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Page last updated at 18:49 GMT, Saturday, 16 October 2010 19:49 UK

Saturday football as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

1935: Another day of surprises, then, and this Premier League campaign continues to look the most competitive yet doesn't it? Nice of Villa and Chelsea to give our goal graphic a bit of a rest late in the day - just a shame both sides left their shooting boots at home, because the chances were there. If you missed any of the action today (and trust me, there was a LOT of action) don't forget to check out Match of the Day at 2230 BST on BBC One, followed by Football League Show at 2350. It quite literally is a goal bonanza. I'll see you again tomorrow for Blackpool-Man City and the small matter of the Everton-Liverpool Merseyside derby - bring your hard hats, people, because you might just need 'em. Goodnight.

JanuszESPN on Twitter: "Man Utd's draw means that Chelsea will not lose sleep over their result. Arsenal and Man city will not complain."

Kevin Darling reports:
"Not one for the purists but both sides will happily take a point from a hard-fought contest."

coolinter on 606: "If Man City can win tomorrow - its definitely an all blue race for the title."

1925: That, Infostrada Sports tell me, is Chelsea's first 0-0 draw in 2010. Which is nice. Or not, depending on who you support I guess. Anyway, it's good enough to take them five points clear at the top of the Premier League - while Villa move up to eighth.

Full time
1920: FULL TIME Aston Villa 0-0 Chelsea

1919: Golden chance for Villa... golden chance wasted by Villa. Nigel Reo Coker bursts through the Chelsea defence and is through on goal with just Petr Cech to beat in stoppage time... but his clip over the onrushing keeper drops wide. Let off for Chelsea.

1916: We'll have four minutes of injury time at Villa Park.

Full time
1916: FULL TIME Middlesbrough 1-2 Leeds
Big win for Leeds, who edge towards the play-off places, but Middlesbrough remain within spitting distance of the drop zone.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1915: How has he missed that? Ashley Cole works it brilliantly on the left and provides an inch-perfect cross for Nicolas Anelka six yards out, but the Frenchman contrives to head into the ground, onto the bar, and behind for a goal kick. Let off for Villa.

DeadRevel on 606: "Nervy end to the game. It's looking stretched.... Come on Villa!"

1912: We'll have five minutes of injury time in the Middlesbrough-Leeds match.

boss Harry Redknapp reveals defender Ledley King injured his groin against Fulham earlier today and will definitely sit out the midweek Champions League match at Inter Milan as well as next week's Premier League tie against Everton.

Yellow card
1910: I've given up updating you all with every yellow card - it will soon be easier to tell you who hasn't received a booking. Three players have gone into the book since Stephen Ireland - Ciaran Clark, Ashley Young and now Josh McEachran.

panucci on 606: "A draw would still be a point earned by Chelsea today, especially given that they lost at Villa Park last season."

Someone has struck the woodwork
1905: And now Villa hit the post, Ciaran Clark doing brilliantly to flick Ashley Young's whipped free-kick from deep at goal but watching on in agony as it crashes off the woodwork with Petr Cech beaten.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1903: A couple of layers of paint away from the opener at Villa Park, Branislav Ivanovic thumping a header at goal from Florent Malouda's corner but his effort crashing back off the post.

1901: A raft of substitutions to hopefully liven up proceedings at Villa Park… Nathan Delfouneso comes on for John Carew and for Chelsea, Jose Bosingwa makes his first appearance for a year after injury. The Blues also bring on 17-year-old Josh McEachran.

1900: Away from events at Villa Park, I bring you a right royal pearl of wisdom from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after watching his side lose a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with West Brom: "Sometimes it is better to be one goal in front than two. You keep your focus a bit more." Yep. Birmingham boss Alex McLeish, meanwhile, has had a say on that Jack Wilshere red card of earlier: "We have had to put up with the Eduardo stuff for the last couple of years, and it is scandalous. It was a mistimed tackle from Martin Taylor and caused terrible damage to Eduardo - but that Jack Wilshere tackle could have caused Zigic a lot of damage too. It was a bad tackle and if he does not get a red card for that, then we pack our bags and go home. Zigic is a very lucky boy."

1858: Half chance for Villa, James Collins getting on the end of a corner but failing to force his shot through the mass of bodies on the Chelsea line.

Yellow card
1855: Referee is throwing bookings around like confetti at a wedding now - Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland the latest to have his name taken for a foul on Florent Malouda. Nicolas Anelka, meanwhile, ends a decent Chelsea break with a poor effort on goal that was never troubling keeper Brad Friedel.

1852: ...Florent Malouda's delivery is a touch wayward, though, even if Stewart Downing is lucky not to concede a corner when the ball - unseen by the officials - comes off his back at the far post.

Yellow card
1851: Definite booking, Stephen Warnock the latest to go into the book for a foul on Nicolas Anelka. Decent position for the free-kick here too...

Someone has struck the woodwork
1849: So nearly 3-1 at the Riverside Stadium, Luciano Becchio rattling the angle of bar and post with a ripper from 20 yards out. The woodwork is still rattling now, I think.

Yellow card
1846: Back at Villa Park, Chelsea skipper John Terry goes into the referee's notebook for a cynical foul on Villa's Ashley Young. The winger hobbles away - but he should be OK.

1844: GOALFLASH M'brough 1-2 Leeds (Becchio)
That is an absolute cracker. Leeds striker Luciano Becchio breaks up play in the midfield and then charges forward to get on the end of Bradley Johnson's cross, acrobatically volleying it in off the far post. Brilliant.

1843: Stephen Warnock intercepts a wayward pass and Villa stride forward - it looks a fine counter-attacking chance, but the full-back's cross is poor and Ashley Cole can clear.

1839: That's a fine effort from Nicolas Anelka, the Chelsea frontman working some space inside the box on the left, cutting inside and then driving a firm effort goalwards that Brad Friedel keeps out well with his feet.

DeadRevel on 606: "This game is surely going to be 0-0 or 0-1 to Chelsea. Hope Villa can hold on for the draw..."

1836: The second half at Villa Park is all Chelsea at the moment, Villa struggling to get out of their own half. No clear-cut chances as yet, though.

1833: GOALFLASH M'brough 1-1 Leeds (Boyd)
Just over five minutes gone in the second half and the hosts are level, Kris Boyd stabbing home Matthew Bates's cross.

1831: Back at Villa Park, and it's a half-time substitution for Chelsea - Yuri Zhirkov on for Gael Kakuta. Back under way.

Mike Lawrence reports:
"The classic game of two halves. Wolves dominant before the break, West Ham much better after - both managers aggrieved over refereeing decisions at the end.

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"An extraordinary finish to a match that was set to earn Charlez N'Zogbia hero status, but instead ends with Fabricio Coloccini grabbing the headlines."

1827: Back under way in the Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Leeds.

