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Page last updated at 22:24 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Wednesday 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

2222: Oh what fun we've had tonight. Well done indeed to Arsenal for going top of the league, Villa for getting Wembley courtesy of an epic and Liverpool for seeing off Tottenham. One of those evenings we're unlikely to ever forget. Thanks for sharing, hope you've had a ball and see you very soon, I hope.

From ToastedBlueAndWhiteWelshy on 606: "I'm desperately gutted about that loss, the one time we score four goals we happen to leak six. Silly. Anyway, hopefully this can spur us on in the league now that we know the team can perform that well."

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez: "The key to the victory was character, I think, against a good side. We had three or four clear chances to score and when we needed to be we were strong in defence. We knew it was an important game before the match and we were determined to be professional, work hard and do our job. It is a long race for the top four places, though."

From emmetmcevoy on Twitter: "18 goals, three games. Stevo, your 'goal-repeller' tag is well and truly gone tonight. Cheesy has a lot to live up to!"

2210: It's at times like this I wish we could just go on all night. Anyone got any early deadline day chat?

From Anon, via text to 81111: "Awful performance from Spurs, too many talented players who can't dig in when it matters. Fair play to Liverpool, solid performance from a team missing two of the world's best."

From proud Gooner Martin in Lagos, Nigeria, via text to +44 7786200666: "Could you put Arsenal are top of the league in bold, please? Working the night shift has never been this pleasant!"

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Liverpool made an anxious Anfield wait for that second goal but when it came, courtesy of Dirk Kuyt's twice-taken penalty, it was no more than Rafael Benitez's side deserved. Liverpool's spirits will be lifted but what of Spurs? On nights like this they have to put up or shut up. Very poor."

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill: "It was an extraordinary game, there's no doubt about it. We've done very well to come back from 2-0 down but even in the second half it wasn't over because Blackburn played very well. But over the two legs, we deserved to reach Wembley. The effort of the team was sensational."

Aston Villa's Richard Dunne: "We came in trying to keep it tight and after about 15 minutes we were 2-0 down. We hadn't started but thankfully we picked up and our confidence grew. We dominated the second half although we never really killed them off."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Kit Symons: "It wasn't overly convincing, because Tottenham had a go, but they lacked that clinical bit in the final third and Liverpool will be delighted with that. But Spurs are still a point ahead of them, we shouldn't forget that."

2158: Full-time Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham

2157: In the final stages now, and Tottenham might have just proved once again that they are not quite at the top four level in the Premier League just yet.

Liverpool goal: Well done Dirk Kuyt, you have to say. It's a blatant penalty as Sebastien Bassong - who I'm getting the feeling wasn't really prepared tonight - lunges in at David Ngog and brings him down. Kuyt steps up and slams the first penalty in, but there's encroaching so he has to take it again. The Dutchman steps up for a second time and with Heurelho Gomes baiting him, he sticks it into the other corner. Rafa Benitez must be over the moon.

2155: GOAL Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham


2154: GOAL Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham


2152: We're into injury time at Anfield as Liverpool bring Stephen Darby on for Philipp Degen. There will be five minutes of it.

2150: Sotiros Kyrgiakos is onside, unmarked, 10 yards out in the Spurs area, but his shot is well saved by Heurelho Gomes. Time running out for Tottenham.

2150: What an enormous boost this would be for Liverpool and Rafa Benitez, who has been really well supported by the Reds fans tonight. If they hold on, they move up to sixth and within a point of Tottenham in that all-important fourth place. Crisis, what crisis?

2148: David Ngog came on for Liverpool a few moments ago and he turns Sebastien Bassong brilliantly only to see Heurelho Gomes tip away his goalbound right-foot shot. Seconds later, Ngog heads down for Dirk Kuyt three yards out, the Dutchman somehow contriving to balloon over on the volley. Easier to score. Five minutes left.

Aston Villa's James Milner: "We knew it would be tough, they put us under pressure and all credit to them they kept coming back at us but we have achieved the objective and we're going to Wembley. The club is moving forward."

2146: Arsenal are top of the Premier League. Bolton boss Owen Coyle isn't too happy, though, approaching the referee on the whistle to remonstrate with him, presumably over the William Gallas tackle on Mark Davies in the build-up to Arsenal's equaliser. In truth, it was an horrific challenge from the occasionally misguided Frenchman.

