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Page last updated at 18:54 GMT, Saturday, 28 August 2010 19:54 UK

Saturday football as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

1950: Another crackerjack day of football, then... so good, in fact, I suggest we do it all again tomorrow - what do you reckon? Four more beauties are lined up for Sunday, with Bolton v Birmingham, Liverpool v West Brom, Sunderland v Manchester City and Aston Villa v Everton on the agenda, so make sure you join me for all of those. But before that, don't forget to check out Match of the Day at 2225 BST on BBC One and the website (UK users only) before The Football League Show at 2345. You know it makes sense. Laters.

Kit, Oadby via text: "Leicester - the Foxes?! You're having a laugh. More like lemmings. Suicidal defending, poor team selection, Sousa is clueless. Time for him to go."

1944: MAN UTD 3-0 WEST HAM:
Nabil Hassan reports:
"You have to worry for winless West Ham who never looked like getting back into the game once Wayne Rooney had scored from the spot. It was easy for the Red Devils in the end with Dimitar Berbatov having one of his better games."

1937: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on ESPN: "We put in a very good performance. We had plenty of possession and, while we could have scored more, the key goal was always going to be the first one. I thought our link-up play was excellent, and the way Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov, in particular, directed our play did not go unnoticed. So yes, I'm very pleased."

TheMerrick on 606: "No, James, we CANNOT end the season now. Liverpool are 18th!"

1931: Nani on ESPN: "I'm working hard every day and I look forward to scoring more goals and helping the team to win more games. I want to push on this season, that's why I'm working so hard. I want to help this team win the league as a key player. As a team, we are growing in confidence every game."

James via text: "Can we end the season now? Champions league qualification is a satisfactory finish for Wolves."

SuperSamirNasri8 on 606: "Game over. Pretty simple stuff for United. The top three all looking good at the moment."

Full time
And that's that - a victory almost as comfortable as the scoreline suggests in the end, despite West Ham's best efforts.

89 mins: I tell you what, that's not far away, West Ham striker Frederic Piquionne slapping in a fizzing drive from the angle that Edwin van der Sar does well to push away from his near post.

89 mins: And it's almost a debut goal for Chris Smalling, but his header is well cleared.

88 mins: England coach Fabio Capello has also seen enough by the look of things, leaving Trevor Brooking looking rather lonely alongside his wife and not very many others in the executive seats. Man Utd earn themselves a corner.

Football League Danny Extra: "Great drama at the Walker's Stadium as Matt Mills' late header gives Reading a 2-1 win over Leicester. The Royals' first league win of the season, Foxes in the doldrums. Incidentally, Reading keeper Adam Federici made a simply sensational stop towards the end of the game - just the sort of action that will make The Football League Show unmissable viewing tonight at 2345 BST on BBC One and, indeed, the BBC website."

85 mins: We started the match with an attendance of 75,061 at Old Trafford, but some of the home fans are now taking their leave with all three points in the bag. This match drifting towards the inevitable conclusion at the moment, it has to be said.

Rachel Tyrrell, Lincoln via text: "Re: 72 mins - It's not a silly rule when scorers have a chest rug, a la Giggs. In fact, that one deserved a red! *Shudder*"

80 mins: West Ham, credit to them, continue to forge forward and Carlton Cole looks to set himself up in the box, only for Nemanja Vidic to get across with a super tackle to clear the chance before the frontman can get his shot off. It's been one of those days for West Ham - plenty of effort and vigour, just no end product.

76 mins: Oh, my mistake - it was Jonny Evans who came off for Man Utd just now, not Wayne Rooney. They do look similar. Erm...

74 mins: Triple substitution for Manchester United - Jonny Evans, Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbtov off, Michael Owen, Michael Carrick and Chris Smalling coming on.

Yellow card
72 mins: Turns out Dimitar Berbatov got booked after that goal for removing his shirt. That's got to be one of the silliest rules in football hasn't it?

71 mins: The way Man Utd are stroking the around now, this could get rather messy for the Hammers.

Man Utd goal: It's been coming, and when it does it's pretty glorious. Nani receives John O'Shea's pass in the box and clips a doozy of a cross to the back post, where Dimitar Berbatov meets it with a flying volley that rockets into the net.

69 mins: GOALFLASH Man Utd 3-0 West Ham (Berbatov)

65 mins: Man Utd earn a corner - their seventh of the day compared to none for West Ham - but Nani fails to beat the first man.

62 mins: Dimitar Berbatov is starting to show the link-up play that can be his forte and his lay-off finds Paul Scholes, the midfielder's shot straight at keeper Rob Green, though.

62 mins: West Ham boss Avram Grant decides now is the time to roll the dice, and on comes Pablo Barrera in place of the fairly annonymous Julien Faubert.

Yellow card
58 mins: Is that what's called a 'tactical' yellow card? Wayne Rooney threatens to get clear of the Hammers defence, so defender Matthew Upson cynically brings him down. Booked.

Someone has struck the woodwork
56 mins: He's been their best player today, and Kieron Dyer goes within inches of reducing West Ham's deficit when, running on to Carlton Cole's clever flick, he curls right-footed on to the outside of Edwin van der Sar's left-hand post. An excellent move, one that deserved a finish.

53 mins: United really starting to play now, and West Ham could be staring down the barrel for the next 40-odd minutes. Nani, Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney combine well with some one-touch play, and only a brilliant diving tackle from Danny Gabbidon prevents the latter pulling the trigger 16 yards from goal.

mattwittbrodt on Twitter: "So yeah...about Nani's confidence..."

Man Utd goal: When he's hot, he can be white hot. Nani collects a lovely lay-off from Wayne Rooney, skips inside a West Ham defender and slams an unstoppable left-foot shot high past keeper Rob Green. A fine goal.

50 mins: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-0 West Ham (Nani)

48 mins: Ryan Giggs picks right up where he left off in the first half, dancing around a couple of Hammers midfielders before being cleverly disposed by Danny Gabbidon. Hope for West Ham fans, by the way - they were the last team to overturn a Manchester United half-time lead to win, at Upton Park three years ago.

Anon via text: "Re 1818: if this really is Giggs's and Scholes's last hurrah, what's going to happen to United next year? Will they falter against resilient teams like today's West Ham?"

1834: West Ham defender Danny Gabbidon keeps everyone waiting... but he finally makes it out on to the Old Trafford pitch and we are up and running in the second half.

1830: Right, half-time refreshments consumed, we'll be back under way in a couple of minutes. No changes for either side, I understand.

Whitikaa on Twitter: "Nani's confidence is shot, knew he shouldn't have taken the penalty against Fulham."

Half time
Nabil Hassan's one-line HT report:
"West Ham had been doing well to frustrate United but in the end it is the class of Scholes and the wizardry of Giggs that makes the difference."

45+1 mins: A glorious ball over the top from Ryan Giggs sends Nani clear on goal, but the winger's attempted chip over Rob Green from inside the area floats harmlessly over the bar. A waste.

45 mins: We'll have two minutes of added time.

44 mins: Jonathan Spector doesn't quite know how to deal with Ryan Giggs at the moment, the Welshman pushing the full-back back before laying it to Dimitar Berbatov who twice strikes at goal but twice sees his effort blocked.

Football League Danny Extra: "It's Leicester 0-1 Reading at half-time in the evening's Championship fixture. Gylfi Sigurdsson on the scoresheet for the Royals. The Foxes are having a bad old start to the season...."

