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By Caroline Cheese
2204: Crikey, I could stick around all night and debate the merits of Michael Owen, I really could, but my colleagues want a cup of tea and apparently only I can make it. I've had a lovely time tonight, all thanks to you. Stevo returns tomorrow for a huge night, featuring Inter-Chelsea, CSKA-Sevilla and a host of FA Cup replays. Bye now.
2159: Oh, there are literally TENS of you who think Michael Owen should go to the World Cup, many of you making the point that a goal against Manchester City and a hat-trick against Wolfsburg may count as big games. He came off the bench against City and the game against Wolfsburg came after they'd already qualified for the knock-out stage. I just think that if Sir Alex Ferguson doesn't trust him to start in big games, then that probably says something...
2156: Big flakes of snow falling as the players head off to the warmth of the dressing room. Manchester United close the gap on Chelsea to one point, and take their goal difference to one better than Carlo Ancelotti's side. Chelsea have a game in hand though. West Ham stay 13th, four points above the drop zone.
2154: FULL-TIME Man Utd 3-0 West Ham
From Tants_88 on Twitter:
"I still think Owen has a chance to go to the World Cup! Are there many better players to come on as sub when we need a goal?" Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Bobby Zamora
2149: I have nothing against Michael Owen, but just because he comes off the bench for a few minutes and scores a goal - albeit a finely taken one - at home against a demoralised team, that does not mean he should be in the England squad. Get back to me when he's starting regularly and scoring in big games.
2147: Paul Scholes, he scores goa... no he doesn't. The little midfielder skips past a couple of tired challenges, but with the goal begging, he blazes over. Think the ball bobbled.
Football League Danny: "So Leicester beat Doncaster 1-0 to move fifth in the Championship. It finished Scunthorpe 1-1 Ipswich. The top two ended up winning in League One - Leeds comfortably, 2-0 over Oldham, leaders Norwich far less so, last-minute 2-1 victors over Southend. In League Two, Rochdale lost 3-1 at home to Bradford, while rivals Bournemouth beat Barnet 3-0 and Bury were held 0-0 by Morecambe."
BBC 5 live summariser Roberto Martinez: "I'm sure the headlines will go to Wayne Rooney, which is fair enough. But if you want to find a good defensive display, you don't have to look much further than Nemanja Vidic. He's the main reason West Ham have been frustrated in the last third."
2144: That looks like a decent chance, Matt Upson blazing over from a few yards out after a corner is headed back in.
Man Utd goal: That'll do it. Mark Noble is injured in a challenge with Patrice Evra on the left, but play continues. Paul Scholes threads a pass through for Michael Owen to clip the finish with his right foot inside the far post. West Ham complain, but to no avail.
2141: GOALFLASH Man Utd 3-0 West Ham
Football League Danny: "What League One drama! Norwich pile forward looking for a winner at home to Southend. Four corners in a row. And the final one sees Oli Johnson connect and score what is surely a winner. League leaders Norwich 2-1 Southend and the bulk of the 24,824 crowd go crackers mccrazy."
2139: Huge roar of approval at Old Trafford as Wayne Rooney comes off, along with Dimitar Berbatov. Mame Biram Diouf and Michael Owen come on.
2138: FULL-TIME Olympiakos 0-1 Bordeaux
2137: Dimitar Berbatov, who has been quietly quite good tonight, looks to skip through the Hammers' defence, and is halted by Julien Faubert. Yellow.
2136: Hello? Who's this? It's only Kieron Dyer. Remember? Alessandro Diamante is the man to come off for West Ham.
2136: FULL-TIME Stuttgart 1-1 Barcelona
2132: Into injury time at Stuttgart where it's still 1-1, but the hosts have a free-kick on the left-hand edge of the box. Substitute Zdravko Kuzmanovic bends it straight into the arms of Victor Valdes.
2131: Mick McCarthy (see above 1928) is actually watching the game at Old Trafford, where it is now snowing. Any accusations of devaluing the Premier League by fielding a weakened team are pretty much nullified if you win, I think.
Football League Danny: "Swindon 4-1 up on Stockport thanks to Billy Paynter's goal and are cementing their place in the League One play-offs. That's a nightmare for Charlton, who are now 2-0 down at home to Brighton. Twelve minutes left there. In League Two, Rochdale have slipped 2-1 behind at home to Bradford, and not necessarily living up to my tag of 'unstoppable football machine' (see 1945) to be fair."
