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By Sam Lyon
1745: Is it me, or is this season threatening to be the most competitive Premier League campaign yet? Too much? Ah well... that's me done for today. Check out Five Live's 606 phone-in from 1800, before sitting back to enjoy Match of the Day at 2230 ahead of the Football League Show at 2350. You could basically frame your Saturday night pub visit with more football indulgence - happy days. I'll be back tomorrow for a trio of crackers -
Man City v Newcastle, Liverpool v Blackpool
and of course the small matter of
Chelsea v Arsenal.
Don't you dare miss it. See ya.
bjorneo on Twitter:
"Looks like it's Manchester United's turn to suffer Champions League hangovers perhaps?"
SUNDERLAND 0-0 MAN UTD: Phil Dawkes reports: "Sunderland will be disappointed at not having taken three points from a distinctly under-par Manchester United, but they can be heartened by another strong home showing. United will hope Wayne Rooney returns to add some bite in attack soon."
Mook, E Yorkshire via text: "Re 1705: Mr Garrido, Harry's shrewdness in the transfer market? Try Daniel Levy's shrewdness. Harry had nothing to do with it!"
TOTTENHAM 2-1 ASTON VILLA: Ian Hughes reports: "A fine win for Tottenham, inspired by a superb performance from Raafel Van der Vaart, seeing off Aston Villa in an end-to-end game. This is what the Premier League is all about."
STOKE 1-0 BLACKBURN: Owen Phillips reports. "Stoke comfortably held out to take the points in an ultra-completive tussle that fizzled out somewhat after a lively first half."
BIRMINGHAM 0-2 EVERTON: Mandeep Sanghera
reports: "Relief for Everton as the bag their first league win of the season but concern for Birmingham, who were booed off by their fans at the end."
1724: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "You have to give credit to Sunderland, their home record is fantastic. But the plus from me is that we defended very well. The back four were terrific. We've had difficult away games but the consistency of not losing is something we can take. I'm satisfied with a point."
Gerrardswhiskers on 606:
"RE 1712: We will be in the top half of the table if we can beat Blackpool at Anfield tomorrow. No need to panic yet."
KopOfTheLeague on 606:
"RE 1712: Not sure about that, I may be being very pessimistic but I have a feeling we (Liverpool fans) might have to get used to it."
WEST BROM 1-1 BOLTON: Sam Sheringham reports: "A dull first half gave way to an utterly enthralling second between two well-drilled sides. A point apiece was a fair result, although both teams had chances to win the game."
WEST HAM 1-1 FULHAM: Kevin Darling reports: "Dempsey may have scored past Green again but this was no Rustenberg it was an impressive display from the Hammers keeper to ensure Fulham must settle for yet another draw."
1712: Well well well, not a huge amount of goals but more incident today than you could shake a stick at. I would advise Liverpool fans against a glance at the Premier League table, mind.
1709: ...it comes to nothing, though, and that looks like that.
1707: Two minutes into stoppage time and Nemanja Vidic gets a firm header on a United corner - but it is brilliantly blocked by a Sunderland defender. The hosts burst upfield and now they have a corner of their own...
1705: We'll have three minutes of added time at the Stadium of Light.
Pacco_slice on Twitter:
"We (Manchester United) could give the trophy to Chelsea if the result stays like this or gets worse."
BBC Sport's David Garrido on Final Score, following Tottenham v Aston Villa: "Rafael van der Vaart has had an eventful week but came off to a standing ovation here with two goals, making it four in all since moving here from Real Madrid, and proving once against Harry Redknapp's shrewdness in the transfer market. Watch it on Match of the Day and at no point go and make a cup of tea."
1702: We're into the closing stages at the Stadium of Light and United finally have some threat in them in Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov - but still it is Sunderland looking the better side, with Asamoah Gyan lively since his introduction.
BBC Sport's Ivan Gaskell on Final Score, following Birmingham v Everton: "Everton 2-0 winners and very clear winners too. I can't remember a single strike on target from Birmingham and that's in front of their own fans. They were so close to setting a new record for going unbeaten at home but that never looked like happening today."
1658: A couple of Sunderland changes now, Asamoah Gyan and Andy Reid on for Steed Malbranque and Bolo Zenden. Ambition from Steve Bruce.
1656: Close for Man Utd. Javier Hernandez links up well with Dimitar Berbatov, the latter stinging a shot centimetres wide of the Sunderland upright.
1654: So only Sunderland-Manchester United still playing, thanks to that delayed kick-off (see 1455). The visitors have rolled the dice in search of a precious winner by throwing on Bebe.
1653: FULL-TIME Stoke 1-0 Blackburn
Real opportunity for Sunderland. Phil Bardsley is released down the right and he pulls back for Darren Bent, but the England man puts his first-time shot past the near post.
