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By Jonathan Stevenson
1808: Wrap o'clock. Thanks a lot for your chat today, I hope in some small way you enjoyed yourselves. Match of the Day 2 is on BBC One and online at 2200 GMT tonight and I'll be back on Tuesday for an FA Cup/Carling Cup/Football League JP Trophy-sized mixer. You've been a lovely audience.
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas: "It's always a difficult place to go, we know what we'll get at Bolton, but we coped with it well and we're proud of that. When I was younger the chances were not going in, but now they are and I hope it continues until the end of the season. I feel stronger and that helps. It's important to win on Wednesday for the title race."
From henrywinter on Twitter:
"How fab is Fabregas?! Great run to help create Arsenal second & Merida's first Prem goal. Fine team goal inspired by a player every kid can learn from."
BBC Radio 5 live's Kevin Gallacher: "Arsenal showed a lot of defensive qualities throughout the game and they had to, but going forward they were every bit as good as they have been for most of the season. Great performance."
1753: Full-time Bolton 0-2 Arsenal Tough opening for Owen Coyle as Bolton boss, but Arsenal have once again proved they are not going to give up on the Premier League title this season. It's officially a three-horse race.
1751: We're into three minutes of stoppage time at the Reebok Stadium.
1750: Aw. Here's what buck-toothed one-time genius Ronaldinho said after his hat-trick for AC Milan today: "I feel loved and I am happy. I go on the field upbeat and because of that everything goes well."
1748: Poor Matty Taylor, no team of the week for him. Ricardo Gardner plays Taylor into space down the left and on his most trusty foot, he sends his cross behind for a goalkick.
1747: Two minutes left at Bolton and it's been a pretty entertaining encounter on Owen Coyle's bow as Trotters manager.
1743: Yet another chance for Matty Taylor inside the Arsenal penalty area but his snap-shot with William Gallas closing him down flies over Manuel Almunia's crossbar. Arsenal bring Carlos Vela on for Eduardo.
1740: Bolton have brought on Johan Elmander and Ricardo Gardner.
Arsenal goal: That must be that. Cesc Fabregas ploughs forward and tees up Eduardo down the left of the Bolton area (he might just be offside), the Croatian crosses and when Zat Knight can only glance it on, Fran Merida takes a brilliant touch at the back post to create space and drive it into the far corner from eight yards.
1737: GOAL Bolton 0-2 Arsenal
1737: Matty Taylor's first effort cannons into the wall and his second shot from the rebound is headed away.
1736: Thomas Vermaelen is booked for a handball and Bolton have a free-kick maybe about 30 yards from the Arsenal goal. There's some interest in this one, for sure...
1735: Arsenal have a free-kick 25 yards out and Thomas Vermaelen curls it on to the roof of the net. Fifteen minutes left.
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson on injured forward Clint Dempsey: "The initial prognosis for Clint is not good. It looks like cruciate knee ligament damage and if it is it will keep him out for a while."
1733: Arsenal bring Gael Clichy on for Tomas Rosicky.
1730: Matty Taylor times his run perfectly and he's clean through from Gavin McCann's pass, one-on-one with Manuel Almunia. But bizarrely, he chests the ball down and shoots wide from 25 yards instead of running through on goal.
1727: Arsenal are turning the screw at the Reebok and Bolton are having to do an awful lot of defending. As it stands, Arsenal are moving to within three points of leaders Chelsea.
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson: "Strange game. We felt aggrieved when they went ahead as I thought we were playing well. The second was a bad goal to concede and that changed the complexion of the game."
1725: There's plenty of juice left in this one. About 25 minutes left and it's still Bolton 0-1 Arsenal.
From Paul, Shweeden, via text on +44 7786200666: "'This Cesc is on fire'. That's punnery of the highest order."
1722: Arsenal bring Fran Merida on for Craig Eastmond.
1721: Bolton boss Owen Coyle makes his first Trotters substitution, bringing Gavin McCann on for Fabrice Muamba.
