad...?

1652: Full-time Everton 1-1 Birmingham

1650: Half-time West Ham 1-0 Chelsea

1649: Robert Green and Salomon Kalou both try to get to a Didier Drogba flick-on first and the keeper takes the striker out. Kalou got a touch and though it flew out of play, Green did take him out.

1648: Just started four minutes of injury time at Goodison Park.

1647: Alessandro Diamanti fires in a shot from a tight angle on the right but Petr Cech is in position to make a confortable low save. Scott Parker is booked for a silly sliding foul on Michael Ballack.

Hammers goal: Nothing should surprise us this weekend. Guillermo Franco slots the ball through to Jack Collison and when he tries to turn in the Chelsea box, Ashley Cole gets into a horrible position and brings his down. Cole is given a card on his 29th birthday by the ref and Alessandro Diamanti steps up to send Petr Cech the wrong way. Game very, very much on now.

1645: GOAL West Ham 1-0 Chelsea


1644: Didier Drogba collects a quick free-kick from Frank Lampard on the left-hand side of the West Ham box and he rifles a shot into the side-netting.

1643: About five minutes left at Goodison, and it's still Everton 1-1 Birmingham. Is there some late drama left on Merseyside?

From Gordon Ramsay on 606: "This is getting very frustrating for a Chelsea fan, oh the chance to go six points clear of Man Utd is so tempting. C'mon lads!"

1639: Frank Lampard lays the ball off to John Terry 25-yards out and his daisy-cutter is blocked and then pounced on by Robert Green.

1638: The ball bounces kindly for Joe Cole just outside the West Ham box and with the West Ham defenders backing off, the former Hammers slashes a left-foot shot a few yards wide on the half-volley.

1636: It's rapidly becoming treacherous at Everton, and the hosts are still doing most of the attacking as they try to find a way to get themselves back in front. Louis Saha heads a free-kick over.

It's raining
1634: Guillermo Franco is booked for a handball at West Ham. At Everton, it's absolutely teeming it down as Steven Pienaar skies a shot miles over the Birmingham bar.

1633: Lovely pass from Scott Parker to get Herita Ilunga away down the West Ham left and his pull-back finds Jack Collison, who has a left-foot shot well saved by the legs of Petr Cech.

1631: Ricardo Carvalho is booked for going straight through the back of Guillermo Franco, and he can't really complain about that. I mean, it is in the rules. The Portuguese makes amends with a fine headed clearance from the ensuing free-kick.

1628: Yakubu comes on for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov at Everton.

1626: Everton are on top at Goodison, but Birmingham are defending very well. Louis Saha volleys wide and the hosts will have to try again. Still 1-1.

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Upton Park: "Sparky start by West Ham. Fanzine seller outside ground predicted a 1-0 win for the Hammers OR a 'battering' by Chelsea. 'The only thing predictable is they are unpredictable,' he said."

1623: ...into the wall and deflected behind for a corner, which is headed goalwards by Branislav Ivanovic and cleared off the line by Scott Parker.

1622: Scott Parker chops Didier Drogba to the floor and Chelsea have a free-kick about 28 yards out, just right of centre. Drogba wants it himself...

1619: England have drawn the first Test in Centurion. Meanwhile, West Ham are forced into an early change, with Danny Gabbidon limping off and James Tomkins on in his place.

1618: Another opening for Everton, this time Marouane Fellaini crossing from the right, Leighton Baines helping it back across goal and Tim Cahill's flick goalwards cleared away by the imperious Roger Johnson.

1617: Michael Ballack smashes a shot over from the edge of the West Ham penalty area. Branislav Ivanovic is getting into some very advanced positions down the Chelsea right.

1616: It's hard not to watch the cricket. England are trying to save the first Test in South Africa. They have three balls left...

1614: Branislav Ivanovic heads a Chelsea corner from the right just over the West Ham bar. The Hammers are doing OK so far, trying to deny Chelsea space to play in.

1612: Didier Drogba goes down for the first time today after a strong but fair challenge from Matty Upson. He gets up pretty quickly.

