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Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson: "It's a bad result every time you lose, and it's difficult to give an assessment straight after you've been beaten. When we went 1-0 down we were forced to take some risks and they almost got us back into the game so unfortunately not. Most of today we've defended long throws and long ball forward and balls pumped into your penalty area, so it's a very different game to that against Chelsea. It's a special game, this one. You have to defend stoutly and do more going forward than we did."
1938: According to
Stoke's win over Liverpool is their first in 26 years, since a 2-0 home victory in old Division One in April 1984. According to
Liverpool have won only two of their last 16 Premier League away games.
Stoke striker Ricardo Fuller: "That's our result of the season so far, definitely. Today was very, very difficult because Liverpool are a great team and are getting back to their best, so it took a tremendous effort from us to do a job on them today."
From Mike, Stirling, on text: "I've given up on trying to claim I understand what Liverpool's problem is. Where is the team that beat Chelsea on Sunday? Very disappointing today."
From Loopytactics on Twitter:
"Incredible to think a new dawn was rising following Chelsea. This is simply inept. It's been five months now Roy..."
1926: Full-time Stoke 2-0 Liverpool More often than not you get what you deserve in football, and that's definitely the case at Stoke today. Only one team deserved to win - and the visitors are still struggling badly on this evidence.
Red card: It gets worse and worse for the Anfield men. Lucas, who has already been booked, stupidly kicks out at Matty Etherington after he pushed the ball away and the Brazilian picks up his second booking, heading for an early bath. Not that early, mind. We're almost done.
1924: RED CARD (Lucas, Liverpool)
Stoke goal: He's somersaulting on the pitch and they will be somersaulting in the stands, too. It's a pretty simple-looking goal with the visitors committing men forward and Jermaine Pennant slips a pass forward for Kenwyne Jones, who shows his great power by brushing off Martin Skrtel and keeping his cool to slip a shot past Pepe Reina. Good composure, good goal.
1922: GOAL Stoke 2-0 Liverpool (Jones)
1921: Liverpool's attack breaks down so Stoke counter with pace and Jon Walter curls a shot well wide from out of the left of the Reds area.
1920: Liverpool have a free-kick 30 yards out, Steven Gerrard runs over it and Paul Konchesky smacks it miles and miles into the night sky at the Britannia Stadium. That is a horror show.
1919: Stoke eat up some more valuable seconds, with Jon Walters coming on in place of goalscorer Ricardo Fuller. About three minutes left of normal time.
1917: It would probably be fair to say that referee Michael Oliver won't be getting a Christmas card from Norwich manager Paul Lambert this year. The Canaries boss has been a tad angry with some of the decisions that have gone against his side at the Madejski this evening and Oliver has had enough, sending him to the stands. That's the end of the drama and the visitors have held on for a 3-3 draw. They are eighth, Reading ninth, in the table. Cracking game.
From The Kop Prophet on 606:
"I've been trying to defend Hodgson - but he really is not helping himself here. He picked a slow team crammed with central midfielders. He seems to suffer from the same sort of stubbornness as Rafa - trying to accommodate all the big names rather than crafting a team of parts."
1914: Liverpool are starting to put a little more pressure on as you'd expect with seven or eight minutes left, and Ricard Fuller is booked for a blatant bodycheck on Steven Gerrard.
1912: Stoke still look the likelier to score. Martin Skrtel fouls Ricardo Fuller and he is booked for a combination of that and his angry reaction to the free-kick. Matty Etherington's shot hits the wall.
Man City manager Roberto Mancini: "Which pressure? For what? You continue to say I am under pressure. Which pressure? Because some supporters say I did not put two strikers on, or journalists say I am too defensive? I am not under pressure. We are in fourth position. We have some problems. Since the start of the season it has been the case that if Carlos Tevez doesn't score, no-one does. We must improve that. But we have only played 13 games."
1909: Wanna hear from Roberto Mancini instead?
Man City coach David Platt: "The players went out second half and increased the rhythm and we were bolder going forward. For the second half we camped out in their half. We created chances but none of them were really clear cut, barring James Milner's. We're playing every three or four days so it's difficult for them to get up and lively every game. They found it within themselves to increase the tempo second half. But credit to Birmingham for how they defended... [The booing is] understandable frustration. It's a measure of where we are now in that we want to challenge for things. Two or three years ago you wouldn't get that frustration. Those frustrations are echoed by the players and the management staff."
1907: Fernando Torres gets a pass hopelessly wrong and boots it miles out of play for a Stoke throw, much to the amusement of the home fans. It all feels a little bit as you were two or three weeks ago for Liverpool at the moment.
1905: Liverpool send Ryan Babel on for Maxi Rodriguez. Jamie Carragher just flew down their right and was taken out by Danny Collins, but somehow was not awarded a free-kick. How did the officials all miss that?
1903: Liverpool have about 20 minutes to salvage something from their trip to Stoke, and if I were a betting man, I wouldn't put much on them getting it right now.
1902: Just over 10 minutes to go in the Championship at Reading and the hosts are knocking on the door as they go looking for a win over a tiring 10-man Norwich side. It remains 3-3 though.
From gwowders on Twitter:
"As bad as Stoke (truly) are, we're making them look good. No confidence, no appetite and nothing on the bench to call upon!"
Newcastle manager Chris Hughton: "It's been a tough week - it was important after Wednesday night that we didn't lose today. We had the better chances but came up against a very well-organised Fulham side. There weren't many clear-cut chances, but we certainly had the better of them."
Fulham boss Mark Hughes: "I thought we were the more dominant side in the first half, and in the second we stood up to the challenge. Our two centre-halves were immense and Mark Schwarzer made some excellent saves when called upon. [Our away record] is getting on everybody's nerves, but we're making inroads. It's only a matter of time before we get three points on the road."
1857: Martin Skrtel gets to a knock-down in the Stoke box first but, under pressure, can only poke wide from eight yards. Kenwyne Jones is the next striker to need some treatment. Liverpool send on David Ngog for Raul Meireles.
1855: Dirk Kuyt gets down the right and cuts the ball back to Maxi Rodriguez and the Argentine hits a right-foot shot from 10 yards that almost sneaks under Asmir Begovic - the Stoke keeper pretty much sits on the ball to make the save.
1854: It's all Stoke. Kenwyne Jones holds off Martin Skrtel with brute strength and turns and fires a left-foot shot wide of the far post from an angle on the left.
1853: Rory Delap launches in another throw from the Stoke left and when it comes back out to him, his right-foot shot takes a deflection and flies into the side-netting. Looks likelier they will go 2-0 ahead than Liverpool will equalise right now.
1851: While Fernando Torres receives treatment, Steven Gerrard floats the ball over but Stoke defend it well. I think Liverpool need to change something here.
1850: So, what have Liverpool got? They are going to have to play now. Fernando Torres has his ankle accidentally stepped on by Robert Huth and they have a free-kick out on the left. Torres looks in a bit of pain.
Stoke goal: Pretty that is not, but you won't find a Stoke fan in the world who cares. Another long throw causes pandemonium in the Liverpool box and after Ryan Shawcross and Matty Etherington get involved in some pinball with the Reds defence, it falls for Ricardo Fuller, who has one shot blocked and then sticks the umpteenth rebound in from close range. They all count for one.
1848: GOAL Stoke 1-0 Liverpool (Fuller)
1847: While we wait for things to get going at Stoke, it's all happening at the Madejski. Firstly, Noel Hunt pulls one back for Reading and then Shane Long equalises from the spot. Norwich are down to 10 men remember. It's 3-3. Simon Church could have just put them ahead. Thirty minutes of drama ahead (probably).
Tottenham 4-2 Blackburn Mandeep Sanghera reports: "An assist and two goals for Gareth Bale as he continues to show what a talent he is in helping Spurs to an emphatic and stylish win over Blackburn."
