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Page last updated at 18:48 GMT, Saturday, 18 September 2010 19:48 UK

Saturday football as it happened

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

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By Jonathan Stevenson

1945: RSI has killed my fingers, so in the absence of a decent hand massage, I think I'd better call it quits for today. Hope you enjoyed the 17 goals, thrills and spills and late, late drama as well. I'm absolutely certain I'll see you tomorrow, when Man Utd host Liverpool, Wigan welcome Man City and Chelsea entertain Blackpool. Have a good night, don't do anything I wouldn't do.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce: "It's happened to us repeatedly, so it's nice for a late goal to happen to us for a change, and twice in a couple of weeks too. I thought Darren Bent earned his goal through work-rate and effort today. It's not easy playing on your own up there."

From GraymeadYNWA on 606: "The referee never stops the game while an attack is on going. Arsenal fans would point to when the corner was cleared but Sunderland still had the ball with plenty of players in the box. Zenden was facing his own goal, but the attack was still very much on. If you want proof that they were still on the attack, they scored 10 seconds later."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "I know it's a minimum of four minutes, but nothing happened in those four minutes to justify them adding more. But there's nothing I can do. In the second half with 10 men we were the better team, even though we struggled a bit before the break. It's frustrating, but there are a lot of positives we can take from it."

Sunderland's goalscoring hero Darren Bent: "When you work so hard as we did today, it's fantastic to get that point in the end. We've got that spirit at home, but we need to do it away from home."

From LeeRobson23 on Twitter: "From a Newcastle fan, Sunderland fully deserved that goal."

Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal:
Saj Chowdhury reports: "An unbelievable finish to the game, but Sunderland deserved a point for their willingness to fight until the final minute."

1927: Football can be a cruel game at times, can't it? Arsenal are denied top spot in the Premier League and Chelsea can go four points clear when they play Blackpool on Sunday. Sunderland move up to 10th and they will feel they more than deserved their draw today.

1924: Full-time Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Black Cats goal: Sunderland throw the kitchen sink at Arsenal, and, 15 seconds after the four minutes we were supposed to have, they get their equaliser. A ball over the top into the box sees Gael Clichy play two Black Cats forwards onside, and after Laurent Koscielny and then Clichy fail to clear, the ball falls to Darren Bent six yards out at an angle on the right, the forward not wasting any time in smashing it past Manuel Almunia and into the net.

1922: GOAL Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal (Bent)

From Carmelo from Lagos, Nigeria (Gooner), via text: "Down with fever... must have 'refreshed' like 100 times... and prayed like 101 times."

1920: The barrel-chested Andy Reid tries and fails to get a cross in from the Sunderland left and when Arsenal counter, Denilson shoots narrowly wide from about 25 yards.

1918: We due about four minutes of injury time in the north-east. Is it enough?

1917: The ball comes in from the Sunderland right and it's half-cleared to the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, where young Jordan Henderson slams a right-foot shot wide of the Arsenal goal. The home fans have ramped up the noise inside the stadium.

1915: So, chances of some late drama in the Premier League at Sunderland? The hosts will be able to count themselves hugely unlucky if they don't get anything out of the game, but that won't be much consolation.

1913: It's full-time in the Championship, Hull 0-0 Forest.

Yellow card
1912: Steed Malbranque is booked for a foul on Denilson and there are about five minutes left plus injury time at the Stadium of Light for Arsenal to hang on to the points. Malbranque is taken off and replaced by Andy Reid.

1910: Tomas Rosicky feeds Samir Nasri but there's no winding down the clock from Arsenal - the Frenchman shoots right-footed from 22 yards, but it's too high and sails over the Sunderland crossbar.

1909: Steed Malbranque floats over a cross from the Sunderland left and there just isn't quite enough pace on the ball - Asamoah Gyan tries to generate some with his head, but in the end it's a fairly routine save from Manuel Almunia.

From Amazin_Allen on Twitter: "Stevo, Where on earth do Infrostrada get all these stats? It freaks me out sometimes."

1904: With under 15 minutes left, Bolo Zenden comes on for Sunderland in place of Nedum Onuoha.

Someone has won a penalty
Missed pen: Lifeline for Sunderland. They needlessly give away a penalty when Ahmed Elmohamady kicks the heels of Samir Nasri inside the area, but Tomas Rosicky steps up and smashes the spot-kick over, clipping the top of the bar on its way through. Whoops.

1902: MISSED PENALTY (Tomas Rosicky, Arsenal)

1901: PENALTY TO ARSENAL

1900: Now then, here a stat you might want to know, courtesy of Infostrada Sports: "Alex Song's red card was the 50th in the PL under Arsene Wenger. Patrick Viera had the most red cards during the Frenchman's reign - he was sent off eight times in the division. Only Blackburn (55) and Everton (53) have received more red cards since Wenger's debut as coach in the Premier League."

1857: There's a bit of a lull at Sunderland, which is exactly what Arsenal want at the moment as they are down to 10 men. Tomas Rosicky shoots tamely off target from outside the box - I think the Gunners would be quite happy to hear the final whistle. Twenty minutes left.

From PanasonicVieira on 606: "Song should have no complaints about getting sent off, one foul too many. Well, we'll see what the lads are made of. We haven't played well, even with 11 men. The defence has done well, I hope they can hold on now."

1853: Jordan Henderson swings a corner in from the Sunderland right and after a flick on from Denilson, who was trying to clear it away, Gael Clichy has to be nice and sharp to head the ball off his line.

Yellow card
1851: Marouane Chamakh is booked for a foul on Cristian Riveros and Riveros is straight away taken out of the action, with Sunderland's £13m striker Asamoah Gyan coming on in his place.

1849: In the Championship, it's still Hull 0-0 Forest at the KC Stadium, about 20 minutes left there. Forest's Rob Earnshaw just had a goal disallowed for offside.

1847: Titus Bramble fouls Jack Wilshere 20 yards out and Samir Nasri curls the free-kick about a yard too high, the ball brushing the netting on top of Simon Mignolet's goal. How Arsenal's 10 men could do with another goal.

1845: Sunderland play a short corner and Arsenal are not switched on - Jordan Henderson rolls it square to Darren Bent, 14 yards out, but his left foot shot flies wide of the target. The visitors haul Andrey Arshavin off and send on the Brazilian Denilson in his place.

From PostmanDave on Twitter: "Blaming the officials endlessly for your own teams' failures? 'Big Sam' is cut out for Real Madrid/Barca right enough!"

Red card
Red card: Arsene Wenger is fuming, but the Gunners will have to play more than half an hour with 10 men now. Alex Song obstructs Steed Malbranque and he is shown a second yellow card by Phil Dowd.

1842: SENDING OFF (Alex Song, Arsenal)

1840: They've not played that much of it today, but Arsenal put together some liquid football there as Andrey Arshavin's pass is superbly cushioned into the path of Marouane Chamakh by Tomas Rosicky, only for the Moroccan striker to be denied by a good Simon Mignolet save.

1838: News from the Championship: Coventry say they will sign striker Marlon King on Monday. Boss Aidy Boothroyd describes the 29-year-old as a "£5m player".

