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Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Sunday, 31 January 2010

Live - Sunday football



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

1815: Right then, that's a wrap. I'm off to get some much needed shut-eye before I prepare to climb the monstrous 12-hour transfer deadline day live text mountain, starting at 0700 GMT. Hey, don't forget to watch Match of the Day 2 at 2200 GMT on BBC One and online and I'll see you bright and early in the morning. Take it easy.

From kinglofthouse on 606: "It doesn't matter who you support. If you are English just enjoy Wayne Rooney. I have watched this game for going on 60 years and this lad is up there with the VERY best. His goal today brings tears to the eyes if you love this game."

From Mrothers on Twitter: "See 1556 - how dare he question SAF!"
If any United fan ever questions him, they are a buffoon

1806: Got a question about football? Then why not ask BBC football commentator Jonathan Pearce and his guest Garth Crooks? I'd ask them this: what the hell was Gael Clichy doing when Man United scored their third goal today?

Manchester United winger Nani: "We had a lot of confidence and I think that was my best game in a Manchester United shirt, I scored one and got one assist and I'm so happy to help my team win. I don't know how to explain the trick for the first goal."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Arsenal jeered off at a sombre Emirates. What a painful, horrible lesson for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. On today's evidence they looked streets behind Manchester United, who gave a magnificent counter-attacking display. The scoreline does not do United's superiority any sort of justice. Wayne Rooney and Nani wonderful."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Lee Dixon: "You have to give United a lot of credit for snuffing Arsenal out in midfield and the way they hit them on the break. When you're playing the top teams and your Plan A isn't working you must change it, but the Gunners haven't got a Plan B."

Full time
1755: Full-time Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United
A stunning performance from the champions and the boos on the final whistle must be music to their ears. Back to the drawing board for the Gunners, in these make-or-break games at least.

1753: HE'S HUMAN - HE'S ACTUALLY HUMAN! United break for the millionth time and eventually Dimitar Berbatov tees up Wayne Rooney on the penalty spot, but the striker pulls his shot badly wide when it looked easier to score.

1752: United are trying to kill time. You cannot help but feel they have already killed Arsenal's Premier League title hopes.

1750: We've played about a minute of the five of stoppage time awarded. Arsene Wenger has his head in his hands in the Arsenal dugout. This will hurt the Frenchman so much.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1748: A ball into the United box is headed up in the air by Jonny Evans and it falls for William Gallas, who heads woefully wide from about five yards out. He promptly kicks the post in anger, the Frenchman - cue woodwork graphic.

1748: Manchester United bring on ex-Tottenham player Dimitar Berbatov for Nani. The Bulgarian does get booed.

From Dave, France, via text to +44 7786200666: "We have just spent the last 90 minutes completely undoing every scrap of good we did in the last two months since losing to Chelsea in November. I'm so gutted."

1745: Manchester United send on Luis Valencia for Ji-Sung Park with less than four minutes left. Arsenal 1-3 Man United.

1744: Thomas Vermaelen is leading a one-man assault on the Man United goal, but his header from a corner is cleared away by Patrice Evra.

1743: Manuel Almunia produces a woeful clearance, scuffing it straight to Nani 20 yards out. He surges in on goal but Thomas Vermaelen manages to get in a crucial touch to stop the shot coming in.

1741: Suddenly Arsenal have found a bit of fight and are throwing themselves into attack, but United manage to prevent a clear shot on goal and when they break Nani lashes wildly over the bar from 30 yards.

Arsenal goal: Told you it was dead. United switch off and Samir Nasri's cross from the left is only half-cleared, Thomas Vermaelen connecting well with a volley from 18 yards that takes a heavy deflection off Jonny Evans and creeps in.

1738: GOAL Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United

1738: This game's dead and the Arsenal supporters are flooding out of the Emirates.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Manchester United are threatening to slice Arsenal up on the break every time. Arsene Wenger can normally salvage something in defeat - even if it can fly in the face of logic - but not sure what he can say about this other than his team have been outclassed."

From Vicarageroad1 on 606: "Expect to see Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the starting line-up against Chelsea next week."

1733: Wayne Rooney attacks with pace and Emmanuel Eboue falls over, allowing him a run through on goal. The ablaze hitman cuts in and smashes a shot inches wide of Manuel Almunia's right-hand post.

