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Page last updated at 22:32 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Wednesday football as it happened

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

606: DEBATE

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


2230: Like Wayne Rooney at the death, it's time to wrap things up. Congrats in particular to Man United, big mention for Chelsea too and well done to Blackburn and Everton. Match of the Day is on BBC One and online at 2255 GMT with highlights from this week's Carling Cup and Premier League games, and don't forget the action from Old Trafford will be on iPlayer too. See you Saturday, legends.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "We wanted three points, we got one. Maybe we dropped two. It was a difficult game, Villa made it difficult. They had good chances and we had very good chances. We don't usually miss the chances we missed tonight."

From JohnnyThunder29 on Twitter: "Re Mancini: "We can go on and win the FA Cup now." I like Hughes but he never had that driven talk like Mancini. Winning talk."

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "It's a derby game and you like to win them. There was a lot of spice and at the end there was a special kind of celebration. We stayed patient and looked a threat when we stepped it up. I thought Wayne Rooney produced a world-class performance tonight, he played better than he did on Saturday when he scored four goals. Phenomenal."

2217: Here's what happened in the Premier League tonight:
Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal
Blackburn 2-1 Wigan
Chelsea 3-0 Birmingham
Everton 2-0 Sunderland

Manchester United's Darren Fletcher: "It was all about the team tonight. Everyone was up for it, everyone put the shift in and we deserved to win it. It's easy to talk, but it was important for us to do our talking on the pitch and we did that."

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "We played very well. We were only under pressure for 10 minutes and in those 10 minutes we were very unlucky, but the rest of the game we played very well and I feel very sorry for the players and the fans. I only give compliments to my players, we can go on and win the FA Cup now."

From Ross, via text on 81111: "I know it's been a pretty game and all in the Milk Cup, but are you gonna mention that Chelsea have gone top of the Premier League?"

Man Utd hero Wayne Rooney: "When we were at them they didn't know what to do and they just couldn't cope with us. Darren Fletcher was unbelievable and he's been like that for years. He's a bit of an unsung hero for some reason but he's what United are all about. He's world class and I wouldn't swap him for anyone in the world."

From CarrickCake on 606: "A great footballing rivalry has inadvertently created a great advert for the Carling Cup."

From Mark from Greenwich, via text on 81111: "Drinks on Keano then? (See 1854)"

2200: So, on Sunday 28 February, Manchester United will meet Aston Villa in the Carling Cup final. Beautiful symmetry, because Villa won the first tournament 50 years ago and United won last season's. They met in the 1994 final, with Villa winning 3-1 thanks to a Dalian Atkinson goal and a Dean Saunders brace.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "How Manchester City must dread the sight of the board going up for stoppages at Old Trafford - twice this season they have conceded the decisive goal in injury time. No surprise it was Wayne Rooney who scored Manchester United's crucial third. Old Trafford is bouncing with joy apart from one corner occupied by Manchester City supporters. Their biggest night in years has ended in heartbreak."

2155: Full-time Blackburn 2-1 Wigan

2154: Full-time Everton 2-0 Sunderland

Full time
2153: Full-time Manchester United 3-1 Manchester City (aggregate: 4-3) City's plans for world domination might have to wait a little longer, because United are in the Carling Cup final and deservedly so on the basis of these two cracking games of football.

2153: Hardly any time left...

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
United goal: Moments after Shay Given saves brilliantly from a Darren Fletcher header, the hosts go an win it. A corner from their right comes back to taker Ryan Giggs and he curls over a delicious cross - it's almost undefendable, and man of the moment Wayne Rooney is there five yards out to head past Given.

2151: GOAL Manchester United 3-1 Manchester City (agg: 4-3)

2150: Into three minutes of injury time at Old Trafford.

2148: By the way, more good news for Evertonians tonight as Mikel Arteta has come on for the last 15 minutes for his first league appearance of the season. Tim Howard makes a save from Boudewijn Zenden to keep it 2-0 to Everton against Sunderland, while at Old Trafford Luis Valencia is on for Nani.

