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Page last updated at 22:36 GMT, Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Wednesday's football as it happened


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By Jonathan Stevenson

2232: Dear live text fans,
On behalf of the entire BBC Sport live text team, I'd like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your brilliant company throughout 2010. If you've enjoyed it a millionth as much as we have, it makes it all worthwhile. Now, as a Forest fan who has waited an eternity to celebrate an England Ashes-winning team in Australia, I'm off to celebrate one of the great sporting days in my life.
Happy and healthy New Year to each and every one of you,
Love Stevo x

2228: Don't forget this: Match of the Day, with goals from Tuesday's and Wednesday's Premier League matches, begins at 2235 GMT on BBC One and online. That's in seven of your English minutes.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez: "I'm extremely proud of the players, I think they produced a really good performance today, save for about 20 minutes when we didn't read the game. Charles N'Zogbia's actions were unforgiveable but we should look at the positives today, not negatives."

From Alexlawson8 on Twitter: "Just two years ago Liverpool were top after playing 18 games with 38 points. Now they're 12th after 18 games, with just 22 points."

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy: I'm a lot better than I was at 6.30 when I got here, to be honest. We played 4-4-2, tried to stop them building from the back and it's a really good victory, I thought we deserved it. We've played well tonight but we were hopeless on Sunday, so let's not get too carried away. Stephen Ward is an unsung hero."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "I felt we produced an outstanding performance and we are frustrated not to have won the game. We were very good in the first half and not quite so good in the second, but it's partly because of the number of games we are playing we made so many changes."

Chris Whyatt reports: "Still slumbering, those champions Chelsea. Watching world-class players do pub football is bizarre. But they can still grind out a result like the very best on Hackney Marshes."

Sam Sheringham reports: "A famous, and crucial, win for Wolves in their battle to avoid the drop. To describe Liverpool as woeful would be generous to Roy Hodgson's men."

Marc Vesty reports: "A point was nothing less than tenacious Wigan deserved against Arsene Wenger's lacklustre Arsenal side. After making eight changes from the side which beat Chelsea on Boxing Day the Gunners struggled to find any rhythm and were duly punished by a Wigan side who showed great spirit and desire throughout."

2217: Back to our intrepid team of reporters, then...

From Ben, Chester, on text: "How about stop boring me with moaning Liverpool fans and perhaps mention how well Wolves played?"
They didn't even have to play that well. Frightening, isn't it?

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson: "It was a bad day at the office, there was plenty of effort but no end product and the players are very disappointed in there. The fans have left angry and that's understandable. However, it would be dangerous to clear a lot of players out on the basis of one game. We wanted our renaissance to start today, but it hasn't happened. Panic would be the wrong thing to do but I'm not the sole arbiter of that."

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson: "It was a performance way below what we are capable of and what we wanted to give. I'd like to give Wolves credit, but I think we were a bit unlucky to lose the game, probably 0-0 would have been a fair result. But it was nowhere near our expectations or hopes."

2208: So, apparently Arsene Wenger was fuming about a couple of late decisions I couldn't see, because our tellys weren't working. Firstly, he thought Theo Walcott should have had a penalty, and then he thought Samir Nasri's late free-kick struck an arm in the Wigan wall. I haven't seen either of them, so I can't really comment. Ooh, I'm more like Arsene than I thought!

From Whos_The_Daddy68 on 606: "How is half a season enough time? Did Fergie build United's success in six months? What is wrong with some people - creating a team, a legacy TAKES TIME. And if Liverpool didn't think Hodgson could do that in the long term - why appoint him at all?"

Football League Danny: "Honours even in the League One clash at the Withdean - Brighton 1-1 Charlton. The Seagulls stay top - and remain unbeaten at home this season, the Addicks move up to third."

From Andy in Cheshire, on text: "An open letter from a Liverpool fan - Dear Roy, if you have any respect for our club and any self respect, do the decent thing and resign now. If you won't resign then the board should sack you. You are not good enough to manage our club."

2158: If you've got anything to do tonight, get it done in the next half an hour. Match of the Day is on BBC One and online at 2235 GMT. Today's goals, yesterday's goals - don't miss it.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti: "The first half was very difficult, we didn't play so well and there was a lot of weight on our shoulders. In the second half we were much better and played with more confidence, and after two games in two days we must say that the players did very well."