West Ham 0-0 Blackpool Mark Ashenden reports: "Limited quality. Enthralling entertainment. Who needs goals? Unlucky Hammers. Dear Mr Holloway - please don't ever run away from this sport."
1841: Steven Gerrard floats a free-kick in but he's over-hit it and it's harmlessly out for a goalkick. This game needs a spark.
Man City 0-0 Birmingham Phil Dawkes reports: "For the second game running City are booed off and for the third game in succession they fail to score at home. They were woeful, while Birmingham were disciplined and worthy of the point."
1839: We've got our first booking of the game, with Fernando Torres doing some tracking back and catching Jermaine Pennant late, the Spaniard receiving a caution for his troubles.
Newcastle 0-0 Fulham Les Roopanarine reports: "After crunching home wins against Aston Villa and Sunderland earlier in the season, it's fair to say the fog on the Tyne descends mainly against less-vaunted opposition - but make no mistake, Fulham were good value for their point, and came within a crossbar's width of that long-awaited away win."
Wolves 2-3 Bolton Jamie Lillywhite reports: "A fascinating five-goal thriller and Wolves will surely feel they deserved a point after a pulsating finish, having scored two and come very close to a third in the final stages."
1837: Back under way for the second half at the Britannia Stadium.
Wigan 1-0 West Brom Oliver Brett reports: "West Brom created some chances, but Wigan produced more quality, particularly in the second half, with Charles N'Zogbia and Victor Moses the two outstanding players."
1834: Anyway, I was going to bring you our match reporters' snap-shots of their games from earlier, but I'll have to roll them out during the second half.
1832: Apologies for that little break - my computer got so bored of the 0-0s it fell asleep. Frankly I don't blame it. Let's hope these boys raise it in the second half.
1820: Half-time Stoke 0-0 Liverpool Ian Hughes reports: "Stoke boss Tony Pulis feels his side have been on the wrong end of referees' decisions this season and he will be unhappy again today after the Potters were denied at least one penalty in the first half. He may be consoled by the fact Stoke have been the better side so far - albeit in a game short on quality, and in which Liverpool have failed to turn up."
1817: Rory Delap throws the ball into the Liverpool box and Pepe Reina comes unchallenged and catches clean as a whistle. Into first-half stoppage time - three minutes of it, too.
1814: More decent build-up from Liverpool - Fernando Torres nearly gets in behind the Stoke defence, but when Raul Meireles eventually plays it back to Steven Gerrard, he lashes plenty wide from 22 yards.
1812: Down in the Championship, Norwich go down to 10 men on the stroke of half-time. It might help the game, with Reading 3-1 down, but it looks extremely harsh on Grant Holt. He goes to challenge Ian Harte and definitely fouls him but it's never a red card. Referee Michael Oliver thinks otherwise as he shows a straight red.
1810: The pace of the game has slowed down in the last 10-15 minutes after a frantic opening, and that suits Liverpool more than Stoke. The crowd noise has died down a little, too.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy: "It's very rare that I come off thinking we have lacked effort or belief, but that is not enough."
From KopMaestro on Twitter:
"I can't take this, I can't! This is my beloved club and Hodgson is ruining this team! This mentality of sitting back, ugh."
1805: Kenwyne Jones' control is awful - if he collects Ricardo Fuller's pass properly, he's in. But having taken the ball wide, Jones still manages to get in a cross thanks to Paul Konchesky's less-than-impressive defending and only an alert Jamie Carragher inside his own six-yard box clears Liverpool's lines.
1804: Crikey, three quick goals at Reading as Norwich extend their lead through Grant Holt before Ian Harte pulls one back for the home side. Chris Martin has made it 3-1 now with about 10 minutes to go until half-time at the Madejski.
1803: Danny Collins catches Dirk Kuyt on his head with a stray arm and the Dutchman, who has been in the wars a bit recently, needs some treatment off the pitch before coming back on. To boos, obviously.
1801: Better from Liverpool, no surprise it's from captain Steven Gerrard. He takes a touch 25 yards out and hits a corker that is arching into the bottom right-hand corner of Asmir Begovic's net until the keeper gets down well to push it behind. Moments later, Raul Meireles forces another decent stop low down from Begovic.
West Ham manager Avram Grant: "We created enough chances to win more than one game. But we were the better team. We dominated the game and we put a lot of pressure on them. I'm very disappointed. The players - who were not all 100% fit - gave everything."
1756: Lucas goes in on Matty Etherington but it doesn't look like a bad tackle, problem is it sends the Stoke winger flying in to the air and he gets winded when he falls, nasty looking one that. He needs some treatment, but he should be OK to carry on.
From Anon, on text: "Why is no one talking about Marc Albrighton for England? He was outstanding again today and caused Evra real problems." All in good time. Stewart Downing recall though, surely?
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish: "I'm really proud of the guys. They've done the club proud today. We remain positive. The league is very competitive. I don't like to use the word relegation and not at this juncture. It's far too premature. We have to show our steel and there's plenty of points to play for. We've been unlucky of late and hopefully we'll get the rub of the green now. There's more to come."
1752: Liverpool can't cope with these long throws and after another one is flicked on by Robert Huth - with Pepe Reina staying on his line this time - only a posse of Reds defenders crowd Jermaine Pennant out of it at the far post.
1749: A Steven Gerrard corner is met by Sotirios Kyrgiakos, but his downward header is kicked away from danger by a Stoke defender, it was probably going wide anyway.
From redboychris on 606:
"Once again Liverpool sit back too deep and as a result are coming under pressure from Stoke. We have to learn how to attack when we are away."
1747: Today's Championship results saw Norwich slip to eighth in the table, but they've started well at Reading in the late game and Russell Martin has popped them in front. A win would take them up to fourth.
1744: Wow - two brutal shots from range inside two minutes from Dean Whitehead as again the ball falls to him just outside the Liverpool area and he hits a sizzling volley that screams a yard high and a yard wide of Pepe Reina's right-hand angle. Keeper was beaten.
1743: A Stoke corner is swung in from the left and Kenwyne Jones rises high only to glance a header wide of the far post.
1742: Very good start for Stoke, who are putting some serious pressure on the Liverpool goal already. Pepe Reina makes a fabulous save from Dean Whitehead's fiercely struck 25-yard daisycutter, but then remonstrates with the referee - he thinks he was crowded out unfairly from another Rory Delap throw.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez on goalscorer Victor Moses: "He's growing in training, and sometimes we don't realise how young he is . He came on against Liverpool and really played his part, and today he had a massive impact on the game."
1738: Just keeping half an eye (you know what I mean) on our feed from Eastlands, where Man City appear to have sent out coach David Platt to do the post-match interviews. Nothing to say, Roberto? At Stoke, Ricardo Fuller fires over from 25 yards, good start for the home team.
1736: It's another humdinger of an atmosphere at Stoke, as per usual the locals are right up for this one. Rory Delap launches his first long throw into the Liverpool box and there are two penalty appeals from the Reds, but nothing doing for Mark Halsey. Tell you what - Maxi Rodriguez on Ricardo Fuller, he might have got away with one there.
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway: "I'm amazed at the quality of the game - we were involved in another fantastic game of football. Irrespective of who we put out there we always seem to do well. What a fantastic advert for our game."
1732: We've had our minute's silence for Remembrance Sunday and, after necking a bottle of water by the touchline, referee Mark Halsey gets us under way in the Potteries.
From viperdk1 on Twitter:
"To JS on 606 - if chasing a winner against teams you should be beating, you don't take off a striker for a midfielder. Ever."
1725: The players walk out at the Britannia Stadium and we're not far off getting under way between Stoke and Liverpool.
Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson: "We're on television so much these days I find myself becoming something of a TV star! I much preferred it in the old days when people didn't know what I looked like."
From Tom, Kyoto, Japan, on text: "Stevo, if Mr Capello was watching the same game I was, he would have seen a poor Wolves defence but a brilliant left-winger called Matt Jarvis. I guarantee he'll be picked tonight."
