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Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Sunday, 21 November 2010

Premier League as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

1810: So Man City right back in the title race with arguably their performance of the season. Which makes it Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and... Bolton in the mix, then, yes? What a season this is shaping up to be. For highlights on what has been a rip-roaring weekend, don't miss Match of the Day 2 at 2230 on BBC One and online. Otherwise, join Jonathan Stevenson tomorrow for Sunderland-Everton and I'll be back on Tuesday and Wednesday for the Champions League footy. Happy days. Night all.

1805: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "We hope Diego Maradona can come again if this is the result! If you lose you are a stupid manager, if you win you are a top manager."

KloseButNoCigar on 606: "Painful day for Fulham. We need to get some decent points on the board soon or face a difficult season at the end of the table we don't deserve to be."

Sam Sheringham reports:
"Man City, settled by an early goal, played with confidence and fluency on a miserable afternoon for their former boss Mark Hughes."

Farrell via text: "Some Fulham fans chanting at the ref 'you don't know what you're doing'. I think it should be aimed at the manager. Same story pretty much every week, too many chances created against us."

MCFC_TID on 606: "Very impressive performance from City today. The vultures surrounding Mancini will be disappointed, but City have been outstanding."

Full time
1752: FULL-TIME Fulham 1-4 Man City
City move back into the top four, Fulham stay bottom four.

1749: Fulham want a penalty when Zoltan Gera goes down under a challenge from Nigel de Jong in the box clutching his face, but Lee Mason is having none of it. Replays show the Manchester City midfielder did catch the Hungarian in the face with his shoulder. Was it deliberate? Hhmm.

1749: We'll have three minutes of added time.

1747: James Milner is going to get a couple of minutes, David Silva the man replaced.

1745: Looks like referee Lee Mason doesn't want to delay matters any further either, the referee failing to give a free-kick when it looked like a clear charge on Andrew Johnson by the left touchline by Pablo Zabaleta. Not that anyone, with the score as it is, is too bothered mind.

1743: Decent free-kick position here for Fulham, 22 yards out to the right of the Man City goal, but Zoltan Gera spoons his effort way off-target. This match very much crawling to a conclusion at the moment.

1740: Gareth Barry, who is reported to be struggling with tightness in both calves, is replaced by Manchester City substitute Patrick Vieira.

Yellow card
1737: Referee Lee Mason is getting a bit card happy now, this time Andy Johnson having his name taken for a foul on Vincent Kompany chasing back.

1735: Carlos Tevez is finally dragged from the field, Adam Johnson his replacement. A deserved ovation from the away supporters for their two-goal hero. Kolo Toure takes over the captaincy.

Yellow card
1734: Booking for Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta for a foul on Diomansy Kamara.

1731: Looks like Manchester City are contemplating replacing Carlos Tevez here, but the Argentine is having none of it. He can smell a hat-trick.

Fulham goal: There's some reward for Fulham, Zoltan Gera getting on the end of Jo's poor clearance from a corner and side-footing into the net via a deflection off Yaya Toure.

1728: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-4 Man City (Gera)

1727: Attack it is, Simon Davies seeing his snap-shot from 20 yards deflected narrowly over.

1725: Fulham caught between a rock and a hard place here. Attack and leave themselves open, or defend a 4-0 defeat and show a lack of ambition.

1722: With Fulham looking utterly deflated, Mark Hughes brings Diomansy Kamara on for Dickson Etuhu.

1721: A fine David Silva corner almost creeps in under Mark Schwarzer's bar, but the Fulham keeper recovers to punch away from goal.

1717: Aleksandar Kolarov wants a piece of the action now, the full-back cutting in from the right and swinging a left-foot curler inches past the far upright. Fulham staring down the barrel.

Man City goal: Well it is 4-0 now. From the resulting corner the ball falls to Pablo Zabaleta, whose low shot is flicked in rather fortuitously by Carlos Tevez in front of keeper Mark Schwarzer. Sucker-punch after Fulham's bright start to the half.