1652: FULL-TIME West Ham 1-1 Fulham
1652: FULL-TIME Tottenham 2-1 Aston Villa
1651: FULL-TIME Birmingham 0-2 Everton
1651: FULL-TIME West Brom 1-1 Bolton
Everton goal: Unbeaten at home for 12 months and 18 games - but that run is over now for Birmingham, Tim Cahill heading home Leighton Baines's cross for the simplest of goals. That gets Everton's season up and running.
1649: GOALFLASH Birmingham 0-2 Everton (Cahill)
1648: Diomansy Kamara has a great chance to win it at Upton Park after being set clean through, but he blazes his effort high, wide and not very handsome from the edge of the area.
BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher
at the Walkers Stadium: Leicester have started to look very, very fragile since Scunthorpe pulled a goal back and we are now seeing the sort of edgy performance that comes from a team lacking in confidence. Sven-Goran Eriksson is doubtless taking note as he looks down from the directors box."
1644: West Ham keeper Rob Green - in fine form of late - shows his class again as he gets down brilliantly to stop Dickson Etuhu's header. The Hammers bounce and Scott Parker fires into the side netting - both teams looking to pinch this, now.
1643: Steed Malbranque almost breaks the deadlock at the Stadium of Light when his shot is deflected by Rio Ferdinand - but it loops over, rather than under, the bar.
1642: The minutes ticking down around the grounds - but no more than a goal in it anywhere. Do not move.
1640: Javier Hernandez replaces Federico Macheda for Manchester United, amidst a far more even second half at Sunderland. The visitors still struggling to create chances, though.
1637: It's all happening at the Hawthorns. Superb stuff from Peter Odemwingie on the right again and his cut-back finds Giles Barnes, whose point-blank strike is brilliantly saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Football League Nathan: "Plenty of changes to the Leeds line-up today following their 6-4 defeat by Preston on Tuesday but a dour performance so far and Ipswich hold the advantage 1-0, Jason Scotland on the scoresheet."
West Brom goal: Moments after missing a sitter, Peter Odemwingie makes amends with a lovely cross that James Morrison powers home with his head on the run.
1634: GOALFLASH West Brom 1-1 Bolton (Morrison)
Tottenham goal: Who else? Aaron Lennon's cross is nodded down by Peter Crouch but there is work to do for Rafael van der Vaart - and he does it brilliantly, selling Richard Dunne an almighty dummy and then crashing a finish high into the net. That's four in three games at home for the Dutchman, who is sewing his name onto the hearts of Spurs fans the land over.
1631: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-1 Aston Villa (Van der Vaart)
1627: And now it's Tottenham's turn to miss a great chance, Peter Crouch heading over unmarked from Tom Huddlestone's flick-on six yards out. It really is a barn-stormer of a match at White Hart Lane.
1626: It should be game over at the Hawthorns. Bolton winger Martin Petrov is sent clear down the left but with only Scott Carson to beat he drags his shot wide.
Football League Nathan: "Cracking game in League Two where Accrington lead Gillingham 5-3. Phil Edwards has bagged a couple from the spot in the space of two minutes. League leaders Port Vale could do with one of those. Yet to break the deadlock against Oxford."
1625: How have Villa not scored there? Ashley Young crosses from the left but first it evades John Carew six yards out and then Marc Albrighton at the far post. Let-off for Spurs, who otherwise have been in control this half.
1623: Dimitar Berbatov - on as a half-time substitute for Michael Owen - has the ball in the net for Manchester United at Sunderland, but the offside flag had long since been raised.
Football League Nathan: "Another penalty for Southampton and Rickie Lambert makes it two from two and seemingly home and hosed in that derby."
Bolton goal: We have an opener at the Hawthorns now - and it's a lovely goal. Kevin Davies's lay-off is a delight and Johan Elmander pounces to sweep into the net from 12 yards out.
1620: GOALFLASH West Brom 0-1 Bolton (Elmander)
Football League Nathan: "Can anyone stop QPR? Crystal Palace are giving it their best but Adel Taarabt has put the Championship leaders ahead at Selhurst Park. Nearest rivals Cardiff and Norwich are doing their best to stay in touch (both leading 1-0) but the Hoops would retain their six-point lead if things remain the way they are."
1617: It's so nearly 2-0 to Stoke as Paul Robinson gets down brilliantly to get a hand on Matthew Etherington's shot from Jon Walters's pass. Only moments ago, the Blackburn keeper denied the same player from a free-kick.
1616: Looks like Dimitar Berbatov is going to make an entrance for Manchester United at the Stadium of Light.
1615: Clint Dempsey does brilliantly to work some space in the West Ham area, but this time Rob Green is out swiftly and bravely to save at his American nemesis's feet.
1614: Penalty appeals at St Andrew's as Stephen Carr goes down in the box under Leighton Baines's challenge, but referee Phil Dowd is unconvinced, leaving Carr furious.
1612: Rafael Van der Vaart is denied a second goal at White Hart Lane as Stiliyan Petrov does just enough to prevent the Dutchman tapping in from Peter Crouch's header down and putting Spurs in front against Villa.
