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Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Sunday, 24 January 2010

Sunday football as it happened

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

606: DEBATE

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By Chris Bevan

1825: But I'm afraid that is all we've got time for today. I hope you've enjoyed what has been an exciting weekend of FA Cup fooball and, although we've been short of big shocks, there have been plenty of thrills and spills along the way. See you soon and don't forget to join Stevo on Tuesday for a busy night in the Premier League and Football League.

1821: In case you were wondering, the three fourth-round replays (Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton, Leeds United v Tottenham and Wigan v Notts County) will all take place on Tuesday, 2 February. Can you pick the three winners out of that little lot? I'm struggling.

From bullk2 on 606: "Will people stop going on about an 'easy draw' for Chelsea. There are really only three teams that could cause Chelsea problems. And those three are all out. Can you guess which three teams I'm talking about?

Er, Chester, Stockport and Darlington?

1817: So, Stoke's reward for seeing off Arsenal is another tricky tie, against Manchester City. Holders Chelsea get a home tie against 2008 finalists Cardiff and we will definitely have a Championship team in the last-eight as Reading have drawn West Brom. I'm looking forward to those games (and the rest) already.

1815: Those fifth-round ties will be played on the weekend of the 13th and 14th of February. Should make for a cracking Valentines' Day for a few of you (and your other halves)...

From He plays on the left... on 606: "Did anyone just hear Mancini say 'one team Premier League, the other Premiership'? Haha, quality."

Hmmmm, I don't think Mr Mancini has quite got to grips with the lower leagues yet, has he?

From Jez on the M62, via text: "Luck of the draw but Chelsea are getting an easy route to the final compared to other Premier League sides."

1810: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini on his side's FA Cup win over Scunthorpe and the future of Robinho, linked today with a move away from Eastlands: "It was important that we concentrated - it is different playing a team from the Championship and they played very well in the first half. Is Robinho staying at Manchester City? Yes, I think so."

1806: Oooh. Not a bad tie to round the draw off there. The South Coast derby is always tasty, and we haven't had one for a little while.

Southampton v Portsmouth

Reading v West Bromwich Albion

Fulham v Notts County or Wigan Athletic

Chelsea v Cardiff City

Bolton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur or Leeds United

Derby County v Birmingham City

Manchester City v Stoke City

Wolverhampton Wanderers or Crystal Palace v Aston Villa

1801: Not long now...

1800: Here we go...

1759: That was a Cup-tie-and-a-half wasn't it? It's City who go through, and that fifth-round draw will follow in the next few seconds.

1758: FULL-TIME Scunthorpe 2-4 Man City


1757: Not sure how or why but we're into our fifth minute of injury-time (did Sir Alex Ferguson step up to be the fourth official?) but the game was up a few minutes ago. Scunthorpe have run out of steam.

1753: The 90 minutes are up at Glanford Park. Scunthorpe have given this a good go but Man City coped well with everything the Championship side could throw at them and scored a couple of cracking goals to boot.

1751: Just a reminder that the draw for the FA Cup fifth round is coming up at around 1800 GMT. You can follow it here too, so don't go anywhere.

1749: A couple more late changes by Scunthorpe too. Josh Wright is on for Grant McCann and Jonathan Forte replaces Paul Hayes.

1748: No matter what his long-term future holds, Robinho's goal was definitely his final contribution to this game. He is off, and Craig Bellamy is on for the last five minutes.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Man City goal: Robinho has got a lot of stick tonight from the Scunny fans so he will be pleased to seal (probably) City's win with their fourth goal of the evening. A neat build-up ends when Martin Petrov clips the ball through to the Brazilian, who buries his shot into the net. His farewell goal for City? We will find out in due course...

1745: GOALFLASH Scunthorpe 2-4 Man City (Robinho)

1745: Time for a change by Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins, with Kenny Milne replacing Rob Jones.

1744: Two chances for City at the other end as they look for the goal that would wrap this tie up. Martin Petrov's curling shot forces a good save from Joe Murphy and, from the resulting corner, Dedryck Boyata's header bounces wide.

1742: Scunthorpe hoist a series of crosses into the visitors' box and their fans are loving this - it's certainly an exciting finish to the game. Can they force an equaliser? Well, they've just come quite close when Martyn Woolford flicked Grant McCann's cross just wide. City have 10 minutes to hold out.