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Manchester United pay the price for not killing off the game during a dominant first-half but credit has to go to West Brom's passing play and attitude."

Oliver Brett reports:
"Tottenham end Fulham's unbeaten start in the league with a come-from-behind win sealed by Tom Huddlestone's screaming shot… a goal that incensed the Cottagers."

1822: BOLTON 2-1 STOKE
Phil Dawkes reports:
"A suitably dramatic end to what was a hugely entertaining encounter at the Reebok. Klasnic the hero for Bolton."

Sam Sheringham reports:
"Wilshere's horror tackle mars a crucial Gunners win, while Birmingham rage over controversial penalty."

1819: Big shout from Kevin Darling, there. Big shout. Anyway, fancy a refresher from today's 1500 BST matches? Course you do...

Half time
1817: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 0-0 Chelsea
Kevin Darling's HT snap-shot:
"No Drogba, no Lampard and not a single meaningful attack from Chelsea… dare I suggest that the Blues are there for the taking today?"

1815: Just the one minute of stoppage time...

1814: Villa's gameplan of getting numbers behind the ball and then breaking with width continues to contain Chelsea, and Ashley Young and Stewart Downing are looking lively on either side. For all that, however, Chelsea keeper Petr Cech remains more of an observer than an active participant in this match.

Half time
1809: HALF-TIME M'brough 0-1 Leeds
Davide Somma's goal separates the sides - and it's a lead the visitors just about deserve on the balance of play.

1808: Fine Villa break and Stephen Ireland's effort from Stiliyan Petrov's cut-back looks on target - but it is blocked brilliantly by the flying Branislav Ivanovic.

SaahirGoolfee on Twitter: "Disappointed by Chelsea performance so far. We have no excuse, we must win today."

1805: Either Villa have taken their foot off the pedal or Chelsea have put their foot down on one, but it's the visitors who now look the more dangerous. Luckily for the hosts, though, the boys in blue have left their shooting boots at home by the look of things - Nicolas Anelka the latest to spoon an effort high, wide and not very handsome.

1802: Another Gael Kakuta effort, another recovering mission for the row-Z boys. Chelsea just hinting at more of a threat in the last few minutes, though. It's just a hint at the moment, mind.

1800: Ironic cheers from the Villa crowd as Michael Essien lines up a long-ranger, only to slice his effort on the bounce so far off target it is left to Ashley Cole to recover the ball by the left touchline.

1758: It's been a day of a few keeper fumbles, but Chelsea's Petr Cech gets away with this one when he re-gathers a spilt cross under the attentions of Villa striker John Carew.

1755: A rare moment of calm at Villa Park, which allows me to tell you that this is the first in almost a year that Chelsea have started a Premier League match without Didier Drogba AND Frank Lampard. So far, they look like they are missing both.

MikeBowd3n on Twitter: "Villa looking surprisingly good. Chelsea not settled at all."

1749: Great defending by Chelsea - and it needs to be as Stiliyan Petrov's goalbound strike from the edge of the area is bravely deflected behind for a corner. The set-piece comes to nothing, though. No goals, but plenty of incident in this match so far.

James, London via text: "I've just done a quick round-up of the scores so far: two two-twos, two two-ones, one one-two and one one-one. I am wasting my life."

1746: First real shot in anger at the Villa goal from Chelsea, but Gael Kakuta's wild effort is more of a danger to the current residents of row Z than Brad Friedel's goal. Still, the Londoners just settling into this now.

1743: Richard Dunne can't continue with that leg injury, so on comes young defender Ciaran Clark.

Yellow card
1742: Michael Essien is the first man into the book for a clumsy - but hardly malicious - tackle on Stiliyan Petrov.

1739: Villa temporarily down to 10 men as Richard Dunne goes off to have a cut on his leg treated in the dressing room.

1737: This really is an effervescent start from Gerard Houllier's Aston Villa, and Chelsea are rocking back on their heels a touch in these opening exchanges. Can the hosts make their superiority count?

1735: Another golden chance for Villa. This time it's John Carew who is sent through on goal but Petr Cech does superbly to tip the Norwegian's side-footed effort just around the post.

1734: GOALFLASH M'brough 0-1 Leeds (Somma)
Great start by Leeds, the visitors opening the scoring through a fine back-post volley by Davide Somma from Sanchez Watt's deflected cross.

1733: Super, super chance for Aston Villa, Stephen Ireland released inside the area by the breaking Stewart Downing, but clipping his shot wide of the far post with just Chelsea keeper Petr Cech to beat.

Football League Macca: "It's off and running between Boro and Leeds in the late game. A few loose ends to tie up in the FL: QPR were held 0-0 by Norwich, while Watford, Ipswich, Burnley and Reading all failed to win and Sven-Goran Eriksson had to settle for a 1-1 draw in his first Leicester game, at home to Hull. In L1, Brighton were 4-0 winners at Charlton and Peterborough went second after sealing a late 5-4 win over Swindon and Brentford climbed off the bottom by winning at Tranmere, who replace them. In L2 Chesterfield leapfrogged Port Vale at the top."

CallMeSpits on Twitter: "Yeah, Man Utd are having a 'terrible' season. 'Only' 2nd in League on points and there are 'only' 30 to go. Guess, sack SAF!"

1730: Bang on time, Aston Villa get their match against Chelsea under way.

Sir Alex Ferguson on his side's 2-2 draw with WBA: "You just have to forgive him [Edwin van der Sar] that. It is an unbelievable career he has had. We have given the game away. We should have been four, maybe five, up at half-time. We really need to start putting our foot down when it comes to killing teams off."

Ruairi, Kent via text: "Chelsea to loosen their grip on top spot today with a win for villa. It will be monday, tuesday, Habib Beye!"

kanchelskis_legend on 606: "I honestly think the only thing that can turn this season round for Man Utd (bar unlikely January signings) is Hargreaves coming back and being as good as he once was. And I wonder who genuinely believes that that will happen."

1723: Now then, don't even think about going anywhere just yet - if the 1500-o'clockers are anything to go by, we're in for a cracker at Villa Park in the Villa-Chelsea match. A win for Chelsea would see them go seven points clear - a huge margin even at this stage of the season - but lose and not only are the chasing still hanging on to their coat-tails, but Villa move to within a point of second. In short - everything to play for. Hold on to your hats, people...

fuzel07 on Twitter: "RE:1659 - no more excuses. We should've won against Everton, Fulham and Bolton. Same goes for today against West Brom. We're not good enough."

Kevin Darling reports:
"A few enforced changes for Gerard Houllier in his first home league match as Aston Villa boss. John Carew is in for the injured Emile Heskey, Stephen Ireland replaces Marc Albrighton and Habib Beye makes his first league start of the season at right-back. Chelsea have considerable injury problems of their own with Alex, Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba all out. It means Paulo Ferreira comes in at right-back and Gael Kakuta makes his first Premier League start."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has just been shown TV replays of that Jack Wilshere red card, and he tells BBC Sport: "I have no complaints. It looked a red card. He mis-timed the tackle - he didn't want to hurt the player - but he touched him, and it was a red card. Before that, I thought he was outstanding."