1836: Tomas Rosicky feeds Alex Song, he helps it left again to Andrey Arshavin, but from 10 yards the Russian can only slice off target. They might rue one of his last two misses, Arsenal.

1835: Good chance for Arsenal to double their lead, but from Marouane Chamakh's cross from the right Andrey Arshavin scoops over the bar only eight yards out.

1833: Refresh your page and that last entry might make some sense. Apologies, I've started rambling. Back under way at the Stadium of Light where it's Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal and the Black Cats are bidding to make history by coming from behind at the break to win.

1831: Sunderland fans, look away now: according to Infostrada Sports, Sunderland have never won a PL home match when they have been behind at half-time. They have drawn 10 and lost 36 of 46 PL home matches when they have been trailing at the break."

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce: "There were some major decisions that the referee didn't get right today; Schwarzer handled the ball outside the area, Kelly's nutted El-Hadji in the back of the head and Salcido pushed Mame Diouf in the back. In the second half we should have had two penalties."

From darkanddom on 606: "Wow... lucky to be up 1-0. We were completely outplayed by Sunderland. Jack is off his game today. We leave him on but Wenger should talk to him to get his head in the game. No passing at all... our defence has bailed us out but fair play to Sunderland. They have been the much better team!"

Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal:
Saj Chowdhury reports: "Sunderland will be very aggrieved to be going in at half-time 1-0 down. Fortune has certainly favoured Arsenal, although they may struggle after the break without Fabregas's leadership."

West Brom boss Roberto di Matteo on two-goal striker Peter Odemwingie: "He plays well in those yellow boots. He has had a tremendous impact - he's very positive. He trains well and works hard for the team."

1818: Half-time Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal

1815: Gael Clichy switches off inside his own penalty area, but fortunately for him Alex Song bails out his lackadaisical team-mate. Into two minutes of stoppage time in the north-east.

From Spujdubai, via text: "The Fabregas goal was identical to one scored by Jason Cundy for Spurs against Ipswich at Portman Road circa 1993."

From Andy, Liverpool, via text: "I remember Claus Jensen scoring a similar goal for Charlton a few years back, but it hit him on the back and flew in from the halfway line."

1811: It's a good old-fashioned contest at Sunderland, no holds barred, and the hosts are unlucky to find themselves behind. About five minutes to go until the break, still Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal.

1808: Alex Song is shown a yellow card, more for his reaction than the actual foul on Jordan Henderson. Meanwhile, it's Hull 0-0 Forest at half-time in the Championship.

1806: Ahmed Elmohamady swings a cross in from the Sunderland right and Cristian Riveros, who looks like he loses his footing, can only head harmlessly into the ground as it pops up into the arms of Manuel Almunia.

1804: Apparently Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas picked up a slight knee injury when Anton Ferdinand whacked the ball at him and he opened the scoring. The Gunners will be hoping there's nothing too badly wrong with that all-important knee.

1802: Another half-chance for Sunderland, but this time Darren Bent can only head wide from Jordan Henderson's right-wing cross. Meanwhile, Bacary Sagna needs a bit of treatment, but he should be OK.

From jamiebrooker on Twitter: "Sunderland probably should believe it, given they scored a goal via a beach ball last season!"

1759: Not great news for Arsenal as captain and goalscorer Cesc Fabregas trudges off at the Stadium of Light and is replaced by Tomas Rosicky, who takes the armband and keeps it himself. Not sure what the injury is to the Spaniard, but will let you know as and when.

1757: Sunderland's Darren Bent wants a penalty after a coming together with Laurent Koscielny, but nothing doing and rightly so. Moments later, Andrey Arshavin's low right-foot shot is well saved low to his right by Simon Mignolet.

Yellow card
1754: Jack Wilshere picks up another booking for Arsenal at Sunderland this one for the 18-year-old's tug back on Danny Welbeck as he tried to break free. Sunderland shading it once again.

Aston Villa caretaker-boss Kevin MacDonald: "It's probably a fair result. You get to know the lads well over the years and it was nice for them to come over to me after the goal. Gerard had no input at all before the game. He told me to prepare the team and pick the team. It's been an interesting six or seven weeks but I'll go away and think about what I'm doing next. As it stands I'll be going back to the reserves - although I'm under a bit of pressure there because they won 4-1 last week!"

1750: Chance for Arsenal this time, but Simon Mignolet is alert to parry Alex Song's back post header from an Andrey Arshavin cross behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.

From manfrombelmonty on 606: "Hutton and Fabregas with the luckiest goals we're likely to see this season. I think Fabregas just edges it."

1745: Cracking chance for the hosts to get an almost immediate leveller, but Nedum Onuoha heads wastefully over from a cross from the Sunderland right.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Arsenal goal: Cesc Fabregas bursts out laughing - and you can't blame him. That's one of the most remarkable goals you'll see all season. Anton Ferdinand goes to boot the ball away about 40 yards from his own goal with no danger at all, but Fabregas is closing him down and the ball slams against the Arsenal captain's right foot, sails over Simon Mignolet's head and flies into the Sunderland goal. The locals cannot believe it. Steve Bruce can't believe it. I can't believe it.

1743: GOAL Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal (Fabregas)

1742: Marouane Chamakh, who is wearing one red boot and one yellow, slips off the pitch at Sunderland and goes crashing on to his backside.

1740: Sunderland have had a couple of corners, but their delivery hasn't been top drawer so far and Arsenal have dealt with them well. Steve Bruce prowls his technical area at the Stadium of Light.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle: "There's a lot of merit in saying we could have had all three points. We came here to show we could bounce back from last week at Arsenal. Going behind is never easy but we came back well and we had numerous opportunities to actually win the game."

From Declan from Dublin, via text: "Re 1624 - Van der Vaart was booked for that tackle on Van Damme. Spurs flattered by win but rounds off a good few days."
I stand (sit) corrected. Thanks.

1735: Arsenal have the first shot of the game, Alex Song working the ball to Andrey Arshavin on the left of the Sunderland area, but he leans back and lofts miles over the crossbar.

West Brom boss Roberto Di Matteo: "We were very positive in the second half. We had to control the midfield. It's great for us and puts us in a good position to kick on."

1731: And we are under way in the late Premier League game of the day, as Sunderland take on Arsenal.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Everton boss David Moyes on the anger of fans at the end of the defeat against Newcastle: 'I would have booed after that performance.'"

1727: By the way, they are under way in the late game in the Championship at the KC Stadium. Hull 0-0 Forest.

1726: Just been sent a correction on the Sunderland v Arsenal teams by the Press Association:
Sunderland: Mignolet, Onuoha, Bramble, Ferdinand, Richardson, Elmohamady, Riveros, Henderson, Malbranque, Welbeck, Bent.
Subs: Carson, Bardsley, Zenden, Da Silva, Reid, Colback, Gyan.
Arsenal: Almunia, Clichy, Squillaci, Koscielny, Sagna, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Fabregas, Arshavin, Chamakh.
Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Vela, Denilson, Djourou, Eboue, Gibbs.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "We are focused and when you come to Sunderland that's the least you need to be. It will be competitive. I loved Asamoah Gyan (who starts on the bench) at the World Cup and knew him from Rennes."

