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Page last updated at 18:41 GMT, Saturday, 3 April 2010 19:41 UK

Premier League and Football League as it happened


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By Caroline Cheese

1933: I know I say this quite literally every single week but I really, really mean it with bells on this time: watch Match of the Day at 2230 BST on BBC One today or at 0835 BST on BBC Two tomorrow. See you tomorrow for egg-citing matches featuring Birmingham v Liverpool, Fulham v Wigan, and finally Everton v West Ham.

1930: Moving day in the Premier League as Manchester City leapfrog Spurs into fourth and narrow the goal difference, er, difference to just two. Chelsea take over top spot from Manchester United. Burnley, by the way, stay 19th, three points from safety. Their goal difference is the worst in the league. Difficult to see any hope for them after today as they make it one win in 22 league games.

1928: Incredible match really, played in atrocious conditions in the second half. That is City's biggest ever away win in the Premier League and biggest in the top flight since a 5-0 win at Manchester United in February 1955, according to good old Infostrada.

1926: FULL-TIME Burnley 1-6 Man City

1923: Three pointless minutes of added time to be played at Turf Moor. Can City hang on? Yes.

BBC Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at the Cardiff City Stadium: "Cardiff City Stadium erupts as Michael Chopra ends the Bluebirds' derby blues as his stoppage-time winner seals their first win over their rivals in nine meetings - stretching back to 1997. Who said new stadiums lack atmosphere?"

1920: Thought you might like to see the run-ins of the contenders for fourth. Apologies to Everton, who are in it but 10 points behind as it stands.
Man City: Birmingham (H), Man Utd (H), Arsenal (A), Aston Villa (H), Tottenham (H), West Ham (A)
Tottenham: Arsenal (H), Chelsea (H), Man Utd (A), Bolton (H), Man City (A), Burnley (A)
Liverpool: Birmingham (A), Fulham (H), West Ham (H), Burnley (A), Chelsea (H), Hull (A)
Aston Villa: Everton (H), Portsmouth (A), Hull (A), Birmingham (H), Man City (A), Blackburn (H)

1917: FULL-TIME Cardiff 2-1 Swansea

1916: England youth international Alex Nimely makes his Premier League debut for Manchester City, replacing Carlos Tevez. Seven minutes remaining at Turf Moor.

1915: Oooh, blimey. In the second minute of added time, Michael Chopra looks to have won the South Wales derby for Cardiff. After a long throw-in, the striker steals in at the far post to make it Cardiff 2-1 Swansea... That is a massive, massive goal.

1914: Martin Paterson replaces Burnley goalscorer Steven Fletcher, who gets a huge ovation from the home fans.

1912: Former Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz is booed onto the pitch by the Burnley fans as he replaces two-goal Emmanuel Adebayor.

1909: Craig Bellamy goes over in the box, and Carlos Tevez trips over him, much to the delight of the Burnley fans. "It really is like It's A Knockout out there," remarks BBC 5 live commentator Ian Dennis.

Burnley goal: Twenty minutes remaining and the comeback's (not) on. Steven Fletcher latches onto a throughball on the left of the box but the angle is very tight. Nonetheless, the Scotland forward fires a rising shot into the top corner, beyond the reach of Shay Given. Fabulous finish in front of the watching Scotland boss Craig Levein.

1904: GOALFLASH Burnley 1-6 Man City (Fletcher)

1902: Carlos Tevez is furiously appealing for a corner after going in for a 50-50 with Brian Jensen. Come on Carlos. Give 'em a break.

1859: First bit of bad news of the day for City as Sylvinho limps off to be replaced by Nigel de Jong.

1855: Infostrada Sports probably wish Manchester City would stop scoring as much as Burnley. Here they are again: "This is the equal-fastest ever 6-0 lead in Premier League history, after Manchester United were 6-0 up at home to Ipswich Town after 58 minutes in March 1995. This eventually ended in a Premier League record 9-0 win."

BBC Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at the Cardiff City Stadium: "Second biggest cheer of this biggest South Wales derby crowd for 51 years as Cardiff midfielder Joe Ledley, who thought he'd miss the rest of the season, makes an earlier than expected return from double hip surgery as he comes on for Gavin Rae. Pulsating advert for Welsh club football."

Man City goal: Adam Johnson corner from the left, Vincent Kompany heads in. All too easy. That should wrap up the win for City, I reckon.

1850: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-6 Man City (Kompany)

1849: Good work by Nedum Onuoha, going past the defender to break into the box before teeing up Craig Bellamy, whose well-struck effort comes off Jack Cork and goes behind.

1848: Aw, look at them, messing about in the puddles. Actual football action has been suspended for the time being while the players try to come to terms with these awful conditions.

1844: David Nugent's persistence earns him a great chance as he breaks into the box despite the presence of three defenders, but he scuffs the shot wide.

From davebromage on Twitter: "I don't blame Burnley's defenders. I've also had a 90-minute nap this afternoon and it was awesome."

1841: The ball isn't running very smoothly. A through-ball into the City penalty area gets stuck. If it carries on raining, this could get interesting. Anyway, Burnley in possession and putting on a bit of pressure.

1838: Roberto Mancini walks out with, what I think you call, a gilet over his head. Not very stylish. Fourth official Kevin Friend has been out inspecting the pitch during the half-time interval. There's quite a bit of standing water around now... I'm not joking. Anyway, we're back under way.

1835: By the way, have you ever had a photo taken with a player who'll be at the World Cup this year? Send it our way would ya? Address is

1831: The rain continues to pour down at Turf Moor and there are men with forks out on the pitch. We couldn't have an abandonment could we?

From LFC_Torrestastic on 606: "Apologies for stealing this joke from the person who said it about Arsenal on Weds but it's more apt here - when does the team in claret start their innings?"

From joedomvince on Twitter: "Tottenham's +9 goal difference this morning over City is now down to +2."

Funnyman Jason Manford on Twitter: "Apparently instead of a half-time team talk, Mancini is letting the City squad watch the beginning part of Doctor Who."

From Dennis at Warwick Uni, via text: "I can sympathise with the Burnley fans. I'm a Derby fan so suffered many horrible days like this a few seasons ago. Horrible feeling. All you can do is laugh and joke about it."

1822: I believe that is the first time an away team has had a 5-0 lead at half-time in the Premier League. Infostrada will confirm I'm sure. The only thing I can say for Burnley is: their fans are unbelievable.

1820: HALF-TIME Burnley 0-5 Man City

1819: And by the way, Carlos Tevez struck the inside of the post just before the fifth went in.

Man City goal: Not sure I can watch anymore. Carlos Tevez with the through ball and Emmanuel Adebayor breaks the offside trap. He fakes to shoot once before slotting past Brian Jensen. Superbly finished.