1611: Half chance for Everton from Leighton Baines cross, but Tim Cahill is foiled at the near post by Birmingham's Roger Johnson. Good marking.

1609: Guillermo Franco fashions a yard of space 30 yards out, but his shot cannons into the frame of John Terry.

1607: Frank Lampard nearly scores again against his former club, collecting a Joe Cole lay-off and firing in a shot from the edge of the box that Robert Green pushes behind for a corner.

From RememberScarborough on 606: "Stevo - I bet you've never been called a plastic Bolton fan even if such a thing could ever exist."

1603: Just got under way at Goodison Park for the second half of Everton v Birmingham.

1602: Russell Brand and Katy Perry embrace in the stand at Upton Park and we get under way in the last Premier League game of the day.

From themib on Twitter: "Chelsea wearing their home kit, maybe they're buying into the 'cursed away kit' theory."

1557: The teams are out at the Boleyn Ground and we'll shortly get under way between West Ham and Chelsea.

1556: A proud moment for me, as I've just been called a plastic Chelsea fan on 606. I think that completes the set!

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Upton Park: "Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has scored more league goals (13) than West Ham's entire first 11 today, who have a combined total of 12 between them so far this season."

1553: Chelsea have actually won their last four visits to Upton Park, scoring 12 goals and conceding two. The Hammers have conceded nine goals in their last three home games.

1551: So, West Ham v Chelsea is the last game - not only is it a London derby, but it's bottom versus top and there's a fair bit at stake. The Hammers haven't beaten the Blues in any of their last nine meetings in all competitions.

1547: Half-time Everton 1-1 Birmingham

1546: It's absolutely hammering it down at Goodison now, but that's the least of David Moyes' worries. Everton tailed off in that half and he'll need to pick them up at the break.

From Michael, Wolves fan, via text on 81111: "Super Mick has had his decision vindicated. Burnley went for it against Arsenal and got a point but had nothing to give today, whereas we had nine fresh players. From the two games we have three points, they have one. I know which I'd prefer."

1542: The Goodison faithful are getting a touch frustrated as Birmingham enjoy a sustained period of possession.

1540: As it stands, Wolves will be 12th at close of play today - unless Everton can beat Birmingham.

1539: It's gone a touch scrappy at Everton, the hosts not quite maintaining the standard they set at the start when they flew out of the blocks.

From Chopper-Villan on 606: "I doubt he really cares what anyone else thinks other than perhaps the Wolves fans.... and on that note, are Wolves fans more understanding about what he did now as it seems to have worked? This isn't a dig at Wolves fans, I just think you are the only people who have a right to moan about his squad choice."

1535: West Ham make two changes from the side that lost 3-1 at Bolton last Tuesday. Matthew Upson returns after a hamstring injury to replace James Tomkins at centre-back. Mark Noble takes the midfield place of Keiron Dyer, who limped off at the Reebok with a hamstring injury. Luis Jiminez has recovered from a muscle strain and is on the bench. The big news for Chelsea is the return of top-scorer Didier Drogba in attack. He replaces Nicolas Anelka, while Joe Cole and Florent Malouda start in midfield in place of Deco and Jon Obi Mikel and Ricardo Carvalho replaces Alex in central defence.

1532: Everton are still fizzing the ball about, trying to get it wide and get those crosses in, but it's a slightly more even game than it was before Birmingham's surprise leveller.

1530: Well done to Wolves and their manager Mick McCarthy for today - that's a cracking win, very well-deserved and takes them up to 13th in the Premier League. I still think what he did in midweek was a disgrace, though.

1527: West Ham v Chelsea line-ups:
West Ham:
Green, Faubert, Gabbidon, Upson, Ilunga, Noble, Kovac, Parker, Collison, Franco, Diamanti.
Subs: Stech, Jimenez, Spector, Da Costa, Nouble, Tomkins, Stanislas.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Ballack, Lampard, Malouda, Joe Cole, Drogba, Kalou.
Subs: Hilario, Mikel, Zhirkov, Paulo Ferreira, Sturridge, Alex, Belletti.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

1525: Full-time Wolves 2-0 Burnley

1525: I wasn't joking - Everton were rampant. They've had nine attempts, with six on target, and that was Birmingham's only shot of the game. Clearly, though, it only takes a second to score a goal.