Football League Nathan: "Portsmouth's lacklustre start to the season continues as Middlesbrough lead 2-0 at the Riverside. Matthew Bates and Barry Robson on target there, while Norwich looking equally comfortable at Bristol City. They lead by the same scoreline."
Everton goal: It's their first away goal this season - but it's in rather fortunate circumstances as Leon Osman's cross is bundled into his own net by Birmingham defender Roger Johnson. Is that the bit of luck Everton have been missing?
West Ham goal: We're back even at Upton Park as Brede Hangeland's mistake lets in the hosts, Victor Obinna's cross headed home by Frederic Piquionne. The hosts looking far better this half.
1608: GOALFLASH West Ham 1-1 Fulham (Piquionne)
Stoke goal: That's a cracking finish. Jon Walters collects Matthew Etherington's through-ball pass inside the area and curls home his first league Potters goal. Breakthrough.
1606: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-0 Blackburn (Walters)
1605: Clint Dempsey continues to cause West Ham problems but his shot from just inside the area this time clips the top of the bar.
1604: HALF-TIME Sunderland 0-0 Man Utd: Phil Dawkes reports: "It is an old adage in football that you must score when you are on top. Sunderland have dominated the first 45 minutes here and have had enough chances to take a deserved lead. But it remains 0-0 and you cannot believe that Manchester United will be quite as bad in the second half."
1603: Martin Petrov goes agonisingly close to an opener at the Hawthorns, but his rising drive from the left is tipped over brilliantly by Baggies keeper Scott Carson.
1602: The second halves get going.
olliescrim on Twitter:
"Re 1245 Tommo: 25+ goals eh? It's going to be a hell of a 45 minutes if true... Fingers crossed."
1600: A couple of minutes left in the first half at the Stadium of Light, but you can't help wonder if Sunderland will live to rue not turning their undoubted dominance into goals here.
1556: HALF-TIME BIRMINGHAM 0-0 EVERTON: Mandeep Sanghera's
HT snap-shot: "Everton are the better side and only a Yakubu effort being cleared off the line has denied them the lead."
1555: Sunderland continue to press and when Malbranque's shot is blocked, Bolo Zenden's follow-up strikes the base of the post before being cleared. The home side should really have made their dominance count by now.
1554: HALF-TIME TOTTENHAM 1-1 ASTON VILLA: Ian Hughes' HT snap-shot: "A good, old-fashioned ding-dong this one - and one that could go either way."
1552: HALF-TIME WEST BROM 0-0 BOLTON: Sam Sheringham's HT snap-shot: "A tale of two headers - Gary Cahill nodding over the bar for Bolton, and Peter Odemwingie doing the same for West Brom, who have looked the more assured side in a decidedly average game."
1551: HALF-TIME WEST HAM 0-1 FULHAM: Kevin Darling HT snap-shot: "Think it's safe to say Robert Green will be pleased if he doesn't see Clint Dempsey again in 2010."
1550: HALF-TIME STOKE 0-0 BLACKBURN: Owen Phillips' HT snap-shot. "It's lively, open and exciting at the Britannia where inbetween some crunching tackles and a few lengthy passages of head tennis, Blackburn have come back strongly after a bright Stoke start."
Football League Nathan: "Southampton strike first in the south coast derby against Bournemouth with Rickie Lambert tucking away a penalty. Fellow south coasters Brighton going well at Tranmere as Glenn Murray bags the visitors' opener at Tranmere."
1549: That's half-time all over - other than Sunderland-Man Utd.
Tottenham goal: He really is starting to kick on at Tottenham, isn't he? Two minutes into first-half stoppage time, Roman Pavlyuchenko's cross is headed back across goal by Peter Crouch and Rafael van der Vaart powers a header home at the far post.
1547: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-1 Aston Villa (Van der Vaart)
1546: Half-time whistles going around the grounds now, Birmingham and West Brom the first to call a halt to proceedings.
1544: Sunderland go close again as Nedum Onuoha's snap-shot is blocked near the Manchester United goal before being cleared. Over at White Hart Lane, Rafael van der Vaart tries his luck from range and Brad Friedel is fortunate his spill low down goes wide of the post.
1542: Everton bossing things at St Andrew's but any semblance of luck - as it has for a lot of the season - continues to evade them. Birmingham hanging on a touch.
1540: Manchester United yet to really test in Simon Mignolet in the Sunderland goal, though they have upped the tempo a touch since that Steed Malbranque miss a few minutes ago.
1538: Signs that it is starting to click for Tottenham as Gareth Bale's cross begs to be clipped in, only for Roman Pavlyuchenko's flick to go inches wide of the far post.
1536: That's a shame - he was having a very effective game, but Villa striker Emile Heskey is forced off the field with an injury, John Carew on to replace him.
Football League Nathan: "Plenty of early goals in League Two and five of them have come in 26 minutes at Chesterfield where the home side trail Crewe 4-1. Barnet have bagged a goal in their bottom-of-the-table clash with Hereford, Mark Marshall with that one."