1738: City are trying to take the sting out of Scunthorpe by keeping possession but it's not working and the hosts soon have the ball back. Still, Pablo Zabaleta shows he is not feeling the pressure by calmly heading a cross back to Stuart Taylor, despite Martyn Woolford lurking behind him with menace.

From Sam in Sheffield, via text: "Leaky defences seem to be the trademark of the new Man City era."

1734: Nervy times for Man City fans. Sylvinho, who has already been booked, catches Sam Togwell with a clumsy challenge but escapes a second yellow. Grant McCann sends the resulting free-kick over to the far post but City eventually clear.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Scunthorpe goal: Who said this game was over? Not anymore it isn't. A long throw is flicked into the path of Cliff Byrne and his instinctive shot takes a big deflection off Dedryck Boyata and trundles into the net. We have 20 minutes left for the Iron to find an equaliser.

1731: GOALFLASH Scunthorpe 2-3 Man City (Boyata og)

From Carol in Walsall, via text: "Impressed by Scunthorpe, playing with determination and real passion. Think Robinho is on a hiding to nothing though - if he plays well it's 'well it's only Scunthorpe' but if he's poor it's 'what a waste of money'.

1728: City are making another change, with Pablo Zabaleta replacing Stephen Ireland.

1725: Another chance for Martin Petrov after a mix-up in the Scunthorpe defence. The Bulgarian smashes his shot narrowly wide but a corner is given for some reason. Cue heroics by Joe Murphy, who makes three brilliant stops in quick succession from Abdisalam Ibrahim and (twice) from Robinho. The Brazilian stops to shake the keeper's hand afterwards, those saves were that good.

1722: Credit to Scunthorpe, they haven't given up although the odds are certainly against them now. Garry Thompson has a go from the edge of the box but his shot ends up in Row Z rather than the back of the net.

From GunnerSanj1990 on 606: "Wow! Vintage Sylvinho."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Man City goal: There's more than one Brazilian in the Man City team you know. An absolute screamer of a shot from Sylvinho swerves past Joe Murphy from 30 yards out and gives the visitors some breathing space. That was a brilliant strike.

1718: GOALFLASH Scunthorpe 1-3 Man City (Sylvinho)

1717: Still, City remain a threat coming forward and a clever flick by Robinho gives Martin Petrov space in a similar position to the one he scored from in the first half. Can he repeat the trick? No, not this time. Petrov again gets plenty of power behind his shot but it is off target.

1714: City are having to do a lot of defending and they are grateful to their goalkeeper Stuart Taylor for preserving their lead. Gary Hooper sets up Sam Togwell and his rasping shot is tipped over by the visiting keeper.

1712: A corner is cleared to Garry Thompson, who fires well over from 30 yards out. The home fans are trying to get their side going here and the Iron have started this second-half very brightly.

Yellow card
1709: Greg Cunningham does not take long to make an impression, well on referee Kevin Friend anyway. The young defender is only two minutes into his City debut but goes into the book for a clumsy foul on Garry Thompson.

From PJ, via text: "Linesman unwell? Is he flagging?"

Not in the first-half he wasn't...

1707: That switch by Roberto Mancini means Sylvinho has moved from left-back to play as a holding midfielder for the visitors, who have just got the second-half under way.

1706: And here come the players now... Man City have made one change at the break, with young Irish left-back Greg Cunningham coming on to make his debut. Nigel de Jong is the man being replaced.

1704: Man City boss Roberto Mancini, as usual keeping warm in his blue-and-white scarf, is out signing a few autographs while we wait for the game to resume.

1701: There is going to be a slight delay before the second half starts at Glanford Park. Linesman Mo Matadar (who incidentally is the man who should have flagged Paul Hayes offside before he scored for Scunthorpe) is ill and needs to be replaced.

randalthor1812 on Twitter: "Will they be laughing at Robbie when he wins the World Cup with Brazil?"

1654: If you've got a spare minute or two during half-time, I strongly recommend you check out Alistair Magowan's live text commentary of Angola v Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations. Ghana are leading the tournament hosts 1-0 at the moment.