1730: Manchester United bring on Ryan Giggs for Paul Scholes. The Arsenal fans can't even be bothered to boo. Arsenal bring on Emmanuel Eboue and Nicklas Bendtner for Tomas Rosicky and Bacary Sagna.

1729: The crowd are growing increasingly frustrated with Arsenal and Wayne Rooney is so close to playing Nani in for a fourth, only a stretching Gael Clichy denying the Portuguese a clear sight of goal.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Lee Dixon: "I reckon I could play in the Man United back four today, they just haven't been threatened in behind all afternoon. It's been far too easy."

1726: If Arsene Wenger is going to spend that money, he'll have to do it in the next 23-and-a-half hours. Don't forget to join us for transfer deadline day mayhem on Monday, starting at 0700 GMT.

From Andrew, via text to 81111: "Something tells me that Arsene Wenger may suddenly get the impulse to spend that £30m."

1722: We've got 27 minutes left at the Emirates. If you're just joining us, it's Arsenal 0-3 Manchester United.

From wonderboi711 on Twitter: "Liverpool fan, despise United and Rooney, but Rooney should be England captain. Pains to say, but he has all the qualities."

1719: Arsenal send on Theo Walcott for Denilson. The fans seem too shell-shocked to know how to respond.

1718: Alex Song takes the ball down inside the United box after Andrey Arshavin's overhead kick pass and fires a right-foot shot just wide of Edwin van der Sar's right-hand post.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Arsene Wenger looks furious about the ease with which Ji-Sung Park scored Manchester United's third - how about embarrassment Arsene? Park ran more than half the length of the field without any Arsenal player even attempting a tackle. Just like their beating at home to Chelsea, this is turning into a sobering afternoon for Wenger and his team. The Emirates is quiet. Very quiet."

1715: It was Gael Clichy that backed away, allowing Park to run in and score. I'm usually a fan of his but sorry, but that's among the worst defending I've ever seen. Another Cesc Fabregas shot from 20 yards is saved by Edwin van der Sar.

1712: Arsenal will have to take a long, hard look at themselves after this one. They have been systematically ripped apart on the break. Cesc Fabregas drives over from outside the United box.

United goal: I'm sorry, but that's pathetic. United move it beautifully on halfway and Michael Carrick lifts it over the top for Ji-Sung Park to run through. For some reason, the nearest Arsenal players seem to back off, allowing him the freedom to run through on goal and coolly slot past Manuel Almunia. Men against boys.

1710: GOAL Arsenal 0-3 Manchester United

1708: Wayne Rooney comes back on and promptly curls an audacious shot towards Manuel Almunia's top corner from an angle on the left, the Spaniard making a comfortable save.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC football correspondent Mike Ingham on 5 live: "You cannot have factions at the World Cup. There's no debate for me at the moment - I cannot see how John Terry can lead England."

1707: Someone in the office calls out "Wayne Rooney out of the World Cup". It's not quite that serious, but the United striker goes down after a challenge with Bacary Sagna and needs a fair bit of treatment on the pitch before being led off. He'll come back on, probably.

1706: Andy's big bro Jamie Murray is reading these updates from a hotel room in Zagreb. Hello Jamie! Still beating him in Gland Slam titles, then?

1704: Back under way at the Emirates.

From umaronline on Twitter: "As a neutral, that was one of the best halves of football I've seen for a long time. One man, Nani has run the show. Awesome."

From Anon, via text to 81111: "Who's that bloke on the right wing for United and what's he done with the real Nani?"

From BulletMonkey on 606: "Not a great day so far. Murray gets thumped, I find out a girl I've been courting has started seeing someone, one of my housemates nicks my sausage roll, Carter's losing the Welsh Open snooker final and now this. All I can say is United are playing excellently."

From optajoe on Twitter: "Nicolas Anelka was top scorer in the Premier League last season with 19 goals - Rooney has 20 already in 2009/10. Golden."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Lee Dixon: "United have flooded the midfield and hit them on the break - the gameplan is perfect so far. That second goal really is one to remember and Wayne Rooney was just brilliant in it."

Half time
1648: Half-time Arsenal 0-2 Manchester United
What an incredible period of play that was. Arsenal had looked the likelier to score, but they are going to have to produce the performance of the season to get anything from this. Two-horse race?

1647: Nice run forward from Alex Song and he's set up by a flick from Cesc Fabregas, but the Cameroon midfielder drags a left-foot shot wide from 12 yards.


BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Manchester United have just taken Arsenal to the cleaners in two moments of brilliance - and Nani has justified his selection with a blistering display, forcing Manuel Almunia to palm into his own net after a run Cristiano Ronaldo would have been been proud of and setting up a second for Wayne Rooney. Nani has been erratic so often, but this is end product par excellence. And Rooney sprinted from deep inside his own half to finish the second. Arsene Wenger is slumped back in his seat - and no wonder."

1641: Has to be 0-3. Wayne Rooney does brilliantly to persevere down the United left and eventually beats Alex Song to get a cross in. Paul Scholes keeps his cool to tee up Nani 12 yards out and he drills wide of Manuel Almunia's right-hand post. Should've scored. United are electric.

1641: See 1638 - I meant Champions League semi-final. I was over-excited.

1640: Wayne Rooney has just scored his 100th Premier League goal and Arsene Wenger looks like someone has just punched him in the stomach. Hard. Andrey Arshavin has a great chance 14 yards out, but fires wide. Mountain to climb.

United goal: Sometimes you have to just stand up an applaud. That is as magnificent a goal as you could wish to see. United break with alarming pace - it's like last season's Champions League semi-final all over again. Wayne Rooney starts it just outside his own box, feeds Nani and then the pair both sprint forward - they get to just outside the Arsenal box and Nani tees up Rooney to sweep a devastating blow past Manuel Almunia. What. A. Goal.

1638: GOAL Arsenal 0-2 Manchester United

1637: Arsenal take a quick corner and Cesc Fabregas hammers the ball across the face of goal from their left - Wes Brown gets a crucial touch at the far post.

1635: What a goal. That's the inspiration this game was waiting for - and another surprise selection from Sir Alex Ferguson is vindicated.

United goal: That is genius. Move over Ronaldo, there's a new wing king in town. Nani keeps the ball in down the right and beats two players with a majestic flick between his legs. He dummies his way past Denilson who cannot make a tackle in the area and lifts the ball to the back post, where Manuel Almunia can only tip it into his own net. Not great keeping, but stunning from the Portuguese.

1633: GOAL Arsenal 0-1 Manchester United

From Mark in Newmarket, via text to 81111: "Is there any question that Rooney and Fabregas are the best players in the Premier League by far?"
No. No there isn't.

1629: News just in: Manager Roberto Mancini has revealed some of Manchester City's players wore shirts bearing the words "Team Bridge" in support of team-mate Wayne Bridge during their Premier League win over Portsmouth.

1627: Cracking pass from Darren Fletcher into the Arsenal box for Paul Scholes, but William Gallas once again gets across sharpish to make the interception.

From DorsetTangerine on 606: "I hope Paul Scholes gets to 100 Prem goals today. I share his last name and I have worked out through family trees that I am slightly related to him!"

1624: William Gallas sets his sights 30 yards out, but the defender hits a defender's shot and it flies miles over Edwin van der Sar's crossbar.

1621: The other side of Andrey Arshavin. United give the ball away and Cesc Fabregas breaks with pace, shrugging off Paul Scholes and feeding the Russian, but he takes an air-shot almost - the ball falls at the feet of Fabregas again but he's going too quickly to control it and United clear the danger.

Yellow card
1618: Arsenal midfielder Alex Song is the first man in the book today for a foul on Nani, who needs a little bit of treatment. Arsene Wenger's not happy now. Are managers ever?

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is already in, shall we say, conversation with the fourth official as he claims there was a foul in the build-up to Andrey Arshavin's shot that curled just wide. Not happy at all. Chelsea's lead at the top means a draw would not suit either side and it's positive stuff from both sides. Now the linesman's getting it from Ferguson - fourth official required once more."

From CountFreddy on Twitter: "Arshavin easily has the beating of Brown here today - needs to run at him more."

1614: You little Russian genius. Andrey Arshavin takes the ball forward from halfway, taking Wes Brown with him and tormenting the defender, eventually twisting inside him in the United box and slotting a right-foot shot a couple of yards wide of the far post. Impudent.

1611: We've already had more quality football than we got at Eastlands. Ten minutes gone, still Arsenal 0-0 Man United.

1610: Not a great start for any of the full-backs - Andrey Arshavin spins Rafael easily and rampages forward down the Arsenal left, but Wes Brown eventually gets in a good challenge.