From lisbonapartment on Twitter: "With a win and the right results in other games, Wigan could jump to 10th tomorrow!"

Sunderland v Arsenal:
Saj Chowdhury reports: "Sunderland have beaten Arsenal at home on only three out of the last nine league meetings - however one of those three came last season. They'll also be looking to keep 11 on the pitch for the 90 having picked up five reds in their last seven league games. Naughty. The Gunners are nothing short of rampant at the moment - 18 goals in four matches - but beware the Black Cat."

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce: "What we don't want to see is people carried off with serious injuries. But we can't let Arsenal run the show, so we have to tackle fairly."

From Adam, Watford, via text: "A word about Watford today Stevo? What a win. Records fell. Women laughing, children crying."
Millwall 1-6 Watford? That's extraordinary.

1714: About time we thought about Sunderland v Arsenal then isn't it? The Gunners look almost unstoppable at the moment - they've scored 16 goals in three home games and thrashed Braga 6-0 in Europe in the week. Our South American correspondent Tim Vickery, who was at the Emirates, wrote a blog on his experience of watching Arsenal. "The tempo of the action can be breathtaking. The game is so much quicker than anything I'm used to in South America," says Vickery.

West Brom 3-1 Birmingham:
Mark Ashenden reports:
"There are games of two halves and games of two halves. Birmingham were looking hot for 40 minutes. Certainly hotter than the tepid hosts. The Blues wobbled but survived before half-time. But then their wobble turned into capitulation in the second half as Scott Dann's own goal set up a surprise comeback and three massive points for the Baggies."

Everton 0-1 Newcastle:
Phil McNulty reports:
"Newcastle may have survived a couple of late scares but they were deserved winners. Everton felt the full force of Goodison Park's fury at the final whistle."

Tottenham 3-1 Wolves:
Phil Dawkes reports:
"It looked for a long time as though Wolves were going to grab another 1-0 win against Spurs, but the home side refused to give in and were rewarded for their determination with the win. Wolves will feel hard done by but Spurs will be grateful to have avoided another European hangover."

Aston Villa 1-1 Bolton:
John Oakley reports:
"Something of an anti-climax at Villa Park as an entertaining game ends all square - probably a fair result. Plenty for the new home managerial duo of Gerard Houllier and Gary McAllister to ponder before they take charge on Monday."

Blackburn 1-1 Fulham:
Nabil Hassan reports:
"Fulham should be applauded for getting back into the game after Blackburn looked comfortable at the break. It's a massive cliché but ultimately I'm still going to use it, a draw was just about a fair result."

From Crumbs on 606: "So, Newcastle are back? They could be the most interesting team to watch this season, as by the looks of it they're either going to win and keep a clean sheet, or lose and not score. Exciting from a newly promoted team!"

1701: Sunderland v Arsenal line-ups:
Sunderland:
Mignolet, Onuoha, Bramble, Ferdinand, Richardson, Elmohamady, Riveros, Meyler, Malbranque, Welbeck, Bent.
Subs: Carson, Bardsley, Zenden, Da Silva, Reid, Colback, Gyan.
Arsenal: Almunia, Clichy, Squillaci, Koscielny, Sagna, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Fabregas, Arshavin, Chamakh.
Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Vela, Denilson, Djourou, Eboue, Gibbs.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1659: Well, that was fun, wasn't it? Just a reminder we've still got Sunderland v Arsenal in the Premier League and Hull v Nottm Forest in the Championship to come.

1656: Full-time Everton 0-1 Newcastle

1655: Still playing at Everton - it looks like Marouane Fellaini has just entered the miss of the season competition, but it's a brilliant deflection from Fabricio Coloccini. A brilliant move ends with Leighton Baines' cross and Fellaini seems certain to score, only for the Argentine to thrown himself at the ball. Top stuff.

1653: Full-time Tottenham 3-1 Wolves

Someone has struck the woodwork
1652: My word Everton were close to a leveller there. In a crowded penalty area Yakubu is left all alone 10 yards out to shoot against the post and the ball rebounds into the grateful arms of Tim Krul. Krul on the Toffees, for sure.

1651: Full-time Aston Villa 1-1 Bolton

1651: Full-time West Brom 3-1 Birmingham

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Spurs goal: That's unlucky for Wolves, but they've paid for defensive hesitancy and the game has gone now. Alan Hutton forges forward from right-back for Spurs and overruns the ball - but Richard Stearman dallies and when he finally decides to clear, it hits Hutton and loops in.

1649: GOAL Tottenham 3-1 Wolves (Hutton)

1649: Full-time Blackburn 1-1 Fulham

From Richard Coeur de Llama, via text: "Pope just scored for Rotherham at Barnet. He didn't look that sprightly on TV this morning."

From OptaJoe on Twitter: "James Perch is the first player to receive a yellow card in each of his first five Premier League appearances. Unruly... [Meanwhile,] Hatem Ben Arfa scored for Newcastle with his first ever shot in the Premier League. Impact."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Spurs goal: That's broken Wolves' hearts. A cross from Aaron Lennon from the right is half-cleared and when Tom Huddlestone fires it back in, it hits Karl Henry and falls perfectly for Roman Pavlyuchenko to smash past Marcus Hahnemann.

1645: GOAL Tottenham 2-1 Wolves (Pavlyuchenko)

1642: Super save low down to his left by Villa keeper Brad Friedel to keep out Matty Taylor's devilish 25-yard free-kick. It remains Villa 1-1 Bolton.

1641: Wolves could have snatched it there. Jelle van Damme's shot from six yards looks like it is heading in, only for the ball to hit the backside of Peter Crouch and fly over the Spurs bar. Into the closing stages around the country we go...

1639: Rafael van der Vaart has got the taste - he shoots right-footed from 18 yards, but it flies wide of Marcus Hahnemann's right-hand post. Still Spurs 1-1 Wolves there.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Goodison Park: "Everton's half-time changes may have increased the tempo but not the quality. David Moyes' side are still struggling to lay a glove on Newcastle and are in danger of ending the day still without a Premier League win."

1637: Football League Nath: "Middlesbrough look home and dry now, 3-1 they lead, while Watford are even further in command against Millwall at 4-1. Preston have leaked a goal at home to Norwich, while the Canaries' rivals Ipswich are 1-0 up against Cardiff, who they will leapfrog into second if they can hold on."

1635: Kevin MacDonald throws substitute John Carew into action at Villa Park as the hosts look for a more direct approach up front. Bolton still look very dangerous on the break though, with Martin Petrov seeing a low drive blocked by Luke Young.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Spurs goal: What a relief for the regulars at The Lane. Alan Hutton scampers inside the area on the right and Stephen Ward catches him - it's a definite penalty and there are no complaints from Wolves. Rafael van der Vaart steps up to coolly dispatch his first goal for the club. Interesting finish now.

1634: GOAL Tottenham 1-1 Wolves (Van der Vaart)

1633: PENALTY TO TOTTENHAM

From John OShea stole Gary Nevilles dream on 606: "When was the last time Spurs didn't score in their first three home matches?"