2144: Full-time Arsenal 4-2 Bolton

2143: Sebastien Bassong comes on for Spurs for Ledley King, while Maxi Rodriguez comes on for Albert Riera for Liverpool. Bassong would have come on four minutes ago, apparently, but he didn't have any shorts on. I imagine Harry will have been delighted about that.

2141: Alan Hutton meets a cross from the Spurs left to the back post with such a sweetly struck volley, but it flies a yard or two past the angle of post and crossbar. It was like watching Raddy Majewski, except it didn't go in.

Full time
2139: Full-time Aston Villa 6-4 Blackburn Rovers (agg: 7-4)
There's a pitch invasion at the final whistle as Villa fans race on to the pitch to celebrate their place in the Carling Cup final, where they will meet one of the Manchester clubs.


Villa goal: There's your 10-goal thriller. Worth the licence fee alone, huh? The claret-and-blue flags are out in force as Ashley Young goes one on of his solo runs, cutting in from the left and bending a right-foot shot into the far corner past Paul Robinson's despairing dive. Wembley here they come.

2136: GOAL Aston Villa 6-4 Blackburn Rovers (agg: 7-4)

2134: Half-decent chance for Liverpool as a ball into the Spurs box is flicked on and Dirk Kuyt can only volley over on the stretch at the back post. Still 20 minutes left at Anfield.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Crucial phases these for Spurs as they finally enjoy some serious possession and Anfield starts to show the first signs of anxiety. Good reception from The Kop for Robbie Keane as he replaces Niko Kranjcar."

Arsenal goal: That's the goal that sends Arsenal top of the Premier League. Andrey Arshavin plays a one-two with Eduardo and after a touch from a Bolton defender, the Russian takes control before slamming a right-foot shot past Jussi Jaaskelainen, who does not deserve to concede four goals.

2131: GOAL Arsenal 4-2 Bolton

2131: Correction: Robbie Keane is on for Niko Kranjcar at Anfield, not Peter Crouch.

Rovers goal: I hope tonight never ends. Richard Dunne heads the ball out of the Villa penalty area but it falls for Brett Emerton on the volley on the edge of the box and his well-struck shot flies through a posse of Villa players and beats Brad Guzan.

2128: GOAL Aston Villa 5-4 Blackburn Rovers (agg: 6-4)

2127: Chung-Yong Lee is taken off by Bolton boss Owen Coyle at the Emirates, with Ivan Klasnic on. At Villa, Paul Robinson makes a good save to deny Gabby Agbonlahor, while at Anfield, Robbie Keane - who has scored Spurs' last four goals at Anfield - is on for Niko Kranjkar.

2125: Spurs have brought on Alan Hutton at right-back. They are having the better of it at Anfield at the moment, the visitors.

From AJ2094 on 606: "Liverpool need to kill the game before Crouch takes advantage."

2121: There have been 11 shots on target at Villa Park, eight of them resulting in goals.

2120: Brilliant hit from Jermaine Jenas at Anfield, a left-foot scorcher from 25 yards that swings horribly and forces Pepe Reina to make a good one-handed save.

From Dan, via text to 81111: "Oh come on Stevo, schoolboy defending? That was an amazing goal. I think you WANT to be a goal repellent."

2117: Oh no, I used the wrong graphic at 2114. I'm so sorry. You get so used to something, don't you?

From middletoe2608 on Twitter: "Villa v Blackburn... what a match! The most exciting and poorly defended game! This is what the cup is about! Come on Villa!"

2115: Emile Heskey's powerful header is brilliantly tipped away by Paul Robinson at Villa Park. What's most astonishing is that I'm not describing a goal. Told you tonight would be mental.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2114: So close to being 2-0 at Anfield as Jamie Carragher clips over a cross from the right and Albert Riera smacks a header against Heurelho Gomes' crossbar.

Arsenal goal: The comeback might be complete. A corner is flung over from the Gunners right, Bolton fail to clear, Abou Diaby heads it down and goalscoring centre-half Thomas Vermaelen swings his trusty left boot at the ball and slams it in off the post on the half volley. Arsenal are now one goal away from the top of the Premier League.

2111: GOAL Arsenal 3-2 Bolton

2110: They've just started again at Anfield and Spurs have the ball in the net as Jermain Defoe steals the ball off Pepe Reina and tucks it into the net. We think Defoe has been given offside, but he shouldn't have been.