1714: GOALFLASH Fulham 0-4 Man City (Tevez)

1713: It should be 4-0. Carlos Tevez is set clean through by Pablo Zabaleta's pass but he has too much time to think about it and he can only shoot straight at Mark Schwarzer.

1711: This is a really bright start to the half from Fulham as it happens, and Joe Hart pulls off a fine save when Zoltan Gera heads a Carlos Salcido cross goalwards... although a foul is given against Gera in the end for a push in the back.

Yellow card
1710: Dickson Etuhu receives the match's first booking, but it's a bit harsh if you ask me - it was a nothing tackle on Nigel de Jong. Maybe it was for repeat offending.

KopOfTheLeague on 606: "RE PaulJ123: I think there are a fair number of Liverpool fans who would happily give you him back. As for me, I'm reserving judgement until a more appropriate time (ie the end of the season)."

1706: And now Andy Johnson breaks down the right, his low cross well held by Joe Hart. Fulham showing a bit of fight in the early stages of this half.

1705: Fulham get themselves a corner nice and early, but Chris Baird can only head it harmlessly over.

1703: Back up and running at the Cottage.

1702: And here come the players now. Fulham are making a change, Zoltan Gera coming on for Damien Duff. Does the Hungarian have four goals in him?

1701: Roberto Mancini is already out and about at Craven Cottage, signing autographs. I guess there's not a great deal for him to have said at half-time his Man City team have been terrific.

PaulJ123 on Twitter: "How Fulham miss Roy Hodgson. Basically the same team as last year with same style and we're 3-0 down at HT. Sort it out!"

BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson on Twitter: "RE: 1550 - Is he still there? I'm literally on my way, don't let him leave. Wonder if he's on the cusp of a shock return to football?"
As Fulham's guest, the poor fella's currently biting his tongue mate

Half time
Sam Sheringham's HT snap-shot:
"Boring City? Hardly. Perhaps inspired by the watching Maradona, Mancini's men are tearing Fulham apart."

Si, London via text: "The fat lady who lost her voice at the Emirates at half-time yesterday may have just found it again at the Cottage. Fulham just don't have the firepower."

1647: Respite for Fulham, there's the half-time whistle.

1644: A rare touch of the ball for Fulham in the City box, but Simon Davies's attempt to help on a free-kick from deep is tame and Joe Hart awakes from his slumber to collect easily.

1642: Fulham have forgotten what's it like to have to have a touch of the football in this match while City are stroking it around at will. The Cottagers praying for half-time now.

1639: According to Andy Gray on Sky, by the way, there were 24 uninterrupted passes in the build up to that third City goal. Roberto Mancini's men showing a real command of the football here.

manfrombelmonty on 606: "This is the type of performance everyone's been looking for from City this season. Crisp incisive passing making it all look so easy. If they play like this more often they should be very real title contenders."

Man City goal: Roberto Mancini's men threatening to run riot here. It's a cracking football goal too, David Silva, Jo and Carlos Tevez all involved before the latter feeds Yaya Toure to take a touch and slide a fine finish into the far corner.

1634: GOALFLASH Fulham 0-3 Man City (Yaya Toure)

1634: "Boring boring City," cry the away fans. Ironically, obviously.

Man City goal: I tell you what, City fans will want Diego Maradona at all their games. After Carlos Tevez's opener, another Argentine in Pablo Zabaleta crashes home an unstoppable drive from 22 yards to double City's lead. Deserved too.

1632: GOALFLASH Fulham 0-2 Man City (Zabaleta)

1629: Manchester City really into their rhythm now, playing some nice one-touch football and generally building happily and patiently in the final third. Fulham looking to hang on a bit at times.

1626: David Silva cuts in from the right for Manchester City, but his attempted left-foot shot is so wayward it goes off for a throw-in. Seen a few of those today.

ganjerson on 606: "Good save, but Kolarov has got to take that further."

1622: Nicely worked free-kick from Fulham as Danny Murphy squares to Simon Davies, but the Welshman's poor shot only allows Manchester City to break and Aleksandar Kolarov gets one-on-one, his early effort kept out to his left low down by home keeper Mark Schwarzer. Good save.