1608: Wow. Nani busts past Gael Clichy as if he isn't there with an electric burst of pace and he feeds it into the six-yard box once more, William Gallas missing this one and Alex Song having to shovel it out for a corner.

1607: Darren Fletcher fizzes over a cross from the United right and it's in the six-yard box mixer - William Gallas defends it brilliantly under pressure from Wayne Rooney and Arsenal get rid of the danger.

1606: After a good start from the hosts, United have bossed the last couple of minutes. It's a real pressure cooker for these players, with every mistake immediately cheered.

1604: Glorious ball over the top of Wes Brown from Cesc Fabregas to Andrey Arshavin, but after cutting in from the left, the Russian's quickly-taken shot drifts wide of the far post.

From Gallacticos87 on Twitter: "Don't think it's overstating to say this match hinges on Fabregas vs Fletcher. Creation vs destruction, a classic tussle."

1601: With 12 seconds on the clock, Jonny Evans has to be super alert to cut out a potentially incisive pass forward from Tomas Rosicky to Andrey Arshavin. Tasty.

1601: Arsenal v Man United kicks off at the Emirates.

1557: It's hard not to overstate the importance of these games, but the managers know how important they are and the fans do, too. On such occasions are titles won and lost. The players are out.

From George_The_Best on 606: "This is the kind of team I'd be moaning at Sir Alex for picking, Park and Nani are surprising additions. But time and time again Fergie proves us wrong. Here's hoping for a Nani goal and United win!"

Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "Nemanja Vidic had a setback in training so he's out. Cesc Fabregas is the main man for them and has been for a couple of years, I think he's their key player and he's matured a lot in the last couple of years. We need to win today, that'll be obvious when we set about it."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "We would like to be brilliant today. Normally with these games they are very good. We don't have special plans for Wayne Rooney - when you look at the teams there are many talented players on the pitch. It's important to be dominant in midfield."

1547: Manchester United pair Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes are both on 99 Premier League goals - and for some strange reason, I fancy Scholesy to bring his ton up first. Only 17 players have ever scored 100 in the Prem.

1545: Remember when Manchester United and Arsenal absolutely hated the mere sight of each other? Managers sticking the boot in at every given opportunity, the players - led heroically by the fearsome figures of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira - brawling on the pitch and in the tunnels; it was a rivalry to rival any other. Maybe it's because Arsenal haven't won anything for so long, but it has definitely cooled in recent years. Or it had, until Arsene Wenger accused United of 'anti-football' in August. Let battle recommence.

From Mark in London, via text to 81111: "It is depressing that this game will be meaningless for a Liverpool fan. Is it wrong to wish for another Keown/Nistlerooy moment?"

1538: I doubt any of you have an opinion to offer on proceedings from the Emirates, but if you do, text it to 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), hit me on Twitter or get in the 606 mixer. Happy days.

From emmetmcevoy on Twitter: "Nerves, nerves, nerves! Why do I put myself through this, Stevo? Please Arsenal, don't let me down..."

1533: Less than half an hour to go until the biggest game of the day kicks off. It's about to get absolutely medieval. But enough about the Africa Cup of Nations final between Ghana and Egypt - they're not far off getting under way at the Emirates, either.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen is fit so no renewed battle between Sol Campbell and Wayne Rooney. Ji-Sung Park is a player Sir Alex Ferguson trusts when Manchester United play Arsenal so he's back. Well-earned rest for Ryan Giggs, but Nani ahead of Antonio Valencia?"

Full time
1527: Full-time Manchester City 2-0 Portsmouth
Over and out. City move up to sixth - they are now one point off Spurs in fourth with two games in hand over their Champions League berth rivals. Pompey remain rooted.

1525: Needs to finish doesn't it, this one? Terrible game of football. It's about as interesting as yet another transfer story involving Marouane Chamakh. Yawn.

1523: Into injury time at Eastlands as the Pompey fans sing perhaps their last song of the day. We'll have about four minutes and then we're done in the north-west.

1520: Another chance for Pompey, but Mark Wilson's shot from a corner hits Frederic Piquionne and falls kindly into the arms of City keeper Shay Given. Oh Pompey, they just cannot get anything right. Been here before myself (1993, 1997, 1999...)