1817: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-5 Man City (Adebayor)

BBC Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at the Cardiff City Stadium: "You could sense the tension of Cardiff fans after Andrea Orlandi's opener for Swansea but that anxiety left the stadium as Michael Chopra popped up to score his first league goal for three months just before the break. Jay Bothroyd took a knock for his team as he flicked Stephen McPhail's ball on but the Cardiff captain is OK after a little TLC."

1814: Adam Johnson picks up a crossfield ball on the right and passes back to Craig Bellamy, who fizzes a shot just past the far post. Carlos Tevez is inches way from diverting it in - but Bellamy should have arguably set up the Argentine striker anyway.

1813: Brian Jensen scrambles away Patrick Vieira's flick from Emmanuel Adebayor's low ball in but Carlos Tevez can't get on the end of the rebound. Not had a great half, the Burnley keeper.

1812: Michael Chopra has scored to make it Cardiff 1-1 Swansea at half-time in the big one at the Cardiff City Stadium.

1810: Burnley should have pegged one back. David Nugent is only a few yards out from a corner, but Shay Given makes a wonderful reaction save from his header. Nugent should have scored though.

1808: As it stands, Man City are fourth, a point ahead of Spurs and five ahead of Liverpool and Aston Villa. Spurs's goal difference is 26, City's 23.

1805: The Burnley fans - those that have stuck around - have recovered from the shock of seeing those four goals go in and they are now making the most almighty din. It is an astonishing, and impressive, sound.

1804: For your information, Swansea's goal has now been given to Andrea Orlandi.

1802: Infostrada Sports are on fire today. Manchester City's 4-0 lead after 20 minutes is not the quickest. In fact, it's only the fourth fastest in the Premier League. The slowcoaches.

From Kriswasp on Twitter: "I think even the Burnley players have lost faith in Brian Laws. Surely now, the most asinine appointment in managerial history."

1757: Sarcastic cheers from the home fans as Graeme Alexander's dipping shot takes a deflection off David Nugent and flies not far high and wide.

BBC Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at the Cardiff City Stadium: "The South Wales derby is living up to its billing as this end-to-end Championship play-off shoot-out takes a twist as Swansea score against the run of play. Ashley Williams captained Wales to a 3-0 win over Scotland here in November and now the defender has opened the scoring - perhaps he's the only Swan to love Cardiff's new home!"

Man City goal: OK, it's definitely embarrassing now. Adam Johnson's outswinging corner from the left is met by a thumping header from Patrick Vieira - and that's his first goal for City and his first in the Premier League for five years. I'd back myself to score against Burnley today to be honest. I feel very, very sorry for their fans. Burnley aren't tackling, they aren't pressing, they aren't marking... I could go on.

1752: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-4 Man City (Vieira)

1749: Wonder if Amezzeray (see 1732) has relaxed yet...?

From Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "Manchester City 's 3-0 lead in seven minutes equals the Premier League record for the quickest 3-0 lead, set by Tottenham v Oldham in September 1993."

1745: This could get really embarrassing for Burnley, if it isn't already. Emmanuel Adebayor is in, but Michael Duff makes a last-ditch tackle.

Man City's third goal: Seven minutes gone and there are Burnley fans heading for the exits. Brian Laws is shaking his head, wondering what on earth is going on. Carlos Tevez passes out wide to Adam Johnson, who cuts it back for Emmanuel Adebayor. His fairly harmless shot should be dealt with by Brian Jensen but the Burnley keeper just scoops it into the path of Tevez, who taps in.

Man City's second goal: This is unbelievable. Craig Bellamy cuts off Carlos Tevez's pass for Emmanuel Adebayor and bursts in between two defenders and finishes coolly into the far corner. Looks so easy.

1738: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-3 Man City (Tevez)

1737: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-2 Man City (Bellamy)

City goal: The visitors have made much the brighter start and have already hit the post through Adam Johnson, and they make a deserved breakthrough when a corner is only-half cleared to Emmanuel Adebayor, who has time to chest the ball down and lash the finish through Brian Jensen's legs. Oh, wait a minute...

1735: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-1 Man City (Adebayor)

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill after the 1-0 win over Bolton: "Today was an important day because we showed the people we have character and you have to occasionally put things into perspective. I was overwhelmed by the support of the fans. It was really terrific and I am eternally grateful. I will sit down at end of season and assess the season and look to see how we go forward, if that's the case. I would like to continue in this job as manager of the football club because I enjoy it and I think there are things to do for the club."

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy on the 1-0 defeat by Arsenal: "They have had loads of chances - they're better than us, they had more than the ball than us, but to lose it in the last minute is bitterly disappointing. And to be down to 10 men was a diabolical situation."

1732: We're under way at Turf Moor, where it's a bit damp. Bit like most of the UK then.

From Amezzeray on Twitter: "I have a bad feeling that City will once again make things hard for themselves after Spurs' loss."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after the last-gasp win over Wolves: "We had chances and we just couldn't score. They defended in a resilient and intelligent way and we need to be patient. We won the points and that's all you want. I know my team never gives up. They keep going and in the end it was a good cross and a good goal. They have a fantastic mental strength and desire."

1728: I think I just heard a buoyant Sunderland boss Steve Bruce say: "I'm going to lie on the beach like a big beach whale before I think about next season."

From Salford Devil on 606: "Can't believe we might have to rely on Liverpool to help us get a 19th title that will overtake their record!! You couldn't make it up. Hopefully they'll need the win (against Chelsea) to make sure of fourth of something!"

From Chris in Sunderland via text: "1-0 after 36 seconds, three penalties, two missed, two goals disallowed, a cracker from Bolo and a 3-1 win, is this Xmas or Easter?"

1718: TEAM NEWS Burnley v Man City
Burnley boss Brian Laws makes three changes as he looks to mastermind a victory that would leave the Clarets level on points with Hull and West Ham, with Robbie Blake, Chris Eagles and Danny Fox all getting the nod. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini makes four changes to his side as they look for the win that would return them to fourth spot following Tottenham's defeat at Sunderland. Gareth Barry, Craig Bellamy, Nedum Onuoha and Sylvinho all return to action after Monday night's win against Wigan.