2126: Matt Upson's headed clearance from inside his own area goes straight to a Man United player and Paul Scholes has a shooting chance, but Rob Green dives low to his left to save Upson's blushes.
From Simply10United on 606:
"Someone give this guy Valencia credit. May not score as many as Ronaldo, but assists as many if not more."
2124: West Ham bring Jack Collison on for Valon Behrami.
Football League Danny adds: "Big news at the top of League One. Norwich 1-1 Southend. Oli Johnson with the equaliser for the Canaries."
Football League Danny: "Potentially valuable equaliser for Ipswich thanks to David Healy - Scunthorpe 1-1 Ipswich. Fans of teams scoring four goals will enjoy these scores - Hartlepool 4-1 Carlisle in League One and Port Vale 4-0 Lincoln in League Two. That marks an improvement for Lincoln, remember, who were 3-0 down in 15 minutes."
2120: Wayne Rooney really on the rampage now... He chases a ball to the byeline, muscles Rob Green out of the way and from the tightest of angles, goes for goal. It's curling in, but Julien Faubert is on the line to clear.
From optajoe on Twitter:
"Wayne Rooney now has 8 headed goals in all competitions this season - double his tally from all previous campaigns combined."
Man Utd goal: And that's 19 goals in 19 games. Not bad. Antonio Valencia crosses brilliantly from the right and Wayne Rooney pulls away from the defender to head in from a few yards out.
2116: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-0 West Ham (Rooney)
Football League Danny: "Cliff Byrne heads home for Scunthorpe and they lead Ipswich 1-0. If that stays the same it moves Scunny up to 14th and leaves Ipswich in a bit of bother near the wrong end of the Championship."
2113: More bonkers behaviour from Jens Lehmann, the keeper flinging himself, with his foot high in the air, in front of Carles Puyol for no apparent reason. Lehmann gives the Barca skipper a friendly (I think) pat on the shoulder as he runs back to take the goal-kick.
2110: Good old Jens Lehmann. The veteran keeper comes for a cross but is nowhere near. Zlatan Ibrahimovic's shot on the turn is blocked on the line by Cristian Molinaro's arm - but no penalty.
Football League Danny: "And relax, Leeds fans. They're now 2-0 up on Oldham. Neil Harris has put Millwall 2-1 up at MK Dons and League Two high-fliers Bournemouth are 2-0 up on Barnet thanks to quickfire goals from Steve Fletcher and Brett Pitman."
2107: Manchester United on the attack straight away and SO close to a 2-0 lead. Antonio Valencia crosses low from the right and Ji-Sung Park's right-foot shot pings off the bar. The Korean has a half-shout for a penalty in the aftermath, but Alan Wiley is unconvinced.
2106: Mido replaces Guillermo Franco for West Ham as the second half gets under way at Old Trafford.
2105: Big chance for Stuttgart to retake the lead against Barcelona... but Sami Khedira drags his shot wide of Victor Valdes's left-hand post.
Football League Danny (again): "(See 2056) Big relief for Leeds. Luciano Becchio has just put them 1-0 up against Oldham. Suddenly - with Norwich still currently losing - it's looking like a good night for the home fans at Elland Road."
Football League Danny: "Tense times in the League One play-off mixer. Swindon (5th), Huddersfield (6th) and Millwall (7th) are all winning. Charlton (4th) are losing and Leeds (2nd) are currently 0-0 at home with Oldham. Tremble..."
2056: Just after the goal - which came very much against the run of play - Thierry Henry came on to replace Yaya Toure.
Barcelona goal: Unbelievable. Just as I've finished writing the old 'Zlatan hasn't scored in the Champions League knock-out stages', he goes and bags one. Thank goodness for the delete button. The Swedish enigma chests the ball on to Gerard Pique, who heads it back for Ibrahimovic. Jens Lehmann makes a brilliant save from his first effort, but the ball comes straight back to him and he can't miss.
2053: GOALFLASH Stuttgart 1-1 Barcelona (Ibrahimovic)
2050: And I believe they're back up and running at Olympiakos, where Bordeaux lead 1-0.