1619: Nearly 20 minutes gone in this match and still Tevez's goal remains the only shot on target in this match. City more than comfortable with that.

1616: A few of you asking if that Carlos Tevez goal was offside - no chance. Chris Baird at right-back was clearly playing him on, level, when Gareth Barry laid his pass into the box.

1614: Carlos Salcido lines one up from range but the Fulham defender's effort is horribly off target.

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Carlos Tevez joins Andy Carroll and Johan Elmander as this season's Premier League top scorer on eight goals."

1611: City bossing possession since that early goal - I imagine Fulham's gameplan was to keep things tight and get in and about City early on; that will need changing.

ChrisDear11 on Twitter: "Let's just remember Craven Cottage is a very difficult place to go to. Fulham never accept defeat. Score draw."

1608: And that officially makes it not a single goalless draw this weekend in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland I believe. Wow.

Man City goal: One chance, one goal. It's a top strike, too, Carlos Tevez - onside - muscling Carlos Salcido off the ball on the edge of the box to receive Gareth Barry's pass, take a touch, and slam into the corner.

1606: GOALFLASH Fulham 0-1 Manchester City (Tevez)

1605: Fulham putting the early pressure on the City backline, with Clint Dempsey showing some nice touches in and around the area. There's no penetrating the visitors' defence on this occasion, though, and City will bounce forward.

1602: Couple of tackles flying in early, Dickson Etuhu getting away with a clip on Yaya Toure's ankles but Nigel de Jong penalised for a foul on Clint Dempsey.

1600: And we're up and running at Craven Cottage.

1558: Big chance for Manchester City to press their claims at the top of the table, and a big opportunity for Fulham to pull their way up to mid-table security. Let's get ready to rumble.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "I think it will be a difficult game today because Fulham are a very strong team. Jo is a good player and he has a big chance. If we have another striker nearer Carlos maybe it's better but if the whole team play well we won't have a problem."

1555: Here come the players. It's pretty blooming nippy out there, I tell ya.

Khumbs_maverick on Twitter: "City must win if they're to make the rest of the Premier League sit up and take notice of them as genuine title contenders."

bluedefence on 606: "Fair play to them both Mark Hughes and Craig Bellamy showing a lot of dignity on Sky. They keep getting prompted to rubbish City but point blank refuse to."
Couldn't agree more with that, both showing a lot of class.

1550: So, back to events at the Cottage. And who's there? Only Argentina legend Maradona. No-one tell Stevo, he'll tear his hamstrings trying to hot-foot it down to London asap and no mistake.

Paul Fletcher reports:
"It wasn't pretty but Blackburn can certainly roll their sleeves up. For all Villa's talented youngsters it was a lesson in the harsh realities of life in the Premier League."

1545: Right, before we turn our attentions fully to events at Craven Cottage, let's remind ourselves of events at Ewood Park briefly...

tommythetank on 606: "Fulham will be scratching around for points today."

Sam Sheringham reports:
"Fulham boss Mark Hughes is a man with a point to prove against the club that got rid of him last December. His Manchester City successor Roberto Mancini has exactly the same record as Hughes did after 13 games last season, but nine fewer goals. After 0-0 draws in his past two games, and plenty of rumours of player unrest, Mancini is under pressure to shed his defensive-minded approach against the league's draw specialists."

Alec (Everton fan) in Reigate via text: "RE: Nigel Adderley on Twitter (below) - yeah, and he should have got the winner for Everton!"

1535: A little addition to that team news - there are five Mark Hughes signings in today's Manchester City line-up, and in Fulham's? Just the one. Carlos Salcido. Does that mean Hughes can't lose?

chazzer96 on Twitter: "City have an outrageously good bench."

MCFC_TID on 606: "I'm groaning at the City team, if this is going to be another torrid draw then Mancini, you've lost my support."

Sam Sheringham reports:
"Roberto Mancini's answer to Manchester City's lack of goals is to give Brazilian striker Jo his first Premier League start for the club in more than two years. Joe Hart returns in goal after missing England's friendly with France through injury and Gareth Barry is restored in midfield. James Milner and Adam Johnson have to be content with places on the bench. Fulham welcome back Carlos Salcido and Chris Baird from injury at the back, while Dickson Etuhu comes in to shore up the midfield in place of injured striker Moussa Dembele."

