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By Sam Lyon
2230: Right then, home time folks. I say do your talking while your walking. I imagine said chat will involve a lot of Arsenal's trophy push, Man Utd's title charge, Gerard Houllier's revolution, Charlie Adam, penalty decisions and the like... and at least a couple of mentions of Swindon's failure to find the net tonight. Cheers for that, Football League Danny. I -
- am back tomorrow for another couple of beauties,
Birmingham-West Ham's Carling Cup semi-final
Liverpool v Fulham
in the Premier League, so I hope to hear from you all then? Jubbly. Until then, sleep well my beauties, sleep well...
Matt via text: "Fergie to make a cheeky bid for Charlie Adam before the end of the month?"
ARSENAL 3-0 IPSWICH (agg 3-1) Paul Fletcher
at the Emirates: "It took a while but Arsenal knocked on the door for long enough and eventually prised it open. Tough luck on Ipswich, who gave it everything, but Arsenal are now just 90 minutes from winning a trophy for the first time since 2005."
WIGAN 1-2 ASTON VILLA Les Roopanarine reports: "Villa will quite rightly take heart from claiming back-to-back wins for the first time this season, but on another day it might easily have been a draw - as it would have been had Emerson Boyce not conceded a needless penalty. For Wigan, frustration; for Villa, optimism tempered by caution."
BLACKPOOL 2-3 MAN UTD Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Bloomfield Road: "What a turnaround. The unbeaten run continues for Man Utd and those three goals in the last 18 minutes showed the resilience and inspiration of Premier League champions. Blackpool understandably shell-shocked."
2212: Another sensational night of football - I did say it'd banish those January blues didn't I? - so let's why don't we hear from our match reporters...
2210: Ipswich boss Paul Jewell on the BBC: "The players worked so hard but they were beaten by a brilliant team. In fact they worked so hard when they didn't have the ball that when they did have possession the quality or energy wasn't there. But let's not take anything away from the effort."
2205: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the BBC: "We showed great spirit. It was a pleasure to watch the team. There was some great play and the team had an outstanding attitude. It was important not to concede and important to be patient. One or two years ago we would have been nervous but today we kept our focus on playing our game."
Football League Danny: "Lots of League Two action. The main news from the top and bottom... Chesterfield are six points clear after beating Gillingham 2-0. Crewe are third after a 2-1 win over Bradford. Rotherham slipped up 3-0 at Stevenage and are fourth. Port Vale are fifth - they drew 0-0 (in a Swindon stylee) against Barnet. Oxford beat Shrewsbury 3-1 and move into a play-off spot, one point behind tonight's opponents. At the bottom, great news for Hereford and Lincoln - they both won and are both out of the bottom two - and with games in hand on Barnet and Stockport who are now in the danger zone..."
Jamie, Hampshire, via text: "Re 7th day... Yep, I've changed my mind!" And Jamie's not the only one judging by your texts etc.
rish_vrma on Twitter:
"I love how Fergie's suddenly moonlighting as Charlie Adam's agent by raising his valuation by £5m after that appraisal!"
Football League Danny: "Enjoy the League One table, Seagulls. Brighton are six points clear at the top with 49 points from 25 matches. And they have a game in hand on Bournemouth in second. Elsewhere, MK Dons drew with Leyton Orient and are fifth. Yeovil move above Bristol Rovers on goal difference by dint of a 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday - but with bans looming for two red-carded players. And Swindon are just above them after failing to score in a 0-0 draw with Tranmere. For the record, Robins, Football League Danny knows you've scored 37 times in the league this season - he was just messing wit' ya."
Desolation_row on 606:
"Ian Hollaway is an absolute legend, some managers would have spent the whole of the post-match interview moaning about the penalty. Instead he gave both teams the praise they deserved."
Football League Danny: "So. Catch breath. In the Championship. Nottingham Forest are up to fifth after a win over Bristol City. They are a point behind Cardiff, Norwich and Swansea - and with a game in hand. Burnley up to ninth with a win at Portsmouth, who are languishing. Barnsley beat Doncaster in the south Yorkshire derby and are up to 13th, Donny looking nervously over their shoulder..."
On the 7th day on 606:
"Do Arsenal fans still consider it the mickey mouse cup? I, as a United fan, consider every trophy, even the Carling Cups, as proper cups. But just wondering if Gooners have changed their minds?"
2155: Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has just told ESPN: "If that's not a penalty on Luke Varney then deary, deary me. Rafael makes no effort to play the ball at all, he wipes the player out, and it's a stone-waller. Though maybe I'm just biased! If we go 3-0 up, who knows? Saying that, what a team United are. The players they brought on, the way they came strong at the end, they are magnificent team. And my Blackpool aren't a million miles away from them, I'm telling you. As for Charlie Adam - he was magnificent tonight. He deserves to play at a higher level, I have to say that, because he is such a tremendous player, he really is. I just hope that we can hang on to him until the summer because I believe he could keep us up."
jonesyspurs4ever via text: "I'm gutted Swindon didn't score... I was more interested in that game than i was Blackpool v Man Utd. How many people will be checking if they score on Saturday, or am I just sad?"