2049: HALF-TIME Man Utd 1-0 West Ham
2047: Ciani's victorious head... I could not have put that better myself. They've kicked off again at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium where Barcelona trail Stuttgart 1-0.
From James in Hertford, via text: "Re 2034: The Bordeaux website says Gourcuff placed a free-kick on Ciani's victorious head. Was supposed to be at the game but live text is my limit thanks to work."
2043: Oooooooooooh. With his back to goal, Wayne Rooney flicks the ball up, turns and smashes a dipping volley an inch over the bar and onto the roof of the net. That would have been special.
From nearlytwentyletters on 606:
"Re 2034: Well it was a magnificent 45 pass move, with every player fitting in at least one freestyle trick, Gourcuff providing a small chip for Ciani to hit a backheeled 35 yard volley into the top corner. Bet you wished you'd seen it now, eh?"
Man Utd goal: An absolute peach of a goal. Ji-Sung Park passes to Dimitar Berbatov, who floats a lovely first-time pass out to Antonio Valencia on the right. Valencia spots Wayne Rooney unmarked at the far post and volleys the cross for the England striker to head in his 26th goal of the season, 22nd in the league.
2039: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 West Ham (Rooney)
Football League Danny: "Hmmm. Here's a scoreline for you. Norwich 0-1 Southend. Scott Vernon with the close-range strike. Norwich maybe just having a wobble after a blistering run of form? Meanwhile, at the top of League Two, Rochdale have levelled to make it 1-1 with Bradford thanks to Chris Dagnall's low shot. It's their 64th league goal of the season."
Bordeaux goal: Michael Ciani gives the French Ligue Un leaders the lead with a goal which came in the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half. That's all I know. Anyone out there want to put some flesh on the goal bones?
2035: Just before I tell you about a goal I haven't seen, I'll tell you Rob Green has made an excellent save from Darron Gibson, tipping the midfielder's measured effort around the post.
2034: GOALFLASH Olympiakos 0-1 Bordeaux (Ciani)
2033: Darron Gibson shoots straight at Rob Green. Decent move by United though. Shortly after, Gary Neville is a touch lucky to get away with a cynical trip on Alessandro Diamante.
2031: HALF-TIME Stuttgart 1-0 Barcelona
From Always_a_Gunner on 606:
"All this dominance from Stuttgart will all be for naught if Barca equalise. Saw it happen to Milan v United and have seen Arsenal waste numerous chances and then pay for it game after game."
Football League Danny: "Are the wheels falling off for Charlton? The Addicks are slipping away from the top two and find themselves 1-0 down at home to Brighton thanks to Inigo Calderon's drive. Meanwhile, fans of veteran strikers now successfully plying their trade in League Two might like to hear of Barry Hayles' opener for Cheltenham against Torquay. That's 1-0."
2026: It's all about the keepers at the moment. Antonio Valencia turns onto his left foot and sees his shot beaten away by Rob Green. The ball comes back in whereupon Green keeps out Dimitar Berbatov's flick with his feet. THERE'S A LITTLE MOUSE! It's literally the smallest living thing I have ever seen. It's probably going to get crushed quite soon... sorry about that, folks. Life hurts.
2024: Lionel Messi shoots from 20 yards, Jens Lehmann gets a hand to it but the ball loops over and bounces onto the post. All go at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
2022: Yikes. Almost a calamity from Ben Foster. Alessandro Diamante's cross loops off Gary Neville and Foster flaps at it, sees the ball bounce right on the line before gratefully catching it.
2019: The unfortunate Anderson is replaced by Ji-Sung Park. James Tomkins makes a superbly-timed challenge on Wayne Rooney, and the Hammers are on the counter, Valon Behrami sending a shot just past the far post. Carlton Cole wasn't far away from applying the final touch, but didn't seem to anticipate it.
From Goose, Grantham, via text: "Lincoln fan here. I put a cheeky bet on Port Vale to be winning at half time, Lincoln at full time. Think I've got the first half covered..."
2017: Victor Valdes saves a cleverly-struck shot by Cacau. Stuttgart are all over the defending champions, and Barca are doing extremely well to keep this at 1-0.
2016: Anderson is down again, and he's indicating to the bench that he can't carry on.