1715: TEAMS Burnley v Man City
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Duff, Cort, Fox, McDonald, Alexander, Nugent, Blake, Eagles, Steven Fletcher. Subs: Weaver, Carlisle, Paterson, Elliott, Bikey, Thompson, Cork.
Man City: Given, Onuoha, Toure, Kompany, Sylvinho, Adam Johnson, Vieira, Barry, Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez. Subs: Nielsen, Garrido, Wright-Phillips, Santa Cruz, De Jong, Boyata, Nimely.
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)

Football League Danny: "Huge win for Swindon today, 3-0 at Leeds. It puts the Robins into second and leaves Leeds fourth. Three wins in 16 league games - their fans must be wondering what on Earth's happened to their season. Big win for Charlton, 1-0 at MK Dons, while Huddersfield grabbed a significant win at Wycombe. In League Two, leaders Rochdale lost at Chesterfield, but they're still seven points clear. Second and third - Notts County and Bournemouth - both won to boost their automatic promotion hopes."

BBC Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at the Cardiff City Stadium: "The atmosphere is building for the 59th South Wales derby - and arguably the biggest in its 81-year history as the new Cardiff City Stadium prepares for its first Cardiff v Swansea showdown and fourth v fifth in the Championship. The Swans hope the old cliche rings true and form does go out of the window for this derby as defeat here would extend their winless run to six Championship games and be their worse for six years."

Football League Danny: "Elsewhere in the Championship, it was a good day for struggling Plymouth, 2-1 winners at Doncaster to keep their survival hopes alive. Palace stay in the drop zone with a draw at Boro, while fellow relegation-fearers Watford earned a battling draw at Preston. Meanwhile, don't forget the big one - Cardiff v Swansea kicks off in 15 minutes…"

From Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "Arsenal have scored an injury-time winner in three of their last six Premier League matches. No other club has managed more than two this season."

From Ruairi in Bordeaux, via text: "Thank you thank you thank you Bendtner!! Never again will I call you rubbish and slow!"

Football League Danny: "So nothing decided today - it finished Peterborough 2-3 Newcastle and Bristol City 1-1 Nottingham Forest. That means the Magpies need one point from their remaining six matches to seal a first-time return to the Premier League. Great effort - they could do it at home on Easter Monday against Sheffield United. Other results have conspired to save Posh from the drop today, but they need a miracle to stay up."

1701: Nicklas Bendtner's goal for Arsenal came in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Heartbreak for Wolves, who played the final 25 minutes with 10 men, but Arsenal stay in the title race.

1658: Crikey. This Premier League title race just gets better and better. What does it all mean? It means this: 1. Chelsea (74) 2. Man Utd (72) 3. Arsenal (71) 4. Tottenham (58) 5. Man City (56)

Football League Danny: "Big goal. Bradley Wright-Phillips heads Plymouth in front 2-1 at Doncaster. Vital Pilgrim-themed relegation points. Injury-time."

1657: FULL-TIME Stoke 2-0 Hull

1657: FULL-TIME Arsenal 1-0 Wolves

Arsenal goal: Unbelievable. You just don't count out this team. You really don't. Theo Walcott lays the ball back to Bacary Sagna, who delivers a perfect cross for Nicklas Bendtner to head past Marcus Hahnemann. Arsene Wenger is delirious.

1654: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 Wolves (Bendtner)

1654: The result at Fratton Park means Portsmouth could be relegated tomorrow if West Ham win at Everton. Or if Hull somehow score three goals in the last few minutes at Stoke.

1653: FULL-TIME Sunderland 3-1 Tottenham

1653: FULL-TIME Portsmouth 0-0 Blackburn

1651: Mass handbags at the final whistle at the Reebok Stadium over a Gabby Agbonlahor challenge. All in all though, a good response by Villa to their spanking by Chelsea last weekend, and the uncertainty over Martin O'Neill's future.

1650: FULL-TIME Bolton 0-1 Aston Villa

Stoke goal: Brilliantly worked goal by Stoke. Quick thinking by Tuncay and Matt Etherington opens up the Hull defence and Liam Lawrence passes the ball into the far bottom corner.

1648: GOALFLASH Stoke 2-0 Hull (Lawrence)

From The strike of the cescy verminator on 606: "Arsenal this is not funny anymore. C'mon and score."

1646: Hull midfielder George Boateng is being treated for a suspected fractured cheekbone in the ambulance.

Football League Danny: "Let's have a look at League Two shall we? Bit of a blip for leaders Rochdale today, they're 2-0 down against play-off hopefuls Chesterfield. No such worries for second-placed Notts County, who are 5-0 up on Bury."

Sunderland goal: That should wrap it up. Jordan Henderson crosses from the right and Bolo Zenden meets it with a glorious left-foot volley. Sensational.

1643: GOALFLASH Sunderland 3-1 Tottenham (Zenden)

1643: Seven minutes left at the Emirates where 10-man Wolves are still holding Arsenal. A goal at the Stadium of Light...

1640: Gabby Agbonlahor races clear of the Bolton defence and is one on one with Jussi Jaaskelainen but drags the finish past the post. Villa with a slender 1-0 lead.

1639: And Kenwyne Jones misses a GOLDEN chance to wrap it up for Sunderland, completely miskicking in front of goal. Bolo Zenden's follow-up is cleared off the line by Kyle Walker.

1636: Darren Bent won't be missing any more penalties today. He has come off for Sunderland, to be replaced by Kenwyne Jones. Hull boss Iain Dowie has made all three of his substitutions so his side will have to play out the final minutes with 10 men.

1635: Replays of the incident at Stoke show Tuncay going for an overhead kick and catching Boateng on the head. Looks very nasty. Tuncay is leaning over the stricken Hull man, who is now being moved onto a stretcher and taken off.

1634: Hull midfielder George Boateng is receiving lengthy treatment at the Britannia Stadium after being accidentally kicked in the head by Tuncay, who looks quite upset. The stretcher is on.

Football League Danny: "In League Two, play-off hopefuls Chesterfield have taken the lead against leaders Rochdale. It's 1-0. In League One, Charlton lead 1-0 at MK Dons thanks to Nicky Forster. And in the Championship, Plymouth have levelled to make it 1-1 with Doncaster."

Spurs goal: Tense times for Darren Bent and Sunderland... Niko Kranjcar crosses from the left and Peter Crouch - only just on as a sub - rises above Michael Turner to nod into the opposite corner.

1630: GOALFLASH Sunderland 2-1 Tottenham (Crouch)

1629: Portsmouth are playing in front of their lowest ever Premier League crowd, 16,027 watching their mudfight with Blackburn.

Football League Danny: "Shola Ameobi nets to make it Peterborough 1-3 Newcastle. Points in the bag for the Magpies - promotion today seemingly depends on what happens at Ashton Gate (still Bristol C 1-1 Forest). Elsewhere, Preston have made it 1-1 against Watford."

1628: Very little happening at the Britannia as Stoke comfortably hold on to their 1-0 lead against Hull. Caleb Folan has come off with Jozy Altidore on in his place for Hull, who have shown no threat whatsoever so far this afternoon.