From optajoe on Twitter: "Burnley have conceded at least two goals in every Premier League away game they have played this season. Porous."

Blues goal: You cannot make this game up, can you? After being bombarded for 20 minutes, the visitors get themselves level. Chucho Benitez is allowed time and space to pick a pass from inside the Everton box and his centre is slotted into the far corner by Sebastian Larsson. Daylight robbery.

1522: GOAL Everton 1-1 Birmingham

1519: Tony Hibbert's cross falls for Leon Osman and after his shot is blocked, Tim Cahill heads Leighton Baines' centre wide. Everton are utterly rampant.

1517: Wolves send Chris Iwelumo on for Matt Jarvis, who has had a pretty decent afternoon.

1515: Everton are totally dominant. I don't think Birmingham have had more than a few touches. At Wolves, Chris Eagles curls a shot straight at Marcus Hahnemann, but it's too late for Burnley. Five minutes left.

From Ekwere Thompson, via text on +44 7786200666: "I am sending this message from Victoria Island, Lagos State, Nigeria and as a Chelsea fan, we are going to hammer West Ham United by three goals to nothing. We are on course to win the league."

1510: Everton are flying - Steven Pienaar finds Tim Cahill towards the left-hand side and he crashes in a fabulous first-time shot from the edge of the Birmingham box that sails narrowly over Joe Hart's crossbar.

1510: Luis Saha is slipped through by Tim Cahill as Everton and he fires home, before wrongly being flagged for offside.

1509: Another penalty shout at Wolves turned down for the visitors - this time Karl Henry is tugging Steven Fletcher's shirt in the box, but the referee waves away Burnley's appeals. Very dangerous defending, that.

From Derek on 606: "There we go! Billy needs to develop his strength and awareness of Premier League Football, but there are no doubts whatsoever about that foot of his!"

Everton goal: Great early boost for David Moyes' injury-ravaged side, but what were the visitors doing? Louis Saha flicks a throw into the path of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and without having to do too much, he surges towards the Blues goal and slams a shot past Joe Hart. Statues, the Birmingham defenders were.

1505: GOAL Everton 1-0 Birmingham

1503: Lovely one-two between Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Matt Jarvis sees the striker fire goalwards, but Brian Jensen makes another fine, sprawling save. Moments later, a cross from the Burnley right somehow evades five players in the six-yard box and in his surprise at being picked out, Steven Fletcher blazes wide from close range.

1500: We're under way at Goodison Park, where Everton take on Birmingham.

1500: Change apiece at Molineux as Burnley bring Joey Gudjohnsson on for Steven Caldwell and Wolves send Michael Mancienne on for Nenad Milijas.

BBC Sport pundit Lee Dixon: "Gordon Strachan has got a real job on his hands to pick his side up."

BBC Sport pundit Alan Shearer: "They've not hit top gear yet. From what I've seen in this league, the big difference is the forwards. Newcastle have the players to finish teams off."

1456: Great stuff at Wolves - Stephen Ward whips over a sensational cross from the left right on to the head of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, but the striker's header is brilliantly parried away by Brian Jensen.

1455: Full-time Newcastle 2-0 Middlesbrough

1454: That's why you stick defenders on the line at set-pieces. Steven Caldwell meets a Burnley corner at the far post and nods it goalwards, but Kevin Foley is stationed perfectly to boot it away from danger.

1452: Danny Guthrie swings over a stoppage time free-kick at St James's and sub Nile Ranger leaps highest, but the teenager can only glance wide of the far post.

1452: Continuing the theme of breaking news from yesterday: Mark Hughes has confirmed, in a statement issued by the League Managers' Association, that he was not informed he was going to be sacked before Manchester City's game with Sunderland.

1451: Burnley need a goal fairly quickly if they are going to make a game of this one. We've had an hour in the midlands and Wolves remain 2-0 up.