Rovers goal: Oh for crying out loud, can anyone defend?! Gael Givet swings over a cross from the Blackburn left and Martin Olsson gets up brilliantly inside the Villa box to execute a perfect overhead kick and pull the deficit back to two. Schoolboy defending at Villa Park.

2108: GOAL Aston Villa 5-3 Blackburn Rovers (agg: 6-3)

Villa goal: Mayhem. Rovers have gone to pieces as James Milner picks the ball up on the edge of the Blackburn box and plays a cute pass in for Emile Heskey to round Paul Robinson and slot - while falling over - into the Villa box.

2106: GOAL Aston Villa 5-2 Blackburn Rovers (agg: 6-2)

2105: Cesc Fabregas latches on to a flick on from Andrey Arshavin and drills a left-footer from 20 yards that Jussi Jaaskelainen tips over his bar. He's arched his back so many times today, the Trotters goalie - I hope they've got a decent masseur.

2104: Gavin McCann came on for Mark Davies at Arsenal, by the way. William Gallas truly is lucky to still be on the pitch.

2103: I laugh in the face of goal repelling.

Villa goal: Game, set, match. James Milner picks it up on the right, he fires it in to Emile Heskey and he lays it back off to Milner, who hammers in a shot that deflects in off Gabby Agbonlahor and flies past poor Paul Robinson.

2101: GOAL Aston Villa 4-2 Blackburn Rovers (agg: 5-2)

Arsenal goal: I just cannot get away from controversy - and this goal is mired in it. William Gallas is lucky not to be shown a red card for a terrible tackle on Mark Davies, referee Alan Wiley waves play on and eventually the ball falls to Cesc Fabregas, who wriggles past a couple of challenges on the edge of the Bolton box and fires through the legs of Jussi Jaaskelainen from an angle on the right.

2059: GOAL Arsenal 2-2 Bolton

Villa goal: It's a horrible, horrible goal, but Martin O'Neill celebrates like Villa are at Wembley. A Stewart Downing inswinging corner flies past about 10 bodies in the area, no-one getting a touch until Richard Dunne sticks out a boot at the far post and it deflects in off Steven Nzonzi.

2057: GOAL Aston Villa 3-2 Blackburn Rovers (agg: 4-2)

2057: Matty Taylor will have a pop from anywhere, and this time his ambitious 30-yard free-kick at the Emirates is just a bit too ambitious, flying past the angle.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Liverpool ahead at half-time and deservedly so. They have shown more desire than Spurs, who have been a real disappointment. Jamie Carragher has led by superb example in the absence of Steven Gerrard. These are the nights when Spurs need to show that they have what it takes to get into the top four. So far - not a lot."

2054: News just in: opinion in Liverpool still seems to be in favour of beleaguered boss Rafa Benitez. In a poll of Reds fans conducted on the streets of the city by journalism students from John Moores University, more than half of the 355 fans questioned (53.24%) said they wanted Benitez to stay on as manager with only 35.21% calling for his head.

2052: Back under way at the Emirates, too. Arsenal 1-2 Bolton.

2051: Half-time Liverpool 1-0 Tottenham

2050: Wilson Palacios plays a one-two with Jermaine Jenas and slips in Luka Modric and the Croatian is through, but Pepe Reina races from his line and saves Modric's right-foot shot with his legs. Back under way at Villa Park, by the way.

2049: Two golden chances for Liverpool, but after Heurelho Gomes flaps at a corner Dirk Kuyt's header is cleared off the line and then from six yards Martin Skrtel volleys over.

2048: Johnstone's Paint Danny: "Five minutes to go at Stadium:MK. And a dramatic finish - Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin has been sent off for violent conduct and MK Dons have just hit the post. Saints still lead 1-0."

2047: Into first-half injury time at Anfield, and we'll have four minutes of it. Still all a bit too bogged down in midfield.

From Sam, Hainault, via text on 81111: "I'm sitting four rows behind a certain Edin Dzeko!"
But where the blazes are you, Sam??!!

2041: Peter Crouch is furious after the assistant at Anfield gives a free-kick against him inside the Liverpool area for a foul on Sotiros Kyrgiakos. In fact, the Greek had a whole clump of Crouch's enormous shirt as they fell in tandem - strange decision.

From Moon on 606: "Can't see Spurs scoring... they have done nothing up front. Missing Lennon badly."

2038: Little bit of a spat at Anfield between Rafa Benitez and Sammy Lee and Harry Redknapp and Joe Jordan. All probably much ado about nothing. Not much in the way of chances recently, with Liverpool still leading Spurs 1-0.

