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Page last updated at 19:46 GMT, Saturday, 20 November 2010

Saturday football as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

1945: That's it from me, then. I'll be back tomorrow for Blackburn v Aston Villa and Fulham v Manchester City - but before then make sure you check out Match of the Day on BBC One and this website from 2225 GMT, followed swiftly by The Football League Show at 2345. There's some awesome action and, if I haven't mentioned it already, a hatful of goals. Top work all round people, see ya.

Anon via text: "There was a goalless draw in the Scottish cup..."
No there wasn't, not a single goalless draw. Goal. King.

moonmonkey0794 on Twitter: "If you believe in karma, then next weekend every match will be a 0-0 draw."
Only because I'm not commentating next weekend, obviously haha.

Chris Whyatt reports:
"Can almost hear the deafening din of fingernails being gnawed on as Hammers fans head south. Liverpool fans will be busy putting their gladrags on."

1933: Liverpool defender Glen Johnson on ESPN: "It is always nice to get off the treatment bench and score a goal. We started off very well and put them on the back foot and took our chances. I didn't need to hear it from the boss to know I wasn't playing at my best. I'm an honest guy and it is nice to play again and get back into it." Striker Dirk Kuyt: "The first half we played really well, we were right on top of them and after the first goal we kept on playing football and kept on creating chances. I think today we showed we are more than a two-man team."

TorreSamK9 on Twitter: "Next up for Liverpool, away to Spurs, and a chance to go level on points with them. Although away form is still an issue."

Anon via text: "Champions league final 2011-2012, Bolton v Barcelona..."

1928: Bit of a damp squib that second half, but the important thing is this... there were no 0-0 draws in England and Scotland on my watch! I am seriously the goal king. *Takes a bow*

redboychris on 606: "A good win for Liverpool I suppose, and a good performance, but my one regret is we could not keep up the level of performance of the first half in the second. Still 3-0 will do."

Full time
1921: FULL-TIME Liverpool 3-0 West Ham

Elliot via text: "Thoughts go out to my Hammer mate who drove from Brighton to Liverpool to see this."

1919: Half a penalty appeal for Liverpool as Dirk Kuyt tumbles in the box, but referee Lee Probert is unmoved. No-one is particularly fussed, mind. This second half has been like a testimonial. And still the Hammers fans that are left at Anfield sing away - fair play.

Full time
1916: FULL-TIME Sheffield United 3-2 Crystal Palace
Both teams end with 10 men as Daniel Bogdanovic sees red late on for a lunge, but a fine victory for the Blades.

1914: Almost a fourth for Liverpool, the substitutes combining well - Ryan Babel's fine cross nodded inches over by Fabio Aurelio.

1913: And now Fernando Torres is brought off, Ryan Babel his replacement.

1912: On comes Jonjo Shelvey to replace Raul Meireles for Liverpool.

1911: Fabio Aurelio fancies getting on the scoresheet, though, and he pings a fine effort from range - his shot flying narrowly over the bar.

1910: While updating you on all that Championship action, you've missed... absolutely nothing at Anfield. These two very much going through the motions.

1907: Complete turnaround in the space of a minute. Daniel Bogdanovic has his ankles tapped in the box by Claude Davis and the Sheffield United man picks himself up to slot in the spot-kick. Sheff Utd 3-2 C Palace

1906: Over in the late Championship game Crystal Palace are pegged back again, Ched Evans - from an offside position - hooking home from close range. Sheff Utd 2-2 C Palace

1905: Another substitution for West Ham, their last, as James Tomkins replaces Herita Ilunga.

1902: Fabio Aurelio is brought on to replace David Ngog. Roy Hodgson settling for 3-0?

Someone has struck the woodwork
1900: Take a bow Rob Green. First the Hammers keeper does brilliantly to push Fernando Torres's crashing 22-yarder up and on to the crossbar and he then does equally as well to tip away Christian Poulsen's stinging long-range follow-up.

1858: Benni McCarthy comes on to replace Carlton Cole for West Ham.

1856: Ahh... almost genius/very fortunate*. Maxi Rodriguez collects in the area and loops a lovely shot/cross* over Hammers keeper Rob Green that drifts inches past the far post.
* = delete as applicable

1855: Does that count as a shot on goal? Fredereic Piquionne's cross from the left is far too deep but it just might be creeping under the bar so Pepe Reina is forced to push it over for a corner. The set-piece comes to nothing.

1851: Nice Liverpool build-up with some decent one-touch play, but Fernando Torres can only fire over after working half a yard of space on the edge of the area.

1850: The sting has very much been drawn out of this game with Liverpool so comfortable. West Ham's damage-limitation mission this half so far going well.

alexedwards07 on Twitter: "West Ham to go all Spurs on us and perform a second half miracle..."

Smithy in Sheffield via text: "Re 1833 - a Chelsea side badly missing Ray Wilkins more like."

1846: My apologies, Pablo Barrera came on for Victor Obinna for West Ham at half-time. The visitors at least enjoying a bit more possession this half.

1844: Crystal Palace are back in front at Bramall Lane in the late Championship game, James Vaughan nodding home from Nathanial Clyne's cross. Sheff Utd 1-2 C Palace.

1843: Talking of potential future managerial appointments at West Ham - and, of course, there's no suggestion that Avram Grant's position as boss is even insecure - the Hammers fans are singing the name of Paolo di Canio at Anfield. Thoughts?

kaufman39 on 606: "I'd take Alan Curbishley back at West Ham. I think we need a man with experience of making a decent Premier League team from a thin squad."

1840: No clear-cut chances this half, yet. West Ham look like they might have swapped to something more like a 4-5-1 - but given that they've not really had the ball this half, it's kind of hard to tell.

1837: Liverpool have picked up exactly where they left off here, stroking the ball around nicely, exploiting the numerous gaps being left by the Hammers. No changes from either side at half-time, by the way. Hhmm.

1834: Look at that for timing, all the completed Premier League matches wrapped in time for the start of the second half at Anfield.

Owen Phillips reports:
"Birmingham's defensive organisation and sheer bloody-mindedness just about keep at bay a Chelsea side badly missing Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and John Terry."

Sam Sheringham reports:
"Blackpool rode their luck at times but Varney's strike will live long in the memory."

Stephan Shemilt reports:
"Stoke deserved their win and march on, while the Baggies are left to look over their shoulders."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"It's not often Bolton find themselves in a Champions League spot but tonight they are in fourth place after a superb display."

1827: MAN UTD 2-0 WIGAN
Nabil Hassan reports:
"Below-par United take advantage of rare defeats by Chelsea and Arsenal to move level on points with the champions at the top of the Premier League."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates:
"Brilliant comeback from Spurs and sheer ecstasy from the visiting supporters - but what about Arsenal? An incredible collapse."

1824: Right then, why don't we take this opportunity to remind ourselves of happenings today? Lovely.

manfrombelmonty on 606: "The West Ham players should be ashamed of themselves. Dreadful performance. Even nine-man Wigan put up more of a fight than the hammers. Embarrassing stuff. Will be surprised to see Grant still in a job come the new year."

Half time
1819: HALF-TIME Liverpool 3-0 West Ham
Chris Whyatt's HT snap-shot:
"Stale breadsticks might provide more resistance than woeful West Ham at the moment. One-way traffic for energetic Liverpool."

1818: The half-time whistle blows, and not a moment too soon for West Ham.

1816: West Ham force their way into the Liverpool half for barely the second time in the match, but Dirk Kuyt is back well to clear under pressure from Radoslav Kovac.

lostlibertine on Twitter: "I'm suffering from a case of footballing madness - 'watching the same team lose over and over and expecting a different result'."

1811: We're less than 40 minutes into proceedings, and there are West Ham fans already leaving Anfield. I take absolutely no pleasure in saying this, but the Hammers really have been that bad.