Aston Villa:
Friedel, Beye, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Ireland, Downing, Ashley Young, Carew. Subs: Guzan, Cuellar, Bannan, Sidwell, Delfouneso, Clark, Salifou.
Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Essien, Malouda, Kakuta, Anelka. Subs: Turnbull, Bosingwa, Zhirkov, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Borini, McEachran.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

West Brom boss Roberto di Matteo: "The players did tremendously well. Two goals down at half-time, it was tough but they responded really well."

Kevin Darling reports:
"This is one of those games Messrs Ferguson, Wenger and Mancini will be desperately hoping can expose a chink in table-topping Chelsea's armour. And with good reason: the Blues' record at Villa Park is pretty awful. They've only mustered one win in this fixture in their last 11 attempts, while Villa will be fired up in Gerard Houllier's first home league match as manager. On the other hand, the last time these sides met in the league Chelsea won 7-1."

Phalanx1971 on Twitter: "Wonder if Arsene Wenger saw that Wilshere horror tackle?"

James, Stockton, via text: "Re Matt_Utd. That's because we don't want to 'not lose'. We want to win our games."

Moon on 606: "We got a little lucky I guess with Thudd's goal, but a very good away win..."

1705: In the chaos of those closing minutes, it would appear I missed a disallowed goal - and what would have been a winner - for West Ham and, to my mind, it looks very harsh. Frederic Piquionne chested down a pass on the back of a one-two and crashed home with virtually the last kick of the game, but referee Mark Clattenburg rules the Frenchman handled. Harsh.

Matt_Utd_FC on 606: "So Man Utd don't lose again and 'fans' want Fergie out?"

BBC Sport's Dan Warren at Craven Cottage: "Fulham boss Mark Hughes is absolutely incensed as he leaves the pitch. He'll be having words with Mike Dean about Spurs' winner. Huge boos from the home support for the official. Away fans still dancing, their optimism no doubt buoyed ahead of this week's trip to Inter Milan."

1659: Erm, can someone fetch me a bowl of ice for my fingers please? Many thanks.

Full time
1657: FULL TIME Newcastle 2-2 Wigan

1656: FULL TIME Bolton 2-1 Stoke

Newcastle goal: St James's Park goes bananas. Right at the very death, Andy Carroll nods a set-piece goalwards and Fabricio Coloccini is on hand to thump a header home from close range to snatch a precious point for Newcastle.

1654: GOALFLASH Newcastle 2-2 Wigan (Coloccini)

Full time
1653: FULL TIME Arsenal 2-1 Birmingham

1653: FULL TIME Fulham 1-2 Tottenham

Red card
Ivan Klasnic red card: Moments after scoring what looks the winner, Ivan Klasnic is booked twice in a minute and he trudges to the stands.

Red card
Jack Wilshere red card: Jack Wilshere is rightly sent off for what looks a horrible lunge on Nikola Zigic. His studs were showing as he completely missed the ball and went through the Birmingham striker's ankle.

1653: RED CARD Ivan Klasnic (Bolton)

Full time
1652: FULL TIME Wolves 1-1 West Ham

1652: FULL TIME Man Utd 2-2 West Brom

1651: RED CARD Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Bolton goal: Stoppage-time winner, surely? It's great work by Ivan Klasnic, making the most of a Gretar Steinsson cross, spinning and crashing home from 16 yards out.

1650: GOALFLASH Bolton 2-1 Stoke (Klasnic)

1649: Baggies midfielder Graham Dorrans surges into the Man Utd box... past a couple of home defenders... but his shot is tame and Edwin van der Sar can save easily. Time for a United counter?

1647: Four minutes of injury time at Old Trafford... not sure where that's come from...

Football League Macca: "There's only four games without a goal in the whole of the Footy League, one of them involving Champo leaders QPR and Norwich. Plenty of goals elsewhere, including a 4-4 between Peterboro and Swindon, Northampton 3-4 Hereford, Torquay 3-4 Bury. Pompey have made it 3-2 against Watford, Sheff Utd are 2-2 against Burnley, Brighton are now 3-0 up at Charlton, who hadn't lost at home previously this season and Brentford are 3-0 up at Tranmere."

1645: It's all gone a bit flat in the Wolves-West Ham match, but there's still life in the Bolton-Stoke game - if either side could put a stamp of quality on the end of one of their moves, that match is there to win. Erm, obviously.

AClayton89 on Twitter: "Wilshere again has been outstanding, he's growing with every start. At the heart of everything positive from Arsenal today."

1641: Nicklas Bendtner is on for Arsenal - his first appearance of the season - and he goes agonisingly close to getting on the end of Tomas Rosicky's and making it 3-1 against Birmingham.

1639: Still end-to-end between Fulham and Tottenham, and Mark Schwarzer does brilliantly to tip Spurs defender Alan Hutton's low near-post effort around the post. The hosts still looking dangerous, though, and that one looks far from over just yet.

1638: Half a chance for Wayne Rooney as he goes for goal from a laid-off free-kick, but he didn't quite catch it cleanly and Gabriel Tamas clears.

Football League Macca: "Goals at either end at Portman Road, with Coventry taking a 2-0 lead and then Jason Scotland pulling one back for Ipswich. Lewis McGugan has got one back for Forest, who trail 2-1 at Barnsley. Watford equalised at Pompey and then gone in front. Peterborough lead Swindon 4-3 now. Bournemouth winning 2-1 against MK Dons, L1 leaders Brighton 2-0 at Charlton, Tranmere look like going bottom as Brentford are beating them 2-0 and Wycombe levelled it up 1-1 with Chesterfield, but the visitors have gone back in front. Hereford trailed 3-0 at Northampton, but it's 3-3 now."

1635: That doesn't look good for Ricardo Fuller at the Reebok Stadium. He's been struggling with a dislocated shoulder - and it looks like he's done it again, falling awkwardly after going up for a header. He's in a huge amount of pain and it'll be straight to the hospital for the Jamaican I'd wager.

Newcastle goal: The start of the comeback? Jonas Gutierrez is the creator, his fine cross headed home on the dive by substitute Shola Ameobi. Finally some incision from the hosts, but can they build on it?

1633: GOALFLASH Newcastle 1-2 Wigan (Ameobi)

BBC Sport's David Dulin at the Madejski Stadium: "All the noise is coming from the Swansea end as the Welsh side are now on top with Stephen Dobbie seeing a chance cleared off the line by Federici. Still only lead 1-0 and you would think they need another goal."