40 mins: Great save. Darren Fletcher's firmly-hit curler looks to be heading for the top corner until Hammers keeper Rob Green, at full stretch, gets across to his left to palm it around the post.

38 mins: Lovely spot of keep-ball from West Ham as they move it around their backline and midfield, but the trouble is it is just not going anywhere. Kieron Dyer looks to be the only player displaying any sort of ambition in the white and light blue at the moment.

Man Utd goal: Ryan Giggs earns the penalty when he goes over Jonathan Spector's clumsy challenge in the box and Wayne Rooney does not pass up the opportunity to end the longest barren spell of his career, side-footing in from the spot.

33 mins: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 West Ham (Rooney pen)


30 mins: West Ham striker Carlton Cole receives a bit of treatment on his shoulder after falling awkwardly - he'll be OK I think. But then, I'm not a doctor so what do I know.

28 mins: Kieron Dyer has been West Ham's liveliest player in this opening half hour or so and he thrashes a shot low into the side netting from the edge of the area, reminding the hosts that they might not have everything their own way today.

26 mins: Wayne Rooney and Nani link up well in the box and the latter blasts over the bar on the turn. West Ham living a touch dangerously now.

Someone has struck the woodwork
24 mins: Close. Nemanja Vidic's lovely ball from the back is flicked towards Nani by Dimitar Berbatov and the Portuguese winger forces Rob Green into an awkward save - the Hammers keeper pushing it up on to the bar - with a stinging 20-yard effort.

DeadRevel on 606: "West Ham doing fairly well against United. But you do get the feeling they'd need about a year to score in this game..."

Yellow card
20 mins: Referee Mark Clattenburg dips into his pocket for the first time, and rightly so as Mark Noble goes in rather recklessly on Wayne Rooney.

17 mins: It's Nani, but the Portuguese flyer cannot get it up and then back down and it drifts over Rob Green's goal.

16 mins: Jonathan Spector catches Nani on the edge of the box, and this is a fine position for one of the United players to have a crack. Nani himself? Ryan Giggs? Paul Scholes?

14 mins: You might not believe this, but it is tipping it down at Old Trafford. Meanwhile, United defender Jonny Evans is trying to run off a knock to his right leg after falling awkwardly a moment ago.

Rorb on 606: "Re: 1737 - Frank's possession style football won't be missed in England's kick and rush approach. So no drama for England."

11 mins: And there is the England frontman, Rooney charging at goal before unleashing a right-foot shot from the edge of the area - it's straight at Rob Green, though, the West Ham keeper saving comfortably in the end.

10 mins: West Ham have actually not started too badly here, Scott Parker at the heart of their efforts to keep the ball - but Manchester United already look full of venom going forward and Wayne Rooney certainly looks up for this.

bluedefence on 606: "Re: 1 min - Poor chap and all for a mere £6m a year."

Frank Lampard is to have hernia surgery in midweek and will miss England's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland, Chelsea have confirmed.

5 mins: Paul Scholes clips over the West Ham defence and Dimitar Berbatov bustles forward, however his cross towards the unmarked Wayne Rooney inside the box is well cleared.

3 mins: Re: 1727, no I don't know who Wayne Ronney is either. Darned imposter I'd imagine.

1 min: England coach Fabio Capello is at the ground to watch Man Utd-West Ham, making this his third match of the day. He started at Blackburn, hopped over to Blackpool, and is now in Manchester. Tis a tough job, but someone has to do it I suppose.

1731: Man Utd get matters started at Old Trafford.

Ben Standen via text: "West Ham have been United's bogey team for the past few years..."

1727: Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson on ESPN: "We're happy Wayne (Rooney) is back from his virus, he's trained all week and he's ready to play. We have a good history of bouncing back from disappointing results, hopefully we'll get back on track."

iSpartacus on 606: "Rooney to break the duck - don't care if it comes off his backside. He needs a goal."

Nabil Hassan reports:
"Striker Wayne Rooney returns for Man Utd, as does Ryan Giggs, with Antonio Valencia and Ji-Sung Park making way for the pair. Rooney has failed to score for club and country in 13 matches, with his last goal coming against Bayern Munich on 30 March, so he'll be looking to rectify that for sure. Meanwhile, West Ham's Scott Parker makes his 250th career league start, with Luis Boa Morte coming in for striker Frederic Piquionne. Matthew Upson has recovered from his facial injury and takes his place in defence with Jonathan Spector also starting in the back four."

Owen Phillips reports:
"If Tottenham were not aware of how much of a strain Champions League football can be before kick-off, a sleepy display against a determined, organised and, at times, classy Wigan side will have rammed it home to them by the end."

BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty at Bloomfield Road:
"Blackpool have to settle for a point, which was the least they deserved. There will be an air of disappointment after coming so close to the win, but they can take great heart from this display."

Les Roopanarine reports:
"A draw from an afternoon of full-blooded entertainment, punctuated by 11 yellow cards, was just about right."

1716: CHELSEA 2-0 STOKE:
Kevin Darling reports:
"Oh well, Chelsea's hopes of winning 6-0 in every game this season are over… but Carlo Ancelotti won't be too bothered after another efficient display against the plucky Potters."

BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty at Bloomfield Road: "Fulham boss Mark Hughes says Bobby Zamora "very doubtful" for England with thigh injury. David Stockdale also has ankle injury."

1712: By the way, our Chelsea-Stoke match reporter Kevin Darling tells me that John Terry, following a challenge with Rory Delap, spent most of the second half hobbling around rather gingerly. No news on the severity of that injury yet, but you have to wonder if it puts his place in tomorrow's England squad in jeopardy.

Football League Danny: "Torquay are the proud owners of the last remaining 100% record in the Football League, making it four wins from four with a 2-1 win at Port Vale. Shrewsbury are hot on their heels with a 4-0 smashing of Stockport on the road. At the foot are Barnet, although after last week's 7-0 battering by Crewe, a 1-1 draw with Bury is probably most welcome."

Football League Danny: "Sheffield Wednesday are top of League One after a 5-0 away win at Hartlepool. Resounding. Title favourites Southampton seem to have got their season properly under way with a 4-0 thumping of Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium. Comeback of the day? Surely Notts County - 3-0 down at Bournemouth after 28 minutes, they drew 3-3 after goals on 91 and 95 minutes. Late show."

Football League Danny: "So, a breathless finish at Pride Park. Just to repeat - QPR scored in the 92nd and 95th minutes to earn a 2-2 draw at Derby and retain top spot in the Championship table. They're ahead on goal difference from Cardiff, who won 2-0 at poor old Portsmouth and Ipswich, 2-0 winners over Bristol City, for whom David James was reportedly culpable for the goals."

Man Utd:
Van der Sar, O'Shea, Vidic, Jonathan Evans, Evra, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs, Rooney, Berbatov. Subs: Kuszczak, Owen, Smalling, Hernandez, Carrick, Rafael Da Silva, Valencia.
West Ham: Green, Spector, Gabbidon, Upson, Ilunga, Faubert, Noble, Parker, Boa Morte, Dyer, Cole. Subs: Stech, Barrera, Kovac, McCarthy, da Costa, Stanislas, Piquionne.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

mrtim111 on Twitter: "Mark Hughes was sacked last season by Manchester City after a series of draws. This season Fulham have started with three draws... surely not?"