1517: Quincy Owusu-Abeyie comes on for his Portsmouth debut, replacing Hayden Mullins. It matters little.

1516: Arsenal v Man United line-ups:
Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Fabregas, Song Billong, Denilson, Nasri, Arshavin, Rosicky.
Subs: Fabianski, Walcott, Ramsey, Silvestre, Eboue, Traore, Bendtner.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Jonathan Evans, Brown, Evra, Scholes, Carrick, Fletcher, Nani, Rooney, Park.
Subs: Kuszczak, Owen, Berbatov, Giggs, Valencia, Gibson, De Laet.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

1514: Craig Bellamy fires over an inswinging corner from the City left and Gareth Barry rises, with no Pompey player anywhere near him, to glance a header off target.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1512: Nearly 3-0. Craig Bellamy does really well down the City left and he finds Carlos Tevez in the Pompey box - the Argentine brilliantly dummies past two defenders before side-footing against the foot of David James' right-hand post.

From TeleKemis on 606: "Deadline Day may not have massive spending, but I expect Spurs to be active and the continued sell-off at Portsmouth will be entertaining viewing. I have stocked up and am ready to go for tomorrow. ARE YOU?"

1509: Team news: Thomas Vermaelen starts for Arsenal - Sol Campbell is not even on the bench for the Gunners. Alex Song and Samir Nasri are back in too. Man Utd bring in Park for Ryan Giggs and Wes Brown for Rio Ferdinand, so no Nemanja Vidic either.

1506: Martin Petrov walked off laughing. "Not happy," says Lawro on BBC Radio 5 live. Shall we start another transfer deadline day rumour, then? Petrov to Spurs: on.

1505: Manchester City send on Craig Bellamy for Martin Petrov. There are 17 minutes left and it's City 2-0 Portsmouth.

1504: Pompey are having more of the ball and they are trying to knock it around and fashion an opening, but it's like watching slow-motion football. Just a bit too deliberate.

1501: Less than an hour until Arsenal v Man Utd. Get in.

1459: If ever a second summed up a season, that's it. Angelos Basinas volleys goalwards from 25 yards and it dips awkwardly in front of Shay Given, who makes the save but directs the ball into the path of Danny Webber. If the striker can adjust his feet it's a goal - but he can't, kicking it with his left foot against his right foot and falling over as it trickled out of play for a goalkick. Oh dear.

From John, Northants, via text to 81111: "Which -ation will come first for Pompey - administration, relegation, liquidation or salvation? The first will lead to the second which will probably herald the third. The fourth? Are there still some white knights out there?"

1457: Two things to remind you of: Arsenal v Man Utd kicks off at 1600 GMT, so line-ups and team news coming up shortly. Also, don't forget Monday is transfer deadline day and we've got a live text from 0700 GMT to 1900 GMT. Join me for that. Please.

1455: Nigel de Jong has been booked for going in a little naughtily on Hayden Mullins, but there's nothing else to report from Eastlands. It's just a bad game of football.

1452: They're falling apart, these players. Vincent Kompany is the latest to hobble off and Dedryck Boyata comes on for Man City, who lead Pompey 2-0.

From timbotouch on Twitter: "So Victor Moses moves to Wigan, after all the interest from Arsenal to Real Madrid. Gotta love the papers..."

1448: Euro 2004 legend Angelos Basinas curls a shot tamely wide from just outside the area. Up in the stands, Roque Santa Cruz contentedly sits with a cuppa, taking in the action. Nice life.

1446: A corner into the City box misses Tal Ben Haim and appears to hit the hand of Kolo Toure. Would be harsh, but not given. Moments later Pompey play some lovely one-touch football before Jamie O'Hara drags his left-foot shot wide from the edge of the box.

From Sakaria2 on 606: "Re 1358: This is the type of game where Robinho would be effective, but I still think he can't handle the Premier League."

1442: The speedy John Utaka does Kolo Toure for pace down the Pompey left and races into the area, but Toure does superbly well to get back and make a fine lunging tackle. City clear the corner with minimum fuss.

1439: How embarrassingly remiss of me: Man City were forced to make a change before the break like their opponents, as Pablo Zabaleta was forced off through injury and Nedum Onuoha replaced him.

1438: We're back under way at Eastlands, and Portsmouth need a miracle both on and off the pitch at the moment.

