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By Sam Lyon
1945: So, I'm going to call it a wrap there people - but I'd urge you all to get over to
if you want to air your views on that bizarre end to proceedings at Old Trafford. Whatever the ins and outs of that goal, the day ends with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United occupying the top three places - so what else is new? If you've missed any of today's action - and there's a shedload of it - make sure you check out Match of the Day tonight on BBC One at 2230 and then the Football League Show straight after at 2350. I'll be back in the hot seat tomorrow for Villa-Birmingham, Newcastle-Sunderland and Bolton-Liverpool so make sure you join me then.
MAN UTD 2-0 TOTTENHAM Paul Fletcher
reports: "An even game with a crazy and controversial end. I think at the end of it all the lesson may well be that you should always play to the whistle."
1935: Here's a final nugget from
by the way - Manchester United remain unbeaten in their first 10 Premier League matches of the season for the first time. The last time they didn't lose any of their first 10 top flight matches was the 1991/1992 season. Omen?
1932: I think we have our talking point for the evening then people. But, putting that to one side, vital wins for Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal today huh? How harshly does that put Manchester City's defeat at Wolves into context? And how impressive a win for Wolves, now we're on the subject? Another day, another bunch of talking points.
EmRa on 606:l
"Nani handles the ball as he goes down, and holds on to it. Gomes therefore has every right to assume it's a free kick, so he puts the ball down to take it. As the free kick wasn't given, Nani is allowed to nip in and score there, but it's a horrendous decision not to give the free-kick for handball."
jam3sm on 606:
"You should probably wait till a freekick is given by the ref before trying to take it. Just saying."
1924: Unsurprisingly, referee Mark Clattenburg is facing some stern questions from Tottenham players at the final whistle. To be fair to Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, he looked to shrug his shoulder and shake his head when shaking Harry Redknapp's hand at the end. A goal that baffled more than a few people, then.
1923: FULL-TIME Man Utd 2-0 Tottenham
eric the mighty on 606:
"Gomes ASSUMED it was a free kick, but it was still a ball in open play, and when Gomes put it down, the referee gestured that the ball was in open play. Nani kicked the ball, in open play, into the goal. It's not complicated."
Morehen on Twitter:
"Clattenburg & linesman makes a horrendous decision at Old Trafford, against Spurs.....Where have I heard that before?!?"
1920: Almost salt into the wounds as a gorgeous run from Nani ends with the winger planting a fabulous shot at goal - it smashes off the bar.
1919: Anyway, the sting has been well and truly drawn from Spurs now and this is Man Utd's three points. Tottenham don't often get a huge amount of luck with refereeing decisions at Old Trafford do they?
1917: Replays show Heurelho Gomes thinks Spurs have been awarded a free-kick when Nani handles claiming for that penalty and that's why he placed the ball down in the area. However, it would appear equally as clear referee Mark Clattenburg - rightly or wrongly - didn't give the handball so, in effect, the Brazilian has put the ball back in play. Controversial.
Man Utd goal: Erm, what on earth? First Nani thinks he should have a penalty after going down under Younes Kaboul's challenge - not given - and then, when Heurelho Gomes puts the ball down for what he thinks is a free-kick, Nani taps the ball into the empty net. Spurs are livid - and the linesman looks to agree with them - but referee Mark Clattenburg over-rules his assistant and the goal stands.
1913: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-0 Tottenham (Nani)
1909: They've not looked a huge threat in attack for large chunks of this half but Man Utd break well as a Spurs move falters, only for Paul Scholes' attempted flick into the path of Nani goes awry.
1905: Spurs fans will hope this is just a precaution with Inter Milan in the Champions League coming up on Wednesday - but Rafael van der Vaart, feeling his hamstring a touch, is replaced by Peter Crouch.
1902: A few heart flutters in the Manchester United end there as Roman Pavlyuchenko's long-ranger takes a wicked deflection... but it spins narrowly wide with Edwin van der Sar beaten.
1901: He's been a bit quiet this half, but Rafael van der Vaart almost makes something happen from a poor Benoit Assou-Ekotto cross - the Dutchman's turn and shot well held by Edwin van der Sar in the end.
1858: First real glimpse of Spurs substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko around the Man Utd area but after turning Nemanja Vidic brilliantly his early shot rips into the side-netting.
1857: Super movement from Javier Hernandez as he gets away from his defender to get on the end of Nani's pass, but his flicked shot on the run is well saved by Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes.
1854: The substitutions are not done yet - Wilson Palacios comes on for Jermaine Jenas.
1853: Free-kick 20 yards out for Nani - round the wall but straight at Heurelho Gomes.
1853: Double change for Man Utd - Wes Brown and Paul Scholes on for Rafael da Silva and Dimitar Berbatov.
1851: GOALFLASH Barnsley 1-1 Hull (Kilbane) All square at Oakwell as the hosts fail to deal with a ball into the box, allowing Kevin Kilbane to fire home left-footed.
1850: Here comes that expected Tottenham change - Roman Pavlyuchenko on for Robbie Keane.
1848: Cracking dribble from Gareth Bale as he drives through the Manchester United defence, but his right-foot effort slides inches past the far post. Great run.
1847: For all their good play this half, Tottenham have still to create a real chance - mainly, it has to be said, due to a complete and utter lack of options in the box from crossing positions. Looks like we'll see Roman Pavlyuchenko soon, though.
1844: Nani dances inside the Tottenham area before having a pot-shot from the angle - but Heurelho Gomes is equal to it. Looked lively today the Portuguese winger.
1843: Spurs settling into this half, now, and starting to enjoy a bit of possession. Cue Paul Scholes warming up on the sidelines.