1705: Well that sprung into life didn't it. A late leveller to deny Blackpool, Chelsea falling four goals short of their usual standards... but still winning, a Champions League hangover for Tottenham and all square at Molineux. This is the season that just keeps on giving isn't it? And we've still got Man Utd v West Ham to come. Love it.

onithor on 606: "Only one goal for Drogba? One goal?! I'm benching him. Benching him!"

Nabil Hassan reports:
"West Ham are winless in the Premier League so far this season and face the unenviable task of trying to take points off a Manchester United side who will still be smarting from conceding a late equaliser to Fulham last Sunday. The Hammers, who are bottom of the table, are without an away win in the league since the first day of last season when they beat Wolves 2-0. United, who are unbeaten this season, have won 11 of their last 12 league matches at Old Trafford, averaging 3.25 goals per game - so the signs look ominous for West Ham."

SimonScottDan on Twitter: "So Spurs escape from Alcaraz... but not Rodallega."

Full time


And there's more from Football League Danny: "QPR-markable. Two injury-time goals for the hoops and it's Derby 2-2 QPR. Resilient."

Football League Danny: "Fans of substantial away wins for clubs who were once in the top division but are now in League One will like these scores. Bristol Rovers 0-4 Southampton. Hartlepool 0-5 Sheffield Wednesday. Good travellers."

Full time

1652: Oh, he has to score there. Younes Kaboul rises to meet a free-kick from deep ahead of keeper Ali Al Habsi but he flicks it wide. Let-off for Wigan.

Full time

1650: It should be 3-0 to Chelsea against Stoke but Salomon Kalou - one-on-one - fires straight at Thomas Sorensen.

1649: It's all happening at Spurs - and the hosts think they have a great shout for a penalty when Antolin Alcaraz handles a high cross into the box, but referee Phil Dowd gives it the other way. Looks like a poor decision on the replays - Tottenham denied. By the way, apparently there are only 60 Wigan fans at White Hart Lane. Blimey.

1646: Ali Al Habsi take a bow. First the Wigan keeper does brilliantly to tip Niko Kranjcar's dipping effort over the bar and then, from the resulting corner, he reacts excellently to beat away Michael Dawson's snap-shot. Four minutes of normal time for Spurs to find a leveller.

BBC Sport's David Dulin at Portsmouth v Cardiff: "There are 10 minutes to go at Fratton Park. Cardiff look comfortable for their lead and boss Dave Jones has brought on new loan signing Andy Keogh for Bellamy, who was roundly booed off by the Portsmouth fans."

Garth Crooks on Final Score: "For me it's a case of after the Lord Mayor's show for Tottenham. I worry for Spurs after Champions League games this season. They've been lacklustre today."

Fulham goal: Blackpool hearts deflate the nation over as Moussa Dembele sends Dickson Etuhu clear and the Nigerian clips cleverly over the onrushing Matthew Gilks to level it up.

1642: GOALFLASH Blackpool 2-2 Fulham (Etuhu)

1642: Tottenham almost level immediately as Tom Huddlestone controls a volley from over his shoulder, but it goes inches wide.

Wigan goal: Tottenham have fallen apart in this last few minutes and Wigan finally get their reward. This time Hendry Thomas's ball over the top finds Hugo Rodallega and the frontman lashes into the corner via a slight deflection.

1641: GOALFLASH Tottenham 0-1 Wigan (Rodallega)

1640: How. Has. He. Missed?! Wigan break at White Hart Lane and Hugo Rodallega's cross finds Antolin Alcaraz two yards out with the keeper nowhere and the goal gaping - but he somehow contrives to spoon it over the bar. Unbelievable miss.

Football League Danny: "Ipswich 2-0 up on Bristol City now. Poor day for Bristol all round in fact, as Rovers are 3-0 down at home to Southampton - former Pirate Rickie Lambert with an inevitable goal there. Millwall lead Coventry 2-1 and sheffield United are 1-0 up against Preston."

Chelsea goal: It's another clear penalty as Nicolas Anelka, this time, is wiped out charging at goal by Thomas Sorensen and, with Frank Lampard off the pitch, Didier Drogba steps up to coolly slam home the spot-kick. Game over.

1636: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-0 Stoke (Drogba pen)


BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty at Bloomfield Road: "Absolute downpour in Blackpool - but the locals are feeling no pain after Luke Varney puts them ahead. Ian Holloway's side have simply stuck at it, kept playing football - and no-one can begrudge them their lead."

Grimandi on 606: "Blackpool are third in the league."

TheLeighRoy on Twitter: "Re: Carroll - Man Utd looking at him doesn't mean he is good enough. I've looked at him - doesn't mean I want him as a wife."

Blackpool goal: It's the stuff of fairytales. Unless you're a Fulham fan. Luke Varney - on his Premier League debut - caps a fantastic display with a super finish, clipping into the corner from Brett Ormerod's through-ball to send the home fans beyond raptures.

1631: GOALFLASH Blackpool 2-1 Fulham (Varney)

1630: Blackpool are buzzing now, and Charlie Adam forces a fine fingertip save from Fulham keeper David Stockdale with a firm 20-yard drive.

1629: Great goalkeeping for Wolves by Marcus Hahnemann to repel a stinging effort from Kevin Nolan from Wayne Routledge's cross.

Blackpool goal: Bloomfield Road goes mental - Elliot Grandin finds Luke Varney in the box but the frontman's shot is going wide via a deflection until John Pantsil inexplicably hacks the ball into his own net.

1627: GOALFLASH Blackpool 1-1 Fulham (Pantsil og)

Someone has struck the woodwork
1626: So close. Glenn Whelan charges at the Chelsea defence before the Stoke midfielder lets fly from 25 yards, but his shot crashes back off the bar.

BBC Sport's David Dulin at Portsmouth v Cardiff: "Portsmouth's woes continue. If an own goal wasn't bad enough, a mix-up between keeper Jamie Ashdown and Ibrahima Sonko allows Jay Bothroyd to sneak in and fire into an empty net - 2-0 Cardiff."

Garth Crooks on Final Score: "Andy Carroll is a player with great potential and I'm told Manchester United are looking very closely at him. If he's good enough for United, he's good enough for England."

Newcastle goal: It's not the greatest defending, but Andy Carroll rises brilliantly to meet Joey Barton's free-kick from deep and head into the top corner. All square and that's about right on the balance of play.

1622: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-1 Newcastle (Carroll)

Football League Danny: "Bees fans, you may want to tell me to buzz off. That applies whether you're a Barnet supporter - 1-0 down at Bury following Ryan Lowe's goal and looking set to stay bottom of the league. And it applies if you're a Brentford fan - 3-1 down against Rochdale."

1620: Tottenham upping the tempo at White Hart Lane, but it's still 0-0. A Champions League hangover?

Football League Danny: "Derby 2-0 QPR. The Rams finally breathing life into their season. Ipswich 1-0 Bristol City. The Robins poor start continuing."

Garth Crooks on Final Score: "Bearing in mind the England squad announcement is imminent, Fabio Capello will be concerned to see Bobby Zamora going off."
Clint Dempsey, by the way, has replaced Zamora.