2146: Craig Bellamy is sent away down the left by Carlos Tevez and his fabulous cross on to the head of Emmanuel Adebayor is hopelessly headed wide by the Togo striker. Great to see him back on a football pitch after what he and his countrymen went through, though.

2145: In amongst the mayhem, here's a lower league wrap up from Football League Danny: "So, here's your full-time scores. Newcastle scored late through Nile Ranger to beat Crystal Palace 2-0 and move three points clear at the top of the Championship. Scunthorpe beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-0, and in League Two Burton beat Lincoln 1-0."

2144: Five minutes left of normal time at Old Trafford. It's Man Utd 2-1 Man City - so as it stands, we're going to extra-time and penalties.

From Nick the Gooner from Watford, via text on 81111: "Sol Campbell has shown tonight why Wenger said that signing him was not a gamble. He slotted in to the backline and played extremely well against a pacy Villa attack."

2140: United pile forward and only some solid defending stops Wayne Rooney from getting a shot in before Michael Carrick sees on effort blocked and drives another left-foot wide from 12 yards.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "What next in this wonderful Carling Cup semi-final? Manchester City's fans, who were starting to sound desperate are now in ecstasy after that brilliant piece of invention from Carlos Tevez. Wayne Rooney will hope he doesn't live to regret that simple chance he missed."

2138: Full-time Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal

2138: Full-time Chelsea 3-0 Birmingham

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Rovers goal: Is that a winner? Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner is headed home calmly by Nikola Kalinic as three Wigan defenders stand rooted to the ground. Chaotic defending.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Man City goal: Unbelievable. No sooner does it seem like United are wrapping it all up than Craig Bellamy flings over a cross from the left and that man Carlos Tevez, quite magnificently, hooks his right foot out - beating Rio Ferdinand to the ball - and acrobatically volleys it past Edwin van der Sar. He just created a goal. Stunning.

2135: GOAL Blackburn 2-1 Wigan

2135: GOAL Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City (agg: 3-3)

2134: City have 15 minutes to score and take us to extra-time, but Aston Villa and Arsenal are into injury time with the score still 0-0.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Chelsea goal: Simple. The hosts pour forward and Florent Malouda slips in Frank Lampard, who keeps his cool to drill low, left-footed past Joe Hart.

2132: How did Wayne Rooney not score? He is in front of goal four yards out and must seal it from Patrice Evra's cross, but fires wide. Amazing miss.

2132: GOAL Chelsea 3-0 Birmingham

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
United goal: Now City must score. Nani, who is improving all the time, plays a lovely left-foot pass into the City penalty area for Darren Fletcher and as the Scottish midfielder realises he cannot get a shot in, he cleverly tees up Michael Carrick to drill in from the right-hand corner of the six-yard box.

2130: GOAL Manchester United 2-0 Manchester City (agg: 3-2)

Handbags
2128: Anyone want to bet on how many times I'm gonna crash the handbag graphic out? Micah Richards and Darren Fletcher compete hard but fair for the ball and then get involved in some silliness. Both get a ticking off from ref Howard Webb, good officiating.

2127: Emmanuel Adebayor is getting stripped off.

2126: Micah Richards' right-foot shot is deflected over, before Craig Bellamy drills a left-footer wide from the edge of the United area. Remember, as we stand we're going to extra-time, but if it stays like this, after 120 minutes United would go through.

From rmt_1982 on Twitter: "Could have been worse for Bellamy, there's footage on youtube of Milan fans throwing a moped from the top tier in the San Siro."

2124: Quiet for too long, but here's Football League Danny: "It's been a while, but there has been another goal in the Championship. Grant McCann has doubled Scunthorpe's lead and they're 2-0 up on Sheffield Wednesday. Worrying scenes for the struggling Owls."