Fulham goal: Nothing Robert Green could have done about that one Clint Dempsey controls with his chest and fires left-footed past the Hammers keeper from 12 yards.
1533: GOALFLASH West Ham 0-1 Fulham (Dempsey)
1532: Great chance for Sunderland - Lee Cattermole feeds Steed Malbranque in the box, the Frenchman's first touch sublimely getting the ball from under his feet but Man Utd keeper Edwin van der Sar gets down brilliantly to keep his shot out.
1531: It's the Peter Odemwingie show at the Hawthorns. The livewire Nigerian striker turns neatly on the edge of the box before firing narrowly wide. Then he gets his head to a delicious cross from James Morrison but the ball sails over.
1529: Sunderland are more than holding their own at the Stadium of Light so far, with Jordan Henderson and Darren Bent both spurning half-chances. Man Utd yet to really get a foothold in the game, with Michael Owen and Federico Macheda struggling to get a hold of the ball up front.
1526: Great chance for Yakubu at St Andrew's as he gets clear in the box, but Ben Foster gets a hand on his effort and Liam Ridgewell clears off the line to complete the defensive work.
1524: Clint Dempsey is wearing a huge shiner at Upton Park after being caught by a Manuel da Costa elbow. No punishment given to the West Ham defender, though.
1521: Tottenham, who have started poorly in a frantic encounter at White Hart Lane, appeal for a penalty when Roman Pavlyuchenko's goalbound strike hits Richard Dunne's hand - but it was clearly ball-to-hand. Alan Hutton pings an effort into the side-netting moments later.
1518: We're finally up and running at the Stadium of Light.
Football League Nathan: "Burnley brainbox Clarke Carlisle loses his head after only seven minutes against Millwall. A mis-timed tackle earns him a straight red and puts his side in trouble."
1517: Blackburn are coming back into the game against Stoke and after a decent spell of pressure, Brett Emerton seenig his sweet volley headed off the line by Ryan Shawcross.
BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher
at the Walkers Stadium: "Prospective new boss Sven-Goran Eriksson can be fairly pleased with what he has seen so far as he watches from the stands. Andy King missed a good early chance for the Foxes but no such problems for Martyn Waghorn, who has slotted the rock-bottom side in front."
Villa goal: A spell of sustained pressure reaps its reward for Villa, Emile Heskey out-muscling Sebastien Bassong on the right, bursting into the box, and crossing for Marc Albrighton to tap in the opener at the far post.
1516: GOALFLASH Tottenham 0-1 Aston Villa (Albrighton)
1515: The brightest thing about the game at St Andrew's so far... is Everton's pink shirts. Tim Cahill sent a far post header straight at Blues keeper Ben Foster but it's been a fairly lukewarm kind of start.
1513: Great chance for Bolton at the Hawthorns, but Gary Cahill sends a free header from a corner at the back post over the bar.
1511: Stoke hit the post at the Britannia when Rory Delap's thunderbolt of a long-throw glances off the head of Ryan Nelsen and Jon Walters sees his follow-up effort tipped over the bar.
1509: At Upton Park, Frederic Piquionne's powerful header is cleared off the line by Carlos Salcido it may have been going just wide but the Mexican couldn't afford to take any chances.
1508: It's not so quiet at White Hart Lane - real end to end stuff so far - and moments after Villa appeal for a penalty when Emile Heskey goes down under the attention of Alan Hutton - it would have been very soft - Marc Albrighton's corner causes a few problems before it is hacked away.
1508: It's pretty quiet at the Hawthorns, where West Brom are narrowly edging a tame opening.
WIGAN 2-0 WOLVES: Oliver Brett
reports: "The first goal took a while to arrive, but this was a pretty comfortable win for Wigan, who passed the ball around nicely at times. Wolves probably only came to defend, so were never likely to get anything out of the game after losing a player so early."
1505: First - and certainly not the last - moment of quality at the Britannia Stadium as Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones collects, turns and drills a low effort inches wide of the post from 20 yards.
1504: Tottenham have started brightly at White Hart Lane and Roman Pavlyuchenko might have done better with a far post header from Luka Modric's cross, but he nods over.
1502: It's taken him less than two minutes - Fulham's Clint Dempsey lines one up 25 yards out in front of Rob Green, but his shot drifts wide.
1500: Right then, we are under way everywhere... except Sunderland-Man Utd obviously.
BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher
at the Walkers Stadium: "Fans clap Sven as he arrives at Leicester. He waves at them. It really is all smiles. A 2-year deal to be signed soon, apparently."
1455: SUNDERLAND-MAN UTD DELAYED KICK-OFF: A burst pipe above the Manchester United dressing room has caused the ceiling to collapse and we will now kick off at 1520 BST. Cue a mad rush by the fans back towards the bars.
1452: WEST HAM v FULHAM: Kevin Darling reports: "Just one enforced change for West Ham as Mexican winger Pablo Barrera starts on the right flank in place of Kieron Dyer, who is missing with a stomach problem. Johnson gets his first start of the season in Fulham's attack but it's USA striker Eddie Johnson rather than former England man Andy who leads the line for the Cottagers. Eddie is joined in an all-American strike force by Clint Demspey, who may fancy taking a few long-shots at Hammers keeper Robert Green today."