Liverpool goal: Deary me, West Ham are being torn apart. Rob Green gets down well to save from Fernando Torres through on goal, but Paul Konchesky follows up to cross for the unmarked Maxi Rodriguez to head home.

1809: GOALFLASH Liverpool 3-0 West Ham (Rodriguez)

1808: Dirk Kuyt fires wide from outside the box moments after Carlton Cole heads a deep cross straight at Pepe Reina at the other end. I'm not sure, but that might have been the Liverpool keeper's first touch.

1807: West Ham keeper Rob Green spills a cross and Dirk Kuyt hooks goalwards, but Radoslav Kovac is covering behind the fallen keeper well to hook away.

1805: A glance at the away support at Anfield suggests that Hammers fans are already resigned to their fate here. Liverpool continuing to dominate and the Hammers continuing to struggle.

Kriswasp on Twitter: "RE: 1752 The Welsh Premier served us up a bit of a goalfest today too."

1801: We're back level in the late Championship game, Crystal Palace midfielder Owen Garvan dismissed for a foul in the box on Ched Evans and Richard Cresswell converting from the spot. The visitors are apoplectic about both the penalty and the red card, but it's still Sheff Utd 1-1 C Palace.

Liverpool goal: Danny Gabbidon clearly handles as Fernando Torres bursts into the box and Dirk Kuyt, in the absence of Steven Gerrard, takes the spot-kick - rolling it down the middle to double Liverpool's lead.

1758: GOALFLASH Liverpool 2-0 West Ham (Kuyt pen)


Gabriel Germain on 606: "Please make this stop, I can't bear to watch my team anymore."

1755: Glen Johnson is having a field day, the right-back sending another doozy of a cross into the West Ham box but Fernando Torres, unmarked, can't get a decent enough contact on his volley and West Ham can clear.

1754: Newcastle manager Chris Hughton (after his side's 5-1 defeat to Bolton): "after a bad day the most important thing is that we don't dwell on it for too long. We have to pick ourselves up."

1752: I think that officially makes it not one single goalless draw in England and Scotland today. I am the goal king.

Liverpool goal: Yep, and it's the least Liverpool deserve. There's barely a West Ham player within a mile radius as former Hammer Glen Johnson takes Raul Meireles's corner on his chest before slamming low into the net.

1750: GOALFLASH Liverpool 1-0 West Ham (Johnson)

1749: A Liverpool opener looks just around the corner, Rob Green forced this time into a smart stop above his head from Raul Meireles's rising drive.

1746: West Ham are a yard off the pace all over the pitch and Liverpool are picking holes in them at every turn, this time Radoslav Kovac's desperate block preventing another Fernando Torres effort from nestling in the goal.

1742: He loves playing against the Hammers does Fernando Torres - he has five goals in four games against them - and he goes close to an opener with a slapped 18-yard snap-shot, the ball flying wide.

1740: It's still all Liverpool against West Ham, the hosts enjoying the freedom of Anfield by the visitors at the moment. Even with the injured Steven Gerrard watching from the stands, you have to wonder how Avram Grant's side are going to contain the hosts.

1739: There's also a late Championship game lest we forget, and we have our first goal. Stephen Jordan is adjudged to have shoved over Crystal Palace's Neil Danns, who picks himself up to slam home the penalty. Sheff Utd 0-1 C Palace.

1736: And now Maxi Rodriguez has a pop at goal from Fernando Torres' lay-off, the ball flying wide. Liverpool carving through West Ham at will at the moment, and you can't help but wonder if that has something to do with the fact Luis Boa Morte is playing centre midfield(?!).

1734: The hosts really have flown out of the traps here, and it takes a smart low stop from Hammers keeper Rob Green sprawling to his left to keep out David Ngog's effort on the back of a decent run.

1733: Flying start from Liverpool and Glen Johnson does brilliantly on the right-hand side of the West Ham box, bursting to the byeline and sending a lovely cross over that Matthew Upson clears behind for a corner. The set-piece comes to nothing.

1731: Here we go, then - we're up and running at Anfield.

1729: Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti: "We deserved to win and for that reason we are really disappointed. We played good football, played well with good spirit and good attitude and made a lot of chances - but it is not enough as sometimes you need to be lucky. The performance was really good but this is football."

Dan in Lancaster via text: "No 0-0 games at all today in the English football leagues and Conference, Scottish football league and Scottish Cup. Epic day for goals."
Loving that chat Dan, absolutely loving it.

1727: The players are emerging from the tunnel at Anfield.

1725: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, talking to Sky Sports: "We need to have a more consistent team selection. Wayne [Rooney] got a great reception and that has taken a lot of pressure off the boy. He will play a full 90 against Rangers [in Wednesday's Champions League match] and that will help with his fitness."

LeaveMyArcelona on 606: "Bolton lighting the Premier League up, who'd have thought that a couple of years back. Credit Owen Coyle!"

1723: Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson, talking to ESPN, on returning central midfielder Christian Poulsen - who was booed by the home fans last time he played at Anfield: "It's a modern phenomenon. I can't ever remember it happening in my youth. Christian played poorly against Napoli. But he's a strong character."

1721: Birmingham manager Alex McLeish: "Today was a marvellous result. Chelsea have players who can turn the game in an instant and they nearly did a couple of times but we stood resolute with a great rearguard action, a great performance by the goalkeeper and a great goal."

Jonathan, Glasgow via text: "Late November and six points separate the top six. Is this the best Premier League title race yet?"

Oded Regev on 606: "A Liverpool win will put them nine points behind the leaders..."

Chris Whyatt reports:
"Tough times for both clubs. Liverpool's new ownership has hardly set pulses racing, while inspirational-but-injured captain Steven Gerrard will be slouched in the stands for a month. All eyes, then, turn to Fernando Torres. But are his supporting cast good enough? His boss Roy Hodgson, and West Ham counterpart Avram Grant, have both been given the vote of confidence. Dreaded? Beatlemania was kicking off when the Hammers, currently bottom of the league, last won at Anfield. Footballing gods: Help!"

Legends-of-Football on 606: "If Liverpool can't win this game then it should be game-over for Roy Hodgson."

1715: Bolton boss Owen Coyle on his team's fourth spot: "I don't look at league tables now, I'll only look at it after the last match of the season. We have to continue working hard."

ClockEndMike on 606: "I wonder -- does anyone want the title? 6 points now cover the top 6 teams, and I don't count out some of those behind them either. No easy games, are there? A long way to go... (yeah, it's trite, but it's true.)"

1711: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez: "I felt the big decisions went against us today and that made it very difficult. I'm delighted with the manner of our performance and we showed great character but the two sending-offs made it very difficult. Before the Evra goal we were very solid but we had two or three half chances and we didn't take advantage of them. Unfortunately because of the two incidents we were not allowed to have a proper contest."

Gallacticos87 on Twitter: "Somewhere in London, Arsene Wenger is kicking himself (or possibly his players) over yet another missed opportunity."

Chris Whyatt reports:
"On his 650th appearance for the club, Jamie Carragher captains Liverpool in the absence of the injured Steven Gerrard. Right-back Glen Johnson returns after missing three matches in place of Sotirios Kyrgiakos, while Christian Poulsen and David Ngog replace Gerrard and the suspended Lucas Leiva. West Ham make two changes from the goalless draw against Blackpool. Radoslav Kovac replaces Scott Parker, who has a chest infection, while Carlton Cole comes in for the injured Kieron Dyer."

SisuBlog on Twitter: "Birmingham were outplayed but still managed to hang on to the victory. Isn't that supposedly the mark of champions...?"

Wazza v3 on 606: "Will be the perfect Saturday if West Ham can do the biz."

1702: Can I just offer a quick doff of my cap, by the way, in the direction of Sir Alex Ferguson dried my hair on 606 (see below my 1201 entry). I take credit for spotting it's genius, obviously. Aces.

Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky, Kuyt, Meireles, Poulsen, Maxi, Torres, Ngog. Subs: Jones, Aurelio, Kyrgiakos, Babel, Shelvey, Kelly, Eccleston.
West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Gabbidon, Upson, Ilunga, Piquionne, Noble, Kovac, Boa Morte, Obinna, Cole. Subs: Stech, Reid, Tomkins, Barrera, McCarthy, Spector, Nouble.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

1657: As if that wasn't enough... fancy a bit of Liverpool-West Ham?

Full time
1655: FULL-TIME West Brom 0-3 Stoke

1655: Two defeats on the trot for Chelsea, then, how significant is that for the title-chasers?

Full time
1654: FULL-TIME Birmingham 1-0 Chelsea

1653: FULL-TIME Bolton 5-1 Newcastle

Stoke goal: It's going to be three-on-the-spin for Stoke, Jon Walters bundling home at the second attempt from Kenwyne Jones' clever back-heel by the touchline.

1653: GOALFLASH West Brom 0-3 Stoke (Walters)

Carlton Cole returns for West Ham, who are without Scott Parker. Glen Johnson replaces Sotirios Kyrgiakos for Liverpool.

Full time
1652: FULL-TIME Man Utd 2-0 Wigan

1651: FULL-TIME Blackpool 2-1 Wolves

Bolton goal: It's rout-tastic at the Reebok Stadium, referee Howard Webb awarding the penalty for Jose Enrique's trip on Kevin Davies and the England striker squeezing his spot-kick right into the corner.

1650: GOALFLASH Bolton 5-1 Newcastle (Davies pen)


1649: Golden opportunity for Wayne Rooney to win back some of the doubters at Old Trafford... but when Nani's ball falls to him eight yards out, he scuffs his finish and Ali Al Habsi saves easily.

1648: Time really running out for Chelsea to find an equaliser at St Andrew's, they're piling on the pressure but clear-cut chances? Limited.

Football League Nathan: "Game over at Cardiff as Lewis McGugan this time turns creator for substitute Dexter Blackstock who puts Nottingham Forest 2-0 up in Wales. It gets worse for the Bluebirds as leaders QPR increase their lead to 3-0 against Preston thanks again to Adel Taarabt."

Stoke goal: It's not quite as clear-cut as the first penalty, but I have to say Simon Cox has gone in clumsily on Dean Whitehead, barging the Stoke man to the floor. Chris Foy points to the spot and substitute Jon Walters fires in the penalty.

1645: GOALFLASH West Brom 0-2 Stoke (Walters pen)


Wolves goal: It's going to be an interesting final few minutes at Bloomfield Road, Kevin Doyle rising to powerfully head home George Elokobi's cross at the back post and it's no less than Wolves deserve. Time for a leveller?

1642: GOALFLASH Blackpool 2-1 Wolves (Doyle)

1640: West Brom doing their best to up the ante against Stoke, but with long-range efforts the order of the day so far they're showing few signs of bagging an equaliser.

Football League Nathan: "Cracking Brighton debut for teenager Chris Wood as the Seagulls hit back from a goal down to lead 2-1 against Bristol Rovers. Wood grabbed the second from the spot after Jeff Hughes had earlier turned into his own net. League One leaders looking good for the three points now."

1637: Chelsea are beginning to increase the pressure heading into the final 15 minutes and Ben Foster pulls off another breathtaking save to keep out Branislav's Ivanovic's powerful header. What a day the England keeper's having.

Football League Nathan: "QPR finally add to their lead and Adel Taarabt's got it. The Hoops coasting against Preston now, and North End will slip further into trouble at the bottom of the Championship. Doncaster edging the battle against Swansea 2-1, while Millwall are holding off Middlesbrough, 1-0 to the Lions there."

Man Utd goal: It's been coming. Javier Hernandez guides a wonderful header home from Rafael da Silva's cross, and you wonder how many the hosts might go on and get now.

Red card
Newcastle red card: Stupid. Fabricio Coloccini lashes out with the elbow and makes contact with Johan Elmander, Howard Webb having little choice but to dismiss the Newcastle defender after discussions with his linesman.

1634: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-0 Wigan (Hernandez)

1634: RED CARD NEWCASTLE (Coloccini)

1633: Oooh... it looks for a moment like Ben Foster has made a massive faux-pas as he comes out to deny Salomon Kalou striding through only to lose the ball, but the Birmingham keeper to get up and recover to save well and push behind for a corner. The Blues keeper has been terrific today.

Kevin_Nolan_Gives_You_Wings on 606: "Shocking from Coloccini there!"

Bolton goal: He's on absolute fire this season and Johan Elmander might have just put this game to bed, out-muscling Fabricio Coloccini and striding through to finish with aplomb.

1630: GOALFLASH Bolton 4-1 Newcastle (Elmander)

1629: First chance of note for Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford, the England international hanging in the air to meet Rafael da Silva's centre but Ali Al Habsi pushing his header over the top.

1628: Stoke have dominated since their opener, but Somen Tchoyi has almost just levelled for the Baggies, his stinging shot from the angle tipped over well by visiting keeper Asmir Begovic.

1626: Good chance for 3-0 at Blackpool, Charlie Adam slipping Luke Varney in with a lovely through ball, but the home striker can only slice it wide.

Football League Nathan: "Chesterfield have the breakthrough and leading scorer Craig Davies has got it with a pearler. Port Vale pushing them hard in the table, though, with John McCombe grabbing both of Port Vale's goals in their game against Wycombe. At the other end, Barnet look set to move clear of Hereford, the north Londoners lead 3-1 at home to Northampton."

Ben AND SOLSKJAER HAS WON IT on 606: "RE: Man Utd-Wigan - they say 2-0 is a dangerous score; is nine men also dangerous?"

1622: Big penalty shout at St Andrew's as Roger Johnson slides in on Chelsea midfielder Ramires in the box, sending the Brazilian flying, but referee Mark Halsey waves play on. Replays show the Birmingham defender got the ball and that was a magnificent decision.

Red card
Wigan red card: Mission impossible just became, erm, what's harder than impossible? Wigan down to nine men in the space of three minutes, Hugo Rodallega shown a straight red for a desperate two-footed lunge at Rafael da Silva. The Wigan striker claims he got the ball, but you can't go in with two feet, studs up.

1619: RED CARD WIGAN (Rodallega)

Someone has struck the woodwork
1619: The post denies Wolves at Bloomfield Road. Subsitute Nenad Milijas cuts inside from right and unleashes a low left-footed shot but Richard Kingson diverts it onto the upright with his finger-tips.

Red card
Wigan red card: Mission difficult might just have become mission impossible for Wigan, Antolin Alcaraz given his marching orders for a second yellow card after a foul on Darren Fletcher. Few arguments there. Still Man Utd 1-0 Wigan.

1617: RED CARD WIGAN (Alcaraz)

Football League Nathan: "Southampton up the pace in their League One game against Peterborough, Lee Barnard had put the hosts ahead before the break and Jose Fonte and Richard Chaplow's first for the club put Saints out of sight. Fellow south coast side Bournemouth also cruising against Leyton Orient now as Marc Pugh grabs his second of the match."

1615: Wayne Rooney replaces Federico Macheda and his return is met with cheers and jeers from the Old Trafford faithful. A mixed reception for United's returning star. Paul Scholes is also on.

Stoke goal: West Brom keeper Scott Carson needlessly brings Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones down inside the box with plenty of defensive cover around and Matthew Etherington coolly sends his first of the season into the corner from the spot.

1614: GOALFLASH West Brom 0-1 Stoke (Etherington pen)


1613: Unlike the first half, Chelsea aren't creating a huge amount in this second half at St Andrew's, Birmingham more than happy to sit and soak up the pressure.