2150: Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson on ESPN: "The first half we were battered and we couldn't handle Charlie Adam, his corner kicks are worth £10m. We changed it at half-time, brought on Ryan Giggs, started to penetrate and, in the end, ran out deserved winners. The team kept going, playing their football penetrating and they got their reward for that. His (Javier Hernandez's) pace and timing of the runs are fantastic. He is so good at the and could have scored four goals. He has made a tremendous impact."
Football League Danny: "League Two full-times. Cheltenham 1-2 Lincoln, Crewe 2-1 Bradford, Gillingham 0-2 Chesterfield, Hereford 2-1 Morecambe, Oxford 3-1 Shrewsbury, Port Vale 0-0 Barnet, Southend 4-1 Macclesfield, Steveage 3-0 Rotherham."
2145: The Gerard Houllier revolution continues for Aston Villa, meanwhile, as his side earn a second win three days to move up to 13th in the table. As for Wigan, the defeat makes it just one win in nine and they remain in the bottom three. Pressure growing on manager Roberto Martinez?
Football League Danny: "League One full-times. Brighton 2-0 Colchester, Hartlepool 1-1 Notts County, Leyton Orient 2-2 MK Dons, Sheffield Wednesday 2-2 (nine-man) Yeovil, Walsall 1-1 Oldham and *drumroll* .... Swindon 0-0 Tranmere."
Football League Danny: "Championship full-times. Nottingham Forest 1-0 Bristol City. Doncaster 0-2 Barnsley. Portsmouth 1-2 Burnley. Context to follow, but while I'm here - Swindon haven't scored yet..."
2140: Arsenal, eventually, then, stride into the Carling Cup final, where they will face either Birmingham or West Ham, who face-off tomorrow with the Londoners 2-1 up from the first leg. For all Ipswich's grit and guile, you cannot argue Arsenal don't deserve to be there - and Jack Wilshere's display tonight was one of real quality. Plenty for the Championship side to take credit for, though, and if they can repeat that sort of endeavour in the league they'll soon pull away from the wrong end of the table, for sure.
2138: FULL-TIME Arsenal 3-0 Ipswich (agg 3-1)
2137: FULL-TIME Wigan 1-2 Aston Villa
Football League Danny: "Reda Johnson has levelled for Sheffield Wednesday against nine-man Yeovil - four minutes to go. In the Champo, Forest, Burnley and Barnsley are all winning. In League One, Brighton are going to extend their lead at the top - ditto Chesterfield in League Two. And, no, no. Swindon haven't scored."
2133: We'll have four minutes of stoppage time in the Wigan 1-2 Aston Villa game.
2132: Another cracking advert for Premier League football from Bloomfield Road, then, but an inspired first 70 minutes from the hosts still not enough to prevent Sir Alex Ferguson's juggernaut powering five points clear at the top of the Premier League table. Ian Holloway's verdict on that second-half-penalty-that-wasn't will be very interesting, though...
2130: FULL-TIME Blackpool 2-3 Man Utd
2130: Blackpool-Man Utd enters its 100th minute.
2129: Arsenal seeing their Carling Cup semi-final second leg out rather comfortably at the moment, the keep-ball specialists delighting the Emirates faithful.
2126: Much sign of a Blackpool comeback? Not really. They gave their all for 70 minutes but have just found their legs wanting in these last 20 as United have upped the pressure. Four minutes left.
Football League Danny: "League One leaders Brighton are 2-0 up on Colchester and seemingly cruising to victory. Dave from Swindon texts to claim that Swindon nearly scored. However, they haven't actually scored, no."
Arsenal goal: Arsenal are heading for the Carling Cup final. Andrey Arshavin jinks around the edge of the Ipswich box before laying in Cesc Fabregas, who slides the ball under keeper Marton Fulop left-footed first time.
2124: GOALFLASH Arsenal 3-0 Ipswich (agg 3-1) (Fabregas)
Wigan goal: Hope for Wigan. James McCarthy is the goalscorer but he gets the huge benefit of a big deflection off James Collins as his 25-yarder creeps past keeper Brad Friedel.
2122: GOALFLASH Wigan 1-2 Aston Villa (McCarthy)
2120: Blimey. If Blackpool can find something - anything - in their legs, they'll have all of 10 minutes to find an equaliser at Bloomfield Road following that Rafael da Silva injury earlier. I wonder what Sir Alex Ferguson will say about that?