1450: WEST BROM v BOLTON: Sam Sheringham reports: "Newly-crowned manager of the month Roberto Di Matteo makes two changes to his West Brom side from the 3-2 victory over Arsenal for the visit of the Trotters. Gabriel Tamas returns from a calf injury to bolster the defence, while Graham Dorrans replaces the injured Jerome Thomas in midfield. Bolton welcome back England centre-half Gary Cahill from suspension, with Sam Ricketts stepping down to the bench."
Football League Nathan on Championship: "A day after parting company with Paulo Sousa, rock-bottom Leicester welcome Scunthorpe with temporary boss Chris Powell charged with lifting the mood at the Walkers Stadium. No such gloom at QPR, meanwhile, as the league leaders travel to London rivals Crystal Palace hoping to extend their six-point lead at the top of the table. Portsmouth, who spent much of last season in the Premier League's bottom three, could find themselves in the Championship's relegation spots if results go against them."
1448: SUNDERLAND v MAN UTD: Phil Dawkes reports: "Sunderland make just one change to the side which drew 2-2 at Liverpool last weekend with Bolo Zenden replacing Danny Welbeck, who is ineligible to play against his parent club. Manchester United make four changes from the side that won 1-0 at Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday. Michael Owen - making his first start since January - and Federico Macheda spearhead the attack. Paul Scholes replaces Michael Carrick in midfield, whilst John O'Shea starts in defence. Dimitar Berbatov and Patrice Evra both drop to the bench."
1447: STOKE v BLACKBURN: Owen Phillips reports: "Stoke make three changes from the side that came from behind to beat Newcastle last week. Abdoulaye Faye comes in for the injured Andy Wilkinson in defence and there are also starts for flying winger Jermaine Pennant and long-throw specialist Rory Delap while striker Ricardo Fuller is fit to be among the substitutes. Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce makes just one change, leaving out striker Nikola Kalinic and promoting Brett Emerton who has earned a start after his match-winning substitute's performance in last Saturday's last-gasp 2-1 success away against Blackpool. This is likely to mean a slight re-shuffle with Emerton playing ahead of Michel Salgado on the right flank."
Football League Nathan on League One: "Tasty clash on the south coast today as Southampton host neighbours Bournemouth with the Cherries enjoying the better start to the season so far. Not quite as good as fellow south coast outfit Brighton, though. They travel to Tranmere today with the Seagulls flying high at the top of League One knowing only a draw will keep them there."
1445: TOTTENHAM v ASTON VILLA: Ian Hughes reports: "Tottenham employ Tom Huddlestone as a makeshift centre-half in the absence of Ledley King, who is replaced by Jermaine Jenas in the only change to the starting line-up from Wednesday's victory over Twente. Aston Villa also make a single alteration at the back after last weekend's win at Wolves, replacing Carlos Cuellar with the fit-again Richard Dunne."
1444: BIRMINGHAM v EVERTON: Mandeep Sanghera reports: "Birmingham make one enforced change as suspended midfielder Craig Gardner is replaced by Keith Fahey. Everton boss David Moyes is also forced into a change as Steven Pienaar is ruled out with a groin injury and Leon Osman takes his place in the Toffees midfield."
Football League Nathan on League Two: "Big clash at the foot of the table as second bottom Barnet host basement boys Hereford. Directly above them Morecambe and Bradford meet for a chance to move away from danger. At the other end Port Vale go to mid-table Oxford looking to put further distance between themselves and Chesterfield and Rotherham who are away at Crewe and Bury, respectively."
Wigan goal: That's that, done and dusted. Christophe Berra attempts to cut out Charles N'Zogbia's through-ball but succeeds only in kicking it straight at Hugo Rodallega who deflects it home for the Latics' second.
1424: TOTTENHAM v ASTON VILLA: Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Huddlestone, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Jenas, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Crouch. Subs: Cudicini, Lennon, Keane, Palacios, Kranjcar, Corluka, Sandro. Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Ashley Young, Albrighton, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Downing, Heskey. Subs: Guzan, Sidwell, Ireland, Carew, Clark, Cuellar, Bannan. Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
1423: Wolves roll the dice, with forwards Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Marcus Bent thrown into the fray.
1419: Woah, Franco di Santo - who has looked ineffective for most of this game - tries his luck from all of 30 yards with a dipping shot, and Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann just manages to steady himself before palming it away. Wigan still in control, Wolves with 12 or so minutes to get something out of this game.
BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher
at the Walkers Stadium: "Sven-Goran Eriksson arrived at Leicester a few minutes ago and waved at fans who clapped the Swede as he climbed out of a car before briefly answering a few questions from the media. All of which suggests he is very, very close to signing a contract to become the club's new manager. He even suggested it could happen this evening."
