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Page last updated at 20:06 GMT, Saturday, 5 February 2011

Saturday football as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

2005: So that, as they say, is that from me after what can only be described as an absolutely sensational, staggering day. And even that barely does it justice. A record 41 goals in eight Premier League matches? Wowzers. This will be one we will all look back on as a "where were you when..." moment, I reckon. And tomorrow, we get to do it all again with West Ham v Birmingham and the small matter of Chelsea v Liverpool. Man I love my job. Adios amigos!

Shitawafrank on Twitter: "Brilliant, magnificent, fantastic, fabulous and Wolves will say heavenly - all sum up our best ever Saturday in the Premier League."

1959: And before all that we should have Fabio Capello's England squad announcement ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Denmark as well. This day just keeps on giving.

1955: Without a shadow of a doubt, then, tonight's Match of the Day will be one of the greatest ever. Do not miss it. It starts at 2230 on BBC One and Online, and your running order is as follows...
1. Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal
2. Wolves 2-1 Man Utd
3. Everton 5-3 Blackpool
4. Wigan 4-3 Blackburn
5. Stoke 3-2 Sunderland
6. Tottenham 2-1 Bolton
7. Man City 3-0 West Brom
8. Aston Villa 2-2 Fulham

And all that, as if that wasn't enough, let's be honest, will be followed by yet more barn-storming football and goals galore with the Football League Show from 2350.

1952: WOLVES 2-1 MAN UTD
Chris Whyatt reports:
"Can you hear the sound of champagne corks popping at Stamford Bridge? This title race is far from over..."

1950: Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "We are disappointed. It's been a long run for us. The players have done us all proud but in the second half we didn't really get going. They are a handful at the set pieces as it proved today. It was an opportunity for us to continue our great run but today was a great disappointment." And on Rio Ferdinand: "He's done his calf and that's him out for a couple of weeks I believe."

1949: And then of course, there was the Wolves-Man Utd tie, and before we hear from our man Chris Whyatt, here's Sir Alex Ferguson...

Michael Da Silva reports:
"Wigan hold on for a potentially season-defining win in what was a compelling match at the DW Stadium. Finished 4-3 but could have been 7-7."

Kevin Darling reports:
"Spot-kick madness, dodgy refereeing and a thumping injury-time winner at White Hart Lane showed you don't need an eight-goal thriller to have a good time."

Paul Fletcher reports:
"A quite unbelievable match - and one that could ultimately prove very costly to Arsenal's title ambitions. Arsene Wenger, of course, did not see most of the controversial incidents."

Chris Bevan reports:
"A very happy birthday for Carlos Tevez, who collects a match-ball to go with the rest of his gifts. West Brom threatened to be party poopers but instead leave empty-handed."

Owen Phillips reports:
"Truly remarkable - you won't see a better, more entertaining match all season. Eight goals, controversy, glorious attacking football and too many chances to mention. Just typical, breathless Blackpool-style entertainment."

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
Plenty of entertainment on show at Villa Park and not much to separate two teams who showed why they have improved in recent weeks.

Mark Ashenden reports:
"Stunning. Steve Bruce will be gutted. 83 minutes & three points are in the bag. 92 minutes and it's zero. Zip. Nothing. Huth will give him nightmares."

1935: Right then...*catches breath*... just what happened today?

lovefutebol on Twitter: "What a way to end already extraordinary day in the Premier League."

Shaf, Bedford, via text: "I feel like we've been on a journey of a lifetime together after today. We should at least exchange numbers?"

camstep1405 on Twitter: "Best day of PL football ever? I can't think of a better one. Epic comeback, invincible run ended. Brilliant, Brilliant day."

1928: And next up for Wolves? Arsenal away. Yep.

1927: Wolves, by the way, have now beaten Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Sunderland - five of the top seven - this season. And yet they prop up the 19 other teams in the table. Wow.

1925: What. A. Day. An absolutely staggering goal-fest followed by a Wolves win over Man Utd that ends the league leaders' unbeaten record... but still doesn't lift the midlanders off the bottom of the table. Unbelievable.

Full time
1923: FULL-TIME Wolves 2-1 Man Utd

1922: Man Utd surge... Wolves clear... a free-kick to the hosts in the 95th minute and you have to think that's it...

1920: One of the biggest cheers of the day as Nemanja Vidic mislays a pass, the ball going behind for a Wolves goal kick.

1919: The nerves in my office are palpable. And among all my colleagues, I only count one Man Utd fan. Wolves hanging on, 92 minutes played.

1917: Five minutes of added time time be played. Yep. Five minutes.

1915: Ryan Giggs - lucky boy. The Welshman, completely out of character, aims an ugly swipe at Kevin Doyle but receives just a talking to from the official. Two minutes left.

Football League Nathan: "You wouldn't expect anything else from today would you. Peterbrough grab a last-minute penalty to tie things up at 4-4 against Southampton. Remarkable."

1913: Huge penalty shouts as Patrice Evra's cross hits Ronald Zubar's hand - but referee Michael Oliver rules it's a case of ball to hand. Into the last four minutes...

1912: Hhmm... don't like to see that. Paul Scholes throws himself at a cross and, realising he won't make it, looks to punch it into the net. The referee spots it - and Wayne Hennessey saved it anyway - but that's not cool Scholesy, not cool.

1910: Crucial touch from Christophe Berra to deny Javier Hernandez a shot on goal eight yards out, but the pressure is building here as Man Utd look to preserve the only unbeaten record in the Premier League.

1909: Wolves are defending valiantly here, their bus, coach, plane, mini-van all parked in front of the goal.

1907: We're into the last 10 minutes, Wolves 2-1 Man Utd.

1905: Chance for Man Utd as Wayne Hennessey flaps at a cross, but Wayne Rooney's effort is bravely blocked by Christophe Berra.

1903: Thinking about it, how are your nerves Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea fans too?

1902: Looks like the pattern is set for the last 15 minutes - Wolves sitting deep looking to launch the odd counter attack, Man Utd camped in the opposition half. How are your nerves Wolves fans?

1900: Matt Jarvis gets free on the right hand side and it looks a fine opportunity to forge a decent Wolves opening, but his cross is far too hard and with Kevin Doyle looking to get on the end of it, the attack falters.

1857: Man Utd's final pass or shot has been terribly poor at times this evening, and Nani is the latest guilty party when he fails to find Wayne Rooney on the edge of the Wolves box.

1854: Sir Alex Ferguson is already point at his watch as Wolves take their time over a throw-in. I'm saying nothing.

1852: Javier Hernandez is on now, in place of Dimitar Berbatov. Can the super-sub produce the magic yet again for Man Utd?

1851: Ouch. Just as Javier Hernandez prepares to come on for Man Utd, Rafael da Silva screams in agony with what is unmistakably a dislocated finger. Chris Smalling does come on for Jonny Evans, Hernandez will wait a bit. Stephen Ward, meanwhile, replaces Adam Hammill for Wolves.

1847: An hour gone and it's still Wolves 2-1 Man Utd.

1846: Jamie O'Hara - who has had a good game - is taken off, partly to protect him as he is on a booking I would think, and on comes Kevin Foley for Wolves.

1844: And Wolves threaten again, Matt Jarvis jinking well inside the box to work a pull-back for O'Hara but the well-placed Spurs loanee can't put the power needed behind his side-footer and Man Utd clear the danger.

DanielCurry14 on Twitter: "Counting up until 1837, there have been a grand total of 126 goals from EPL, NPC, NPL1 and NPL2. Breathtaking."