1629: Football League (and non-league) Nath: "Chesterfield seemingly cruising at 2-0 against Cheltenham in League Two and a smashing game at Southend where the Shrimpers are locked at 2-2 against Morecambe. Not too many problems for Shrewsbury against Northampton with the Shrews in charge at 3-1... Dipping into non-league where Dean Holdsworth is winning the battle of the brothers in the Blue Square Premier. His Newport County side lead brother David's Mansfield 1-0."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Baggies goal: Surely that's points in the bag for the Baggies? A Chris Brunt corner from the West Brom right sees Jonas Olsson unmarked inside the six-yard box to plant a header past Ben Foster.

1627: GOAL West Brom 3-1 Birmingham (Olsson)

1625: At Spurs, Roman Pavlyuchenko is sent on for Robbie Keane. By the way, Newcastle's Mike Williamson was not booked a few moments ago. Just Marouane Fellaini, who is lucky to still be on the pitch.

Handbags
Handbags
1624: Double handbags - now you don't see that every day. At Everton, Marouane Fellaini is being held by Mike Williamson, and the Belgian appears to throw his arm at the defender. There are some angry players, and both men are booked. At Spurs, Rafael van der Vaart slides in recklessly on Jelle van Damme, and he isn't even cautioned. Lucky boy.

BBC Sport's Garth Crooks on Final Score: "Birmingham have been really, really poor. They thought they could coast it - poor attitude from Birmingham."

1621: Benjani comes on for Blackburn, the striker making his Rovers debut.

Yellow card
1619: Brad Friedel makes a decent save from Martin Petrov at Villa, it's quite even there at the moment. Meanwhile, who had 1619 BST? For the fifth time in five Premier League matches, Newcastle's James Perch is booked, this time for a foul Steven Pienaar. Haha. Legend.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Baggies goal: That's how to turn a match on its head, though Birmingham have shot themselves in the foot there. It looks harmless when the ball falls at Lee Bowyer's feet 25 yards out from his own goal, but his touch backwards is so heavy and it lets Peter Odemwingie in to round Ben Foster and slot into the net, with Scott Dann not quite managing to kick it off the line. Jubilation at The Hawthorns.

1616: GOAL West Brom 2-1 Birmingham (Odemwingie)

1616: Gareth Bale crosses for the umpteenth time from the Spurs left but the ball is just behind Robbie Keane, the striker acrobatically volleying wide from eight yards.

1614: Is it going to be one of those afternoons at Spurs? Ledley King feeds Rafael van der Vaart and he turns superbly, but the Dutchman's left-foot curler from 18 yards flies just wide of Marcus Hahnemann's right-hand post.

1613: Football League Nath: "League One leaders Peterborough continuing their fine form and are 1-0 up at Exeter, while Bournemouth, who are unbeaten in their last five matches, and chasing the Posh, lead at Oldham through Rhoys Wiggins. No goals as yet for Carlisle against Brighton."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Fulham goal: Mark Hughes' side have started the second half really well and they are deservedly level. Carlos Salcido floats over a lovely cross from their left and Clint Dempsey powers a header past Paul Robinson. Good goal, game on.

1611: GOAL Blackburn 1-1 Fulham (Dempsey)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Baggies goal: Relief at The Hawthorns as the hosts get back on level terms. Graham Dorrans plays a fine first-time pass to Jerome Thomas down their left in space and his ball across the six-yard box is converted by Peter Odemwingie.

1608: GOAL West Brom 1-1 Birmingham (Odemwingie)

1607: By the way, Infostrada Sports have informed us that Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson supplied the assist for Samba's goal. This was the first assist by a keeper in the Premier League this season. Robinson also provided an assist last season in the club's 6-2 defeat at Arsenal in October.

1606: Looks to me like Aaron Lennon, sitting behind Joe Jordan and Clive Allen, is getting ready to come on soon for Spurs. Back under way at Everton 0-1 Newcastle, where the hosts have brought on Yakubu and Seamus Coleman for Jermaine Beckford and Tony Hibbert.

1603: And now at in the West Brom 0-1 Birmingham (where Graham Dorrans has come on), Spurs 0-1 Wolves and Villa 1-1 Bolton (where Richard Dunne has gone off, replaced by Carlos Cuellar) games.

1601: They ain't playing games at Ewood. Under way in Blackburn 1-0 Fulham.

From Zippy_George and Bungle on 606: "Newcastle have made some brilliant signings by the looks of things in Ben Arfa and Tiote. How on Earth did Ben Arfa end up at the Magpies? Well done Hughton and Co. either way!"

From Lee in Dubai, via text: "I can't remember the last time a new incoming manager inherited such a talented side as Houllier has at Villa. Can you?"
Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid. Or is that cheating? :)

Tottenham 0-1 Wolves:
Phil Dawkes reports:
"Wolves continue to prove Tottenham's bogey team. They lead at half time thanks to Steven Fletcher's 45th-minute goal. And the home side have only themselves to blame having wasted a number of good goalscoring opportunities before gifting Wolves the lead thanks to lapse in concentration in defence."

West Brom 0-1 Birmingham:
Mark Ashenden reports:
"The first 40 minutes is all Blue (despite them playing in red). Birmingham are 1-0 up and cruising. Then on 40 minutes panic ravages their defence. The Baggies are unlucky not to level just before the break as Marc-Antoine Fortune and Gabriel Tamas go close with headers. Big wake-up call. More fireworks in the second half I hope."

Everton 0-1 Newcastle:
Phil McNulty reports:
"Hatem Ben Arfa's stunning goal was no more than Newcastle United deserved after Chris Hughton's side have looked far more assured than a very poor Everton in this first half. David Moyes has work to do during the interval."

Blackburn 1-0 Fulham:
Nabil Hassan reports:
"Blackburn lead in controversial circumstances but just about deserve to go into the break ahead. Fulham look toothless up front without Bobby Zamora although Paul Robinson produced a world-class save to deny Fulham defender Carlos Salcido."

Aston Villa 1-1 Bolton:
John Oakley reports:
"A half of two, erm, halves at Villa Park. The hosts started superbly but Bolton fought back admirably. All to play for, as they say."

1549: Half-time Everton 0-1 Newcastle

1548: Half-time Tottenham 0-1 Wolves

1547: Half-time Aston Villa 1-1 Bolton

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Wolves goal: Out of nowhere and with Spurs on top, Wolves take the lead. David Jones finds Kevin Foley on the right and his pinpoint low cross is turned in by Steven Fletcher. That's what you call a bogey team.

1546: Half-time West Brom 0-1 Birmingham

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Magpies goal: That's how to endear yourself to your own fans. Hatem Ben Arfa collects the ball from Wayne Routledge, shifts it on to his left foot and unleashes an absolute rocket shot that sizzles into the left-hand corner of Tim Howard's net. Screamer from the Frenchman.

1546: Half-time Blackburn 1-0 Fulham

1545: GOAL Everton 0-1 Newcastle (Ben Arfa)

1545: GOAL Tottenham 0-1 Wolves (Fletcher)

1544: Tim Howard mis-kicks his clearance at Everton and from 40 yards, diehard Evertonian Joey Barton lashes a right-foot shot miles wide for Newcastle.