From lewisbroad on Twitter: "I bet Middlesbrough only appointed Gordon Strachan to save money on putting new initials on the manager's jacket..."

1447: Birmingham might not get a better chance to beat Everton at Goodison. Injury-ravaged Everton have won only one of their last 10 league games and haven't won at home in the league since 20 September. The visitors, meanwhile, can equal their record of six top flight victories today, set 50 years ago from January to March 1959.

1444: Boro are showing absolutely no signs of getting back into the game at Newcastle - this one is all over and some.

1443: Owen Coyle wastes no time in making a change, with Andre Bikey hauled off and David Nugent on.

Wolves goal: Brilliant goal for Wolves at a time when they were under a little bit of pressure. Kevin Doyle challenges for a long ball, gets the better of Steven Caldwell, barges his way past Mike Duff and then keeps his cool to fire past Brian Jensen. Then, stupidly, he takes his shirt off and is booked, silly boy.

1441: GOAL Wolves 2-0 Burnley

1440: Not long until they get under way at Goodison Park, where Birmingham have not won on any of their last 25 visits in all competitions. Their last win at Everton came in November 1957.

1438: Steven Fletcher tries to get his head to a Tyrone Mears cross from the Burnley right, but Richard Stearman is all over him and seems to be grabbing him back by the neck. Seen them given.

1436: Back under way at Molineux - can Wolves hang on for the win that would haul them out of the relegation zone? Another goal and they'd leap over Burnley in the Premier League table.

1433: Jonas Gutierrez plays a one-two with Kevin Nolan, but the Argentine's shot hits his team-mate and deflects behind for a goalkick.

1431: Real chance for Boro again but Leroy Lita blazes over from 14 yards at a bit of an angle on the right of the Newcastle area.

From Stuart, Molineux, via text on 81111: "This isn't a very good game, but the result is all that matters. Super Serb makes the difference again, Burnley are rubbish and we're all very cold."

1427: Mark Yeates comes on for Julio Arca for Boro, while Nile Ranger replaces Marlon Harewood for Newcastle.

From expertlfcfan on 606: "Toon v Boro should be played as part of Premier League 2 in future. The size of the clubs in the Championship deserve some extra coverage and revenue from matches like this on the BBC."

1424: Tony McMahon crosses from the right and Leroy Lita doesn't connect properly on the volley as it stumbles into the path of Steve Harper.

1422: After giving a host of youngsters a run-out in Thursday's Uefa Cup defeat to BATE, Everton boss David Moyes turns back to his regular starters for the Premier League visit of Birmingham with just two changes to the side that drew 3-3 at Chelsea last week, Tim Cahill and Leon Osman returning in place of injured pair Jack Rodwell and Jo. Birmingham, on a run of five straight victories, are unsurprisingly unchanged.

Newcastle goal: If catches win matches in cricket, then crosses win them in our sport - and you won't see a better one this weekend than that from Danny Guthrie. He fires over a stunner from the right that is begging to be headed in, and Shola Ameobi doesn't let it down, thumping it home for his sixth goal in six league games this season.

1420: GOAL Newcastle 2-0 Middlesbrough

1419: Half-time Wolves 1-0 Burnley

1416: Somehow Boro survive with the ball almost on their goalline - Jose Enrique's cross evades Shola Ameobi and gets stuck under Marlon Harewood's feet as a combination of Brad Jones and Justin Hoyte clear Boro's lines.

From douggie1983 on Twitter: "Easy to see why Newcastle and Boro both went down - passing is terrible."

1414: Everton v Birmingham line-ups:
Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Neill, Baines, Pienaar, Osman, Cahill, Bilyaletdinov, Fellaini, Saha.
Subs: Nash, Vaughan, Yakubu, Coleman, Duffy, Agard, Baxter.
Birmingham: Hart, Carr, Roger Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Bowyer, Ferguson, McFadden, Jerome, Benitez.
Subs: Maik Taylor, Phillips, Fahey, McSheffrey, Damien Johnson, Carsley, Vignal.
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

1411: Alan Smith, who was limping a bit, has gone off at Newcastle to be replaced by Nicky Butt. He's not a bad Championship sub to have, is he?

