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Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sunday football as it happened

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

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By Paul Fletcher

1811: Adopting my finest Arkwright from Open All Hours manner, it has been quite a day. More twists and turns in the Premier League, with plenty of Chelsea fans clearly feeling their season has hit the buffers. I'm not too sure they should be quite so down in the mouth just yet as the picture could change very quickly. Many thanks for all your contributions. It wouldn't be the same without you.

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce: "We think Phil Jones has the look of John Terry in his body language and certainly it is a great debut for him. He's got a bright future and he will continue to develop. I'm sure he'll sleep very well tonight but he will wake up a very proud man tomorrow."

Patrick, Switzerland, via text: "Ancelotti is clueless. There's only one man who should be in charge of Chelsea. Bring back Mourinho."

Kalika, Rickmansworth, via text: "Man United fans got all four wishes they could have possibly wished for today! United won, Rooney scored and Vidic stayed on the pitch - and Chelsea dropped points! The title's ours no doubt in my mind!"

1802: I reckon that we should give due praise to Rovers, who really did play well after the break as they forced their way back into the contest. By the way, Chelsea are four points off the lead - the furthest distance they have been from top spot all season at the end of any given weekend.

1800: What I reckon has been a pretty dramatic day in the Premier League ends with Manchester United two clear of Arsenal and four above Chelsea (who have a game in hand on the other two). It has been a tough few days for Chelsea, who of course crashed out the Champions League against Inter Milan. What sort of resolve and self-belief do they have in their squad?

SF Ray, Chelsea fan, via text: "And our title challenge is officially over."

1753: FULL-TIME Blackburn 1-1 Chelsea

1752: There is a desperate feel to the final minute of the match. Chelsea are obviously desperate to score a winner.

1751: John Terry challenges for a corner but Phil Jones puts it out for another corner, which Rovers clear.

1750: Frank Lampard goes down as he is challenged by Morten Gamst Pedersen. The away fans all appeal for a penalty, which is quite rightly not given.

1749: Danny Sturridge replaces Nicolas Anelka. There are four minutes of injury-time.

Blue Blue, London, via text: "We've let too many 1-0 leads slip this season, Villa, Wigan, Everton, Man City, now today. I fear the current team has peaked and is on the way out. The FA Cup is our best chance this year."

1746: A Didier Drogba shot is blocked and goes out for a corner.

1745: Chelsea win a corner. It is cleared but Chelsea are soon on the attack again...............

BBC Radio 5 live summariser Robbie Savage: "The problem Blackburn have, now they are level, is that they are inviting Chelsea onto them."

1743: Slowly, gradually, definitely Chelsea are starting to assert some pressure for the first time this half. Nicolas Anelka opts to square the ball when shooting might have been a better option and Rovers are able to clear.

bujubanter on 606: "Good to see John Terry getting outpaced by the 32-year-old Jason Roberts."

1740: Of their 14 away fixtures in the Premier League prior to this match Chelsea have drawn three and lost four. The visiting team are awarded a free-kick that Alex smashes wide. There are roughly 10 minutes left for Chelsea to find a winner.

1738: Replays suggest that the throw-in that led to Rovers' equaliser came after Jason Roberts and not John Terry put the ball out of play. Perhaps that is why Terry is so frustrated.

1735: John Terry is cutting an increasingly irritated figure, as is Didier Drogba. Rovers have a resolute and determined look about them.

1731: Chelsea suddenly looking like a team on a mission. Chelsea are awarded a free-kick that Didier Drogba strikes into the Blackburn wall. Deco replaces Salomon Kalou.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Blackburn goal: Chelsea are punished for their failure to build on their early goal as El-Hadji Diouf heads Blackburn level from Michel Salgado's right-wing cross.

1728: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-1 Chelsea (Diouf)

1726: Jason Roberts goes down in the Chelsea area after tangling with John Terry but the referee is not interested. Minutes later Morten Gamst Pedersen collects a cross-field pass but after surging into the box his cross-cum-shot is poor.

1723: Chelsea move on to the attack and Nicolas Anelka shoots from 20 yards but his weak strike is easily saved. With a slender one-goal lead, this is becoming an increasingly uncomfortable afternoon for the London club.

1721: Nikola Kalinic makes way for Jason Roberts. The home fans don't like something about the decision and plenty of booing can be heard.