Newcastle goal: Perhaps it isn't game over at the Reebok. A long throw is inadvertently knocked into his own box by Stuart Holden and Andy Carroll takes advantage with a poked finish to maybe get Newcastle back in this one.

1611: GOALFLASH Bolton 3-1 Newcastle (Carroll)

Bolton goal: Game over at the Reebok? Chung Yong Lee's pass is moved on by Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander rounds the keeper to finish for his seventh of the season and first at home. The new dad celebrates with the baby-rocking move. Classic.

1609: GOALFLASH Bolton 3-0 Newcastle (Elmander)

1607: And now Wolves striker Kevin Doyle's pass into the box just evades the unmarked Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Good game at Bloomfield Road.

1605: Lovely run from DJ Campbell down the Wolves left, but the Blackpool striker's dribble is ruined with a blind cross across the six-yard box - a cut-back to Luke Varney and the hosts would've had a great chance.

1605: Finally back playing at West Brom and Birmingham.

Football League Nathan: "QPR heading back to the familiar position of top of the Championship table if results stay the way they are. The Hoops appear to be in control against Preston, while Nottingham Forest could do them a massive favour by holding on to their slender lead over Cardiff. Very tight in all the matches bar Derby's clash against Scunthorpe where the Rams are the only side to bag two so far - Tomasz Cywka and Kris Commons the scorers."

1603: Man Utd-Wigan is also under way, bit sluggish elsewhere isn't it? Come on lads, it's not that cold - get out there.

1601: Blackpool get their game against Wolves back up and running, we're waiting on the others. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, by the way, is on for Wolves in place of Stephen Hunt, the visitors reverting to 4-4-2 by the look of things.

Ben on 606: "What a difference a [Ray] Wilkins makes!!!!!"

1558: Here's a beauty from Infostrada Sports to enjoy over your half-time oranges - Man Utd fans should not expect another league goal from Patrice Evra until the end of the 2013/2014 season. His only top flight goals have been in March 2003, November 2006 and today so at least three-and-half years between each one.

from MUFC with love on 606: "Rooney on at the half-time interval?"

Dan S via text: "I know there's still another half to go, but imagine if Chelsea lost two league games on the bounce...?"

MegaDarkpros on Twitter: "Can Newcastle do a Spurs and come back from 2-0? To put it simply, no."

Half time
1552: HALF-TIME Birmingham 1-0 Chelsea
Owen Phillips's HT snap-shot:
"Chelsea will feel they should be two or three up - but their failure to track Lee Bowyer's brilliant late run into the box has cost them dear and Birmingham are beginning to frustrate the leaders."

Half time
1551: HALF-TIME West Brom 0-0 Stoke
Stephan Shemilt's HT snap-shot:
"About as good as the scoreline might suggest. The extraordinary leather jacket donned by Everton boss David Moyes, watching from the stands, has been the highlight of the first half."

Football League Nathan: "Not looking good for second-from-bottom Hereford in League Two, they trail 2-0 at Lincoln, the only consolation for the Bulls is that fellow strugglers Barnet are being held 1-1 by Northampton. Gillingham are winning away from home, check the stats if you don't believe me."

Half time
1551: HALF-TIME Manchester United 1-0 Wigan
Nabil Hassan's HT snap-shot:
"Patrice Evra's goal on the stroke of half time rescues Manchester United who had been lacklustre throughout. Prior to the goal Wigan had enjoyed the better of the clear-cut chances."

Half time
1550: HALF-TIME Bolton 2-0 Newcastle
Saj Chowdhury's HT snap-shot:
"Kevin Nolan just had to be involved in a major incident on his return to the Reebok - unfortunately for him, it resulted in Bolton's first. Newcastle were a mess at the back for the second."

Half time
1549: HALF-TIME Blackpool 2-0 Wolves
Sam Sheringham's HT snap-shot:
"A moment of genius from Luke Varney is followed by 40 minutes of boredom before Marcus Hahnemann gifts Blackpool a second just before the break."

1548: The half-time whistles blowing all round the country now.

Man Utd goal: It's his first goal for three-and-a-half years, and how Manchester United needed it. Ji-Sung Park's ball from deep drifts towards the back post and Patrice Evra is on hand to head home from close range.

1545: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 Wigan (Evra)

1544: Wigan's claims for a penalty are turned away by Martin Atkinson after Nemanja Vidic appeared to haul down Charles N'Zogbia. Replays showed the initial infringement might have been outside the box.

Blackpool goal: Marcus Hahnemann has had a 'mare there. The Wolves keeper comes for a corner, flaps at it, and the ball falls to Marlon Harewood to poke home despite the efforts of Matt Jarvis on the line.

1543: GOALFLASH Blackpool 2-0 Wolves (Harewood)

Bolton goal: They can play some lovely stuff, but Bolton are grateful for some poor Newcastle defending this time, Chung Yong Lee finishing well into the corner after the visitors fail to clear from Matthew Taylor's shot on to the woodwork.

1539: GOALFLASH Bolton 2-0 Newcastle (Lee)

Someone has struck the woodwork
1538: Is this going to be 'one of those days' for Chelsea? Didier Drogba's header from Florent Malouda is brilliant - but not good enough to beat the woodwork.

1537: Lovely run from Charles N'Zogbia, forcing his way past three Man Utd defenders before his attempted finish is smothered by Edwin van der Sar. Wigan more than holding their own at Old Trafford.

Football League Nathan: "The Brighton wobble continues as Bristol Rovers go 1-0 up at the League One leaders thanks to Byron Anthony's effort. Charlton will be happy if that stays at it is, particularly as they themselves are winning 2-1 against Yeovil. Bournemouth also off to a decent start, Marc Pugh giving the Cherries a very early lead."

eric the mighty on 606: "I am fast becoming a fan of the half-time substitution."

1534: Handbags! Nani and Maynor Figueroa get in each other's faces at Old Trafford as the latter reacts to the Manchester United winger's kick-out on the floor. Referee Martin Atkinson actually finds it all quite funny, which is nice.

1533: Half a chance for Newcastle, Jose Enrique firing in from the left and Kevin Nolan just failing to get on the end of it six yards out. Any sort of touch and it'd have been a goal.

1532: Wolves boss Mick McCarthy clearly isn't happy with the way things are going at Bloomfield Road as he's already made what appears to be a tactical change. Right-back Kevin Foley is the unlucky man to be taken off, with the more creative Nenad Milijas entering the fray.

1531: Not much to report at Old Trafford. After a lively start, the game has become patchy with United lacking creativity in midfield while Wigan are relying on pumping long balls up to Hugo Rodallega - which Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are dealing with quite easily.

Football League Nathan: "Nottingham Forest may be thin on the ground on the subs bench, only six warming the timbers today, but with Lewis McGugan in the starting line-up, it won't matter a jot. The midfielder has struck another wonderful goal against Cardiff, a 25-yard curler into the top corner. He only does screamers, so Stevo tells me."

1529: Chelsea continuing to create chances at St Andrew's, but it's just not falling for the champions. This time Salomon Kalou slips Ashley Cole free in the box but the left-back's near-post effort is kept out by Ben Foster.

1527: Best chance of the match for Wolves - which isn't actually saying much - as Christophe Berra rises to meet a free-kick, but his header is a touch too tame and Richard Kingson can save for Blackpool.

1525: Superb save. It's Gordon Banks-esque from Ben Foster, the Birmingham keeper getting down brilliantly to keep Didier Drogba's firm downward header from Nicolas Anelka's cross out left-handed. Brilliant.

1523: Over at Bloomfield Road it's been sparring since that early stunner from Luke Varney. Wolves threatening but without creating anything so far.

1522: Yousseuf Mulumbu lets rip from range for West Brom but his shot flies narrowly over the bar.

Birmingham goal: Fine finish. Lee Bowyer latches onto Cameron Jerome's fine cushioned header to clip in coolly from eight yards and give the hosts the lead against the run of play at St Andrew's.