1720: What a chance for Bolton. Ivan Klasnic tries to play in Matty Taylor and it's blocked, but the Croatian does it second time round instead and Taylor's first touch is perfect. He's 10 yards out with only Manuel Almunia to beat, but blazes his left-foot shot over.
1719: Nicely-worked from Arsenal there as Andrey Arshavin plays Abou Diaby into some space in the Bolton area, but the midfielder spanks his shot well wide of the far post. Next goal is huge.
1717: Bolton boss Owen Coyle is annoyed about what he thinks is a backpass from Armand Traore to Manuel Almunia, but it's much ado about nothing really. Approaching the hour mark at the Reebok.
From iamshearer on Twitter:
"As a Man Utd fan, if we don't win the league I'd like no-one to win it more than Arsenal. Their football deserves it!"
1713: Armand Traore simply cannot contain Chung Yong Lee and the winger sends over another ball from the right that William Gallas deflects into the arms of Manuel Almunia. Gael Clichy is warming up.
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce: "It was a good time to score after half-time and it is a big, big win. It is well-deserved and one that will take the pressure off us. The performance was nice but it was all about the result today and we're pleased to get the victory."
1710: Cesc Fabregas wins a free-kick about 12 yards outside the Bolton box and he chips the set-piece into the area where William Gallas climbs highest and heads over. The Trotters cannot afford to concede another goal.
1708: Chung Yong Lee clips over another neat cross from the Bolton right but the Gunners just about deal with the danger once again. The home fans are raising the volume.
1708: Chung Yong Lee fires in a cross from the Bolton right and Manuel Almunia gathers bravely with Matty Taylor sliding in on the Spanish goalkeeper.
BBC Radio 5 live's Kevin Gallacher: "Arsenal soaked up lots of pressure in the first half and then hit them with goal on the counter thanks to the inspirational Cesc Fabregas. We've seen them do it plenty of times before."
1705: As Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce no doubt celebrates his 100th win as a Premier League manager, Bolton 0-1 Arsenal gets back under way at the Reebok Stadium.
1702: I knew there was something missing from today. It's only Football League Danny: "Oh, hello. Now, there's famously no Football League action this afternoon, but there will be plenty of it on Monday night when Late Kick Off makes its debut in your region at 2335 GMT. The north-east programme, hosted by Mark Clemmit, will feature highlights of Newcastle v West Bromwich Albion and all seven regional programmes will boast action and reaction for every club. Find out more at
or follow BBCLatekickoff on Twitter." Bye then, Danny.
1652: Full-time Blackburn 2-0 Fulham What a much-needed win that is for Big Sam and he sees Rovers move up to 12th. Poor Anon, below, must be dreading the next few weeks if Fulham are to be without Bobby Zamora and Clint Dempsey, arguably their two best players.
From Anon, via text on 81111: "I'm absolutely sick to death of Fulham's incompetence away from home. This season. Last season. Season before. Season before. Season before. Season before... It's pathetic."
1649: Into injury time at Ewood Park and we'll be getting three minutes, which isn't enough for Fulham.
1649: Half-time Bolton 0-1 Arsenal Not too much to argue about there. Arsenal always look capable of moving through the gears, but Bolton have played their part in a pretty decent game so far and are definitely not out of it.
1647: Ivan Klasnic lifts the ball past William Gallas, but he cannot get enough power on the shot and Manuel Almunia sticks a hand out to make the save.
1645: Benni McCarthy bends a free-kick over from 25 yards for Blackburn. News comes through that Fulham's Clint Dempsey has been taken to hospital for a scan on his injured knee.
1644: From the sublime to the ridiculous. Cesc Fabregas starts the move with a lovely drift away from his marker on halfway and when Andrey Arshavin crosses from the right, Fabregas must score from six yards. He doesn't, he prods wide instead.
1644: Closing in on half-time at Bolton 0-1 Arsenal and there are about five minutes plus stoppages left at Blackburn 2-0 Fulham.
1641: Chung Yong Lee hits a low shot through a couple of bodies from the edge of the Arsenal box, but Manuel Almunia watches it all the way and gathers safely.