Jamie Lyons, Croydon, an Arsenal supporter via text: "As always the Premier League is decided by consistency. The difference this year is that no way has it been as consistent (out of the top 3) as previous years. Arsenal dropped heavy points at two stages in the season but have climbed backed twice because Man United and Chelsea were dropping as many. Have the top teams got weaker, or have the teams below got better?"

1716: Hmm. Nicolas Anelka is quite some distance from goal but there aren't too many players standing in his way - except big Chris Samba, who crudely drags the Chelsea player down. No foul, says the referee.

1713: Woah - that is a collision I have no intention of being involved in. There is a significant clash of heads involving Didier Drogba and Chris Samba. Two big units - and thankfully both are OK to carry on. David Dunn makes way for Brett Emerton.

1712: As things stand Manchester United will finish the day two points clear of Chelsea and Arsenal. Chelsea, though, would have a game in hand on United.

1709: I most definitely get the feeling boss Sam Allardyce delivered a few choice words at the break as his team have started the second half with real intent.

1706: Blackburn go close to an equaliser with their best chance of the game but Chris Samba's header is headed off the line by Yuri Zhirkov.

1703: Play resumes at Ewood Park.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Watford goal: Watford snatch a consolation goal through Heidar Helguson deep into injury-time. The striker, on loan from QPR, fires his 10th goal of the season into the top left corner of David Marshall's goal

From anonymous via text: "Kudos to Blackburn defender Phil Jones. To be 18 and performing on the biggest stage of his profession. Think of the dedication and talent it has taken him to get here. "

1701: No word yet on the injury sustained by defender Branislav Ivanovic. I'll let you know as soon as I have some news.

1656: FULL-TIME Cardiff 3-1 Watford

1656: Fulham manager Roy Hodgson stated recently that the FA Cup and Europa League are his priorities at the moment. But for Man City the victory at Craven Cottage is crucial as they battle for fourth spot. With Liverpool losing, it has not been a bad afternoon for Roberto Mancini's team.

1654: GOALFLASH Cardiff 3-1 Watford (Helguson)

1654: Some silverware decided in Scotland, as nine-man Rangers defeat St Mirren 1-0 in the Co-op Cup final.

1652: FULL-TIME Fulham 1-2 Manchester City

1651: Free-kick to Fulham but the Man City wall does its job, foiling Clint Dempsey's effort.

1648: Four minutes of injury time at Craven Cottage. The ball strikes Vincent Kompany on the arm and that looks like a penalty to me. Not, though, in the opinion of the referee and that is perhaps justice after the decision given against Gareth Barry.

1648: HALF-TIME Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea

1645: A change for Chelsea, as defender Branislav Ivanovic limps off, with Yuri Zhirkov replacing him.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Cardiff goal: Game over. Chris Burke runs down the left from the half-way line, rides a couple of challenges and slots home to seal the points. A win will put Cardiff five points ahead of Sheffield United in seventh.

1639: GOALFLASH Cardiff 3-0 Watford (Burke)

1638: A very assertive run from Florent Malouda culminates in a crisp strike that forces a decent save from Rovers keeper Jason Brown.

1638: Stefano Okaka misses a great chance for Fulham after he is put through by Damien Duff. Okaka only has the keeper to beat but misses the target from 10 yards.

1637: Late charge by Fulham. Not really. A touch disappointing really.

BBC Radio 5 live summariser Robbie Savage: "If I'm Sam Allardyce, I would get Jason Roberts on at half-time, go 4-4-2 and have a right go at Chelsea in the second half."

1636: Phil Jones, just 18 and making his Premier League debut, makes two crunching tackles. It really fires the crowd up at Blackburn.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Fulham goal: What was I saying? A cross is smashed into the Manchester City box and strikes a completely unmarked Gareth Barry, who is penalised for handball. Barry is incensed by the decision but the super cool Danny Murphy makes no mistake from the spot.

1632: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-2 Manchester City (Murphy)

1632: PENALTY TO FULHAM

Subsea75 on 606: "Adam Johnson MUST play in the World Cup. I don't think there is a better talent on the right. Over and out."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Cardiff goal: No big surprise. Peter Whittingham, who provided the first goal, grabs the second himself by heading home his 21st goal of the season.

1629: Man City looking very comfortable with 20 minutes left at Craven Cottage and a 2-0 lead. Very little sign that Fulham are going to mount something of a comeback.