Bolton goal: Kevin Nolan is penalised when he handles the ball in the area - replays showed it did look like arm to ball - and England discard Kevin Davies strokes home the spot-kick. Advantage Bolton.

1518: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-0 Chelsea (Bowyer)

1518: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-0 Newcastle (Davies)


1515: Bolton midfielder Chung Yong Lee's cross just evades Fabrice Muamba inside the Newcastle box, and the visitors are able to clear. At the other end, Andy Carroll plays in Jonas Gutierrez but Jussi Jaaskelainen is out well to save at the winger's feet.

1513: You won't guess who's at Blackpool. Only HRH Prince William. Obviously scouting out stag do destinations. Yes, I realise I'm probably the 387th person to crack that joke. And that's just in my office.

1511: Lively start at Old Trafford with both keepers called into action in the opening 10 minutes.

1510: There's only been half a chance at the Reebok, too, Kevin Nolan blazing over from around 10 yards. Stoke forward Tuncay, meanwhile, is coming on for Jermaine Pennant.

Football League Nathan: "Remember I told you Preston won't be relishing their trip to QPR? Well they are behind already, Rob Hulse with the simple tap in for the Hoops. It's the 37th goal Preston have conceded this season - the worst record in England."

1508: News from the Hawthorns? "It's absolutely woeful so far," says my reporter. Ho hum. Looks like Stoke winger Jermaine Pennant might have done a hamstring, too.

1507: Chelsea, meanwhile, looking slick at St Andrew's so far and they should really be a goal to the good already, Ben Foster saving well from Didier Drogba after the Ivorian had been set through by Salomon Kalou.

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp: "It's a fantastic achievement. To come back showed great character. We were either going to get beat 5-0, or have a go. That's what we did because that's my nature. I've said to my players that we can beat anybody. This has put us right back in the [title] race again. It's wide open. If the players believe in themselves as much as I believe in them, we can do anything."

1504: And a chance at Old Trafford for Wigan, too, Jordi Gomez almost latching on to a scramble in the United box but firing over the bar from 12 yards.

1503: Salomon Kalou almost gives Chelsea the lead after a clever Didier Drogba chest pass but flicks his effort just wide of the near post.

Blackpool goal: What a hit that is, and what a way to kick off our 1500s kick-offs. A clearance from defence is chested down by Luke Varney, who then slams a dipping volley over Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann and into the top corner. Stunning.

1502: GOALFLASH Blackpool 1-0 Wolves (Varney)

1501: And now Birmingham-Chelsea is under way.

1500: Under way everywhere in the 1500 kick-offs... except at St Andrew's.

1457: I won't lie I'm still catching my breath.

1455: Right then 1500 kick-offs... try and follow that...

StevieD_01 on Twitter: "Nottingham Forest only able to name six subs today - not good."

1451: Tottenham defender Gareth Bale: "It's the one game everyone looks out for so to get a victory, especially at the Emirates, is something special. The gaffer said before the game we've got a great team and we're here to match anybody. We didn't have a great start but we showed what a good team we are in the second half." Rafael Van der Vaart: "I knew Tottenham didn't win here much so it's a great day for the club. Today is a great day but it's just three points. Now let's think about the Champions League."

Gutted Gooner, Glasgow via text: "Game of two halves?? More like game of two universes! That was not the same two teams that played in the first half."

cjhancock on Twitter: "My prediction for post-match interview question: 'What did you say to the lads at half-time, Arry?'"

Football League Nathan: "Championship. Bottom-of-the-table Preston could have done without a trip to the only unbeaten side in the Football League, QPR today. Even a win wouldn't guarantee them moving off the foot of the table, but perhaps the three midweek loan signings will improve North End. Nottingham Forest held off second-placed QPR last week and face another daunting task when they meet Championship leaders and the division's top-scorers, Cardiff. Swansea could make it a Welsh top two if QPR slip up - they travel to Doncaster."

Football League Nathan: "League One. Brighton have stuttered somewhat in recent weeks, a defeat against Hartlepool and an FA Cup draw with Woking will no doubt give Bristol Rovers some comfort when they travel to the Withdean Stadium. No team can catch the Seagulls but the chasing pack are tightly packed with positions three to seven locked on 26 points. Troubled Sheffield Wednesday could gatecrash that group with a win at MK Dons, while at the bottom, Walsall need at least a point against Carlisle to keep in touch with those above them."

Football League Nathan: "League Two. Aldershot are buzzing after their FA Cup win over Brentford but they'll need to be at their best again today when they host leaders Chesterfield. Wycombe can leapfrog today's opponents Port Vale into third place with a win and a Shrewsbury slip-up at Southend. Gillingham are on the road again and looking to put their torrid sequence of away defeats behind them at Oxford United."

Sam Sheringham reports:
"Blackpool captain Charlie Adam passes a fitness test to face Wolves. The midfielder had been doubtful for the Bloomfield Road clash after suffering a medial ligament strain playing for Scotland on Tuesday. Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson comes in for regular stopped Matt Gilks, who has been ruled out for two months with a broken kneecap, while Marlon Harewood and Matt Phillips also come into the side. Wolves boss Mick McCarthy makes three changes with Christophe Berra, Michael Mancienne and David Jones returning. Matt Jarvis also plays after shaking off a calf injury."

Nabil Hassan reports:
"Wayne Rooney returns to the bench for Manchester United who make three changes for the visit of Wigan. Right-back Rafael comes in for Wes Brown, Gabriel Obertan replaces Javier Hernandez while Federico Macheda starts up front in place of Dimitar Berbatov. Defender Gary Caldwell misses out for Wigan, with fellow centre-half Emmerson Boyce also out with a muscle problem. Caldwell's brother Steven is drafted into the side as a result, while James McCarthy is a long-term absentee with an ankle injury. Tom Cleverley is ineligible as he is on loan from Manchester United."

Owen Phillips reports:
"Birmingham boss Alex McLeish must make do without top scorer Craig Gardner, who has failed to recover from an ankle injury. Lee Bowyer comes in, but that is the only new face from the side that battled their way to a creditable draw away against Manchester City. As expected Alex returns to bolster Chelsea's seemingly threadbare central defence despite his ongoing knee problem. Paulo Ferreira reverts to his more familiar right-back role and Salomon Kalou replaces the injured Yury Zhirkov - the only other change from the team beaten 3-0 by Sunderland."

Stephan Shemilt reports:
"Roberto Di Matteo makes three changes to the West Brom side that lost at WiganStoke are unchanged from the side that beat Liverpool, meaning Andy Wilkinson keeps his place at right-back and Robert Huth remains at centre-half."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Bolton boss Owen Coyle names the same starting line-up that recorded a 3-2 win at Wolves last week. Newcastle replace suspended midfielders Cheik Tiote and Joey Barton with Alan Smith and Danny Guthrie, while Shola Ameobi continues to partner Andy Carroll in attack."

Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Muamba, Holden, Taylor, Elmander, Kevin Davies. Subs: Bogdan, Steinsson, Petrov, Mark Davies, Klasnic, Moreno, Blake.
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Guthrie, Nolan, Smith, Gutierrez, Carroll, Ameobi. Subs: Soderberg, Campbell, Routledge, Lovenkrands, Perch, Steven Taylor, Ranger.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

BBC SPORT'S Pat Nevin on Five Live: "Spurs raised their game. Harry made a few little tweaks and they paid off. I'm sure there was a hair-dryer moment at half-time too. Bale was superb too, noone got close to him."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Brilliant comeback from Spurs and sheer ecstasy from the visiting supporters tucked away in a corner of The Emirates. But what about Arsenal? An incredible collapse in the second half and the cheers at half-time have turned to anger aimed at Arsene Wenger's side."

Full time
1439: FULL-TIME Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham
Stunning. Simply stunning. What a match.