Man Utd goal: Not such an 'unlikely' victory now, sorry Blackpool fans. Dimitar Berbatov hits what looks for all the world Man Utd's match-winner, collecting Paul Scholes's pass and going on to lash home his 20th of the season. Blackpool have been undone by goals in the last 15 minutes. Heartbreak.
2118: GOALFLASH Blackpool 2-3 Man Utd (Berbatov)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Bloomfield Road: "The whole atmosphere has changed here. Blackpool fans silent and Manchester United fans scenting an unlikely victory. Worrying injury for Rafael."
Football League Danny: "Desperate Matthew, Mid, Anon and The Belle Vue Bat - among others - would like to know if Swindon have scored yet. No. They haven't. Yeovil have had another man sent off though - Adam Virgo joining Luke Ayling in the early bath. Sheffield Wednesday have not taken advantage - they've missed a penalty!"
2115: It's not wrapped up yet by any stretch of the imagination for Arsenal, and Ipswich provide a little warning that they're just a goal from getting right back in this tie as Jason Scotland bursts into the area on the left and fires a low shot that home keeper Wojciech Szczesny claims at his near post.
at the Emirates: "You can feel the relief inside the Emirates. All the anxiety and frustration that had built and built has ebbed away to be replaced by a mood of triumphalism. The tie has changed totally."
2113: It's all Man Utd at Bloomfield Road - and then some, to be honest - but this may prove a setback for the visitors, with Rafael da Silva stretchered off after what looked a rather nasty clash of heads. Anderson comes on, Darren Fletcher pushed back to right-back.
Football League Danny: "Here's your Champo matches "20 minutes to go" update. Doncaster 0-2 Barnsley (Danny Haynes nets again). Forest 1-0 Bristol City. Portsmouth 1-2 Burnley. Meanwhile, Yeovil, 2-1 up at Sheffield Wednesday, are down to 10 men."
Arsenal goal: Two goals in three minutes and it's advantage Arsenal. Marton Fulop - who has played a big part in keeping Ipswich ahead in this tie previously - comes for a corner that he doesn't get and Laurent Koscielny takes advantage, nodding in Andrey Arshavin's delivery.
2109: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-0 Ipswich (agg 2-1) (Koscielny)
Arsenal goal: Breakthrough. Jack Wilshere - who has been brilliant tonight - finds Nicklas Bendtner with a lovely long pass, and the Dane collects, turns inside the area, and curls home right-footed. The Carling Cup semi-final is level on aggregate.
2107: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 Ipswich (agg 1-1) (Bendtner)
Football League Danny: "In League One, it's Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Yeovil. Paul Huntington with the Glovers' second. Meanwhile, Mad Tim in Swindon texts to ask me if Swindon have scored. I don't want to get on the wrong side of Mad Tim, but no. They haven't."
Man Utd goal: Complete turnaround - and Blackpool will do well to hang on for a point now. Ryan Giggs sets Javier Hernandez through with a beauty of a through-ball, and this time the substitute makes no mistake, sliding under the onrushing Richard Kingson. Blackpool shell-shocked.
2104: GOALFLASH Blackpool 2-2 Man Utd (Hernandez)
Aston Villa goal: Hendry Thomas needlesly hacks Ashley Young down inside the box and the winger picks himself up to crash home the visitors' second from the spot.
2103: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-2 Aston Villa (Young pen)
2102: PENALTY TO ASTON VILLA
Man Utd goal: Tide-turner at Bloomfield Road? With Blackpool visibly tiring after their mammoth efforts of the first 70 minutes, Darren Fletcher gets in some space inside the box and crosses for Dimitar Berbatov to volley home unmarked from six yards out. Game on.
2102: GOALFLASH Blackpool 2-1 Man Utd (Berbatov)
2101: Arsenal are finding it even more difficult than they did in the first half to cut through the Ipswich defence. The Premier League side have a lot of possession around the Ipswich area but their final ball are being easily read by the opposition.
Football League Danny: "Good news for my fellow Football League Danny - that's Danny Haynes, who has put Barnsley 1-0 up at Doncaster. Meanwhile, in League Two, Chesterfield lead 2-0 at Gillingham and are going six points clear at the top of League Two as it stands..."
2100: One-on-one for Man Utd... missed! Javier Hernandez is set clear on goal - he's onside - but Richard Kingson is out well to close the angles well and save with his feet. Blackpool, yet to keep a clean sheet a Bloomfield Road this season, are clinging on.
2059: Man Utd starting to knock on the door a little louder now, and Paul Scholes is unfortunate to see his fine half-volley from range deflected away by a desperate Blackpool clearance.