1627: GOALFLASH Cardiff 2-0 Watford

1626: Chance for Blackburn. Chelsea fail to clear a corner and Morten Gamst Pedersen smashes the ball first time from 18 yards but his effort flies wide.

BBC Radio 5 live summariser Robbie Savage: "Chelsea are looking like they can score at will but for me, the young defender Phil Jones has done well so far."

1623: Alex smashes the ball towards the Rovers goal from 12 yards but his effort is blocked.

1623: Nicolas Anelka is finding plenty of space in and around the Blackburn area. A pass from Salomon Kalou picks him out but he cannot keep his shot on target.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez: "It was a very difficult game - at least we showed that we are strong, we can score goals in any stadium, we can beat anybody we can play well. So we have to keep going forward. We have to keep going, people keep talking about games in hand and games played but we have to win and do our job."

1619: Blackburn win a corner that Ross Turnbull comfortably collects. Much more assured from the Chelsea keeper.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1618: Manchester City inches away from making it 3-0 as Adam Johnson cuts in from the right before unleashing a dipping drive which strikes the outside of Mark Schwarzer's right-hand post and goes wide.

1615: Blackburn win a free-kick in a central position approximately 30 yards from goal. Morten Gamst Pedersen delivers a reasonable strike that Ross Turnbull saves but does not hold, with the ball going out for a corner.

1612: Fulham make a change, with Clint Dempsey, the hero against Juventus, replacing Bobby Zamora.

1610: Woah, woah, woah, woah - of course I meant to write GOALFLASH AND NOT FULL-TIME AT 1606, I just wanted to make sure you were still reading (honest).

1608: Play has resumed in Cardiff, where the Bluebirds lead 1-0 against Watford.

1608: It could, perhaps should, be 2-0 for Chelsea but Salomon Kalou heads over the Blackburn crossbar.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Chelsea goal: All too easy for Chelsea, as Nicolas Anelka advances down the right before cutting the ball back for Didier Drogba to slot home from 12 yards for his 22nd Premier League goal this season.


1606: GOALFLASH Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea

1604: Hmm, might be a good time for a manual refresh given that the coverage of the game between Leicester and Coventry has finished and thus the video at the top is no more.

1603: Didier Drogba goes close for Chelsea with a long-range effort.

1603: The second half has started at Craven Cottage.

1600: The match has started at Ewood Park, which sees 18-year-old Phil Jones marking Didier Drogba. Good luck.

Coventry City manager Chris Coleman: "Whatever I said at half-time has to remain in the dressing room. We never showed up for the first half hour. But in the second half we pushed hard and we could have won it."

1556: Just to clarify - the changes mentioned in the Blackburn v Chelsea team news are in relation to their previous Premier League games.

1554: FULL-TIME Leicester City 2-2 Coventry City

1554: TEAM NEWS Chelsea v Blackburn
Jason Brown retains his place in the Blackburn goal following Paul Robinson's injury against Spurs. Phil Jones, Keith Andrews and El-Hadji Diouf all come into the side in place of Gale Givet, Brett Emerton and Pascal Chimbonda.
Ross Turnbull also keeps the goalkeeper's jersey for Chelsea while Salomon Kalou comes in for Michael Ballack.

1550: (See 1541) Without singling out any individuals, not many people, Liverpool supporters or not, seem to think the Reds will finish fourth. Quite a few reckon Rafa Benitez will stay.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Coventry City goal: Big suspicion of offside from several Coventry players but the goal is awarded after Clinton Morrison plays in Gary Deegan, who slots the ball home. Chris Coleman goes nuts on the touchline. Dramatic finish on the cards?

1545: GOALFLASH Leicester 2-2 Coventry City

1545: There's more controversy at the Walkers Stadium as Coventry almost grab an equaliser. Chris Weale saves brilliantly with his legs from Clinton Morrison and the ball falls to Richard Wood, whose shot is cleared off the line by Nobby Solano - but the ball appeared to bounce off the Peruvian's hand. Not Coventry's day?

1545: HALF-TIME Fulham 0-2 Manchester City

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher: "There are games when you have to grind it out and show character and this was one of those games."

1542: Carlos Tevez's goal was his seventh for Man City in his last eight games.

1541: Who thinks Liverpool can still finish fourth? And if they don't what does that mean for the future of Rafa Benitez?

Anonymous via text: "Was it just me or did Liverpool look like a team who no longer want to play for their manager?"