1435: Lee Dixon was talking about Arsenal v Manchester United there, I should have pointed out. There are pictures on the telly of the teams arriving at the Emirates. Oooh isn't it exciting?

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Lee Dixon: "It's obviously a huge game, it always is, and regardless of how you finished the previous season it's the first one you look out for. It's a fiery affair and it's hyped up by people like us. It's a nice feeling as a player to be involved."

1429: If Manchester City avoid defeat today, and that looks pretty likely now, it will be their longest unbeaten home league run in the top flight (14) since an 18-match streak ended in September 1981.

From David, Birmingham, via text to 81111: "Watching the game on the telly, sounds like there is no atmosphere. Have the City fans turned up expecting a rout? It's like a training game."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Lawrenson: "It was such a strange half, that. It feels almost dead around here and for 95% of that half it didn't look for a second like City were capable of scoring. But one ball over the top and one corner and we're sat here amazed that they are 2-0 up. Pompey deserve to be ahead and will feel they should be."

Half time
1421: Half-time Manchester City 2-0 Portsmouth
You'll be hard pushed to find anyone who thinks City deserve to be 2-0 in front, but you rarely get what you deserve in this game. Pompey have a mountain to climb.

Man City goal: That is right out of the 'How to head a football' textbook, that one. Martin Petrov whips over another corner from the City left and Vincent Kompany wins his personal duel with Tal Ben Haim to thump a header into the roof of the net past a stranded David James. Oh Pompey.

1418: GOAL Manchester City 2-0 Portsmouth

1417: I maintain that Pompey have been the better side so far, but they just cannot catch a break. Angelos Basinas is booked for a late tackle on Vincent Kompany.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Lawrenson: "I don't think Emmanuel Adebayor has had too many touches this afternoon, but the first one and the second one just there were very, very good indeed."

Man City goal: Offside offside offside. But that's what happens when you're bottom of the league. Stephen Ireland clips a ball over the top, the Pompey defence goes missing, Emmanuel Adebayor takes a touch, runs through and hammers a fabulous right-foot shot into the roof of the net past David James. He was - just - offside, though. Did I mention that?

1412: GOAL Manchester City 1-0 Portsmouth

From KopOfTheLeague on 606: "Re Harry, Crewe: Nice idea but Hicks and Gillett won't even give Liverpool any money, so why would they give any to Portsmouth?"

Someone has struck the woodwork
1409: My word. Pompey break down their right and John Utaka plays a Guti-esque (You Tube it from last night - genius) back-heel into the path of Anthony Vanden Borre, who sees his right-foot shot hit first Vincent Kompany and then the underside of the bar. Stephen Ireland does really well to stop Danny Webber tapping in the rebound and City survive. Just.

1406: Vincent Kompany sends a ball over the the left flank, where Javier Garrido heads it out of play. That sums up this horrible, horrible game of football.

From Harry, Crewe, via text to 81111: "It would be a really nice gesture if every other Premier League team banded together to help save Portsmouth. It would be one of those moments that defines footballing history if it happened..."

1403: Chance. Martin Petrov swings over a corner from the City right and Vincent Kompany gets up in a crowded six-yard box to head wide.

1400: Another blow for Pompey as their skipper Hermann Hreidarsson trudges off having picked up an early injury, with Steve Finnan replacing the Icelander.

1358: City need some inspiration. Where's Robinho?

1357: Martin Petrov tries (unsuccessfully) to get things moving by hitting a free-kick against the wall and then hammering in a left-footer from 30 yards that sails wide of David James' left-hand post.

1355: OK I won't lie to you: it's the football equivalent of spam is this. But City have scored in their last 20 league games at Eastlands and if they bag today, it'll be their longest scoring streak since 1958.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Lawrenson: "I'm not sure about the pink outfit from David James and I'm not talking about from a fashion point of view. But for strikers, there's no doubt about exactly where he is so either side and it's a goal. He's just a bit too obvious, I think. Mind you, would help if City had a shot."

1349: More nice play from Pompey as Jamie O'Hara plays a cracking give-and-go with John Utaka down their left, but after his cross drifts over the head of Danny Webber, there isn't another Portsmouth player anywhere near.

From Thorney88 on Twitter: "The odds are stacked so heavily in favour of Man City that Portsmouth are bound to get a result."

1346: Gareth Barry does really well to keep possession for City in the centre-circle and plays a neat little pass in for Stephen Ireland, who hits a 20-yard shot that takes a wicked deflection and loops over David James and wide.