2156: Remarkable. And it gets even better for Wolves after their first win at Anfield since January 1984 - the Midlanders have moved off the bottom of the Premier League, leapfrogging West Ham.

2154: A crescendo of boos around Anfield from the Liverpool fans who bothered staying until the end and that will hurt Roy Hodgson, who looked punch-drunk as he got up off his seat and shook hands with Mick McCarthy.

2153: Full-time Liverpool 0-1 Wolves

2151: Liverpool's best chance of injury time is a long, pumped ball into the Wolves box by Steven Gerrard which Sotirios Kyrgiakos heads tamely wide. This isn't Liverpool - not the one I'm used to watching, anyway.

2148: We are into four minutes of stoppage time at Anfield. Drama of the late variety needed by Roy Hodgson to bail him out of this one. He needs a hero.

2146: Liverpool have the ball in the Wolves net, but it is correctly ruled out for offside as Martin Skrtel headed home from Steven Gerrard's free-kick. Good trap from the visitors, but a bit risky.

2145: Full-time Nottingham Forest 5-2 Derby County

2144: Liverpool don't look like scoring. In fact, they don't even really look like creating a decent chance. They've had some bad times already this season, but this is right up there. Abysmal.

Forest goal: That, my friends, is a spanking. Dean Leacock mis-kicks an attempted hooked clearance and Robert Earnshaw makes him pay with a fifth for the hosts, taking a touch and rifling past Stephen Bywater in the Derby goal.

2142: GOAL Nott'm Forest 5-2 Derby (Earnshaw)

2142: Full-time Brighton 1-1 Charlton

2140: Arsene Wenger is furious about something or other and remonstrates with fourth official Mike Dean at the DW Stadium. I think the Frenchman might receive a little bit more flak for the team he picked this evening.

2139: Full-time Wigan 2-2 Arsenal

2138: Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner and Sebastien Squillaci get in each other's way as they attempt to head a deep cross from Bacary Sagna goalwards. A decent chance goes begging.

2138: Carlo Ancelotti looked a relieved man upon the sounding of the final whistle at Stamford Bridge - that ends a winless run of six league games and ensures Chelsea go into the New Year only four points behind leaders Manchester United.

2136: Just seen Charles N'Zogbia on Jack Wilshere - definite red card. Stupid boy.

2136: Full-time Chelsea 1-0 Bolton


From Jason, Norfolk, on text: "Squillaci is absolute rubbish. He's been at fault for at least four or five goals already this season. The sooner Vermaelen is fit, the better."

2133: Samir Nasri, who has come on for Arsenal, fires a free-kick into the wall and it deflects behind for a corner. They are throwing everything at Wigan as they try and bag all three points.

2132: Chelsea are pressing. Ashley Cole surges forward and hits a powerful shot which Jussi Jaaskelainen has to turn round the post. From the ensuing corner, Chelsea work another opening but are again thwarted by the Bolton keeper.

2131: Liverpool have thrown on Ryan Babel and Joe Cole and they have about 20 minutes left to avoid an embarrassing home defeat at the hands of Wolves.

From 1965LFC on Twitter: "Been watching LFC since 1965 and they've never played so badly as under Hodgson. He's out of his depth and must go."

2129: Arsenal have sent on Theo Walcott as they try to grab a late winner in the north-west.

Wigan goal: I make it easy for you sometimes, don't I? Moments after going down to 10 men the hosts are back on level terms. It's scrappy, but the DW regulars won't care, a centre headed back across goal by Hugo Rodallega and with the Arsenal defenders getting into a bit of a tangle it is Sebastien Squillaci who heads into his own net.

2125: GOAL Wigan 2-2 Arsenal (Squillaci og)

Red card
Red card: That might be the end of Wigan's hopes of salvaging a draw, then. Charles N'Zogbia stupidly leans his head into Arsenal substitute Jack Wilshere and is sent off by referee Lee Probert.

2122: SENDING OFF Charles N'Zogbia, Wigan

2121: Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia forces a save from Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski as the Latics try to get back on level terms at the DW Stadium.

2120: Just to clarify, I'm listening to BBC Radio 5 live at the moment because our tellys have decided to stop working. So at the moment, can't see pictures from Liverpool, Wigan or Chelsea. Apologies.

From Aarfy_Aardvark on 606: "Seems like some bookies have stopped taking bets on Woy to be given the sack in the morning..."