2122: Florent Malouda drills inches wide of Joe Hart's right-hand post at Chelsea, while Arsenal bring Samir Nasri on for Tomas Rosicky. Villa are having more of the ball, but Arsenal look dangerous on the break.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2121: Blackburn go so close to taking the lead once more but from Brett Emerton's high, looping right-wing cross, the towering Morten Gamst Pedersen nods against the crossbar.

2120: Super football at Old Trafford as Jonny Evans finds Nani down the right and the Portuguese sends over a fabulously teasing cross along the six-yard box that Dedryck Boyata turns over his own bar.

2119: Chucho Benitez sets up Keith Fahey at Chelsea and he toe-pokes goalwards from 16 yards, Petr Cech tipping over his crossbar.

2118: Good chance for Everton at Goodison but after rounding Craig Gordon, Landon Donovan's goalbound shot is cleared off the line by George McCartney.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Wigan goal: Back on level terms at Ewood Park as James McCarthy swings over a corner from the Latics left and Gary Caldwell shows good strength to muscle his way past his marker and head home.

2116: GOAL Blackburn 1-1 Wigan

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester City had started the second half so positively, but this has been an outstanding display by Paul Scholes and he scored from familiar territory as he loitered with intent on the edge of the area. Test of nerve for City now - this Carling Cup semi-final is beautifully balanced."

2115: It's getting lively at Villa Park, ebbing and flowing, but still 0-0 between the hosts and Arsenal. Must be a goal in the game somewhere.

2113: Birmingham break and James McFadden has a fine chance inside the Chelsea area, but it's on his weaker right foot and he drags the shot badly wide.

2112: Paul Scholes' goal is his first in this competition for seven years, by the way.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
United goal: Game on. Wayne Rooney starts the move with a glorious pass for Ryan Giggs to run through and he tries to round Shay Given, but tales it too far. He eventually crosses for Nani, it falls for Michael Carrick to lay it back to Paul Scholes and the veteran midfielder - with the aid of a slight deflection - slams it into the corner from 16 yards.

2110: GOAL Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City (agg: 2-2)

2109: Craig Bellamy goes across to take a corner for Man City and gets pelted on the back of the head by a coin. Moments earlier, a bottle landed next to him. If you see someone do that, please make sure they get chucked out of the ground. Morons.

Handbags
2107: Carlos Tevez is booked for a foul on Rafael, a little unluckily, and that starts a touch of handbags with Craig Bellamy and Rio Ferdinand particularly furious.

2106: Back under way at Everton and Blackburn too. At United, City's Micah Richards powers forward and hits a screaming left-foot shot from 22 yards that Edwin van der Sar tips away from his top left-hand corner.

2104: Back under way at Old Trafford and Nicklas Bendtner is on for Eduardo at Villa.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2103: Arsenal break and Andrey Arshavin goes on a dazzling run down their left before seeing his shot saved by Brad Friedel and Tomas Rosicky's shot on the rebound crashes off the underside of the bar.

2101: It's all Chelsea and Michael Ballack flicks a Florent Malouda corner wide of the far post. Birmingham have been a bit better since the break, but it's a mismatch all the same.

2101: Chris Smalling, who yesterday signed for Manchester United from Fulham, though he will stay at Craven Cottage for the rest of the season, is busy signing autographs at Old Trafford at half-time. Wonder if he had to practice it overnight.

From stonecoldsober on 606: "Need to bring Michael Owen on now. He always need a few chances before he can even muster a shot on target these days. No use bringing him on in the 70th minute."

2056: Michael Ballack rises high to head goalwards at Chelsea, but Joe Hart leaps across his line to make the save.

2055: I don't often just print news stories, but this one is an absolute cracker from earlier: "German researchers say football referees forced to make a snap decision on a questionable foul are more likely to rule against the taller player in the challenge. Niels van Quaquebeke and Steffen Giessner, German scientists at Erasmus University's Rotterdam School of Management, have reached the conclusion after studying 123,844 fouls from seven Champions League and German Bundesliga campaigns along with the last three World Cups." Not news to Peter Crouch or Jan Koller, I'll bet.