2036: Half-time Arsenal 1-2 Bolton

2035: Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has another fierce drive from inside the Bolton penalty area parried away by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

From the peerless optajoe on Twitter: "The last time Arsenal came from two goals down to win a PL match was against Bolton in March 2008. Comeback."

2034: Half-time Aston Villa 2-2 Blackburn (agg: 3-2)

Arsenal goal: Good finish that, but Jussi Jaaskelainen might be a bit disappointed with it. Eduardo tees up Tomas Rosicky on the inside right channel for Arsenal and though Zat Knight forces him away from the middle, the Czech schemer fizzes in a right-foot drive that surprises the keeper and flies in at the near post.

2032: GOAL Arsenal 1-2 Bolton

2031: Magnificent save from Paul Robinson at Villa to push away Stiliyan Petrov's 30-yard piledriver. Strong wrists from the one-time England keeper.

2030: Football League and Johnstone's Paint Danny: "Just a quick update from below deck. Southampton still lead MK Dons 1-0 in their southern area final first leg - only about 25 minutes to go there. In League One, it's still Oldham 0-0 Tranmere. And in League Two, it's Macclesfield 0-1 Northampton. Cobblers."

Someone has struck the woodwork
2029: A Cesc Fabregas free-kick into the Bolton box flicks off the head of Kevin Davies and slaps against the visitors' crossbar with Jussi Jaaskelainen beaten.

2028: On first look, I thought Chris Samba got a bit of the ball you know, but looking at a couple of replays it doesn't look like he did. James Milner's just put his hand up for a penalty at the World Cup with that effort - my colleague Sam likened it to an Andy Brehme effort. Top shout.

Villa goal: If it's action-packed drama you wanted, you've come to the right place. Chris Samba gets the wrong side of Gabby Agbonlahor and with the Villa striker about to pull the trigger, Samba leans across him with his wrong foot, doesn't get the ball and brings the striker down. Referee Martin Atkinson has little choice but to award a penalty and send Samba off, and James Milner steps up to coolly slot home the resulting penalty. Advantage Villa, in a massive way.

2025: GOAL Aston Villa 2-2 Blackburn Rovers (agg: 3-2)

2024: SENDING OFF Chris Samba (Blackburn)


2023: If it wasn't The Alamo before, it's got to be now. Cesc Fabregas shapes to shoot but slides in Eduardo and the Croatian's low shot is well saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen and gathered in with Fabregas sniffing a rebound.

2022: So to be clear - away goals count double in the Carling Cup semis but only after extra-time. So, as it stands, the match will go to an extra 30 minutes at Villa Park. But it will be Blackburn in the final if there are no more goals.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "High-tempo start from Liverpool at Anfield is much appreciated by The Kop. Spurs need to show a greater sense of urgency as Liverpool are quicker to the ball. Harry Redknapp wears the expression of a man suitably unimpressed as he sits in the Spurs dug-out."

Villa goal: And we're all even, on aggregate at least, at Villa Park - it's turning into another classic. Ashley Young is given too much space on the right flank and slings over a cross that finds its way through a tangle of bodies for Stephen Warnock to smash a finish high into the net from the edge of the six-yard box.

Bolton goal: Incredible scenes at the Emirates. Chung-Yong Lee is brought down in the Arsenal area by Denilson - and it is a definite penalty, no doubt about it - and Matty Taylor slams it into the bottom right-hand corner with Manuel Almunia desperately close to making himself a hero. The Gunners have a mountain to climb.

2016: GOAL Arsenal 0-2 Bolton

2016: GOAL Aston Villa 1-2 Blackburn Rovers (agg: 2-2)

2015: PENALTY TO BOLTON (Honestly)

2013: Nikola Kalinic, by the way, has scored five goals for Blackburn and four of them have been in the Carling Cup.

Rovers goal: You've got to feel for Brad Guzan there - but what a start Rovers have made. Morten Gamst Pedersen crosses from the left, Martin Olsson heads goalwards and Guzan makes a stunning reflex save with his right hand, only for Nikola Kalinic to tap in the rebound from close range. Big Sam goes mental on the touchline. Incredible.

2011: GOAL Aston Villa 0-2 Blackburn (agg: 1-2)

2010: They nearly went 2-0 up. Bolton, I mean. Matty Taylor sees his free-kick well saved by Manuel Almunia low down to his right and that could have been a disaster for Arsenal.