Wolves goal: Good Lord, that's not going to help Phil in Weymouth's mood. Wolves, who haven't won away in the league all season, go in front at a stunned Anfield. Stephen Ward is played through and we're told Glen Johnson was keeping him onside, the midfielder running through and slotting past Pepe Reina.

2115: GOAL Liverpool 0-1 Wolves (Ward)

From Phil in Weymouth, on text: "If it stays like this at Anfield then this simply has to be Roy Hodgson's final game in charge, surely! It's awful!"

2111: I'm going to persevere, thanks to BBC Radio 5 live, who I can listen to on the website. So it's not a complete disaster. Ish. Bolton think they should have a penalty when Stuart Holden's shot appears to hit the arm of John Terry inside the Chelsea box, but nothing doing for the referee.

2109: I won't lie to you - just had an almost complete power failure at BBC towers, meaning I cannot hear or see anything football-related. Er...

2108: Decent chance for Liverpool, who continue to be held by Wolves. Glen Johnson gets into the box and finds David Ngog, but the French striker, who is tightly marked, can only fire a shot over the crossbar.

Derby goal: Haha, he just had to score, didn't he? Derby get back into the game almost straight away as former Forest winger Kris Commons spanks in a free-kick from about 25 yards. Not his sweetest-struck effort, but it could be crucial.

2105: GOAL Nott'm Forest 4-2 Derby (Commons)

Forest goal: What a game that sounds like. Nathan Tyson is the provider once again, crossing from the left and this time it's Robert Earnshaw who directs a low shot past Stephen Bywater in the Rams goal.

2103: GOAL Nott'm Forest 4-1 Derby (Earnshaw)

Chelsea goal: You can almost hear the sighs of relief from Stamford Bridge from here. Michael Essien does brilliantly to play Didier Drogba through down the right - he looks miles offside, but he absolutely wasn't, and Drogba crosses to the back post for Florent Malouda to tap into an empty net.

2102: GOAL Chelsea 1-0 Bolton (Malouda)

From OptaJoe on Twitter: "33 - Pepe Reina had 14 touches of the ball more than Fernando Torres (19) in the first half v Wolves."

2059: Just signs that the game is opening up a touch at Chelsea, with the hosts attacking with a little bit more fluency than before the break.

2057: Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and Everton manager David Moyes are sat side-by-side at the DW Stadium, watching very little unfold in front of them as Arsenal continue to lead Wigan 2-1.

From mikeywrestler on Twitter: "I'd put money on Rafa Benitez being Chelsea manager within a month!"

2053: Nothing to speak about in the second half at Wigan, with both teams battling for midfield supremacy as things stand. Next goal crucial, you might say.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2051: Whatever Carlo Ancelotti said at half-time, it nearly worked. Frank Lampard bursts forward from halfway and sends an accurate low pass forward for Didier Drogba, who fires the ball across Jussi Jaaskelainen from an angle on the right of the penalty area and watches as it cannons back off the far post.

2050: Back under way now at the DW Stadium, where it's Wigan 1-2 Arsenal. Four more goals and the Gunners go top of the league...

Half time
Liverpool 0-0 Wolves
Sam Sheringham's half-time snap-shot: "In a word - dull. Liverpool are showing all the rustiness of a side that haven't played for 18 days, Wolves have plenty of spirit but no cutting-edge."

2047: No changes at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea 0-0 Bolton is back under way in west London.

2045: I'd love to talk you through what's happening at Liverpool, but there hardly seems any point. Sorry.

2044: Of course it was Nicklas Bendtner who scored Arsenal's second. Well done, the eagle-eyed amongst you. Well done indeed.

From SimplyZola on 606: "Ancelotti won't be sacked. Roman knows there is hardly anyone better than him in the business. Unless Roman actually believes Big Sam is a good manager, Ancelotti is safe until May."

2039: If I had a pound for every time I'd seen the name 'Ray Wilkins' in a tweet, text or 606 message in the last six weeks or so...

2038: It's woeful at Anfield, where Wolves are holding Liverpool 0-0 quite comfortably at the moment. Really uninspiring stuff.

Football League Danny: "It's half-time at Brighton v Charlton - that's first hosting fourth - in League One. A terrible start for the Seagulls, who were 1-0 down to a Johnnie Jackson penalty after two minutes, then down to 10 men as Inigo Calderon was sent off. But Glenn Murray equalised on 36 minutes. 1-1. Game = on."