2053: Gilt-edged doesn't even begin to describe that. Ashley Young's cross from the Villa right is deflected to the far post where Stewart Downing, two yards out, has to score. He nods wide.

2052: Gael Clichy crosses from the Arsenal left and Brad Friedel spills the ball in front of Cesc Fabregas, but Richard Dunne reacts quickly enough to hammer it away before the Spaniard can shoot goalwards.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester City will be well satisfied with their first half's work - indeed Carlos Tevez has wasted the best chance of the game in front of an anxious Stretford End. Manchester United have had plenty of possession but no real signs of the siege that so many expected. Good discipline from City and Sir Alex Ferguson may need to consider reinforcements up front."

2048: Half-time Blackburn 1-0 Wigan

2048: Back under way at Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal.

Half time
2048: Half-time Manchester United 0-0 Manchester City (agg: 1-2) So 45 minutes to score or United are out of the Carling Cup. City have given them plenty to think about, but how long will Fergie wait before sending on a partner for Wayne Rooney?

2048: Back under way at Chelsea 2-0 Birmingham.

2047: Half-time Everton 2-0 Sunderland

From RyanEmery on Twitter: "It's a shame that both City and United have both gone one up front. Rooney and Tevez both look isolated, needs a goal this one."

2043: Quite a nice stat in from our friends at Infostrada Sports: The omens are not good for Birmingham. Chelsea have won all of their Premier League matches in the past eight years in which they held a 2-0 half-time lead. The last time they dropped points from this position at the break was in a 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough in September 2001.

2041: Into the last five minutes of the first half at Old Trafford and United are doing most of the pressing. But City have shut up shop well - classic Italian manager behaviour.

From Rachel Tyrrell, Lincoln, via text on 81111: "Dear God, please can you make Shay Given an Englishman? Amen."

2038: Well we've seen that a few times before. Paul Scholes clatters into the back of Shaun Wright-Phillips and is booked. Shame, because Scholes has been terrific so far.

From famouscrocadog on 606: "Get another striker on Fergie!"

2036: Football League Danny: "Quick half-time round-up for you. It's Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace thanks to Shaun Derry's own goal. Scunthorpe lead Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 after their early goal, and Burton lead Lincoln by the same score thanks to their early goal."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester City are visibly growing in confidence and Carlos Tevez should have scored with the header set up for him by Craig Bellamy. Manchester United need to get numbers forward to support Wayne Rooney. He can't do it all on his own - well he can actually."

2033: Chance. Darren Fletcher's muddled lay-off on the edge of the Man City box falls perfectly for the left foot of Ryan Giggs and the Welshman's skimming shot is well saved by Shay Given.

2032: Half-time Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal

2031: Half-time Chelsea 2-0 Birmingham

Someone has struck the woodwork
2031: Cesc Fabregas scuttles past James Collins and Stiliyan Petrov and hammers a low right-foot shot against Brad Friedel's right-hand post with the keeper beaten.

2030: You know, we nearly had our moment again. City work the ball beautifully from the back and from right to left and get Craig Bellamy away down the left, his cross ends with a diving header from Carlos Tevez but Edwin van der Sar makes the save.

From RyanEmery on Twitter: "I can't stand Man City but I also can't stand the idea of Shay Given never winning anything. He deserves so much more."

2026: Freefalling Sunderland bring striker Kenwyne Jones on for Kieran Richardson, who appears to be limping slightly.

2025: We almost got our front page picture. Carlos Tevez runs at the heart of the United defence, getting past Jonny Evans way too easily and only being denied a shot from inside the box by a sliding Rio Ferdinand intervention.