BBC Sport's Daniel Warren at Craven Cottage: "Fulham fans aghast. 'You don't know what you're doing' is the chant aimed at Mike Dean. Spurs fans delirious, they'll not be discussing the finerpoints of the offside law tonight. Fulham fans will."

oliverhj84 on Twitter: "Lets stop this "I think" malarky with offside. You're on or you're off. Forget this inactive stuff! Only way to clear it up!"

1628: Here's the change the Old Trafford crowd want - Wayne Rooney is on, in place of Anderson, while Paul Scholes dashes on to replace Michael Carrick.

1627: Still no changes for Man Utd at Old Trafford - where Anderson has just seen an angled drive half-spilled by Baggies keeper Scott Carson, but out of the way of the onsrushing Javier Hernandez.

Mark Bright on Final Score: "Gallas is in an offside position and he attempts to play the ball - even if he doesn't touch it, I think that's offside."

Tottenham goal: Well well well - a Tottenham corner falls to Tom Huddlestone on the edge of the box, and the midfielder crashes a beauty low into the far corner. Spurs' celebrations are cut short, though, with the linesman flagging offside against William Gallas in the box - only for referee Mike Dean, after a chat, to overrule him and allow the goal. Fulham furious - but I have to say it looks a good decision in my books, Gallas certainly didn't touch it or obscure the keeper's view.

1623: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-2 Tottenham (Huddlestone)

1622: Chances for both sides in a matter of minutes at the Reebok. Firstly, Stoke strike-duo Kenwyne Jones and Jon Walters combine to feed in Dean Whitehead but his shot is straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen. Then Kevin Davies' flick on finds Bolton forward partner Johan Elmander but his shot is across goal and wide of the far post.

Football League Macca: "Hull are threatening to spoil the Sven-Goran Eriksson Leicester party as Robert Koren levels. At Bramall Lane we've had three quick goals, Dean Marney giving Burnley the lead and Chris Eagles added a second but the Blades, who are in a bit of a hole have grabbed one back. Barnsley now 2-0 up against Forest through Andy Gray's penalty. Millwall have gone in front at Palace as Theo Robinson gets on the scoresheet. Elsewhere, Accrington lead Rotherham 2-1, Stockport have cancelled Barnet's opener and it's 1-1 now, it's Torquay 3-3 Bury and Southend 0-1 Crewe."

CaucyMinx on Twitter: "Time for Rooney to come on and shut up the critics."

1617: Chances at both ends at Craven Cottage as Heurelho Gomes tips Fulham midfielder Chris Baird's header over the bar, before Tottenham surge forward and Roman Pavlyuchenko tees up Aaron Lennon, whose shot is tame and straight at the keeper. A waste for the visitors, who - like the first half - have started well since the break.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1614: Frederic Piquionne rattles the Wolves crossbar with a long range shot - West Ham playing with a spring in their step after the equaliser.

BBC Sport's David Dulin at the Madejski Stadium: "Swansea almost double the lead when a superb ball from Stephen Dobbie sets Nathan Dyer through to smash the ball against the bar. Dobbie is denied soon after by Adam Federici's legs."

1613: The Old Trafford crowd are baying for Wayne Rooney - and the England striker and team-mate Paul Scholes duly make their way to the touchline to warm up.

West Brom goal: Unbelievable turnaround - and just when United looked like cruising. Edwin van der Sar is the latest to err on a day of keeper errors, his spill from Chris Brunt's cross falling straight at the feet of Somen Tchoyi who taps in.

1611: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-2 West Brom (Tchoyi)

West Ham goal: And we're back level at the Molineux, too, Victor Obinna felled by Kevin Foley inside the area and Mark Noble stepping up to smash home the equaliser from the spot.

1610: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-1 West Ham (Noble pen)


West Brom goal: West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt drives a low free-kick into the United box and it comes off of home left-back Patrice Evra and beats keeper Edwin Van Der Sar as the Baggies pull one back.

1609: The newly-introduced Aaron Lennon almost has an immediate impact, his cross from the right picking out Rafael van der Vaart, but Mark Schwarzer reacts quickly to save with his feet from close range.

Stoke goal: Minutes into the second half and Stoke are level at the Reebok. Matthew Etherington's corner is flicked on by Robert Huth and Rory Delap sweeps home first time at the far post.

1607: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-1 West Brom (og)

Arsenal goal: That should confirm his status as Birmingham's public enemy no 1 today, but it's a cracking finish. Marouane Chamakh collects Jack Wilshere's pass, dances round a couple of players, and slides home his fifth Arsenal goal.

1606: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-1 Stoke (Delap)

1606: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-1 Birmingham (Chamakh)

1605: We're back under way everywhere, now.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1604: Millimetres away from 3-0 at Old Trafford, Nani bamboozling the Baggies defence on the left and then finding Nemanja Vidic, whose diving header rattles back off the post.

1603: Back under way at Man Utd, Wolves and Bolton - looks like Aaron Lennon is coming on for Tottenham, Sandro replaced.

1601: Right folks, deep breaths all round, we're almost ready to get going again.

Football League Macca: "A few goals squeezed through before the HT whistle, including Leon McKenzie completing a first-half hat-trick as Northampton lead Hereford 3-0. Does that mean he gets to keep the ball at half-time? Swindon have come back from three down to level things up 3-3 at Peterborough. Huddersfield 2-0 up against Southampton, MK Dons ahead at Bournemouth and Bristol R beating Rochdale through a 45th minute penalty."

1557: A very quick (and unscientific) scour of 606 and Twitter suggests a split of 60-40 against the legitimacy of Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh's penalty award. Personally, I'd need to see it again... but either way, Arsenal certainly deserve to be level.

Phil, Swindon fan, via text: "I think league One should be a marketing man's dream, what a game at London Road!"

Half time
1553: HALF-TIME Bolton 1-0 Stoke
Phil Dawkes's HT snap-shot:
"An engrossing first half comes to an end at the Reebok Stadium with Bolton leading - but Stoke still very much in this."

Half time
1551: HALF-TIME Man Utd 2-0 West Brom
Mandeep Sanghera's HT snap-shot:
"Wayne Rooney must be itching to be playing with Manchester United in firm control against West Brom."

Half time
Saj Chowdhury's HT snap-shot:
"Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia comes back to haunt Newcastle with a double - St James's stunned."

Half time
1550: HALF-TIME Arsenal 1-1 Birmingham
Sam Sheringham's HT snap-shot:
"The tallest man in Premier League history gives Birmingham the lead but a controversial penalty allows Arsenal to level."

Half time
1549: HALF-TIME Wolves 1-0 West Ham United
Mike Lawrence's HT snap-shot:
"Wolves dominant after Jarvis gave them the lead, the Hammers looking nervy."

Half time
1549: HALF-TIME Fulham 1-1 Tottenham
Oliver Brett's HT snap-shot:
"You watch a half of football like this and you realise why the Premier League is a marketing man's dream. Cracking, open game."