1639: Matty Taylor swivels on the edge of the Arsenal box but his left-foot drive is straight at Manuel Almunia.
1638: Tomas Rosicky is booked by referee Phil Dowd for waving his arm in the direction of Ivan Klasnic after a really scrappy passage of play, during which it seemed like Klasnic might have kicked out twice at Abou Diaby.
1636: Paul Robinson flaps at a cross at Blackburn and Andrew Johnson takes the ball off him, turns and hits a poor shot that isn't anywhere near the Rovers goal.
1635: Another penalty shout for Arsenal. Cesc Fabregas goes down in the Bolton area and it seems on the replay as though Zat Knight may have caught his trailing leg. Difficult to give.
1632: A corner from the Arsenal right falls to Craig Eastmond about 14 yards out and his low shot is saved by a scrambling Jussi Jaaskelainen.
1631: Chris Samba seems to pull back Erik Nevland on the edge of the Rovers area at Blackburn, but referee Kevin Friend gives nothing. Should have been at least a free-kick, and possibly even a penalty.
Arsenal goal: Pam-pam-pam-pam-goal. Arsenal play keep the ball and wait for their moment, and it comes when the ball gets away from Abou Diaby but rolls into the path of Cesc Fabregas on the edge of the Bolton box, the Spaniard playing a lightning-quick one-two with Eduardo before drilling a low shot into the far corner from 16 yards. Stunning.
1629: GOAL Bolton 0-1 Arsenal
1629: Steven Reid goes off to a healthy ovation at Blackburn, with Keith Andrews on in his place.
1626: Good save from Paul Robinson at Blackburn to deny Zoltan Gera, while at Bolton Andrey Arshavin's shot is deflected behind.
1623: Kevin Davies is caught offside. Arsenal, by the way, have the most effective offside trap in the Premier League, with the opposition caught out 88 times before this match had even started this season. It's like 1991 all over again.
1621: Clint Dempsey limps off injured for Fulham, with Norwegian striker Erik Nevland, once of Manchester United, coming on in his place.
1619: Spotted: The suspended El-Hadji Diouf at Ewood Park, wearing a ridiculous beanie and even more ridiculous sunglasses. In Blackburn. In January. Gangsta.
From clarrie-blue on 606:
"The Villa were absolutely abysmal today. All the corners we had and not one created any danger to the West Ham goal. Then Agbonlahor misses a chance my gran would have put in in the last minute. If O'Neill really can't see that we need a good striker in the January window, he must be blind."
From Jason in Brum, via text on 81111: "Typical BBC commentary to not give villa any credit. We totally dominated the game today, we just weren't in a clinical mood. But then again, what do you expect from the London media when a London team is involved!"
1616: They'd be better off with Djimi Traore at the moment... Armand Traore gets caught in possession for Arsenal and when Bolton capitalise and go forward, Manuel Almunia carries the ball out of play. The corner comes to nothing.
1614: Cesc Fabregas goes down under a challenge from Jussi Jaaskelainen at Bolton, but referee Phil Dowd waves away Arsenal's penalty appeal claims. Seen them given, but it maybe would have been a bit harsh.
Rovers goal: Great ball in, shocking defending. Benni McCarthy takes a free-kick from out on the Blackburn left and whips it in with pace, the Fulham defence goes missing and Ryan Nelsen nips in the glance a header into the net and double the hosts' lead.
1612: GOAL Blackburn 2-0 Fulham
1611: Burnley boss Brian Laws looks on from the stand at the Reebok Stadium. Wonder if he's going to buy Owen Coyle a pint after the game...
From the afslater on Twitter:
"Not the biggest fan of referees, but Mark Halsey's news has brought an element of cheer to this quite dull day. Fantastic news."
1608: Cesc Fabgreas plays a stunning slide-rule pass through for Eduardo, but Jussi Jaaskelainen races off his line to deal with the Croatian. Brilliant from the Arsenal captain.