1543: Football League Nath: "Millwall's superb record of 17 matches unbeaten at the New Den could be coming to a halt with Watford two goals up already. John Eustace and Jordon Mutch on target there. Boro, meanwhile have added to their lead with former Royal Leroy Lita doing the damage, 2-0 there."

1541: By the way, I meant English at 1528, not injured. That would just be silly.

1540: Gareth Bale's a monster at the moment, isn't he? Another super run and cross from the left sees Robbie Keane glance wide, might have done better the Spurs striker. At Everton, Tim Krul makes his first save of the afternoon since replacing the injured Steve Harper, from Leon Osman's low shot.

1538: Fulham debutant Carlos Salcido forces a fine fingertip save from Rovers keeper Paul Robinson with his low right footed curling strike from the angle of the penalty box.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Everton: "Newcastle have suffered a real setback with goalkeeper Steve Harper being stretchered off after a collision with Jermaine Beckford. Chris Hughton's side have started very confidently and Everton's Tim Howard had been much the busier of the keepers until Harper's departure. Everton are struggling to create anything."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Bolton goal: That's a fabulous goal - anyone else and people would be absolutely raving about it. A cross to the back post by Bolton finds Martin Petrov on the left of the Villa box and after returning it to the edge of the six-yard box, Kevin Davies scores a wonderful goal, controlling the ball, turning and smashing a left-foot shot into the roof of Brad Friedel's net. Corker.

1535: GOAL Aston Villa 1-1 Bolton (Davies)

1533: Newcastle twice go agonisingly close. Joey Barton fires in a free-kick from 25 yards which is punched away by Tim Howard flying to his left and moments later, Kevin Nolan's cross comes off the head of Johnny Heitinga, forcing Howard to tip over. Now Steve Harper is injured, not good news for the Magpies.

1532: Gareth Bale flings over a cross from the Spurs left and Peter Crouch gets up superbly to bullet a header goalwards, Marcus Hahnemann making a fine save with his left hand to deny the giant striker. Crouch's heading has gone up a notch this season, if you ask me.

1531: Football League Nath: "Chesterfield's new £13m stadium has seen three league victories for the home side this season and they're up and running against Cheltenham. Drew Talbot with the opener for the Spireites."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Rovers goal: Not sure they would even know how to celebrate that at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium... Blackburn go in front and you have to ask questions of the referee. Mark Schwarzer comes a long way for a free-kick and El Hadji Diouf barges him to the floor, allowing Chris Samba to glance a header into the empty net. Schwarzer is bemused, Mark Hughes is fuming. He had every right to be.

1529: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Fulham (Samba)

1528: I can confirm Fabio Capello is not with the Pope today, he is at Tottenham v Wolves, probably wishing Gareth Bale was English and the game would liven up a little.

BBC Sport's Garth Crooks on Final Score: "Newcastle have had a lot of the ball and are playing very confidently."

1524: How did Spurs not score? Jermaine Jenas plays a stunning pass down the left for Gareth Bale, and after the Welshman's shot is saved by Marcus Hahnemann, Robbie Keane's turn and drive on the rebound is deflected behind off to shin of Richard Stearman.

1523: Fulham have their first chance of the half and it comes from Moussa Dembele, who runs from halfway unchallenged before unleashing a low 20-yard shot wide of the post at Blackburn.

1522: Hatem Ben Arfa tricks his way past a couple of Everton defenders and he plays in Kevin Nolan - his shot is saved by Tim Howard, but the flag went up anyway. Ben Arfa: the new David Ginola? Discuss...

From dmrichkt on 606: "Good game at Goodison. If Everton had a 20-goal-a-season striker they'd be a top-six side. D Bent for instance. Doesn't seem to be a priority for Moyes, though."

1519: Football League Nath: "QPR looking every bit a top-of-the-table side and they're 1-0 up on Leicester. Jamie Mackie has got it and added to his excellent record so far this season. Five goals in his last three games for the striker now."

1517: Nice that Ashley Young went straight to Kevin MacDonald and celebrated his goal with the Villa creataker-boss. After today, MacDonald will go back to being the club's reserve-team coach.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Blues goal: The visitors have a free-kick 30 yards out which Alex Hleb knocks into the box, Scott Dann heads it to the back post and Cameron Jerome bundles into the net from inside the six-yard box. Advantage visitors.

1516: GOAL West Brom 0-1 Birmingham (Jerome)

1515: It's a bit quiet everywhere else, though. Cheick Tiote shoots at Tim Howard from about 25 yards for Newcastle.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Villa goal: I think the watching Gerard Houllier probably likes the looks of that. Ashley Young is fouled 25 yards out and picks himself up to curl a lovely free-kick over the wall and into Adam Bogdan's right-hand top corner. Beauty.

1512: GOAL Aston Villa 1-0 Bolton (Young)

1511: Mikel Arteta is too skilful for Kevin Nolan down the Everton left and he stands a cross up to the back post for Marouane Fellaini, but the mop-haired Belgian can only head into the floor and the arms of Steve Harper.

1509: Great cross from the Newcastle left from Jose Enrique at Everton, but, 10 yards out, Wayne Routledge can only head over. He did get up well though, the little man.

1508: Football League Nath: "Barry Robson isn't hanging around, under a minute on the clock and he's put Middlesbrough one-up against Reading. They've made a slow start to the season but a quickfire opener has them in the driving seat at the Riverside today."

1507: Blackburn ever so nearly went in front there. Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer comes for a long ball, misses it, and after a scramble Morten Gamst Pedersen's shot is headed off the line by Brede Hangeland.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Jimmy Armfield: "I think this is a very big match for Everton. You get moments in the season when you have a big game that just crops up, and this is one of them for me. They certainly wouldn't want to lose it, that's for sure."

From georgkj on Twitter: "Love the attacking formation 'Arry has fielded. A gruesome revenge for last year's losses is surely imminent."

1501: And finally in the West Brom v Birmingham and Everton v Newcastle matches. Happy days.

1500: And now at Aston Villa v Bolton and Tottenham v Wolves.

1459: We've started early, but they are up and running in the Blackburn v Fulham game.

1458: Very close to kick-off in Saturday's 1500 BST games now. Don't forget to get yourself involved, it's your special day more than it is mine, remember.

From Raphael, via text: "Stevo, let me pre-empt certain pundits and papers and start the 'Pennant for England' bandwagon right now."

Blackburn v Fulham team news:
Nabil Hassan reports:
"Blackburn defender Michel Salgado has passed a late fitness test on the thigh he injured against Manchester City, while captain Ryan Nelsen has also recovered from the foot injury he suffered in the same game. Fulham are of course without striker Bobby Zamora but winger Damien Duff has recovered from a calf injury and is fit to face his former side. However, Rafik Halliche and Fredrik Stoor (both groin) are out."