Red card
Wolves red card: Wolves midfielder Karl Henry goes flying into a tackle on Tomas Rosicky. Mistimed, but perhaps a red is a little over the top. Rosicky is limping but looks like he should continue. Can Arsenal take advantage?

1626: RED CARD Wolves (Henry)

1623: All going off at the Stadium of Light where Sunderland are celebrating for what seems like ages before they realise the goal has been ruled out. Heurelho Gomes and Fraizer Campbell go for Steed Malbranque's cross and the ball hits Michael Turner before Anton Ferdinand lashes home via a slight deflection. Disallowed for a foul by Campbell on Gomes. Looks harsh.

Red card
Portsmouth red card: More misery for Portsmouth, who could be relegated by the time they face Spurs in next Sunday's FA Cup semi-final. And they will have to do it without on-loan defender Anthony Vanden Borre, whose deliberate handball at Fratton Park earns him a second yellow card.

Someone has won a penalty
Sunderland missed penalty: Unbelievable. A stretching Wilson Palacios fails to get the ball and brings down David Meyler. Darren Bent's third penalty kick of the day hits the post and Heurelho Gomes gathers from almost off the line.

1619: PENALTY SAVED Gomes from Bent

1619: RED CARD Portsmouth (Vanden Borre)


Football League Danny: "Ooh 'eck. Charlie Austin's scored another for Swindon - they lead Leeds 3-0 at Elland Road. Absolute horror for Leeds, absolute delirium for the Robins, who are starting to look a serious proposition for automatic promotion."

1615: Ivan Klasnic - just on for Bolton - skews a header wide as they look to peg back Aston Villa.

Football League Danny: "Peterborough 1-2 Newcastle. Normal service is resumed as Joey Barton puts the Championship leaders ahead for the first time. They're not on course for promotion today (Nottingham Forest are still drawing at Bristol City), but they're seemingly on the brink. Incidentally, Posh fans, you'll not be relegated today as it stands - QPR's lead against Sheffield Wednesday is ensuring that."

1612: Roman Pavlyuchenko's flick-on sends substitute Jermain Defoe bursting into the box for Spurs but the England striker shoots just past the far post. Frustration starting to grow at Arsenal now where Wolves are still holding the Gunners.

Football League Danny: "Billy Paynter has done it again. He's made it Leeds 0-2 Swindon. Leeds were seemingly unstoppable prior to their FA Cup win at Old Trafford, but it's been a horrible run since then…"

1608: Stewart Downing heads just over from Ashley Young's corner. Villa still 1-0 up at Bolton. And two early chances for Spurs, sub Jermain Defoe through on goal but his tame effort kept out by Craig Gordon, and a Gareth Bale glancing header from Luka Modric's corner tipped over.

1605: It's so wet at Fratton Park, all 22 players have changed their kit at half-time. What a bunch of girls. Back under way everywhere.

1603: Spurs make a double change as they look to turn it around against Sunderland. Jermain Defoe and Niko Kranjcar replace Benoit Assou-Ekotto and David Bentley.

1601: Off they go at Bolton already. They must be keen to beat the bank holiday traffic.

From anon via text: "Looking at those run-ins (see 1551) you can safely say all three teams are going to drop points, still too close to call I reckon."

Football League Danny: "Some half-times for you then. Peterborough 1-1 Newcastle and Bristol City 1-1 Nottingham Forest - no-one getting promoted, no-one going down, as it stands. Elsewhere in the Champ, it's Coventry 0-1 Derby; Ipswich 2-0 Reading; M'boro 1-1 Palace; Preston 0-1 Watford and QPR 1-0 Sheff Weds. In League One, it's Leeds 0-1 Swindon, while struggling Hartlepool lead 3-0 at Leyton Orient. In League Two it's Chesterfield 0-0 leaders Rochdale; Second-placed Notts County 1-0 Bury and third-placed Bournemouth 1-0 Bradford."

More from Sir Alex Ferguson: "It is very disappointing. Chelsea were by far the better team in the first half but in the second half we did well and we were unfortunate not to get something from the game."

More from Ancelotti: "We wanted to be top after this match. It was hard but we played really well. Champions League matches take up a lot of energy and that is why we started the game so quick. We knew that if we played with a high intensity they could have some problems."

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti on the title race: "Now we are the favourites, yes. That's normal when we are back at the top of the league. But nothing is decided. We have to stay composed, quiet and maintain focus in our game."

1551: Bit of frustration for Arsenal. Plenty of chances but nothing to show for it against hard-working Wolves. I thought you might want to see the title race run-ins...
Chelsea: Bolton (H), Spurs (A), Stoke (H), Liverpool (A), Wigan (H).
Manchester United: Blackburn (A), Man City (A), Spurs (H), Sunderland (A), Stoke (H).
Arsenal: Spurs (A), Wigan (A), Man City (H), Blackburn (A), Fulham (H).

Football League Danny: "Magpies fans - it could yet be your day. Kevin Nolan's equalised on the stroke of half-time to make it Peterborough 1-1 Newcastle. A goal for Newcastle and a goal for Bristol City against Forest = a big night on the Bigg Market tonight."

1550: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Wolves

1548: HALF-TIME Sunderland 2-0 Tottenham

1548: HALF-TIME Stoke 1-0 Hull

1548: HALF-TIME Portsmouth 0-0 Blackburn

Someone has struck the woodwork
1547: Christopher Samba hits the post in stoppage time at the end of the first half against Portsmouth. That's the second time Blackburn have hit the woodwork.

1546: HALF-TIME Bolton 0-1 Aston Villa

Someone has won a penalty
1541: Luka Modric is penalised for a clumsy bodycheck on Fraizer Campbell, allowing Darren Bent the chance to complete a remarkable first-half hat-trick against his old club. Heurelho Gomes guesses the right way again though and this time, it's a good height for the Spurs keeper and he turns the effort around the post.

1540: PENALTY SAVED Gomes from Bent


Football League Danny: "Naughty Reading. Bad Reading. Matthew Mills is sent off for the in-form Royals, so they've got to play the last hour at Ipswich with 10 men. It's still 0-0 though. Couple of other Championship latest scores for you - Coventry 0-1 Derby, Middlesbrough 1-0 Crystal Palace, Preston 0-1 Watford and QPR 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday."

1538: Incidentally, if Spurs do lose today, Manchester City will leapfrog them into fourth with a win at Burnley in the late kick-off. Liverpool would be five points back.

1537: All gone quiet. Arsenal still dominating proceedings at the Emirates, but the breakthrough refuses to come.