Brozy134 on 606:
"RE: 2050: Rejected!! What do they value Aguero at? Godin isn't worth more than £10m. Wow, really hope we get Aguero."
2056: Change for Man Utd - and it's Wayne Rooney the man replaced, Javier Hernandez brought on by Sir Alex Ferguson. How times have changed for the England and United frontman, huh?
Football League Danny: "Nottingham Forest 1-0 Bristol City. Luke Chambers has put Forest ahead and they'll move up to fifth if they win and move closer to those automatic promotion spots. Meanwhile, Nick texts in to ask if Swindon have scored yet. No. They haven't."
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Bloomfield Road: "Sir Alex Ferguson is roaring at his Manchester United players on the touchline, but still no serious tests for Blackpool keeper Richard Kingson. United having more possession though and one goal will spread the nerves around Bloomfield Road."
2054: Closer for Man Utd, Paul Scholes's curling long-ranger palmed away by Richard Kingson.
Aston Villa goal: It's his first Premier League goal of the season - and it's not before time, either. Gabriel Agbonlahor is on hand to head in from all of six inches after Ali Al Habsi's magnificent save from Carlos Cuellar's header falls to the Villa frontman.
2053: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-1 Aston Villa (Agbonlahor)
2052: Back up and running at the Emirates.
2051: Good effort, good save in the Wigan-Villa clash, Ashley Young crashing a rising shot goalwards on the back of a surging run, Ali Al Habsi tipping it over the bar.
2050: BREAKING TRANSFER NEWS Chelsea have had
a £52m bid
for Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero and defender Diego Godin rejected. I thought Roman Abramovich was supposed to be losing interest? Obviously not.
2047: We're back under way at the DW Stadium, where it's Wigan 0-0 Aston Villa - and not even as exciting as the scoreline suggests, so I'm told.
2046: I'm not sure Ian Holloway has calmed down on the touchlines yet. The poor blighter's face looks on the verge of implosion. Not that I can't understand his anger, mind.
Football League Danny: "Adrian texts in to ask if Swindon have scored yet. No. They haven't. Although in fairness, it's been half-time for a bit. And, just to update you on those Championship half-times, it's 0-0 between Doncaster and Barnsley and Nottingham Forest and Bristol City. And Burnley lead 2-1 at Portsmouth."
Wes, Lancs, via text: "Wenger's most important team-talk of the season, this. Central thesis: keep calm."
Football League Danny: "Couple of significant half-time developments for you. League One leaders Brighton are 1-0 up on Colchester after Inigo Calderon's strike. Southend are frankly monstering Macclesfield. Half-time = 4-0. And Clayton Donaldson of Crewe has been sent off - but Alex lead Bradford 2-1."
2040: I'm sorry, but how is that not a penalty? Blackpool forward Luke Varney looks to have been cleared out by Rafael da Silva inside the box, with the Brazilian nowhere near the ball, but referee Peter Walton waves the appeals away. Varney is incredulous and Blackpool boss Ian Holloway is incandescent.
2039: I make that the closest Man Utd have come to a goal at Bloomfield Road as Darren Fletcher flicks Ryan Giggs's corner goalwards, but it's cleared off the line.
2039: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Ipswich (agg 0-1) Paul Fletcher
at the Emirates: "Ipswich manager Paul Jewell looked increasingly concerned as the first half wore on - and with good reason. Arsenal worked up a head of steam, while Town increasingly struggled to keep possession for more than a few seconds. Having said that, the Championship team are still ahead in the tie and the Gunners have it all to do."
2037: HALF-TIME Wigan 0-0 Aston Villa Les Roopanarine's HT snap-shot: "An enterprising start by Villa faded into a much-improved display by Wigan, but with both sides struggling to find anything remotely resembling a killer touch, the first half tailed off into mediocrity. We need a goal, fast."
2036: There's the half-time whistle at the Emirates.
2035: As Mark Kennedy pulls off a fine block tackle to disposes the onrushing Cesc Fabregas in north London, Blackpool-Man Utd gets back under way.
darkanddom on 606:
"Hmmm...not sure where a goal is going to come from for Arsenal. Maybe we need Walcott and Nasri..."
2033: We'll have four minutes of first-half stoppage time at the Emirates.
2032: Half-time whistle at the DW Stadium.
2030: Bit of headers-and-volleys inside the Ipswich area from Arsenal front pair Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner, but once again it's much ado about nothing and the visitors are able to clear.
James_2O11 on Twitter:
"Charlie Adams is playing brilliantly at Bloomfield Road. His value has raised again. Sign him up Liverpool FC! Before Blackpool are in the Champions League!"