2013: BIG shout for a penalty at the Mercedes-Benz Arena where Pavel Pogrebnyak's cross definitely hits Gerard Pique's arm. The defender has his arm by his side though, so don't think you could call that deliberate.
2012: In that last United move, Anderson twisted his knee awkwardly. He's carrying on for now, but it would be a massive blow for him if he had to come off. Only today, the Brazilian expressed his concern about his lack of playing time at Old Trafford, with his World Cup hopes disappearing fast.
Stuttgart goal: Underdogs rule OK. Timo Gebhart crosses deep from the right and Cacau meets it at the far post with a firm header. A deserved goal on the balance of play so far.
2009: GOALFLASH Stuttgart 1-0 Barcelona (Cacau)
2007: Nice move from United... Anderson on the left into Dimitar Berbatov, on to Wayne Rooney, who sets up Antonio Valencia. First touch excellent, second touch non-existent as he performs an embarrassing air-shot.
From Manda via text: "Ben Foster fan here (perhaps the only one left) so here's hoping he has a solid game for us!"
2004: Lionel Messi bursts into life for a so far subdued Barca, dribbling past two defenders and seeing his shot from the edge of the area blocked by Serdar Tasci.
Football League Danny: "Martyn Waghorn puts Leicester 1-0 up at Doncaster. The Foxes go fifth tonight with a win. And it's now Port Vale 3-0 Lincoln, Craig Davies with the third. At this rate, Vale will win 18-0."
2001: Almost immediately, Darron Gibson whips a cross in from the right and Rob Green comes out to collect, taking an accidental boot in the chest from Dimitar Berbatov for his troubles. The West Ham keeper's OK though.
2001: West Ham, in their changed blue strip, get us up and running at Old Trafford.
Football League Danny: "Bradford have taken the lead at Spotland thanks to Matthew Clarke, and they lead leaders Rochdale 1-0. Dale have actually lost three times at home in League Two this season - but they've also won 11 times and have a goal difference of +36, so they'll be hopeful of a comeback."
1957: Generous defending by Barca there as Cristian Molinaro trots down the left and then finds Cacau in all sorts of space in the box. The Brazilian flicks the ball up and turns, but can't connect with the shot properly, and the visitors can clear.
From weecrickey on Twitter:
"United's tinkered team aside... the biggest shock is that Scott Parker is missing for West Ham, he's been instrumental lately."
Football League Danny: "'Come on lads - let's keep it tight' - that's probably what Lincoln boss Chris Sutton said as the Imps got ready to take on Port Vale. Twenty seconds in - Ian Pearce own goal, 1-0 down. Two minutes more, Robert Taylor scores. Port Vale 2-0 Lincoln. Ooops."
1950: Fairly open start at Stuttgart, where the home side have been very quick into their tackles. We have no pictures from Olympiakos unfortunately. We'll work on that...
1945: Off they go at the Mercedes-Benz Arena (other fancy cars are available), and the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium (other Greek military heroes are available).
Football League Danny: "Doncaster v Leicester and Scunthorpe v Ipswich is your Championship fare this evening. In League One leaders Norwich host Southend, Leeds host Oldham and Charlton are at home to Brighton. In League Two, unstoppable football machine Rochdale take on Bradford, with Bury and Bournemouth at home to Morecambe and Barnet respectively. Oh, and if you've not heard, tonight's games at Colchester, Exeter, Accrington and Darlington are off because of awful, horrid weather."
1943: Olympiakos are playing their 200th match in Europe. In their 199 previous matches, they have conceded 299 goals. Well, I thought it was interesting anyway. Girondins Bordeaux are making their Champions-League-knock-out-stage debut tonight. Felicitations!
1940: And here's Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola (although I reckon the bit where he says 'Arsenal are almost out' must have been mis-translated'): "We're playing a German team with German qualities. Given the way I know my players, I don't need to worry about them taking Stuttgart too lightly. It's a round of 16 match: Arsenal are almost out, Real are having problems with Lyon and Manchester [United] and Bayern are not in for an easy ride either."
1937: Anyway, Fergie's cheeky team selection means I haven't dedicated nearly enough words to the Champions League. Stuttgart's on-loan Barca winger Alex Hleb reckons the German side have a 10% chance of winning. Manager Christian Gross is a little more upbeat: "We have absolutely nothing to lose. We'll have to be very brave but very clever as well. That is the big difficulty here: the key will be a passionate but also a calm performance; everyone will be asked to put in a performance like he's never put in before."