1617: A second disallowed goal for Blackpool - referee Martin Oliver penalising Luke Varney for a foul on Fulham keeper David Stockdale before Elliot Grandin sweeps in. A generous decision for the keeper.

1615: The goals might not yet be flying in left, right and centre, but it's entertaining fare across our 1500 matches. Honest.

Meerschaum_221B on 606: "Wolves for a Europa League spot this season?"

1611: And now it's a good chance for Stoke, Rory Delap's long throw half-cleared to Matt Etherington, whose shot is blocked a couple of yards off the goalline by Didier Drogba. Open stuff at Stamford Bridge.

1610: Chelsea striker Didier Drogba gets on the end of a Nicolas Anelka cross but his header is well saved by Thomas Sorensen in the Stoke goal.

1609: Looks a penalty to me, James Perch sliding through Matt Jarvis in the Newcastle box but the Wolves man's appeals are waved away. Lucky for Toon, that.

Martin Keown on Final Score: "Bobby Zamora is a footballer who developed well under Roy Hodgson. He's a good link-up player and gets goals but I'm not sure his feet are quick enough for the highest level (international football)."

1607: Joey Barton is getting a bit of, erm, 'special' treatment from the Wolves players at Molineux, Karl Henry the latest to clatter through the feisty midfielder.

1606: Couple of substitutions at White Hart Lane, where Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko and Niko Kranjcar are on for Peter Crouch and Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

BBC Sport's David Dulin at Portsmouth v Cardiff: "The Football League Show's Steve Claridge is in attendance at Fratton Park, and he's caught in the middle of the debate over who the own goal scorer was."
PA are still listing it as a Hayden Mullins own goal, though I'm sure the midfielder won't be happy claiming it.

1604: Far more sluggish at Chelsea, Tottenham and Wolves - but they have restarted too. Finally.

1601: Back up and running at Bloomfield Road.

1558: Before we get re-started in our 1500 matches, a spot of good news involving Hull City boss Nigel Pearson (re: 1241), the club's chairman Adam Pearson telling BBC Radio Humberside's David Burns that Pearson should be released from hospital this afternoon and that they hope he will return to work on Monday.

BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty at Bloomfield Road: "Fabio Capello at Blackpool. Spying mission on Zamora (and maybe Stockdale) then it's a choice between The Big One or The Ghost Train."

Football League Danny: "Derby are doing better than most against QPR this season. They're 1-0 up at the break thanks to Kris Commons and the Championship leaders need to find some form to get back there. Torquay are 2-1 up at Port Vale and as it stands they'll be the sole 100%-ers in the league..."

Half time
Les Roopanarine's one-line HT report:
"Newcastle will be kicking themselves - they started like an express train but Wolves weathered the storm and Ebanks-Blake took his goal brilliantly."

Half time
Owen Phillips's one-line HT report:
"A Defoe-inspired Spurs are looking threatening after a ponderous start against a resolute Wigan side determined to forget their recent hammerings."

Half time
Kevin Darling's one-line HT report:
"Just the one goal for Chelsea today then… so far."

Half time
Phil McNulty's one-line HT report from Bloomfield Road:
"Blackpool dominating so much of possession but Fulham have the spearhead in Bobby Zamora and that's been the difference."

1546: Didier Drogba lays it back to Frank Lampard, but the Chelsea midfielder blazes over when well placed in the box. Not the greatest of 45 minutes for the England man.

BBC Sport's David Dulin at Portsmouth v Cardiff: "Cardiff take the lead thanks to an own goal, but it's being debated whether Ibrahima Sonk or Hayden Mullins had the last touch as they both dived in to stop a throughball - instead putting in their own net."
The goal is being credited by PA as a Mullins og

Wolves goal: I tell you what, that's a lovely finish. Jelle van Damme's ball is brought down beautifully by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and instantly the Wolves frontman lashes it home from 10 yards out.

1543: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-0 Newcastle (Ebanks-Blake)

1541: I don't know, you talk someone up... Andy Carroll has the goal at his mercy from Kevin Nolan's lay-off but the striker blazes over the bar from eight yards out. Carroll claims a corner that isn't given - and he is booked for his protestations.

BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty at Bloomfield Road: "The noisy Bloomfield Road crowd are not deterred by Fulham's goal, which they barely deserved on the balance of play. Blackpool, though, need to find a cutting edge to their attractive approach play - something which may become a recurring theme."

1540: Another good effort at White Hart Lane as Jermain Defoe spins his defender and gets free in the box, but his clipped snap-shot across goal zips past the far post.

Football League Danny: "Welcome to England, Edgar Davids. Crystal Palace's pay-as-you-play new boy is indeed playing (does that mean he has to pay?). Anyway, he finds himself 1-0 down at Scunthorpe, Jonathan Forte with the goal. Elsewhere, Dexter Blackstock puts Nottingham Forest 1-0 up against Norwich."

Lloyd91 on Twitter: "Re: 1529 - I know what you're saying, 6-0 is just SO CLICHE!"

1537: Dominant in the air and committed in the challenge, Andy Carroll has been outstanding so far, causing the Wolves defence all manner of problems. While Wolves are starting to regain a foothold in the match after a dominant Newcastle start, if Carroll continues in this vein an England call-up will not be long in coming... surely?

Someone has struck the woodwork
1535: Almost a stunning second for Chelsea - there's a lofted pass into the box and Ashley Cole turns and lashes a fearsome volley against the crossbar. That would have been up there with Gareth Bale's volley for Tottenham against the same opposition last week.

Football League Danny: "Some Championship action to update you with. Barnsley lead Middlesbrough 1-0. Millwall are 1-0 up on Coventry at home. Swansea are beating Burnley 1-0 and Leeds are 1-0 up at Watford."

Fulham goal: It's totally against the run of play, but Fulham lead. Moussa Dembele is the creator, exchanging passes with Damien Duff before crossing for Bobby Zamora to head home from close range.

1534: GOALFLASH Blackpool 0-1 Fulham (Zamora)

Chelsea goal: Breakthrough. John Terry steps out of defence with the ball and picks a delightful pass to set Florent Malouda through, the Frenchman firing firmly past Thomas Sorensen first time to give Chelsea the lead.

1532: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-0 Stoke (Malouda)

1529: Remember when Saturday afternoons used to be full of Premier League goals? I'm so glad we've moved on from those dull days. Ish.

NickMotown on Twitter: "Re: stokeymad. Having just watched Escape to Victory, I can assure you that Sylvester Stallone is better."

Someone has struck the woodwork
1526: It's been all Newcastle up until now at Molineux, but it should be 1-0 Wolves when Sylvan Ebanks Blake can only direct a free header at the far post from a corner against the post.

Football League Danny: "What a hoot for the Owls. Neil Mellor has put Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 up at Hartlepool and they are only half-way through the first half. On course for 12-0 there."

1523: Like their manager Ian Holloway, Blackpool are full of personality. Impressive on-loan debutant Luke Varney cleverly wriggles between a couple of dozing Fulham defenders on the edge of the area before lashing a rising left-footed shot just the wrong side of David Stockdale's post.

1521: Cracking save at White Hart Lane, where Jermain Defoe spins and shoots brilliantly inside the box, only to watch Ali Al Habsi get down low to push away a reaction save.

BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty at Bloomfield Road: "Lively start by Blackpool in their first home game since returning to the top-flight after 39 years, sticking to manager Ian Holloway's insistence on a passing game. They have had the better of it so far - and thought they had taken the lead through Brett Ormerod's header. A very offside Brett Ormerod."

stokeymad on 606: "Nobody in football is better at saving penalties than Sorenson."

BBC Sport's David Dulin at Portsmouth v Cardiff: "Slow start but now opening up both side have had chances. Pompey's Marc Wilson has a 30-yard free-kick tipped over by David Marshall, while Craig Bellamy curls an effort wide on the break which has spurred on the visitors."

1516: Disallowed. Brett Ormerod thinks he has handed Blackpool a deserved lead at Bloomfield Road, but his header from a deep free-kick is clearly offside.

1515: Chelsea continue to pile on the pressure against Stoke and Thomas Sorensen has to be alert to beat away a swerving Didier Drogba free-kick from range. Bizarrely, the Potters have actually had a couple of chances here. Open game.

Football League Danny: "Hull, with Craig Shakespeare deputising for the unwell Nigel Pearson (get well soon Nigel), are drawing 1-1 at Doncaster. A very early goal (just 62 seconds in) from Donny's Martin Woods has been cancelled out by Nick Barmby. Elsewhere, Torquay's bid to keep their 100% record intact has begun well - they're 1-0 up at Port Vale."

Someone has won a penalty
Chelsea missed penalty: Ryan Shawcross does his best to ruin what has been a fairly positive start for Stoke by bringing Florent Malouda down in the box and Martin Atkinson has no alternative but to award the penalty. Frank Lampard's effort is poor, though, and Thomas Sorensen gets down to his left well to save.

1511: PENALTY SAVED (Chelsea)


Stoychers on Twitter: "Edgar Davids. Crystal Palace. Left Back. Glanford Park. Where do we even begin with that?"

Someone has struck the woodwork
1508: They don't come much closer than that. Antolin Alcaraz heads a Wigan corner back across goal and Steve Gohouri volleys goalwards only to watch it crash off the crossbar. Moments later Benoit Assou-Ekotto is caught in possession on the edge of his own area and is grateful to Michael Dawson for the clearance. Sloppy start from Spurs, this.

1507: Newcastle look like they've picked up from where they left off against Villa, dominating possession and pegging Wolves back in their own half in these early stages.

1505: Ominous opening again from the hosts at Stamford Bridge where a delightful Michael Essien through-ball finds Ashley Cole clear on goal, the left-back pulling his shot across goal and past the far post, though.

1503: Cracking effort at Blackpool from home debutant Luke Varney, the frontman dipping a volley at goal and forcing David Stockdale into a smart stop.

1502: First shot in anger of the 1500 kick-offs and it comes at White Hart Lane, where Wigan have made a positive start. Hugo Rodallega fizzes a shot goalwards from range, the ball flying past Carlo Cudicini's post.

1501: And we're up and running at Molineux, White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge too.

1459: No messing about at Bloomfield Road as Blackpool v Fulham gets under way.

1458: If you haven't done so already people, give this page a manual refresh would you? Do so and Final Score will appear before your eyes at the top of this page. Happy days.

Robsoninho on 606: "Well there should realistically be two 6-0's today, with the outside possibility of a 6-0 later on."
Go easy on the optimism pal, I can't handle the pressure.

1456: So that's gauntlet thrown down by Arsenal, who now top the league (albeit after three games, one more than most of the rest of the league) - can their rivals respond? Let's find out shall we? We're minutes away from the 1500 kick-offs.

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Arsenal showed they have the steel to match their undoubted style as they overcome a Blackburn side difficult to beat, especially at home. Job done."

Adamlapthorn on Twitter: "People said these were the sort of games Arsenal had to learn to win to take the title, so lesson learnt?"

Kevin Darling reports:
"Not much tinkering needed for Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti after successive 6-0 wins but there's one enforced change at right-back as Paulo Ferreira comes in for the injured Branislav Ivanovic. New £17m signing Ramires is on the Blues bench. Stoke are boosted by the return of record signing Kenwyne Jones while Andy Wilkinson gets his first league start of the season. Ricardo Fuller drops to a bench that also features goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who has recently been the subject of a controversial pursuit by the Blues."

Les Roopanarine reports:
"Mick McCarthy makes just one change to the Wolves side which drew 1-1 at Everton last Saturday, with Belgian international Jelle Van Damme replacing George Elokobi at left-back. Michael Mancienne, who arrived this week on loan from Chelsea for a third season, is named on the bench, where he is joined by Steven Fletcher, who has recovered from a foot injury. Chris Hughton names the same Newcastle side that eviscerated Aston Villa 6-0 at St James' Park on Sunday."

Owen Phillips reports:
"Jermain Defoe starts up front for Tottenham despite ongoing concerns about his groin injury. Defoe's inclusion is one of three changes to the side which beat Stoke in their last league match with keeper Carlo Cudicini replacing the injured Heurelho Gomes and Ledley King returning to the defence. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez keeps faith with the nine of the side that did so well against Chelsea for 30 minutes of their last league game before their second-half collapse. Charles N'Zogbia is left out despite failing to finalise a move to Birmingham and keeper Chris Kirkland misses out so Ali Al Habsi and defender Emerson Boyce both get the nod."

Phil McNulty at Bloomfield Road reports:
"David Stockdale continues in goal for Fulham as Mark Schwarzer waits to see if he gets a move to Arsenal, while Paul Konchesky is missing and on the brink of a move to Liverpool. Luke Varney makes his Blackpool debut after signing on a season-long loan from Derby and Brett Ormerod returns with Marlon Harewood out injured."

ganeshviyer on Twitter: "My man of the match has to be Bacary Sagna... superb defensive work and set up the winner."

Full time
A clinical and deserved victory in the end for Arsenal, who coped admirably well with Blackburn's raids for the most part. Encouragement for Rovers, though, for sure.

90+1mins: Blackburn launch two appeals for a penalty at one end - both optimistic, I think - and Arsenal break. It is worked to Jack Wilshere, unmarked, at the back post and he should be making it 3-1 all day long - but his shot if soft and it is scrambled around the post by Rovers keeper Paul Robinson. Is there time for a Blackburn rally?

Gilks, Baptiste, Cathcart, Evatt, Crainey, Ormerod, Vaughan, Adam, Grandin, Varney, Taylor-Fletcher. Subs: Halstead, Eardley, Basham, Euell, Sylvestre, Demontagnac, Keinan.
Fulham: Stockdale, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Kelly, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy, Duff, Zamora, Dembele. Subs: Zuberbuhler, Baird, Gera, Riise, Dempsey, Greening, Briggs.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

88 mins: ...Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner is excellently defended at the near post, though. Chance gone.

88 mins: Only a couple of minutes remaining but while Arsenal are keeping the ball nicely for the majority, Blackburn have got themselves a corner...

Hahnemann, Foley, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Jarvis, Henry, David Jones, Van Damme, Ebanks-Blake, Doyle. Subs: Hennessey, Edwards, Stearman, Fletcher, Mancienne, Zubar, Guedioura.
Newcastle: Harper, Perch, Williamson, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Routledge, Smith, Barton, Gutierrez, Nolan, Carroll. Subs: Krul, Lovenkrands, Ryan Taylor, Ameobi, Kadar, Vuckic, Ranger.
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Cech, Paulo Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Ramires, Benayoun, Zhirkov, Kalou, Sturridge, Van Aanholt.
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Collins, Delap, Whitehead, Wilkinson, Etherington, Jones, Walters. Subs: Begovic, Higginbotham, Whelan, Fuller, Pugh, Sanli, Tonge.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

85 mins: Theo Walcott's not happy as he slides into the net for what he thinks is a third - but the whistle had long gone for offside. And possibly handball, too. I'm not sure. Either way, no goal is just about the right decision.