1548: Half-time whistles being blown up and down the country now - what a 45 minutes that was huh?

BBC Sport's David Dulin at the Madejski Stadium: "How goals can change games. Swansea have had to do most of the defending but Scott Sinclair's goal 10 minutes before the break really has taken the sting out of Reading's tail. It's the Welsh side who lead 1-0 at the break. Time for a cup of tea, hopefully I won't spill this one everywhere!"

1545: Marouane Chamakh receives some treatment at the Emirates after receiving an elbow to the head from Roger Johnson going up for a header - no punishment given, and things are more than a little feisty there now.

1544: Newcastle's Mike Williamson sees his header from eight yards cleared off the line by Wigan's Emerson Boyce.

Football League Macca: "Good news for Derby fans as Alberto Bueno has put them 2-0 ahead against Preston. There's been a goal at the Madejski and red-hot Reading are behind as Swansea's Scott Sinclair pops one in. Bradford have levelled at home to Cheltenham and Bury have done likewise at Torquay. New Lincoln boss Steve Tilson opted not to take charge today and his side are 2-0 down at Shrewsbury."

1543: Ryan Giggs has picked up an injury at Old Trafford and will have to come off - but it's not Wayne Rooney who replaces him but Darron Gibson. Over at Craven Cottage, meanwhile, Ledley King is limping off for Tottenham after a kick to the knee to be replaced by Sebastien Bassong - how unlucky can one man be with injuries?

Arsenal goal: Birmingham aren't happy but Martin Atkinson points to the spot as Marouane Chamakh goes down under Scott Dann's challenge in the box. There was definitely contact, but was Chamakh going down before the tackle came? Either way, Samir Nasri slams home the resulting penalty brilliantly.

1541: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-1 Birmingham (Nasri pen)


BBC Sport's Daniel Warren at Craven Cottage: "The Cottage has gone nuts. Home fans hardly had time to finish chant of 'you're not singing anymore before Spurs levelled. Fabulous skill from Rafael van der Vaart. The boy's class, a crutch-laden Bobby Zamora looks on ruefully. "

Football League Macca: "Goals galore. Ipswich are trailing at home to Coventry through Clive Platt, while Watford have also slipped behind at Pompey, Hayden Mullins the scorer there. Derby lead Preston through Dean Moxey in the battle of Clough jr v Fergie jr. L1 leaders Brighton are ahead at Charlton, while Peterborough could be going second. Posh were 3-0 up but now lead 3-2 against Swindon and second-placed Carlisle are 2-0 down at Exeter. Chesterfield ahead at Wycombe and Champo leaders QPR have just had a let off as Norwich have missed a penalty."

marcusmerehay on Twitter: "Wigan should just play away from home every week. They might win the league."

Someone has struck the woodwork
1535: Stoke inches away from an equaliser at the Reebok. Jermaine Pennant's free-kick from 25 yards dips and strikes the crossbar with Jussi Jaaskelainen seemingly happy to let it go. A slice of luck for the goalkeeper and his side.

Garth Crooks on Final Score: "You've got to see that take from Van Der Vaart at Craven Cottage… it's Hoddle-esque."

Birmingham goal: Arsenal, on the back of defeats to West Brom and Chelsea, are behind again. Nikola Zigic is the goalscorer, the giant striker climbing above a defender to loop a header into the far corner from Keith Fahey's cross.

1533: GOALFLASH Arsenal 0-1 Birmingham (Zigic)

Tottenham goal: Fulham's lead lasts no longer than a minute - and the visitors owe their leveller almost entirely to Rafael van der Vaart, whose sublime turn and chip from 16 yards out comes back off the bar, allowing Roman Pavlyuchenko the simplest of tap-ins.

Fulham goal: It's his first start in a year and he's marked it with a goal - Diomansy Kamara making the most of some excellent work by Clint Dempsey to tap Fulham in front from all of five yards.

1532: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-1 Tottenham (Pavlyuchenko)

1531: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-0 Tottenham (Kamara)

mdriver11 on Twitter: "My word we have goals! I'd forgotten what they were after Tuesday...."

1529: After a dreadful error from Luka Modric, Danny Murphy chips a cross to the far post where Aaron Hughes leaps to get his head to the chance, but the ball just flashes over Heurelho Gomes's crossbar. Closest we've been to a goal at Craven Cottage - and the hosts are now the team controlling things.

1527: Arsenal go close again as Birmingham fail to clear a cross from Chamakh. The ball drops kindly for Gael Clichy but, with his less-favoured right-foot, the Frenchman slices wide.

Man Utd goal: Clinical. Baggies left-back Nicky Shorey slips to allow Nani to steal possession and the United winger plays a one-two with Dimitar Berbatov before steering in with aplomb.

Wigan goal (2-0): It's two in two minutes for former Newcastle man Charles N'Zogbia - and there's not a great deal the hosts could've done about this one, the Frenchman smashing home high into the net from outside the area. The away fans are in dreamland, the home fans are in shock.

Bolton goal: After a frustrating opening quarter for the home side they open the scoring with their first meaningful attempt on goal. The ball breaks to Lee Chung-Yong 20 yards from goal and his side foot finish is perfectly placed into the corner of the net.

Wigan goal (1-0): Disastrous defending by Newcastle defender Mike Williamson - the big centre-half allowing himself to be out-jumped by diminutive winger Charles N'Zogbia who heads home Franco di Santo's deflected cross.

1525: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-0 West Brom (Nani)

1524: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-2 Wigan (N'Zogbia)

1523: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-0 Stoke (Lee Chung-yong)

1522: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-1 Wigan (N'Zogbia)

1521: It's safe to say, he didn't do that against Liverpool. Dimitar Berbatov is found well inside the West Brom six-yard box by Michael Carrick, but the Manchester United striker somehow contrives to slice his effort wide. It should be 2-0.

Football League Macca: "Disappointing scenes at Palace where the BBC's Jacqui Oatley reports that Millwall's fans interrupted the minute's applause for former Eagles boss Malcolm Allison, who passed away yesterday. Police were involved as Millwall fans ripped away the canvas across the seats separating the two sets of supporters."

1520: As you would expect, both Bolton and Stoke are trying hard at the Reebok Stadium, but it has yielded little reward for either thus far. The visitors have had a couple of half chances but nothing that has yet troubled Jussi Jaaskelainen.

1518: Close. Arsenal defender Sebastien Squillaci rises to direct Samir Nasri's free-kick home powerfully with his header, but the 'goal' is ruled offside by the linesman. Very close. Moments later and Birmingham keeper Ben Foster gets out well to save at Andrey Arshavin's feet - it's all Arsenal at the Emirates.

1516: A low cross from the left from Newcastle's Jose Enrique is bravely smothered by Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi at the feet of striker Andy Carroll.