1838: A better cross this time from Gareth Bale - but with three men in the box in Rafael Van der Vaart, Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon, Spurs are boasting about as much aerial threat as a popped balloon up front. Time for Peter Crouch or Roman Pavlyuchenko soon maybe?
1837: If Tottenham are to get back into this, they need to sort out their final ball. Gareth Bale is released down the left by Luka Modric - but not for the first time, the cross fails to beat the first man.
1835: First real glimpse of Javier Hernandez as he plays a one-two with Ji-Sung Park to get free in the box, but Alan Hutton does well to pressure the Mexican and the United striker flashes wide.
1834: And we're back under way at Old Trafford - as you were as far as the line-ups go.
is asking after some match stats from Man Utd-Tottenham - don't forget to check out
our stats page
for that throughout the game. I can tell you, though, that the hosts enjoyed 54% of possession and that we've already had 18 shots on goal - nine on target. As Paul Weller would say - that's entertainment.
FULHAM 2-0 WIGAN Mike Lawrence reports: "Fulham well-deserved winners through Clint Dempsey's first half brace. Wigan never looked likely to come back into the game."
ARSENAL 1-0 WEST HAM David Ornstein
reports: "Alex Song pops up with an 88th-minute winner to steal the show. Harsh on the magnificent Robert Green. Ecstasy for Arsenal, agony for West Ham."
BLACKBURN 1-2 CHELSEA Owen Phillips reports: "Chelsea showed great character but rode their luck to snatch all three points against a Blackburn side who will rightly feel they deserved at least a point from a pulsating match."
WOLVES 2-1 MAN CITY Saj Chowdhury
reports: "Wolves fully deserved all three points because of the desire and composure they showed today. City for the title? Hmmm."
EVERTON 1-0 STOKE Oliver Brett reports: "Everton did just enough to win - and that's 11 points in their last five games from the in-form half of Merseyside. Stoke were no pushovers, but lacked imagination in the final third."
1821: While we catch our breath then, let's remind ourselves of events earlier today in the Premier League...
1820: A cracking half of football that - and if you're a Spurs fan looking for hope,
might be able to help you - they tell us Tottenham have now conceded the opening goal in each of their last six Premier League matches BUT have come back to win three and draw one of the previous five. Maybe this isn't over yet.
1818: HALF-TIME Man Utd 1-0 Tottenham Paul Fletcher's
HT snap-shot: "Very much a match for those who love top-class long-range shooting, not to mention a quality of passing and movement that is pleasing on the eye. Of course, the only goal came from a thudding header."
1817: The half-time whistle goes.
1814: Another minute, another shot on goal - this time Dimitar Berbatov drives into the Spurs box and his right-foot shot forces a fine save low down to his left by Heurelho Gomes.
1813: Jermaine Jenas lines one up from 25 yards, but he slips as he swings right-footed and the shot drifts harmlessly wide.
1811: The pattern of play has not changed from the first minute so far - it's open, it's excellent football at times, and there are still chances galore. I don't think anyone wants half-time.
1807: And now Tottenham go even closer, the visitors playing a corner direct to Luka Modric on the edge of the box and the Croatian bringing an excellent flying save out of United keeper Edwin van der Sar with a 20-yard half-volley.
1806: Half a chance for Tottenham as Gareth Bale plays in Rafael van der Vaart turning inside the box, but the Dutchman hurries his effort and it flies wide.
1803: That makes it 12 games on the spin without a clean sheet for Tottenham - and Harry Redknapp did say before kick-off how his side defend set-pieces was a concern for him. His fears borne out half an hour in, then.
Man Utd goal: And from the set piece we have our first goal of the match, Nemanja Vidic rising unmarked to head Nani's free-kick brilliantly into the corner.
1801: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 Tottenham (Vidic)
1801: Both of Tottenham's centre-halves are in the book now, Younes Kaboul shown the yellow card for going through the back of Javier Hernandez.
1800: Still pretty even at Old Trafford - though how it remains goalless half an hour in remains a bit of a mystery. If you believe in that sort of nonsense, you might say I have something to do with that to be fair (see 1734).
1756: And now, of course, it's Manchester United's turn to attack, Nani throwing in half a dozen step-overs before laying the ball into the box, Darren Fletcher's low curler well held down to his right by Heurelho Gomes.
1752: Brilliant move from Spurs - if only their final ball could match the build-up play. Robbie Keane and Luka Modric exchange passes to release Aaron Lennon wide in the Man Utd box, but the winger's delivery is cut out well by Rio Ferdinand.
1750: Manchester United still just about bossing this - though Spurs look dangerous on the counter - and Heurelho Gomes is fortunate when he is able to get up and recover after spilling Michael Carrick's low shot.
1748: Jinking run from Rafael da Silva, cutting into the Tottenham box from the right, but his left-foot shot is tame and wide.
1747: First booking of the match, and William Gallas is the man to have his name taken, Mark Clattenburg issueing the yellow card for a foul on Javier Hernandez.
1745: GOALFLASH Barnsley 1-0 Hull Pick that out. Adam Hammill looks up 30 yards out, takes a touch, and spanks a dipping drive over keeper Matt Duke into the roof of the net. Advantage Barnsley.
1743: The chances continue to come - this time Dimitar Berbatov holds it up well before laying it to Ji-Sung Park on the back of a fine move, but the South Korean curls high and wide on the turn.
1740: Rafael van der Vaart - already so key to Tottenham barely a couple of months after joining - sets another Spurs attack going, Aaron Lennon and Robbie Keane combining to lay it back to the Dutchman who blazes over from 20 yards. So open at Old Trafford.
1739: What an effort that was. It's Tottenham's turn to hit the post now as Rafael van der Vaart turns on the edge of the box and curls a fine effort left-footed, only to watch it crash back off the woodwork.