1607: Gianfranco Zola has indicated that he hopes West Ham's takeover could be resolved soon and new recruits can be brought in during the January transfer window: "This team deserves to get some help. If we can find a stability that would be a great thing for everybody, hopefully sooner rather than later as we don't have much time."
1606: I wonder, I wonder... Ronaldinho has just hit a hat-trick for AC Milan in their 4-0 thumping of Siena in the Italian championship. In a World Cup year, too...
1604: Fulham bring Finnish defender Tony Kallio on for Paul Konchesky at the break, and we're back under way at Ewood Park.
1603: Ivan Klasnic slams a left-foot shot into the Arsenal net from the edge of the box, but he's rightly adjudged to be offside. Great start from the hosts.
1602: Almost a chance straight away for Kevin Davies, but he cannot get the ball out of his feet and the opportunity goes begging.
1601: Under way at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton v Arsenal.
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola: "The performance of the players was unbelievable. I'm proud. Their commitment despite all the difficulties makes me very proud."
1557: The players are out at Bolton, to much fanfare. There's an ad break on the telly, but I'd expect Owen Coyle will be getting a pretty decent ovation from the home fans right about now.
From Ingathewinga on 606:
"I am worried about Eastmond playing today. He is very lightweight and Bolton will shove him around. Hopefully Diaby uses his brains and helps Eastmond out."
Referee Mark Halsey on winning his battle against cancer: "I was given the all-clear on 24 December and I have been training very hard. Hopefully, I'd like to think I'll be back within four weeks."
1548: Half-time Blackburn 1-0 Fulham The Cottagers can count themselves unfortunate to be behind at Ewood Park, they just haven't been able to put the ball in the net.
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill: "We're disappointed we didn't win the game but I'm delighted with the effort of the side. We've not had much time to prepare but once we got into it I thought we dominated. The team has been doing well and we're still fighting on all fronts. West Ham are very good side and when they have the full compliment of players they are a handful."
From Pat, via text on 81111: "So does the Liverpool result against Stoke still look bad? The top four contenders were supposed to show how it's done. None has even scored a goal this weekend."
1542: Paul Konchesky needs some treatment after being caught by Steven Reid. It's all Fulham at the moment.
1538: More brilliance from Clint Dempsey, who Cruyffs his way into space inside the Blackburn box and forces another fine save from Paul Robinson. Could be 1-3 already.
1537: Fulham are bossing it now and Damien Duff's shot from the edge of the box forces a decent stop from Paul Robinson.
1535: Stunning reply from Fulham - almost. That would have been the goal of the weekend as Clint Dempsey chests the ball up in the Rovers box and produces a textbook overhead kick that crashes against Paul Robinson's crossbar. He fair nearly broke it in two.
1533: Fulham striker Andrew Johnson spins away from Ryan Nelsen, but crashes a right-foot drive over from the edge of the Blackburn penalty area.
1532: Bolton boss Owen Coyle takes charge of his first game in charge and names the same team that drew 2-2 with Hull in the Trotters' previous league fixture. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger makes three changes from the side that drew with Everton, with Cesc Fabregas returning, Craig Eastmond making his first Premier League start and Tomas Rosicky also in the XI.
BBC Radio 5 live's Robbie Savage: "I'm fine, I've got the tissues on it right now. There was a bit of blood, I can confirm. But you're only as good as your team-mates, and no-one made any effort to make sure the ball didn't hit me."
1528: Chris Samba is in the thick of the action at Ewood Park, the giant defender booked now for a foul on Andrew Johnson after slipping over.
1527: Bolton v Arsenal line-ups: Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Muamba, Cohen, Taylor, Klasnic, Kevin Davies. Subs: Al Habsi, Elmander, Gardner, Mark Davies, Ricketts, McCann, Andrew O'Brien. Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore, Fabregas, Eastmond, Diaby, Rosicky, Eduardo, Arshavin. Subs: Fabianski, Vela, Silvestre, Clichy, Merida, Coquelin, Emmanuel-Thomas. Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
Rovers goal: Not pretty, but Big Sam won't care and neither will the home fans. Benni McCarthy scuffs the corner to the near post and after Damien Duff hacks it off the line, Chris Samba prods into the roof of the net.