Half time
Wigan 1-2 Arsenal
Marc Vesty's half-time snap-shot: "For 38 minutes Arsene Wenger's eight pre-match changes appeared to have left Arsenal at their disjointed worst, with Wigan taking a deserved lead. But Andrey Arshavin's moment of inspiration and Nicklas Bendtner's cool finish have turned the momentum and scoreline well in favour of the Gunners."

Forest goal: It's dreamland for Forest fans, trust me on this one. Nathan Tyson turns on the turbo down the left and his cross into the Derby box draws another cracking finish, this time a diving header from the new City Ground hero, Marcus Tudgay. Still a long way to go, however.

2035: GOAL Nott'm Forest 3-1 Derby (Tudgay)

Half time
Chelsea 0-0 Bolton
Chris Whyatt's half-time snap-shot: "Bored Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen could have slumped against his post supping tea: wretched Chelsea haven't mustered a shot on goal."

2031: A chorus of boos greets the half-time whistle at Chelsea. It's like living in a parallel universe, isn't it?

Arsenal goal: Andrey Arshavin has well and truly come to life in the last five minutes. The Russian drives forward and, 30 yards out, plays a ball to the edge of the area for Nicklas Bendtner - the Dane bulldozes his way through two flaky challenges and keeps his cool to slot past Ali Al-Habsi and put the Gunners ahead.

2029: GOAL Wigan 1-2 Arsenal (Bendtner)

2029: It is shaping up to be another difficult night for Liverpool at Anfield, with Wolves dominating possession at the moment and making the home team look like the visitors.

2027: GOAL Brighton 1-1 Charlton (Murray)

2026: Still no joy for Chelsea - their big players have not turned up today, save for John Terry, who is doing everything he can to get his team going. Who does Carlo Ancelotti turn to?

Arsenal goal: Sublime. The Gunners get back on level terms and it's a finish right out of the top drawer. Marouane Chamakh sends Nicklas Bendtner away on the inside right channel and after his shot is well saved by Ali Al-Habsi, the ball loops into the air where, 14 yards out, Andrey Arshavin conjures the most wonderful acrobatic volley into the corner to equalise.

2024: GOAL Wigan 1-1 Arsenal (Arshavin)

From The Khan, on text: "In reply to rodredra6 (see 2018)... Does that mean that there are 17 people out there somewhere who are twin brothers with many of these Chelsea players?"

2022: There's a lull at Wigan, where Arsenal aren't anything like at their best. They are having plenty of the ball, but they look vulnerable every time Wigan pour forward, with Hugo Rodallega and Charles N'Zogbia in particularly mischief-making form.

2019: Wolves are enjoying a decent spell at Liverpool now, but they haven't created a proper chance as of yet.

2018: Sam Ricketts nutmegs Ashley Cole down the Bolton right and the visitors are probably still having the better of it at Chelsea - this move ends with Matty Taylor fizzing another sweet left-foot shot a couple of yards over Petr Cech's crossbar. The Blues are struggling to get any sort of move going.

From rodedra6 on Twitter: "Andrey Arshavin is a shadow of the player he used to be. Has he got a twin brother or something!?"

Forest goal: Not entirely sure how much more of this I can take. Two ex-Rams combine to put the Reds ahead, with Rob Earnshaw jinking into space and delivering a brilliant cross to the far post that Marcus Tudgay heads in powerfully.

2012: GOAL Nott'm Forest 2-1 Derby (Tudgay)

2011: Arsenal are forced into a change as Abou Diaby limps off at Wigan and Jack Wilshere comes on in his place.

From all-powerfulBlueNick on 606: "Chelsea are shockingly poor and that Drogba free-kick was one of the worst I've ever seen."

2009: By the way, they are under way at Anfield as Liverpool play Wolves. Big cheer for Steven Gerrard's first tackle and the hosts nearly go ahead when Raul Meireles takes advantage of a defensive mistake to shoot goalwards, Wayne Hennessey making a good save inside the penalty area.

2007: Bolton look the likelier side to score at Chelsea and a cross from the right is woefully headed straight into the path of Matty Taylor by Jose Bosingwa, with the Trotters man drilling wide of the far post.

2006: Didier Drogba gives the impression he has his boots on the wrong feet after walloping a free-kick shot directly out for a throw-in. He was aiming at goal. Awful attempt.