1410: Matt Jarvis tries to curl another right-footer goalwards from the edge of the Burnley box, but it thumps into the midriff of the giant Brian Jensen.

From Mo from Batley, via text on 81111: "Feel sorry for Mark Hughes, he didn't deserve it. So many managers in the Premier League should be sacked - Rafa, Sam the man, Brown, Zola."

1406: Back under way in the north-east where it's Newcastle 1-0 Middlesbrough.

1405: Clarke Carlisle walks off injured at Molineux and Mike Duff comes on to make his Premier League debut for Burnley.

1404: Wolves play the old 'Paul Scholes corner to the edge of the box' routine, but Nenad Milijas gets his left-foot shot all wrong. Burnley's Clarke Carlisle, meanwhile, looks like he is struggling.

1401: Lawro chipped in too: "Liverpool have dropped 27 points in the league already this season, they only dropped 28 points in the whole of last year. But the other things is that, at Pompey, they reverted to type. Benitez picked a really defensive line up to play against the team at the bottom of the table, with only three players - Dirk Kuyt, Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres - to score him a goal."

1359: Still, at least Mark Hughes' sacking deflected attention away from Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez. Here's what Reds legend Alan Hansen made of it on Match of the Day: "Rafael Benitez is under immense pressure. Internally they say he is safe until the end of the season, but it's the results that put you under pressure and Liverpool's results have been abysmal."

1357: While I've got a sec: Newspaper reports suggest some of Man City's players, led by Craig Bellamy and Shay Given, confronted chief executive Gary Cook over the sacking of Mark Hughes and appointment of Roberto Mancini after their 4-3 win over Sunderland yesterday.

From Brummerdickens on 606: "Gutierrez is too good for this league. Watched him last season and thought he was class then, I hope Newcastle go up just for his sake!"

BBC Sport pundit Alan Shearer: "There's been nothing to choose between Newcastle and Middlesbrough but for a poor refereeing decision. It hasn't been a great game, the standard has been poor."

1350: Great save from Brian Jensen, but why Kevin Doyle isn't flagged for offside I don't know. Nenad Milijas clips the ball over the Burnley defence to the striker and his effort is saved by the onrushing Danish keeper.

1350: Burnley try and immediate reply at Molineux, but Kevin McDonald's left-foot shot from the edge of the Wolves box is a couple of yards off target.

1349: Half-time Newcastle 1-0 Middlesbrough

From whipwhip on Twitter: "Big Chelsea fan from India, but I wish Aston Villa to challenge for the title this season :) Better for England too."

Wolves goal: That's eased the pressure on Big Mick. Great work from Kevin Doyle to chase down Clarke Carlisle deep into the Burnley half down the Wolves left and he feeds Matt Jarvis. When the winger's shot is parried by Brian Jensen, the Burnley defenders are sleeping - but Nenad Milijas isn't and he taps into the empty net.

1347: GOAL Wolves 1-0 Burnley

1344: It's gone quiet at Newcastle, but we shouldn't write Boro off. Five of their eight wins, 22 of their 30 goals scored and 18 of the 29 points they have accrued this season in the Championship have come away from the Riverside.

1341: It's nice and open at Wolves and Kevin Doyle smashes one in from 25 yards that hits Graham Alexander and flies behind for a corner, which Brian Jensen plucks out of the sky.

1339: Tyrone Mears has acres of space down the Burnley right and loops up a cross to the back post where Steven Fletcher heads at Marcus Hahnemann.

1337: Wolves and Burnley last met in the top flight 34 years ago, and both were relegated at the end of the 1975/76 season to start an alarming slide down the leagues. So much so, that 22 years ago, they were doing battle in the old fourth division.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1335: Lots of action at Newcastle, but somehow the hosts survive. Gary O'Neil's free-kick is saved by Steve Harper and Isaiah Osbourne's shot on the rebound seems to hit a Magpies defender and then clip the post before Harper gathers it in.

1333: There's snow on the outskirts of the pitch at Newcastle and at Wolves, doesn't that take you back to a simpler time of football? We've got a yellow ball at Molineux, too.