1525: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Fulham
1524: Great skill from Benni McCarthy at Blackburn, controlling a long pass and slamming in a shot that Mark Schwarzer tips away.
1524: Full-time Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham Well thank goodness that's ended. Not the greatest game in the world, in fairness, and it seems to end with Martin O'Neill talking to some Villa fans behind the dugout. They're presumably not best pleased.
1521: Gabby Agbonlahor, golden chance. He rolls James Tomkins and is clean through, but his touch is too heavy and Rob Green races off his line to thwart the young striker.
1519: Clint Dempsey outjumps Chris Samba but it's an easy save for Paul Robinson. There will be four minutes of injury time at Villa Park.
1517: Just thought I'd liven it up a bit. Junior Stanislas goes in hard on Stiliyan Petrov and they shove their foreheads into each other, presumably forgetting in the process that they are, in fact, adults. Both booked, nearly into injury time.
1513: Brad Friedel punches clear from Valon Behrami and the Swiss looks up to see that Villa are on the counter-attack and stays down, holding his head, so referee Mike Jones stops play. I'd expect both gaffers at Villa Park to be unhappy at the refereeing display today.
1512: BBC Radio 5 live pundit Robbie Savage is bleeding.
1510: Stiliyan Petrov clears the ball from the Villa right-back position and it has only gone and knocked Robbie Savage's headphones off in the BBC Radio 5 live commentary position at Villa Park. Seriously.
1509: Little bit of pressure from West Ham and the ball falls to Mark Noble on the edge of the Villa box, but his right-foot volley flies very wide of Brad Friedel's left-hand post. I miss Paolo di Canio.
1508: Ten minutes remaining at Villa Park.
1507: Has anyone got a tape of Match of the Day from yesterday? Might watch that instead.
1505: Blackburn have started brightly at Ewood Park, with Benni McCarthy in lively form in the opening stages.
Alex from Sheffield, via text on 81111: "Another addition to the scarf debate - Iker Casillas also likes to indulge, though I think he pulls it off pretty well."
1502: West Ham work a corner to the edge of the Villa box and Junior Stanislas' right-foot shot deflects off John Carew. Referee Mike Jones gives a goalkick. You don't want to keep criticising referees, but if they actually watched the game maybe we wouldn't have to.
1500: We are under way in the north-west as Blackburn looked for a much-needed win against Fulham.
1459: Junior Stanislas hammers in a cross from the right-hand side of the Villa box and James Collins does really well not to put through his own net. Had Collins not cleared, Frank Nouble was in a great position to tap in.
1457: Led by Ryan Nelsen and Danny Murphy, the Blackburn and Fulham teams are out at Ewood Park. Surely it must be an improvement on what we've seen so far. Surely?
1456: We're halfway through the second half and it remains Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham.
From redandblackT1899 on 606:
"Stanislas for Kovac. Positive change by Zola. He might fancy their chances against a leggy looking Villa side after their exploits in the Carling Cup during the week."
From the EmJayLambert on Twitter:
"Diamanti's wearing one of those stupid scarves... which joker is responsible for this new trend?" First one I saw belonged to Gianluigi Buffon. Anyone else?
1451: Great chance again for Villa as Stewart Downing does well down the left and pulls it back into the box for Gabby Agbonlahor, but he turns and fires left-footed a couple of yards over. Should hit the target.
1450: Good work Gianfranco Zola. Radoslav Kovac is hauled off and Junior Stanislas comes on for the visitors. Less than half an hour to go.
1449: Villa have the ball in the West Ham net as Stewart Downing fizzes in a right-foot shot and after Rob Green spills it, John Carew puts it in. But Green is let off the hook as the Norwegian was in an offside position.
1447: Referee Mike Jones could send Radoslav Kovac off there for a late challenge (he's already been booked), but he is sensible and tells the midfielder that is his last foul. One more and he's gone. Good refereeing.