1737: Bit better from Tottenham as the visitors finally get their foot on the ball, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale linking up well but Nemanja Vidic getting back to clean up for the hosts.
1734: And now a low effort from range by Nani is well held by Heurelho Gomes. Spurs set up to attack - but the hosts are cutting through them like a hot knife through butter at the moment. And the exciting, burgeoning talent of Javier Hernandez hasn't even touched the ball yet. There are goals in this, trust me.
1732: A frantic start at Old Trafford - and almost a scoring one for Ji-Sung Park, the South Korean rattling the post with a fine, low drive that eludes Heurelho Gomes but not the woodwork. Let-off for Spurs.
1731: Here we go then, we're under way at Old Trafford.
Raj, Hatfield via text: "I'm an avid Arsenal fan, and have been since the age of five, but for the sake of keeping ourselves clear of the field, I'm hoping for either a draw or a Spurs win."
1727: Here come the Manchester United and Tottenham players, then, ahead of what has to be one of the most eagerly-anticipated matches between these two sides for a while, surely? The Old Trafford atmosphere appears to be building nicely too... I must say I'm really looking forward to this one.
1724: Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "I gave Gareth Bale a few days off this week. He came in on Friday and felt fine, ready to go again. Robbie Keane starts because we have got three strikers and it is a case of rotating them a little bit. I want to see how he plays alongside Rafael van der Vaart."
1719: Infostrada Sports
tell us, by the way, that Edwin van der Sar becomes only the ninth player (and first from outside the UK and Ireland) to play Premier League football over the age of 40 - and the first to do so for over three years since Alec Chamberlain played his last PL match on May 13, 2007. By contrast, Rafael da Silva wasn't even born the last time Tottenham beat Man Utd in the league.
1718: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on the current Tottenham team: "This is the best in my time, they are consistent and strong. They have got a good squad now and can cope with the demands of the Champions League and the Premier League. I am very impressed with them."
1715: MANCHESTER UNITED V TOTTENHAM Paul Fletcher
reports: "Man Utd make three changes from the side that defeated Stoke in the Premier League, with Rafael da Silva, Michael Carrick and Ji-Sung Park in for Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and John O'Shea. Tottenham boss Hary Redknapp resists the temptation to rest Gareth Bale, as the Spurs boss makes two changes from the side that drew with Everton as Robbie Keane and Jermaine Jenas come in for Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios."
glittergreenandred on 606:
"It's not often I want Tottenham to win, but tonight I will be urging them on! A Keane winner perhaps. Come on you Spurs!"
1710: Now then, pick the bones out of that why don't you? Chelsea and Arsenal underline their title ambitions by digging deep for late winners; Manchester City's own championship hopes suffer a kick to the guts while Wolves give their battle for survival a real shot of adrenalin; Fulham and Everton prove they are worth loftier positions than those in which they started the day; and a word, too, on West Ham who, while beaten, showed surely they can pull themselves away from the drop zone if they continue to play like that. A fair summation? Man Utd and Tottenham - top that if you can.
DTguardian on Twitter:
"Protest march outside Old Trafford against Glazers. Thousands heading down Sir Matt Busby Way."
1659: MAN UTD v TOTTENHAM Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Park, Hernandez, Berbatov. Subs: Kuszczak, Brown, Smalling, Scholes, O'Shea, Obertan, Bebe. Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Modric, Jenas, Bale, Van der Vaart, Keane. Subs: Cudicini, Pavlyuchenko, Palacios, Crouch, Bassong, Kranjcar, Sandro. Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
Max, Plymouth via text: "Major credit to Rob Green. Played out of his socks today. Thanking the stars that he finally got beat."
panucci on 606:
"Compared to the same fixtures last season, Chelsea have already won eight more points! Amazing."
1654: FULL-TIME Blackburn 1-2 Chelsea
1654: FULL-TIME Arsenal 1-0 West Ham
1651: FULL-TIME Everton 1-0 Stoke
1651: Keep-ball the name of the game now for Chelsea and Arsenal, can the Londoners both hold on?
1652: FULL-TIME Wolves 2-1 Man City
1650: FULL-TIME Fulham 2-0 Wigan
1648: BREAKING TEAM NEWS Michael Carrick is in the Man Utd side ahead of Paul Scholes, while Robbie Keane, Gareth Bale and Jermaine Jenas start for Tottenham.
Arsenal goal: Resistance broken. Gael Clichy is the creator, cutting in from the left and clipping a lovely ball into the box right-footed, Alex Song stooping to nod in what could be an absolutely precious winner.
1646: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 West Ham (Song)
1645: Arsenal pressing ever so hard for a late winner at the Emirates, but Robert Green makes yet another fantastic save to frustrate them again, keeping out a goalbound drive from Cesc Fabregas on the stretch.
Chelsea goal: I'm not sure how they've done it, but Chelsea look to have pinched it. Fabulous work down the left by Yuri Zhirkov and the Russian clips brilliantly to the far post where Branislav Ivanovic nods home. The stuff of champions?
1643: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-2 Chelsea (Ivanovic)
1642: Another fine stop by Rob Green at the Emirates, the one-time England number one getting down to his right well to keep out Theo Walcott's deflected shot.
1641: It's Blackburn again, and Jason Roberts won't get many better chances to win a match against Chelsea - collecting Mame Diouf's pass with just the keeper to beat but sending his shot wide.
1639: Good chance for Blackburn's Mame Diouf as he rises unmarked at the far post, but he can only head straight at Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.