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Manchester City goal: Craig Bellamy plays the ball to Carlos Tevez, who weaves one way then the other with such quality that Manchester United-bound Chris Smalling falls on his backside. Tevez then drills the ball home from eight yards.

1529: GOALFLASH Fulham 0-2 Manchester City

Sakaria2 on 606: "Really tough game for Chelsea, and one they probably wouldn't want after crashing out of the Champions League. I reckon boss Carlo Ancelotti will just want the three points today, however they do it."

Anonymous via text: "Amazing how often Rooney gave the ball away in the last 10 minutes - against a better side, such as Barca, we surely would've been punished for that!"

BBC Radio 5 live summariser Chris Waddle: "I think Rafa Benitez needs to be a bit more ambitious in his team selection if he wants to get hold of that fourth spot."

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"The reaction of Manchester United's fans and players at the final whistle is a graphic illustration of just how important this victory is against a Liverpool side who would have loved nothing better than to dent their title chances while improving their own chances of finishing fourth. United deserved the win as they were the vastly superior side in the second half. Liverpool faded and they simply could not get Fernando Torres in the game after the opening stages. Steven Gerrard, in particular, was totally anonymous for Liverpool."

1530: Manchester United return to the top of the Premier League table, but for Liverpool their hopes of finishing fourth suffer after their 10th defeat of the league season.

1529: FULL-TIME Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool

1528: TEAMS Blackburn v Chelsea Blackburn: Brown, Salgado, Samba, Jones, Olsson, Andrews, Nzonzi, Dunn, Pedersen, Diouf, Kalinic. Subs: Bunn, Jacobsen, Emerton, Roberts, Linganzi, Hoilett, Chimbonda.
Chelsea: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Paulo Ferreira, Mikel, Kalou, Malouda, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba. Subs: Sebek, Joe Cole, Zhirkov, Deco, Sturridge, Matic, Bruma.

BBC Radio 5 live summariser Chris Waddle: "The thing about Liverpool is the quality in the final third of the field has been lacking. Okay you've got the Torres goal but with the players they have on the field I would have expected them to create chance after chance.

1526: Fulham enjoying most of the possession without creating much. Manchester City look pretty solid.

1524: Oh dear, a really good Liverpool chance goes begging. The ball rolls to Fernando Torres 12 yards from goal. He is unmarked but badly scoffs his shot (it might have bobbled up off the penalty spot he kicked earlier in the game). Even so, the ball loops up invitingly for Yossi Benayoun but his weak header is easily saved. Five minutes of injury time.

BBC Radio 5 live summariser Chris Waddle: "Park has had a good game. You know what you get from him - a lot of work rate and a lot of pressure on the opposition. Although he's played in a more advanced role today, he's shown what he can do in the big games."

Arnie_Aardvark on 606: "Babel, Benayoun and Aquilani should have been on the field from the start."

1520: Ji-Sung Park off, Paul Scholes on. Wayne Rooney jinks one way, then the other, superbly creating space but then drills his shot wide. Disappointing.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Coventry City goal: Jon Stead's cushioned header sets up James McPake, who blasts a fantastic volley past Chris Weale from 12 yards. It was McPake's mistake that led to Leicester's first goal, so he'll be pleased with that. Coventry are back in it.

1517: No clear openings to report at Craven Cottage, although Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz might have done better from 20 yards instead of blazing well wide.

1516: A moment that perhaps says everything about the second half for Liverpool. Glen Johnson plays the ball to Javier Mascherano down the right. The Argentine has time to pick his spot with his cross but whacks the ball out of play. Yossi Benayoun comes on for Liverpool.

1514: GOALFLASH Leicester 2-1 Coventry (McPake)

1513: The return of Ryan Giggs, who comes on for Nani. Approximately 10 minutes plus injury time for Liverpool to salvage something.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Cardiff goal: Peter Whittingham crosses for Ross McCormack who hits a first-time volley to give the hosts a seventh-minute lead.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Manchester City goal: Manchester City take the lead at Craven Cottage. Zoltan Gera has an effort cleared off the line for the home side and the visitors launch an immediate counter-attack which sees Craig Bellamy strike the post with a powerful drive and Roque Santa Cruz follow-up to tap in.

1509: Ryan Babel on for Liverpool, with Maxi Rodriguez making way.

1507: GOALFLASH Cardiff 1-0 Watford (McCormack)

Reach_Yeah on 606: "Carrick and Gerrard look like they're both trying to play their way OUT of Capello's world cup plans!"