1719: According to
Infostrada Sports,Blackpool are the second team in Premier League history to change 11 players from one game to the next, after Arsenal on 11 May, 1993. Also, they tell us Manchester United have gone unbeaten in their opening 13 league matches of the season for the first time ever under Sir Alex Ferguson, and it is over three years since United last came back from two goals down away from home - winning 4-2 at Everton in April 2007.
1715: Just remember: a goalless draw does not a dull game make. I'm hearing Forest-QPR in the Championship was a belter, while West Ham-Blackpool in the Premier League included some remarkable misses, saves and goalline clearances. Oh, and according to
OptaJoe on Twitter,
the Hammers and the Seasiders attempted 47 shots between them today (including blocked shots), which is the most in the top flight so far this season.
From Kieran, just past Peterborough, on text: "Important public service announcement: Live text works on east coast trains even after your free 15 minutes of wifi is up."
1710: Stoke v Liverpool team news Ian Hughes reports: "Stoke make two changes, bringing in Ryan Shawcross and Andy Wilkinson in for Abdoulaye Faye and Danny Higginbotham. Liverpool make only one change as Sotirios Kyrgiakos replaces Martin Kelly at the back."
From JS on 606:
"Although I appreciate the amount of money they've spent, and the expectation they've therefore created for themselves, I can't help but find it somewhat illogical to be booing a team that are currently, and comfortably, in fourth place. And I am a United fan, by the way."
1702: Stoke v Liverpool scene-setter: Ian Hughes reports: "Can Stoke shut out the resurgent Fernando Torres? The Liverpool striker will be looking to get on the scoresheet for the third consecutive match and help extend his side's unbeaten run, which now stands at six matches. The Potters are aiming to build on the victory over Birmingham in midweek that ended a run of five straight league defeats. How will this one pan out? Perhaps
Kenny Dalglish's new Twitter page
has the answer."
From Tenku, Sweden, on text: "See 1602: I get the feeling that Mancini will go Mark Hughes' way. Appalling performance from the most expensive footballers ever assembled." In England, surely?
1654: Full-time Man City 0-0 Birmingham
1653: Full-time Newcastle 0-0 Fulham
1653: Full-time Wolves 2-3 Bolton
1652: Adam Johnson fires a shot over and Roberto Mancini looks forlorn. He won't like the boos that are about to come.
1652: Full-time Tottenham 4-2 Blackburn
1651: Full-time West Ham 0-0 Blackpool
1650: Full-time Wigan 1-0 West Brom
Football League Macca: "Cardiff look like going top as they go 4-2 ahead at Scunny. Still 0-0 at Forest-QPR. Ipswich have pulled one back but trail Barnsley 3-1, Doncaster winning 3-2 at Pompey, Burnley doing likewise at home to Watford. Hartlepool look like ending 10-man Brighton's run as they lead 3-1, Carlisle 3-2 Southampton and Burton are winning 2-1 at Chesterfield and Josh McQuoid has another hat-trick for Bournemouth, who are winning 3-0 against Walsall. Dying stages."
1649: So, late drama, anyone?
BBC Radio 5 live's Jimmy Armfield at Eastlands: "I've had the idea for the last 25 minutes that if one of these teams really went for it, they've got a great chance of winning it. But neither Man City nor Birmingham have thrown men forward."
Rovers goal: It's another consolation, but rubbish goalkeeping from Heurelho Gomes. Blackburn pump it forward and it lands for Gael Givet 15 yards out - he hits a lovely left-foot volley but it's straight at the Spurs keeper, who can only deflect it into his own net.
1646: GOAL Tottenham 4-2 Blackburn (Givet)
1645: The Newcastle-Fulham is dying a very slow death. It's goalless, and there's nothing really to speak about.
1644: How are Blackpool not ahead? A corner falls to Craig Cathcart six yards out and his meatily struck volley forces another save from Robert Green. It's heart in mouth time.
1643: Franco di Santo, a fresh pair of legs after replacing Hugo Rodallega, somehow fails to make it Wigan 2-0 West Brom as he drags his shot wide from well inside the area.
1642: Man City boss Roberto Mancini takes off captain Carlos Tevez and brings on Gareth Barry. The fans boo and boo and boo. You're almost embarrassed for Mancini - hope it works for him.
1641: That is a massive, massive chance for Blackpool to win at West Ham. The ball is played down the left and when it is fizzed into the six-yard box, Marlon Harewood cannot adjust his feet in time and sends it wide. Incredible.
1639: The fans are getting seriously frustrated at Man City - the home team are having most of the play and are almost camped in the Birmingham half, but they just can't fashion a clear-cut chance, they haven't got enough quality to do so. Blues have defended superbly, though.
Football League Macca: "Is it me or do we always get a goalrush about this time every week? Not least at Elland Road where three quick goals have seen Leeds go in front, Bristol City draw level and then the hosts go in front again. Scunny have pulled it back to 2-3 at home to Cardiff. They couldn't, could they? Leicester leading 2-0 against Derby, Pompey back to 1-2 against Doncaster, Burnley 2-2 Watford now, Charlton winning 5-1 at Peterborough, Sheff Wed winning, Hartlepool back in front against previously unstoppable Brighton."
Rovers goal: Substitute David Dunn latches on to a Spurs clearance just outside the edge of the box and drives in a left-foot shot for what should be only a Blackburn consolation goal.
Wolves goal: My word they are right back in this now, Wolves. Matt Jarvis floats over a corner from the left and Jussi Jaaskelainen misses it, so Steven Fletcher can nod it in at the far post. Game on at Molineux.
1637: GOAL Wolves 2-3 Bolton (Fletcher)
1636: GOAL Tottenham 4-1 Blackburn (Dunn)
1634: Massive groans at Upton Park as Pablo Barrera picks up Scott Parker's cute cross and shoots straight at goal but Ian Evatt's chunky legs get in the way. One minute later the ball bounces off Carlton Cole's legs and it comes back off the post. Astonishing. One minute later Gary Taylor-Fletcher blazes over for Blackpool.
Spurs goal: It makes no difference, but it shouldn't count. Alan Hutton's ball in is controlled by Rafael van der Vaart on to his arm - it drops for Gareth Bale to mis-hit into the Rovers net, but that should have been a free-kick. Bale doesn't care, and neither do the home fans.
1632: GOAL Tottenham 4-0 Blackburn (Bale)
1631: Action at Newcastle - Moussa Dembele shudders the bar for Fulham with a close-range effort from substitute Dickson Etuhu's knock-down.
1631: Carlos Tevez with a glorious chance to open the scoring for the home side at Eastlands. Barry Ferguson's misplaced back-pass under pressure from substitute Roque Santa Cruz gifts possession to Tevez through on goal but he puts his shot from 10 yards past the far post.
Wolves goal: Kevin Foley gives Wolves a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining when he plays a neat one-two with the impressive Matt Jarvis and curls superbly into the corner of the net.
Bolton goal: Wow, rampant. Kevin Davies frees Chung-Yong Lee down the right and he cuts it back to Stuart Holden who drills in his first goal for Bolton.
Wigan goal: Half-time substitute Victor Moses breaks the deadlock at the DW Stadium, after some excellent work from Charles N'Zogbia. The winger eludes two defenders, goes to ground, and gets back on his feet to thread the pass through to Moses, and his shot is placed low to the far corner beyond Scott Carson's reach.
1628: GOAL Wolves 1-3 Bolton (Foley)
Spurs goal: That must be game over at the Lane, surely? Roman Pavlyuchenko slams in a left-foot shot from the edge of the box, Paul Robinson makes a fine low save but Gael Givet dallies from the rebound and Peter Crouch doesn't hesitate to stick in his first league goal of the season.