Liverpool goal: Nicely worked goal for the Reds and a massive early boost for them on an enormous night at Anfield. Dirk Kuyt chests a long pass into Alberto Aquilani's path and he races forward, finding Kuyt again before Michael Dawson can intervene and the Dutchman lashes his shot past Heurelho Gomes from 20 yards. Great finish.

2007: GOAL Liverpool 1-0 Tottenham

2006: The ball falls nicely to Andrey Arshavin on the edge of the Bolton box, but the Russian doesn't get hold of his shot properly and it scuttles wide. This might start to resemble The Alamo pretty soon.

From iGooner on 606: "Blackburn went 1-0 up early at the Emirates. And 2-1 up. We won the match 6-2. So it's early days yet."

2003: Arsenal go close again. Eduardo hammers in a left-foot shot from the edge of the Bolton box but it's a shade too high and clears the Trotters bar with Jussi Jaaskelainen frantically diving across his line.

2002: We're now under way at Anfield.

2000: Cesc Fabgreas should score for Arsenal, played through by Tomas Rosicky on the left corner of the six-yard box, but his low shot is saved by the legs of Jussi Jaaskelainen.

1959: I love drama. Lots of it already, and they haven't even started yet at Anfield.

Rovers goal: GAME. ON. Nikola Kalinic, who hit the post twice in the first leg, puts the visitors level in the tie as his header from a deep corner finds its way into the net via the back of Blackburn old boy Stephen Warnock. For the neutral, that is exactly what this tie needed.

Bolton goal: Oh dear. The visitors haven't read this script - they've gone and taken the lead. A long ball into the Arsenal box is horrifically defended - three times Arsenal try to clear but just hoof it into the air, most inexplicably by Gael Clichy, before Kevin Davies flicks on a header and Gary Cahill fires into the Arsenal net.

1955: GOAL Aston Villa 0-1 Blackburn (agg: 1-1)

1955: GOAL Arsenal 0-1 Bolton

1954: Couple of early openings for Arsenal at the Emirates, but Abou Diaby and Andrey Arshavin have long shots saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

1951: David Dunn hammers in a shot from 20 yards that deflects behind for a Blackburn corner, which Brad Guzan tips away from underneath his crossbar.

1951: Horrible start at Villa. No-one's even remotely tried to play any football yet.

1949: Under way at Arsenal too now. Remember - a 2-0 win for the Gunners against Bolton would put them top of the Premier League.

1946: We are under way at Villa Park in the Carling Cup semi-final second leg between Villa and Blackburn.

Gareth Southgate on Match of the Day: "The only hope I can see for Blackburn is exploiting Villa right-back Carlos Cuellar who is good going forward, but might struggle against pace. I think Sam Allardyce will tell Martin Olsson to get at him."

1943: A claret-and-blue flag was left on every Villa fan's seat and it's helped turn Villa Park into quite a spectacle as the players emerge to a raucous ovation. Remember, the hosts have a very slender 1-0 lead from the first leg.

1942: Sounds like a cracking atmosphere at Villa Park tonight. If it turns out to be half the game last night's encounter at Eastlands was, we're in for a thrilling evening. Teams are in the tunnel.

From ToledoTrumpton on 606: "If Arsenal get an early goal then they should win easily. The longer it goes, the more pressure will be on them."

From Exodude on Twitter: "Disappointed Maxi isn't starting. Don't like the look of three similar players in Masch, Aquilani & Lucas; I go for 2-1 to Spurs."

From Alex, Rugby, via text on 81111: "I am absolutely sick of seeing the exact same team play every game for Villa, does Martin O'Neill not remember what happened to us last season?"

1931: Glory be. We have a goal already. Here's Johnstone's Paint Danny to tell us all about it: "Here's yer first goal then. It's MK Dons 0-1 Southampton in the southern area final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy - and it's a lovely strike from Michail Antonio, who turns and volleys in off the post after Rickie Lambert's flick-on."

1930: Stevo's Predos:
Aston Villa 2-1 Blackburn
Arsenal 3-1 Bolton
Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham

1927: There is no doubt that Blackburn are going to throw the kitchen sink at Villa. They were slightly unfortunate to lose the first leg 1-0 after hitting the post twice, but boss Sam Allardyce's words are music to the ears of those who love the League Cup: "The Premier League is secondary. Only getting through to this final means anything to us at this moment in time."