1507: GOALFLASH Fulham 0-1 Manchester City (Santa Cruz)

1505: A quick line on Ji-Sung Park's goal - it was his second of the season in the Premier League. United look the most likely to extend their lead and Patrice Evra has a shot blocked. Nemanja Vidic goes into the book for a challenge on Fernando Torres, while Alberto Aquilani replaces Dirk Kuyt. Play resumes in the match between Leicester and Coventry.

1502: Play has started in the games between Fulham and Man City and Cardiff versus Watford.

Handbags
1500: The gloves are off, well not really but as close as you get these days as Darren Fletcher and Dirk Kuyt face off. Kuyt fouls Fletcher, who responds by kicking out.

1459: Daniel Agger tries his luck from very long distance. His effort is high and very wide and tells you all you need to know about the current frustration levels.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Ji Sung-Park has the total trust of Sir Alex Ferguson in these big games and he has delivered for him again. Liverpool were surviving relatively untroubled until they were undone by that superb Darren Fletcher cross. Rafael Benitez has been in almost constant discussion with the fourth official. Might be interesting after the match if Liverpool lose."

1458: About 25 minutes left. What have Liverpool got?

1455: Liverpool might immediately equalise but Fernando Torres is let down by a slightly heavy first touch and cannot quite make contact with his acrobatic attempt to smash the ball home.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Manchester United goal:Ji-Sung Park might not have looked deadly in front of goal so far but he shows excellent instinct and anticipation to head home Darren Fletcher's cross from the right. It is a superb diving header from the South Korean.

1452: GOALFLASH Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool (Park)

1452: Late change for Manchester City. Joleon Lescott, previously selected at left-back, is withdrawn after being injured in the warm up and replaced by Javier Garrido. Micah Richards steps up to take Garrido's place on the bench.

1450: TV pictures have just cut to the United bench. Mike Phelan looks either deep in thought or very bored.

From anonymous via text: "Is Old Trafford 20 degrees colder than the rest of the country - why on earth is Rooney wearing gloves?"


1449: HALF-TIME Leicester 2-0 Coventry

1448: Ryan Giggs is warming up for Manchester United. He is fit again after recovering from a fractured right arm.

1444: A good first touch and a mazy run creates an opening for Ji-Sung Park but his 20-yard strike is comfortably saved by Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal.

1443: Steven Gerrard looking a bit more lively for Liverpool, who are knocking the ball around quite nicely. That said, he plays an awful final ball and he looks to me like a player short of confidence.

1441: TEAM NEWS Cardiff v Watford
Despite available after a two-match ban, Cardiff City leave out Michael Chopra, who is named among the subs. Peter Whittingham makes 100th appearance for the club.
Watford winger Will Buckley could make Hornets debut from the subs bench. Buckley, signed from League Two side Rochdale in January, staked his claim for a first-team place by scoring in a reserve match in midweek.

1437: Just watched a replay of Fernando Torres destroying the penalty spot with a petulant kick as Wayne Rooney looks on. Very naughty. Rooney then points towards the defaced spot to immediately grass up his opponent. The second half starts.

1436: TEAM NEWS Fulham v Manchester City Danny Murphy returns to the Fulham the side after being suspended for the 4-1 victory over Juventus in the Europa League. He replaces Brede Hangeland. The only other change from Thursday's team sees Chris Smalling take Stephen Kelly's place at right back. Jonathan Greening is on the bench after being suspended midweek, where he is joined by Clint Dempsey, who scored the winner against Juve.
Winger Adam Johnson is recalled to the Manchester City starting line-up after coming off the bench to score a last-minute equaliser at Sunderland last weekend. He replaces Shaun Wright-Phillips, who drops to the bench. Kolo Toure takes Micah Richards place in defence, with Pablo Zabaleta shifting to right back and Joleon Lescott starting on the left. Vincent Kompany is at centre-back so Patrick Vieira comes into central midfield and striker Roque Santa Cruz plays in place of Nigel De Jong.

1435: It's all Leicester in the Midlands derby at the Walkers Stadium. There's some debate about whether Andy King's second goal should have counted, but in truth the Foxes could have had four or five by now. King goes agonisingly close to a hat-trick, prodding a cross just wide, before Martyn Waghorn sees his volley fly over the bar.

KillgermDan on Twitter: "Yeah, I'm a Leicester fan but the ball didn't cross the line. Bad luck Coventry."