Football League Nathan: "Tony Mowbray needs to lift his players in the final period of Middlesbrough's match against Bristol City. They trail 2-1 to bottom side Bristol City having led early on. Albert Adomah and Marvin Elliott have bagged to give the visitors an unlikely lead. Elsewhere in the Championship, Swansea cruising at 2-0 against Crystal Palace, likewise Ipswich at home to Millwall. Portsmouth have a slender lead over Nottingham Forest, while leaders QPR are still being held at home to Burnley."
1637: Here's a sight for sore eyes for Fulham - Andy Johnson comes on for his first home appearance since January. Nicklas Bendtner, meanwhile, replaces the ineffective Andrey Arshavin for Arsenal.
1636: Ten or so minutes left now, and three of the Premier League's top four are either behind or level. It can be in the closing stages of matches that title pushes are made or unmade, no?
1633: Bursting run across the pitch right-to-left by Chelsea substitute Daniel Sturridge but his curling right-footed effort flies past the post. Blackburn still more than holding their own there, though.
1632: Low ball into the Wolves box by Manchester City winger Adam Johnson - on as substitute - but Emmanuel Adebayor scoops over the ball. City knocking on the door but getting no answer as yet.
1631: It's all a bit scrappy at Craven Cottage, but that will suit Fulham who - two goals to the good - have switched into cruise control to an extent.
1629: It, quite literally, does not get any closer to a goal than that. Cesc Fabregas releases Theo Walcott down the right brilliantly and the winger, with virtually his first touches, drives into the area before slipping under Rob Green - only for the ball to strike the inside of the post and roll back into the arms of the grateful Hammers keeper.
1626: The people of
will be pleased - Theo Walcott is on for Arsenal, with Denilson the man taken off. Aggressive move from home manager Arsene Wenger, that.
Everton goal: It's his first of the season as Yakubu breaks the deadlock at the Goodison Park, collecting the ball inside the area after Tim Cahill's shot comes back off the post and then lashing high into the net from the angle. A fine finish.
1624: GOALFLASH Everton 1-0 Stoke (Yakubu)
Football League Nathan: "Two first-half Robert Purdie goals and one in the second from Mathieu Manset have put struggling Hereford out of sight away at Stockport. Looking good for the Bulls with fellow League Two rivals Barnet losing 2-0 at Shrewsbury and Lincoln 2-1 down at Wycombe."
1621: Well well well, Blackburn might not get closer to a second than that today - Jason Roberts' fortunate flick from a free-kick looks like it is begging to be tapped in at the far post but Mame Diouf just can't get his foot round the ball and his flick hits the side-netting.
1620: Smart save at Ewood Park as Paul Robinson flings himself to his right to beat away Chelsea midfielder Yuri Zhirkov's shot from just outside the area.
1619: David Silva's low angled 20-yard shot is pushed away by Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann.
1618: All eyes on referee Lee Probert at Goodison Park as Tuncay bundles into the net at the far post from a nod-down, but it is disallowed for a push by the Stoke forward. Controversial. Moments later, Tim Cahill's goalbound snap-shot is blocked by Abdoulaye Faye - this match finally sparking into some sort of life.
1616: Chelsea winger Florent Malouda shows great composure down the left flank but his thoughtful pull-back is screwed wastefully wide by Ashley Cole.
Wolves goal: And no more than the hosts deserve. Kevin Foley's cross is only half-cleared by Kolo Toure and David Edwards is on hand to turn in when Kevin Doyle's shot is only parried by City keeper Joe Hart.
1614: GOALFLASH Wolves 2-1 Man City (Edwards)
1613: Decent chance at Goodison Park now, as the ball falls to Ryan Shawcross inside the Everton box 16 yards out, but the defender lashes wide with the whole goal to aim at.
1611: It's been a quiet start all round to the second halves so far, but Samir Nasri almost brings a spectacular strike out of the bag at the Emirates, the Frenchman's drilled effort from all of 35 yards rattling the crossbar and away. Terrific effort.
Football League Nathan: "Nine-man Plymouth take the lead away at Oldham thanks to Bradley Wright-Phillips's effort just after the restart. Surely performance of the day if the Pilgrims hold out there, 2-1 they lead."
1606: Oof. Arsene Wenger might have something to say about that, Scott Parker going in with - shall we say - gusto on Denilson, leaving the Arsenal midfielder writhing in agony. Replays suggest Parker got the ball, but fair to say he didn't hold back there. No foul given, and Denilson looks fine, so move along, nothing to see here.
1605: A substitution to tell you about in that Blackburn-Chelsea game, by the way, where Jason Roberts has replaced goalscorer Benjani. I'm presuming that's an injury problem.
1604: And now at the Emirates and Ewood Park - where, by the way, England coach Fabio Capello is in attendance. Which is nice.
1602: Haters of half-time rejoice, we're back under way at Molineux, Goodison Park and Craven Cottage.
mattzaliar on 606:
"RE artillery_john-TW14: Sam, I think you should introduce a half-time football related joke on 606 and post the best one in the feed to keep everyone entertained."
1559: MANCHESTER UNITED V TOTTENHAM Paul Fletcher
reports: "The last time Tottenham won at Old Trafford was back in December 1989 when a certain Gary Lineker notched the only goal of the game. Spurs have failed to win any of their last 25 meetings against United in all competitions and Sir Alex Ferguson will be keen to extend that sequence as his Red Devils look to close the five-point gap on leaders Chelsea."
1557: Well said artillery_john-TW14 (and a snappy username too, kudos), so while we wait for those pampered stars the land over to catch their breath over an orange and a cup of tea (old school), let's have a brief look at this afternoon's late match,
Man Utd v Spurs...