1626: GOAL Wigan 1-0 West Brom (Moses)
1626: GOAL Wolves 0-3 Bolton (Holden)
1625: GOAL Tottenham 3-0 Blackburn (Crouch)
From OptaJoe on Twitter:
"Johan Elmander has now scored six goals in the Premier League this season, all coming away from home. Roamer."
Football League Macca: "It looks like Palace could move off the bottom of the Champ. They lead Cov 2-0 now through a Darren Ambrose penalty. Ipswich are now three goals down at home Barnsley, Watford are 2-1 up at Burnley. Brighton have levelled at Hartlepool, Peterborough pulled one back against Charlton but still trail 4-1, Swindon have edged ahead against Colchester 2-1, it's Carlisle 3-1 Southampton and MK Dons have grabbed a couple of quick uns at Brentford and lead 2-0."
Bolton goal: You might not believe me until you see it, but that's a magnificent goal. Bolton work it nicely from their left through Kevin Davies and Stuart Holden and when it falls to Johan Elmander inside the Wolves box, he produces a piece of magic Paul Daniels would be proud of. He dribbles this way and that with the ball glued to his foot and with four defenders around him slots into the hosts' net. Great goal.
1621: GOAL Wolves 0-2 Bolton (Elmander)
From Steve, on text: "Ipswich three-down at home to Barnsley. Keane still seated as he has been all afternoon. I hope he is comfortable. We're not."
1618: The ball breaks to Peter Crouch at Spurs just outside the Blackburn area and he has a shot beaten away by Paul Robinson. Up the other end and Morten Gamst Pedersen has a shot cleared off the line by William Gallas. Rovers send on David Dunn.
1617: Carlos Tevez slams a free-kick goalwards but it hits Lee Bowyer in the Birmingham wall. Moments later Tevez cuts in from the left and shoots at Blues keeper Ben Foster. Maybe Fabio Capello will be delighted by a 0-0 with two English keepers in goal?
BBC Sport's Dan Warren at Upton Park: "Hammers' fans seem to be a bit frustrated with Luis Boa Morte of late - missing that one-on-one hasn't done his cause much good... Real agitation in the Bobby Moore stand."
1614: I mean, no-one really likes goals anyway, do they?
From dmrichkt on 606:
"I've got the choice of City or Newcastle games here in Thailand... so, after five mins of each St James's it was. How can 500 million quid ever be so boring!? Think of how many better ways to spend the money."
1610: Newcastle's Andy Carroll goes close once more, he hits a well-struck, low 20-yarder that forces Fulham's Mark Schwarzer to make a smart stop.
1609: Spurs break three on two against Blackburn but with Gareth Bale pleading for the ball Luka Modric picks the wrong pass and Brett Emerton gets back quickly to avert the danger.
1607: Best chance so far for Wolves to get back to level terms with Bolton, but Nenad Milijas's clipped shot from 18 yards comes off the top of the visitors' crossbar.
1606: Manchester City have come out for the second half with the bit between their teeth. A long ball forward finds James Milner in space and after his initial shot is saved by Ben Foster, the midfielder's goal-bound follow-up is cleared off the line by a superb block from Stephen Carr.
1606: What a chance for West Ham. Scott Parker slips a pass through to Luis Boa Morte and it looks easier to score than miss, but the forward can only side-foot wide with his left foot from 10 yards.
1605: Under way at Wigan and at Manchester City too.
1604: Newcastle-Fulham gets started again and so does Wolves-Bolton.
1603: Blackpool have taken off injured keeper Matt Gilks and so Richard Kingson comes on for him at the break. Under way at West Ham.
1602: Blackburn bring on Jason Roberts for Nikola Kalinic at the break. Wigan bring on Victor Moses for Jordi Gomez. Under way at Tottenham.
Football League Macca: "Scunny grabbed one back just before the break, but Cardiff lead 3-1. No goals at Forest-QPR. Doncaster up to fifth as they lead 2-0 at Pompey. Otherwise it's looking like a better day for the boys towards the bottom. In L1 the top two are losing, while Charlton are 4-0 up at Peterborough. In L2, leaders Chesterfield grabbed an equaliser just before the break at Burton."
From Issa Khatib in Tanzania, on text: "As of now, Man City have the same number of points as they had this time last year! Was it a step forward replacing Mark Hughes with Mancini? I doubt it is the case."
From oliverhj84 on Twitter:
"Being Italian is no excuse for Mancini. Look at Ancelotti. Both got loads of money and talented squads but City are so dull!"
1552: Half-time Wolves 0-1 Bolton: Jamie Lillywhite reports: "After such an eventful start with an own goal after 51 seconds and some open early exchanges, watching England boss Fabio Capello saw a first-half that petered out then improved in the final five minutes. Bolton generally looked the better side but failed to find the killer final ball, although Nenad Milijas of Wolves provided the best moment with a stinging 25-yard drive well saved, and in added time Matt Jarvis was also denied by Jussi Jaaskelainen."
1551: Half-time Manchester City 0-0 Birmingham Phil Dawkes reports: "Unfortunately for the home fans in attendance at Eastlands this is a continuation of Wednesday's snooze-fest. Alex McLeish's well-organised men have superbly shackled Roberto Mancini's expensive recruits, who leave the field to boos."
1550: Half-time Newcastle 0-0 Fulham Les Roopanarine reports: "Newcastle's only real chance came when Peter Lovenkrands forced a save from a corner, while Fulham's Clint Dempsey and Zoltan Gera have both been denied by Tim Krul, who has been the busier of the two keepers."
1549: Half-time West Ham 0-0 Blackpool Mark Ashenden reports: "The Hammers have been quite poor and they've been the better side. Big penalty shout and Pablo Barrera wasteful for West Ham and the Seasiders resorting to shooting from blooming anywhere. Open game though. I'll go for a 1-1 in one hour's time. Watch this space."
1547: Half-time Tottenham 2-0 Blackburn Mandeep Sanghera reports: "The boos have turned to cheers from the Spurs faithful as they applaud their team off against Blackburn in a game in which they could be four-up at the break."
1547: Half-time Wigan 0-0 West Brom Oliver Brett reports: "There have almost been more misplaced passes than fans at the DW Stadium, but a couple of chances fell to West Brom midfielder Paul Scharner just before the half-time whistle - and the Austrian international was unable to convert them."
1545: The ball is in the net at Man City via a close-range finish from Carlos Tevez, but referee Mike Jones rightly rules that the Argentine handled as he bundled the ball home. Briefly, the volume levels at Eastlands rise, but the brief cheers of delight quickly transform to further groans of frustration.
From redandblackT on 606:
"Mancini's stated that qualifying for the Champions League is the goal for the season. They're sure going about it in a very boring manner."
Spurs goal: He owed them that one after two shocking misses. Gareth Bale does Pascal Chimbonda a la Maicon on the outside and whips over a super cross to the far stick, where Roman Pavlyuchenko meets the ball with a bullet header high into Paul Robinson's net. Great goal.
1541: GOAL Tottenham 2-0 Blackburn (Pavlyuchenko)
Football League Macca: "Wonder if Keano's warming up the half-time hairdryer. Ipswich's Marlon Fulop has scored an own goal and Ipswich trail 2-0 at home to Barnsley now. Cardiff have a third at Scunny. Guess who? Go on. Well done, it's Jay-B. Watford have levelled at Burnley, Doncaster have a second at Pompey and basement boys Palace are in front at home to play-off chasing Cov."
1540: Blackburn's Nikola Kalinic produces a lovely piece of skill to make room for a shot which is beaten away by Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes.
From, Andy, Nottingham, on text: "Taking a pen is a bit like writing funny updates - harder than it looks."
1538: Newcastle go close to breaking the deadlock twice as Andy Carroll's shot is blocked and then from the rebound Peter Lovenkrands forces a fine save from Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer.
1537: Blackburn take off Michel Salgado and send on El Hadji Diouf at White Hart Lane.