BBC Five Live's Nigel Adderley on Twitter: "Jo's last Premier League start was 12 Dec last year. Chelsea 3 Everton 3."

pauljomo on 606: "Hmmm Jo up front for City? Must be shop window time for the January sales."

Schwarzer, Baird, Hangeland, Hughes, Salcido, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff, Dempsey, Andrew Johnson. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Pantsil, Gera, Kamara, Dikgacoi, Greening.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Kolarov, Toure Yaya, De Jong, Barry, Jo, Tevez, Silva. Subs: Given, Milner, Wright-Phillips, Adebayor, Adam Johnson, Vieira, Boyata.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Full time
1523: FULL-TIME Blackburn 2-0 Aston Villa

1519: Four minutes of time added on at Ewood Park.

1518: One minute of normal time remaining, and Blackburn are firmly on their way to three valuable points.

Joe Hart returns in goal for Manchester City, who start with Jo up front. Carlos Salcido is back from injury for Fulham.

1514: Blackburn controlling possession maturely here, Villa struggling to stage a late rally.

1511: Half a penalty appeal from Villa when the ball strikes Phil Jones on the arm in the box, but it was clearly a case of ball-to-hand and nothing is given.

1509: Youngster Chris Herd, seconds after coming on to replace Jonathan Hogg for Aston Villa, almost makes the dream introduction as he throws himself at a Stewart Downing corner, but his header is charged down well by Michel Salgado.

genericToon on 606: "As an Ireland and Newcastle fan, I am sick to the teeth of him, but is Pedersen finally back to his breathtaking best?"

1507: Another throw of the dice from Villa boss Gerard Houllier, Nathan Delfouneso coming on to replace Gabriel Agbonlahor.

1505: Blackburn looking to soak-and-counter now, understandably, and Villa are running out of ideas of how to pick the Rovers lock. Robert Pires has been fairly anonymous so far, to be fair.

1502: Good save, that, Paul Robinson beating away a stinging left-foot long-ranger from Stewart Downing. Villa fast running out of time to get back into this.

1500: It should be game over. El Hadji Diouf, completely unmarked, is picked out by a doozy of a Michel Salgado cross but the Senegalese heads over six yards out. Ouch. Herold Goulon on for Morten Gamst Pedersen for Blackburn, meanwhile.

1459: Robert Pires, by the way, has stationed himself out on the left wing. I don't think he's touched it yet. I'm reliably informed the Frenchman was once voted Arsenal's sixth-best player of all time. Never knew that.

1458: Bit of nice build-up from Blackburn there, but from Jason Roberts's neat lay-off Phil Jones skies his effort miles over the Villa bar.

1457: Here he comes, then, Robert Pires brought on to replace Stephen Ireland in the Aston Villa midfield. What's the 37-year-old got left in the tank?

Blackburn goal: Breathing space for Rovers. Aston Villa again fail to deal with a corner and after Mame Diouf's initial shot is blocked, Ryan Nelsen slams goalwards and Morten Gamst Pedersen deflects the ball in.

1454: GOALFLASH Blackburn 2-0 Aston Villa (Pedersen)

1453: Mame Diouf comes on to replace Junior Hoilett for Blackburn.

1451: Super tackle, and Richard Dunne keeps Villa in it. El Hadji Diouf is released clear on goal but the Rovers forward dallies too long and Dunne sprints across to get in the saving challenge 12 yards out.

1450: And from the resulting free-kick another ripping effort from Morten Gamst Pedersen looks like creeping past the melee of players in the box and into the net - but Brad Friedel gets down to hold.

Yellow card
1449: First booking of the game as Ciaran Clark has his name taken for a blatant pull on the shirt of Jason Roberts.

AndySzpuk on Twitter: "How long before Villa resort to a bit of Pires magic to turn this game around?"