SoccerDotTel on Twitter: "And Robert Green is always doing things like that..."
Harsh. Very harsh.

BBC Sport's David Dulin at the Madejski Stadium: "Reading are enjoying the better of the opening exchanges with Shane Long heading just over. Apart from that very little to report.

1514: Diomansy Kamara may well be asked to work on his heading in training next week - he leaps completely unmarked to meet Simon Davies's corner against Tottenham eight yards out, but can only nod harmlessly wide. Poor.

1512: So close to 1-1 at Old Trafford, Rafael da Silva doing brilliantly to force Marc Antoine Fortune's cross behind with Chris Brunt lurking two yards out. United rush up the other end, though, and Dimitar Berbatov curls inches wide from 20 yards. The hosts on top.

Football League Macca: "Say what you like about Sven-Goran Eriksson (it's a free country after all) but he is box office. He's also had a dream start at Leicester with Andy King putting them ahead after three minutes against Hull. Well well. Craig MacKail-Smith has had a decent start to the day as well, scoring twice in the first five minutes to give Peterborough a 2-0 lead against Swindon. Barnsley lead Forest 1-0."

Wolves goal: Talking of keeper errors - Stephen Ward's cross is only limply palmed at by West Ham keeper Rob Green and Matt Jarvis volleys home Wolves' opener from eight yards.

1510: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-0 West Ham (Jarvis)

Garth Crooks on Final Score: "It was a dolly mixture of a free-kick from Javier Hernandez. Terrible mistake from Scott Carson, I could have saved that. When you're playing Man Utd, you can't give them goals."

Pushed out by Barthez on 606: "Scott Carson is always doing things like that!"

1507: A few of you asking after Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan - apparently, he is injured pure and simple, hence his absence today. Fabricio Coloccini takes over the armband.

1506: What a chance for Arsenal. Jack Wilshere wins the ball high up the pitch and plays a one-two with Marouane Chamakh before playing the Moroccan striker through on goal. His shot is brilliantly blocked by Stephen Carr. At the other end, Roger Johnson is given a free header from a corner, but it's straight at Fabianski.

1506: Tottenham inches away from the opener at Fulham, Roman Pavlyuchenko collecting Gareth Bale's cross, taking a touch, and then screwing just past the far post from the angle.

Man Utd goal: Baggies keeper Scott Carson won't want to see this again on Match of the Day - and Javier Hernandez takes full advantage, pouncing on the keeper's spill from Nani's free-kick to poke home.

1505: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 West Brom (Hernandez)

1504: Early blow for Wolves against West Ham, with Jody Craddock limping off to be replaced by Richard Stearman.

1503: It's a positive start, too, for Tottenham at Craven Cottage - Rafael van der Vaart and Premier League debutant Sandro already linking up nicely going forward.

1501: Reasonable early chance at Old Trafford - and it's for West Brom, James Morrison crossing for Chris Brunt at the far post, but the midfielder's header is mis-timed and the chance goes awry.

1500: Here we go then... Manchester United get the afternoon's matches up and running against West Brom, followed swiftly by the others...

1457: The players are making their way out around the grounds, which just leaves me time to doff my cap in the direction of Malcolm Allison - the former Manchester City boss who sadly passed away yesterday aged 83. A proper legend and a proper character. RIP.

BenRickard on Twitter: "As Sir Alex said many years ago no player is bigger than any club. Rooney should act his age and get back to earning his place."

YanTheBlackMan_ on Twitter: "If West Brom keep up their current run then United are in for a drumming!"

1453: Talking of Fulham and Danny Murphy, here's what Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has to say in today's Arsenal programme on the matter: 'Managers have an important part to play - we are all responsible for the behaviour of our teams.' The Frenchman added: 'What has got lost is the technique of the tackle: a tackle with two legs should be an automatic red card, but a good tackle is beautiful to watch. That means that your feet are on the ground, you are getting the ball back and only playing the ball. Personally I like the physical commitment in England - we shouldn't lose that.'"

BBC Sport's Daniel Warren at Craven Cottage: "Beautiful sunshine down by the Thames now for Fulham v Spurs after an earlier downpour. Spurs bench looking very strong - and that's not a woodwork reference. Lennon, Keane, Crouch, Kranjcar all ready to come on. Still gonna be a draw, surely? Fulham innit? Meanwhile, Fulham skipper Danny Murphy's been in the news following his comments about rough play by certain teams in the Premier League. In today's match programme ahead of the match against Spurs, Murphy's gone all diplomatic. 'I have a huge amount of respect for the managers I named' he says, adding 'let'sdraw a line under it'."

1451: It's that time of the week again, then, when I bring you Infostrada's Euro Club Index. The index that takes a statistical approach to match predictions - an approach that I've stopped even attempting to understand because it makes my brain hurt a little bit. Its take on today's matches, with win percentage likelihood, are...
Arsenal 75% Birmingham 7%
Bolton 45% Stoke 25%
Fulham 38% Tottenham 31%
Man Utd 85% West Brom 3%
Newcastle 55% Wigan 18%
Wolves 39% West Ham 30%
Aston Villa 24% Chelsea 47%
If, however, you prefer a less, how do I put it, mathematical approach - check out Lawro's predictions (with special guest Kobe Bryant!) instead. Or just enter random numbers on our Premier League Predictor and see what happens. Literally minutes of fun.

Football League Macca: "In League One, leaders Brighton make the shortish trip to play Charlton, while second-placed Carlisle have a slightly longer trip to Exeter and Tranmere meet fellow strugglers Brentford at the bottom. In League Two Chesterfield, in second, face a tricky trip to Wycombe and leaders Port Vale are at home to Gillingham."

Mike Lawrence reports:
"There's one enforced change to the Wolves line-up from the starting line up which lost at Wigan last time out. Karl Henry starts a three match ban for getting red-carded at the JJB so David Jones comes into the centre of midfield. Stephen Hunt doesn't make the squad - he continues to make his comeback after seven months out with a foot injury and it was hoped he could be included. West Ham manager Avram Grant makes two changes to the side which drew against Fulham. Midfielder Kieron Dyer has recovered from a stomach bug and Tal Ben-Haim returns to the defence. Matthew Upson has been ruled out having picked up what the Hammers' website describe as a 'minor inury' this morning while Pablo Barrera has not been included after returning from international duty with Mexico."

Oliver Brett reports:
"Ledley King is a surprise starter and holding midfielder Sandro is handed his full Premier League debut as Tottenham make three changes for the game at Fulham. The fit-again William Gallas is recalled and Peter Crouch is rested. Fulham also make three changes, with strikers Mousa Dembele and Diomansy Kamara both deemed fit and Jonathan Greening starting for the first time this term."

Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Muamba, Holden, Petrov, Kevin Davies, Elmander. Subs: Bogdan, Taylor, Mark Davies, Klasnic, Ricketts, Moreno, Blake.
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Collins, Pennant, Delap, Whitehead, Etherington, Walters, Jones. Subs: Begovic, Higginbotham, Whelan, Gudjohnsen, Fuller, Wilson, Wilkinson.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

Sam Sheringham reports:
"Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendter return to the Arsenal bench after long-term lay-offs but Cesc Fabregas is still sidelined by a hamstring problem. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger makes two changes at the back with Emmanuel Eboue and Johan Djourou replacing injured duo Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny. Cameron Jerome misses out for Birmingham after hurting his ankle in training, with Nikola Zigic taking his place up front. He'll be supported by Alexander Hleb, who lines up against his former club."

Mandeep Sanghera reports: "Manchester United
striker Wayne Rooney is on the bench as manager Sir Alex Ferguson opts for Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez in attack. Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra also start for a United side with Paul Scholes also a substitute and Darren Fletcher missing out altogether. West Brom forward Peter Odemwingie has failed to recover from a knee injury and is replaced by Marc-Antoine Fortune, while midfielder Graham Dorrans drops to the bench with Somen Tchoyi coming in as his replacement.

Man Utd:
Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Anderson, Giggs, Berbatov, Hernandez. Subs: Kuszczak, Rooney, Smalling, Scholes, O'Shea, Macheda, Gibson.
West Brom: Carson, Jara, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey, Tchoyi, Scharner, Mulumbu, Brunt, Morrison, Fortune. Subs: Myhill, Pablo, Bednar, Reid, Thomas, Dorrans, Cox.
Referee: Michael Jones (Cheshire)

Saj Chowdhury reports: "Newcastle
midfielder Danny Guthrie plays for the first time this season having recovered from a serious knee injury, while centre-back Fabricio Coloccini has overcome a groin problem to also take his place in the starting XI along with Andy Carroll who returns to the lead the line. Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has shaken off a virus to begin the match along with defender Antolin Alcaraz, who had been a doubt. Hugo Rodallega drops to the bench."

Phil Dawkes reports:
"Striker Kevin Davies has recovered from an ankle knock picked up while on duty with England on Tuesday and so Bolton name the same team that drew 1-1 with West Brom a fortnight ago. Stoke are also unchanged, having beaten Blackburn 1-0 last time out. Their only doubt was Thomas Sorenson, who suffered a muscle injury during Denmark's 2-1 defeat byPortugal on Friday, but he is fit to start in goal."

BrettVinchenzo on Twitter: "Distinct lack of defenders on the Arsenal bench. Is Keown knocking about in the BBC and can pop across and help out??"

BBC Sport's David Dulin at the Madejski Stadium: "Brendan Rodgers returns to former club Reading today with his new side Swansea City - it will be interesting to see what the reception will be like following his ill-fated six month spell in charge of the Royals last season."

Krul, Perch, Coloccini, Williamson, Jose Enrique, Guthrie, Tiote, Barton, Gutierrez, Lovenkrands, Carroll. Subs: Soderberg, Routledge, Ryan Taylor, Smith, Ameobi, Kadar, Ranger.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Figueroa, Steven Caldwell, Alcaraz, Boyce, Stam, McCarthy, Thomas, N'Zogbia, Gomez, Di Santo. Subs: Kirkland, Watson, Boselli, Moses, Cleverley, Rodallega, Diame.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

Hahnemann, Foley, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Edwards, Mancienne, David Jones, Jarvis, Fletcher, Doyle. Subs: Hennessey, Van Damme, Elokobi, Stearman, Ebanks-Blake, Bent, Milijas.
West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Ben-Haim, da Costa, Gabbidon, Dyer, Parker, Noble, Boa Morte, Piquionne, Obinna. Subs: Stech, Tomkins, Cole, McCarthy, Faubert, Behrami, Ilunga.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

Football League Macca: "Some cracking looking ties in the Champo today. As well as top-of-the-shop QPR v third-place Norwich, we have high-flying Watford at Pompey, Sven-Goran Eriksson enjoying a home debut in charge of Leicester against Hull and a tasty south London derby between Crystal Palace and Millwall. And plenty more as well."

BBCLondonSport on Twitter: "Listen out for the ding dong derby on BBC London 94.9fm from Craven Cottage - Can Spurs become the first team to beat Fulham this season?"

Jhomsie on Twitter: "Why publish a post because someone has a 'sneaky feeling' about a game? That means absolutely nothing!"
Killjoy alert! Killjoy alert!

Schwarzer, Baird, Hangeland, Hughes, Salcido, Davies, Greening, Murphy, Dempsey, Dembele, Kamara. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Pantsil, Gera, Riise, Eddie Johnson, Halliche.
Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Gallas, King, Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Sandro, Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Cudicini, Lennon, Jenas, Keane, Crouch, Bassong, Kranjcar.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Fabianski, Eboue, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy, Song, Diaby, Nasri, Wilshere, Arshavin, Chamakh. Subs: Szczesny, Rosicky, Vela, Walcott, Denilson, Gibbs, Bendtner.
Birmingham: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Fahey, Hleb, Zigic. Subs: Taylor, Murphy, Phillips, O'Connor, Derbyshire, Michel, Jiranek.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1423: Something else to look out for today - Infostrada Sports tell me that Old Trafford is close to becoming the first ground to have hosted 1,000 Premier League goals. At the start of today's game, 995 PL goals have been scored at Old Trafford. It leads White Hart Lane (984) and Stamford Bridge (962) in this respect. Arsenal have netted 997 PL goals at home, but at two different grounds.

Farslayer on 606: "I would not be overly surprised if every single match went against the odds today. There isn't a dominant side in English football at the moment, which makes things incredibly exciting!"

Oliver Brett reports:
"If Tottenham are going to condemn Fulham to their first league defeat of the season then the incisive runs and crosses down the left wing from Gareth Bale could prove critical. Bizarrely, Bale has created 20 chances this season for Tottenham - a Premier League record - but none have been converted. Meanwhile, Fulham skipper Danny Murphy will be pleased to be playing in front of a home crowd after some inflammatory comments about the rugged tackling of certain sides."

Mike Lawrence reports:
"After four defeats in a row, Wolves will be desperate to get something against fellow-strugglers West Ham, especially as Mick McCarthy's side follow this one with successive matches against Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal. West Ham's last win on the road was in this corresponding fixture on the opening day of last season, 21 away games have followed but Avram Grant's men were undefeated in their last three before the international break. Too early to call it a six-pointer?"

Andy Carroll comes into the Newcastle attack in place of Shola Ameobi.

MathsJedi on Twitter: "Are we not just reading a little too much into this Rooney thing? He is out of touch and on the bench...we move on!"

jacobchatwin on Twitter: "I just have a sneaky feeling that Birmingham can nick it from Arsenal today."