Derby goal: Level pegging in the east midlands and it's come from Derby's first attack of the contest. Alberto Bueno sends over a cross and there is Luke Moore to fire past Lee Camp to silence the majority of the City Ground. Derbies are never boring, are they?

2004: GOAL Nott'm Forest 1-1 Derby (Moore)

Wigan goal: I'm not really sure how to explain this. Charles N'Zogbia goes on a mazy run at the Arsenal defence, jinking in-between Abou Diaby and Laurent Koscielny, and when he gets past them he tumbles on the edge of the penalty area. In normal time it looks like a penalty, but in slo-mo it looks live a horrific dive. Ben Watson steps up and slots it into the corner. Advantage to the relegation-threatened team.

2002: GOAL Wigan 1-0 Arsenal (Watson)


1959: There's a minute's applause at Anfield in honour of the memory of former Reds footballers Avi Cohen and Bill Jones, who both sadly died this week. Both teams have donned black armbands for the occasion.

1957: Arsenal have a free-kick 20 yards out and Nicklas Bendtner opts for power rather than culture, blasting the ball goalwards as hard as he can and watching it take a hefty deflection and fly behind for a corner.

1957: Pressure from Bolton, with Chelsea captain John Terry forced to hack away from inside his own six-yard box with Kevin Davies breathing down his neck. I know it's stating the obvious, but it just doesn't look like Chelsea at all.

1956: SENDING OFF Inigo Calderon, Brighton

1955: Hugo Rodallega shoots at Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski from the edge of the penalty area and Wigan have started really impressively at the DW Stadium.

1953: Chelsea look jittery at the Bridge, with passes going astray in the early stages. This just in from Infostrada Sports: "Chelsea's run of no wins in six is their worst run since August-September 2000. The Blues only have three longer winless streaks in the PL era. Only one club clinched the PL title after a streak like this. Manchester United were winless in seven straight matches in the 1992/1993 season."

Forest goal: First blood to the hosts as Raddy Majewski flings a corner into the Derby box and centre-back Luke Chambers is on hand to thump a header into the net.

1951: GOAL Nott'm Forest 1-0 Derby (Chambers)

1951: GOAL Brighton 0-1 Charlton (Jackson, pen)

1950: Arsenal's turn to attack and they could be ahead already. Tomas Rosicky plays a super pass to the left for Andrey Arshavin and he takes it early, slamming a right-foot volley a couple of yards over the bar.

1948: Forest and Derby are under way in the Championship. I'm a mess.

1947: Blinding start from Wigan, they are pouring all over Arsenal early doors - a Tom Cleverly cross from the left seems to fall perfectly for Hugo Rodallega, but he misses his header and the ball strikes his arm, so danger over for the Gunners.

1945: Hugo Rodallega and Mohamed Diame get us under way at Wigan, while Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka do likewise at Stamford Bridge.

1944: Teams are out at Wigan and at Chelsea, don't forget the Liverpool-Wolves game starts at 2000 GMT.

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson: "The training has been very good, the players are anxious and desperate to play. Steven Gerrard will be able to play for 90 minutes, he was ready for the Fulham game which was called off. It's a Premier League game and every single one is a difficult one."

1940: Courtesy of the stats magicians (stagicians? magistats?) at Infostrada Sports and in conjunction with their Euro Club Index, here are the chances of victory for each team tonight, with their ECI ranking in brackets. All conjecture at this juncture, however:
Chelsea (4) 78% v Bolton (84) 6%
Wigan (145) 18% v Arsenal (7) 55%
Liverpool (16) 76% v Wolves (193) 7%

From j_powling on Twitter: "Worried about Arsenal breathing down Man Utd's necks. Think Charles Insomnia can shock Wenger's team again?"

1935: Liverpool v Wolves team news:
Sam Sheringham reports:
"Steven Gerrard returns to the heart of Liverpool's midfield after six weeks out with a hamstring injury. Maxi Rodriguez is the man to step aside with Raul Meireles set to operate from a wide position. Wolves make one change to the side beaten 2-1 at home by Wigan on Boxing Day, with winger Matt Jarvis replacing Dave Edwards."

From Stew, Gooner, on text: "Wenger has taken Arsenal's season into his own hands here. A win with this team and we go to Birmingham with a fit squad looking good. A loss? Well for me, it's game over."
Haha, I love you lot.