1925: Aston Villa name the same side that won at Ewood Park in the first leg meaning Brad Guzan, an ever-present in the cup competitions for Villa so far this season, starts in goal. There is a place for Marc Albrighton on the bench after John Carew suffered a knee injury in training. For Blackburn Rovers, Morten Gamst Pedersen is back into the midfield after missing the 2-0 win over Fulham with a knee injury as Steven Reid drops to the bench. David Dunn is included up front in support of Nikola Kalinic.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Alberto Aquilani starts in midfield for Liverpool and Albert Riera plays, but Maxi Rodriguez remains on the bench. Spurs go with Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch up front and there is a start for captain Ledley King, such a huge influence on Harry Redknapp's team. Robbie Keane is in a familiar role - on the bench at Anfield.

1921: Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers line-ups:
Aston Villa:
Guzan, Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Petrov, Milner, Downing, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor, Heskey.
Subs: Friedel, Luke Young, Sidwell, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Delph, Beye.
Blackburn: Robinson, Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Emerton, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Olsson, Dunn, Kalinic.
Subs: Brown, McCarthy, Reid, Andrews, Hoilett, Di Santo, Salgado.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1919: At 1930 GMT, I'm going to stick live coverage of Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers at the top of this template. Just so you know.

1918: Liverpool v Tottenham line-ups:
Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Insua, Degen, Mascherano, Lucas, Riera, Aquilani, Kuyt.
Subs: Cavalieri, Maxi, Babel, Ngog, Spearing, Darby, Pacheco.
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Bale, Modric, Jenas, Palacios, Kranjcar, Crouch, Defoe.
Subs: Alnwick, Hutton, Pavlyuchenko, Keane, Giovani, Bassong, Rose.
Referee: Howard Webb (England)

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Harry Redknapp arrives at Anfield with a record of 12 games without a win here as a manager - if it's lucky 13 Spurs can strike a serious blow in the battle with Liverpool for a place in the top four and a tilt at the Champions League places. Rafael Benitez arrives with a glowing testimony and what sounded suspiciously like a vote of confidence from co-owner George Gillett. Win and Liverpool are one point behind Spurs - not great but a whole lot better."

1913: Arsenal make two changes to the team that won 2-0 at Bolton on Sunday, with Gael Clichy starting at left-back in place of Armand Traore and Denilson replacing youngster Craig Eastmond in midfield. Bolton make one change, with midfielder Mark Davies coming in for striker Ivan Klasnic, a move that hints at a 4-5-1 formation.

1911: It's so simple you don't even need a meerkat to explain how to get in touch: get involved in the football community that is 606; texts go to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666; and we can be mates on Twitter, too. Simples.

1906: Arsenal v Bolton line-ups:
Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Fabregas, Denilson, Diaby, Rosicky, Arshavin, Eduardo.
Subs: Fabianski, Vela, Walcott, Silvestre, Traore, Eastmond, Emmanuel-Thomas.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Mark Davies, Muamba, Cohen, Taylor, Kevin Davies.
Subs: Al Habsi, Samuel, Elmander, Klasnic, Ricketts, McCann, Andrew O'Brien.
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)

1905: Big, isn't it? Villa-Blackburn and Arsenal-Bolton get under way at 1945 GMT, with Liverpool and Spurs kicking off about 15 minutes later. There are also two Football League games and a Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie to boot, so don't think Danny the Stat won't be involved at some stage of proceedings. The JPT game between MK Dons and Southampton is already under way, don't you know?

1903: Don't believe me? Here's what's in store:

i) The first Wembley finalist of 2010 will be confirmed when Aston Villa and Blackburn meet in their Carling Cup semi-final second leg
ii) Arsenal could go top of the Premier League if they beat Bolton by two clear goals at the Emirates
iii) Liverpool and Spurs meet at Anfield in a potentially decisive clash with fourth place and the Champions League on the agenda

1900: Just occasionally, the accusation has been levelled at me that I'm prone to hyperbole. But I can't see that happening tonight, on a mouth-watering Wednesday which could define the entire season.

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Carling Cup results

20 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

see also
Arsenal 4-2 Bolton
20 Jan 10 |  Premier League
A Villa 6-4 Blackburn (agg 7-4)
20 Jan 10 |  League Cup
Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham
20 Jan 10 |  Premier League
Wednesday's football photos
20 Jan 10 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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