1331: Wolves have a pre-match huddle - they know how important this one is for their gaffer. And now we're under way at Molineux.

From Wazza v2 on 606: "A bit late to the party but only just noticed that City have only lost two games. We've lost five. Gotta feel for Hughes really."

1327: The free-kick is deflected into the path of Alan Smith, 25 yards out, and his left-foot swinger flies a couple of feet wide. Smith hasn't scored a league goal for 85 games, since a goal for Manchester United at Charlton in November 2005. Extraordinary.

1325: Boro aren't happy and now Tony McMahon is penalised for an apparent foul on Jonas Gutierrez. Newcastle do seem to be getting the rub of the green so far.

From Scott in Liverpool, via text on 81111: "Best centre-half blocker has to be Phil Jagielka. The man is a human shield."

1320: Poor stuff from Boro keeper Brad Jones. He comes to claim a long ball, spills it so it goes outside his area and kicks it to Danny Guthrie, 40 yards out, but the midfielder's difficult shot flies over.

1319: That was pretty much Newcastle's first chance and they took it. That's what happens when you're top of the league.

Newcastle goal: Boro are furious, and they have every right to be. From the free-kick, Danny Guthrie chips it to the back stick, Shola Ameobi blatantly shoves Emmanuel Pogatetz out of the way and heads it into Marlon Harewood's path, the striker making no mistake from close-range. Just had to be a foul on Pogatetz - an extraordinary decision.

1317: GOAL Newcastle 1-0 Middlesbrough

1316: Dave Kitson takes Alan Smith out and somehow avoids a booking.

From EmJayLambert on Twitter: "This is awesome. I can watch two footy games at once. Just need to decide which audio to listen to once Wolves-Burnley starts."

1313: There's a chance. A corner is swung over from the Boro right and the dangerous Leroy Lita gets away from his marker only to head wide from six yards.

1311: Leroy Lita powers through and fires in a right-foot shot from 16 yards that Steven Taylor does well to block. Is Taylor the heir to Jamie Carragher's throne as Best English Centre-Half Blocker?

1310: Not a great start in the north-east, but it's early days still. Marlon Harewood needs some treatment after a clash with the formidable frame of David Wheater.

1309: Wolves boss Mick McCarthy will find himself under the spotlight as never before today at home against Burnley. Having controversially decided to rest his first team for the trip to Manchester United in midweek, Wolves simply have to win today to take the pressure off their manager. If they don't win, they should refund every single fan who made the journey to Old Trafford. Can't beat Man United, Mick? Not sure Aston Villa and Fulham fans would agree with you there.

1306: Jose Enrique gets into a fabulous position to send a cross in from the left, but the Spanish left-back gets it hopelessly wrong, sending it behind for a goalkick.

1305: Wolves boss Mick McCarthy brings back most of the side that beat Tottenham last week and were controversially rested in the defeat by Manchester United in midweek. McCarthy makes nine changes with keeper Marcus Hahnemann and defender Kevin Foley the only two to keep their places from the loss at Old Trafford. Burnley manager Owen Coyle keeps faith with the side that drew 1-1 with Arsenal in midweek with striker David Nugent and midfielder Robbie Blake having to be content with a place on the bench.

1303: Wolves v Burnley line-ups:
Hahnemann, Stearman, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Foley, Henry, Milijas, Jarvis, Ebanks-Blake, Doyle.
Subs: Hennessey, Elokobi, Surman, Iwelumo, Mancienne, Maierhofer, Castillo.
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott, McDonald, Bikey, Eagles, Steven Fletcher.
Subs: Penny, Duff, Gudjonsson, Blake, Nugent, Thompson, Guerrero.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1302: We're under way in the north-east. Can Newcastle go 10 points clear of West Brom and Nottingham Forest at the top of the Champo? Or can Boro move up to seventh?

From rickyjana on Twitter: "Again, a day of glorious upsets - Burnley to shock Wolves, Brum to win again and West Ham to prevail in the London derby."