Football League Nathan: "Tired of goals yet? Thought not, here's some more for you. Peterborough 3-4 Southampton after 55 minutes. The Prem will steal the show for goals today but League One has had it's fair share - 37 from 11 matches so far today. Sensational. Who would have predicted so many goals? Apart from our veSam Lyon, of course [see 1205]?"

1841: Bit better from Man Utd as they work it across the Wolves box, but Ryan Giggs fails to pull the trigger when well placed on the edge of the area as the chance falls to his right foot and the hosts are able to clear.

1838: Sir Alex Ferguson, gnawing frantically on the sidelines as if engaged in a war against chewing gum, is currently giving his players what can only be described as "evils". Still no great response from the visitors and Wolves are - if anything - still edging things in the midlands.

1835: I can't say there has been a huge increase in urgency from the Man Utd players since the break, though Nani has just slammed off-target from 20 yards.

1832: We are back up and running at Molineux, where Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson has brought Paul Scholes on for Michael Carrick. The United players, by way, were sent back out for the second half a good few minutes ago. Fergie not a happy bunny, it would seem.

1828: By the way, there's no point looking for that Jack Wilshere Tweet now - looks like it's been taken down. Hhmm.

Jodie_W on Twitter: "Meanwhile the goals are still pouring in today - Peterborough have come back from two down against mighty Southampton to make it 2-2."

James, Essex, via text: "Alan Hansen will be apoplectic about the defending tonight! And now Man Utd have caught the bug too!"

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere on Twitter: "[After Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal]. Inconsistent refereeing needs to stop. It's killing the game. If Diaby is sent off, what's the difference between that and Kevin Nolan's challenge on our keeper!?? #Joke"

Half time
1819: HALF-TIME Wolves 2-1 Manchester United
Chris Whyatt's HT snap-shot:
"Bottom lead top as plucky Wolves turn Fergie's face pinker than Barbie's best clobber."

jpoole28 on Twitter: "05/02/2011 - The day that kept giving goals."

1817: And there goes the half-time whistle at a buzzing Molineux.

1814: Good chance for Man Utd, wasted, Rafael da Silva's cross finding Nani dashing into the area unmarked but the Portuguese's header is over the top of the Wolves bar.

1813: Predictably, Sir Alex Ferguson is on the touchlines now barking orders and generally being furious. I fancy the Man Utd players might be on the receiving end of a rocket at half-time should it stay 2-1.

Wolves goal: And it's been coming. Nenad Milijas's free-kick is a beauty and Kevin Doyle and George Elokobi both claim the final touch in a crowded area as the ball is deflected past Edwin van der Sar six yards out. I'm giving it to Doyle. Just.

1809: GOALFLASH Wolves 2-1 Man Utd (Doyle)

1809: I'm telling you, Wolves are bossing this. Free-kick, edge of the Man Utd box, Nenad Milijas over it...

1806: Oooh. Nenad Milijas looks to curl a free-kick at goal from 20 yards but it takes a wicked deflection off Darren Fletcher in the wall and, with Edwin van der Sar wrong-footed, drifts narrowly past the far post. Close.

1805: We've not had a goal for 25 minutes. WHAT'S GOING ON?!

1803: Jamie O'Hara, whose arrival on loan from Tottenham was only sealed last Sunday, has started well here and he is already picking passes. He could be a big player for Wolves in the coming months.

1800: This match swings one way and then t'other... and it's Wolves's turn to fashion a chance, Jamie O'Hara finding himself in space inside the box and slamming a low shot at Edwin van der Sar's near post, the Dutchman saving with his feet.

1758: Decent effort from Nani, firing goalwards with a 25-yard free-kick, but his shot dips narrowly over the Wolves bar.

1756: Great effort so far, this, by Wolves and twice they build nicely towards the United goal only for Kevin Doyle - on both occasions - to be robbed of possession. That's 25 minutes gone in this match already, where's the time gone?

1752: Christophe Berra is treading a thin ol' line at Molineux with his defending on Nemanja Vidic from set-pieces - and on a day when a record amount of penalties have been scored in the Premier League, he should probably think about not man-handling the Man Utd defender every time.

1749: Dimitar Berbatov, 20 goals strong this season already, works a yard of space in the box with a couple of nice flicks but the Man Utd striker can't generate any power in his shot and Wayne Hennessey is able to get behind it.

Football League Nathan: "Brighton finish strongly away at Bristol Rovers for a 4-2 win and with Bournemouth drawing against Leyton Orient it's as you were at the top of League One. Huddersfield ran out comfortable 4-1 winners at Exeter to strengthen their challenge, while Gary Megson's Sheffield Wednesday come back from two goals down to secure a point against MK Dons."

1747: Half a chance for Wayne Rooney at the back post from Nemanja Vidic's flick from a corner, but the Man Utd frontman can't quite get his foot around it from the angle six yards out and his shot flies off target.

1745: It's a match being played at 100 mph at Molineux - and both sides are going for it. Love it.

Football League Nathan: "League One high-flyers Southampton get up and running against Peterborough in the late kick-off there. Richard Chaplow giving the visitors the lead after 18 minutes."

1743: Scratch that, George Elokobi actually scored twice for Colchester during his time there. That's his first top flight goal in English football, mind!

Wolves goal: What is it with today? Wolves are level. Man Utd go to sleep at a home set-piece and Matt Jarvis, on the back of a short-corner routine, crosses for George Elokobi head his first league goal in English football.

1740: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-1 Man Utd (Elokobi)

Football League Nathan: "So wins for Nottingham Forest and Leeds help them close the gap on Championship leaders QPR, although the slip-up for Norwich against Burnley dents the Canaries' automatic promotion push and leaves them third in the table. Preston's problems continue at the bottom end after a crushing 4-0 home defeat, while there are convincing wins for Hull, Ipswich and Leicester."

1735: Moments later and it's nearly 2-0. Dimitar Berbatov does well to set up Wayne Rooney about 15 yards out unmarked, but the England frontman fluffs his lines somewhat to offer home keeper Wayne Hennessey a simple save.

Man Utd goal: I can't believe we've had to wait a full three minutes for a goal. Slack. Nani keeps the theme of the day going rather excellently, cutting in from the right inside the area and drilling an unstoppable effort past Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey at his near post.

1733: GOALFLASH Wolves 0-1 Man Utd (Nani)

1732: Positive start from Wolves as they surge at the Man Utd defence from the off, Nenad Milijas firing in the first shot on goal inside two minutes but his effort flying over the bar.

1730: We're up and running at Molineux.

1729: Right then, erm, live up to that Wolves-Man Utd...

1727: Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier: "We just have to blame ourselves for not keeping that result [from 1-0 and 2-1 up] but there were more positives from the game for us. I can take pride from the football and effort we put in at times."

Chris Whyatt reports:
"Sir Alex Ferguson leaves nothing to chance as Manchester United aim to better their 1999 Treble winners with a new 30-match unbeaten run. In a strong side, Rafael returns at right-back while Wayne Rooney partners Dimitar Berbatov in attack. As mentioned, Jonny Evans comes in for Rio Ferdinand, but he's no stranger to partnering Nemanja Vidic. Kevin Doyle leads the line for Wolves with Matt Jarvis hoping to supply him with chances from the wing."

Jamie_Field on Twitter: "Just got back from work, have I missed anything? Ohhhhh."

Mo, Bournemouth, via text: "I will record Match of the Day tonight on a DVD and keep it until I can pass it on to my grandchildren. I'm 17."

1722: West Brom boss Roberto Di Matteo on his struggling side's defeat by Manchester City: "City were very good in the first half and their movement and passing caused us a lot of problems. But we were much better in the second half and it's just a shame we couldn't score to open the game up again. Now we have to lift ourselves and get ourselves going again. We have two vital games coming up at home against West Ham and Wolves so we have to try to win both of those."