1438: One minute left.

1436: It's all got a bit... bitty now, which suits Tottenham just fine. Can they hang on?

1434: We'll have five - yes, five - minutes of added time.

1433: The ball falls to Theo Walcott inside the box... but he blazes well over. Should have done better. One minute of normal time remaining.

1433: Here comes the Arsenal rally...

driver11 on Twitter: "THAT'S WHY WE LOVE THIS GAME!"

Tottenham goal: What on earth? Rafael van der Vaart swings a delicious free-kick into the box from deep, Younes Kaboul flicks it into the corner with his head, and Tottenham have come from behind to lead with four minutes remaining. Unbelievable.

1429: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham (Kaboul)

West Brom:
Carson, Jara, Tamas, Pablo, Cech, Barnes, Morrison, Mulumbu, Scharner, Thomas, Odemwingie. Subs: Myhill, Tchoyi, Reid, Dorrans, Shorey, Fortune, Cox.
Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Collins, Pennant, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington, Jones, Fuller. Subs: Sorensen, Higginbotham, Whelan, Gudjohnsen, Wilson, Walters, Sanli.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

1426: Oh pull the trigger son. A fine Gareth Bale cross is flapped at by Lukas Fabianski but the ball won't fall for Rafael van der Vaart eight yards out and Arsenal can clear.

1425: Wilson Palacios was going to come on for Spurs... but an injury to William Gallas looks like it might force Harry Redknapp to change his mind. I'll keep you posted.

1423: Arsenal just starting to turn the screw a touch now, Tottenham sitting deeper and deeper. Just over 10 minutes to go.

1422: Fabulous effort from Cesc Fabregas - curled from the edge of the area and tipped wide on the stretch by Heurelho Gomes. Moments later, Laurent Koscielny heads over from close range with the goal gaping. Two cracking chances for Arsenal, wasted.

1421: Arsenal substitutions - Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky for Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin.

Kingson, Eardley, Cathcart, Evatt, Crainey, Vaughan, Adam, Phillips, Campbell, Varney, Harewood. Subs: Halstead, Ormerod, Taylor-Fletcher, Grandin, Sylvestre, Edwards, Carney.
Wolverhampton: Hahnemann, Foley, Stearman, Berra, Elokobi, Henry, Mancienne, David Jones, Jarvis, Doyle, Hunt. Subs: Hennessey, Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher, Ward, Bent, Milijas, Mouyokolo.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

Man Utd:
Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Park, Obertan, Macheda. Subs: Kuszczak, Rooney, Giggs, Hernandez, Scholes, O'Shea, Evans.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Gohouri, Steven Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam, Diame, Thomas, Gomez, N'Zogbia, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Di Santo, Watson, Boselli, Moses, McArthur, McManaman.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1417: Another Spurs substitution - Peter Crouch coming on for Roman Pavlyuchenko, and it looks like Theo Walcott is coming on for Arsenal. Both teams fancy this.

Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Fahey, Jerome, Zigic. Subs: Doyle, Phillips, Derbyshire, Michel, Hleb, Beausejour, Jiranek.
Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Alex, Ivanovic, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Malouda, Anelka, Drogba, Kalou. Subs: Turnbull, Bosingwa, Sturridge, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Great last 20 minutes in prospect here after Rafael Van der Vaart puts Spurs level from the spot. What was Cesc Fabregas, who has been magnificent, thinking of in attempting to block Van der Vaart's free-kick with his arm raised so high? Madness. Referee Phil Down spot on - as was Van der Vaart."

1415: Arsenal have the ball in the net... but Cesc Fabregas and Sebastien Squillaci are offside. Good decision.

Wayne Rooney starts on the Man Utd bench v Wigan. Alex, meanwhile, does start for Chelsea at Birmingham.

Yellow card
1412: Robin van Persie comes on to replace Marouane Chamakh, while Rafael van der Vaart is cautioned for his over-celebration after that goal. He's just scored in a derby - what a ridiculous rule that is.

Tottenham goal: Cesc Fabregas, what are you doing? The Spaniard inexplicably raises his arm to punch a Rafael van der Vaart free-kick away inside the area, and Phil Dowd has no choice by to award the spot-kick. Van der Vaart converts well and Spurs are back from the dead.

1410: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham (Van der Vaart pen)


1408: Casual from Marouane Chamakh, the Moroccan almost clean through on the Tottenham goal but allowing William Gallas to get back and tackle.

1406: ...Samir Nasri slams it into the Tottenham wall, though.

1406: You've not missed a great deal at the Emirates, where the match is back very much in the balance now. Arsenal have a free-kick 35 yards out, though...

Nabil Hassan reports:
"Manchester United, who remain unbeaten this season, have won all 10 of their previous matches against Wigan . United have also won 15 of their last 17 league games at Old Trafford…so the omens do not look great for Roberto Martinez's side. Oh, and Wayne Rooney is expected to return to action today! Wigan on the flip side are the top flight's lowest scorers with 10 league goals this season and are just a point above the relegation zone."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Two of the Premier League's in-form strikers face each other in the Rumble at the Reebok. Johan Elmander helped Bolton to fifth place with a dazzling solo against Wolves last week while Newcastle's hot-shot Andy Carroll won his first England cap in midweek and looked good. Prediction: A battling draw."

1402: A brief look at the other two 1500 kick-offs maybe? Why not.

1401: There are more goals in this by the look of things - to who, though, I'm not sure. Cesc Fabregas waltzes into the Tottenham box and Jermaine Jenas does very well to cut out the Spaniard's cross on the stretch, this game wide open now. Even more so than the first half, if that's possible.

1400: Cracking effort. Luka Modric gets on the end of Jermain Defoe's lay-off and lashes a fierce drive at goal, the ball beating the bar by a matter of inches.

1358: Tottenham already looking a very different proposition since that goal - and Jermain Defoe is unsettling Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci at the heart of the Arsenal defence. The Gunners still full of threat, though.

Berbas_Magic_Touch on 606: "Finally we have a game."

1356: It's hard to say that's been coming for Tottenham, but is that game on now?

Tottenham goal: He's been fairly anonymous this match, but Gareth Bale has got Tottenham right back in it. Jermain Defoe's flick-on is played through by Rafael van der Vaart and Bale, whose first touch is sublime, guides into the corner on the run.

1354: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham (Bale)

1351: A near two full minutes into the half, and Spurs - lining up 4-4-2 with Rafael van der Vaart on the right now - finally get a touch of the ball. What have Harry's boys got in them?

1349: Back under way at the Emirates, where it's Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham.

1348: A couple more of those 1500 GMT scene-setters to come, but back to matters at the Emirates now I think, where Tottenham are making a change - Jermain Defoe on for Aaron Lennon.

lupino66 on Twitter: "This reminds me of some of Spurs' first-half performances in the Champions League. Really poor. But... they have been able to come back on occasion..."

I am not the best Paul Scholes is on 606: "Unless Bale can produce some magic the only Harry that can save Spurs now is Harry Potter."

Sam Sheringham reports:
"It's early days but this already has the feel of a relegation scrap with both sides sliding down the table of late. Wolves have lost eight of their last 10, while Blackpool have only won once at home in the league. There's a nice sub-plot between the managers after Blackpool's Ian Holloway was forced into a grovelling apology to Mick McCarthy for suggesting the Wolves boss played an under-strength team because he did not feel he could win. Expect goals in this one - there have been 45 of them in Blackpool's 13 games this season."

Stephan Shemilt reports:
"As they attempt to halt a four-game winless run, the last team that West Brom will want to face is Stoke, who have lost only once in 25 league meetings with the Baggies. Although the two sides lie level on points, their early-season fortunes have reversed and Albion's slide down the table is mirrored by the Potters' climb. West Brom can take heart from Stoke's terrible away form, but their record of being the only top-flight team not to concede a headed goal this season will be severely tested by Kenwyne Jones et al."