Football League Nathan: "Decent game developing in Cardiff where the hosts lead Norwich 3-1 at the break. The Canaries looked to have got themselves back in the match when Wes Hoolahan halved the deficit, but Peter Whittingham's penalty only minutes later keeps the Bluebirds in charge. Championship leaders QPR concede on the stroke of half-time with Burnley's Graham Alexander cancelling out Adel Taarabt's opener."
1552: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-0 West Ham David Ornstein's
HT snap-shot: "Three excellent saves from Robert Green ensure bottom-of-the-table West Ham remain in contention against second-top Arsenal. The Gunners on top but the Hammers dangerous on the counter. Bring on the second half..."
1551: HALF-TIME Blackburn 1-1 Chelsea Owen Phillips's HT snap-shot: "Blackburn have more than matched Chelsea on the quality front and should have been two or three up by the time Nicolas Anelka's sumptuous strike levelled matters. Terrific first half."
1550: HALF-TIME Wolves 1-1 Manchester City Saj Chowdhury's
HT snap-shot: "Quite simply a fantastic first half of football - more of the same please. This one could go either way."
1550: HALF-TIME Fulham 2-0 Wigan Mike Lawrence's HT snap-shot: "Took a while to come to life but two well-taken goals from Clint Dempsey have given the home side a deserved lead at the break"
1549: HALF-TIME Everton 0-0 Stoke Oliver Brett's HT snap-shot: "There's been some pleasant passing between the Everton midfielders, but Stoke always seem to have one defender too many for them to break down. The game's being played at a lively pace."
1548: A bit later at the Emirates and Ewood Park - but it's the break there too, now.
1546: And there go the half-time whistles at Goodison Park, Molineux and Craven Cottage.
Fulham goal: Daylight for Fulham and a quality finish from Clint Dempsey, the American lashing high into the net on the half-volley from Chris Baird's pinpoint cross.
1545: GOALFLASH Fulham 2-0 Wigan (Dempsey)
1543: A decent passing move from Arsenal ends with Cesc Fabregas feeding Alex Song, but the midfielder's low drive across goal is kept out smartly by Hammers keeper Rob Green. Moments later, Sebastien Squillaci heads Samir Nasri's corner goalwards and Green tips over on the stretch. Better from Arsenal.
1542: Mario Balotelli's cross from the left finds the head of Manchester City team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor who heads wide under the challenge of Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann.
Football League Nathan: "League One leaders Brighton flying at 2-0 against third-placed Peterborough. Ashley Barnes heads in the first from Elliot Bennett's cross before George Boyd soon saw red for Posh. Inigo Calderon doubles the lead with a simple tap-in from close range. Could be another heavy away win there for the Seagulls. Not so good news for second-placed Bournemouth who find themselves 1-0 down at home to Colchester thanks to Tommy Williams's early strike."
Chelsea goal: Less work for Ancelotti to do, now. Florent Malouda's sublime crossfield pass is nodded back into the area by Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka - for his 11th goal in 15 games against Blackburn - side-foots into the corner.
1539: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-1 Chelsea (Anelka)
1538: Nice improvisation from Michael Essien as he toe-pokes an effort narrowly wide of the Blackburn goal - but the hosts still looking that touch sharper than their opponents so far today. Work for Carlo Ancelotti to do at half-time.
1536: Arsenal just shading it still at the Emirates but West Ham have something about them on the counter today and Mark Noble stings the palms of Lukas Fabianski with a driven effort from 22 yards out.
1535: Better news for Chelsea, with Didier Drogba looking likely to shake off a dead leg - but Blackburn are forced to make a change because of injury, Gael Givet replaced by Martin Olsson.
Football League Nathan: "Two big-name managers in new jobs today and it's two positive starts for the bosses. Tony Mowbray's Middlesbrough lead Bristol City thanks to Kris Boyd's effort, while Paul Ince's Notts County make a strong start against Southampton, 1-0 they lead with Mike Edwards on target."
Fulham goal: Zoltan Gera finds Carlos Salcido out on the the left and his cross falls right on to the head of Clint Dempsey who leaps to nod into the bottom corner.
Wolves goal: This is a cracking game at Molineux with both teams going for it - and the hosts are level as Nenad Milijas gets on the end of some good work by Christophe Berra down the left and lashes into the corner from the edge of the area.
1530: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-0 Wigan (Dempsey)
1530: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-1 Man City (Milijas)
1530: Not a great sign for Chelsea, with Didier Drogba now limping around with a leg injury.
1529: Half a chance for Everton as Phil Neville is released by Mikel Arteta inside the area, but the midfielder turns slower than the HMS Belfast and Abdoulaye Faye is able to get across and challenge.
1528: Almost an immediate response from Wolves as David Edwards, moments after forcing a save from Joe Hart with his head, nods a corner goalwards and watching on in agony as it slams back off the post.
1526: Arsenal come close to taking the lead as Alex Song and Bacary Sagna combine to tee up Cesc Fabregas for a close-range effort that West Ham keeper Rob Green does brilliantly to repel with a full-stretch dive to his right.
Man City goal: Richard Stearman comes in with a late challenge on David Silva and referee Mike Dean has no doubts and points to the spot. Emmanuel Adebayor places his penalty kick to Marcus Hahnemann's left.
Blackburn goal: It has been coming - how will Chelsea react? Simple from Blackburn, El Hadji Diouf crossing for Benjani to rise above John Terry and head into the corner from 12 yards.
1523: GOALFLASH Wolves 0-1 Man City (Adebayor pen)
1522: PENALTY TO MAN CITY
1522: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-0 Chelsea (Benjani)
1519: The ball's in the net at Goodison Park off the legs of Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross - but the whistle had already rightly gone for Yakubu's rather unsubtle shove on keeper Asmir Begovic.