1721: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "It was a good game with a lot of incidents and turning points, [but] the sending off was detrimental to us and some of the decisions went against us today. We were under pressure and we had problems to finish in the second half. It's unpredictable sometimes, and it became difficult. At 4-1 we panicked a bit. But we were a little bit unlucky too. You have to take it on the chin and look at the positives. I didn't see the sending off very well. But Barton should have been sent off too. We dropped two points, for sure."

Rio Ferdinand has been forced to pull out of the Man Utd line-up at Wolves after sustaining an injury in the warm-up. Jonny Evans will replace him.

1718: Bolton boss Owen Coyle: "I hope you show all the penalty incidents on TV later. Such as the alleged diving (from Gary Cahill), for what I thought was a stonewall penalty. It was good result that's been taken away from us. Those decisions are costing teams every week." Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "Our second penalty should never have been disallowed. After that I can genuinely say I didn't see the Gary Cahill incident. In the end, we deserved the win but needed a bit of magic from Niko Kranjcar - what a strike from him. His attitude is first-class. It's a great three points for us."

1717: Manchester City assistant manager Brian Kidd on hat-trick hero Carlos Tevez, after his treble sank West Brom: "It was another wonderful fantastic performance from Carlos but we look at this as a team game. We defend from the front and it was nice to keep a clean sheet because, with the attacking players we have, we know if we can do that we have a great chance. We deserved the win and we are full of confidence going into next week's Manchester derby."

Jellsbells on Twitter: "Oh. My. Days."

Hennessey, Zubar, Stearman, Berra, Elokobi, Henry, Milijas, Hammill, O'Hara, Jarvis, Doyle. Subs: Hahnemann, Edwards, Ebanks-Blake, Craddock, Fletcher, Ward, Foley.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs, Berbatov, Rooney. Subs: Kuszczak, Owen, Anderson, Hernandez, Scholes, O'Shea, Evans.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

1710: As a reminder, Match of the Day is on BBC One and Online (UK users only) from 2230 tonight, followed at 2350 by the Football League Show. Quite simply, do whatever it takes to watch it. I implore you.

viperdk1 on Twitter: "I'm recording Match of the Day and the Football League Show tonight. Incredible games today."

Chris Whyatt reports:
"What price rock-bottom Wolves being the first team to wrestle three points off unbeaten league leaders Manchester United this season? Well! Fancy a punt on Prince Wills taking his future Queen on honeymoon to Benidorm too, shrill the bookies. Yet Mick McCarthy's team - who beat Chelsea recently - do show us flashes of cohesive flair while Sir Alex Ferguson's men have only won three of their 11 away games, albeit it with stubbornness Veruca Salt would be proud of. Straw-clutching?"

1705: I can tell you, by the way, that today is officially a record Saturday for Premier League goals, beating the 36 goals scored on 27 November. Breathtaking.

BBC Sport's Jake Humphrey on Twitter: "Surely the most essential Match of the Day to tune into for years tonight??"

1702: And we've still got Wolves v Man Utd to come. Just... wow.

1700: A total of 33 goals we saw from our six 1500 Premier League matches. That's nearly an average of six a match. Added to our early kick-off, that makes a grand total of 38 goals in seven games. I can't get my head around it.

1658: What on earth? I mean, seriously people, what on earth have we just witnessed? Extraordinary afternoon. Utterly extraordinary.

Full time
1656: FULL-TIME Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal

1654: FULL-TIME Wigan 4-3 Blackburn

Full time
1654: FULL-TIME Tottenham 2-1 Bolton

1653: FULL-TIME Man City 3-0 West Brom

Full time
1653: FULL-TIME Everton 5-3 Blackpool

1652: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 2-2 Fulham

1652: Close! Kevin Nolan goes within inches of a quite remarkable winner at St James' Park, his shot from the edge of the area just creeping past the far post with the keeper beaten. Woah.

Tottenham goal: He came so close to leaving the club in January, but Niko Kranjcar has snatched what looks a certain winner for Tottenham, turning in from the right and drilling a superb strike into the top corner from 20 yards.

1650: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-1 Bolton (Krancjar)

Newcastle goal: The comeback to end all comebacks, surely. Cheik Tiote has possibly written his name into Newcastle folklore as an Arsenal clearance from Joey Barton's free-kick falls to him 20 yards out and - on the volley - he sends it left-footed into the Arsenal corner. Staggering.

1648: GOALFLASH Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (Tiote)

1647: A rare Man City attack should result in a fourth goal. Gareth Barry's cross beats Boaz Myhill but, in front of goal and about eight yards out, Carlos Tevez blasts horribly over the bar. A huge waste.

Newcastle goal: They couldn't... could they? I'm running out of superlatives for this afternoon, but we're set for a grandstand finish at St James' Park after Laurent Koscielny is - harshly, for my money - adjudged to have fouled Mike Williamson in the box and Joey Barton scores from the spot. Eight minutes left.

1644: GOALFLASH Newcastle 3-4 Arsenal (Barton pen)


Everton goal: It's a four-star show from Louis Saha, the Frenchman countering from a Blackpool attack to run half the field to slide home Everton's fifth of the match and surely put this game to bed.

1642: GOALFLASH Everton 5-3 Blackpool (Saha)

Blackburn goal: David Dunn makes it 4-3 with the second penalty of the afternoon, sending Ali Al-Habsi the wrong way after Dunn was fouled by Emerson Boyce just inside the box.

1639: GOALFLASH Wigan 4-3 Blackburn (Dunn pen)


Everton goal: Incredible. Simply incredible. Leighton Baines's ball over the top finds Jermaine Beckford running through and the substitute's first-time finish on the volley is a superb one, finding the corner to put Everton back in front in a classic at Goodison Park.

Newcastle goal: Another goal for Newcastle and 10-man Arsenal are wobbling. Leon Best beats Gael Clichy to a cross from Jose Enrique before slotting home. Substitute Nile Ranger comes close to a third for the Magpies seconds later with a shot that is saved.

Fulham goal: We're back level at Villa Park, Clint Dempsey rising high - and above Villa keeper Brad Friedel - to nod home Danny Murphy's pin-point corner.

1637: GOALFLASH Everton 4-3 Blackpool (Beckford)

1635: GOALFLASH Newcastle 2-4 Arsenal (Best)

1634: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 2-2 Fulham (Dempsey)

Everton goal: What a game at Goodison Park. Everton are level again and Louis Saha - who is enjoying a fabulous afternoon - nods in at the back post when Mikel Arteta's corner finds its way through a crowd of players to the back post.

1633: GOALFLASH Everton 3-3 Blackpool (Saha, hat-trick)

Football League Nathan: "Back come Norwich as Grant Holt bags the leveller for the Canaries. Not good scenes for Preston, 3-0 they trail to Bristol City, David Clarkson notching the third."

1632: West Brom are giving the Man City defence a stern work-out in this half at Eastlands, where the home side are probably glad of their three-goal cushion. Chris Brunt has slammed another 25-yard shot a fraction wide and City keeper Joe Hart had to be on his toes to push a Nicky Shorey free-kick round his post.

Newcastle goal: Comeback on? Maybe not, but pride restored at least a touch for Newcastle. Leon Best is felled by Laurent Koscielny in the box and up steps Joey Barton to reduce the hosts' arrears with a fine spot-kick into the corner.

Aston Villa goal: The hosts lead again as Tottenham loanee Kyle Walker charges forward from right-back and slams a fine finish low into the corner from fully 30 yards.