1447: Villa get a free-kick of their own wide on the left, but Ashley Young's driven free-kick doesn't even beat the wall - further up the pitch Morten Gamst Pedersen scoffs in his general direction.

1444: Villa knocking it about lovely now, with Stephen Ireland and Barry Bannan pulling the strings - but Blackburn, to their credit, are holding firm and Paul Robinson hasn't yet been too busy this half.

1441: Villa look to have switched to a more orthodox 4-4-2 with Ashley Young up front alongside Gabriel Agbonlahor - and they look a lot more comfortable as a result.

1440: Bit better this time from Blackburn - well, the shot is at least on target - but Phil Jones's low 20-yard snap-shot is straight down the throat of Villa keeper Brad Friedel.

1439: Jason Roberts undoes a lot of good work with another dire finish, firing way off target on the back of a decent run in from the left.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1437: Just as in the first half, Villa have flown out of the traps since the break - and Ashley Young is so close to a leveller. First he cuts in from the left and spanks a fierce effort goalwards that Paul Robinson beats away, and then the forward rises to meet a Stewart Downing cross only to see his header thump against the bar.

1435: Just the one change to tell you about, Gael Givet replaced by Pascal Chimbonda for Blackburn. Apparently Givet is ill, which might explain his poor first-half performance.

1434: We're back under way at Ewood Park.

1430: So far so good for the new Venky's-run Blackburn Rovers, then. And while we've got a moment during the half-time break, by the way, why not check out Matt Slater's blog on the Rao-family's takeover of the club? It's immediate impact might not just surround Rovers by the sound of things, but maybe even the Indian sub-continent as a whole. As Matt says: "The passing of the Walker era, and the security it provided, is undoubtedly a time for reflection at Ewood Park, but what happens next will not be boring."

James in Shrewsbury via text: "That caps a torrid first half for Friedel, who has flapped like a fish out of water at most crosses into the box."

Merlin via text: "Peck that one out!"

Half time
1420: HALF-TIME Blackburn 1-0 Aston Villa
Paul Fletcher's HT snap-shot:
"Difficult to say that either side really deserves to be in front after a largely uninspiring if very competitive half."

1418: And it's right on the stroke of half-time, too.

Blackburn goal: He scored a beauty for Norway against Republic of Ireland in the week and it's another fine free-kick from Morten Gamst Pedersen, this time from wide on the right. Brad Friedel should do a whole lot better, though, the American allowing the winger's whipped effort through his grip and into the net.

1417: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-0 Aston Villa (Pedersen)

1414: We'll have a break in play as Stephen Warnock receives some treatment after a clash of heads with El Hadji Diouf, who is receiving some rather stern words from the Villa players as a result. Unfortunately, not quite worthy of my 'handbags' graphic. Shame.

1412: I do hope my commentary graphics don't spend the whole afternoon on the sidelines. They're all looking rather redundant.

1410: El Hadji Diouf's header at the back post causes Brad Friedel, who has certainly had his fair share of work to do so far, a few more problems but the American keeper grabs at the second attempt.

1406: It's a decent break down the right there, though, Luke Young releasing Gabriel Agbonlahor, whose cross is well shepherded out by Michael Salgado under pressure in the box from Ashley Young.

1405: Villa just knocked off their stride in the last 10 or so minutes under the sheer weight of Blackburn set-piece routines. That will suit Sam Allardyce just fine.

1401: You have to wonder if Villa can afford to keep giving set-pieces away as they are right now. This time Morten Gamst Pedersen's delivery from the right touchline is flicked on by Jason Roberts and it is only inches past the post. Blackburn's approach under Sam Allardyce might not be particularly subtle, but it's coming pretty close to bearing fruit here.

1359: Another Blackburn free-kick, more trouble caused in the Villa box. Once again, though, the finishing is worse than poor and El Hadji Diouf's attempted scissors kick is utterly wayward.

1355: Villa might be the more attractive on the ball so far, but Blackburn are still looking a real threat from set-pieces - this time Junior Hoilett should do a lot better on the volley when the ball falls to him unmarked from a corner, but he slices it high over the bar.