1536: Fulham are suddenly on the front foot at St James' Park, where in the space of a few minutes Newcastle keeper Tim Krul has dived bravely at the feet of Clint Dempsey, turned a low drive from Zoltan Gera around the post, and beaten away a curling Dempsey effort from the edge of the area.
Football League Macca: "Roy Keane's latest rant doesn't look it has done much as Barnsley go in front at Portman Road. Burnley are beating Watford through Chris Iwelumo and Andy Reid has put Sheff Utd, who are in the drop zone, ahead at Millwall. The top two have slipped behind in L1, with Huddersfield trailing at Oldham and Hartlepool beating Brighton. Charlton are taking advantage and are now 2-0 up at Peterborough. Carlisle beating Southampton and Barnet have levelled at Torquay."
1533: The Hammers continue to dominate without looking particularly assured but their players are incensed and surround the referee as Victor Obinna's volley flies at a hand and arm of defender Craig Cathcart who slides in to block the ball. 7.8 out of 10 on the controversy scale. Other than, pretty lacklustre.
Missed penalty: I just don't understand how you can miss that target from 12 yards. Spurs get a penalty after a fine run down the left from Jermaine Jenas and Paul Robinson brings down Peter Crouch, but the Russian Roman Pavlyuchenko steps up and slams his kick wide. Unthinkable.
1529: First effort to draw either keeper into action at Eastlands and it is from Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov, who is fed the ball after his initial corner is cleared and then cuts inside before firing low from an angle. Birmingham keeper Ben Foster has an easy job in saving though. Uninspiring stuff so far.
1527: Peter Odemwingie is looking super lively for West Brom and James Morrison shoots wide from the edge of the box. At Spurs, Phil Jones gifts the ball away and Roman Paylyuchenko races clean through, but he tries an audacious finish with the outside of his right boot and it flies well wide.
1525: Tottenham's Luka Modric is booked for diving when it looks like Michel Salgado might have brought him down inside the Blackburn box. Harsh. Rafael van der Vaart gives up the chance to shoot from 12 yards, back-heeling the ball to Roman Pavlyuchenko instead, but the Russian is blocked off and cannot get a shot away.
Football League Macca: "The deadlock has been broken in the derby game between Leicester and Derby. It's gone to Sven's Foxes and Andy King is the scorer. James Hayter has put Doncaster ahead at Pompey. In L1 Charlton are up to second in the AIS table as they lead 1-0 at Peterborough through Johnnie Jackson's penalty. In a clash of two strugglers, Daggers are winning at Yeovil and, in L2, bottom side Barnet are losing at Torquay and Stockport are ahead at Bury."
1523: Another good chance for Newcastle as Danny Simpson swings in an inviting cross for Peter Lovenkrands, who is narrowly beaten to the ball by Fulham defender - and erstwhile Magpie - Aaron Hughes.
1522: First sniff for Blackburn at Spurs as Brett Emerton's left-foot curler from 22 yards forces Heurelho Gomes to push behind for a corner and from the set-piece the giant Chris Samba heads wide.
From hafijur on 606:
"Wolves are on an incredible run. Against Man Utd they conceded at the end of each half, Arsenal start of first half and end of second half and today again start of first half."
1519: Wigan make an early change too, with one brother on for the other as Steven Caldwell replaces Gary at the heart of the Latics' defence.
1518: Kieron Dyer limps off injured for West Ham, with Pablo Barrera coming on in his place. Sad sight, but a predictable one.
Spurs goal: You'd have got pretty good odds against Gareth Bale scoring a header against Blackburn today - but that's exactly what has happened. Rafael van der Vaart swings in a corner from the right and there's Bale, totally unmarked, to glance a header high into the Rovers net.
1515: GOAL Tottenham 1-0 Blackburn (Bale)
Football League Macca: "That boy Jay Bothroyd can do it all. This time he turns provider as he sets up Michael Chopra to score a second. Scunny 0-2 Cardiff. The Welsh side lead the as it stands table. It's not going so well for L2 leaders Chesterfield, who trail at home to Burton through James Collins."
1514: Low-key opening at Tottenham too, no real chances to either side yet. No boos either, of course. Nervy start at Upton Park, where West Ham have had more of the ball but only have a Mark Noble long-range effort to show for it.
1513: A tame start at Eastlands. Birmingham have set out their stall to stifle the home side and so far are doing so effectively. The home side have had more of the ball but they have been crowded out every time they get within 20 yards of the visitors goal.
From gregorvich on Twitter:
"Guthrie on the right didn't work last season, it won't work now, I'm surprised Hughton hasn't realised yet. Use Routledge!"
1509: Lively start at Newcastle, where Jose Enrique goes past Fulham right-back Stephen Kelly as though he's not there before almost laying on a tap-in for Peter Lovenkrands. Enrique's centre is blocked by former Magpies defender Aaron Hughes - and it was about the only touch Fulham have had so far.
Football League Macca: "I wonder if England manager Fabio Capello has gone from Villa Park to Glanford Park. Probably not but if he has he will have seen rumoured call-up Jay Bothroyd score his 14th of the season for Cardiff after just 75 seconds. They lead Scunny 1-0."
1505: Charles N'Zogbia exchanges passes with Hugo Rodallega but lets himself down with a heavy first touch inside the area, and a gilt-edged opening goes begging.
Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier: "We should have won, but we could have lost. We had a lot of chances in the second half, and some of them should have been put away. We hit the bar and the post and had a close-range header. We scored two good goals but it is never enough against Manchester United."
1503: They are obviously now under way in the Man City-Birmingham and Newcastle-Fulham games. By the way, at Wolves, the hosts had to make a quick change before kick-off, with Steven Mouyokolo coming in after an injury to Christophe Berra in the warm-up.
Bolton goal: What a start that is. Bolton get it downfield and the ball is headed into the Wolves box, where Richard Stearman - under pressure from Matty Taylor - heads into his own net after only 51 seconds. Drama.
1501: GOAL Wolves 0-1 Bolton (Stearman og)
1501: Under way at West Ham-Blackpool too.
1500: Under way in the Spurs-Blackburn, Wigan-West Brom and Wolves-Bolton games.
Football League Macca: "The top two in L1 are also on the road today. Brighton will look to continue their near-perfect run in the league of won four, scored 12, conceded none when they go to Hartlepool, who have not won in their last five games in all competitions. Huddersfield go to Oldham and it's 4th v 5th as Peterborough host Charlton. In L2, leaders Chesterfield (22 points from a possible 24 at their
) host Burton (three points from a possible 21 away). By the way, the Macclesfield v Aldershot match has been delayed by 15 minutes due to a traffic incident, that'll kick off at 1515 GMT."
Football League Macca: "With Swansea not in action until tomorrow, there is a chance for the top two to put some daylight between them and the third-placed Swans. Leaders QPR face a tricky trip to Nottingham Forest, who had not been beaten at home in the league since September 2009. In contrast, Cardiff go to Scunthorpe, who can't stop losing on their own patch. Scunny have lost three in a row at Glanford Park and have the worst home record in the league, with just one league win there all season (and that was against Palace in August). Derby could move up to third, but they'll need a win at local rivals Leicester to do so. It is so tight towards the top that Portsmouth could jump from 14th to a play-off place."
From Donny in Harrow, on text: "So why did it take United letting in two goals before starting to play?"
1455: Tottenham v Blackburn team news: Mandeep Sanghera reports: "Spurs make two changes from the side booed off after being held by Sunderland in midweek as Jermaine Jenas replaces the injured Tom Huddlestone in midfield and striker Peter Crouch joins Roman Pavlyuchenko, who has overcome a back problem, up front, meaning David Bentley drops to the bench. Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce keeps faith with the same side that started against Newcastle in midweek, with Jason Roberts having to settle for a place on the bench once again."