1629: GOALFLASH Newcastle 1-4 Arsenal (Barton pen)

1628: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 2-1 Fulham (Walker)


Football League Nathan: "Rainy day in the north west and the match at Tranmere is abandoned. Notts County were 1-0 up at the time but after 53 minutes they've had to call it a day."

1627: Stunning defending from Blackpool's Ian Evatt as he dashes back towards his own goal to acrobatically clear off the line from Jack Rodwell's dinked finish to stop a certain goal and preserve the Tangerines' slender lead.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1625: Spurs are really pushing to regain their lead. Jermaine Jenas sees his free-kick slam against the upright and moments later, Steven Pienaar is denied by a brilliant close-range stop from Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Football League Nathan: "Leicester look out of sight against Barnsley now as Andy King makes the score 3-1, while in League One, struggling Walsall going great guns against Carlisle Mathew Gill and Julian Gray putting the visitors in command. In League Two, Chesterfield have lost their lead to Aldershot as Tim Sills draws the visiting side level."

1624: Mark Clattenburg resists the tempation to award a third penalty of the day at White Hart Lane - instead booking Gary Cahill for simulation after he goes down under Benoit Assou-Ekotto's challenge in the box. Replays suggest Cahill may have been unlucky - there was definitely some contact there.

Wigan goal: They've found goals hard to come by all season - and now they have their fourth of the day, Ben Watson restoring the hostss two-goal advantage from the spot after Mohamed Diame was tripped by Michel Salgado in the box.

1623: GOALFLASH Wigan 4-2 Blackburn (Watson pen)


Blackpool goal: Unbelievable. David Moyes cannot believe what he's witnessing as his Everton side find themselves behind, Charlie Adam the beneficiary as he heads home the rebound after DJ Campbell's shot crashed back off the bar.

1622: GOALFLASH Everton 2-3 Blackpool (Adam)

1621: Marc Antoine Fortune gets free in the Man City box coming in from the right but fires his shot from the angle into the side netting. Chance.

Blackpool goal: You just can't write this Blackpool side off, can you? They're level again as James Beattie dashes on to Elliott Grandin's pass to cut back for Jason Puncheon to side-foot home a debut goal.

1619: GOALFLASH Everton 2-2 Blackpool (Puncheon)

1618: West Brom might be three goals down but they are still plugging away and showing plenty of desire going forward. They came close to pulling a goal back when Peter Odemwingie flashed a shot a few inches wide of Joe Hart's post, and Chris Brunt has just fizzed an effort over the bar, but Man City still look very comfortable even if they are not exactly appearing eager to add to their tally.

Football League Nathan: "Brighton, up against it, hit back to take the lead at Bristol Rovers. Their spot at the top of the table very much up for grabs today but they're responding well as Elliott Bennett puts the Seagulls 2-1 ahead. Important goal for Leeds in the Championship as Davide Somma puts them 1-0 up against Coventry."

Blackburn goal: Rovers back in it within two minutes, Chris Samba forcing his way through a crowd of players to thump home a head from six yards out straight from a corner.

1616: GOALFLASH Wigan 3-2 Blackburn (Samba)

Wigan goal: James McCarthy has doubled his tally for the afternoon with a sublime piece of skill and finish. N'Zogbia rolled the ball into McCarthy who flicked the ball over the defender with his right foot before volleying in with his left from eight yards. Lovely stuff.

Bolton goal: Two in two for the loanee from Chelsea, but questions have to be asked of Heurelho Gomes as Daniel Sturridge's first-time shot from Mark Davies's pass creeps under the Spurs keeper from 16 yards on the angle. All square.

1614: GOALFLASH Wigan 3-1 Blackburn (McCarthy)

1613: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-1 Bolton (Sturridge)

Red card
Red Card, Diaby: He had to go, really, and the glimmerest of a glimmer of hope for Newcastle. Abou Diaby reacts to a Joey Barton challenge by pushing the Toon midfielder to the floor, and then facing off against Kevin Nolan as well. Referee Phil Dowd has no hesitation in brandishing the red card.

1610: SENT OFF, Abou Diaby, ARSENAL

Fulham goal: Steve Sidwell unleahes a ferocious long-range Fulham shot which Brad Friedel parries only for ex-Birmingham striker Andrew Johnson to pounce and stoop in a header to draw the visitors level.

Wigan goal: A long ball over the top has the beating of Chris Samba and Hugo Rodallega takes full advantage, prodding past the onrushing Paul Robinson to hand Wigan the lead. That goal draws Rodallega level on 20 as the club's joint Premier League top-scorer with Henri Camara.

1608: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-1 Fulham (Johnson)

1608: GOALFLASH Wigan 2-1 Blackburn (Rodallega)

1606: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov almost makes it 3-1 immediately after Louis Saha's second, but his left-foot drive from the angle is beaten away by Blackpool keeper Paul Rachubka.

Everton goal: It should be his hat-trick strike, instead it's good enough only to restore Everton's lead, Louis Saha side-footing home from six yards from Leighton Baines's inch-perfect cross from the left.

1604: GOALFLASH Everton 2-1 Blackpool (Saha)

1603: We're back up and running everywhere...

Football League Nathan: "Referee's assistant Sian Massey back in action today, by the way. She's running the line for Chesterfield's match against Aldershot in League Two. The hosts still 1-0 up there. In League One Bournemouth go 1-0 up against Leyton Orient thanks to Michael Symes's effort, a win for them and a draw for Brighton would move the Cherries move top of the table.

1603: Ahem, sorry.

1602: Boos ring out around Goodison Park as the officials return for the second half. Understandable. Referee Kevin really is no Friend to these Everton fans.

1600: Can I just refer you all to my 1205 entry? I'll say no more.

just_lob on Twitter: "Any more goals and it will be a very long edition of Match of the Day."

Half time
1556: HALF-TIME Wigan 1-1 Blackburn
Michael Da Silva's HT snap-shot:
"Wigan are lucky to go in all square at half time, given Blackburn's impressive start at the DW. Still, this one is very much up for grabs now."

Half time
1554: HALF-TIME Newcastle 0-4 Arsenal
Paul Fletcher's HT snap-shot:
"Some Newcastle fans appeared to be leaving midway through the first half. In fairness, it has been X-rated viewing for the home supporters as Arsenal carved open their team again and again and again and again."

Half time
1553: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 1-0 Fulham
Mandeep Sanghera's HT snap-shot:
"A third own goal of the season from Fulham right-back John Pantsil separates the sides in a game in which Villa have the upper hand."

Half time
1552: HALF-TIME Everton 1-1 Blackpool
Owen Phillips's HT snap-shot:
"The scoreline in no way tells the story. For 37 minutes it was as comfortable as you like for the home side but Blackpool levelled with their first chance and the ref then ruled out a perfectly good home goal. It'll get lively now."

Half time
1550: HALF-TIME Tottenham 1-0 Bolton
Kevin Darling's HT snap-shot:
"Spurs lead through Rafael van der Vaart's early penalty but the Dutchman may not be feeling overly jubilant, given that he's taken three of them today."

Half time
1549: HALF-TIME Man City 3-0 West Brom
Chris Bevan's HT snap-shot:
"Three goals for Carlos Tevez, three goals for Man City… and the three points look in the bag too. Roberto Mancini's side look dangerous with every attack."

1548: The half-time whistles blow up and down the country.

1547: Almost 5-0 before the break at St James' Park, Robin van Persie's low shot scrambled around the post by Toon keeper Steve Harper.

1544: Just the 18 Premier League goals so far today, then. Quiet.