1417: TOTTENHAM v ASTON VILLA: Ian Hughes reports: "Tottenham should be high on confidence after securing
their maiden Champions League win in midweek
and they will want to carry that form into their domestic campaign, particularly with the incentive that victory will take them above opponents Aston Villa in the table. However, the visitors have a 100% record under new boss Gerard Houllier and may feel now is time to secure a league win at White Hart Lane for only the second time in a decade."
1415: WEST HAM v FULHAM: Kevin Darling reports: "Can anyone beat Fulham? The undefeated Cottagers have been drawing more regularly than Rolf Harris this season, with five ties from their first six games. That's only ever happened once before in the Premier League (Ipswich Town 1992/93, if you're interested). Today the draw specialists face a team that can't stop winning... relatively, at least. Former basement boys West Ham are on a bombastic two-match winning run... but they still need victory No. 3 to escape the relegation zone."
1413: I've just had another look at that Jordi Gomez free-kick, and I don't think it did take a deflection as it happens, it just ripped directly into the top corner. A fabulous strike.
1411: So how do Wolves - a man and now a goal down - respond to that? So far, by watching Wigan control possession.
Wigan goal: Wolves' resistance is broken. Charles N'Zogbia is brought down on the edge of the Wolves box and Jordi Gomez - the man so brutally felled by Karl Henry earlier - steps up to rip into the top corner left-footed via a slight deflection. Wigan lead at home for the first time this season.
1406: GOALFLASH Wigan 1-0 Wolves (Gomez)
1405: WEST BROM v BOLTON: Sam Sheringham reports: "These are exciting times at the Hawthorns. A victory over Bolton today would propel West Brom into the giddy heights of the top four and the Baggies go into the game brimming with confidence after last weekend's sensational victory over Arsenal at the Emirates. Roberto Di Matteo's men are unbeaten at home since January but Bolton will fancy their chances after twice leading Manchester United before drawing 2-2 at the Reebok on Sunday. And in Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander, Owen Coyle's side have a strike force to trouble any defence."
AndySzpuk on Twitter:
"As time goes on in this game, I fancy Wolves to snatch a goal on the break - they might even go on to win it."
1402: Wigan bring Ronnie Stam on for Maynor Figueroa. Not sure if that is tactical or because of injury.
1400: The Wolves defence are having to put a real shift in here as Wigan grow in confidence in attack. James McCarthy and Charles N'Zogbia, in particular, are causing plenty of problems.
1356: Kevin Doyle and Antonin Alcaraz have words after the former catches the Wigan defender with a flailing arm. It's not much, and the handbags graphic might be pushing it a bit - but doesn't it make the page look pretty?
1353: Mick McCarthy does indeed act fast in this second half, bringing defender George Elokobi on for striker Steven Fletcher.
1352: This is much better from Wigan, who look like they've been sent out in this second half on a mission. James McCarthy is the latest to ping a shot goalwards after good work down the Wigan left, but Marcus Hahnemann is well behind it. Wolves boss Mick McCarthy looks like he's already considering a substitution...
1349: And we almost have the opener within minutes of the restart, Marcus Hahnemann making a fine save to deny Franco di Santo after a really good move from Wigan - though the Argentine, who was involved in a brilliant dummy earlier in the build-up, will be disappointed not to have produced a stronger finish from Hugo Radallega's cross.
1347: More of those beautiful scene-setters in a bit, then, but we're back under way at the DW Stadium. What do you mean you're tempted to switch over to
the Ryder Cup?
Don't you dare...
1345: SUNDERLAND v MAN UTD: Phil Dawkes reports: "In 15 attempts, Steve Bruce has not beaten Manchester United since leaving Old Trafford to move into management but he must fancy his chances this afternoon against a Red Devils side forced to battle hard to a
1-0 win at Valencia
in the Champions League on Wednesday and will be without star striker Wayne Rooney.
Rooney has declared himself fit
but will not be risked as second-placed United go looking for their seventh win in eight matches at the Stadium of Light to keep up the pressure on league-leaders Chelsea."
1344: STOKE v BLACKBURN: Owen Phillips reports: "A match which can be too easily dismissed as not for the purists could prove a cracker. Two teams and managers with a reputation for
they might be, but both won their last games, will see this as one off the "very winnable list" and should play accordingly. And - if you can see beyond the predictable long-ball hype - both boast more than a little quality in Eidur Gudjohnsen, Kenwyne Jones, El Hadji Diouf and Morten-Gamst Pedersen. That said, defenders Christopher Samba, Robert Huth and Ryans Nelsen and Shawcross are more total commitment than Total Football. Promises to be explosive."
1342: BIRMINGHAM v EVERTON: Mandeep Sanghera reports: "Everton fans will not care for being reminded that they have the undistinguished honour of being the only team across England's four professional divisions without a league win. They are also the only top-flight side without an away goal. So, can they earn the win they crave and end Birmingham's club record-equalling run of 18 Premier League games unbeaten at home? If so, they will become the first top-flight team to taste victory at St Andrew's since Bolton on 26 September 2009."