1454: Newcastle v Fulham team news: Les Roopanarine reports: "In the absence of Joey Barton, who begins his three-match suspension today, Newcastle midfielder Danny Guthrie makes his second league start of the season. In one further change to the Magpies line-up by manager Chris Hughton, striker Peter Lovenkrands replaces the injured Shola Ameobi. Fulham boss Mark Hughes likewise makes two changes, with Andy Johnson making his first start since January and Zoltan Gera returning in midfield. Dickson Etuhu and Matthew Briggs drop to the bench."
1453: West Ham v Blackpool team news: Mark Ashenden reports: "Blackpool boss Ian Holloway quite literally rings the changes - 11 of them. After threatening to quit if fined over 10 changes against Aston Villa in midweek, he recalls the big boys like keeper Matt Gilks, defender Neal Eardley and midfielder Charlie Adam at struggling West Ham. The Hammers welcome back midfielder Mark Noble who has made a phenomenal recovery from appendix surgery, while Victor Obinna replaces striker Carlton Cole. Interesting."
1452: Wolves v Bolton team news: Jamie Lillywhite reports: "Top-scorer Johan Elmander is passed fit following a virus and leads the Bolton attack with Kevin Davies, while for Wolves Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Stephen Hunt and George Elokobi return to the starting line-up."
1451: Man City v Birmingham team news: Phil Dawkes reports: "Manchester City recall Adam Johnson to the starting line-up, with Gareth Barry dropping to the bench. The only other change from Wednesday's goalless Manchester derby sees defender Aleksandar Kolarov replace Pablo Zabaleta. Emmanuel Adebayor is a notable absentee from the City bench. Birmingham make one change from the side that lost at Stoke on Tuesday, with one of their goalscorers from that night, midfielder Keith Fahey, stepping up from the bench to replace Jean Beausejour."
1450: Wigan v West Brom team news: Oliver Brett reports: "Defender Steve Gohouri returns from suspension to take his place in the Wigan defence, otherwise the hosts line up according to expectations. For West Brom, Nicky Shorey is passed fit after ankle problems but Graham Dorrans has struggled with a foot injury and is only on the subs bench."
1450: Reaction to come from Villa Park, but let's have a look at some team news for the six games that are about to kick-off...
1447: Ollie's right - in all the mayhem, I forgot to tell you Ashley Young was booked for jumping into the Villa fans to celebrate their opener, but after scoring the equaliser and jumping into the United fans, Vidic wasn't cautioned. Poor refereeing, you have to say.
From Ollie in Northampton, on text: "How come when Vidic did basically the same celebration as Ashley Young he didn't get a yellow?! And that would have been his second!"
1443: Full-time Aston Villa 2-2 Manchester United The phrase "game of two halves" was invented for that - after a dire first 45 minutes, it was hugely exciting after the break and just when it looked like United's unbeaten run was coming to an end, they came up with a very special fightback.
1441: One minute left. United have a corner... Brad Friedel punches it away. United think they can win this. Can they...?
1439: My word he's gone close twice now - Gabriel Obertan turns on the turbo booster to get into the Villa box down the left and his shot is heading in - until it hits the head of the onrushing Brad Friedel. Top save. All United.
1437: There will be five minutes of stoppage time at Villa Park. It's Villa 2-2 Man Utd and Gabriel Obertan spanks a right-foot shot just over from 20 yards. Oof.
1436: Is there a winner left in the game at Villa Park? What a game it's turned into in the last half an hour. Stunning.
1435: Newcastle v Fulham line-ups: Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Guthrie, Tiote, Nolan, Gutierrez, Carroll, Lovenkrands. Subs: Soderberg, Campbell, Routledge, Smith, Xisco, Steven Taylor, Ranger. Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Duff, Dempsey, Murphy, Davies, Gera, Andrew Johnson, Dembele. Subs: Stockdale, Pantsil, Kamara, Etuhu, Eddie Johnson, Greening, Briggs. Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
1433: Wigan v West Brom line-ups: Wigan: Al Habsi, Stam, Gohouri, Gary Caldwell, Alcaraz, Diame, Thomas, N'Zogbia, Cleverley, Gomez, Rodallega. Subs: Kirkland, Di Santo, Watson, Boselli, Moses, Steven Caldwell, Figueroa. West Brom: Carson, Reid, Tamas, Pablo, Shorey, Scharner, Mulumbu, Brunt, Morrison, Odemwingie, Thomas. Subs: Myhill, Dorrans, Cox, Barnes, Cech, Zuiverloon, Fortune. Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)
United goal: No matter how badly they play, they just do not know when they are beaten, Manchester United. They might even go on and win it now. Nani twists this way and that and sends over a super cross from the left-hand side to the far post, where a stooping Nemanja Vidic heads into the Villa net. Unbelievable.
1431: GOAL Aston Villa 2-2 Manchester United (Vidic)
1429: Wes Brown might have twisted blood, Stewart Downing has given him a huge problem since the interval, this time cutting in off the Villa left and slamming a right-foot shot inches over the crossbar from just inside the box. Downing's been sensational in the second half.
United goal: Haha, 2-0 really is a dangerous score. The visitors put some concerted pressure on and Darren Fletcher tees up Federico Macheda 20 yards out to hit a rising rocket of a right-foot shot that flies into the top corner, magnificent hit.
1427: GOAL Aston Villa 2-1 Manchester United (Macheda)
1426: Here come United. A corner isn't cleared and at the back post Rio Ferdinand fizzes in a half-volley that is headed off the line by Marc Albrighton. Great defensive work from the youngster. He's 21 on Thursday - what a present this is so far.
1426: Tottenham v Blackburn line-ups: Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Jenas, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Crouch. Subs: Cudicini, Bentley, Palacios, Bassong, Kranjcar, Corluka, Sandro. Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Chimbonda, Emerton, Jones, Pedersen, Hoilett, Kalinic. Subs: Bunn, Dunn, El-Hadji Diouf, Goulon, Roberts, Hanley, Mame Diouf. Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)
1425: Villa take off Gabby Agbonlahor and bring on Nathan Delfouneso. United's players look shell-shocked. Their unbeaten run ends today.
Villa goal: Two-nil's a dangerous score, but United will have to conjure up something pretty special to avoid defeat here. It's a brilliant breakaway goal - Ashley Young leads the charge down the left, he slips in Stewart Downing and his cross to the back post is rammed in six yards out by a gleeful Marc Albrighton. Villa have been wonderful in the second half.
1422: GOAL Aston Villa 2-0 Manchester United (Albrighton)
1422: Man City v Birmingham line-ups: Man City: Hart, Boateng, Toure, Kompany, Kolarov, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Adam Johnson, Silva, Milner, Tevez. Subs: Given, Richards, Zabaleta, Santa Cruz, Barry, Vieira, Jo. Birmingham: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Gardner, Ferguson, Fahey, Jerome, Zigic. Subs: Doyle, Bowyer, Phillips, Derbyshire, Parnaby, Hleb, Beausejour. Referee: Michael Jones (Cheshire)
1420: Now United are going to have to step it up. Gabriel Obertan and Federico Macheda come on in place of Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez.
Villa goal: It's a definite penalty, you can't really argue with it. Villa break and break quickly as Gabby Agbonlahor's pace causes Nemanja Vidic a real problem. He nicks the ball into the United box for Ashley Young, who is brought down by Wes Brown. Brown is booked and Young dusts himself down to slot past Edwin van der Sar. They deserve it, Villa.
1418: GOAL Aston Villa 1-0 Manchester United (Young, penalty)
1417: PENALTY TO ASTON VILLA
1417: We've got about 20 minutes left at Villa Park and, somehow, it's still Villa 0-0 Man Utd. Team news on the way from the six 1500 GMT kick-offs.
1415: It's all Villa - I don't know how they are not winning. Gabby Agbonlahor follows up his own pass into the box by hammering a shot against the base of Edwin van der Sar's right-hand post, before Stewart Downing's goal-bound shot on the rebound is brilliantly deflected behind by a lunging Patrice Evra.