Football League Nathan: "Things not going Norwich's way so far - 1-0 down away at Burnley and third-placed Nottingham Forest 1-0 up against Watford. That would be enough for Forest to leapfrog them into second should things stay the way they are. Brighton equaliser at Bristol Rovers, Ashley Barnes has got it just before the break, cracking match that one.

1542: Rafael van der Vaart fires in a curling free-kick from the edge of the Bolton area left-footed, but the Tottenham playmaker's effort is saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

1541: Huge controversy at Goodison Park and David Moyes is steaming mad. Seamus Coleman is fouled by David Carney and although Coleman plays on and finds Louis Saha who slots home, referee Kevin Friend had blown for a free-kick and the goal is ruled out.

Man City goal: Aleksandar Kolarov's cross flicks off Nicky Shorey's head and hits the arm of Jerome Thomas. Referee Martin Atkinson points to the spot, again, and Carlos Tevez steps up to fire home, again. He completes his hat-trick by placing it to the right of Boaz Myhill. Birthdays don't come much better.

1540: GOALFLASH Man City 3-0 West Brom (Tevez, hat-trick)


Blackpool goal: It's the first thing they've done all afternoon, but Blackpool are level. Ian Evatt's flick from Charlie Adam's corner hits the inside of the post and across goal - it may be behind the line - but Alex Baptiste makes sure from half a yard.

1538: GOALFLASH Everton 1-1 Blackpool (Baptiste)

1537: Man City look like scoring every time they go forward, but this time David Silva's effort one-on-one is saved.

1536: With Fabio Capello watching on from the stands, Tottenham's England strike duo link up well as Jermain Defoe's clever dummy sends Peter Crouch through on goal but the big man is denied by a superb, perfectly timed challenge from Paul Robinson.

Wigan goal: A five-minute spell of improvement and Wigan draw level as James McCarthy reacts quickest to turn in the rebound after Emmerson Boyce's low 15-yard shot is only parried by Paul Robinson in the Rovers goal.

1534: GOALFLASH Wigan 1-1 Blackburn (McCarthy)

Someone has struck the woodwork
1532: Stunning save and how West Brom needed it. Aleksandar Kolarov lines one up from 30 yards and it looks for all the world like his pile-driver is flying in, but Baggies keeper Boaz Myhill tips it up on to the bar on the stretch.

Football League Nathan: "Not the best of starts for Gary Megson's Sheffield Wednesday as Peter Leven puts visitors MK Dons ahead from the spot before Daniel Powell doubles the lead shortly after. And after that flurry of early goals we're back on a steady pace… ish."

1530: Aston Villa have the bit between their teeth as Fulham struggle to contain them at Villa Park. Stewart Downing, in particular, playing on the left of Villa's midfield is causing the Cottagers all sorts of problems.

1529: Benjani has missed a sitter as Wigan struggle to get to grips with a dominant Blackburn. Pederson's free kick from the left found Benjani, but the Zimbabwean could not make a good enough connection with his head. But there was a hint of handball against Wigan's Gohouri as the home side hacked it away. Wigan on the ropes.

Arsenal goal: The Gunners are rampant, Newcastle are worse than awful. Bacary Sagna sends over a delicious cross from the right and Robin van Persie - without a Magpies defender within a yard radius of him, heads home six yards out, centre of goal. Toon fans are leaving already.

1527: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-4 Arsenal (Van Persie)

1525: Great work again by Jack Rodwell inside the Blackpool box, the youngster wriggling past a couple of defenders inside the box with a couple of lovely touches but then completely missing the ball with his attempted swipe at goal. Shame.

Man City goal: Man City have breathing space after a goal of real quality. Following a spell of pressure by West Brom, Vincent Kompany strides forward before feeding Carlos Tevez. The Argentine exchanges passes with David Silva, hurdles a desperate challenge by Steven Reid, and finds a cool finish into the bottom corner of the net.

Blackburn goal: Wigan wobbling - and not for the first time of late, by any stretch. Brett Emerton is released into acres of space on the right and the Australian has all the time in the world to cut back for Jason Roberts to drive home from eight yards.

1522: GOALFLASH Man City 2-0 West Brom (Tevez)

1522: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-1 Blackburn (Roberts)

Someone has struck the woodwork
1521: They should have been 2-0 inside five minutes and yet Bolton almost level at White Hart Lane, Johan Elmander nodding Matt Taylor's cross on to the bar.

Everton goal: Louis Saha is the scorer, and it's a fine low finish, but this goal is all about Jack Rodwell and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's build-up play, the latter bustling into the box to cut back for the opener.

1519: GOALFLASH Everton 1-0 Blackpool (Saha)

Man City goal: And on his birthday, too. Carlos Tevez steps up to send the keeper the wrong way after Steven Reid is adjudged by referee Martin Atkinson to have bundled Aleksandar Kolarov over in the box. Man City have never lost a league game when Tevez has scored, by the way.

1517: GOALFLASH Man City 1-0 West Brom (Tevez pen)


Football League Nathan: "And League Two leaders Chesterfield are up and running, too. Deane Smalley's grabbed it. Not so good for struggling Stockport, though. Fluffing their chance to get themselves out of the drop zone as Chris Zebroski puts Torquay ahead."

1515: Chances at both ends at Eastlands. Only a timely interception by Steven Reid prevented Yaya Toure from latching on to David Silva's delightful pass inside the Baggies area but, since then, West Brom have forced Man City keeper Joe Hart into two decent saves, first pushing away Chris Brunt's fizzing free-kick then tipping over Jonas Olsson's header from the resulting corner.

Aston Villa goal: He's never scored for Fulham, but that's his third own goal of the season from John Pantsil. This one is very unfortunate, though, as his defensive header on the stretch under pressure from Stewart Downing's cross flies across goal and inside the far post.

1513: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-0 Fulham (Pantsil og)

1513: Blackburn very much on top at the DW Stadium. Al-Habsi has been forced into a string of saves as Wigan struggle to get out of their own half. It would appear to be just a matter of time before the deadlock is broken...

1512: Blackpool defender David Carney almost puts through his own net to give Everton the lead at Goodison Park, but the ball goes just wide after re-bounding off the full-back.

Arsenal goal: Nine minutes, three goals, and Newcastle are falling apart. Theo Walcott is given the freedom of St James' Park as he dances into the area and his pull-back is slammed into the corner by Robin van Persie.

1511: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-3 Arsenal (Van Persie)

Someone has won a penalty
Missed Penalty, Tottenham: Two penalties in two minutes given by Mark Clattenburg, this time for a foul by Sam Ricketts on Aaron Lennon. Rafael van der Vaart sticks the spot-kick in the same corner seemingly for 2-0 but is ordered to retake for encroachment, and his second attempt flies wide. Let-off for Bolton.


Football League Nathan: "It's all about early goals isn't it!? Will Hoskins puts Bristol Rovers 1-0 up at League One leaders Brighton. Fantastic start for the hosts, what a boost that is. Marcus Tudgay''s got an early one, too as Nottingham Forest go one up against Watford."


1506: Great run from Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing on the left and he cuts inside before powering a low shot which keeper Mark Schwarzer manages to get a hand to. Darren Bent pounces on the loose ball to slot in but his effort is ruled offside in a marginal decision.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1506: Man City almost score with their first attack at a very wet Eastlands. Aleksandar Kolarov sends over a precise cross from the left after a neat build-up down that flank but birthday boy Carlos Tevez sidefoots his volley against the post with only West Brom keeper Boaz Myhill to beat.

Tottenham goal: Bolton are not happy but referee Mark Clattenburg is adamant that Kevin Davies handled in the area and Rafael van der Vaart steps up to slam home the spot-kick.