2023: Rio Ferdinand catches Carlos Tevez in the face with his elbow as the two race for the ball. Tevez goes down, much to the Old Trafford faithful's disgust, but referee Howard Webb sees nothing wrong with the incident. Moments later, Craig Bellamy heads into the hands of Edwin van der Sar as City start to gain a foothold in the game.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Rovers goal: Screamer. Morten Gamst Pedersen opens the scoring for Blackburn against Wigan with a stunning left-foot shot from outside the area into the top-right hand corner. His job was made a lot easier with goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic horribly out of position again, though.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Everton goal: Those poor Black Cats. Tim Cahill gets up highest again to win a header and flick it on to Landon Donovan, who keeps his cool to lash left-footed past Craig Gordon.

2020: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Wigan

2020: GOAL Everton 2-0 Sunderland

2019: Thomas Vermaelen limps off for Arsenal and a certain Sol Campbell comes on for the Gunners.

2018: It's all Villa in the Midlands, with Arsenal very much second best so far. An Ashley Young cross from the right to the far post is blazed miles over by Stewart Downing.

Chelsea goal: They are rampant at the moment, Carlo Ancelotti's side. Michael Ballack drifts in from the right and tees up Frank Lampard, who takes a touch and spanks a right-foot shot into the bottom right-hand corner of Joe Hart's net. Clinical.

2016: GOAL Chelsea 2-0 Birmingham

2014: A Darren Fletcher free-kick from the United left is half-cleared and Paul Scholes rifles in a typical right-footer from 25 yards that rises a couple of yards over Shay Given's crossbar.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Wayne Rooney is the big hope for Manchester United tonight and he has already signalled his intent with a wonderful piece of control followed by a shot on target. Manchester City need to ensure Paul Scholes is not given too much time and space in midfield. He has started spraying around those trademark long passes. Something is irritating Roberto Mancini - and that may be it."

2011: Football League Danny: "Not much joy flying around at Crystal Palace so far this week - and there seemingly isn't much luck either as Shaun Derry puts through his own net to put Newcastle 1-0 up at St James Park. Newcastle restore their three-point lead at the top with victory."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Chris Waddle: "Man City just cannot get out. Carlos Tevez is 30 or 40 yards away from the nearest City player - they've got to be brave, got to get further up the pitch."

2009: Ryan Giggs plays the ball over the top to Wayne Rooney and arguably the most in-form striker in the world cuts in from the left and fires in a shot that Shay Given gathers comfortably.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Everton goal: Sunderland just cannot defend at the moment, can they? A Marouane Fellaini floated cross in from the Everton left is headed on by Tim Cahill into the corner of the Black Cats' net.

2007: GOAL Everton 1-0 Sunderland

Someone has struck the woodwork
Someone has struck the woodwork
2006: Wigan's debutant goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic comes for a ball and doesn't get it, as Nikola Kalinic hits his shot against the post, while at Chelsea Ricardo Carvalho heads against a post.

2004: Stunning atmosphere at Old Trafford, but no chances early doors. They've won a corner each so far, and both have been cheered to the rafters.

2001: Under way at Old Trafford, Manchester.

2001: Under way at Everton and at Blackburn.

1959: Thomas Vermaelen brings down Emile Heskey right on the edge of the Arsenal box and after the Belgian is booked, Ashley Young curls the free-kick inches wide of Manuel Almunia's right-hand post.

1958: Cameron Jerome and Chucho Benitez link up at Chelsea and Jerome's shot from 20 yards cannons off his team-mate and flies just over Petr Cech's crossbar.

From Yvonne at Old Trafford, via text on 81111: "Can't wait for the game to start - Old Trafford buzzing, it's freezing here but who cares as long as we win?"

1954: First opening for Arsenal at a subdued Villa Park but Eduardo slices off target from Tomas Rosicky's lay-off, before Denilson's left-foot shot is turned behind by Brad Friedel.

1954: Manually refresh and you get Final Score at the top, commentaries on the right and an 'As it stands' Premier League table to boot.