84 mins: Jack Wilshere is on to replace Andrey Arshavin for Arsenal. Steven Nzonzi came on a few moments ago for Blackburn, by the way.

82 mins: While it remains only 2-1... Rovers substitute David Dunn evades a couple of Arsenal challenges just inside the box and makes space to get off a shot, but it is straight at Manuel Almunia, who gratefully saves.

Cudicini, Kaboul, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Huddlestone, Palacios, Bale, Crouch, Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Jenas, Pavlyuchenko, Keane, Giovani, Bassong, Kranjcar.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Stam, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Thomas, Diame, McCarthy, Boyce, Rodallega, Boselli. Subs: Pollitt, Watson, Steven Caldwell, Gomez, McArthur, McManaman, Mustoe.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

79 mins: Marouane Chamakh takes his chances from a Blackburn throw-in, clearly man-handling Christopher Samba as the ball drifts over the pair's heads, but the home defender makes little fuss and referee Chris Foy is certainly not interested in giving a penalty.

78 mins: And that was almost it, Theo Walcott driving a stinging shot at goal from 20 yards, the ball zipping narrowly over Paul Robinson's fingers and, more importantly, the Blackburn keeper's crossbar.

oliverhj84 on Twitter: "I've got a feeling Arsenal need another to claim all three points here."

76 mins: El Hadji Diouf almost finds Mame Diouf dashing into the Arsenal box with a delicious pass, but across gets Bacary Sagna brilliantly to clear - taking a whack on his ankle for his troubles.

Yellow card
74 mins: Unbelievably, we're 74 minutes into the match, and that's our first booking. Theo Walcott skins Gael Givet down the Arsenal right and the Rovers defender cynically trips the winger, accepting his booking with a brief apology.

1416: BBC Sport's David Dulin at Portsmouth v Cardiff reports: "The sun is shining at Fratton Park as 2008 FA Cup finalists Portsmouth and Cardiff meet in the Championship. It's the first time the two sides have met since Pompey won 1-0 at Wembley, and since then, both clubs have suffered much-publicised financial problems, although Cardiff appear to be turning the corner. Craig Bellamy captains the Bluebirds as they seek revenge for the cup final defeat. Pompey are just pleased to still have captain Marc Wilson at the club, and he starts, but there is no Kanu, he has still to sign his three-year contract."

68 mins: He's still not match fit, obviously, and off comes Cesc Fabregas to be replaced by Tomas Rosicky. Manuel Almunia - yes, Manuel Almunia - takes over the captain's armband. I wonder how Mark Schwarzer would feel if he saw that?

64 mins: Back at Ewood Park and it is still very even. Arsenal are certainly dominating possession, but Blackburn continue to threaten on occasion on the counter-attack. Rovers, meanwhile, bring Martin Olssen on for Nikola Kalinic, who has looked good today.

The Understudy-Barry Bannan IS Bananaman on 606: "Aah, the Premier League. Who'd swap it for any other European League?? I wouldn't. It doesn't matter if the Spanish sides play better football, the Premier League is the league for me."

Les Roopanarine reports:
"Newcastle must feel they can do no wrong just now. On Sunday they inflicted a six-goal mauling on Aston Villa, while in midweek a second-string side made sure-footed progress over the potential banana skin of a Carling Cup trip to Accrington Stanley. History suggests a visit to Molineux, where they have not win since April 1990, will be considerably tougher. After securing survival last year, Wolves are adjusting nicely to Premier League life and will be eager to maintain their unbeaten record this term after winning just five league home games in 2009/10."

Owen Phillips reports:
"A Tottenham side brimming with confidence after an unbeaten league start and buoyed by their progress into the Champions League group stages - with mouthwatering games against Inter Milan to come - face a Wigan side whose recent record is, frankly, worse than pathetic. The Latics were thumped 4-0 and 6-0 in the opening two home league fixtures. And the last away game of last season saw them hammered 8-0. Oh, and they lost 9-1 at Spurs last time they played there. So, surely an away win?"

Kevin Darling reports:
"Complete the sequence: 4, 7, 1, 7, 8, 6, ? Don't worry, it's not maths homework, it's just the ridiculous number of goals Chelsea have scored in their last six home league games. And the man trying to solve the problem today is Stoke manager Tony Pulis, whose side arrive at fortress Stamford Bridge after a point-less start to the season. Can the Potters produce some magic, or are the in-form Blues going to do a number on them?"

Phil McNulty at Bloomfield Road reports:
"Blackpool welcome top-tier football back to Bloomfield Road for the first time in 39 years, a feat understandably described in the match programme as "the biggest fairytale in modern British football history." Manager Ian Holloway will hope the visit of Fulham allows them licence to play as they did in the 4-0 win at Wigan as opposed to the 6-0 thrashing at Arsenal. Fulham have made a solid start under new boss Mark Hughes against Bolton and Manchester United - so they will be hoping to spoil the day this entire town has been waiting for."

1402: Right, time for us to go around the grounds I think...

56 mins: That's what I mean... Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen makes a right hash of a Blackburn through-ball and Nikola Kalinic gets clear in the box, only to fire his effort high over Manuel Almunia's goal. The hosts bring David Dunn on for Vince Grella.

55 mins: Now, let's not write Blackburn off just yet - they have caused Arsenal problems all afternoon - but Marouane Chamakh goes close to extending Arsenal's lead with a shot from the edge of the area that flies, in the end, a good couple of yards wide. Should've done better, the substitute.

have announced the signing of Hatem Ben Arfa on an initial season-long loan deal from Marseille.

Arsenal goal: I was just about to write how quiet he has been so far but Andrey Arshavin has just given Arsenal the lead, sweeping home after Cesc Fabregas's initial shot from Bacary Sagna's cross is blocked. Advantage Gunners again.

51 mins: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-2 Arsenal (Arshavin)

50 mins: Morten Gamst Pedersen pings in the first real effort on goal of the second half from around 25 yards, but it swings over the bar.

shivamLM on Twitter: "Big Sam gets the best out of players. David Dunn, Salgado, Hierro, Campo - I named my fantasy team in honour of the big man."

Logos on 606: "Haha, a true net-buster from Walcott. Never seen that before."

1350: Right - after the net is fixed at one end, having been punctured by Theo Walcott's fierce first-half finish, we're back up and running at Ewood Park.

1348: Football League Danny: "(See 1342) It is, of course, Torquay who have the other Football League 100% record and they will take that to a Port Vale side which is unbeaten in the League but bruised from a midweek Carling Cup 6-0 thrashing at Fulham. Meanwhile, fans of teams beginning with "B" might like to check out Barnet v Bury - the Bees were stung by Crewe last week, losing 7-0. Can they bounce back?"

goonersammy via text: "Robin van Persie did well there! 30 minutes of football, see him in April."