Football League Danny: "The winners of the "first team to go 3-0 up tonight" award are Southend, who have literally romped ahead against Macclesfield. Meanwhile, in the Championship, it's now Portsmouth 1-2 Burnley. In League One, it's Sheff Wed 1-1 Yeovil and Hartlepool 1-0 Notts County. And, anonymous (see 2014), I'm afraid Swindon still haven't scored."
2027: After a bright start it's all gone a bit flat at the DW Stadium, where Wigan are struggling to find an incisive touch in the final third and Villa are struggling to maintain the authority they showed early on.
2025: For those of you without the benefit of TV pictures on BBC Two or online, it may be of little surprise to learn Ipswich have very, very rarely been even inside the Arsenal half so far, let alone their box. Does it matter so far? Not a jot. Defending in numbers, but also with discipline, the Gunners faithful are already getting a touch edgy...
2022: HALF-TIME Blackpool 2-0 Man Utd Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Bloomfield Road: "Blackpool have produced a wonderful 45 here and totally deserve their 2-0 lead. Sir Alex Ferguson won't just get the hairdryer out - this is a job for the full range of household appliances."
Football League Danny: "I may have bigged up Lincoln too soon (see 2012). Cheltenham have pulled a goal back and trail 1-2. Meanwhile, tonight's first Championship goals have arrived. Jay Rodriguez made it Portsmouth 0-1 Burnley - only for John Utaka to equalise almost immediately. Game on."
2020: What a chance and what a pass at the Emirates. Jack Wilshere's looped pass over the top of the Ipswich defence is a delight and Cesc Fabregas brings it down brilliantly - only to slap his left-foot shot across goal and past the post. It's not going to be one of those nights for Arsenal is it?
2019: And there's the half-time whistle at Bloomfield Road.
USAallday on 606:
"Blackpool completely deserve their lead and probably could be up by more."
Blackpool goal: Dreamland for Blackpool. It's another set-piece, too, after David Vaughan's low long-ranger is tipped around the post by Edwin van der Sar. Charlie Adam's corner is flicked on inadvertantly by United's Darron Gibson and DJ Campbell is unmarked at the back post to head home his sixth goal in seven matches. Incredible.
2015: GOALFLASH Blackpool 2-0 Man Utd (Campbell)
2014: Scramble! Cesc Fabregas's free-kick falls eventually to Nicklas Bendtner, but the Dane's snap-shot is blocked by a swarm of Ipswich defenders.
Football League Danny: "Anonymous via text is asking me if Swindon have scored. No. They haven't."
2013: A bit better from Man Utd, first forcing Richard Kingson into an easy save through Rafael da Silva's header and then Dimitar Berbatov looping a 20-yarder wide of the post following a delicious piece of skill to control Paul Scholes's pass.
2012: Another opportunity goes begging for Wigan as the returning James McCarthy feeds Hugo Rodallega, who fires over under pressure from Carlos Cuellar.
Football League Danny: "Congratulations to Lincoln, the first Football League team to go 2-0 up tonight. The Imps might be at the wrong end of the League Two table, but as it stands, they'll go up three places to 21st and things will be looking rather healthier..."
Mark Bright on BBC Two: "He just needed to get over that, Robin van Persie, and it was a goal. Let-off for Ipswich."
2009: Close. Nicklas Bendtner collects Gael Clichy's wayward cross and then dinks to the far post where Robin van Persie lurks unmarked, but the Dutchman can only direct his header on the stretch on to the Ipswich bar.
2008: Charlier Adam has just nut-megged Darren Fletcher. Bloomfield Road is loving this.
Football League Danny: "Three matches in the Championship tonight. Half-way through the first half. No goals. I'm a bit disappointed to be fair."
2007: Man Utd continue to struggle to contain Blackpool and this time Luke Varney's deflected shot threatens to creep in Edwin van der Sar's goal with the Dutch keeper wrong-footed, but it drifts narrowly over the visitors' bar.
2006: Good chance for Arsenal at the Emirates as Nicklas Bendtner plays in Cesc Fabregas wide on the right of the box, the Spaniard's low shot claimed at the second attempt to his right by Town keeper Marton Fulop.
2005: Bacary Sagna has not been able to recover from that knock, so on comes Emmanuel Eboue.
2004: Early change of tactics for Man Utd, Wayne Rooney switched from the left to the front in a more orthodox 4-4-2.
2003: Emirates catch-up: Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas goes down in the area following slight contact with Gareth McAuley. Referee Mark Halsey waves play on. At the other end a Ipswich free-kick is played into the Arsenal box which Town striker Conor Wickham manages to get a head to but the ball sails over the bar. Arsenal pair Bacary Sagna and keeper Wojciech Szczesny both need treatment after an accidental collision as the ball arrived into the area.
Football League Danny: "Are Leyton Orient going to move to the
Olympic hockey stadium?