1650: Scunthorpe have given big-spending Manchester City a big scare in the first 45 minutes but Roberto Mancini's men have the lead at the break thanks to Nedum Onuoha's composed finish. The Premier League side took the lead through Martin Petrov's thunderbolt and will argue that Paul Hayes' equaliser was offside - but the Iron have been impressive so far and are by no means out of this one yet.

1648: HALF-TIME Scunthorpe 1-2 Man City

1647: It almost gets a lot worse for Scunthorpe before half-time as Stephen Ireland breaks forward down the left but his attempt to lob Joe Murphy sees the ball fly beyond the far post.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Man City goal: Scunthorpe have been the better side for the last 20 minutes but they are behind again here. Stephen Ireland plays in Nedum Onuoha with a clever chipped pass and the England Under-21 defender steadies himself before beating Joe Murphy with a cool low finish.

1645: GOALFLASH Scunthorpe 1-2 Man City (Onuoha)

1644: Another effort on goal by Robinho, and it's not much better. The ball breaks to him on the edge of the area when Stephen Ireland's through-ball is half-cleared but the Brazilian rushes his shot and it tamely rolls into Joe Murphy's hands.

1642: Two minutes to go until the break. Scunthorpe are still looking the more positive when they have possession and can be pleased with the way they have performed so far.

1639: Ah, speaking of Robinho, here is the £32.5m Brazilian with a pot-shot on goal... but it's not a good one. The ball soars high over the bar and the Scunthorpe fans are quickly on his back, now singing 'you're getting sold in the morning'. I'm not surprised he would rather be back in Brazil (allegedly).

From Will, enjoying the magic of the cup, via text: "Would City fans prefer to be rid of Robinho rather than a top-four finish or success in the cups?"

1637: City have been pretty quiet going forward for a while now. I wouldn't say they are rattled but they definitely know they are in a game. 10 minutes, or so, to go until half-time.

daviesm7 on Twitter: "Superb finish from Hayes. The linesman should have flagged him offside but Scunthorpe deserve it nonetheless."

1633: Gary Hooper and Paul Hayes look a useful combo up front for Scunthorpe and they link up again here, with Hayes teeing up his strike partner for a shot that flashes high and wide of Stuart Taylor's goal.

1631: Scunthorpe actually drew level at 1-1 with Manchester City in their Carling Cup tie in October. City went on to win that one 5-1, although that game was at Eastlands.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Scunthorpe goal: A corner is only half cleared and Gary Hooper hooks the ball back into the City area. Replays show that Paul Hayes is a long way offside but the flag stays down and the Iron striker finishes with aplomb, volleying past Stuart Taylor with a firm finish.

1629: GOALFLASH Scunthorpe 1-1 Man City (Hayes)

1628: City attack again and some neat play by Benjani ends with Martin Petrov working space for another shot, this time from the opposite side of the area. The Bulgarian tries to place the ball this time and Joe Murphy gets across to grab it. A good save, that.

1625: Man City break quickly from a corner, with Stephen Ireland feeding Robinho, who lets fly from the edge of the area. It goes straight at Joe Murphy and the Iron fans let the £32.5m Brazilian know exactly what they think of his shot, singing 'What a load of rubbish'. Harsh but fair.

From Waqar, a Gunner desperate for silverware, via text: "Would City fans prefer success in the cups rather than a top-four finish?"

1622: More tidy play by Scunthorpe who are doing far more than simply lobbing the ball forward. City's only foray forward in the last few minutes saw Nedum Onuoha fire wildly over from the right-hand side of the area.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1617: You want Scunthorpe chances? I'll give you Scunthorpe chances. First, Cliff Byrne heads a Gary Hooper cross against the City bar from close range, when he should really have scored. Then, seconds later, Rob Jones heads down another cross towards Paul Hayes, who sends a shot a couple of yards wide. This is more like it by the home side, and it's woken their fans up too.

1614: A decent spell of possession by Scunthorpe, who are keeping the City defence busy, if not exactly piling on the pressure. It takes a timely challenge by Abdisalam Ibrahim to stop Marcus Williams getting a shot in.

1610: Martyn Woolford has a bit of a shot on him too, as TimKeward pointed out below. He has a pop from about 30 yards out but it fizzes wide of goal and Stuart Taylor does not have to make a save.