Football League Nathan: "Cardiff cruising already against Norwich with Jay Bothroyd grabbing his 12th goal of the season with a simple header before Michael Chopra coolly slotting home the second to put the Bluebirds firmly in charge. Plenty going on at Oldham in League One where they've had two goals and a dismissal after only seven minutes. Bondz N'Gala starts it off when he concedes a penalty which Dale Stephens converts, but Craig Noone levels up soon after for 10-man Plymouth."
1516: Blackburn enjoying a decent five minutes against Chelsea, here, and the visitors have Petr Cech to thank for the fact they remain level, the keeper recovering just about quickly enough from a slip to push Mame Diouf's chip away from goal. Moments later Benjani forces another stop from Cech on the back of a storming run - and Chelsea are hanging on a touch.
1514: Yakubu is set through on the Stoke goal wide on the left but the Everton frontman shoots straight at the keeper. We've had 15 minutes and no goals. Am I the new goal repeller?
1513: Right now the Emirates looks our likeliest ground for a goal, but this time Alex Song directs a free header from Samir Nasri's free-kick over the bar. Rob Green looked comfortable in the West Ham goal anyway, to be fair.
1511: It's relatively quiet at Craven Cottage, where the only chance of note has come following a handling error by Ali Al Habsi from a corner, but the Wigan defence were able to clear after a bit of a scramble.
1508: Mikel Arteta and Sylvain Distin get in each other's way at Goodison Park and the ball falls to Kenwyne Jones inside the area, but the Stoke frontman can only flash over the bar. Decent chance, that.
1507: Chelsea zipping the ball around nicely at Ewood Park, and Branislav Ivanovic's cross looks primed to be nodded in by Didier Drogba but it's a touch too high and the Ivorian can't get enough on the header.
1505: The pattern of play has been set early on at the Emirates, too, where Arsenal are pressing West Ham back deep into their own half, with Andrey Arshavin in particular lively.
1504: It's an explosive start from Manchester City at Molineux, and it's all centred around Mario Balotelli so far - the Italian this time lashing inches over from just outside the area.
1502: Fine early chance for Mario Balotelli to mark his Manchester City first-team return with a goal but he slides James Milner's precise centre wide eight yards out under pressure from Wolves defender Kevin Foley.
1455: The wait is almost at an end. Teams are in the the tunnel the land over, supporters have supped their pre-game tea and necked their deep-filled pies, and it's just about time for the off. You ready?
1448: EVERTON v STOKE Oliver Brett reports: "Everton are boosted by the return of Spanish playmaker Mikel Arteta after some hamstring trouble. He replaces Diniya Bilyaletdinov in the only change to the team who drew with Tottenham last week. For Stoke, goalkeeper Samir Begovic makes his first League start this season, while Tuncay and Dean Whitehad are also on the teamsheet. Jermaine Pennant, who had flu in midweek, is on the bench."
1446: WOLVES v MAN CITY Saj Chowdhury
reports: "Wolves make two changes with captain Karl Henry back from suspension taking the place of David Jones while Stephen Jones comes in for Jelle van Damme. Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez is injured so fit-again Mario Balotelli starts alongside Emmanuel Adebayor in attack. Defender Kolo Toure replaces Dedryck Boyata, while midfielder Nigel de Jong misses out after picking up an injury in training."
1444: FULHAM v WIGAN Mike Lawrence reports: "There are two changes to the Fulham side beaten at West Brom last weekend. Midfielders Simon Davies and Danny Murphy have both recovered from injury to make the starting eleven with Stephen Kelly and Diomansy Kamara both dropping to the bench. They'll sit alongside striker Andy Johnson. Wigan make five changes to the side which drew with Bolton in the Premier League. On-loan keeper Ali Al Habsi returns between the sticks while there are also starts for Ronnie Stam, Mohamed Diame, Tom Cleverely and Gary Caldwell. Chris Kirkland, Gomez and Stephen Caldwell all drop to the bench, Boyce and McCarthy are both injured."
1442: BLACKBURN v CHELSEA Owen Phillips reports: "Blackburn have their first-choice central-defensive partnership back in place with the towering Christopher Samba returning after suspension to play alongside Ryan Nelsen. The other two changes from the side that
lost to Liverpool
see Mame Diouf recalled and Benjani making his first league start. Alex returns to add height and power to the Chelsea rearguard - the sole change from the side that
beat Wolves 2-0.
The Brazilian's selection allows the equally muscular Branislav Ivanovic to switch to right-back in place of Jose Bosingwa."
1440: ARSENAL v WEST HAM David Ornstein
reports: "Arsenal make one change to the side that beat Man City last weekend as Laurent Koscielny returns from a back injury to replace Johan Djourou in central defence. There are two changes from the West Ham team that lost to Newcastle - Luis Boa Morte is preferred to Carlton Cole, so Frederic Piquionne assumes the lone striker role, while a hamstring injury to Matthew Upson sees Herita Ilunga come in at left back and Danny Gabbidon moved to centre-half."
coulsontom on Twitter:
"Mancini goes for two strikers, one playmaker and only one holding midfielder. Cautious, much?"
Dave via text: "Eight-goal thriller at the Walker Stadium today. Preston to come out on top. You heard it here first."