From Mark in Fleetwood, via text: "Am I the only United fan who is OK with this selection? Foster is obviously showing something in training, and with a core of Vidic, Scholes and Rooney, we'll be fine."
From Andy in the Stretford End, via text: "I wonder what Mick McCarthy makes of the United team tonight?"
1928: From reading the texts,
missives, I conclude there are some panicking Man United fans out there. In my vast experience of doing these text commentary thingies, a wacky Fergie team selection usually leads to a United win. That's not a prediction, by the way. It's merely an observation.
1925: TEAMS Man Utd v West Ham Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, perhaps with Sunday's Carling Cup final in mind, rings the changes as the title chasers look to bounce back from Saturday's defeat to Everton. Ben Foster, Nemanja Vidic, Darron Gibson, Paul Scholes and Anderson all come in. Edwin van der Sar does not even make the bench, while Rio Ferdinand is also overlooked despite being available again after suspension. West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola makes just the one change to the side that beat Hull at the weekend as he looks to lead the Londoners to a first away win since the opening day of the season, midfielder Mark Noble replacing Scott Parker, who is one booking away from a suspension.
From George via text: "Very risky selection from Ferguson especially with West Ham's return to form but as a Chelsea fan I'm definitely not complaining!"
From Kalika, Rickmansworth, via text: "Why is Foster in goal? Nooooo we are going to lose again!"
1918: So obviously, Sir Alex has made me look a fool with that team selection. Anyone else predict that line-up? Gibson? Anderson?? Foster??!
1917: TEAMS Man Utd v West Ham Man Utd: Foster, Neville, Brown, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Gibson, Scholes, Anderson, Berbatov, Rooney. Subs: Kuszczak, Owen, Park, Rafael, Evans, Fletcher, Diouf. West Ham: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Spector, Behrami, Noble, Kovac, Diamanti, Franco, Cole. Subs: Stech, Dyer, Ilan, Mido, Da Costa, Collison, Daprela.
1915: TEAM NEWS Olympiakos v Bordeaux Olympiakos, who have won their last five European home matches, have more than a faint whiff of the Premier League about them. Ex-Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg, one-time Leeds United left-back Raul Bravo and ex-Newcastle striker Lomana LuaLua all start, while former Blackburn striker Matt Derbyshire is on the bench. Bordeaux, whose 16 points in the group phase was the best record of all the last 16 qualifiers, are without influential captain Alou Diarra but midfielder Jaroslav Plasil has shaken off a knock to start. Yoann Gourcuff and Arsenal target Marouane Chamakh add a sprinkling of stardust.
1913: TEAM NEWS Stuttgart v Barcelona Stuttgart striker Cacau keeps his place, so Ciprian Marica stays on the bench. Sami Khedira is fit to start, Jens Lehmann plays in goal and former Barca midfielder Alex Hleb takes his place in the Germans' XI. Barcelona drop Thierry Henry to the bench and defender Daniel Alves has not recovered in time, but Xavi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are fit to start.
From Jamie, North London, via text: "Did you know that Carlton Cole has never scored more than once in a single top flight game. Until tonight that is! Come on you Irons!"
1912: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson could pair Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand in central defence for the first time since October and, actually, a match Man United fans would probably rather forget (it was a 2-0 defeat by Liverpool and Vidic was sent off). Still, at least they're not Wes Brown, who has played in seven of United's nine defeats this season. Eight, if you include the first leg Carling Cup semi-final loss at Eastlands.
1904: Hang on, there's a whole load of Football League action too. The Prempionsball League The Footchampier League STOP ME NOW! Thank goodness that's over. So basically it looks like this: we'll see if Bordeaux (at Olympiakos) and Barcelona (at Stuttgart) deserve to be strong favourites to come through their Champions League last-16 ties. And we'll also see if Manchester United can put defeat to Everton behind them as they go up against suddenly-quite-good-again West Ham.
1900: Hello there. I'm sure you, like me, are itching with anticipation about tomorrow's goalless draw between Inter Milan and Chelsea at the San Siro. Before that though, a Premier League-Champions League extravaganza. I'm calling it the Prempions League. Or the Champier League. Still working on the title, to be honest.
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