Football League Danny: "Down at Ashton Gate, a sensational strike by Guy Moussi has levelled for the visitors - it's Bristol City 1-1 Nottingham Forest. Newcastle are still 1-0 down at Peterborough. As it stands, there's no promotion party for the Magpies today."

1529: Pompey so close to an opening goal against the run of play at Fratton Park, but Gael Givet heads off the line to keep out Jamie O'Hara's close-range header. Seconds later, Blackburn go close at the other end, but David Dunn's low shot skims a post. At the Reebok Stadium, Gabby Agbonlahor spins past Zat Knight and sees his shot tipped just over by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Sunderland goal: Steed Malbranque's shot is saved by Heurelho Gomes but Kyle Walker handles as he tries to complete the clearance. Penalty, and a fired-up Darren Bent squeezes the spot-kick low into the corner, despite Gomes guessing the right way. More wild celebrations from Bent, who turns to the home fans and repeatedly slaps the badge on his shirt. Could be quite a significant result in the race for fourth, this one.

1528: GOALFLASH Sunderland 2-0 Tottenham (Bent pen)


1526: David Bentley's header is, er, heading towards the bottom corner but is comfortably saved by Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon.

Ferguson on the title race: "Five games left, they're two points ahead and four goals better than us - they're in the driving seat. Chelsea are favourites now, there's no question. I'm certain we'll respond but we could win the next five games and not win it."

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on the Drogba goal: "What I can't understand is the linesman's directly in front of it. He has no-one near him and he gets it wrong. A game of that magnitude, you really need quality officials and we didn't get them today. It was a poor, poor performance."

From Andy2806 on Twitter: "With the fixture list Spurs have this April they really don't want to drop points today, but what about their confidence?"

From Hello My Name Is Vermaelen on 606: "Rosicky and Walcott are running the show but we cannot finish any chances!"

1519: The first bit of reaction from Sir Alex Ferguson is in, and it may not surprise you. "It's disappointing - it's just the quality of the official I'm afraid cost us the game."

Football League Danny: "Newcastle fans look away now. Dominic Green has put rock-bottom Peterborough 1-0 up on the Magpies. Apart from being a real surprise, a Posh win denies Newcastle promotion - for today at least."

1515: Chance after chance for Arsenal. Theo Walcott tees up Bacary Sagna, but his shot is gathered at the near post by busy Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann. At a delirious Stadium of Light, Jordan Henderson jinks through into the area and falls under a challenge from Spurs defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto but the claims were waved away. And finally at Fratton Park, Pompey keeper Jamie Ashdown flaps at Morten Gamst Pedersen's free-kick but redeems himself by saving at the feet of Christopher Samba after Jason Roberts failed to connect properly with a shot in front of goal.

1515: It's been an up and down season for Sunderland - but they're no slouches when it comes to kick-off. Infostrada Sports tell us that Darren Bent's 36-second strike against Spurs is the quickest goal in the Premier League this season. It beats team-mate Fraizer Campbell, who notched after 43 seconds against Bolton in March. Slovenly, Fraizer.

Football League Danny: "Nottingham Forest fans, look away now. Newcastle fans, er, continue looking. Liam Fontaine has made it Bristol City 1-0 Forest - remember, if Forest lose and Newcastle win today, the Magpies are up."

1512: Michael Mancienne fires narrowly over for Wolves. Moments later though, Arsenal should be ahead. Tomas Rosicky pulls it back from the right for an unmarked Eduardo, but he falls over the ball.

Villa goal: Awful defending by Bolton, giving Ashley Young all the time in the world to collect the ball, turn and send a delicious, curling shot over Jussi Jaaskelainen's head and into the top corner. Lovely finish.

1509: GOALFLASH Bolton 0-1 Aston Villa (Young)

1508: Fuller will continue for now. What a start to the afternoon. Remember: Portsmouth will go down today if they don't beat Blackburn and Hull win at Stoke.

Stoke goal: Dave Kitson heads on a long ball for Ricardo Fuller, who runs on and finished expertly with the outside of his right foot. Fuller, who came on to score the winner against West Ham last week, is limping though after being caught by Paul McShane.

1506: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-0 Hull (Fuller)

Football League Danny: "Just putting my non-league hat on for a second. In the 1300 BST kick-off in the Blue Square Premier, Luton have won 1-0 at Stevenage. Huge win for the Hatters, they close to within two points of leaders Stevenage. They've got five games left, Stevenage have six. Big."

Sunderland goal We've kicked off at the Stadium of Light by the way - and just 36 seconds in, Darren Bent puts Sunderland ahead against his old club. The Black Cats win a corner, Fraizer Campbell's header is saved by Heurelho Gomes but Bent is there to knock in the rebound. He celebrates wildly. I think that mattered.

1500: GOALFLASH Sunderland 1-0 Tottenham (Bent)

1459: No time to properly digest events at Old Trafford. Will try to bring you reaction from both camps as we go. Here are some quick hits from Infostrada Sports: "Manchester United lost their seventh Premier League match of the season - no team in Prem history has lost seven or more matches in a 38-game season and won the title. Chelsea have won all five Prem matches against fellow Big Four clubs this season, and completed the Prem double over Manchester United for the first time in five years."

From sparticus on Twitter: "So, we wrote off Arsenal last week, and Chelsea the week before, now we get to write off Man United. Anyone left for the title?"

Football League Danny part three: "League Two's match of the day sees play-off wannabes Chesterfield host the unstoppable football machine that is Rochdale. Meadow Lane sees Notts County (second) host Bury (seventh). Bournemouth, meanwhile, will hope to gain vital promotion points against mid-table Bradford."

Football League Danny part two: "In League One, leaders Norwich suffered a rare defeat on Friday, while Millwall stuttered with a home draw against Brentford. That gives hope to Leeds (third) and Swindon (fourth) who meet at Elland Road in a big old game. Stuttering Charlton have a tricky trip to MK Dons, who still retain their own play-off hopes."

Football League Danny part one: "Championship leaders Newcastle could book their return to football's top table today - just ten-and-a-half months after Premier League relegation - if they win at bottom club Peterborough and Nottingham Forest lose at Bristol City. In contrast, if Posh lose, they could go down if Watford also win at Preston and Sheffield Wednesday beat QPR. And, as If all that wasn't enough, there's a quite a south Wales derby at 1720 BST as Cardiff (fourth) host Swansea (fifth). Tasty."

1451: TEAM NEWS Sunderland v Tottenham
Sunderland's John Mensah fails a late fitness test on his hamstring but David Meyler returns after an ankle problem. Paulo Da Silva and Kieran Richardson start with Phil Bardsley and Lorik Cana dropping to the bench. Jermain Defoe is on the bench for Spurs along with Peter Crouch, as Eidur Gudjohnsen and Roman Pavlyuchenko are preferred up front. Michael Dawson is ruled out so Younes Kaboul partners Sebastien Bassong in defence. Gareth Bale moves to the left-side of midfield with Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left-back.