1952: Football League Danny: "Goal frenzy. Gary Hooper has put Scunthorpe 1-0 up against fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday. It's not the quickest goal of the night though. Steve Kabba scored after just 54 seconds to make it Burton 1-0 Lincoln."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Chelsea goal: Stunningly simple, the hosts are ahead. Joe Cole marauds down the right and sees off Lee Bowyer for pace before getting to the byeline and dinking a lovely cross on to the head of Florent Malouda, the French winger having the easy task of nodding in.

1950: GOAL Chelsea 1-0 Birmingham

1949: Cracking save at Villa Park. Emile Heskey plays a pass in for Gabby Agbonlahor and he's inside the Arsenal area at an angle on the left - his low left-foot drive is drilled towards the far corner, but Manuel Almunia gets down wonderfully well to tip it away.

1947: First shot of the night - Stiliyan Petrov drags wide after bundling his way past a couple of Arsenal players from 22 yards.

1946: They are under way at Stamford Bridge and at Villa Park.

1945: Chelsea meet a Birmingham side slap bang in form after a club record 12 matches unbeaten in the league which has sent them up to eighth. But the hosts are unbeaten in six league games themselves and have scored 14 goals in three games in the absence of leading marksman Didier Drogba. In their last clash, Chelsea failed to score for the first time in 34 games in a goalless draw.

1944: When Arsenal prepared to host Villa exactly a month ago, the two teams were level on points in the Premier League. A stunning Cesc Fabregas cameo later, and everything changed. A win tonight for the Gunners would put them 15 points clear of Villa, who haven't scored in the league since 19 December.

1943: Small amendment to the Everton bench: Seamus Coleman replaces Shane Duffy.

1942: Manchester United v Manchester City line-ups:
Man Utd:
Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Jonathan Evans, Evra, Fletcher, Scholes, Carrick, Nani, Rooney, Giggs.
Subs: Kuszczak, Brown, Owen, Berbatov, Park, Vidic, Valencia.
Man City: Given, Richards, Kompany, Boyata, Garrido, De Jong, Barry, Zabaleta, Wright-Phillips, Tevez, Bellamy.
Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Ireland, Sylvinho, Petrov, Adebayor, Ibrahim.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

1939: Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti rings the changes for the visit of Birmingham following his side's FA Cup win over Preston, as Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Ricardo Carvalho, Joe Cole and Florent Malouda all return to the starting line-up. Birmingham, unbeaten in 15 games in all competitions, name an unchanged side for the 10th league match in a row.

1938: David Moyes resists the temptation to bring fit-again Mikel Arteta into the starting line-up after Everton's FA Cup defeat to Birmingham. The Spaniard remains on the bench, where he is joined by new signing Philippe Senderos. The only change to Moyes' line-up is the addition of Leon Osman, who replaces Dinar Bilyaletdinov. Steve Bruce's own influential midfielder, Lee Cattermole, makes a welcome return for Sunderland after another injury lay-off. Meanwhile, new signing Matthew Kilgallon makes his debut at the heart of a revamped back four. Kenwyne Jones drops to the bench with top scorer Darren Bent given a lone striker role.

1936: Uh-oh. Football League Danny: "Bit of team news from St James Park. Crystal Palace have named just three substitutes for the match against Championship leaders Newcastle. This is not the sign of a healthy club."

1934: Blackburn make three changes from the team that won their last league game. With Chris Samba suspended, Steven Reid on the subs bench and Benni McCarthy - on the brink of a move to West Ham - absent, Junior Hoilett, Morten Gamst Pedersen and El-Hadji Diouf all start. Wigan are almost identical to the side that won at Wolves, with the one change being Serbia's national goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic deputising for the injured Chris Kirkland.

From ray_likethefish on Twitter: "Good, no Gary Neville. I understand the 4-5-1 tactic even if it is negative. It's worked in the past against Chelsea & Arsenal."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "A taste of things to come as the name of Carlos Tevez is roundly jeered around Old Trafford when it is announced. The battle of the in-form strikers, Tevez and Wayne Rooney, will be pivotal to the outcome of this semi-final. Lots of words have been spoken - who can back up those words with actions? Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini have picked positive line-ups, so this game has all the makings."