1505: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-0 Bolton (Van der Vaart pen)


Arsenal goal: It's his first ever goal for Arsenal and it's a nightmare start for Newcastle, Johan Djourou nodding in Andrey Arshavin's free-kick from deep into the top corner.

1504: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal (Djourou)

Arsenal goal: Less than a minute on the clock and Arsenal lead, Andrey Arshavin's flick from Abou Diaby's pass releasing Theo Walcott in behind the Newcastle defence and the winger tucks away his finish with aplomb.

1502: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal (Walcott)

1500: Here we go, then, people - the 1500 kick-offs are getting going.

1458: Over at Eastlands, they are holding a minute's applause before kick-off in honour of former Man City star Neil Young, who died on Thursday at the age of 66. City legends - and former team-mates of Young - Francis Lee, Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee are out on the pitch and the club will unveil a permanent banner in honour of Young in the 24th minute of today's game against West Brom - the time Young scored City's winner against Leicester in the 1969 FA Cup final.

1455: I can only apologise, by the way, if these updates are reaching you at a slower rate than normal - it would appear our auto-refresh system is proving more sluggish that a university student on a Sunday morning. Our techies are investigating, I'm told.

Football League Nathan: "Pressure very much back on the chasing pack at the top of the Championship after QPR's away win on Friday. Norwich (second) travel to Burnley, while Swansea (third) meet Cardiff in Sunday's tasty fixture - that's on BBC Two at 1315 GMT, by the way. In-form Nottingham Forest host high-scoring Watford, while at the trouble end of the table, Preston, seven points adrift of safety, need points against Bristol City."

Michael Da Silva reports:
"Wigan hand Victor Moses his first start since the opening day, while Tom Cleverley returns to the squad for the first time since 4th January. Blackburn boss Steve Kean has made three changes from the side that were edged out by Spurs on Wednesday evening. Returning from the Qatari sunshine to the starting line-up is Brett Emerton, while Morten Gamst Pedersen and Benjani both start. Jermaine Jones has shaken off his back complaint and starts, with David Dunn, Keith Andrews and Mame Biram Diouf dropping to the bench."

Football League Nathan: "Worth keeping an eye on Brighton v Bristol Rovers in League One this afternoon. The Seagulls are flying high at the top of the table still, while the Pirates are running out of gas at the other end. Four points from safety, you'd think a point would be a welcome return for Rovers, although Brighton are tottering slightly. Gary Megson may not be picking the Sheffield Wednesday team against MK Dons today, but he plans to be on the touchline barking a few orders to inspire his new team. Peterborough v Southampton is the late game."

Football League Nathan: "A couple of games down in League Two, with Bury-Burton and Macclesfield-Bradford gone. Leaders Chesterfield have the chance to put some serious distance between themselves and the play-off places when they host Aldershot. All very tight at the bottom, though, and with Burton not playing, Stockport and Barnet have the chance to move out of the drop zone. Burton only have the seven games in hand on Stockport, mind."

Chris Bevan reports:
"£27m striker Edin Dzeko drops to the bench for Man City, with Micah Richards and Nigel de Jong both missing out after their clash of heads against Birmingham in midweek. Pablo Zabaleta and the Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya are the men coming in, with Aleksandar Kolarov expected to be pushed forward down the left flank, while teenage midfielder Abdul Rasak is on the City bench for the first time. West Brom make four changes from Tuesday's draw with Wigan. Peter Odemwingie is fit but Gonzalo Jara (hamstring) and Marek Cech (groin) miss out. Nicky Shorey, James Morrison, Steven Reid and Marc-Antoine Fortune start, with Carlos Vela and Simon Cox dropping to the bench."

Kevin Darling reports:
"Tottenham make just one change from their midweek win at Blackburn as they welcome back defender Michael Dawson from suspension, with Sebastien Bassong making way. Fit-again Steven Pienaar is on the bench. Bolton hand a first start to transfer window signing Daniel Sturridge after his match-winning substitute appearance against Wolves on Wednesday, with Lee Chung-Yong dropping to the bench."

Paul Fletcher reports:
"Symmetry on Tyneside as both Newcastle and Arsenal make two changes from midweek. Danny Guthrie and the injured Shola Ameobi are replaced by Cheik Tiote and Peter Lovenkrands for the Magpies, while Andrey Arshavin and Abou Diaby come in for Alex Song and Tomas Rosicky in the visiting XI."

Owen Phillips reports:
"Everton leave top scorer Tim Cahill on the bench following his return from international duty as boss David Moyes keeps faith with the side that ran Arsenal so close in midweek. Blackpool manager Ian Holloway does mix things up, making five changes from the 3-1 home reverse against West Ham. James Beattie makes his full debut against his old club and fellow new boy Jason Puncheon also starts - while keeper Richard Kingson is dropped for Paul Rachubka."

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Aston Villa make one change from the midweek loss at Manchester United as winger Marc Albrighton is replaced by forward Gabriel Agbonlahor. Fulham beat Newcastle on Wednesday and manager Mark Hughes keeps faith in the same players with on-loan Chelsea winger Gael Kakuta again on the bench."

johnsalehprice on Twitter: "Never realised how many goals Robert Huth has scored this year. A central defender with a forward's instinct. Rare."
Yep, seven goals this season. Goals 7, yellow cards 6, in fact. Face-off.

1439: Apologies, yep, I meant 2-2 at 1434. How Sunderland fans will wish it had stayed that way.

Full time
1438: FULL-TIME Stoke 3-2 Sunderland

1437: We've got just one minute of stoppage time left and Sunderland are shell-shocked.

Stoke goal: There were offside questions about their first two goals, but none about this - and Stoke look like they've won it in injury time, Robert Huth doing brilliantly to guide home Jermaine Pennant's sublime free-kick from deep into the net on the volley six yards out.

1436: GOALFLASH Stoke 3-2 Sunderland (Huth)

1435: And here's another chance for Stoke to launch one into the Sunderland area from a free-kick...

1434: We'll have four minutes of stoppage time and it's still Stoke 2-2 Sunderland, though it's the hosts on the front foot still.

Aston Villa:
Friedel, Walker, Dunne, Collins, Clark, Petrov, Makoun, Downing, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor, Bent. Subs: Marshall, Pires, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Heskey, Reo-Coker, Cuellar.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Baird, Duff, Murphy, Sidwell, Dempsey, Dembele, Johnson. Subs: Stockdale, Salcido, Gera, Gudjohnsen, Kakuta, Greening, Davies.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Howard, Neville, Distin, Heitinga, Baines, Coleman, Arteta, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov, Fellaini, Saha. Subs: Mucha, Hibbert, Jagielka, Beckford, Cahill, Osman, Anichebe.
Blackpool: Rachubka, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, Carney, Puncheon, Vaughan, Adam, Grandin, Campbell, Beattie. Subs: Kingson, Southern, Harewood, Varney, Phillips, Edwards, Reid.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

1431: Into the last three minutes of normal time at the Britannia Stadium and right now Stoke look by far the likelier to grab what would be a precious winner.

Harper, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Barton, Tiote, Nolan, Gutierrez, Best, Lovenkrands. Subs: Krul, Campbell, Guthrie, Perch, Ranger, Ferguson, Richardson.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy, Walcott, Wilshere, Diaby, Fabregas, Arshavin, van Persie. Subs: Almunia, Rosicky, Squillaci, Eboue, Gibbs, Chamakh, Bendtner.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Al Habsi, Boyce, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Diame, N'Zogbia, Watson, McCarthy, Moses, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Di Santo, Steven Caldwell, Gomez, Cleverley, McArthur, Stam.
Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson, Emerton, Jermaine Jones, Pedersen, Hoilett, Mwaruwari, Roberts. Subs: Bunn, Dunn, Grella, Nzonzi, Andrews, Hanley, Diouf.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Stoke goal: Sorry, mdriver11, poor timing, that. Stoke might not be missing Tuncay so much now as they bundle in their second equaliser of the day, John Carew forcing Jermaine Pennant's excellent free-kick goalwards and Robert Huth touching home from all of half a yard.