Aston Villa v Bolton team news:
John Oakley reports:
"Aston Villa caretaker-manager Kevin MacDonald makes one change from the team that lost at Stoke on Monday, with a fit-again Stephen Ireland returning to replace Nigel Reo-Coker in central midfield. Ashley Young is again employed as a second striker, just behind Gabriel Agbonlahor. Bolton are without suspended pair Gary Cahill and Jussi Jaaskelainen so Andy O'Brien and Adam Bogdan deputise, while captain Kevin Davies is passed fit to play despite not training all week after suffering concussion against Arsenal."

West Brom v Birmingham team news:
Mark Ashenden reports: "West Brom stick with the same XI which battled to a point against Tottenham last week. Midfielder Graham Dorrans returns to the bench following his recent family bereavement. All eyes will be on Birmingham debutant Alexander Hleb. He replaces midfielder James McFadden who suffered anterior ligament damage in training on Friday and is the only Birmingham change since their draw with Liverpool."

Tottenham v Wolves team news:
Phil Dawkes reports:
"Striker Robbie Keane is handed his first Tottenham start since 16 January - in place of Aaron Lennon - as Harry Redknapp makes just two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Werder Bremen in the Champions League. The other switch sees defender William Gallas come in for Verdan Corluka. Wolves recall defender Richard Stearman, whose last start was also 16 January, as well as midfielder David Jones and striker Steven Fletcher."

Everton v Newcastle team news:
Phil McNulty reports: "Everton make one change from the side that drew against Manchester United. Tim Cahill has failed a fitness test on a knee injury, so Jermaine Beckford comes in. Newcastle give a debut to Ivory Coast international Cheik Tiote, while loan signing from Marseille Hatem Ben Arfa makes his first start."

From Gerrardswhiskers on 606: "That was a very good match. Stoke hit the post so many times, very unlucky. Piquionne very good for West Ham. Just need to get your other 10 players to try as hard as he does."

Paul Fletcher reports: "A point at last for West Ham, who looked like they might capitulate after Stoke equalised shortly after the restart but clawed their way back into what was a decent game of football."

1439: Tottenham v Wolves line-ups:
Tottenham:
Cudicini, Kaboul, King, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Huddlestone, Jenas, Bale, Crouch, Keane.
Subs: Pletikosa, Hutton, Bassong, Kranjcar, Palacios, Lennon, Pavlyuchenko.
Wolverhampton: Hahnemann, Foley, Stearman, Craddock, Mancienne, Ward, Henry, David Jones, Jarvis, Doyle, Fletcher.
Subs: Hennessey, Van Damme, Elokobi, Edwards, Ebanks-Blake, Bent, Guedioura.
Referee: Michael Jones (Cheshire)

1437: Full-time Stoke City 1-1 West Ham

1437: Stoke think they should have a corner after a header is deflected over, but nothing doing from referee Lee Mason and Tony Pulis is furious. West Ham send Luis Boa Morte on for Victor Obinna, who has shown flashes of promise. Dying embers now.

1435: We'll have about three minutes of injury time at the Britannia Stadium. As Rory Delap begins his towelling process again, those Hammers fans have are biting their fingernails. Robert Green has to tip a Matty Etherington shot over the bar.

1433: The West Ham fans are in good voice - we're not far off injury time and I think they'd have snatched your hand off for a point at the start of this one.

1431: Robert Green does really well to come and claim a Rory Delap throw-in, but his attempted goalkick is woeful, smacking Ryan Shawcross on the back of the head. The Stoke man is a bit groggy, but he'll be OK.

1431: Aston Villa v Bolton line-ups:
Aston Villa:
Friedel, Luke Young, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Petrov, Albrighton, Ireland, Downing, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor.
Subs: Guzan, Carew, Heskey, Reo-Coker, Clark, Cuellar, Bannan.
Bolton: Bogdan, Steinsson, Knight, Andrew O'Brien, Robinson, Petrov, Muamba, Holden, Lee, Kevin Davies, Elmander.
Subs: Lainton, Taylor, Mark Davies, Klasnic, Ricketts, Moreno, Blake.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

1429: A West Ham free-kick is half-cleared to the edge of the Stoke box, where Scott Parker smashes a right-foot volley a couple of yards wide. That's a decent chance for a man of his skills.

1428: West Brom v Birmingham line-ups:
West Brom:
Carson, Jara, Olsson, Tamas, Shorey, Thomas, Scharner, Mulumbu, Brunt, Odemwingie, Fortune.
Subs: Myhill, Tchoyi, Pablo, Barnes, Bednar, Reid, Dorrans.
Birmingham: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Gardner, Ferguson, Bowyer, Hleb, Jerome.
Subs: Taylor, Murphy, Derbyshire, Michel, Fahey, Zigic, Beausejour.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

Someone has struck the woodwork
1427: Stoke won't get much closer to getting their noses in front today. A Rory Delap throw is headed into the floor and against the bar by Ricardo Fuller, the ball bouncing near the goalline before being booted away. Jermaine Pennant goes off and Glenn Whelan comes on in his place.

1425: Jermaine Pennant tries to play a pass to Ricardo Fuller and clutches his left hamstring. He tries to run it off, but that is not happening.

Everton v Newcastle:
Phil McNulty reports: "Everton hope to finally end a sequence that has seen them suffer their worst Premier League start in 16 years with their first win of the campaign against Newcastle United. Spirits will have been lifted by the stunning late comeback to earn a draw against Manchester United last week, while Newcastle will hope to change their wretched recent record at Goodison Park by recovering from the surprise home defeat against Blackpool."

1422: More good stuff from West Ham. Victor Obinna lays the ball off on the edge of the Stoke area and Scott Parker's left-foot shot sails a couple of yards over. The Hammers are doing well at the moment.

1420: Wasteful. West Ham break and Victor Obinna runs for 60 yards before slicing a horrible left-foot shot miles wide from 22 yards. He had team-mates up in support, too. Good job his manager isn't watching.

1419: Everton v Newcastle line-ups
Everton:
Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Arteta, Heitinga, Pienaar, Fellaini, Beckford.
Subs: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Neville, Gueye, Yakubu, Coleman, Barkley.
Newcastle: Harper, Perch, Coloccini, Williamson, Jose Enrique, Routledge, Tiote, Barton, Ben Arfa, Nolan, Carroll.
Subs: Krul, Campbell, Lovenkrands, Ryan Taylor, Smith, Gutierrez, Ameobi.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

1418: Blackburn v Fulham line-ups:
Blackburn:
Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Grella, Jones, Mame Diouf, Pedersen, El-Hadji Diouf, Kalinic.
Subs: Bunn, Emerton, Linganzi, Nzonzi, Mwaruwari, Hoilett, Chimbonda.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido, Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Davies, Dempsey, Dembele.
Subs: Etheridge, Pantsil, Baird, Gera, Riise, Eddie Johnson, Greening.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

1417: A rapturous ovation at the Britannia as Stoke take Kenwyne Jones off and replace him with Eidur Gudjohnsen.

1416: Let's firm up what we heavily suspected earlier: Aston Villa have confirmed Gary McAllister has agreed to become assistant manager to Gerard Houllier.

1415: Chance for West Ham this time - the ball falls invitingly for Victor Obinna on the edge of the Stoke box and his slightly mis-hit volley is pushed around the post by Thomas Sorensen. Moments later, Sorensen gets down to his left to save Manuel da Costa's header.