1413: Well we ain't gonna get closer to a goal today without the deadlock being broken. Stewart Downing has found his range in a massive way and he curls over another sumptuous cross from the left that James Collins heads against the crossbar. How are Villa not leading?
1411: Breaking news: Blackpool make 11 changes for their trip to West Ham.
From Kev, on text: "On my way to Spurs. Here's a question. Will the Spurs fans boo their own players again? Perhaps Champions League football and one of the finest teams since the 80's is not quite enough! Come on fellow Spurs fans, get behind them!"
1408: ... the winger's shot smacks into the wall. When it comes back out Nani is dumped to the floor by Luke Young and then Javier Hernandez nails Marc Albrighton, the Mexican picking up a booking.
1407: Patrice Evra plays a neat one-two and is fouled by Marc Albrighton 25 yards out, left of centre. It's in Nani range, this one...
1405: OK, I'm just going to say it - Villa have been pretty average today, but Man United have been woeful. This is not a performance of the champions-elect. Dimitar Berbatov has a swing of his right boot from 15 yards, but James Collins blocks it well.
From peewee_7 on Twitter:
"Fantastic Villa chances, and a couple of glaring misses? This game has 1-0 Utd written all over it. Probably late."
1403: United play it to the right where Nani is waiting to send over a cross, but he takes his eye off the ball and it runs behind for a goalkick. The Villa fans cheer, Nani looks annoyed and so does Sir Alex Ferguson.
1400: Got to score. Stewart Downing sends over a glorious cross from the left to the back post where Patrice Evra has nodded off, but, again from an angle, Marc Albrighton can only head back across goal and wide of the far post. He did the right thing, it's so close.
1359: Moments after coming back on to the pitch having had some treatment, Nani appears to throw his arm in the direction of Stephen Warnock. It's beyond naughty, and he's booked, the Portuguese - it could well have been red.
1357: Nani goes down with an injury and United stop playing for a moment - Villa don't as Gabby Agbonlahor fires in a shot that Rio Ferdinand blocks, before Nemanja Vidic gifts possession back to Villa and from an angle on the right Marc Albrighton fizzes a shot into the side-netting.
1355: According to BBC Radio 5 live, Wayne Rooney returns to England from the United States today and will be back in training at Carrington on Monday. How this game could do with a fit and firing Wayne Rooney.
1354: Park gets dispossessed in the middle of the, er, park, and Villa counter quickly as Ashley Young tees up Marc Albrighton down the right - but his cross is well cut out by Rio Ferdinand, who then turns round and slaughters Park for his carelessness.
1352: Back under way at Villa Park, Villa 0-0 Man United.
From DeadRevel on 606:
"I think the partnership between Berbatov and Hernandez was overhyped before it had a chance to develop. They look like an old married couple, every game they've played they always end up bickering. Give them 10 minutes of Antiques Roadshow at half-time, that should relax them."
Thassos from Leeds, on text: "I found out my French girlfriend's favourite Villa player is Bannan. Seems if you want to say banana in French, that's how you say it. He's fast becoming a favourite of mine too."
1347: Tottenham v Blackburn scene-setter: Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp had a pop at the club's fans who booed the team after the midweek draw at home to Sunderland and those howls of dissent from the Spurs faithful might get louder unless they get a win to reassert their challenge for a top four spot and Champions League qualification. The White Hart Lane outfit have one point from their last two games and are now just a point ahead of a Blackburn side who have won their last two thanks to winners from Rovers striker Jason Roberts. Roberts may be on the way out at Blackburn but he'll certainly be attracting increased interest if he carries on in the same vein."
1346: West Ham v Blackpool scene-setter: Mark Ashenden reports: "West Ham is not a happy place right now. Their co-owner is demanding points, Scott Parker wants improvements and Kieron Dyer is already using words like "fear" and "doomed". The bottom club have just one league win this season and today face visitors Blackpool who on their travels this campaign are the second highest scorers with the leakiest defence. Expect goals at Upton Park. Lots of them. So with the pressure mounting on the Hammers players, will the bubbles be bursting or blowing this afternoon?"
1345: Newcastle v Fulham scene-setter: Les Roopanarine reports: "Nine away wins in the past five seasons, 24 consecutive road trips without victory, no three-point return since August 2009 - whichever way you look at it, Fulham's league record beyond Craven Cottage is abysmal. Still, don't bet against them getting something against high-flying Newcastle today. The Magpies have won only once against Fulham in the past five meetings between the sides at St James' Park, and their home form - heavy wins over Villa and Sunderland, defeats against Blackpool, Stoke and Blackburn - has been anything but predictable."
1344: Wolves v Bolton scene-setter: Jamie Lillywhite reports: "Expect goals at a sunny Molineux this afternoon - which should be the cue for a goalless draw. Wolves are the only Premier League team yet to keep a clean sheet while Bolton have managed only one, on the opening day of the season, and it is 20 matches since they last managed not to concede. Victory for Owen Coyle's team could take them to the giddy heights of fifth."
1343: Man City v Birmingham scene-setter: Phil Dawkes reports: "Manchester City will be aiming to turn derby jeers into second city-vanquishing cheers this afternoon. Wednesday's game at Eastlands may have been an early Christmas present for insomniacs but it solidified City's grasp on the fourth Champions League spot and they can further enhance their elite European credentials by extending their unbeaten home run against Birmingham to 11 matches. Alex McLeish will be hoping his side take the initiative instead of waiting until they are 2-0 down first. Only three Ws currently stand between them and the dreaded drop zone."
1342: Wigan v West Brom scene-setter: Oliver Brett reports: "The spirited football played by Roberto di Matteo's West Brom this season ensures they begin this match with the same points tally as heavyweight sides Liverpool and Tottenham. Roberto Martinez's Wigan, who look set for another battle against relegation, will be very happy to be underdogs today, and deserve to feel confident after holding in-form Liverpool to a draw last time."
1341: Shall we have a look at what's happening later in the Premier League with some scene-setters, then? Right...
1337: Half-time Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Mandeep Sanghera's
HT snap-shot: "You wouldn't guess Man Utd are a team trying to enhance their title aims with a win against a youthful Villa side. The visitors are lacking urgency and looking out-of-sorts as the home side keep them at arm's length."
1334: Stewart Downing's not having a bad afternoon so far, but he badly gets a shot wrong that sails out of play for a throw-in down the United left. Into first-half stoppage time, couple of minutes of it.
1332: Villa's turn to put some pressure on, even though it looks a bit like Gabby Agbonlahor is struggling. Stewart Downing feigns shooting with his left foot, cuts in on to his right and see a decent shot deflect behind off Rio Ferdinand, From the corner, Richard Dunne heads harmlessly at Edwin van der Sar.
From manfrombelmonty on 606:
"Surely this game has the oldest combined ages of two opposing keepers in Prem history? Where's that optajoe fella with his stats? Credit to the Villa kids in midfield. I thought they were gonna get overrun in midfield today, but they've been very impressive."
1327: Villa boss Gerard Houllier looks a little bored as he rests his chin on his left hand on the home team's bench, but I supposed a point would be a decent return for his boys today wouldn't it? United work it nicely and from 20 yards Michael Carrick drags well wide of Brad Friedel's goal.
1324: There's no fluency to either team in the attacking third so far - they've both got into promising positions and sent in the odd decent cross, but some good opportunities are being wasted. There are some afters when Patrice Evra goes down and Javier Hernandez stops playing - Luke Young gets involved, but it's all a bit silly and on we go.
1321: United work a free-kick cleverly as Nani feigns shooting from 25 yards and plays in Patrice Evra down the left instead - the Frenchman crashes a cross along the six-yard box, but he has no colleagues there to divert it in.
From Gerrardswhiskers on 606:
"If Villa had Peter Crouch or Heskey or Carew on they would probably be two-up by now. Great crossing but there is no point crossing it if there is no one to head it in. Torres would love this service."