1426: GOALFLASH Stoke 2-2 Sunderland (Huth)

mdriver11 on Twitter: "Stoke are screaming out for a player like Tuncay to come on and score. I wonder if they are regretting selling him now?"

Gomes, Corluka, Gallas, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Palacios, Jenas, Van der Vaart, Crouch, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Hutton, Pavlyuchenko, Bassong, Kranjcar, Sandro, Pienaar.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Elmander, Mark Davies, Holden, Taylor, Kevin Davies, Sturridge. Subs: Bogdan, Muamba, Petrov, Klasnic, Moreno, Lee, Wheater.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

1423: Moments later a Stoke corner causes big problems in the Sunderland defence before a ricochet off John Mensah that could have gone anywhere falls into the arms of a grateful Craig Gordon.

1422: Fine whipped free-kick from Stoke's Jermaine Pennant on the left and Craig Gordon does well to punch away inside a crowded area. Sunderland defending their lines.

are unchanged for the trip to Aston Villa, for whom Gabriel Agbonlahor returns to the starting XI.

Victor Moses makes his first Wigan start since the opening day of the season for the visit of Blackburn, who again can find no room in their squad for new boys Mauro Formica and Rubens Rochina.

Michael Dawson returns to the Tottenham line-up as captain for the visit of Bolton, replacing Sebastien Bassong after suspension as the one change to the side that beat Blackburn in midweek.

1415: Less than 20 minutes remaining at the Britannia Stadium and Stoke are start to build something like a head of steam here.

Edin Dzeko drops to the Man City bench against West Brom, but Kolo and Yaya Toure start.

Cheik Tiote and Peter Lovenkrands start for Newcastle against Arsenal, who draft in Andrey Arshavin and Abou Diaby.

Tim Cahill, back from the Asian Cup, only makes the Everton bench at Blackpool, who hand full debuts to James Beattie and Jason Puncheon.

1410: First change for Stoke as Jon Walters replaces Andy Wilkinson.

1409: And now Robert Huth fires over with a wild long-range effort.

1407: Sunderland have dealt with Stoke's set-pieces and long throws a lot better this half, but this time - on the back of what looks a foul on keeper Craig Gordon - Rory Delap follows up his own throw with a crashing shot at goal that forces Phil Bardsley into a brave and crucial block.

1402: Sunderland work it well down the right-hand side, from where Jordan Henderson swings in a fine cross that is just a touch too high for Nedum Onuoha to get over at the far post.

Alynch0512 on Twitter: "Sessegnon and Muntari look like two signings that will really help Sunderland finish well this season. Impressed with both."

1358: Decent enough response from Stoke, who are certainly not being out-played by the visitors. Perhaps just lacking a touch of culture up front at present, though, the hosts.

1355: That was Asamoah Gyan's eighth league goal of the season, by the way, his £13m price tag looking more bargainous (made-up word alert) by the game.

Sunderland goal: The visitors start the second half just as they began the first, with a goal. Asamoah Gyan has plenty to do with a ball over the top of the Stoke defence, but he bundles his way past Robert Huth in the area and slams low into the net to restore Sunderland's lead.

1351: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-2 Sunderland (Gyan)

1350: We are back up and running, Stoke 1-1 Sunderland.

Michael Da Silva reports:
"Blackburn are looking to dust themselves off from their narrow defeat against Spurs with a trip to Wigan, who have won fewer games at home than any other Premier League team this season. The absence of injured captain Gary Caldwell will also test the Latics' resolve - but a win would drag them out of the bottom three. "

Kevin Darling reports:
"Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp officially conceded the title this week, the latest gush of humility in what some perceive as a mild sulk at his failure to sufficiently (whisper it) wheel and deal in January transfer window. Yet Spurs, having ended a sticky run with a spirited victory at Blackburn in midweek, can go joint fourth if they beat Bolton today. The Trotters have lost five on the bounce away from home but will hope their last-gasp win over Wolves on Wednesday is a corner-turning moment."

Paul Fletcher reports:
"Newcastle's form has fallen away since their FA Cup defeat at Stevenage and Alan Pardew's team are looking for their first win in five games. They face an Arsenal side desperate to keep the pressure on leaders Manchester United. The Gunners can close to the gap to two points, although Sir Alex Ferguson's team will restore their five-point advantage if they beat Wolves later on."

Chris Bevan reports:
"Time was when Man City were being called boring - not any more. Roberto Mancini's side have conceded 11 times in their last six games and have not managed a clean-sheet since a shut-out at Arsenal a month ago. West Brom keep shipping goals too, mind, during what has become alarming slide down the table, so maybe it's obvious what's in store. Yep, stalemate."

Owen Phillips reports:
"Everton can go above Blackpool with a win in this February fixture - a fact few Toffees fans expected to be clinging to when the season began. But an alarming slide means the Tangerines' early-season brilliance is in danger of counting for little come May. Hope comes in the form of keeping Charlie Adam and some shrewd transfer window business. Meanwhile Everton have hardly inspired - with just five Premier League wins and little transfer cheer. Ian Holloway has the luxury of a relatively pressure-free existence, David Moyes needs to win."

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Aston Villa and Fulham both flirted with the relegation zone early this year but have since improved to ease fears of the drop. Villa have seven points from their last 12 and the Cottagers have 10 from 15. And, while the Midlanders are aiming to win back-to-back league matches at home for the first time since August, Fulham are targeting a league win at Villa Park for the first time since March 1973. So, let battle commence."

1340: Anyway, we've got a sextet of 1500 Premier League kick-offs to come, so let's hear from our match reporters shall we?

1339: Replay, slow-mo, replay, slow-mo, another angle, slow-mo, another angle, replay... for my money, the Stoke goal did come from Robert Huth's flick-on, it was offside, but it wasn't a foul on the keeper. I'm just putting that out there.

Half time
1334: HALF-TIME Stoke 1-1 Sunderland
Mark Ashenden's HT snap-shot:
"The beauty and the beast. Sunderland open up with a sweetly-worked opener by an on-fire Kieran Richardson. John Carew then stabs in an ugly equaliser that went something like long throw, whoosh, doink, ping, ooops, wallop, ooof. Game on."

1332: And as the rain starts to fall in Stoke, the half-time whistle blows.

1331: ...this time it comes to nothing, though, as Sunderland just about clear their lines.

1330: Hold up, Rory Delap long throw time...

1328: A couple of minutes left in the first half at the Britannia Stadium.

1324: All a bit scrappy in the last couple of minutes since that equaliser. Yet further replays of John Carew's goal would appear to show Robert Huth's flick-on apparently coming off the glove of Craig Gordon, therefore ensuring Carew was onside. Oh I don't know...

1319: I tell you what, the TV replays show that John Carew was offside there as only one man - a Sunderland defender - was between him and the goal when Robert Huth flicked goalwards. Would've taken an eagle-eyed official to have spotted that. Though that is their job I suppose.

Stoke goal: It's no less than they deserve, but no-one will be surprised it's come from a Rory Delap throw. Craig Gordon fails to deal with the delivery into the box and John Carew is on hand to poke in on his home debut from Robert Huth's flick goalwards.