1607: Scunthorpe seem a little nervous. They are trying to get forward but the final ball is letting them down at the moment. Gary Hooper sends a low cross into the box but it is easily cleared.

TimKeward on Twitter: "That's a great strike by Martin Petrov. Hopefully Martyn Woolford will do something equally spectacular for Scunthorpe."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Man City goal: Wow, what a start for City. Robinho dazzles the Scunthorpe defence with a series of stepovers - I counted four - before playing in Martin Petrov on the left of the area. The Bulgarian takes a couple of touches and promptly slams in an unstoppable shot that zips into the top corner. That stayed hit.

1603: GOALFLASH Scunthorpe 0-1 Man City (Petrov)

1601: An early touch for Stuart Taylor, one of those making his City debut today. Cliff Byrne plays in Gary Hooper with a long ball over the top but the former Arsenal and Aston Villa keeper is out quickly to collect the ball at Hooper's feet.

1600: Scunthorpe get us started.

1558: Looks like a lively old atmosphere at Scunthorpe, who might be encouraged by some of the unfamiliar names in the Manchester City line-up. There is also plenty of experience in Roberto Mancini's line-up but it will be most interesting to see how Robinho gets on today.

From f_vas90 on 606: "There won't be any surprise here. City will win easily. Mancini does not lose against unknown teams!"

1552: Less than 10 minutes to go until kick-off at Glanford Park. Roberto Mancini has just been interviewed in the tunnel and deflected any questions about Robinho, saying he is "an important player".

From Henri in Manchester, via text: "Robinho seems to say lots of things. Just yesterday he was quoted to say he wants to stay and prove his worth. I have my money on media sensationalism."

1548: Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins on the visit of Manchester City, three days before Roberto Mancini's side play the second leg of their Carling Cup semi-final: "Will City have one eye on the Manchester United game next week? That's a massive game for them which could see them go to Wembley. Will that dictate the team that they put out against us? But such is the size of their squad, whoever does put on a City shirt will be a good player."

1546: TEAM NEWS Scunthorpe v Man City
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini hands Robinho a rare start for their FA Cup trip to Scunthorpe among eight changes to the side that beat rivals United in the Carling Cup. Stuart Taylor is handed his club debut in the visitors' goal, with young Norwegian midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim also given a first start, with only Dedryck Boyota, Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong retaining their places from Tuesday night. Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins makes three changes, preferring Joe Murphy in goal, with Rob Jones and free-kick specialist Grant McCann also recalled.

1545: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini on his side's tricky trip to Glanford Park: "We must remember what happened between Liverpool and Reading, and Manchester United and Leeds as well (both in the third round). If we think about what happened in those two games, then we can go to Scunthorpe and make sure we win. It's a small ground, they will be strong because they are at home but we will have to be at our best."

1543: There is no official comment from Manchester City on Robinho's claims that he is about to leave the club but apparently boss Roberto Mancini will be speaking about the Brazilian after today's game.

1540: TEAMS Scunthorpe v Man City
Scunthorpe: Murphy, Williams, Togwell, Byrne, McCann, Hayes, Hooper, Thompson, Jones, Mirfin, Woolford. Subs: Lillis, Milne, Sparrow, Forte, May, Crosby, J. Wright.
Man City: Taylor, Onuoha, Boyata, Kompany, Sylvinho, De Jong, Ireland, Ibrahim, Robinho, Petrov, Benjani. Subs: Nielsen, Richards, Wright-Phillips, Zabaleta, Barry, Bellamy, Cunningham.
Referee: Kevin Friend.

1537: Stoke goalscorer Dean Whitehead after his side's 3-1 FA Cup victory over Arsenal: "We got our rewards today. We do not fear anybody, we are playing really well and look forward to the next round."

Budmeister91 on Twitter: "Feeling proud to be a Potter, fantastic result and brilliant gameplay all round by the Stoke lads."

1532: A bit of news for you. Robinho starts for Manchester City against Scunthorpe at Glanford Park, just hours after telling Brazilian radio that the game against the Iron will be his last one for the club. The £32.5m man is being linked with a loan move back to his homeland. Full teams from that game to follow.