1255: I may have plumped for a draw at St James's (or whatever the hell it's called these days), but then I am a fool. Newcastle are chasing a fifth consecutive win and have the only unbeaten home record in the Championship. The odds are stacked in their favour.

From 4fabregas on 606: "It's a shame that Andy Carroll and Adam Johnson are missing, but there are some quality players on display and it will be a throwback to yesteryear - watching a decent league match on terrestrial television with a roast beef lunch!"

1250: UK users only, what a treat we have in store for you! If you are able in any way to hit the refresh button, you'll be able to watch Newcastle v Middlesbrough at the top of this very page. Which means you'll know I'm talking rubbish half the time. Uh-oh.

1248: Marlon Harewood and Shola Ameobi start in attack for Newcastle, with Andy Carroll missing through suspension and Fabrice Pancrate dropping to the bench. Danny Guthrie is fit again and starts in place of Nicky Butt, while defender Danny Simpson is in for Ryan Taylor. A hamstring injury sidelines Adam Johnson for Middlesbrough, meaning Julio Arca starts in midfield. Sean St Ledger's loan spell has ended so full-back Justin Hoyte steps into defence, prompting a reshuffle that sees Emanuel Pogatetz shift to centre-back. Skipper Gary O'Neil returns in place of Mark Yeates in midfield and Leroy Lita replaces Marcus Bent in attack.

1245: Stevo's Predos:
Newcastle 2-2 Middlesbrough
Wolves 1-1 Burnley
Everton 1-1 Birmingham
West Ham 0-3 Chelsea
Lawro's predictions

From Daz, via text on 81111: "A really exciting final Sunday of football before Christmas ahead. I predict Wolves to get the win needed, to answer the Old Trafford team selection tactics."

1240: Newcastle v Middlesbrough line-ups:
Newcastle: Harper, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Guthrie, Nolan, Smith, Gutierrez, Harewood, Ameobi.
Subs: Krul, Lovenkrands, Ryan Taylor, Pancrate, Butt, Kadar, Ranger.
Middlesbrough: Jones, McMahon, Wheater, Pogatetz, Hoyte, O'Neil, Rhys Williams, Osbourne, Arca, Lita, Kitson.
Subs: Coyne, Taylor, Riggott, Yeates, Bent, Franks, Luke Williams.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

1238: There are talking points agogo today, so don't be shy. They don't bite on 606, the text machine is ready to roll for both UK (81111) and worldwide (+44 7786200666) thumbers, and you can always turn up the Tweet with a cheeky message to Stevo_football. That's me, by the way. Hear from you shortly.

1235: Follow that we will, on the last proper day of football* before Santa does his thing. And this, my little Christmas crackers, is how we roll aujourd'hui:
1300 GMT: Newcastle v Middlesbrough
1330 GMT: Wolves v Burnley
1500 GMT: Everton v Birmingham
1600 GMT: West Ham v Chelsea
(* Please join Cheesy tomorrow for Wigan v Bolton)

1230: I don't know about you, but I'm still reeling from yesterday. Though while the events of a frenetic Saturday caused me to toss and turn for half the night, I doubt I slept any worse than Mark Hughes, Rafael Benitez, Sir Alex Ferguson and Harry Redknapp. Follow that, Sunday.

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Premier League results

20 Dec 2009 23:59 UK

Premier League table

Sunday, 20 December 2009 18:03 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Premier League table
1 Chelsea 18 28 41
2 Man Utd 18 20 37
3 Arsenal 17 24 35
4 Aston Villa 18 15 35
5 Tottenham 18 18 33
6 Man City 17 6 29
7 Birmingham 18 1 28
8 Liverpool 18 9 27
9 Fulham 17 6 26
10 Sunderland 18 -3 21
11 Stoke 17 -5 21
12 Wolves 18 -14 19
13 Blackburn 18 -15 19
14 Burnley 18 -16 19
15 Everton 17 -8 18
16 Wigan 17 -18 18
17 Hull 18 -20 17
18 Bolton 16 -10 16
19 West Ham 18 -9 15
20 Portsmouth 18 -9 14

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