Owen Phillips reports:
"Birmingham have slipped into the bottom three after a run of one win from 11 league games but they have only lost once at home all season. And this could be the ideal time to face a Chelsea side whose makeshift central defensive partnership was ripped apart by Sunderland last week. Paulo Ferreira should step aside for Alex which will restore stability but with their confidence shaken and no Frank Lampard, Michael Essien or John Terry, are the champions still there for the taking?"

1340: Now then, let's have a couple of early scene-setters for this afternoon's 1500 GMT kick-offs shall we? Lovely.

Anon via text: "It's not over at Emirates, especially if Arsenal don't take their chances!"

Chicharito on 606: "Spurs are really lacking a Huddlestone. Someone who'll mix it up in midfield and actually win the ball for them."

BBC SPORT's Pat Nevin on 5 live: "If Harry doesn't change it, I promise you Arsenal will score more goals. Player for player, Arsenal from one to eleven, have been better than Tottenham. It's as simple as that."

Half time
1334: HALF-TIME Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham
Chief football writer Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot:
"Total Arsenal domination and they thoroughly deserve their lead. Fabreagas superb and Spurs now need to chase the game - which will suit Arsenal just fine."

1333: And the half-time whistle goes.

1331: That's another glorious ball through the middle by Cesc Fabregas, and only a timely Younes Kaboul tackle denies Marouane Chamakh a goalscoring opportunity. Fabregas has been majestic.

1330: Bit more intent about Tottenham at the moment, but the boys in white still not looking likely to break the hosts down - Aaron Lennon doing well to beat his man on the right and then crossing poorly, allowing the Gunners to clear. Half-time approaching fast. Where's the half gone?

1329: Andrey Arshavin affords himself a smile as he jinks and turns in the Tottenham box... and mis-controls it out of play.

1327: The delivery is a little better from the Dutchman, but Arsenal hold their lines well in the face of a couple of Tottenham corners and eventually the ball goes behind for a goal-kick.

1325: Decent run down the left from Benoit Assou-Ekotto and he earns Tottenham a corner. Can Rafael van der Vaart do better with this one?

1324: Poor. A chance for Tottenham to get the ball into the box from a free-kick on the left, but Rafael van der Vaart can't even beat the first man.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Spurs just cannot get a foothold in this game - and cannot get near anywhere Cesc Fabregas as he controls the entire contest from central midfield. Spurs should have come here high on confidence today but have looked almost over-awed in the first 35 minutes. Harry Redknapp looks suitably downcast."

1320: A rare moment of respite as Arsenal take five after their wonderful start to this game. The Tottenham bench is a mixture of confusion and annoyance by the look of things. Something has to change if they're to get back into this.

BBC SPORT's Pat Nevin on 5 live: "The game is so open now because Tottenham are having to go for it, and that suits Arsenal. Fabregas is at the heart of everything for Arsenal."

1316: Decent hit from Luka Modric, the Croatian's dipping 25-yarder beaten away by Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski. Rafael van der Vaart's effort from similar range moments later is wild, however, and over.

1314: The centre of Tottenham's midfield is nowhere. Arsenal enjoying the freedom of the Emirates going forward so far today.

Arsenal goal: Wonderful counter-attack and Arsenal are coasting. From inside their own half and four touches later, Andrey Arshavin crosses for Marouane Chamakh to get ahead of Younes Kaboul and tap home. Easy.

1312: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham (Chamakh)

1310: Decent free-kick position for Tottenham, but Rafael van der Vaart's cross is cleared... Younes Kaboul's follow-up cross is better but again it's put behind. Moments later the French defender heads goalwards from another cross but it's wide. First decent spell of possession for the visitors, that.

oliverhj84 on Twitter: "Song has been SUPERB so far. Mopping up all over the pitch but still gets forward. Fantastic midfield play."

1308: And the hosts dance their way into the Tottenham box again, Cesc Fabregas ghosting past Younes Kaboul and just sliding his finish with just the keeper to beat wide.

1307: Arsenal well on top in this match, controlling possession and frustrating Spurs' odd attempts on the counter-attack.

1305: William Gallas strides forward from defence and makes good progress up until the Arsenal box, but Alex Song is back to clean the ball away from the Tottenham defender's feet.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Heurelho Gomes had already suffered an attack of the jitters with his handling even before Samir Nasri's goal gave Arsenal the lead. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp will be furious with his keeper for not making the ball his and imposing himself on the slighter figure of Nasri in that physical challenge. Poor goalkeeping."

1302: That is close. Cesc Fabregas, pulling all the strings in the Arsenal midfield, thinks he has set Marouane Chamakh through on goal behind that very high Spurs defensive line, but it is given offside. Replays suggest the Moroccan was level, though - let-off for Spurs.

RKW - White Eagle on 606: "Hopefully Spurs respond quickly and we get a real cracker to look forward to!"

Yellow card
1258: First booking of the match as Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna goes in late on Gareth Bale. Deserved.

1256: You have to think Spurs need to keep this tight for the rest of this half at least... it was 3-0 to Arsenal in the equivalent fixture last year.

BBC SPORT's Pat Nevin on 5 live: "Fantastic finish by Samir Nasri from the most acute of angles. He'll be smiling now whatever happened with Gallas earlier. The Spurs centre-backs were caught out of position and that left a huge gap for Nasri to run into."

Arsenal goal: And now a Heurelho Gomes mistake costs Tottenham dear. Cesc Fabregas lofts a superb ball in behind the defence towards Samir Nasri but the Brazilian keeper should stop him coming out of goal - his dive is weak, though, and Nasri gets round the keeper to clip in from the tightest of angles.

1254: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham (Nasri)

1254: Bit of a flap from a cross from Heurelho Gomes this time, though, and Tottenham need a good block from Jermaine Jenas on the edge of the box to stop Andrey Arshavin's shot.

1251: More delightful football, Samir Nasri looping the ball over the Spurs defence on the right to release Cesc Fabregas in acres of space by the touchline - but the Spaniard's low cross is held by Heurelho Gomes.

1249: I mean Lukasz Fabianski in the Arsenal goal, obviously. Apologies.

1248: And now Tottenham bounce forward and Gareth Bale releases Rafael van der Vaart down the left, Alex Song back well to concede the corner...and from that set-piece Bale flicks goalwards behind his legs, Lukasz Fabianski getting down to save. Already buzzing this match.

1247: Would you Adam it? Cesc Fabregas looks to release Samir Nasri in the very first minute and it looks for a moment like he is through until a stunning defensive tackle comes in from...? William Gallas. You couldn't script it.

1246: We're under way at the Emirates.

1245: Samir Nasri DOES snub William Gallas's handshake. How very... juvenile and unnecessary?

Chris Nathan on 606: "Spurs can take heart that worse teams have come away with results at the Emirates. Unfortunately, those teams weren't as adventurous as Spurs will try to be!"

1243: And as if I haven't 'jinxed' (if you believe in that rubbish) this fixture enough already (see 1145), here's a stat from Infostrada Sports to completely poke fate in the eye. There have been at least three goals scored in 11 of the last 13 meetings between these clubs in all competitions, and only one goalless draw in the last 29 in total.

1240: The teams are in the tunnel at the Emirates, Tottenham skipper William Gallas greeting a couple of former Arsenal colleagues with a warm handshake and a hug. Samir Nasri is not one of them.

Nick, London via text: "A Premier League club has just been sold for £37m less than Cristiano Ronaldo... crazy."

AndySzpuk on Twitter: "Will this mean an injection of spice for Blacburn? Will Big Sam curry favour with the new owners?"