1529: And not much of a second debut to remember for 35-year-old Arsenal defender Sol Campbell either. He looked a bit ponderous at times, and won't like watching replays of that second Ricardo Fuller goal very much.

1527: Ah. It looks like that triple substitution by Arsene Wenger changed the game then... but not in the way the Arsenal boss would have wanted. Stoke's persistence pays off and two goals in the last 12 minutes from Ricardo Fuller and Dean Whitehead mean Tony Pulis gets his reward for picking a strong line-up - the Potters are into the last 16 of the FA Cup.

davidmcbride09 on Twitter: "Stoke have played like a top four club today. Fuller especially was great."

1523: FULL-TIME Stoke 3-1 Arsenal

1523: Arsenal are going long themselves now, and are looking very desperate. That's meat and drink for Stoke, who can start looking forward to the fifth-round draw at 1800 GMT.

1521: Stoke eat up a bit more time, sending on Danny Pugh for Matthew Etherington. There are only two minutes left for them to hold on to their two-goal lead but the home side are still attacking.

1519: Arsenal's Craig Eastmond tries to whip a cross into the Stoke box but overcooks it and sends it out for a goalkick. That's the 90 minutes up, we will have four minutes of injury time.

1516: It's all happening at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke think they have a fourth goal, just to rub Arsenal's noses in it, but Tuncay's breakaway strike is ruled out... for handball, I think.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Stoke goal: Tuncay wins the ball in midfield and feeds Matthew Etherington out on the left, who sends over a low cross for Dean Whitehead to tap home, unmarked, from close range. Game over?

1515: GOALFLASH Stoke 3-1 Arsenal (Whitehead)

1515: Tuncay and Salif Diao are coming on for Stoke, replacing two-goal hero Ricardo Fuller, who has been brilliant today, and Rory Delap. We won't see anymore of those towels either.

1513: Stoke are fighting hard to protect their lead as we head into the last five minutes of normal time. It's going to be a frantic finish.

JamieCutteridge on Twitter: "Wenger can say what he likes, but that was a lovely footballing goal by Stoke!"

1509: Arsenal equalised from a free-kick just before half-time but they cannot repeat the trick this time. Cesc Fabregas shapes to shoot 30 yards from goal but the ball hits Mikael Silvestre (who is now back on the pitch) and flies wide.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Stoke goal: Mamady Sidibe storms down the right flank and sends over an inviting cross that is met by Ricardo Fuller, who beats Sol Campbell to the ball with ease and heads downwards past Lukasz Fabianski and into the net. The Potters are back in front and have 11 minutes left to hang on to their lead.

1506: GOALFLASH Stoke 2-1 Arsenal (Fuller)

1505: Arsenal have stepped it up and seem to have taken control in midfield. Still, Stoke don't always use that part of the pitch so the game remains wide open.

1503: It's opened up all of a sudden and a golden chance for Arsenal to take the lead comes and goes when the ball breaks for Carlos Vela in the box. He shapes to shoot but the ball is whipped away from him at the crucial moment by Danny Higginbotham.

1501: Mikael Silvestre is having treatment off the pitch so the Gunners are down to 10 men. Time for a defensive reshuffle, me thinks.

1500: Rory Delap runs on to a high through ball on the edge of the area. Mikael Silvestre gets across to cover but is hurt while making the tackle. Perhaps not the best timing in the world, bearing in mind Arsenal have just used all three of their substitutes.

1458: We've got around 20 minutes of normal time at the Britannia Stadium to try to find a winner. Or possibly not.

1456: Three changes for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger has to take off Andrey Arshavin's bobble hat before sending him on, along with Eduardo and Aaron Ramsey. Coming off are Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

1454: Another dangerous low Stoke cross, this time from Matthew Etherington from the left. Lukasz Fabianski fails to deal with it at his near post but, luckily for the Gunners keeper, there is no Stoke player in the six-yard box to take advantage.

1452: Young Arsenal defender Francis Coquelin lives a bit dangerously as he slides in to clear a low ball in front of his own goal. The Frenchman gets it right, but is probably relieved to see it fly an inch wide.


1451: ... And Delap sends in another throw. This time, Lukasz Fabianski catches it cleanly. That hasn't happened very often today.

1451: The towel is out again...