1450: TEAM NEWS Stoke v Hull
Ricardo Fuller comes in for Mamady Sidibe as the only change in Stoke's starting line-up. Abdoulaye Faye has come through a knee problem to start, though. Ibrahima Sonko is out of the Hull team as he is on loan from Stoke and barred from facing his parent club, so Bernard Mendy is promoted from the bench. Caleb Folan, enjoying a new lease of life at Hull, returns to Iain Dowie's side in place of Jozy Altidore.

1449: TEAM NEWS Portsmouth v Blackburn
Portsmouth boss Avram Grant is again without his full complement of substitutes as he tries to plug enough gaps in his injury-ravaged squad to delay relegation by at least another week. Jamie Ashdown deputises for David James in goal after the England keeper failed to recover from a calf injury, one of four changes to the starting line-up. There is some good news for Pompey though, as on-loan Spurs midfielder Jamie O'Hara returns to the side having been ineligible to face his parent club in midweek. Blackburn also show a change in goal, as first-choice Paul Robinson returns having recovered from the calf injury that had kept him out of the last three games. Midfielder Keith Andrews remains sidelined with a calf injury.

1448: TEAM NEWS Bolton v Aston Villa
Just the one change for Bolton as Paul Robinson returns to the defence after an ankle injury, with Jlloyd Samuel making way. Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill shakes things up a bit following the 7-1 defeat at Chelsea last weekend. Carlos Cuellar, Fabian Delph and Stewart Downing are the in the starting line-up, with Luke Young, James Milner and Steve Sidwell dropping to the bench.

1447: TEAM NEWS Arsenal v Wolves
Arsenal are without captain Cesc Fabregas (leg), defender William Gallas and forward Andrey Arshavin (both calf) due to injuries picked up in the 2-2 Champions League draw with Barcelona on Wednesday. Denilson comes into the side for Fabregas, Sol Campbell replaces Gallas and Tomas Rosicky takes Arshavin's place. Theo Walcott, who scored to start the comeback against Barcelona, starts in place of Samir Nasri, who drops to the bench. In addition, Eduardo starts up front, with Nicklas Bendtner amongst the substitutes, Mikael Silverstre replaces Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Eboue comes in for Abou Diaby. Wolves name the same side that drew 0-0 at Everton last Saturday, as they go in search of a fifth consecutive game without defeat. There only change comes on the substitutes bench, where Rob Edwards replaces Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who has a virus.

1445: TEAMS Sunderland v Tottenham
Sunderland: Gordon, Ferdinand, Turner, Da Silva, Richardson, Henderson, Meyler, Cattermole, Malbranque, Campbell, Bent. Subs: Carson, Zenden, Jones, Cana, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Mwaruwari.
Tottenham: Gomes, Kyle Walker, Kaboul, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Palacios, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Gudjohnsen. Subs: Alnwick, Crouch, Defoe, Kranjcar, Rose, Livermore, Dervite.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

1444: TEAMS Stoke v Hull
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Abdoulaye Faye, Higginbotham, Collins, Lawrence, Whelan, Delap, Etherington, Fuller, Kitson. Subs: Begovic, Sidibe, Pugh, Shawcross, Whitehead, Sanli, Wilkinson.
Hull: Myhill, Mendy, McShane, Mouyokolo, Kilbane, Garcia, Boateng, Bullard, Marney, Fagan, Folan. Subs: Duke, Dawson, Barmby, Altidore, Geovanni, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Olofinjana.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

1443: TEAMS Bolton v Aston Villa
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Muamba, Cohen, Wilshere, Kevin Davies, Elmander. Subs: Al Habsi, Samuel, Taylor, Steinsson, Klasnic, Andrew O'Brien, Weiss.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Ashley Young, Petrov, Delph, Downing, Carew, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Luke Young, Sidwell, Milner, Delfouneso, Heskey, Beye.
Referee: Michael Jones (Cheshire)

1442: TEAMS Portsmouth v Blackburn
Portsmouth: Ashdown, Vanden Borre, Rocha, Mokoena, Mullins, Basinas, Brown, Hughes, O'Hara, Kanu, Utaka. Subs: O'Brien, Piquionne, Nlundulu, Ward, Ritchie, Sowah.
Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Jones, Givet, Diouf, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Olsson, Dunn, Roberts. Subs: Brown, Emerton, Grella, Linganzi, Kalinic, Hoilett, Di Santo.
Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent)

1441: TEAMS Arsenal v Wolves
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Silvestre, Eboue, Song, Denilson, Walcott, Eduardo, Rosicky. Subs: Fabianski, Diaby, Nasri, Vela, Clichy, Eastmond, Bendtner.
Wolves: Hahnemann, Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Elokobi, Foley, Henry, Mancienne, David Jones, Jarvis, Doyle. Subs: Hennessey, Edwards, Keogh, Ward, Iwelumo, Milijas, Guedioura.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

1438: Chelsea go top of the Premier League with 74 points, two ahead of Manchester United. I reckon Sir Alex MAY mention the fact that Drogba was offside for Chelsea's second. POSSIBLY. But United were well below par today. Arsenal will be one point behind United if they beat Wolves in the upcoming 3pm kick-offs.

1437: FULL-TIME Man Utd 1-2 Chelsea

1436: Nani goes down clutching his face after being accidentally caught by Paulo Ferreira. His dramatics give United a chance to get the ball into the box. Chelsea clear though.

1435: Into four minutes of added time.

1433: A chance for Berbatov to make himself a hero... Gary Neville swings in the cross and Berbatov meets it with his right foot, the volley bouncing once before Petr Cech collects. Sighs around Old Trafford.

1432: Dimitar Berbatov gets his lay-off to Gary Neville on the right touchline all wrong, and Chelsea come away with the ball. That won't help the Bulgarian's popularity among the home fans.

1429: Five minutes left, plus stoppages. Darron Gibson replaces Darren Fletcher for United. Michael Ballack came on for Deco as United celebrated Macheda's goal.

Man Utd goal: Nani dances his way to the byeline on the left and his cross comes off Petr Cech, with that man Federico Macheda appearing to bundle the ball with an arm, or even two. Evens up the decisions maybe. Eight minutes left and the United fans are screaming "attack, attack, attack".

1424: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-2 Chelsea (Macheda)

Chelsea goal: He's offside, but that is the first time in over three years that Didier Drogba has started on the bench for Chelsea and scored in a league match. Salomon Kalou slips the ball through and Drogba is clearly offside but lashes the ball high into the net at the near post, with Edwin van der Sar apparently anticipating something completely different. Offside though.