1413: Fair to say Stoke fans have warmed to Jermaine Pennant more than the Real Zaragoza supporters did last season. He jinks past a couple of West Ham players and dinks a cross into the box, but Kenwyne Jones is flagged offside moments before heading against the bar. Jinks and dinks in the same sentence. Quite pleased with that.

Blackburn v Fulham:
Nabil Hassan reports:
"Mark Hughes returns to the club where he made his managerial name hoping to extend his unbeaten start at new club Fulham to six matches. Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce might not have the resources of Inter Milan or Real Madrid but he does have Mame Diouf in fine goalscoring form. A win today would also secure Rovers their 1,000th win in top-flight football."

1410: Ricardo Fuller comes on for Stoke, replacing Jon Walters. It's not about to get any less physical for the Hammers.

From Justin, via text: "Pennant was regarded as one of the best crossers of the ball in the Premier League in his last spell. Himself and Jones could be superb this season if they can get it right."

1408: West Ham have reasserted a little authority since that wave of Stoke pressure, they are doing better keeping hold of the ball, though Radoslav Kovac has given it away cheaply twice since he came on.

Aston Villa v Bolton:
John Oakley reports:
"Aston Villa will look to give caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald a happy send-off in his last game in charge before Gerard Houllier finally takes over and should fancy their chances against Bolton if recent form is anything to go by. Villa have scored 13 goals in their last three home meetings between the sides, and will take further heart from the way Wanderers' promising start to the season was shattered at the Emirates against Arsenal last weekend."

Tottenham v Wolves:
Phil Dawkes reports:
"Wolves took an impressive six points from Tottenham last season and after a solid start to their second successive top-flight campaign will be hopeful of continuing their good run of form against a Spurs side keen on making amends. Spurs come into the game off the back of a confidence-boosting display against Werder Bremen in the Champions League. But they will be keen to avoid what happened the last time they played in Europe, when they lost their following league game to Wigan."

Someone has struck the woodwork
1403: What a let-off for West Ham. Kenwyne Jones chases on to a ball down the Stoke left and bullies Matthew Upson, cutting in and smashing a right-foot shot against the far post courtesy of a brilliant left hand from Robert Green. That is a magnificent save.

West Brom v Birmingham:
Mark Ashenden
reports: "It's fifth from bottom against fifth from top. The Baggies will be desperate to close the gap on their Midland rivals and their chances look better than a month ago with a win, loss and draw since their 6-0 Chelsea drubbing. Birmingham might be flying but they're looking for only their second win on their travels in 12 Premier League games. New-boy Alexander Hleb could certainly help their cause. Could the former Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder cause a few tears at The Hawthorns?"

1359: Jermaine Pennant might just be a gem of a signing from Tony Pulis. He delivers another wicked cross from the right and it's only a fraction too high from Jon Walters, who maybe doesn't quite time his jump right. Pennant is a real threat.

From AndySzpuk on Twitter: "I wonder how Big Sam will be received today by the Blackburn faithful after his recent comments?"

1355: Valon Behrami has limped off, he's not coming back on. The crowd are very lively and Stoke are very much in the ascendancy right now. Radoslav Kovac comes on for the Swiss.

1354: Stoke are buoyed by their goal and Kenwyne Jones lays the ball off to Matty Etherington inside the West Ham box, but his left-foot shot is deflected over. Valon Behrami has gone down again and he needs some more treatment.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Stoke goal: You know, it's not half a bad goal, that. Jon Walters slides a nice pass down the right for Jermaine Pennant and after scampering to the byeline the winger flights over a brilliant cross, just over Robert Green and into the path of Kenwyne Jones, who heads into the net from two yards. Level pegging.

1352: GOAL Stoke City 1-1 West Ham (Jones)

1351: Robert Huth goes in hard on Valon Behrami, getting the ball after taking the Swiss out. He's a bit lucky to not be booked for that - especially as Lee Mason seemed pretty keen to get his cards out earlier.

1349: Back under way at the Britannia. Stoke 0-1 West Ham.

1347: BBC Radio 5 live are reporting that Aston Villa are going to name Gary McAllister as their new assistant manager. He'll apparently be at their game against Bolton today.

1345: Anyone not read our hugely popular gossip column? Here's a brief snapshot: Man Utd turned down Joe Cole; Sheff Utd want Barry Bannan; Fulham want to offer Mark Schwarzer a new deal; David Villa reckons John Terry is his toughest opponent; and Roy Hodgson wants Liverpool fans to taunt Wayne Rooney. And if you believe our Roy actually said that...

From SydneyToon on 606: "Geordie fan here, watching from Sydney, Australia. Great to see the ex-Newcastle captain, Scott Parker, playing so well so far this season. On Aussie TV we have Mark Bosnich and Robbie Slater bickering..."

1340: According to the boys (and girls, probably) at Infostrada Sports and their famous Euro Club Index, before the game started Stoke (ranked 123) had a 50% chance of winning today, while West Ham (155) had a 25% chance of three points. That might have changed, as they've just informed us that the Hammers are unbeaten in their last 17 away matches in the Premier League when leading at half-time, a run that stretches back to December 2005.

Paul Fletcher reports: "A lively first half packed with industrial tackles that has led to a little bit of niggle, but also boasting the occasional flash of brilliance and the odd howler."

1334: Half-time Stoke City 0-1 West Ham

1333: Manuel da Costa executes a decent overhead kick to clear the ball inside his own box and catches Robert Huth in the head. Fine in his own area, but wouldn't be allowed in the opposition's. Huth doesn't need treatment, but referee Lee Mason makes him go off anyway. Dear me.

Yellow card
1330: Another booking - this time for Stoke's Dean Whitehead and that's for a naughty, knee-high challenge on Scott Parker that means the Hammers captain requires some treatment. We're into two minutes of time added on as well.

1329: Into the closing stages of the first half and Stoke are upping the tempo in a bid to claw back the deficit. Robert Green comes for a cross, gets a bit of a punch on it and is given a silly free-kick by the referee.

1327: West Ham work it nicely from right to left and Mark Noble is so close to threading a super throughball for Victor Obinna, but it's a touch too strong. Obinna and Frederic Piquionne look really dangerous for the visitors.

From Harj_Badwal on Twitter: "Maybe Avram should stay away from West Ham more often - WHU playing much better."

Yellow card
1324: Now Carlton Cole is shown a yellow card after clipping the feet of Matthew Etherington after the Stoke man unloaded the ball sharpish by the touchline. Cole might feel a little aggrieved after what just happened.

1322: Suddenly this game has turned into a cracker. After a 30-second delay to dry the ball, Rory Delap missiles a throw in from the left and from five yards Kenwyne Jones somehow heads over the bar.