1931: Forest-Derby predo? Haha, not in a million years.

1929: Hey, web users - if you refresh your page, you'll find a midweek Final Score at the top of this page, and commentary of Forest v Derby top right too. UK only though, yeah?

1928: Nott'm Forest v Derby County line-ups:
Nott'm Forest:
Camp, Gunter, Morgan, Chambers, Bertrand, Ramsey, Moussi, Majewski, Tyson, Earnshaw, Tudgay.
Subs: Smith, Wilson, Anderson, McGugan, Adebola, McCleary, Cohen.
Derby: Bywater, Leacock, Barker, Brayford, Moxey, Bailey, Cywka, Green, Commons, Bueno, Moore.
Subs: Deeney, Davies, Pearson, Porter, Pringle, Addison, Doyle.
Referee: Tony Bates (Staffordshire)

From Wengers Optician on 606: "Some Arsenal fans are so fickle. If RVP, Nasri or Walcott started and got injured they'd blame Wenger for not resting them for the Brum game. Never pleasing some people."

1923: Wigan v Arsenal team news:
Marc Vesty reports: "Wigan
boss Roberto Martinez makes one change from the side that beat Wolves on Boxing Day with Hendry Thomas returning from suspension and replacing James McArthur. After beating champions Chelsea on Sunday, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger shows his squad's strength in depth, making eight changes in an attempt to keep his players fresh. Only Lukasz Fabianski, Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny keep their places in the starting XI. Robin van Persie is not in the squad, so Marouane Chamakh is partnered by Nicklas Bendtner up front. Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri and Jack Wilshere are on the bench."

1920: Liverpool v Wolves line-ups:
Reina, Johnson, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Konchesky, Kuyt, Gerrard, Lucas, Meireles, Torres, Ngog.
Subs: Jones, Agger, Aurelio, Cole, Maxi, Babel, Poulsen.
Wolves: Hennessey, Zubar, Stearman, Berra, Elokobi, Foley, Milijas, Hunt, Jarvis, Ward, Ebanks-Blake.
Subs: Hahnemann, Edwards, Fletcher, David Jones, Bent, Mujangi Bia, Batth.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

1918: Chelsea v Bolton team news:
Chris Whyatt reports:
"French striker Nicolas Anelka returns to Chelsea's starting XI after a recent ankle injury. So do Ramires and Jose Bosingwa as the trio replace Salomon Kalou, John Obi Mikel and Paulo Ferreira. Bolton hand a full Premier League debut to exotic summer signing Rodrigo Moreno, a Brazilian-born Spanish winger-cum-striker. They also recall Welsh full-back Sam Ricketts."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Jan Molby: "I find it incredible that Arsenal have changed so many players. They must have had so much momentum after the win over Chelsea, and Arsene Wenger leaves most of those players out. I'm really, really surprised."

From ayaj12 on Twitter: "Scary... None of the goalscorers from the game against Chelsea. Does Wenger know how important this game is?"

1911: Chelsea v Bolton line-ups:
Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Malouda.
Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Kalou, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Moreno, Holden, Muamba, Taylor, Kevin Davies, Elmander.
Subs: Bogdan, Petrov, Mark Davies, Klasnic, Blake, Alonso.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

From Luke, Cardiff, on text: "Stevo, don't forget to mention that reports from Cardiff are saying that they have completed the signing of young Everton forward James Vaughan for £1m."

1906: Wigan v Arsenal line-ups:
Al Habsi, Stam, Gary Caldwell, Alcaraz, Gohouri, Thomas, Diame, Cleverley, Watson, N'Zogbia, Rodallega.
Subs: Pollitt, Boselli, Steven Caldwell, Gomez, McArthur, Figueroa, McManaman.
Arsenal: Fabianski, Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Sagna, Diaby, Rosicky, Denilson, Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin.
Subs: Szczesny, Nasri, Vela, Walcott, Wilshere, Djourou, Clichy.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

1904: Hearing that Nicolas Anelka starts for Chelsea this evening. Full team news from all the grounds to follow.