1237: Before we get down to the mix, then, how about some pointers to add your predictions today? Of course we have the legend that is Lawro's Predictions as always, and this week he is up against popster Olly Murs. No holds barred. And on top of all that, how about a bit of Infostrada Sports' Euro Club Index chat? Here's how they rate today's match chances (club ranking in brackets).
Arsenal (6) 59% win chance v Tottenham (20) 15%
Bolton (79) 48% v Newcastle (86) 23%
Blackpool (229) 45% v Wolves (202) 25%
Birmingham (117) 13% v Chelsea (4) 62%
Man Utd (2) 87% v Wigan (142) 3%
West Brom (125) 44% v Stoke (94) 26%
Liverpool (10) 73% v West Ham (138) 8%

Former Arsenal and Tottenham midfielder Rohan Ricketts on Twitter: "Arsenal v Spurs - what a game we should see! I feel Spurs must go there and be fearless to get a result from the game."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "We have the answer to our query about whether Arsenal's fans will heed Arsene Wenger's plea to respect William Gallas. Judging by the jeers when his name was read out, they won't. Even David Bentley wasn't spared."

1227: And while Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has been forced to defend the club's stadium strategy and bid for the Olympic Stadium, Venky's London Limited's takeover of Blackburn Football Club has finally been completed for what is surely the bargain price of £43m? Our man Matt Slater has blogged on the latter so if you want your info inside and thorough, check it out.

ohNOitsOLLIE on Twitter: "I've just been told by OptaJoe that Spurs have only kept 1/23 clean sheets v. Arsenal - Big goalscoring omen today?"

1222: Plenty of interest and news off the pitch again this morning isn't there? Football... the sport that just keeps on giving. Stamford Bridge is a definite hot-spot for news all year round, and Chelsea are back in the headlines again this weekend following their release of assistant manager Ray Wilkins. In a statement Wilkins said he was seeking advice on "a number of questions arising from my undoubtedly unfair dismissal", prompting the club to respond: "We're having amicable discussions with Ray's legal advisors. We'll honour the termination provisions in Ray's contract." Former Blues boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has also waded in, telling BBC sports news correspondent Dan Roan: "It's much of a shock for me because he is a very good man and he knows everything about Chelsea."

strictlyMUFC on Twitter: "Re: Zain_Patel, um... unless a win=4 pts I doubt Newcastle can go above Man City!"
Yes indeed, apologies Zain... I've dug you out a little there. Oops.

1215: If you give this page a refresh, folks, Football Focus will appear before your very eyes at the top. Happy days.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"Jack Wilshere has to be content with a place on the bench for Arsenal, but Laurent Koscielny returns after suspension. William Gallas will captain Spurs on his return to The Emirates. Will Samir Nasri shake his hand and will Arsenal's supporters respect Arsene Wenger's demand to show their former defender respect? Jermain Defoe is back on the bench for Tottenham after two months out with ankle trouble."

Meerschaum_221B on 606: "I'm going to over-indulge and assume there is something to the 'Nasri won't shake the hand of Gallas story'. Thank you for nourishing my life sweet Football."

Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Denilson, Nasri, Fabregas, Arshavin, Chamakh. Subs: Szczesny, Rosicky, van Persie, Walcott, Wilshere, Djourou, Eboue.
Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Jenas, Modric, Bale, Van der Vaart, Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Cudicini, Bentley, Palacios, Crouch, Defoe, Bassong, Corluka.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Zain_Patel on Twitter: "The winner from Newcastle v Bolton could find themselves in the top four! Ahead of Billionaires Manchester City!"

James from Blackpool via text: "Here's hoping that Blackpool can get 3 points at home today against an impressive wolves team, Adam to score a late winner 3-2."

ghost_of_cygan on 606: "Baffled that Djourou's been dropped, he's been far better than Koscielny."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"Arsenal have the chance to put their name at the top of the Premier League if they beat Spurs in the north London derby today. Arsene Wenger believes his team have the variety of qualities needed to finally end a five-year trophy drought, especially after last Sunday's battling win at Everton. Spurs, meanwhile, will want to demonstrate their own credentials and end a winless sequence at the homes of the so-called "Big Four" stretching back 68 games. Gareth Bale will be the key figure in that quest, while William Gallas' return to The Emirates adds an extra edge to proceedings."

There is no Jack Wilshere in the Arsenal starting XI, while Laurent Koscielny returns to the defence after suspension.

1203: William Gallas, by the way, has been named Tottenham captain on his return to the Emirates. Spicy.

1201: And here's a taster of one or two of the stories behind those matches... please feel free to add your own now won't you...
Asnl v Tot North London derby, say no more.
Bir v Che A Chelsea centre-half anyone?
Bpl v Wol Battle of the reserve XI-pickers.
Bol v New England discard Davies v England new-boy Carroll.
Man U v Wig Rooney's eagerly anticipated return (possibly).
WBA v Sto Same points, different momentum.
Liv v WHU All eyes on the managers.

Nathan, Birmingham via text: "Out of almost nothing, Arsenal could go top. Amazing."

Sir Alex Ferguson dried my hair on 606: "Spurs to win NLD, United to wipe the floor with Wigan and Chelsea to drop points at Brum. Looking forward to a great day of football and beer."

1158: This is a chronological look at we have in store in the Premier League, then, people.
Arsenal v Tottenham (1245)
Birmingham v Chelsea
Blackpool v Wolves
Bolton v Newcastle
Man Utd v Wigan
West Brom v Stoke
Liverpool v West Ham (1730)

Aaron Lennon returns for Tottenham, with Roman Pavlyuchenko preferred to Peter Crouch up front. Jermain Defoe is on the bench.

HenryWhitfield on Twitter: "Always excited by a London derby. It's not even 8am here in Canada but footy fever is alive and well this Saturday!"

AlwaysUnited on 606: "Looking forward to some great games today. The London derby is always and exciting prospect. I expect goals galore and plenty of passion!! Rooney back for United too, that could be interesting. And, will Chelsea bounce back? I very much doubt they can get more then a point at Birmingham today."

1155: As always, though, this page without you lot is like a chair with three legs... wobbly. So get in touch, yes? Tweet me @sampatricklyon, text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) or join the chat over on her majesty's 606. Bootiful.

1152: And fear not folks, if Arsenal-Tottenham should somehow fail to live up to expectations, we've got a veritable feast of footballing action elsewhere to keep you all pinned to our sofas. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are involved, there is a bevvy Championship crackers, and a host of beauties in the lower leagues. Basically, do the right thing and postpone the festive shop you big bunch of over-keen Chrimbo-lovers and settle in for Super Saturday.

1149: Yep, all eyes will be on the Emirates first up today and a north London derby featuring two of the Premier League's great entertainers. In the past six of these fixtures alone, 25 goals have been shared between the sides, and that includes the staggering 4-4 draw that Harry Redknapp witnessed in his first match in charge of Tottenham. Neither side has compromised on their attacking instincts since, both have endured their share of defensive frailties this season and both have ambitions of making a push for the title this campaign. In short, it's all set up for a classic. Erm... on paper at least.

1145: All right, the Manchester derby a couple of weeks back might not have been the greatest of spectacles, but Arsenal v Tottenham? That quite simply never, ever disappoints. Welcome to another busy Saturday... kicked off by the hottest of derby prospects. Ready?

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Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 20 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 14 19 28
2 Man Utd 14 13 28
3 Arsenal 14 13 26
4 Bolton 14 6 22
5 Man City 13 5 22
6 Tottenham 14 2 22
7 Sunderland 13 2 19
8 Stoke 14 0 19
9 Liverpool 14 -1 19
10 Newcastle 14 1 18
11 Blackpool 14 -6 18
12 Aston Villa 13 -3 17
13 Birmingham 14 -2 16
14 West Brom 14 -9 16
15 Everton 13 1 15
16 Blackburn 13 -3 15
17 Fulham 13 0 14
18 Wigan 14 -13 14
19 Wolves 14 -11 9
20 West Ham 14 -14 9

see also
Premier League photos
20 Nov 10 |  Football

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