1319: Villa go route one, and it nearly works. James Collins sends a long ball downfield, Gabby Agbonlahor flicks it on and from 18 yards Ashley Young fires in a shot that forces Edwin van der Sar to get down sharply to his right and make the save.
BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor: "It's a long time since I've seen a Premier League game where the ball has been given away so often by both teams, and I definitely include Manchester United in that."
1315: Villa are probably enjoying more of the ball in the United half, but the visitors are dealing well with their crosses at the moment. United look far better when they are breaking with pace, though Nani's not in the game enough for them at the moment.
From mdriver11 on Twitter:
"Man Utd have to take their chances if they want to win this game. They are in danger of losing more ground on Chelsea."
1309: Villa's marking is leaving a lot to be desired - Nani whips in a free-kick from the right and Wes Brown at the near post is totally unmarked, flicking the ball wide of the near post.
1308: Villa's Barry Bannan is the first man in the book for a cheeky late trip on Javier Hernandez, and we've already had more action in nearly 20 minutes than they got in a whole game at Eastlands on Wednesday.
1306: What a chance that is - Dimitar Berbatov hasn't scored since his magnificent hat-trick against Liverpool in September, and that's why. Javier Hernandez slips him through as James Collins plays offside and gets it wrong, and from eight yards, Berbatov inexplicably fires wide of Brad Friedel's right-hand post.
1304: Villa are playing some lovely stuff now and the crowd have responded too - this time Marc Albrighton fizzes over a brilliant cross from the right, but no-one's attacking it.
1303: Fabulous, fabulous pass. Barry Bannan plays a glorious ball inside Wes Brown for Stewart Downing to chase on to, but his cross from the left is blocked behind by Rio Ferdinand, covering well for his colleague. The corner comes to nothing.
1301: Decent build-up by United after Villa debutant Jonathan Hogg gives the ball away, but it ends with Nani cutting in off the right flank and slashing a left-foot shot over from 20 yards.
1300: Stephen Warnock and Nani both go for a long ball and the Portuguese flicks his right boot out, accidentally catching Warnock in the head. He needs some brief treatment, but he's fine to carry on. Lots of endeavour so far, not huge amounts of quality.
BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor: "If this Aston Villa midfield four does not stay tight together when they are not in possession, I can see United carving them wide open. You can't just keep going forward leaving holes, as we call them."
From Sir Alex Ferguson dried my hair on 606:
"Honestly, Jay Bothroyd, a journeyman who for the most of his career has struggled to deliver consistently even at Championship level and has never done anything at the highest level, in the England squad? I know it's only a pointless friendly but still..."
1253: The flash of sunlight in the Villa penalty box is making it a bit difficult to see what's happening - maybe that's Richard Dunne's excuse for a sliced clearance from Javier Hernandez's cross that almost gives Nani a chance to shoot. Danger averted for the hosts, lively start.
1251: England manager Fabio Capello, who will name his squad for the friendly with France in a few hours, is at Villa Park for our first kick-off of the day. Will Phil Jones, Jay Bothroyd, Andy Caroll and Jordan Henderson all win their first call-ups?
1249: After our impeccably observed minute's silence, referee Mike Dean blows his whistle and we are under way at Villa Park. According to
Dean has officiated this fixture twice before, with United winning both games without conceding a goal.
1245: After the turgid Manchester derby in midweek, is anyone else just praying for a really good game of football to get stuck into? Come on.
1243: The teams are out at Villa Park, walking out to a guard of honour from members of the military holding giant poppies - don't forget it's Remembrance Day on Sunday and I should think there will be a minute's silence at every game this weekend.
1241: In conjunction with
it's that time of the week again where we bring you a whole heap of maths in the shape of the
Euro Club Index.
So, you wanna know the percentage chance of your boys winning today (with their ECI ranking in brackets)? Course you do. Have some of this: Aston Villa (35) 21% v Man United (3) 50% Man City (26) 66% v Birmingham (123) 11% Newcastle (76) 44% v Fulham (59) 26% Tottenham (17) 62% v Blackburn (71) 14% West Ham (138) 56% v Blackpool (236) 17% Wigan (167) 42% v West Brom (106) 27% Wolves (203) 37% v Bolton (99) 32% Stoke (107) 26% v Liverpool (10) 44%
Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on Villa's Gerard Houllier: "We're old friends and we've never lost touch, we just had a nice cup of tea together. A lot of the Villa youngsters are very promising players and young players don't let you down when you chuck them in sometimes. We've got a good record on this ground."
From Steve Parkhouse, on text: "I fancy United to turn on a show today after the ultra-defensive show in midweek. The selection of two up front suggests a win is the desired outcome for Fergie and I don't expect the Reds to disappoint."
1230: Stevo's Predos: Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd Man City 2-1 Birmingham Newcastle 2-0 Fulham Tottenham 2-0 Blackburn West Ham 2-2 Blackpool Wigan 1-1 West Brom Wolves 0-0 Bolton Stoke 1-2 Liverpool Lawro and Lee Westwood's predos
1226: Aston Villa v Manchester United team news: Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Aston Villa and Manchester United each make two changes from their midweek outings. Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor returned from injury as a substitute in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Blackpool and starts as he replaces Nathan Delfouneso. Jonathan Hogg makes his league debut for the Midlands club as he comes in for injured defender Ciaran Clark. United left-back Patrice Evra is fit after an ankle problem but the visitors bring in Wes Brown for injured right-back Rafael, while striker Javier Hernandez starts instead of suspended midfielder Paul Scholes."
From Abu Fahad on 606:
"Lot of people writing off Villa today but with Agbonlahor, Young, Albrighton and Downing, they carry a massive threat to a defence that has conceded more than a goal a game in the league."
1218: Aston Villa v Manchester United line-ups: Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Albrighton, Hogg, Bannan, Downing, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Delfouneso, Osbourne, Lichaj, Herd, Lowry, Johnson. Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Park, Fletcher, Carrick, Nani, Hernandez, Berbatov. Subs: Amos, Smalling, Fabio Da Silva, O'Shea, Obertan, Macheda, Gibson. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
1216: Aston Villa v Manchester United scene-setter: Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"You have to go way back to the opening day of the 1995/1996 season for Villa's last league win at home against Manchester United but, in manager Gerard Houllier, do they have their secret weapon to end that long wait? Houllier achieved five successive wins over United between 2000 and 2002 in his time as Liverpool boss. It's no easy task Villa face as United are the only unbeaten team in the Premier League so far this season and need a win to keep up the pressure on leaders Chelsea. United's problem, though, is winning on the road as they have five draws from six away games in the top-flight."
1215: Remember the shopkeeper in Mr Benn? Well, as if by magic, if you refresh your page, you'll find Football Focus and all sorts of other things appearing at the top of your page. And with that, he was gone...
Richard from Clitheroe, on text: "Girlfriend has come home from uni to see me for weekend and is letting me watch football, now that's true love." Propose to her immediately.
1207: You don't have to do anything. You can sit back and let the football do the talking if it makes you happy. But as long as you know it's an option to get involved, that's the important thing here. You can hit me through
you can drop us a text to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide); and you can throw some banter around with the punters
on the 606 page
as well. No pressure though, OK?
1204: There's no rest for you either, and no rest for us - and would we have it any other way? A very warm welcome to the BBC's coverage of football this Saturday, which includes eight Premier League games and hundreds more from the Football League. If you lived every day as though it was your last, would you still be here? Thought so.
1200: You've just played two brutal games of football in four days, 180+ minutes of relentless action in the most physically demanding division in the world. Your limbs are aching, you've got bruises everywhere, mentally you're exhausted and your body is pleading with you to give it a break. But it's Saturday and so, a little over 60 hours after leaving the pitch last time around, you've got to go through it all over again. Put your kit on, don your boots and walk out into that arena accompanied by a deafening roar to put yourself on the line for your club and the fans to whom you mean everything. Welcome to the Premier League, the most relentless exhibition of the greatest game on Earth.
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