1446: A free-kick punt into the Hammers box falls to James Collins, the defender hitting a sweet left-foot volley a couple of yards wide from inside the box. They're getting closer.
1445: West Ham bring the scarf-laden Alessandro Diamanti on for Scott Parker, and Villa bring John Carew on to replace Emile Heskey.
1445: Dangerous game Andy, below, is playing. And dangerous game West Ham are playing, as Villa pour forward and James Milner's ball into the box is ballooned over by Carlos Cuellar.
From Andy, Fulham fan, via text on 81111: "Just imagine any player for Blackburn scoring a goal in today's game! That would terrify a Cottagers fan!"
1441: West Ham break and they've got a fabulous chance to get a shot in, but Valon Behrami's pass is woeful and Stiliyan Petrov gets back quickly to make a vital interception.
1439: If Martin O'Neill wanted to get Ashley Young one-on-one with Jonathan Spector, it looks like it might be a good idea. He twice beats the defender and Spector concedes a free-kick, which Richard Dunne goes agonisingly close to heading in. Touch too high for the defender.
1437: Emile Heskey lays the ball back to James Milner 22 yards out and he hits a rasping right-foot drive against the outside of Rob Green's left-hand post with the England keeper beaten.
1435: Ashley Young is starting from the Villa right this half. Maybe he just likes that side of the pitch, or maybe Martin O'Neill wants him where he can see him. His touch is rubbish and the ball drifts behind for a goalkick.
1434: Back under way at Villa Park, under the watchful gaze of England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce. It cannot be any worse than the first half.
From Ibrox-BristolBranch on 606:
"Liverpool are probably still favourites for fourth even with their poor form. I reckon the other teams will buckle around the end of the season, unless Man City have a mad transfer window this month."
From Ben, via text on 81111: "Just imagine a player like Emile Heskey but with the ability to kick a ball into a net and you'd have a centre-forward that could terrify defenders all over the world."
1423: Defender Gael Givet returns from a head injury for Blackburn but Lars Jacobsen misses out with the thigh injury picked up in Thursday's Carling Cup defeat to Aston Villa. Rovers are again without the suspended El-Hadji Diouf while David Dunn is on the bench. Fulham defender Brede Hangeland is fit after his knee injury but the Cottagers are without top scorer Bobby Zamora and defender John Pantsil.
1418: Half-time Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham They struggle at home sometimes don't they, Villa? They are better at counter-attacking, but they must learn how to dominate teams at Villa Park if they are to challenge the top four.
1417: Into first-half injury time.
1416: Ashley Young floats up another corner from the Villa left, but it's easy pickings for Rob Green as he plucks another one out of the Midlands sky.
BBC Radio 5 live's Robbie Savage: "Aston Villa's most potent attacking threat has been Stephen Warnock so far. With all their pace and power up front, Warnock on the overlap down the left has been their best chance of creating something."
1411: Villa are having luck getting the ball wide and into good crossing positions, but West Ham are dealing with everything they throw into the mixer at the moment. I wonder if John Carew would have more success?
1409: No wonder West Ham are so keen not to concede. They haven't come from behind to win a league game for 13 months, since a 2-1 home win against Stoke in December 2008.
1407: Ten minutes left of the half, and it's still Villa 0-0 West Ham. The hosts look more likely to open the scoring at the moment, but Gianfranco Zola has set the Hammers up very well today.
1404: Rare foray up front for West Ham and they win a corner thanks to the fine forward play of Frank Nouble, but when the ball falls for Valon Behrami 20 yards out, the Swiss misses, lashing wildly over.
From RememberScarborough on 606:
"Just imagine a player like Emile Heskey having the heart of Kevin Davies and you'd have a centre-forward that could terrify defenders all over the world."
1401: Villa are upping the tempo a good bit. Stephen Warnock goes on an overlap down the left and swings over a cross that Rob Green does well to come and catch among a posse of players.