1450: I'm not sure what that just was from Carlos Vela - a shot or a cross? Either way, it doesn't threaten Thomas Sorensen's goal, the ball flying harmlessly across the Stoke area without a team-mate in sight.

1449: It's all gone a bit scrappy in the middle of the park - as opposed to the classic footballing contest it was earlier.

WallaceEMann on Twitter: "Tranmere used to arm their ballboys with towels and dry balls for Dave Challinor to send in his long throws. That saved time."

Challinor is still playing (throwing?) for my hometown team Colwyn Bay by the way. Not sure they can afford ballboys, let alone towels.

From Rob in Stoke, via text: "Leave Rory Delap alone, we're playing to our strengths."

1445: Stoke's answer is to hoist more high balls into the Arsenal area and the visitors have to deal with their first bit of real pressure since the break. They survive it, mind, as Lukasz Fabianski punches clear from a Matthew Etherington free-kick despite being hit by a meaty challenge from Robert Huth.

1441: Arsenal keep coming forward too, however, and Cesc Fabregas brings a flying fingertip save from Thomas Sorensen with a 30-yard shot that looked like it was set to dip under the bar.

1439: Yep, the towel is back out and Rory Delap lets fly with another throw into the danger zone. Lukasz Fabianski cannot deal with it but referee Martin Atkinson spots a foul - not sure I did - and Arsenal survive.

1438: Stoke's turn to threaten from a corner and Lukasz Fabianski flaps at the ball as he clears. It would be easy to criticise but he did have to contend with the attention of Mamady Sidibe to reach the cross.

From Sammy Stu in Kent, via text: "Sol Campell for the England team at the World Cup finals! Naah, just joking. But seriously, he's doing OK isn't he?"

1436: Sol Campbell leaps to meet an Arsenal corner but his header loops harmlessly over the bar. The Gunners have started the second half brightly.

From David in London, via text: "At Southampton, Delap never used a towel. It reeks of Pulis if you ask me."

What reeks of Pulis exactly, the towel or the tactic?

1434: Stoke get the second half under way. No changes from either side at the break but I'll keep you posted on whether Rory Delap's towel makes any further appearances.


JoeTheRef on Twitter: "Delap should be allowed to use a towel but only if he can get ball in play within seconds, expect him to be booked this half."

Joe the ref IS a ref, apparently. Will he be right though?

From Adam in Barnet via text: "Why doesn't Delap get a yellow card for time wasting with his drying the ball antics? A goalkeeper would get booked if he took 30 seconds for every goal-kick."

From PanasonicVieira on 606: "Didn't players used to just use their own shirts to dry the ball, instead of this time-wasting towel business? Must be another fickle health and safety thing."

1424: Right then. The big question after the first 45 minutes at the Britannia Stadium appears to be whether Rory Delap should be allowed to use a towel to dry the ball before launching one of his throw-ins towards Lukasz Fabianski's net. Your thoughts?

1420: So, after falling behind after two minutes and being on the back foot for most of the first half, Arsenal go in all-square at the break. Not sure they entirely deserve it but do you think Arsene Wenger and his players will care one bit? No, me neither.

1417: HALF-TIME Stoke 1-1 Arsenal

1415: Blimey. Since they equalised, it's been all Arsenal. It's Stoke who are defending nervily now and probably hoping for half-time to come along as quickly as possible.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Arsenal goal: Three minutes before half-time, Arsenal are level. Referee Martin Atkinson penalises Dean Whitehead for handball on the corner of the area - harsh that - and Cesc Fabregas rolls the resulting free-kick into the path of Denilson, whose low shot deflects past Thomas Sorensen and into the bottom corner.

1412: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-1 Arsenal

1407: I told you Theo Walcott was having a quiet game but perhaps he is actually better off actually avoiding the ball. Arsenal come forward with real intent for the first time but Walcott's cross from the right is woeful - he slices it straight out of play.

1405: ... It's cleared for a corner but Stoke keep the pressure up and could easily have won a penalty when Mikael Silvestre catches Ricardo Fuller in the area. Silvestre got a bit of the ball, but he got a lot more of the man.

1404: Carlos Vela gives the ball away on the half-way line and Stoke attack again. Armand Traore fouls Rory Delap in the right-hand corner and the Potters have another free-kick...