1352: Blackburn's Gael Givet is not having the best of days so far, and he's just spooned an effort 18 yards out high, wide and not very handsome.

1350: Lovely build-up again from Villa, but Gabriel Agbonlahor mis-reads Stephen Ireland's pass and it allows Chris Samba to get back and clear. Poor movement from Agbonlahor.

1348: It's taken a fabulous tackle inside the area from Stephen Warnock on Jason Roberts to prevent what would have been a top chance for the hosts there, though. Roberts would've been through 12 yards out without it.

1347: Villa that much sharper to every ball at the moment, positive start from the visitors.

1344: I tell you what, that's a cracking save. After referee Michael Oliver collides with Blackburn's Gael Givet, Aston Villa break and Ashley Young brilliantly works some space inside the Blackburn box, only for Paul Robinson to get down excellently to palm the winger's snap-shot away. The closest we've come to an opener.

1341: First real glimpse of Scotland new-boy Barry Bannan in an attacking sense at Ewood (not Villa, obviously, ahem) Park... the midfielder cutting in from the right and zipping a low shot narrowly wide of Paul Robinson's upright.

1338: Morten Gamst Pedersen launches a long throw into the box and Michel Salgado does his best to get on the end of a rebound on the edge of the box, the Spaniard succeeding only in kicking Stephen Ireland, though.

Dan on 606: "Good start at Ewood Park. But we mustn't count our... never mind."

1335: Nice, open start at Ewood Park with both teams looking to get on the front foot nice and early.

1333: Villa bounce up the field and Stephen Ireland's through-ball is a delicious one, setting Stewart Downing through on goal on the right but the winger seeing his effort kept out low by Paul Robinson. Good chance, that.

1332: Erm... right. Morten Gamst Pedersen lays it off for Chris Samba to have a crack - it's so wide, though, it nearly takes out the corner flag.

1332: Blackburn straight on to the offensive and they have a free-kick, centre of goal, 25 yards out...

1330: Up and running in the Blackburn-Villa match.

1329: A quick introduction to the Ewood Park crowd for new owners Indian businessmen Balaji Rao and Venkatesh Rao - nice reception for those boys - and we're ready for kick-off.

1327: There's just time to bring you the Euro Club Index mathematics behind today's fixtures. According to the super-computer, the win chances for today's games - with the club's ECI ranking in brackets - are...
Blackburn (61) 41% v Aston Villa (36) 29%
Fulham (53) 39% v Man City (25) 30%
And if you fancy less mathematical approach... check out Lawro's Predictions. This week, he's up against Olly Murs. Yes, seriously.

1324: Right then, let's focus on all things Ewood Park shall we? The players are in the tunnel and we're minutes away from kick-off.

dominic on 606: "Who wants the title? Clearly Bolton. Hat's off to Owen Coyle who, on one of the league's more modest budgets, has got them up there with the big boys and playing better football then most of them too."

philw1958 on Twitter: "I'm with you on that Sam, I could listen to Ian Holloway all day breath of fresh air straight off the Irish sea ha!"

Paul Fletcher reports:
"This fixture marks the dawn of a new era for Blackburn after their £43m takeover by the Rao family on Friday. I wouldn't say the arrival of former Arsenal wide man Robert Pires at Aston Villa this week exactly heralds the start of a new era for the Birmingham club but it will be interesting to see how the 37-year-old shapes up if he makes an appearance from the substitute's bench."

JonnoSilentD via text: "I agree with Josh (1311) about no more chicken jokes. Seriously, an oeuf is an oeuf..."

Imveggieiam on 606: "All this fuss about yesterdays goals & controversy... has nobody picked up on the fact that the Kidderminster Harriers are now up to sixth in the table?! woo!"
Mate, it's all I can think about. Ahem.

1315: And while I'm briefly off-topic, our chief football writer Phil McNulty has only gone and blogged on Tottenham's stunning come-from-behind win over Arsenal yesterday. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp reckons it underlines his side's title credentials this year - I wonder what Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal think about that? And, more to the point, what about Manchester City fans? This is surely shaping up to be the most open title race for years... who wants it?