1431: Play soon to resume at Old Trafford. My money would be on United given the way they end the opening half.

Jack via text: "Leicester's second is yet another example of why goal-line technology is so important. Beggars belief why it's not enforced in our beautiful game."

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Liverpool's players, led by Jamie Carragher, engage referee Howard Webb in debate as they go off at half-time. The penalty decision is sure to be the main bone of contention after a fascinating first 45 minutes. Liverpool need to get captain Steven Gerrard into the game to assist Fernando Torres, who is a real threat when he takes time out from arguing with the officials."

1424: Will the real Steven Gerrard please stand up? As an England supporter I am becoming slightly concerned with his lack of form. No such worries about Wayne.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Leicester goal: Leicester score a controversial second goal. A Paul Gallagher cross comes in from the right and Andy King hammers in a header that bounces downwards off the underside of the crossbar. The goal is given but replays, you have to say, are inconclusive as to whether the ball crossed the line.

1421: HALF-TIME Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool

1420: Wayne Rooney takes the free-kick at Old Trafford. It lacks power and is easily saved.

1420: GOALFLASH Leicester 2-0 Coventry (King)


1418: I'll be perfectly honest - it has not been a classic five minutes and my idiotic 3-3 prediction is looking increasing remote. Oh, hold on, United are awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area for a late tackle by Jamie Carragher on Darren Fletcher.

1416: Just for the record, Wayne Rooney has now scored in his last eight Premier League home games. Now don't call me boring.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Manchester United's Antonio Valencia has the beating of Liverpool defender Emiliano Insua and they are probing that weakness. Insua needs more support from Maxi Rodriguez and it's a problem Rafael Benitez has been pointing out in one of his many animated visits to the technical area."

BBC Radio 5 live summariser Chris Waddle: "Manchester United are not allowing Liverpool to get the ball into feet. Whether it's Michael Carrick or Darren Fletcher, they are cutting out the lines in which Steven Gerrard likes to get the ball."

yorker on 606: "A comforting thought to think that if the worst happens, United can still throw on Giggs, Scholes and Berbatov to redress matters. Liverpool, by contrast, would have to rely on N'Gog, Aquilani and Benayoun."

1413: Ji-Sung Park wins a header after Parice Evra floats a cross into the Liverpool penalty box but the ball flies wide of Pepe Reina's goal. Park has been heavily involved but is perhaps not the best person to exploit half chances.

From anonymous via text: "Torres should not be on the pitch. He should have been booked when he defaced the penalty spot before Rooney placed the ball."

1410: Liverpool really started with an urgency and gusto but United appeared to have drawn their sting a little and are enjoying more possession as they look to take a grip of the match. Seven minutes until the break.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Leicester goal: Great start for Leicester. Lloyd Dyer whips in a cross and a poor attempted clearance from James McPake falls straight to Andy King, who expertly places the ball into the corner from 12 yards.

1407: Steven Gerrard on the ball for Liverpool. He has been relatively anonymous so far. Ryan Giggs warming up on the touchline. Reckon we will see him in the action after the break.

1403: GOALFLASH Leicester 1-0 Coventry (King)

1402: Play has started in the match between Leicester and Coventry. Fairly even at the moment at Old Trafford after a brutal opening to the match.

1402: Nani tries his luck from distance. The ball is going slightly wide but Pepe Reina is taking no chances and turns the ball around the corner of the post.

TEAM NEWS: Leicester v Coventry
Leicester
make one enforced last-minute change from the side that beat Crystal Palace in midweek. Bruno Berner injured himself in the warm-up at the Walkers Stadium so Ryan McGivern comes in at left-back. Coventry welcome back Sammy Clingan in the centre of midfield, while David Bell starts in place of the injured Michael McIndoe on the right.

1357: Somebody has most definitely rattled Fernando Torres's cage. He is booked for a heavy challenge and then engages in some hand gestures of a very Spanish nature.

1355: Cracking chance for Ji-Sung Park but the South Korea skipper cannot quite find the target with his header after a superb cross from Antonio Valencia. Wayne Rooney was perhaps better positioned behind Park.

sumo77 on 606: "Don't know what Fergie's waving a card at? Does he not remember the Carling Cup final and how Vidic should have been sent off...pot kettle!"