Football League Danny don't know that, but he knows that it's a mix-up fix-up goalfest down at Brisbane Road tonight. Leyton Orient lead MK Dons 2-1 and it's not even 15 minutes gone yet. Octane = High."
2001: With the alarm bells ringing at one end, Wigan head down to the other and call Brad Friedel into action for the first time, Hugo Rodallega testing him with a deflected effort from inside the area.
1959: It should be Blackpool 2-0 Man Utd. Luke Varney finds himself in space down the right and his cut-back is received by DJ Campbell in acres of space in the Man Utd box 16 yards out, only for the striker to spoon his shot over. Moments before that Charlie Adam sent a cross into the United area and centre-back Nemanja Vidic tried to clear with a stooping header - the ball only stopped from going into his own net by keeper Edwin van der Sar's outstretched hand. Great game.
1957: Double save from Ali Al Habsi as Aston Villa start turning the screw at the DW Stadium, Stewart Downing seeing his cross-shot palmed away before Darren Bent's follow-up is turned around the post.
at the Emirates: "Ipswich opting for a 4-5-1 formation as they did in the opening leg, with the talented Connor Wickham again given the thankless task of playing up front and filling in on the left of midfield. The Arsenal fans are relaxed and expectant at the moment. How long before frustration creeps in?"
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Bloomfield Road: "Blackpool's willingness to play without fear is bringing its rewards - and no doubts about Charlie Adam's attitude despite the transfer speculation. Flying into tackles, spraying passes and providing the corner for former Manchester United youngster Craig Cathcart's headed goal. Bloomfield Road is rocking. Again."
1955: As I suspected, no sign of Blackpool shutting up shop at Bloomfield Road. Yet anyway. Man Utd just upping the tempo now, though, with Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov linking up well.
TheHussler101 on Twitter:
"Now Blackpool to go to a 10-0 formation and defend this lead." I don't think so mate, have you seen Blackpool this season?
1951: This effort is well wide, but Arsenal already showing their muscle at the Emirates, Robin van Persie volleying Bacary Sagna's cross on the turn firmly but past the Ipswich upright.
1950: First chance of the match at the DW Stadium now, as Emmerson Boyce's cross is flicked on by Franco di Santo, the Wigan striker's header just flying past the woodwork.
Blackpool goal: Just who is writing the Blackpool script this season? Charlie Adam swings in a corner and former Red Devil Craig Cathcart powers home a header from eight yards out for his first top-flight goal. Bloomfield Road goes bananas.
1947: GOALFLASH Blackpool 1-0 Man Utd (Cathcart)
1946: And now at the Emirates... where Grant Leadbitter tries his luck at goal straight from the kick-off. It only just crept over the bar, too, though Wojciech Szczesny had it covered I'm thinking.
1945: Under way in the Wigan-Aston Villa clash.
1944: The teams are out and about at the Emirates and the DW Stadium.
ItS A MIRacle on 606:
"If Fulop doesn't play the game of his life then Arsenal are going to cruise through by 4 or 5 goals. This isn't Portman Road, this isn't the second team. THIS IS ARSENAL!"
1942: Ten minutes gone at Bloomfield Road, and Man Utd's Darren Fletcher has stuck to Charlie Adam like glue. Man-marked against Man Utd? Quite the compliment. Blackpool knocking the ball about well enough, but Man Utd looking the more dangerous going forward, for sure.
kizzzer08 on Twitter:
"Hoping for two surprise wins tonight. Blackpool and Ipswich. Come on do us all a favour surprise the nation."
1940: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "Ipswich surprised me in the first leg. It's difficult to speculate how a club will perform when it's in turmoil. It sometimes creates a togetherness or has the opposite effect. In this case, I think they played the game of their life." Ipswich manager Paul Jewell: "It's important that when we get the ball we keep the possession and try to counter-attack."
1938: And you want a Wigan-Aston Villa stat too? None of the last eight Premier League matches between the sides has ended as a home win. So there you go.
1937: Closing in on kick-off at the Emirates now, too. If there are any Arsenal fans out there getting
a bit twitchy at a lack of silverware since 2005,
by the way, spare a thought for Ipswich supporters, currently enduring a near 30-year wait for a return to trophy-winning ways. Ipswich do, though, have a 3-2 winning record in Cup competitions over Arsenal - and while this is a record 14th League Cup semi-final appearance for Arsenal, they've only gone on to win the competition twice. Ipswich will, though, want to forget about their
last semi-final in 2001,
when they let a 1-0 first-leg lead over Birmingham slip to go out 4-2 on aggregate.
1935: Wayne Rooney, by the way, has started wide on the left of a 4-3-3 for Man Utd as expected.