1311: If I can go very briefly off-topic by the way, did anyone see Blackpool boss Ian Holloway's reaction to Prince William's attendance at Bloomfield Road yesterday? I could listen to Ollie all day long, I love him... "The future king of England was watching us today. It's just fantastic, isn't it? I never though I'd be watched by royalty. I found out before the match that he was coming and had the privilege of going to meet him before kick off. I told him how proud I am of him and his brother. I also told him how proud his mother would have been. They are both cracking lads. Then I told him to leave our women alone if he goes out tonight! That was a joke. I just said be careful where you go!" What a hero that man is.

Josh via text: "No more yolks about chickens please..."

Paul Fletcher reports:
"So Blackburn make three changes from the team that lost 4-2 at Tottenham, with David Dunn, El-Hadji Diouf and Jason Roberts coming in for Pascal Chimbonda, Brett Emerton and Nikola Kalinic. Aston Villa's new signing Robert Pires is on the bench, while Ciaran Clark and Stephen Ireland replace James Collins and Marc Albrighton from the side that drew with Manchester United."

eric the mighty on 606: "Let's hope it's a goal fest, a controversy fest or at least a streaker to enhance the interest."
Ooh, you're a poet and you don't know it.

blake2108 on Twitter: "Marc Albrighton is a huge loss for Villa today. He's been magnificent for Villa this season."

Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Dunn, Jones, Pedersen, Hoilett, Roberts, El-Hadji Diouf. Subs: Bunn, Kalinic, Goulon, Hanley, Morris, Chimbonda, Mame Diouf.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Dunne, Clark, Warnock, Downing, Ireland, Hogg, Bannan, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Pires, Delfouneso, Osbourne, Lichaj, Herd, Lowry.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Jedd on 606: "Going to be a good day for the Football. Fulham will beat City in a thrilling encounter, scraping by. Aston Villa will pick off Blackburn after Blackburn take the lead early on."

1258: So, on that Robert Pires bombshell, I want you to get your best chat and banter going for me. Tweet me @sampatricklyon, text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) or join the chat over on her majesty's 606. This is your time to shine.

Robert Pires starts on the bench for Aston Villa.

1254: Before that, though, we've got Blackburn v Aston Villa. In the week that Rovers were finally taken over by the Rao family-run chicken business Venky's London Limited for the bargain price of £43m, we will see what affect the resolution of their off-field issues will have on the field for the Ewood Park faithful. Let's hope there's no fowl play or a poultry lack of action and that there's plenty of egg-citement with a happy hen-ding. I'll stop now. As for Villa, all eyes could be on 37-year-old free signing Robert Pires who may well be in line for a new-look defensive midfield role. Yep, interesting.

1251: Just joking Manchester City fans! In fact, this afternoon's later game at Craven Cottage between Fulham and Manchester City could well be a barn-stormer. Few could argue that Fulham have not been a better than some of their results this season, while City today have the opportunity to reignite their title challenge following defeats yesterday for Chelsea and Arsenal. And then there's the fascinating subtext involving the managers. Mark Hughes knows just what's it like to feel the pressure at City, and now it's Roberto Mancini's turn. What odds on the discard outshining his replacement today?

1249: Saying that, Manchester City are playing.

1248: Well luckily for you lot, I don't believe in all that rubbish. I say you make your own luck. I say I am the goal king and I say today we're in for a treat. Who's with me?

1245: Now then people, Saturday's Premier League action produced 23 goals, three red cards, six penalties and more incident than you could wave a very large stick at. Anyone think we might be in for a couple of right royal borefests today?

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Barclays Premier League results

21 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 21 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 Man City 14 8 25
5 Bolton 14 6 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 Blackburn 14 -1 18
12 Blackpool 14 -6 18
13 Aston Villa 14 -5 17
14 Birmingham 14 -2 16
15 West Brom 14 -9 16
16 Everton 13 1 15
17 Fulham 14 -3 14
18 Wigan 14 -13 14
19 Wolves 14 -11 9
20 West Ham 14 -14 9

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