1927: Chelsea v Birmingham line-ups:
Chelsea:
Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Carvalho, Ashley Cole, Ballack, Lampard, Deco, Malouda, Joe Cole, Anelka.
Subs: Turnbull, Zhirkov, Paulo Ferreira, Sturridge, Matic, Alex, Borini.
Birmingham: Hart, Carr, Roger Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Bowyer, Ferguson, McFadden, Jerome, Benitez.
Subs: Maik Taylor, Marcos Madera, Fahey, McSheffrey, Queudrue, Damien Johnson, Vignal.
Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent)

1925: Everton v Sunderland line-ups:
Everton:
Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Donovan, Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha.
Subs: Nash, Bilyaletdinov, Arteta, Vaughan, Senderos, Anichebe, Duffy.
Sunderland: Gordon, Mensah, Nosworthy, Kilgallon, McCartney, Henderson, Cattermole, Cana, Zenden, Richardson, Bent.
Subs: Fulop, Malbranque, Campbell, Jones, Meyler, Reid, Da Silva.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1923: Aston Villa make one alteration from the side that started against West Ham as Luke Young comes in for Stephen Warnock. Arsenal welcome back a number of first-team regulars who missed the FA Cup defeat by Stoke, while Nicklas Bendtner, Samir Nasri and Sol Campbell are among the substitutes.

1922: Blackburn v Wigan line-ups:
Blackburn:
Robinson, Chimbonda, Nelsen, Givet, Olsson, Emerton, Nzonzi, Hoilett, Pedersen, Diouf, Kalinic.
Subs: Brown, Roberts, Reid, Andrews, Di Santo, Salgado, Jones.
Wigan: Stojkovic, Melchiot, Caldwell, Bramble, Figueroa, Thomas, Diame, N'Zogbia, Scharner, McCarthy, Rodallega.
Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Amaya, Scotland, Gomez, Sinclair, Boyce.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

From Ben in Manchester, via text on 81111: "Has Sir Alex Ferguson turned into Gary Megson, playing one up front at home?"

1917: BBC Radio 5 live's Mike Ingham said a few minutes ago he thought the game at Old Trafford tonight could be the best thing that has ever happened to the League Cup. And he should know, having gone to a game in the competition's first ever season 50 years ago.

1915: Manchester United won't be thinking about the Premier League this evening, but they could find themselves falling from top spot to third by the end of the night, with both Arsenal and Chelsea in action. The Gunners go to Villa where they haven't lost for more than 11 years, while Chelsea face a Birmingham side that hasn't beaten them in any of their last 16 meetings.

1912: Aston Villa v Arsenal line-ups:
Aston Villa:
Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Luke Young, Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing, Agbonlahor, Heskey.
Subs: Guzan, Sidwell, Delfouneso, Davies, Delph, Shorey, Beye.
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Ramsey, Rosicky, Eduardo, Arshavin.
Subs: Fabianski, Nasri, Walcott, Traore, Campbell, Eastmond, Bendtner.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

1910: Man City team: Given, Richards, Kompany, Boyata, Garrido, Barry, De Jong, Zabaleta, Wright-Phillips, Bellamy, Tevez.

1910: Man Utd team: Van Der Sar, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Fletcher, Scholes, Nani, Giggs, Rooney.

1908: Rio Ferdinand does in fact start for Manchester United, but Kolo Toure does not play for Manchester City. Emmanuel Adebayor is on the bench for the visitors.

From henrywinter on Twitter: "Fergie's prog notes show he was going to leave Rio out tonight as "we will manage Rio's comeback v.carefully". FA sure to give Rio a rest."

From philmcnulty on Twitter: "So many Man Utd fans wearing the anti-Glazer green and yellow scarves around Old Trafford. Like an invasion of Norwich City supporters."