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Here's a date for you...30 March, 2010. That is the last time out-of-form Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney scored from open play for the club. He says he needs match time to get back to his best, so contradicting his manager Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that he has missed the last two United games with an ankle injury might not have been the best option. West Brom last won at Old Trafford in an epic 5-3 win in December 1978 and will be out to add United to the scalp of Arsenal after beating the Gunners on their travels earlier on this season."

Dave in London via text: "Fergie has the guts to do what Fabio Capello didn't... Drop Rooney! Excellent news that Berba and Chicharito start together!"

mannysanny on Twitter: "Is Rooney the new Beckham?"

Phil Dawkes reports:
"History is not in Stoke's favour as they travel to Bolton - where they have failed to win in the top flight since 1963 and today come up against a Bolton side who have lost only once this season. However, the Potters have taken 10 points from their last four matches. In what is the arguably the day's most pointless fact, if only goals after half time counted, Stoke would be top of the table with 16 points. But they don't. So they aren't."

Ledley King starts for Tottenham at Fulham despite the midweek trip to Inter Milan in the Champions League, as do William Gallas, Sandro and Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Sam Sheringham reports:
"Arsene Wenger goes into his 800th match in charge of Arsenal determined to "use the positives" from their defeat at Chelsea prior to the international break. The 2-0 reverse followed the dismal 3-2 home loss to West Brom, making victory over Birmingham essential to getting their league campaign back on track. The omens aren't good for the Blues, who have not won at Arsenal for 53 years and whose last away league victory on any ground came at Portsmouth in March."

Manchester United
striker Wayne Rooney... is on the bench. Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez start up front against West Brom.

Matt_Rodway on Twitter: "Did anyone else feel sorry for hicks on tv last night? No? Me either!"

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Both Newcastle and Wigan have blown hot and cold this season, with the Latics having conceded 10 in two games at the DW, while the Magpies are looking to avoid their third successive home defeat. In summary, the outcome of this match is as predictable as tonight's lottery numbers."

1401: Right, let's go round the grounds...

Alerd via text: "RE: your reply to joe on 606. Used toilet mean the cardboard cylinder bit right? Right?!"

1358: In other news, by the way, I spent my lunch break watching ex-England keeper Peter Shilton stood between two bins facing penalties in the TV Centre doughnut from Jimi Mistri and Scott Maslen. My crazy life huh? Just thought I'd share that.

Football League Macca: "The Championship got out of bed early and we already have a couple of results in. Cardiff were 2-0 down after eight minutes but two goals from Peter Whittingham helped them secure a 3-2 win. They move to three points behind leaders QPR, who are at home to Norwich today. Doncaster also came back from an early deficit to beat Scunthorpe 3-1. They're up to ninth place and within whiffing distance of the play-off spots."

HenryWhitfield on Twitter: "After that midweek snoozefest by England, time to gets some action going! Goals, goals and more goals is what's in order."

1355: If you're coming to today's action a little cold - or, let's be honest, hungover - here's a little heads up for things to look out for. How will Sir Alex Ferguson deal with "I'm not injured, honest guv" Wayne Rooney? Can Birmingham ruin Arsene Wenger's 800th match in charge party - prompting the Frenchman to - wait for it - lie? Where do Tottenham's priorities really lie this season - league or Champions League? Can England's newest frontman Kevin Davies cope with the drop back to domestic football? And will any player be incapable of controlling themselves despite the fact tackles are under the spotlight like rarely before in recent times? The answers to those questions - and dare I saw a good more besides - coming right up.

eddyakp on Twitter: "Chelsea have to prove that they have the gut without six major players to remain four points clear at the top today. I believe we can fly."

Phil, Oxon via text: "Not to sound too disingenuous to Liverpool fans, but I believe the week ahead is even more momentous for us Spurs fans. A derby on the banks of the Thames, inexorably followed by a trip to the San Siro! COYS!"

craigwatson1987 on Twitter: "Cautiously optimistic about NESV's takeover, John W Henry's interviews so far have seemed positive, but only time will tell."

Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner start on the bench for Arsenal.

Joe on 606: "How many people reckon Sam is sitting in a big chair with a wig and squeaky hammer from a kid's play set?"
It's like you're in my head, Joe. I've even fashioned my wig out of used toilet rolls Blue Peter-style. Bonanza.

1347: What have we got in store today then, I hear you ask. Well, check these bad boys out...
Arsenal v Birmingham
Bolton v Stoke
Fulham v Tottenham
Man Utd v West Brom
Newcastle v Wigan
Wolves v West Ham
Aston Villa v Chelsea (1730)

And on top of all that we've got my friend and yours Football League Macca in the house for all your Football League chat. Aces.

AndySzpuk on Twitter: "RE: 1330 - Sounds like 'It's a Knockout' from the seventies. Do we all have to drink Watneys' Red as well?"

ManLee via text: "Got a feeling there will be a lot of goals in the Premier League today."

collie21 on 606: "Nice to see Liverpool rescued finally. Now back to some good old fashioned rivalry... Man United to run riot today - finally - and Rooney to leave in January."

1342: Here's where you good people step in. Tweet me @sampatricklyon , get chatting over on 606, or text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). Let's all celebrate the return of proper football together.

1338: Yep, it's been a bit of a mad week if you're a Liverpool fan, but I guess all is well that ends well. It has ended well... hasn't it? And it's not just the Merseysiders who will have met this week's news with an element of relief - England coach Fabio Capello must have been delighted that something, anything, drew the attention away from his side's limp performance against Montenegro on Tuesday. Bearing everything in mind, then, all in all it's an absolute blooming pleasure to get back to domestic football isn't it? Let's get cooking.

1333: Actually, let's just get back to proper football yeah? Awesome.

1330: As a late change of plan - and in keeping with events this week - today's Premier League matches will be contested not on the pitch, but in this (made up text commentary) court. Opposing managers will each have the opportunity to cite their case for taking home the three points, and each club mascot will have a 'joker' card of a temporary restriction order on goals. I, Mr Justice Lyon, will judge each and every case and determine results as I see fit. Deal?

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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 16 Oct 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 8 21 19
2 Arsenal 8 8 14
3 Man Utd 8 7 14
4 Man City 7 6 14
5 Tottenham 8 3 14
6 West Brom 8 -3 12
7 Bolton 8 0 11
8 Aston Villa 8 -3 11
9 Stoke 8 -2 10
10 Blackpool 7 -4 10
11 Fulham 8 0 9
12 Wigan 8 -9 9
13 Newcastle 8 0 8
14 Sunderland 7 0 8
15 Blackburn 7 -1 8
16 Birmingham 8 -4 7
17 Everton 7 -1 6
18 Liverpool 7 -4 6
19 Wolves 8 -5 6
20 West Ham 8 -9 6

see also
Saturday's football photos
16 Oct 10 |  Premier League

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