1934: Cracking atmosphere at Bloomfield Road. Cracking. They have been waiting nearly 27 years for a match against Man Utd I suppose. In the 1974-75 season Man Utd beat Blackpool 4-0 at home and 3-0 a en route to winning the championship and promotion back to the top flight. Omen?
1932: A slightly delayed start at Bloomfield Road, but Blackpool-Man Utd is under way. A team on a run of five defeats in six games against a team unbeaten this season in the league. Only one winner... right?
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Bloomfield Road: "Youngster holding up "Don't Go Charlie" sign at Bloomfield Road. Adam getting a great reception from Blackpool's supporters too."
1929: Right then people, if you could give this page a cheeky refresh (why are refreshes on the BBC website always 'cheeky'?) live video of Arsenal v Ipswich will appear at the top of this page, while an audio link to the Wigan-Aston Villa games will turn up on the right-hand side of your screens. Which is nice.
GavJB on Twitter:
"It's been nearly four years in the coming but tonight, a Premier League match kicks of at 7:30pm. Fact."
1926: WIGAN v ASTON VILLA Les Roopanarine reports: "Roberto Martinez makes four changes to the Wigan side outclassed by Arsenal at the weekend. Emerson Boyce comes in following Gary Caldwell's red card at the Emirates, while in midfield James McCarthy returns from a three-month injury absence. James McArthur and Franco Di Santo also get the nod, which means Ronnie Stam, Ben Watson and Mohamed Diame all drop to the bench. Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier likewise rings the changes. New signing Jean Makoun makes his debut in midfield, where he will be joined by Nigel Reo-Coker, while young defender Nathan Baker also makes his Villa bow."
Football League Danny: "League Two fan? Lucky you. Eight of your monster matches tonight. Leaders Chesterfield will go six points clear if they win at play-off chasing Gillingham. Lincoln can move off the bottom if they get a better result at Cheltenham than Hereford do at home to Morecambe. High-fliers Rotherham and Shrewsbury are in action at Stevenage and Oxford respectively. Port Vale will hope to leapfrog them if either slip up as they host struggling Barnet. And Crewe v Bradford plus Southend v Macclesfield is yer lot."
beckhamsno1fan on 606:
"Arsenal for victory in the cup. I'm a massive Wenger fan and he deserves to have silver this season. Why do the 'lesser' teams always sack managers so quickly look at Man Utd and Arsenal by far the most decorated clubs in recent history with by far the most longest-serving managers. Give managers time!!!"
1923: ARSENAL v IPSWICH TOWN Paul Fletcher
at the Emirates: "Arsenal name a very strong side, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Robin van Persie all starting. Arsene Wenger makes three changes from the team that defeated Wigan last weekend. Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott and Alex Song make way for Denilson, Andrey Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner. Ipswich boss Paul Jewell makes one change from the XI that beat Doncaster, Mark Kennedy replacing the cup-tied Lee Martin."
Football League Danny: "Six League One matches for you tonight, and leaders Brighton will go six points clear - and a game in hand - if they can overcome Colchester at home. Elsewhere, shell-shocked Sheffield Wednesday will hope to bounce back from Saturday's stuffing at Leyton Orient as they host strugglers Yeovil. The O's host MK Dons, there's a tense clash as Swindon (20th) host Tranmere (19th), rock-bottom Walsall take on Oldham and Hartlepool face Notts County. League One, numbers fans, is tight - just nine points separate Peterborough in fifth from Notts in 18th."
Afrojack in Bristol via text: "Does the Adebayor news mean Benzema might arrive at Villa Park?"
chris17hall on Twitter:
"Slightly concerned a repeat of last year's trip to Burnley may be repeated tonight. Please stay focused, United!"
Football League Danny: "Listen up Reds - If Nottingham Forest win their two games in hand, they could go just three points behind Championship leaders QPR. The first of those games is tonight as they host a faltering Bristol City side with no win in four and no goal in 270 minutes. Elsewhere, Portsmouth will hope to move clear of the drop zone as they host a Eddie Howe's Burnley who harbour play-off hopes of their own. And 15th-placed Doncaster host 16th-placed Barnsley in a tense old Yorkshire derby."
SwiftRyu on 606:
"Good line-up from Wenger. Our three out of form players drafted into a very solid other eight will hopefully boost them to play better. Arshavin and Bendtner to shine tonight."
1917: BLACKPOOL v MAN UTD Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Bloomfield Road: "Man-of-the-moment Charlie Adam is in the Blackpool line-up as he waits to discover whether Liverpool will increase their £4m bid for the midfielder. Chris Smalling continues in place of injured Rio Ferdinand in the centre of Manchester United's defence, with Paul Scholes also back. Ryan Giggs drops down to the bench."
danny_holliday on Twitter:
"Darren Bent has cost Aston Villa £24m per goal so far. After tonight it'll be £6m per goal! 3-0 Villa...Bent Hat Trick!"