Chelsea v Bolton scene-setter:
Chris Whyatt reports: "Fears for the collapse of civilisation hung in the air the last time Chelsea suffered such a woeful run of form. Yet, in December 1999, the 'millennium bug' proved nothing but ridiculous hot air. Is talk of a genuine Blues' demise in the same vein? Terry, Lampard, Drogba & Co. will be frantic to remind theorists - and themselves - that class is permanent. Yet stereotype-defying entertainers Bolton, who could leapfrog the champions into fifth place with victory, are men in remarkable form."

Liverpool v Wolves scene-setter:
Sam Sheringham reports: "Steve Mardenborough, anyone? He was the little-known striker who scored the only goal of his Wolves career the last time they beat Liverpool - at Anfield in January 1984. The chances of Mick McCarthy's men staging a repeat look thinner than a catwalk model, with injury-ravaged Wolves bottom of the table and without an away league win since March. Liverpool have won their last four at Anfield, have talisman Steven Gerrard back from injury, and will be champing at the bit after two successive postponements."

Wigan v Arsenal scene-setter:
Marc Vesty reports: "A win for Arsenal at the DW Stadium would send them level on points with Manchester United and Manchester City, but Arsene Wenger's side must win by five clear goals to top the table going into 2011. Wigan have form against Arsenal, having beaten the Gunners 3-2 at the DW Stadium in April. But this time they desperately need a result to move out of the relegation zone and pull Fulham back into the bottom three."

1853: Anyway, it's scene-setter time. I think you'll like the three gentlemen we've hand-picked to take care of tonight's Premier League games, too...

From Ollie, on text: "All that and not even a mention of the Ashes. Disgraceful."
You're right. If you could see me now, you'd see a man quite literally hanging his head in shame. Best day to be English ever?

From Patrick Butler on 606: "Bolton to beat Chelsea, Ancelloti to get sacked and Owen Coyle to take his place and Sam Allardyce to rejoin Bolton Wanderers."

From ConnorArmstrong on Twitter: "Do you promise to remain impartial or is that pushing it too far?"
My gran always said, don't make promises you can't keep. So no.

From Spurs Pearlo, on text: "You've got me excited. We are in the mixer, and it feels wonderful. Good luck Forest."

1842: Whether you've got some top-class football chat or simply want to mock the afflicted (me), throw us a bone, will ya? Not sure I could get through the next few hours without you. Send a text to 81111, bung us a tweet at the obviously monikered @Stevo_football and post missives to your heart's content on the 606 thread too.

1840: Cards on the table time: my heart is beating like a drum. In a little over an hour's time, about 120 miles away from where I am sitting right now, Nottingham Forest and Derby will get under way in their Championship clash at the City Ground. It's the battle for the Brian Clough Trophy, and where I come from, it gets no bigger. Monumentus.

1837: Proceedings alert - here's tonight's chat:
1945 GMT: Chelsea v Bolton
1945 GMT: Wigan v Arsenal
2000 GMT: Liverpool v Wolves
From the Championship...
1945 GMT: Nottm Forest v Derby
And from League One...
1945 GMT: Brighton v Charlton Athletic

1834: Oh yeah - and Bolton can go above Chelsea into fifth if they continue the Stamford Bridge club's miserable recent run of results and win in west London tonight. Dull? Do me a favour.

1830: On my way home last night, I had a moment's realisation. The Premier League, we are so often told, is boring. Same teams winning titles, same teams finishing in top four, same teams in roughly same places every season... Except this time around, some things have happened that don't feel very, um, samey:
The champions have self-destructed;
The lead at the top has changed hands 13 times;
A team that has never finished higher than fifth is second;
A team that has lost five times already could go top tonight;
A team with no titles since 1961 is right in the mixer.

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Barclays Premier League results

29 Dec 2010 23:59 UK

Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 29 Dec 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 18 22 38
2 Man City 20 16 38
3 Arsenal 19 17 36
4 Chelsea 19 18 34
5 Tottenham 19 6 33
6 Bolton 20 6 29
7 Sunderland 20 -1 27
8 Blackpool 17 -3 25
9 Blackburn 20 -5 25
10 Stoke 19 -1 24
11 Everton 19 -1 22
12 Liverpool 18 -2 22
13 Newcastle 19 -3 22
14 West Brom 19 -9 22
15 Aston Villa 19 -14 20
16 Wigan 19 -14 20
17 Birmingham 18 -3 19
18 Fulham 19 -4 19
19 Wolves 19 -12 18
20 West Ham 20 -13 17

see also
Wednesday's football photos
29 Dec 10 |  Football

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