1422: GOALFLASH Man Utd 0-2 Chelsea (Drogba)

From InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Federico Macheda scored his two previous Premier League goals almost exactly one year ago, on 5 and 11 April 2009."

1417: Salomon Kalou replaces Joe Cole for Chelsea. A little over quarter of an hour remaining.

1416: Bit of nonsense here as Deco gives away a free-kick and then stands in front of the ball to prevent Ryan Giggs taking it. Having just seen yellow, he sensibly moves away, only to be replaced by Joe Cole - who gets the yellow instead. From the free-kick, United are screaming for a penalty as Antonio Valencia's header hits Florent Malouda - on the shoulder, it looks like.

1415: Manchester United win a corner - but first a double change. Nani and Federico Macheda on for Paul Scholes and Ji-Sung Park.

Yellow card
1414: Deco does get a yellow for a late challenge on Ryan Giggs. Sir Alex will be making changes shortly I think.

1412: Gary Neville penalised for a foul in the centre circle. He lets Mike Dean know exactly what he thinks, as does Paul Scholes - who is already on a yellow and gets a talking to from Dean. Drogba on for Nicolas Anelka.

1411: Didier Drogba is taking his tracksuit top off. He'll be on in a sec.

1408: Carlo Ancelotti might be thinking about changes. His side still lead but are under pressure. Dimitar Berbatov heads another difficult chance over.

1406: Patrice Evra beats two defenders on the left, sprinting in between them and crossing deep. A backpedalling Petr Cech can't reach it, but Antonio Valencia can't control the ball either and Chelsea survive.

1403: United finally starting to build some pressure and a decent spell ends in Dimitar Berbatov heading narrowly wide from a Ryan Giggs cross. The crowd responds.

1402: Lung-busting run by Darren Fletcher and he finds Ji-Sung Park's darting run inside, but with John Terry closing quickly, the South Korean has to hurry his shot and blazes wide.

1359: Joe Cole's foul on Ji-Sung Park gives United a free-kick about 25 yards out. Ryan Giggs tries to play it cleverly, chipping it towards Dimitar Berbatov but the Bulgarian striker is caught on the back foot and slips and stumbles as he tries to reach it.

1357: Florent Malouda goes on another dangerous run, through the middle this time, and the United defence are backing off, but the Frenchman gets to the edge of the area and decides to lay the ball off to Nicolas Anelka and the move breaks down. Not sure why he didn't take on Nemanja Vidic there. Bit too unselfish.

1356: Antonio Valencia slips as he crosses from the right but Patrice Evra is on the end of it. He has to volley it, and though he hits it well enough, it's wide.

1354: United do look a bit more lively in this half. Ryan Giggs escapes on the left, but is halted by an offside flag.

1351: Close. Joe Cole threads a lovely ball through for Paulo Ferreira, who rolls the ball agonisingly across goal past the outstretched hand of Edwin van der Sar, just out of reach of Nicolas Anelka and beyond the far post.

From Tom in Manchester via text: "This Berbatov bashing is boring. Even with Rooney up front today we would still be in the same situation because our MIDFIELD is being overrun."

1348: Here come the players. I should imagine Sir Alex Ferguson had a bit to say during the interval... No changes yet though as we get back under way in the second half.

1344: Arsenal fans find themselves in the unlikely position of willing Manchester United to score. A draw in this game and a win for the Gunners over Wolves later would see the one-two-three look like this: 1. Man Utd 73, 2. Chelsea 72, 3. Arsenal 71. And good news for Arsenal fans elsewhere with the news that Aaron Ramsey is walking unaided just a month after breaking his leg in two places.

From optajoe on Twitter: "Chelsea have dropped just two points from the 16 matches that they have been leading at half-time in the Premier League this term."

From scobiedog on 606: "I want Berbatov to be successful at United but I can't see it, he doesn't chase back and is slow and indecisive when a chance presents itself in the box."

BBC Radio 5 live
1334: Chris Waddle on BBC 5 live expects to see Federico Macheda in the second half. "They need someone who can stretch the back four and run in behind. Dimitar Berbatov is not going to do that. He likes the ball into feet. That's how he plays."

1332: HALF-TIME Man Utd 0-1 Chelsea

1331: John Terry penalised for bundling over Dimitar Berbatov. Free-kick 25 yards out, over to the right, but Ryan Giggs's inswinging effort is easily headed away.

Yellow card
1329: All very slow by the hosts... but here's a strong run by Ji-Sung Park and he plays the ball into Dimitar Berbatov, but Frank Lampard times the challenge well. Gary Neville in the book now for a terrible challenge on Florent Malouda.

From 20ledge-kb on 606: "Chelsea seem to have so much space while United are being closed down at every opportunity."

From anon via text: "Wearing a samuri outfit in Tokyo watching the game does not make a United fan any less nervous. Even if I do have a sword."

From Winnerpool... on 606: "Malouda's having a stormer today. His improvement has been astonishing!"

Yellow card
1320: Apologies. Paul Scholes was - surprisingly, if you ask me - not booked for that earlier poor tackle on Deco. He is in the book now though after a flying effort on Florent Malouda near the halfway line. He can count himself lucky that's not his second.

From Brad_bcfc on Twitter: "There's your stonewaller. Mike Dean scared to give the penalty after all of the press in the build-up."

1316: Gary Neville barges into Nicolas Anelka in very clumsy fashion, and is nowhere near the ball. Another shout for a penalty. Mike Dean again resists temptation. Looked a good shout too.

1311: Ji-Sung Park goes down just inside the box under a challenge from Yuri Zhirkov. The midfielder went down very dramatically, but Zhirkov seemed to leave his leg in. Mike Dean waves away the half-appeal, and opts against booking Park.

BBC Radio 5 live
Chris Waddle on BBC 5 live: "I can't believe how flat Manchester United are. Chelsea look so fresh, their movement, they're all looking for the ball. United can't live with them at the moment."

Chelsea goal: Ha. Mike Ingham's voice of doom has done the trick. Florent Malouda goes past at least three Manchester United defenders, holding off the attentions of Darren Fletcher to get to the left byeline and his low ball in is cleverly flicked into the far corner by Joe Cole at the near post.

1305: GOALFLASH Man Utd 0-1 Chelsea (J Cole)

1303: Manchester United have the ball on the edge of the opposition area but Chelsea's pressing forces them back into their own half. "This has got 0-0 written all over it," says voice of doom Mike Ingham on BBC 5 live.