1344: It's a remarkably subdued start from Man City thus far, they just haven't got going at all. Next update a City goal, then...

From Tony in Warrington, via text to 81111: "Re SPOTY - the spud-faced genius will be a shoo-in if his current form continues up to and throughout the World Cup. Not impossible, either."

1341: Pompey play a corner to Jamie O'Hara and he's inside the City area at an angle on the left - he smashes in a left-foot shot that Shay Given saves low down. The visitors are by far the better team so far.

1339: Here's Danny the Stat, to give him his former appellation once more: "Re: 1335 - Just in case there weren't enough bad omens for Pompey there, our friends at Infostrada Sports tell us that Portsmouth have never won a Premier League match in Manchester, losing 10 and drawing two of 12 away matches against City and United - including defeats in each of the last five."

1337: Nearly a shock opening for the hosts. A cross from the Pompey right is fumbled by the usually reliable Shay Given and it falls for John Utaka six yards out, only for the alleged £80,000-a-week striker, leaning back, to slice his shot horribly over.

1335: It's all bad news I'm afraid, Pompey fans. Portsmouth have not won in their last 15 league visits to Manchester City, dating back to August 1963. Oh, and City are unbeaten in their last 13 home league matches. Uh-oh.

1333: Under way in the hors d'œuvre of the day.

From TheTomTyke on 606: "I'm looking forward to the days when every Premier League club is owned by a rich Arab, then they can move to Dubai and we can have the Championship (which is actually interesting) as our flagship league."

1329: The teams are out at Eastlands, we're moments away from kick-off as Manchester City prepare to take on Portsmouth.

1325: I see that Sports Personality of the Year is still up for grabs, then. Anyone fancy a cheeky little punt on Wayne Rooney? Eight years after he scooped the YSPOTY gong, can the on-fire United striker reap the big one? A hat-trick at the Emirates might help his cause.

Portsmouth boss Avram Grant: "To be honest it's been difficult from the first day since I was here. But the issue is not me, it's a city with a team and it means everything to them and that's the issue. The team has progressed recently and we wanted to continue, but again... problems. I'm very disappointed to lose Younes Kaboul to Spurs. We needed him."

From mildale07 on Twitter: "City should just give £200million-ish to Pompey, they won't miss it, they'd just waste it anyway."

1315: Manchester City have Emmanuel Adebayor back to start a game for Roberto Mancini for the first time. Depleted Portsmouth - only able to name six substitutes in their last match against West Ham - are at least able to name a full bench of seven thanks to the the loan signing of Quincy Owusu-Abeyie.

From Mark, Enfield, via text to 81111: "Thanks for that Stevo. I really wanted all of our horrid problems summed up in the very first post... I'm going back to bed."

1307: You will get in touch, won't you? Be a love and text to 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), Tweet me up on, er, Twitter and crash the party on 606. Ah go on.

1303: Man City v Portsmouth line-ups:
Man City:
Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Garrido, De Jong, Ireland, Barry, Petrov, Tevez, Adebayor.
Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Wright-Phillips, Sylvinho, Bellamy, Boyata, Ibrahim.
Portsmouth: James, Vanden Borre, Ben-Haim, Wilson, Hreidarsson, Mullins, Basinas, O'Hara, Webber, Utaka, Boateng.
Subs: Ashdown, Piquionne, Finnan, Hughes, Owusu-Abeyie, Ritchie, Sowah.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1300: Stevo's Predos:
Man City 3-1 Portsmouth
Arsenal 1-1 Man Utd
Lawro's Premier League predictions

1257: Oh there's a late game in the Premier League too today, you know. Arsenal and Manchester United meet at the Emirates in a showdown of immense proportions. After Chelsea's win at Burnley on Saturday, defeat for either side could irreparably damage their title aspirations.

1254: Our first game today has been dubbed by Danny the Stat as 'the off-the-field polar opposites derby'. He's not wrong. It's Manchester City v Portsmouth and the chasm that exists between the two is Brobdingnagian (it was the biggest word I could find).

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Premier League results

31 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 31 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42
5 Liverpool 24 16 41
6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 21 -7 25
13 Sunderland 22 -10 23
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolves 23 -21 21
18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

see also
Football on the BBC
27 Jan 10 |  Football

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