1316: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-1 Sunderland (Carew)

Yellow card
1314: Right, who had 30 minutes in the sweepstake? Half hour into his Sunderland debut and Sulley Muntari earns his first yellow card with the club for a scythe on Matty Etherington.

1310: He scored a fine goal against Chelsea in midweek, but Phil Bardsley can't recreate the magic with this effort, firing well wide from the edge of the area. Still plenty of nice football being played in this one, though.

1307: Jermaine Pennant pings in a low shot that Sunderland are relieved to see deflected wide, and then Danny Higginbotham - from the resulting corner - hooks his foot around a shot brilliantly to fire into the side-netting at the back post. Stoke pressing.

j_grodes on Twitter: "Stoke's height advantage over Sunderland is really showing, wouldn't be surprised to see a header fly in quite soon..."

1304: And now Jordan Henderson forces a low save from Asmir Begovic with a stinging low effort up the other end. Great game so far.

1302: Stoke have settled well and they're right in this game now, forcing a succession of corners and piling the pressure on the Sunderland defence.

1259: Matthew Etherington tries his luck on the volley from a Stoke corner, but it's high, wide and... pretty ugly.

1257: Sunderland, with Stephane Sessegnon pulling the strings behind frontman Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari already putting himself about in midfield, are pressing Stoke well all over the pitch. The hosts are looking dangerous on the counter, though, and this game is pretty open right now.

1253: And then, eight minutes in, Stoke fashion a great chance of a leveller from a Rory Delap throw, Robert Huth's initial effort at the back post saved well by Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon and his follow-up effort flying over.

1251: Sunderland are pressing Stoke right back in these early stages, and this time Titus Bramble's looped header from a Phil Bardsley free-kick forces home keeper Asmir Begovic to punch away under pressure.

Sunderland goal: What a start for Sunderland as Kieran Richardson makes it four goals in his last three games, swiping into the roof of the net after Asamoah Gyan's scuffed shot fell to him 10 yards out. The build-up to that was lovely.

1247: GOALFLASH Stoke 0-1 Sunderland (Richardson)

1245: Nice and prompt, we're up and running in the Stoke-Sunderland tie.

chrispdennis on Twitter: "Eggplant is a plant, sour cream can go bad, young pigeons only leave the nest adult-sized and mice aren't very meaty. Sorry."
Well that's killed it.

1241: Anyway, with six 1500 kick-offs and the Wolves-Man Utd clash rounding things off today, there will be plenty of chat on the day's other matches to come, but for now let's focus our attention on all things Stoke-Sunderland shall we? Here come the players at the Britannia Stadium...

PeteFHumphreys on Twitter: "Why do packets of nuts say "may contain nuts" on them?"

1237: Predictions. I've never made one and I never will. But Mark Lawrenson does. All season our football expert has been pitting his wits against the biggest and best of the celebrity world - Robbie Williams, Idris Elba, Kobe Bryant and so on - and this week it's the turn of... actor Jake Wood, who plays Albert Square 'love rat' Max Branning in EastEnders. Ahem. Have a look, why don't you?

evilacid on Twitter: "Why isn't there mouse-flavoured cat food?"

Mark Ashenden reports:
"Fresh after arriving from Inter Milan, on-loan midfielder Sulley Muntari gets his debut for a Sunderland team making two changes after losing to Chelsea. Stoke include four former Black Cats in their starting XI, with Kenwyne Jones hunting goals against his former employers. Skipper Ryan Shawcross is back from his ban. Let the battles commence."

Ollie Worthing via text: "Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is fear of long words. Brownie points for texting that?"

Grendel12 on Twitter: "Why don't you ever see baby pigeons?"

1228: By the way, an early heads-up for you all as well - don't forget to stick around later on for Fabio Capello's England squad announcement. The Italian is due to name his squad to face Denmark in a friendly in Copenhagen on Wednesday, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the odd shock name in there. I'll be keeping you up to date as and when I see Don Fabio around the grounds today.

Chris May, E11, via text: "Feeling a bit philosophical today Sam?"

Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Higginbotham, Pennant, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington, Jones, Carew. Subs: Sorensen, Collins, Whelan, Wilson, Pugh, Walters, Shotton.
Sunderland: Gordon, Onuoha, Mensah, Ferdinand, Bramble, Bardsley, Henderson, Muntari, Sessegnon, Richardson, Gyan. Subs: Mignolet, Zenden, Malbranque, Angeleri, Riveros, Colback, Elmohamady.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Mreading91 on Twitter: "Why does sour cream have an expiration date?"

bossdez on Twitter: "An eggplant is not a plant and doesn't look like an egg, why the name?"

Mark Ashenden reports:
"Sunderland are sniffing a top-four spot but will have to put the shutters up to a few former players at Stoke, like man mountain Kenwyne Jones up front. The Potters are looking to avoid a third league defeat on the bounce. What odds on them being involved in a fifth 2-0 scoreline in six games? The Black Cats looking for a third successive triumph on their travels. My mystic marbles see a Saturday sizzling 3-3. Shoot me down."

1218: But first up, we have our lunchtime game Stoke v Sunderland. Mark Ashenden is your match reporter for that one...

ZaynAliJaffer on Twitter: "Will never understand people who do not love football. Ever."

Rob, revising in London via text: "Sam, greatest start to text update ever! I would add in - why are they called stairs inside and steps outside?"

1216: What have we got in store today then Uncle Sam, I hear you ask? Well here are our offerings from the Premier League...
(Kick-off 1500 GMT unless stated)
Stoke v Sunderland (1245)
Aston Villa v Fulham
Everton v Blackpool
Man City v West Brom
Newcastle v Arsenal
Tottenham v Bolton
Wigan v Blackburn
Wolves v Man Utd (1730)

Of course we've also got a bumper programme of Championship and Lower League action today, and Football League Nathan will bring you all the latest and greatest from there, so he will.

Kenwyne Jones and Matt Etherington return for Stoke, while Sulley Muntari makes his Sunderland debut in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.

philmac17 on Twitter: "Six home wins and two away wins today. Probably not to hard to work out the away wins..."

1211: This is where you lot come in. You can Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball or ask me a question direct @sampatricklyon or text me via 81111 (UK). Boomtown.

1207 And anyway, we've got Chelsea-Liverpool tomorrow. Big.

1205: Now, on the face of it, some of you might look at today's set of fixtures and wonder where the stand-out tie is; the clash of the title-chasers, the relegation six-pointer, the European hopeful face-off. But that's the beauty of today, people. To me, it just looks like one of those days when football will be the real story. Plenty of finesse, plenty of proper passing and plenty of goals. Bring it on.

1203: Answer: it just is.

1200: A few of life's great mysteries for you all: Why is it so weird walking down a non-moving escalator? Why is it that you must stare at the phone when on a conference call? Why is abbreviation such a long word? And what is it about 22 men kicking a waterproof plastic sphere around a patch of grass that is so darn fascinating?

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Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 5 Feb 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 25 31 54
2 Arsenal 25 27 50
3 Man City 26 20 49
4 Chelsea 24 25 44
5 Tottenham 25 8 44
6 Sunderland 26 1 37
7 Liverpool 25 2 35
8 Bolton 26 -1 33
9 Stoke 25 -1 33
10 Newcastle 25 2 31
11 Blackburn 26 -8 31
12 Fulham 26 0 30
13 Everton 25 -1 30
14 Aston Villa 26 -15 29
15 Blackpool 25 -11 28
16 West Brom 25 -17 26
17 Wigan 26 -18 26
18 Birmingham 23 -10 24
19 West Ham 25 -17 24
20 Wolves 25 -17 24

see also
Saturday's football photos
05 Feb 11 |  Football

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