1345: Football League Danny: "League One hot-shot Rickie Lambert visits his former club as Southampton make the relatively short trip to Bristol Rovers. Speaking of hot shots, Bournemouth have netted eight in their last two matches and will hope to keep that going against an inconsistent Notts County side. And fans of teams beginning with "P" will squeal with delight as Plymouth host Peterborough."

iamshearer on Twitter: "Is Robin van Persie the new Darren Anderton?"

1342: Cracking half of football, that. So good, in fact, we could all do with a Premier League breather. So I introduce to you for the first time today... Football League Danny: "Championship leaders QPR take one of two remaining 100% Football League records (guess the other) to a Derby team looking to ignite their season. Cardiff travel to Portsmouth with Craig Bellamy looking to build on last week's fine debut. Bristol City unveil a new-look Jon Stead and Brett Pitman-bolstered front line at Ipswich, and fans of teams beginning with "N" will relish the prospect of Nottingham Forest v Norwich."

captainconehead on Twitter: "Good half for Rovers, Arsenal have look rattled at times. Walcott looks dangerous but David Dunn could come on to make the difference in the second half."

BBC Radio 5 Live
Kevin Gallagher on BBC Radio 5 live: "Arsene Wenger doesn't like Sam Allardyce and he doesn't like Blackburn Rovers. It's been going on for far too long now. Okay they're on the edge, but playing long-ball football is within the rules."

Hodgey on 606: "Robin van Persie injured? It actually beggars belief how many Arsenal players get injured so often. There must be something to explain it behind the scenes?"

Half time
Mandeep Sanghera's one-line HT report:
"A great game as two styles clash. Fast and furious and perfectly poised."

45 mins: The latest on Robin van Persie, by the way, is that his ankle - not the one he injured last year - has swollen up and it is being iced as we speak. Scan on Monday.

44 mins: Theo Walcott shows good strength inside the box to force a corner, but Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson forces his way through a crowd of players to punch the resulting set-piece clear impressively. Moments later he gets out sharply to save at the feet of Abou Diaby.

39 mins: Arsenal move the ball about oh-so typically nicely, but Abou Diaby's long-range effort at the end of it is blocked and Blackburn clear.

Hindawyyy on Twitter: "Re: Infostrada and all that - what happened to betting by instinct and losing all your money?!"
I like it. Old school.

35 mins: Yep, here comes new-boy Marouane Chamakh on for the injured Dutchman.

33 mins: Manuel Almunia has his critics, I think it's fair to say, but he's done pretty well under the high ball so far today, and this time he comes almost all the way to the edge of his box to punch another long ball clear. Robin van Persie looks like he's going to have to come off, here, he is lying prostrate on the ground and clutching his ankle. It looks like he tweaked it in a challenge with Phil Jones.

31 mins: I don't want to unnecessarily worry Arsenal fans, but Infostrada Sports tell me that the last time Arsenal took the lead in a Premier League away match they went on to lose - 2-1 at Ewood Park against Blackburn on May 3. Omen?

Video Didnt Kill The Radio Star - Eboue Did on 606: "Really bad defending, Koscielny was all over the place."

Blackburn goal: We're level and few could argue Blackburn don't deserve it. Chris Samba sets El Hadji Diouf down the left, the Rovers man shrugging off Laurent Koscielny and cutting back for Mame Diouf, on his first Premier League start, to tap in the equaliser.

27 mins: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-1 Arsenal (Diouf)

Applemask on 606: "Capello has to play Theo on Friday. He's in the form of several people's lives."

24 mins: Three last week, another this - I wonder if it will be enough to earn Alan Hansen's praise? One thing's for sure, Theo Walcott has to be in Fabio Capello's England squad when it's named tomorrow.

Arsenal goal: Super football, sublime finish. Robin van Persie provides the killer pass and Theo Walcott gets his head up and drills an unstoppable low shot across Paul Robinson and in off the far post from the angle. Are you watching Fabio Capello?

20 mins: GOALFLASH Blackburn 0-1 Arsenal (Walcott)

19 mins: Arsenal looking dangerous every time they attack, but Blackburn causing plenty of problems in the final third themselves as an El Hadji Diouf pass across the box is well cleared. This match started under sunshine - it's now tipping it down.

halfbear on Twitter: "Wish I hadn't seen that Hypercube/ Infostrada thing - I want to know more now!! It's delightfully geeky!"

17 mins: Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas is hobbling around uncomfortably at the moment, will keep you posted on that. Meanwhile, Arsenal are again beaten to the ball from a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner, but Christopher Samba can only direct his header over the bar from six yards out. A waste.

14 mins: Alex Song, by the way, is sporting a blonde barnet today. Very Abel Xavier. In a looks-moderately-ridiculous-to-me-but-then-I'm-not-very-down-with-the-kids way.

12 mins: Lovely football from Arsenal, Cesc Fabregas slipping Theo Walcott in inside the Rovers area and Christopher Samba does well to clear the ball on the slide. Real end-to-end stuff, this.

10 mins: Off the line! They're still not looking comfortable under these Blackburn set-pieces, Arsenal, and Cesc Fabregas does brilliantly to head Ryan Nelsen's goalbound header from a Morten Gamst Pedersen header off the line. Moments later Christopher Samba's header from a long throw causes yet more havoc in the Arsenal box and keeper Manuel Almunia does well to push it away. I think it is fair to say this is the ultimate clash in styles.

1252: Well that has pulled out some beauties hasn't it?! Ties will be played in the week commencing 20 September. Stick that in your sandwich and eat it.

1250: The Carling Cup third-round draw:
Brentford v Everton
Portsmouth v Leicester City
Stoke City v Fulham
Chelsea v Newcastle United
Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal
Millwall v Ipswich Town
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Notts County
Burnley v Bolton Wanderers
Birmingham City v MK Dons
Liverpool v Northampton Town
Scunthorpe United v Manchester United
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City
Sunderland v West Ham United
Peterborough United v Swansea City
Wigan Athletic v Preston North End

5 mins: Another long ball from Blackburn travels 80 yards and is allowed to bounce in the Arsenal box - that won't please Arsene Wenger. Lively start at Ewood Park.

4 mins: How has that not gone in for Arsenal? A corner falls to Abou Diaby on the edge of the box and his shot is deflected two yards out by Vince Grella, straight at keeper Paul Robinson, and the ball ricochets away from goal. Lucky escape.

1248: Early highlights from the Carling Cup third-round draw as it is happening... Tottenham v Arsenal, Chelsea v Newcastle, West Brom v Man City.

2 mins: Well that didn't take long. Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson lines up a goal kick and launches it direct into the Arsenal box - it causes a few problems as well, before Laurent Koscielny hacks clear.

1246: Arsenal get us up and running.

1244: The players are out and about at Ewood Park and we're moments away from kick-off.

Simon via text: "Team selected today by Wenger shows the strength in depth. Solid and durable today with a physical spine for once. I expect a Gunners win - 3.0."

1241: Some worrying news reaching me - apparently Hull City's manager Nigel Pearson has been admitted to hospital for tests after complaining of feeling unwell yesterday. He had been due to take the city squad to Doncaster Rovers for this afternoon's Championship game, but his place will be taken by his deputy Craig Shakespeare now instead. Here's hoping all is well for you, Nigel.