Mr Chelsea on 606:
"All those saying its a shock Bosingwa is dropped from the Chelsea side are doing a disservice to Ivanovic who has been a rock for us in defence whichever position he has played in whether it be CB or RB."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE NATHAN: "Tony Mowbray takes charge of his first game as Middlesbrough boss with the Teessiders hosting Bristol City. Boro have picked up one win in their last six matches and sit in the relegation places, while today's visitors have been as much as a disappointment this season and prop up the table. No such problems for high-flying Cardiff and Norwich who meet in the Welsh capital. Surprise package Norwich are six points behind second-placed Cardiff, who can go top with a win and a QPR slip-up against Burnley."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE NATHAN: "League One leaders Brighton face a tough trip to third-placed Peterborough with the Seagulls looking to extend their six-point lead over Bournemouth. Posh are top scorers in the division but their south coast opponents have only conceded eight goals in 13 matches so far. New Notts County boss won't be able to govern matters against Southampton because of a touchline ban, but the former England midfielder will be in attendance for the visit of mid-table Saints."
alex on 606:
"Put 20p on two goalkeepers to score today across all English Football Leagues. Cha-ching."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE NATHAN: "Chesterfield look to put further distance between themselves and Port Vale at the top of League Two when they travel to Stevenage. The Valiants face local rivals Crewe as second play seventh with the home side able to field five former Alex players in their starting line-up."
1415: BREAKING TEAM NEWS Alex replaces Jose Bosingwa for Chelsea against Blackburn, meaning Branislav Ivanovic will move back to right back, while Nigel de Jong has been left out of the Manchester City side to face Wolves.
BobClarkey on Twitter:
"Looks like Harry Redknapp will rest Gareth Bale today with the midweek match with Inter Milan in mind - but should he rest more of the first team seeing as Spurs never get much from MU?"
just vote 5 on 606:
"The battle for second place continues. Don't let the table fool you, Liverpool are in the running."
1410: ARSENAL v WEST HAM David Ornstein
reports: "Bottom of the league with just one win all season, West Ham could be forgiven for approaching their trip to the Emirates with a sense of foreboding. They haven't beaten Arsenal in six meetings - failing to score in five of those - and a heavy defeat today would certainly further crank up the heat on manager Avram Grant. The title-chasing Gunners are back on song with 12 goals in three games - but they've been undone by West Ham before and would be foolish to think this will be easy."
1407: EVERTON v STOKE Oliver Brett reports: "This is a mid-table encounter between a team with momentum (Everton) against visitors who have lost their last two games in the Premier League. A performance along the lines of the
Mersey derby triumph
should be enough to garner three points for the Toffees, while Stoke's cause is not exactly helped by the "flu-like symptoms" picked up by Kenwyne Jones and Jermaine Pennant this week. They are both rated doubtful."
1405: FULHAM v WIGAN Mike Lawrence reports: "There is little to separate the two sides meeting at Craven Cottage today. Wigan are just a point ahead of their hosts with both sides searching for only their third league win of the season. Injuries and a lack of goals have hampered the start of Mark Hughes' reign at Fulham but striker Andy Johnson's return after a long injury break could be timely. Wigan's last visit to the capital produced that lone victory, a 1-0 victory at Spurs."
1403: WOLVES v MAN CITY Saj Chowdhury
reports: "The potential midfield battle between Wolves and Manchester City could make playground game British Bulldogs seem more like Kiss Chase. Wolves have only beaten City once in their last six encounters and have yet to keep a clean sheet, but City have only scored 12 goals in the league. Draw?"
1400: BLACKBURN v CHELSEA Owen Phillips reports: "Blackburn's
takeover by Venky's
is set to go through. But the deal is unlikely to see mountains of cash for a
Roman Abramovich style spending-spree
and stuttering Rovers have more pressing matters on the pitch after a start which has yielded just two league wins. Influential skipper Christopher Samba's return should help but it is hardly the ideal time to welcome a confident and well-rested Chelsea side who have scored 27 goals in establishing a five-point lead. And Alex's return brings more muscle to the defence as the Blues look to match Big Sam's battlers. Should be fascinating."
1359: Now then, let's get our news from round the grounds...
1355: Another thing to keep an eye on today, by the way - the man stood between the sticks for Arsenal. Lukas Fabianski looks likely to start, but could it have been... dare I say... Pepe Reina? He names no names, but few prizes for guessing who Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson might have been on about on BBC Five Live this morning is there? "I was pushing a certain individual and Arsene (Wenger) went in over the summer and offered amazing money for who I consider to be to most consistent goalkeeper in the Premier League. It was absolutely not [Mark] Schwarzer. The person involved is at a club that under normal circumstances would be challenging Arsenal. One of the clubs with a great history and tradition."
happyfritz789 on 606:
"I've just put a 20p bet on all teams beginning with C to win. What do fans of Coventry, Colchester, Charlton, Curzon Ashton etc. think their chances are today?"
Rob, Durham via text: "I just selected the closest I could get to the crazy predictions from Anon on Ladbrokes - the odds were 936,543,608/1. Surely worth a quid?"
1348: Time for us to focus on this afternoon's matches? I think so.
1345: And, in the week when Take That single-groupedly (made-up word alert)
broke the internet,
we've only had
make some weekend predictions. So be a bunch of Angels, have No Regrets, be Strong and Let Him Entertain You - you'll Sing When You're Winning. (Sorry.)
Anon via text: "Crazy predictions...West ham to beat Arsenal 6-5. Blackburn win 4-0. Everton-Stoke abandoned due to sheep invading the pitch. Fulham and Wigan draw 0-0 but both teams go down to eight men in the first half. Man Utd lose 5-4 after being 4-0 up at half time, and Wolves win 8-0." Get your bets on now, people.
1330: And Benoit Assou-Ekotto is not the only one hitting out at footballers this week, with
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini wading into the "booze culture"
row after discovering several City players, including Joe Hart, Adam Johnson, Gareth Barry and Shay Given, had been drinking into the early hours at a student party in St Andrews. "I just don't undertsand it," said Mancini. "I told the players my opinion about getting into these situations 10 days ago. I am unhappy about it." Might be interesting to see his selection today.