1337: Not the greatest 45 minutes ever... but a hot talking point in that Karl Henry tackle. It gets worse every time you see it. It'll be interesting to see if or how Wolves boss Mick McCarthy defends that.
1331: WIGAN 0-0 WOLVES: Oliver Brett's
HT snap-shot: "The 11th-minute dismissal of Karl Henry, a brave but spot-on decision from referee Lee Mason after a pole-axing challenge on Jordi Gomez, should have allowed Wigan to create some chances but the Wolves defence, organised into two backs of four, remains firm."
1330: Another one to go in the book, Wigan midfielder Hendry Thomas this time for clipping the ankles of David Edwards.
1329: Good block by Wolves defender Jody Craddock, heading away Franco di Santo's fierce goalbound shot, and moments later Charles N'Zogbia swings a beauty of a cross into the box but, with Marcus Hahnemann stranded in no-man's-land, Jordi Gomez can't direct his header at the empty net. He needed to be braver there. Best chance of the game.
1326: Wolves striker Steven Fletcher goes into the book for a clumsy challenge in the box - perhaps a little harsh, that, though. It wasn't half as bad as that Henry tackle, put it that way.
1324: Wigan just starting to impress their claim on the match, now, albeit with a whiff of a lack of confidence that has so far prevented them committing numbers forward with any great intent.
1321: Charles N'Zogbia, at least, has been lively for Wigan and another probing run by him ends with a feed to Hugo Rodallega, whose left-foot shot flies harmlessly over.
1319: Despite ALL expectations (ahem) it's not really a classic so far at the DW Stadium, I have to say. It's anyone's game, though.
1315: Something like a genuine opening for Wigan as Charles N'Zogbia dances down the left flank, skips past Jody Craddock, but his cross fails to find Franco di Santo on the far post.
1312: Some hope for Wolves from
who tell me that only one in the last five clubs to have a player sent off in the first 15 minutes of a Premier League match have gone on to lose the match. Less hope for Karl Henry if your comments on
or anything to go by. The midfielder would be lucky to ever play again if it were up to you. I have to say, had Jordi Gomez not got off the deck, that could have been a career-ender from the Wolves man. Not good.
1309: Franco di Santo might do better when set free wide in the penalty area by Jordi Gomez, but the Wigan man dallies too long and Wolves are able to clear. This match yet to settle into any discernible pattern, but the visitors still well in it despite being a man down.
I_am_a_football_guru on 606:
"Wolves will defend for their lives now. If anything that sending off has further convinced me that there will be no goals."
1305: Not a bad effort from Wolves striker Steven Fletcher, the Scot trying his luck with a 25-yard free-kick and curling this shot inches over the upright with Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi watching on motionless.
1304: Amidst all that, by the way, Antolin Alcaraz was receiving stitches to a rather nasty gash off the field. He's back on the field as well, but the Wigan boys in the wars so far.
Noodlescricket on 606:
"For goodness sake. I'm a big fan of Henry and have always defended him, but maaan that was a shocker."
1302: Wigan respond with their best spell of the match, first Maynor Figuroa and then Jordi Gomez trying their luck from range but both failing to hit the target.
1259: Jordi Gomez, thankfully, is back on the pitch and will carry on but that was a quite awful challenge from Henry, who is developing something of a reputation this season following his contretemps with the likes of
Joey Barton et al earlier this season. Wolves face a reshuffle.
Wolves red card: Deary, deary me - that deserved two red cards. Karl Henry, on the back of a long run-up, misses the ball by a mile and goes right through Jordi Gomez, who flies spectacularly through the air clutching his ankle in agony. Referee Lee Mason has no choice - nor hesitation - in brandishing the red.
1254: Charles N'Zogbia embarks on a surging run up the Wigan right and almosts breaks clear into the Wolves box, but the visitors clear up just in time. Very much a feeling-out period at the moment at the DW.
tell us Wigan have started this match without a single Englishman in their line up for the fifth time this season - though Barbadian Emmerson Boyce was born in Aylesbury, apparently. Arsenal are the only other PL club that has had an all-foreign line up in the division.
1248: Positive start from the visitors, with plenty of balls sent into the Wigan box nice and early. The Latics dealing with them comfortably at the moment.
1245: Nice and prompt at the DW Stadium, we are up and running.
Tommo, in Blackburn via text: "Am I the only optimistic football fan left in this country? Football to be the winner today, with 25+ goals to be scored in the Prem. (A Rovers win wouldn't go a miss either)."
1239: Before we head to the DW Stadium for Wigan-Wolves, then, here's what
make of today's Premier League matches based on their
Euro Club Index
rankings... Wigan win 51% Wolves win 21% Birmingham 33% Everton 36% Stoke 42% Blackburn 28% Sunderland 11% Man Utd 66% Tottenham 50% Villa 21% WBA 48% Bolton 23% West Ham 36% Fulham 32%
1232: And as an added extra Saturday bonus, we also have our man Paul Fletcher on the scene at the Walkers Stadium today to witness
Leicester against Scunthorpe:
"On the train heading to Leicester. Lots and lots of talk about Sven-Goran Eriksson taking over. I wonder what Leicester fans make of that?"