From Stephen from Bromley in Kent, via text: "We know our injury problems are in midfield and yet Wenger rests the entire back-line and plays Cesc and Denilson. Why rest centre-backs that don't get injured and play midfielders that do? Still glad to see Wenger's priorities are elsewhere though, even after five trophyless years."

1401: The first 30 minutes of this tie have been fairly forgettable from Arsenal's point of view. Theo Walcott has barely touched the ball and Stoke are well on top - Tony Pulis will be happy with the way his game-plan has shaped up so far.

emmetmcevoy on Twitter: "I understand the reason for resting the (Arsenal) players, but why tell us the FA Cup matters and then pick a League Cup side? Gutted."

1358: Those Rory Delap long throws are still causing chaos in the Arsenal defence but the Gunners have just survived two in quick succession. It's raining pretty hard at the Britannia Stadium - the sort of conditions that help in an upset, actually...

1357: More magic from Ricardo Fuller who tricks his way into the area from the right wing and finds Mamady Sidibe with his cross. Sadly the finish doesn't match the build-up... Sidibe miscues and slices his shot high into the air.

1355: Sol Campbell looks a bit creaky at the moment, if I'm honest. He's been left for dead by Ricardo Fuller a couple of times already, and I don't think the Jamaican striker is much of a speed merchant either...

1353: Stoke are happy to let Arsenal keep their ball in their own half but start to crowd them out as soon as they try to advance. We've played more than 20 minutes and the visitors are yet to have a clear sight of goal.

From Olu in London, via text: "Rachel is probably a Gooner like me. Can't say the sight of Sol in the back four fills me with any sort of confidence."

1349: Lukasz Fabianski has to punch clear another Stoke corner but the home side keep coming forward and are getting the ball up to Ricardo Fuller as quickly as possible.


1346: Still not much from the Gunners going forward, although Carlos Vela has just had a shot deflected wide. It should have been a corner, but a goal-kick is referee Martin Atkinson's decision.

1345: Arsenal are still looking very nervy indeed at the back and it takes a timely interception by Sol Campbell to cut out a dangerous pull-back by Ricardo Fuller, who had managed to get to the bye-line down the right.

1343: Oh dear. Francis Coquelin has not had the best of times so far. The young Arsenal right-back lost Ricardo Fuller for Stoke's goal and is not having much better luck with the ball at his feet... he runs forward down the right into a promising position then plays an aimless pass that rolls straight out of play.

From Rachel Tyrrell in Lincoln, via text: "Is Sol still on the pitch? Or has he walked out in disgust as 'this isn't what he signed up for'?"

Hmmm. Could Rachel be a Notts County fan per chance?

1337: The Arsenal area is still under bombardment, this time from a Matthew Etherington free-kick but, eventually, the visitors clear.

1336: ... This time, Lukasz Fabianski deals with the danger - leaping to catch the ball at the back post. I've got a feeling he might have a busy afternoon.

1335: Arsenal have not settled down at all yet. And the bad news is that Rory Delap has another throw, in range of the Gunners area...

From redthemadsheep2001 on 606: "you never get tired of seeing that missile-like throw, better than most crosses."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Stoke goal: Incredible start by Stoke, and a very soft goal for Arsenal to concede. Rory Delap's long throw sails over a crowd of players and Ricardo Fuller beats a hesitant Lukasz Fabianski to the ball and stoops to head it into the top corner of the net. The Potters lead, after just 70 seconds.

1331: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-0 Arsenal (Fuller)

1330: Arsenal get us under way. A few empty seats at the Britannia Stadium.

1329: Stoke assistant boss Peter Reid on his side's approach: "If you allow Arsenal to play and give them space and time they will hurt you. We don't want a silky smooth game, we want blood and thunder."

1326: Arsene Wenger explains his Arsenal team: "Some players are injured and need a breather and that explains the selection. Sol Campbell leads the team today and will bring experience - he is a fighter and in a battle you can rely on him."

1325: So, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger opts for an intriguing mixture of youth and experience, while Stoke boss Tony Pulis has pretty much picked his strongest available team. Sets us up nicely for what should be a cracking Cup-tie - kick-off is in five minutes.