1900: Stevo's Predos:
Man Utd 4-2 Man City (aet)
Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal
Blackburn 2-1 Wigan
Chelsea 2-0 Birmingham
Everton 3-1 Sunderland
Lawro's Premier League predictions

1857: I wonder if Roberto Mancini is right, or if he's just stringing us along? I mean, can Carlos Tevez and Gary Neville really be good friends after their playground spat last week? Will Carlitos be invited to Gary's new flower house for a bit of playful argie-bargy? (See what I've done there?) We just don't know.

1854: According to my friend Optajoe on Twitter, the last seven Carling Cup semi-final second leg games have produced a total of 36 goals - at an astonishing average of 5.1 per game. Which might go some way towards explaining the predo coming up at 1900 GMT.

From keeaannoo on 606: "Stevo, I'm really nervous about tonight's match. I've put £10 on United to win 3-1. This tie has been the most anticipated in the history of the Carling Cup, even more than all the past finals."

1849: A couple of things to clarify, folks. Firstly, there will be extra-time if the scores are level at the end of 90 minutes, but away goals will count after extra-time. So the only way we can get penalties is if Man Utd win 2-1. Also, Match of the Day is on BBC One and online at 2255 GMT with highlights of the Carling Cup and this week's Premier League. As an added bonus, highlights from Old Trafford will also be available on iPlayer, but the Prem games won't as per usual.

1846: There are also a couple of lower league matches tonight. Here's Football League Danny to explain: "Big game tonight as Championship leaders Newcastle take on Crystal Palace. Palace are in administration, a move which will cost them 10 of your league points, so the home side are firm favourites. But should the Eagles beat the Magpies, Nottingham Forest will take top spot on goal difference. At the bottom, Scunthorpe host Sheffield Wednesday, with both teams desperate for points to claw themselves away from the bottom. And in League Two, it's Burton v Lincoln City."

From Nick in Bath, via text on 81111: "City are just as annoying as United this season, so I've no idea who I want to win. An epic shootout maybe? What a conundrum!"

1842: Unless you're in the vicinity of M16, clearly there's other stuff going on too tonight. Here's a little list for your delectation:
1945 GMT: Aston Villa v Arsenal
1945 GMT: Chelsea v Birmingham
2000 GMT: Blackburn v Wigan
2000 GMT: Everton v Sunderland

1837: Yeah it's an early start, because I bet I'm not the only one ludicrously excited about what we're going to witness this evening. Don't make me ask you again: if we're not mates on Twitter, sort it out; get texting to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide); and banter with your fellow footy fans on 606 too.

1834: Welcome to our coverage of the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford. Kick-off is 2000 GMT, and a Wembley meeting with Aston Villa is one of the many prizes on offer.

1830: And into the red-hot cauldron of Old Trafford did the Argentine warrior stride. Battered and bruised, his street cunning had gained his men a crucial advantage during the prior battle, but this was where the war would be won. The faint-hearted are not welcome here; this is destined to be a fight to the death between two most loathed enemies. Who will emerge victorious?



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Carling Cup results

27 Jan 2010 23:59 UK


Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 27 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 22 37 51
2 Man Utd 23 34 50
3 Arsenal 23 34 49
4 Tottenham 23 20 41
5 Liverpool 23 14 38
6 Man City 21 12 38
7 Aston Villa 22 11 37
8 Birmingham 22 -1 33
9 Everton 22 -2 29
10 Fulham 22 0 27
11 Blackburn 23 -15 27
12 Stoke 21 -7 25
13 Sunderland 22 -10 23
14 Wigan 21 -22 22
15 Bolton 21 -13 21
16 West Ham 22 -9 20
17 Wolves 22 -21 20
18 Burnley 22 -22 20
19 Hull 22 -26 19
20 Portsmouth 21 -14 15

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see also
Wednesday's football photos
27 Jan 10 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football


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