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Remember that "twinge of sympathy" Sir Alex Ferguson was feeling for Rafael Benitez? It appears to have cleared up a treat as the pair go head-to-head in the technical area after Wayne Rooney's equaliser. Ferguson presumably wanted Javier Mascherano sent off while Benitez's beef was that he felt the Argentine's infringement against Antonio Valencia started outside the area. Tasty."

1351: Fernando Torres is causing all sorts of problems and tries to latch on to a through ball but Edwin van der Sar is quickly off his line and saves. Is there a hint of Torres leaving a trailing leg there?

1350: Hmm, having seen a replay of the penalty incident I'm starting to think it might have been the right decision to award a spot kick. Clearly a tricky one. If you refresh this page video of Leicester v Coventry will magically appear.

1349: All getting a touch feisty around the technical area. I don't think Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez are discussing the weather.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Manchester United goal:Wayne Rooney equalises, tucking home the rebound after Pepe Reina makes a brilliant save to parry the spot kick. Rooney is a touch fortunate that the rebound falls so invitingly to him. The penalty is awarded after Javier Mascherano brings down Antonio Valencia. Mascherano is fortunate to stay on the pitch, yet it looks as though the foul started outside the box and thus should have been a free-kick.

1334: GOALFLASH Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool (Rooney)

1342: PENALTY TO MANCHESTER UNITED

1342: Liverpool win a corner and try a set move that almost comes off except for the fact that Dirk Kuyt is caught offside. United look a little twitchy.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Liverpool goal: Old Trafford is stunned into silence as Liverpool take the lead through a Fernando Torres header. Steven Gerrard plays in Dirk Kuyt down the right and the Dutch international delivers a teasing cross that a completely unmarked Torres heads home.

1337: GOALFLASH Manchester United 0-1 Liverpool (Torres)

1335: As expected, a fast and furious start. Ji-Sung Park appears to be playing in an advanced central position, just behind Wayne Rooney, with Nani on the left and Antonio Valencia on the right.

1332: And we are under way at Old Trafford...... A glorious afternoon in Manchester.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"19 Years And Counting" proclaims a banner brandished by Manchester United supporters just a few yards away from the Liverpool section. Sir Alex Ferguson insists four straight Premier League triumphs play an even bigger part in his thoughts than the feat of edging ahead of Liverpool by winning their 19th title. Not sure Manchester United fans put the prorities in that order.

mayorwestisalegend on 606: "There should be quite a few goals and cards when Leicester host Coventry. Having gone to university in Coventry, I can safely say that the M69 derby isn't the friendliest."

1328: Kick-off almost upon us - Liverpool playing in black tops and gold shorts today. Not a great look. My prediction? I'm not expecting a repeat of last season's 4-1, what about a thrilling 3-3?

Purist on 606: "For Liverpool fans, this is their season. For United fans, this is just another game they should win comfortably in the battle to win yet another Premier League title."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "There's a pressure to win the title - but it's a good pressure. Winning the games is very important. We analysed the mistakes we made last year against Liverpool but it was a blip. Rooney's improving - he's got the desire to be the best and he's not got a great record against Liverpool but improving players are capable of anything. We're in good form and hopefully that can transcend on to the pitch."

1319: Lots of talk on 606, twitter and the text from fans wondering whether Jamie Carragher will score an own goal. Naughty. Deflecting attention away from Vidic, obviously.

1316: Do you think that if you said 'Wayne, 15 January 2005, anything special about that day?", the in-form United striker would come up with the answer or look at you blankly? Rooney's only goal against Liverpool came on that date.

1315: Hmm. Almost tempted to say 1400 GMT, but that would be wrong, very, very wrong. So I'll say 1330 GMT instead.

Jamie in Barbados via text: "Good morning, can you please give us the kick off time so I can pull myself away from the beach?"

1312: I love a good derby, there is nothing more special in the game in my opinion. Which is why I'm thrilled that Leicester against Coventry is live on BBC One. The M69 derby, love it. That kicks off at 1400 GMT.

1310: Fernando Torres turned 26 yesterday - but will he turn the United defence this afternoon? Liverpool, by the way, are without an away league win in their last five matches, and have lost two of the last three.

Matt, Essex, via text: "The six miles was an absolute mud bath - anyway time for (hopefully) a goalfest and the inevitable Vidic red card!"