1359: Ashley Young collects the ball just inside the Hammers half on the Villa left and surges towards goal, eventually floating a cross to the far top corner where Rob Green has to pluck it away from the top corner. Moments later, Gabby Agbonlahor turns and fires in a shot from 10 yards that Green brilliantly parries away.
1357: There's very, very little happening.
From the oliver_todd on Twitter:
"Nouble looked class in Chelsea's reserves last year. Shame to see him go but more opportunities at West Ham, as shown here..."
1353: Villa are getting a foothold in this game. Ashley Young does well to get a cross in from the left and Emile Heskey tries to create some space to get a shot in, only for James Tomkins to get in another valuable block.
1350: James Milner's free-kick crashes into a now groggy Radoslav Kovac. Blimey, how's your luck, son?
1348: Radoslav Kovac is shown the first yellow card of the day and that's ridiculous refereeing again as he tussles with Emile Heskey. It's not really even a foul, let alone a booking. Come off it.
BBC Radio 5 live's Robbie Savage: "We are in the 15th minute, and the Villa front four have had absolutely no impact on this game whatsoever. Two of them probably haven't even had a touch yet."
1343: Gabby Agbonlahor tries to get in down the Villa left again, but James Tomkins does ever so well to keep up with the speed merchant and get in a fine sliding challenge too.
1341: West Ham are getting in the faces of the Villa team, Gianfranco Zola's team doing well so far to limit the hosts to possession in their half of the pitch. Hammers are the best team right now.
From Tom, Bangor, via text on 81111: "Little birdy has told me that Jermaine Beckford has withdrawn his transfer request at Leeds." Correct. The story is being written as I type these very words
1337: Frank Nouble goes on a crazy run from deep inside his own half, proving too strong for James Collins and bustling his way past Carlos Cuellar, before slamming a right-foot shot over from inside the Villa box. Wow, that was good from the 18-year-old.
1334: Remember how fierce the atmosphere was at Stoke yesterday? Well this is just about the opposite. If you're at Villa Park come on, give us a song!
1332: Gabby Agbonlahor latches on to a flick-on from Emile Heskey with about 15 seconds on the clock only to be flagged offside. Not sure he was.
1332: We're under way in the Midlands for the first offering from today's Premier League schedule, after a minute's silence for the victims of the gun attack on the Togo national team before the Africa Cup of Nations last Friday.
1327: The teams are out at Villa Park, and at least some of the pitch (maybe 15%) is basking in glorious sunshine. Haven't seen this graphic for a little while.
From Murtini on 606:
"You've got to feel for Zola so much, no money to spend at all, losing Cole & Ashton, yet he still NEVER complains. What a guy, I really hope they get taken over and things are OK at that club, because he deserves it."
1303: Aston Villa make one change from the side which beat Blackburn 1-0 in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg on Thursday. Brad Friedel returns in goal in place of Brad Guzan, who drops to the bench. West Ham welcome back midfield duo Mark Noble and Scott Parker from hamstring injuries. They replace Junior Stanislas and Luis Jimenez, who drop to the bench. Jonathan Spector comes into defence in place of Fabio Daprela. Midfielder Jack Collison is selected ahead of striker Alessandro Diamanti, dictating a switch to a five-man midfield.
1300: Stevo's Predos (three results right on Saturday, with two perfect scores. I'd take that again): Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham Blackburn 1-1 Fulham Bolton 1-3 Arsenal Lawro's Premier League predictions
1256: Martin O'Neill's Villa against Gianfranco Zola's Hammers first up, then, with entirely different agendas in the claret-and-blue derby. Victories would respectively send Villa level on points with Spurs in fourth, or West Ham up to the dizzy heights of 14th.
1253: Aston Villa v West Ham line-ups: Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Petrov, Ashley Young, Milner, Downing, Agbonlahor, Heskey. Subs: Guzan, Luke Young, Sidwell, Carew, Delfouneso, Delph, Beye. West Ham: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Spector, Noble, Kovac, Parker, Behrami, Collison, Nouble. Subs: Kurucz, Jimenez, Sears, Da Costa, Diamanti, Daprela, Stanislas. Referee: M Jones (England)
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