1239: Muchos apologias, I'm still awaiting news of the draw . I promise to put you all out of your misery as soon as I can. Before that, here are today's managers. Rovers boss Sam Allardyce: "We have a big task but we are looking forward to it. I think conditions are perfect for football. It's not too hot and a slick surface." Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger: "You face always commitment and determination (when you come here) and you want to be able to show you can deal with that. Our target is to have the ball and when we do so we can dictate the play."

Chris in Basingstoke via text: "I bet there's an all-Premier League tie in the Carling Cup third round where the exact same fixture in the league is either the weekend before or after... just you watch."
What an obscure - but utterly brilliant - bet that is. Well done.

Hopalong9984 on Twitter: "Stern Test for the Gunners today. Confidence should be high, but a crunch from Big Chris Samba might change all that!"

1233: Anyone wondering what the Hypercube/Infostrada Sports Euro Club Index makes of today's fixtures? Well wonder no more...
Blackburn (rank 62) v Arsenal (7): 27% B'burn, 47% Arsenal win
Blackpool (263) v Fulham (50): 25% Blackpool, 50% Fulham
Chelsea (3) v Stoke City (120): 85% Chelsea, 4% Stoke
Tottenham (16) v Wigan (196): 74% Tottenham, 9% Wigan
Wolves (176) v Newcastle (96): 40% Wolves, 33% Newcastle
Man Utd (2) v West Ham (148): 87% Man Utd, 4% West Ham
So that's cleared that all up for you, hasn't it.

1227: Looks like the draw for the Carling Cup third round is running a little late, news as I get it...

Anon via text: "(Newcastle defender) Steven Taylor spotted chatting to Arsene Wenger at Ewood Park."

MUFC_4_E3VER on 606: "I see Mame Diouf gets a start for Blackburn, that's very nice to see."

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Blackburn make two changes from their league defeat at Birmingham last week. Striker Mame Biram Diouf comes into the side after his midweek hat-trick against Norwich in the Carling Cup, while midfielder Vince Grella also starts. Martin Olsson and Steven Nzonzi drop to the bench. Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas and striker Robin van Persie make their first starts of the season and centre-back Laurent Koscielny comes back into the Gunners side after suspension. Midfield duo Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky, as well as forward Marouane Chamakh, make way from the side that beat Blackpool 6-0 last week."

kypzethdurron on Twitter: "I just saw Kaka in Blackpool, FACT. Off to Fulham for him them..."

SimplyZola on 606: "Paul Jewell has been approached for the Aston Villa manager, according to rumours."

Robinson, Salgado, Nelsen, Samba, Givet, El-Hadji Diouf, Jones, Pedersen, Grella, Mame Diouf, Kalinic. Subs: Bunn, Olsson, Emerton, Dunn, Nzonzi, Hoilett, Chimbonda.
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Clichy, Diaby, Song, Fabregas, Walcott, van Persie, Arshavin. Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Vela, Wilshere, Eboue, Gibbs, Chamakh.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

1211: We were sorting out our Deadline Day plans, yesterday, and we'll have a right royal treat for you Tuesday. Myself, Jonathan Stevenson and Paul Fletcher will be chatting you through all the latest rumours, news and transfers from dawn until dusk - and I expect you all to get involved in a massive way. With James Milner having finally joined Manchester City, Javier Mascherano set to leave Liverpool, and Champions League new-boys Tottenham's money burning a hole in Harry Redknapp's pocket, I'm predicting a whirlwind of action over the next few days.

its_tron on Twitter: "Is it wrong to be scared of a shock result at Old Trafford today? Mmm... 2-1 to Hammers maybe?!"

Ollie via text: "Apparently Eric Djemba Djemba has been seen near Fulham Broadway tube - you heard it here first!"

I want to see Iniesta on a rugby field on 606: "I'd love to see Fabiano in the Premier League. He's a seriously good player."

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Are Arsene Wenger's Arsenal up to the physical task of challenging for the Premier League title? Well, we are about to find out as they face a Blackburn side sure to get stuck in and who beat the Gunners 2-1 at Ewood Park in May. Arsenal's last away win came in March, while Blackburn's home record in the league last season saw them hold Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool as they lost just three times. There's no love lost between Wenger and Rovers boss Sam Allardyce so let battle commence."

Ali, Los Angeles, via text: "Gone are the days we are bullied, so I'm expecting a 3-0 win today, a clean sheet is crucial. Come on Arsenal!!"

Amir Mir on 606: "I think there will be easy wins for Chelsea, United and Spurs. We'll get a goal feast at Blackpool, Wolves will nick a win against Newcastle and Arsenal will be held to a frustrating 2-2 draw at Blackburn."

1201: And, on top of all those, we've got Football League Danny on hand to bring you all the latest from the lower divisions, as well as the Carling Cup third-round draw at around 1215 BST. The likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham join the competition at this stage so plenty of interest for everyone involved. Especially if you're keen on your side's youth team getting a run out on a chilly winter's Wednesday night. Lovely.

Royal Blue Hakuren on 606: "Sam, for us Evertonians you just know that this is not particularly exciting period! C'mon Blackburn, prove that it is still a man's game. Send Whinger packing."

1157: Now then, we've got an absolutely bumper line-up today... check out these bad boys in the Premier League for starters:
Blackburn v Arsenal 1245
Blackpool v Fulham 1500
Chelsea v Stoke 1500
Tottenham v Wigan 1500
Wolves v Newcastle 1500
Manchester United v West Ham 1730

sab316 on Twitter: "There's nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning anticipating some football. Rooney give me that hat-trick, fantasy footy."

gunner-zp on 606: "Come on you Gunners! Just hope we can grind out a win."

1153: And, in the mix of all that rumour-mongering, I might even find time to talk you through today's football, how does that sound? This commentary will be nothing, however, without you good people getting waist-deep in it with me. You know the drill, crank up the chat on 606, you can text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with FOOTBALL before your message, and you can even tweet me on Twitter. Anything and everything goes. As long as, you know, it's not rude and it's football related. Obviously.

1149: Transfer Deadline Day. Man, I love it. In some ways today's football is a mere slice of misdirection as we all look for transfer clues in and around the grounds, isn't it? Someone spots Luis Fabiano at White Hart Lane, another catches a glimpse of Robbie Keane at Molineux, one man reports that they've spotted the Blackburn tea lady in a heated discussion on a mobile phone outside Mill Hill Station. Awesome. I am absolutely all over that kind of chat today.

1145: You know, what with there being 78 hours and 15 minutes left until the Premier League transfer window shuts, today could be the last time you see your team in its current guise if you think about it. Players could be coming in, players could be leaving - let's just hope the 'Generation of 28 August 2010' make the most of it, yeah?

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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 28 Aug 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 3 14 9
2 Arsenal 3 7 7
3 Man Utd 3 6 7
4 Wolves 3 1 5
5 Newcastle 3 3 4
6 Man City 2 3 4
7 Bolton 2 2 4
8 Birmingham 2 1 4
9 Tottenham 3 0 4
10 Blackpool 3 -2 4
11 Fulham 3 0 3
12 Blackburn 3 -1 3
13 Aston Villa 2 -3 3
14 West Brom 2 -5 3
15 Wigan 3 -9 3
16 Sunderland 2 -1 1
17 Everton 2 -1 1
18 Liverpool 2 -3 1
19 Stoke 3 -4 0
20 West Ham 3 -8 0

see also
Saturday's football photos
28 Aug 10 |  Football

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