LFC_Torrestastic on 606: "Quite simply, we must win, even if it defies almost all logic. The key will be winning the midfield battle and getting service to Torres. If we can do that successfully then I am confident that we can win, otherwise I doubt it"


1302: Just a quick reminder - Arsenal are top with 67 points, United second with 66 and Chelsea third with 64 - but, and it is a big but, United have one game in hand on Arsenal and Chelsea two.

1301: TEAM NEWS Manchester United v Liverpool
Manchester United make one change from the team that beat Fulham 3-0 last weekend with Ji-Sung Park replacing Dimitar Berbatov, who drops to the bench despite scoring against the Cottagers. The South Korean will operate on the right-hand side of United's attacking trio alongside Wayne Rooney and Nani. Experienced duo Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are named on the bench.
Liverpool make only one change themselves from the team that beat Lille 3-0 midweek to book a place in the Europa League quarter-final. Maxi Rodriguez is a like-for-like swap with winger Ryan Babel, who drops to the bench. Albert Riera does not feature at all following his criticism of manager Rafa Benitez during the week.

1300: How was it for you? What, the Sport Relief mile of course. Or the three miles, or the six miles, or however far you felt like running for this most excellent cause. On my journey to work I saw plenty of people sporting their jogging gear - but if your Sunday is all about a hangover you can still make a contribution.

1256: I'm not really sure it was necessary, but Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez did not waste the opportunity to spice up the Man Utd-Liverpool match by introducing the 19th title angle. "For all our fans it would be really good to stop United," mused the Spaniard. Not too sure how bothered Sir Alex Ferguson will be about that - he is probably more focused on ensuring Nemanja Vidic stays on the pitch.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Never mind the question of whether Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic can last the full 90 minutes after being sent off in three successive games against Liverpool, how will these two teams respond to the challenges thrown down by Arsenal and Tottenham yesterday? Proof of Liverpool's struggles to satisfy expectations this season is contained within Sir Alex Ferguson's match notes where he confesses to "a twinge of sympathy" for his Liverpool counterpart Rafael Benitez. Note that it's only a twinge though, nothing too serious."


1250: TEAMS Manchester United v Liverpool
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Park, Nani, Rooney. Subs: Kuszczak, Berbatov, Giggs, Scholes, Rafael Da Silva, Jonathan Evans, Obertan.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Mascherano, Lucas, Kuyt, Gerrard, Maxi, Torres. Subs: Cavalieri, Aquilani, Benayoun, Kyrgiakos, Babel, Ngog, Kelly.


1247: And remember - today is all about you (almost), so Tweet me, get on 606, or text in via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide).

1245: But I know that if Football League Danny was here in the office and not at home wrestling with his hangover, he would be sensationally excited by Sunday's top-notch action. In terms of the Premier League title race this could prove to be a crucial day. Arsenal, seemingly out of it not so long ago, defeated West Ham on Saturday to move top of the table, and any slip ups from Manchester United and Chelsea will strengthen the Gunners bid for a first Premier League title since 2004. It all starts with United against arch-rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford. They. Don't. Get. Bigger. Than. This. Liverpool have won their last three Premier League games against United and need to extend that sequence as they push for fourth spot. Blackburn entertain Chelsea in the day's final fixture, while sandwiched in between Man City play Fulham as Roberto Mancini's team try bolster their bid for fourth. There are also a couple of Championship games that I'll be keeping you updated about so if you are not excited about today then this sport is really not for you.

1240: Now then. I'd like to start by offering my congratulations to Football League Danny and other Marilyn, know to all as Darilyn, who celebrated their engagement last night.




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Premier League results

21 Mar 2010 23:59 UK


Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 21 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 31 47 69
2 Arsenal 31 40 67
3 Chelsea 30 42 65
4 Tottenham 30 26 55
5 Man City 29 18 53
6 Liverpool 31 18 51
7 Aston Villa 29 17 50
8 Everton 30 6 45
9 Birmingham 30 -3 44
10 Fulham 30 -1 38
11 Stoke 30 -6 36
12 Blackburn 30 -17 35
13 Sunderland 30 -6 34
14 Bolton 31 -20 32
15 Wigan 31 -30 31
16 Wolves 30 -24 28
17 West Ham 30 -14 27
18 Burnley 31 -33 24
19 Hull 30 -35 24
20 Portsmouth 30 -25 13

see also
Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool
21 Mar 10 |  Premier League
Blackburn 1-1 Chelsea
21 Mar 10 |  Premier League
Fulham 1-2 Man City
21 Mar 10 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
21 Mar 10 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football


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