MGP1983 on Twitter:
"I can't stand people reading my paper over my shoulder! I feel your pain!" It should, without doubt, be some sort of criminal offence.
Robbie, Sedgefield via text: "Premier League football on the slide? Probably why Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Tottenham all lost in Europe this week... Oh wait."
1227: WIGAN v WOLVES: Oliver Brett
reports: "Franco di Santo passes a fitness test on his ankle to take his place in the Wigan line-up, while Jordi Gomez also starts for the hosts. Wolves welcome back Michael Mancienne from injury as Mick McCarthy makes just one change from the team who lost at home to Aston Villa, midfielder David Jones dropping out of the side.
danmoran87 on Twitter: "Cannot wait for this afternoon, absolutely no clear cut games at all!"
Weekly pessimistic Spurs fan via text: "Torquay Sun shining, bacon sandwich, listening to footy whilst walking the dog, mood turning to anger as Spurs throw away more points, vow not to get excited in future... Gotta love the Saturday."
ref90 on 606:
"I love Premier League Football!! After last week's 'fun' you could see the 'Top 4' want to hit back. Fingers crossed Man United do that!!"
1221: WIGAN v WOLVES: Wigan: Al Habsi, Boyce, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa, McCarthy, Thomas, Gomez, N'Zogbia, Di Santo, Rodallega. Subs: Kirkland, Watson, Boselli, Moses, Steven Caldwell, Diame, Stam. Wolverhampton: Hahnemann, Foley, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Edwards, Henry, Mancienne, Jarvis, Doyle, Fletcher. Subs: Hennessey, Van Damme, Elokobi, Stearman, Ebanks-Blake, David Jones, Bent. Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Matt_Wales on Twitter:
"For entertainment, the Championship is far better than the Premier League, and I say that as a Hull City fan."
1215: Give this page a refresh, people, and the magic of Football Focus will appear right before your eyes at the top of this page.
RKW - Bred Pole on 606:
"Everton to still be without a win after today, United in for a tough test at Sunderland, Fulham to draw yet again and West Brom to win and move into the top four."
1211: I promise you, there's plenty of interest and intrigue around today's matches and no mistake. For example,
sees one of the best home teams in the land up against the only team in any division still without a win; the Stadium of Light throws up the Apprentice v the Master - with Steve Bruce still looking to get one over on his old boss
for the first time in 15 attempts;
White Hart Lane presents
Henry Winter's new favourite European team;
And Upton Park will stage the Rob Green-Clint Dempsey rematch the former has been waiting for ever since
that error in South Africa.
Dan, on the train, via text: "Whilst you've been away not one of my Saturday accumulators has come off. Admittedly, before you went away none of them did either, but perhaps your return could still bring me some luck? No pressure."
ljmpool on Twitter:
"Huge game for Wolves today, top four coming up soon after this. Could do with some points."
TheSportsDirector on 606:
"Game to watch today; West Ham vs Fulham. With the Hammers slowly picking up form and Fulham's new 'attacking stylish' football, this could be goals, goals, goals. Expect Parker and co to control Fulham's midfield, that could include the aging Murphy and Duff."
1203: WIGAN v WOLVES: Oliver Brett
reports: "Having shipped 14 goals in their first four home matches in the League, Wigan will be relieved to welcome a team who have lost their last three on the spin. The hosts will hope Argentine forward Franco di Santo passes a fitness test on his ankle, while Mick McCarthy will be desperate for Wolves to hang onto an early lead, should they obtain one, having lost eight points from winning positions this season."
slother on Twitter:
"Re: 1153: The standard of football in the Premier League continues to nosedive. Chelsea are managing to be less rubbish than everyone else."
redandblackT on 606:
"Re: 1149 - Pretty certain you hate tube socks as well." I've just Googled them, and I have to say the images have won me over somewhat.
1153: Now then, as well as all your thoughts on another bumper day of Premier League, Championship and lower league football, I'm sure there's plenty for you to catch me up on over the past few weeks. So, you know the drill, Tweet me
@sampatricklyon, jump into the chat over on
or text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). Anyone fancy kicking me off with a brief summary of the past few weeks in the Premier League?
1149: Yep, after a spell abroad in far sunnier climbs than this, I -
- am back. Yes, there are things I didn't miss about this fair Isle. People reading your newspaper over your shoulder on the tube. People trying to barge through the doors before you've alighted the tube. People playing music out of their mobile phones on full volume, without headphones, on the tube. Tube strikes. Basically,
BUT - my word I missed the greatest game in the world. In my experience, Americans - by and large - still haven't really fallen for the beautiful game, but you lot love it more than ever... right?
1145: Ah yes. The sweet warm embrace of Saturday afternoon football. Don't you just absolutely love it?
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