AaronLieber on Twitter: "Lifelong Arsenal fan... My first thoughts on seeing the line up for today's game: We are going to lose. Who are these guys???"

1323: TEAM NEWS Stoke v Arsenal
Stoke make three changes, bringing in Danny Collins, Noel Whelan and Ricardo Fuller for Amdy Faye, Salif Diao and Tuncay.
Arsenal hand Sol Campbell his debut in his second spell at the club and make eight other changes in a youthful line-up which includes 19-year-olds Craig Eastmond and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and 18-year-old Francis Coquelin.

IrishManInUSA on Twitter: "Re 1302. The beauty of the FA cup is that records don't matter, so I back Stoke to beat Arsenal, and just maybe Man City will lose"

From Simon Rowley, Arsenal fan, via text: "To risk Cesc Fabregas, who isn't 100% anyway, ahead of our nightmare fortnight is ludicrous. If he gets injured today and misses those matches I'll be furious."

1313: Stoke boss Tony Pulis on his side's FA Cup hoodoo against Arsenal: "It would be nice to put one over on them. You look at the history of this club and what's happened in the past, there will be a lot of people from my generation hoping we can beat Arsenal. The only thing I can guarantee is that I will put out a team that will go out there and give it their best shot for 90 minutes."

From Ctilley1991 on 606: "Sol was bought for today only. He's gonna be owning those throw-ins."

1308: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on coping with Stoke's direct approach: "I want to pick a team which is strong enough to win the game, without ignoring we are under immense physical demands in every single game and some players need to have a breather. I feel physically we are one of the strongest teams in the league. We are a very mobile team and we can deal with the demands we have in front of us."

1305: TEAMS Stoke v Arsenal
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Collins, Delap, Whitehead, Whelan, Etherington, Sidibe, Fuller. Subs: Simonsen, Lawrence, Beattie, Pugh, Diao, Sanli, Wilkinson.
Arsenal: Fabianski, Coquelin, Campbell, Silvestre, Traore, Eastmond, Denilson, Fabregas, Walcott, Emmanuel-Thomas, Vela. Subs: Mannone, Rosicky, Eduardo, Ramsey, Arshavin, Bartley, Frimpong.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1302: Stoke and Scunthorpe fans should look away now - history will definitely not be on your side today. Stoke have never beaten Arsenal in seven previous Cup ties between 1928 and 2005, while Scunthorpe's record against City is even worse - in their five meetings in all competitions, City have posted five wins, scoring 26 goals and conceding just five... that's an average of more than five goals a game, with their latest victory (5-1) coming in this season's Carling Cup.

From pebblederook on 606: "Stoke are just made for Sol. He may not be as mobile as he was but hit high balls into the area and he will be in his element."

1258: There's only two games today so, more than ever, I need you lot to keep me company. That means Tweeting me mean to keep me keen on Twitter, texting me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (international), and getting involved on 606. I know you won't let me down...

1255: As gunner-zp points out below, Arsenal have a potentially decisive month coming up in the Premier League. After today, their next four matches are Aston Villa (a), Man Utd (h), Chelsea (a) and Liverpool (h). Easy-peasy, that little lot...

From gunner-zp - Rosický Returns (again)! Believe in Bendtner on 606: "Will be interesting what line-up Wenger puts out, we have 11 players out! And some big games coming up in a short space of time."

1250: Yep, Mr Campbell - who hasn't played a first-team game since leaving Notts County in September - is expected to make his first appearance since rejoining the Gunners when Stoke host Arsenal in our first game today, kicking off at 1330 GMT. That's followed by Scunthorpe against Manchester City at 1600 GMT. If that's not enough Cup action for you, then stick around for the fifth-round draw at 1800 GMT. Satisfied? I hope so.

1245: Is it really three years and eight months since Sol Campbell's last senior appearance for Arsenal? It is you know (I checked). I suppose a good way of easing the 35-year-old former England defender back into competitive action is an FA Cup fourth-round tie against renowned soft-touches Stoke City - should be a breeze...




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see also
FA Cup commentaries
03 Nov 10 |  FA Cup
Cardiff take on Chelsea in FA Cup
24 Jan 10 |  FA Cup
Sunday's football photos
24 Jan 10 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football


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