1259: Alan, you're not missing much at the moment. Patrice Evra jinks into the area but in the end, his shot is easy for Petr Cech. Should have squared it for Roo... ah.

From Alan in Wimbledon, via text: "Biggest game of the season and I am in a childs theatre watching Charlie and Lola! Don't ask."

1258: Nemanja Vidic gives the ball away in a dangerous area, and Joe Cole has a shooting opportunity but miscues.

1256: Jon Obi Mikel is late on Ji-Sung Park, and looks to have had a last warning from Mike Dean. Advantage played, but a misunderstanding between Dimitar Berbatov and Antonio Valencia hands possession back to Chelsea.

1255: Yuri Zhirkov bounces off Antonio Valencia and falls over, leaving the winger free to measure a cross for Dimitar Berbatov. Difficult chance, headed over.

1253: Both teams still feeling each other out. Darren Fletcher has just lost the ball in midfield, which isn't something you see every day.

1250: Lovely bit of dribbling from Dimitar Berbatov on the left. Doesn't come to much, but a confident start by the Bulgarian.

1248: Bright start from the visitors. Frank Lampard finds Paulo Ferreira on the right with a lovely pass and it's a decent cross towards Nicolas Anelka, but Rio Ferdinand gets his head in.

1246: First effort on goal is from Chelsea. Gary Neville tackling and the ball breaking for Deco whose first-time effort dribbles wide.

1245: Ready? Go...

1243: The camera is unsurprisingly focusing on Dimitar Berbatov as the players go through their final warm-ups. The general consensus is: it's a big game for the Bulgarian.

1241: Teams in the tunnel. Gary Neville is stoney-faced. Carlo Ancelotti's having a nice chat with Edwin van der Sar.

From The_Only_Martin on Twitter: "Referee Mike Dean, of Wirral. The man who 'gives more pens than other refs'. He's so gonna wave away a stonewaller today."

From Frankie, wishing he was in Prague, via text: "Tell Rich in Prague (see below) to try the Golf Cafe, have watched many a game in that smoke-filled £3 a coffee establishment."

1232: David Haye is at Old Trafford, just to "say hello to everyone and show them the belt". The Londoner defends his WBA title against American John Ruiz down the road at the MEN Arena later. The fight starts about 2200 BST and is live on BBC 5 live, with text commentary on the BBC website.

From James, Lincoln, via text: "I think if the game was at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea would win comfortably but I fancy a draw with Chelsea being more cautious. I reluctantly predict a stalemate."

From Rich from Chichester via text: "Stuck in Prague airport with a flight delayed by 15 hours so far, can't find anywhere with the game!! Panic!!"

1226: TEAM NEWS Man Utd v Chelsea
For Manchester United, Antonio Valencia gets the nod ahead of Nani who's dropped to the bench, Dimitar Berbatov plays as a lone striker while Ji-Sung Park, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs provide the support in the middle. Expect Italian substitute Federico Macheda to come on if United need a goal. Carlo Ancelotti names the same Chelsea starting XI who beat Aston Villa 7-1. So Didier Drogba is on the bench with Nicolas Anelka up front on his own, with Joe Cole and Deco keeping their places.

From Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "It is over three years since Didier Drogba started on the bench for Chelsea and scored in a Premier League match."

1222: Cold, hard fact: Portsmouth will go down today if they fail to beat Blackburn, and Hull win at Stoke. If they don't win today, they'll go down tomorrow if West Ham beat Everton.

From Abu Fahad on 606: "Massive gamble by Ancelotti leaving The Drog out. However, with Malouda's movement and Cole's runs, I fancy Chelsea to take it 2-1."

1213: UK web users, manually refresh the page for Football Focus. International web users, close your eyes and dream of Mark Lawrenson.

From Whitey, Kent, via text: "Mrs out for the day. Front door locked. Phone off the hook. Cold beer in left hand, remote in right. BACK OF THE NET!!"

1209: Lots of clever people letting me know there are fewer than 200 countries in the world (see 1151), which I think just goes to show how big this game is. They've even invented some countries in which to show it. I read that 'fact' one of the grown-up papers by the way. Tsk.

From sam_havill on 606: "Biggest game of the season, yes, but not much of a spectacle without Rooney and Drogba. Fifty goals missing, I hope I'm proved wrong!"

From James, Leeds, via text: "Mistake! We need a big man to take on Vidic, and only Drogba can do that!"

1203: TEAMS Man Utd v Chelsea
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Giggs, Scholes, Park, Berbatov. Subs: Kuszczak, Carrick, Nani, Rafael Da Silva, Macheda, Gibson, De Laet.
Chelsea: Cech, Paulo Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Zhirkov, Joe Cole, Deco, Lampard, Mikel, Malouda, Anelka. Subs: Turnbull, Drogba, Ballack, Kalou, Sturridge, Belletti, Bruma.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

From optajoe on Twitter: "Chelsea have won all six of their Premier League matches without Drogba in the starting XI this season, scoring 25 goals in the process."

1159: Well, well. Interesting move by Carlo Ancelotti. Didier Drogba wasn't involved in either of the games in which Chelsea hit seven (v Aston Villa, Sunderland) and the Blues won all five league and cup games when he was at the Africa Cup of Nations. I mean, I'm not saying he's rubbish...

1156: BREAKING TEAM NEWS Didier Drogba is on the bench for Chelsea.

1155: Now if you wish to defy me, you can on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (world), on 606, or on Twitter.

1151: Apparently, the game is being screened in 211 countries. I didn't even know there were 211 countries. And I'm not saying today is a MASSIVE day or anything, but Arsenal could get right back in the title race (for what seems like the umpteenth time this season), Portsmouth could be relegated and Newcastle could replace them. Or maybe none of those things will happen. We just don't know. That's the magic of football.

1145: Let's not beat around the bush: Manchester United v Chelsea is the biggest game of this Premier League season. I defy you to argue.

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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 3 Apr 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 33 54 74
2 Man Utd 33 50 72
3 Arsenal 33 41 71
4 Man City 32 24 59
5 Tottenham 32 26 58
6 Liverpool 32 21 54
7 Aston Villa 32 12 54
8 Everton 32 8 49
9 Birmingham 32 -4 45
10 Stoke 32 -3 42
11 Blackburn 33 -15 42
12 Fulham 31 -3 38
13 Sunderland 33 -7 38
14 Wolves 33 -23 32
15 Bolton 33 -25 32
16 Wigan 32 -33 31
17 West Ham 32 -17 27
18 Hull 32 -35 27
19 Burnley 33 -39 24
20 Portsmouth 33 -32 14

see also
Ups and downs
10 Jun 10 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football
BBC Sport's football predictor
22 Mar 10 |  Football

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