1321: Hmm, Stoke could have been down to 10 men there. Carlton Cole tries to run on the blind side of Ryan Shawcross and the Stoke captain seems to stick out his arm, his elbow catching Cole in the face. That's a bit naughty.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1320: Incredible the confidence you get from a goal. Frederic Piquionne cuts in from the left and hits a screaming right-foot shot that clatters against the crossbar with Thomas Sorensen nowhere near.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Hammers goal: It won't win any awards, but will West Ham care? Will they heck. From that free-kick, Victor Obinna curls it in and after Carlton Cole gets something on it it's cleared by Rory Delap into the face of Ryan Shawcross and bounces beautifully for Scott Parker to slam into the net from two yards. The away end goes mental.

1317: GOAL Stoke City 0-1 West Ham (Parker)

1317: Danny Collins nails Valon Behrami by the byeline and gets a bit of a telling off from Lee Mason. Behrami made a bit of a meal of it, though.

1316: I'm hearing news that the Blackpool squad, ahead of their trip to Chelsea on Sunday, are currently at Preston Station. That could be a lively one.

1314: I quite like the way West Ham's frontline is set up, if I may backtrack from my 1248 comment. With Carlton Cole playing in the central striker's position, he's got Frederic Piquionne haring down the left and Victor Obinna racing down the right to try and support him. There's some danger in those three, certainly.

From Repka on Twitter: "It cannot be a coincidence that Rob Green's shocking loss of form happened just after goalkeeping coach Ludek Miklosko left."

1310: Victor Obinna shoots from 20 yards for West Ham, but he doesn't quite catch it properly. It might not have even gone for a throw-in, in all fairness.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Tim Flowers: "It's not nice when people are on top of you, it's not nice at all - and every goalkeeper has gone through it at some point. You just have to work hard at the basics and hope you can get through a 90 minutes without a mistake."

Yellow card
1307: We have our first booking of the afternoon as Valon Behrami brings Jermaine Pennant down and though Scott Parker is complaining, Behrami isn't much. After a deflection, Kenwyne Jones then mis-kicks wide from 12 yards.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1305: Good grief, what has happened to Robert Green? From the free-kick Jermaine Pennant whips it in and Green fumbles the ball into the path of Robert Huth, who sticks out a telescopic leg to divert it against the post. Lucky let off for the keeper and his team.

1303: Jon Walters trudges off, he does need a little bit of attention from the physio.

1302: Victor Obinna slips on the greasy surface and stays down for a minute, but Stoke don't kick the ball out and he gets up pretty soon after. Hmm. Valon Behrami slides in on Jon Walters and that's a free-kick for the hosts. It's competitive, no doubt about that.

1300: More decent play from West Ham, who probably look slightly the likelier to score at the minute. Victor Obinna shoots goalwards from 20 yards and it seems to hit Ryan Shawcross's hand on its way through to Thomas Sorensen.

From BombaySalsaa on 606: "IMHO ''towel'' should be banned to dry wet football..."
I agree. It wastes time too.

1255: Carlton Cole sets his sights from 30 yards, but a left-foot shot from 30 yards dribbles harmlessly wide.

1253: Tell you what, West Ham aren't doing badly at the moment. They fling a corner in from the left and Thomas Sorensen is lucky to get away with completely missing his punch. Ryan Shawcross heads away to clear the danger.

From Simon, Durham, via text: "(See 1230) Surely first half Spurs will show up... followed by second half Spurs."

1248: Decent start from Stoke, it's pretty clear they are going to be doing the majority of the pressing today. Mark Noble dispossesses Kenwyne Jones, but promptly boots the ball aimlessly out of play. Carlton Cole might be ploughing a pretty lone furrow for West Ham at times.

1245: Peep goes Lee Mason's whistle and Saturday's Premier League football is up and running.

From ChrisCorf on Twitter: "As a Spurs fan I would be delighted with a win today. Wolves doubled us last year + CL hangover + 0 goals at home. Worried."

1242: The teams are out at the Britannia Stadium and we're not too far off getting going this weekend. Good atmosphere as always.

1240: Before we start, I wouldn't be doing my job properly (steady) if I didn't point you in the direction of Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce's remarkable statement on Friday: "I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid. It wouldn't be a problem for me to manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time." So, it's all sorted then. Jose Mourinho to take over as Portugal boss and Big Sam to step into the Bernabeu hotseat.

From Luke in Clapham, via text: "Stevo, am not a fan of either team but the Hammers defence has so little confidence they will definitely concede and the question is can they score more than Stoke? Looking at the team I'd say no."

1234: Stoke City v West Ham team news:
Paul Fletcher reports: "Stoke make one change from the team that defeated Aston Villa 2-1 on Monday, with Jermaine Pennant coming in for Marc Wilson, while West Ham trio Manuel da Costa, Danny Gabbidon and Frederic Piquionne replace Tal Ben-Haim, Herita Ilunga and Luis Boa-Morte from the side that lost 3-1 to leaders Chelsea."

1230: Stevo's Predos:
Stoke 2-1 West Ham
Aston Villa 2-1 Bolton
Blackburn 2-1 Fulham
Everton 2-0 Newcastle
Spurs 1-1 Wolves
West Brom 1-1 Birmingham
Sunderland 0-3 Arsenal
Lawro's predictions

From Moon on 606: "Wonder which Spurs will turn up today... first half Spurs or second half Spurs."

1224: Of course, we've got a full programme below the Premier League today and Football League Nath will be keeping you in touch with all the big news from the Champo, League One and League Two. Juicy-looking games include Leicester v QPR, Southampton v Colchester, and Chesterfield v Cheltenham.

From Greg in Romsey, via text: "Stevo, this has got to be the worst possible game for Robert Green at the moment. Stoke are gonna be loading the area at every opportunity. I can't see anything else today than a 3-0 Stoke win."

1218: Text me on 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide), join in the fun on our 606 page and whack me a tweet @Stevo_football. I'm here for a long time and a good time, you know.

Paul Fletcher reports: "Stoke are yet to keep a clean sheet in five league and cup fixtures this season but at least they have a top-flight win under their belt after defeating Aston Villa 2-1 on Monday. West Ham have yet to pick up a point in the Premier League this season and manager Avram Grant, absent as he observes the Jewish holy day Yom Kippur, is under increasing pressure."

1211: Stoke City v West Ham line-ups:
Stoke:
Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Collins, Pennant, Delap, Whitehead, Etherington, Walters, Jones.
Subs: Begovic, Higginbotham, Whelan, Gudjohnsen, Fuller, Wilson, Wilkinson.
West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, da Costa, Upson, Gabbidon, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Piquionne, Obinna, Cole.
Subs: Stech, Tomkins, Barrera, Boa Morte, Kovac, McCarthy, Faubert.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

1208: Yep, seven Premier League games today, starting with Stoke - who won their first points of the season at home to Villa on Monday - against West Ham, who have lost four out of four so far. That starts at 1245 BST. Soon.

1205: That quote, of course, from tennis coaching legend Brad Gilbert's book 'Winning Ugly'. Stoke know how - and my word could their opponents today do with mastering the art.

1200: "No matter how hard you work, no matter how great your talent, your mind is the ultimate weapon. Most players use it against themselves... when you are the master of your mind, you will master the art of winning more... And always remember, it's better to win ugly, than to lose pretty."



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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 18 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

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

see also
Saturday's football photos
18 Sep 10 |  Football


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