TheSportsDirector on 606:
"The Cottage is where you want to be today! I'm sensing goals, goals goals. Along with a total of 27 goals in all games today."
1323: It's been a week back in the spotlight for David Beckham, too. Yes, there was the usual "I'll never quit England" story as well as the mandatory speculation about where the midfielder will be plying his trade in the near future - he says it will continue to be
LA Galaxy by the way
- but more importantly (ahem), he has
pranked a masseuse
and had his
'first argument' with wife Victoria.
Both on TV. And eleven years of marriage and one argument? Where's the fun in that?
4fabregas on 606:
"The reason the Carling Cup is so interesting this year is that the "top" teams have such strength in depth that even their second strings are very watchable."
Matt, Sheffield via text: "Is it just me or do the pictures leading to this page on the main BBC sport site of the players look distinctly Halloween themed?"
HuddersHarris on Twitter:
"I'm going to put my neck on the line, Huddersfield v Walsall today is a home banker. Come on you Terriers!"
1311: And more controversy is reaching us -
tells us of "uproar in the press lounge" at the Emirates Stadium. "One-dumpling-per-person limit with the beef casserole. I wondered when the age of austerity would start to pinch." These are hard times indeed, folks.
Daniel, London via text: "A dream Carling Cup final for me as a Man Utd fan would be United v Roy Keane's Ipswich."
1306: It's not just Benoit Assou-Ekotto who has been sticking the boot into Wayne Rooney this week, either. As well as being stalked by photographers on holiday in Dubai, and then learning that
his ankle injury could yet be worse than first thought,
turns out Rooney is no longer the top shirt-seller at Manchester United for the first time since he joined in 2004. His successor? Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, whose sales have soared 294%. Old Trafford's new hero.
watford56 on 606:
"I swear that everyone gets hyped up about the Premier League fixtures every week saying stuff like 'this weekend is going to change the season'. This is just a standard weekend!!!"
Craig, London via text: "Re: 1234 I agree, definitely the most intrigue around the Carling Cup for a few years now."
wiganontour on Twitter:
"Arsenal v Man Utd is the dream tie for two sets of fans, everyone else does not want it." I don't know - as a neutral, I think it'd make a cracking Carling Cup final. That said, I guess fans of the other quarter-finalists are less keen haha, fair point.
1257: And here's a top tip for any wannabe journalists out there - if you want some top-level chat to spice up your blog or the back pages of your university paper, simply interview Benoit Assou-Ekotto. The Tottenham defender can bite his lip about as well as a toothless baby, bless him, and he's launched into footballers -
and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney in particular
- in an interview with French magazine So Foot this week. "The whole problem with footballers is that they take themselves too seriously," says the left-back, among other - less publishable - things. And you can't say he doesn't live by his word, ol' Benny. Harry Redknapp once revealed Assou-Ekotto - a man quite open about the fact he
plays football simply for the money
- is the only player who turns up on a match-day and asks 'So, who are we playing today?'. I love him.
Hodgey on 606:
"Must win for United today. Hope Blackburn can hold Chelsea but not holding my breath."
Waters280 on Twitter:
"Just on the coach from Darlington to Wimbledon. Give us non-league football fans a mention :)"
1245: But if inane banter is more your bag - this, clearly, is the place to be. As always, the soap opera of football has given us plenty to mull over this week so if there's anything you think warrants a mention in the next hour or so before we focus on this afternoon's games, do get in touch. There's a plethora of options for you to choose from - a smorgasbord of football(ish) chat if you like. For example, Kevin Nolan's children are now going to have to get
someone else to read Peppa Pig to them
Andy Carroll has been allowed to move out of the midfielder's house
as part of his bail conditions for an alleged assault. Any volunteers?
1240: By the way, given the fact that I've gone maverick and launched this commentary uber-early today, you might be yearning for a bit of live footy action amongst all the chat for a couple of hours. Might I, then, suggest a bit of
for you to cast thine eyes over? St Johnstone-Celtic have got us up and running nice and early, and Keir Murray's your man for that.
rebeccaabbott93 on Twitter:
"Second-city derby in the Carling Cup. Fantastic. Should be a great advert for the cup. Ipswich v West Brom possible shock game?"
Daryl, Kent via text: "A quarter final against Man Utd under the lights at the Boleyn... Happiness."
1234: So the 'dream' Arsenal-Man Utd Carling Cup final remains a possibility, then. Add to that a cracking midlands derby and the remaining 'wild card' tie, and we appear to have ensured plenty of interest. So, all in all, what do we say - good draw? As I said on Wednesday evening, it's a Cup that doesn't always attract the most column inches - but
darn it if it hasn't been thrilling this season right?
Phil via text: "I'm with you! Hopefully Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal all lose and Spurs can take advantage by beating Man Utd for the first time in years!"
Ray Wilkins on 606:
"RE 12:15, do you mean the day Wolves beat City and Chelsea moved eight points clear?"
geek_rohit on Twitter:
"RE 1215, I know it's too much to ask from them, but Blackburn can help by making Chelsea drop points today. I'll say 2-2."
1223: Of course, it could just be that every match goes to form and by Monday evening we're none the wiser as to matters at the top or bottom end of the table - but where's the thrill in predicting that? And either way, you lot can use it as a stick to beat me with come the end of play tomorrow - happy days. If you feel like joining me in making outrageous statements/predictions, why not Tweet me
@sampatricklyon, get chatting over on
or text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)? You know you want to.
1216: Cue hundreds of "you're a daft old boot" messages.
1215: Now, call me a daft old boot, but I've got a feeling this weekend's football is one we'll look back on at the end of the campaign and reflect on as an absolutely key at both ends of the Premier League table. Oh yes. Who's with me?
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