1914: BREAKING TRANSFER NEWS Real Madrid announce they have reached agreement with Manchester City for Emmanuel Adebayor to join the Spanish club on loan until the end of this season, with an option to buy this summer.
Goonerlicios98 on 606:
"The Carling Cup is a look into the future for the big clubs and an outside chance of getting into Europe for the smaller ones. Gooners look fine for the future but Ipswich might not get a bigger chance at anything for years."
1910: WIGAN v ASTON VILLA Wigan: Al Habsi, Gohouri, Boyce, Steven Caldwell, Figueroa, McArthur, McCarthy, Thomas, N'Zogbia, Di Santo, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Watson, Moses, Gomez, Diame, Stam, McManaman. Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Baker, Makoun, Reo-Coker, Downing, Agbonlahor, Bent, Ashley Young. Subs: Marshall, Pires, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Heskey, Petrov, Herd. Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)
1908: BLACKPOOL v MAN UTD Blackpool: Kingson, Eardley, Cathcart, Evatt, Baptiste, Grandin, Adam, Vaughan, Taylor-Fletcher, Campbell, Varney. Subs: Rachubka, Southern, Harewood, Ormerod, Sylvestre, Phillips, Edwards. Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Scholes, Fletcher, Gibson, Nani, Berbatov, Rooney. Subs: Lindegaard, Owen, Anderson, Giggs, Hernandez, Fabio Da Silva, Evans. Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)
Howla_sportsfan on 606: "One home win and two away wins tonight, I think its kind of obvious which is which!"
1906: ARSENAL v IPSWICH TOWN Paul Fletcher
at the Emirates: "Ipswich might lead 1-0 after the Carling Cup tie at Portman Road but boss Paul Jewell has described his team as massive underdogs going into their second-leg semi-final encounter at Arsenal. However, Jewell knows what it takes to reach the final. His Wigan team travelled to Arsenal with a 1-0 lead in 2006 and scored late in extra-time, losing 2-1 but knocking out their opponents on the away goals rule."
1903: WIGAN v ASTON VILLA Les Roopanarine reports: "Third from bottom and without a league win in five attempts, Wigan would dearly love three points tonight. A first victory at home since mid-November would haul the Latics level with Aston Villa, but Gerard Houllier's men will travel in good heart after Saturday's 1-0 win against Manchester City. Eyebrows were raised when Houllier splashed £24m on Darren Bent, but the striker's debut goal ended Villa's six-game winless league run, ensuring monsieur had the last laugh. He'll be hoping for more of the same."
viperdk1 on Twitter:
"RE: 1857 - Got a feeling away goals won't be the issue here, more a question of how many Arsenal score if they score the first early."
1859: BLACKPOOL v MAN UTD Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Bloomfield Road: "Blackpool's Charlie Adam gets the chance to showcase the talent that has made him a target for Liverpool and Aston Villa when Premier League leaders Man Utd come to Bloomfield Road. Adam has asked to leave the club, and Liverpool - favourites for his signature - have had a £4m bid turned down. Is this his farewell performance? Man Utd are looking to extend their unbeaten league sequence to 28 games and could take their lead at the top of the table to five points."
blueskyravi on Twitter:
"Atmosphere in Ipswich after the 1st leg was fantastic. Anticipation high for tonight. Hoping for a 1-1 to send Town to Wembley!"
1857: CARLING CUP POINT OF FACT Away goals only count tonight after extra-time. Bosh.
Alan, Bristol, via text: "Can't wait for Man Utd to kick off tonight, think there may be a hatful again."
Dave P on 606:
"After Saturday football, Tuesday football is the second best event of the week. If your team wins, of course..."
1854: So in the mix of all the pre-match news and stat-chat, let me take the chance to remind you how you can get involved. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or ask me a question direct
chat away over on
or text me via 81111 (UK). A veritable plethora of options, I'm sure you'll agree.
1851: TEAM NEWS SNAP Jean Makoun makes his debut for Aston Villa at Wigan.
1850: TEAM NEWS SNAP Charlie Adam starts for Blackpool against Man Utd, for whom Chris Smalling and Darron Gibson start in place of Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick. Wayne Rooney makes his 300th club appearance.
1849: TEAM NEWS SNAP Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie start in a strong Arsenal XI against Ipswich.
1848: And, of course, Arsenal v Ipswich is live on BBC Two and this very website too (UK users only). Happy days.
1847: Some are calling this
the most depressing week of the year,
you know. Someone needs to introduce those poor people to football, and quickly. Forget the weather, the long dark nights, the national debt, the fact your new year's resolutions lasted all of 12.4 minutes... there are going to be 22 men kicking a size 5 leather sphere around fields up and down the country this evening. Exactly.
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