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By Chris Bevan
2008: Right, that is me done and dusted, after a thrilling day of Premier League footballl. You can watch all 25 of today's top-flight goals on Match of the Day (on BBC One and this website in the UK) at 2230 BST, followed immediately afterwards by all the goals from the Football League in the Football League Show (ditto) at 2350 BST. I'll be back on Sunday for Bolton versus Arsenal, when I hope to see you again too. Bye for now.
From anonymous Man Utd fan, via text: "Fernando Torres - £50 million a goal, Javier Hernandez - £0.3 million a goal..."
From Alex, an over the moon Baggies fan, via text: "As a West Brom fan I want to nominate Peter Odemwingie as the signing of the season, 13 goals and 6 assists for £2m, we'd be down without him, if he was at a top-four club they'd be raving about him."
West Ham boss Avram Grant, whose side are bottom of the Premier League table, following their 3-0 defeat by Chelsea: "We had better chances than them, Petr Cech had a good day. The pitch helped Torres to score the second goal. But this is football. We believe we can stay in the league and we can take positives from today."
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti after his side's win over West Ham that saw £50m striker Fernando Torres finally open his account for the Blues: "What a perfect day. Everyone has been waiting for Fernando to score and finally he did it. From today, a new life. He needed a goal - he worked hard and maintained confidence and composure. From today, he will have fantastic future at this club. The big problem was that he came to a new club and it was not easy to immediately find a good relationship with the new teammates and our play. Now the bad moment has gone and we will take advantage with his performances."
FULL-TIME Aston Villa 1-1 Stoke City Owen Phillips reports: "All a bit tame at Villa Park despite two divine headed goals and plenty of endeavour. But precious points mean survival prizes towards the Premier League's basement."
FULL-TIME Sunderland 4-2 Wigan Kevin Darling reports: "Who needs strikers? Sunderland lose all theirs to injury and proceed to smack in four second half goals for a first win in 10. Relief on Wearside but worrying for Wigan, whose back four defended like - well - strikers."
FULL-TIME Wolves 1-1 Fulham Les Roopanarine reports: "Fittingly, on a day when Doctor Who returns to our screens, this was a 90 minutes that seemed to defy the laws of time, the afternoon passing in a fast-forward blur of charged emotions and feisty challenges until it culminated with the dramatic late intervention from Andy Johnson that earned Fulham a deserved point."
FULL-TIME Liverpool 5-0 Birmingham Phil Dawkes reports: "King Kenny's Liverpool revolution continues courtesy of this utterly dominant victory over Birmingham. The Reds now have their sights firmly set on fifth place, while City continue to glance nervously over their shoulder at their fellow relegation-theatened rivals."
1945: Almost time to wrap up (although we will hear from Carlo Ancelotti and Avram Grant before we go). Firstly, let's see how our reporters saw a thrilling Saturday of Premier League football...
1942: Lots of chat about Torres, understandably, but where do West Ham go from here? Bottom of the table with four games left... they need Scott Parker back in action as soon as possible. And for Mark Noble's injury to not be a serious one, too.
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, who scored in his side's win over West Ham to notch his first goal for the club after 732 minutes in a Chelsea shirt: "I have had 14 games waiting for a goal, which was not the beginning I was expecting when I signed at a massive team like this. It is not easy when you sign for a club in January but I want to thank all my team-mates because they have been looking out for me all this time. There will be less pressure on me now. Now we can try and finish the season as we all want. "
1931: Fernando Torres wore a huge grin on his face as he walked off the pitch at the end - we haven't seen that for a while either, have we?
MichaelTGrant on Twitter:
"As a Liverpool fan I was gutted with Torres' departure but was happy to see him score. Hope Chelsea can overtake Man Utd now."
1925: FULL-TIME Chelsea 3-0 West Ham
Chelsea goal: No stopping this one... Florent Malouda smashes an fizzing shot past Rob Green and almost breaks the net. A nice way to wrap things up for Chelsea, but more bad news for the Hammers.
1924: GOALFLASH Chelsea 3-0 West Ham (Malouda)
1922: I've enjoyed this game quite a lot - loads of chances, terrible weather and a water-logged pitch. Plenty of spectacular crash-landings from players who lose their footings too.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge
"The waiting is over - and how Stamford Bridge has greeted that goal from Fernando Torres. Torres himself was overjoyed but almost as significant was the reaction of his Chelsea team-mates, who mobbed him with genuine pleasure. Good to see, unless you are of a West Ham persuasion."
1919: There will be four minutes of stoppage time at Stamford Bridge. Time for a couple more from Fernando Torres? He now has six goals in six games against the Hammers.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"903 - Fernando Torres ends a run of 903 minutes without a goal (all comps for Liverpool/Spain/Chelsea) by scoring v West Ham. Patience."
Chelsea goal: It has been a very long time coming, but Fernando Torres is finally off the mark for Chelsea - he alway scores against West Ham, doesn't he? Torres runs on to Nicolas Anella's through-ball and is initially held up by the sodden pitch, with the ball getting stuck under his feet. No matter - he stops and swivels to fire into the bottom corner and end the longest barren run of his career. The first of many?
1914: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-0 West Ham (Torres)
1913: Demba Ba is involved again, this time cutting in from the left and smashing a shot over the bar.
1912: Demba Ba is shown a yellow card for sliding in on David Luiz, and here comes another West Ham change - Victor Obinna is on, and Freddie Sears is off. I've been impressed by Sears today - he has been a real handful for Ashley Cole.
1911: Only some great defending by Danny Gabbidon stops Nicolas Anelka wrapping the three points up for Chelsea. Fernando Torres tees up Anelka with a super pass and his shot beats Rob Green but not the Wales defender, who gets back to head clear his goalbound shot.
1908: No hammer required this time by Thomas Hitzlsperger, who floats over a more delicate free-kick than his usual deliveries. Manuel Da Costa is up to head it goalwards but he cannot direct it on target. West Ham have made another change, with Frederic Piquionne replacing Carlton Cole.
1906: John Terry gets on the end of Frank Lampard's corner but his header is hacked clear by Wayne Bridge. Chelsea need a second goal here, to make sure of the points - and here comes Fernando Torres, at last, to try and supply it. With 15 minutes to go he replaces Didier Drogba.
1905: Another glorious chance for West Ham. Robbie Keane latches on to Jonathan Spector's measured pass and he is clean through... but does not even hit the target with his shot. What is the opposite of clinical?
1904: Just before that West Ham chance, Chelsea brought on Nicolas Anelka for Salomon Kalou. So Fernando Torres is still on the bench, for now. He won't score from there.
1903: A big, big chance for a West Ham equaliser... and it goes begging. Freddie Sears surges past Ashley Cole and crosses for Carlton Cole, who has the opportunity to shoot but gets the ball stuck under his feet - he wasn't helped by the conditions there, and things are made worse by his attempts to win back possession afterwards - ending with a wild swipe for the ball and a face full of sodden Stamford Bridge turf. Less than 20 minutes left now.
1859: West Ham aren't done yet, mind. First Demba Ba stings the palms of Petr Cech with a zinging effort from outside the box. Chelsea cannot clear their lines and Robbie Keane twists and turns inside their box before shooting straight at the Chelsea keeper.
1857: The Hammers seem to have lost their way since Mark Noble went off injured. A second Chelsea goal would surely kill this game off, and they almost grabbed it. David Luiz lets fly from 25 yards and the ball dips on to the bar with Rob Green beaten. A superb strike.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge
"Injuries have disrupted both the Chelsea and West Ham midfields, but Carlo Ancelotti's side still holding sway. Flowing football is being made almost impossible by the soaked condition of the Stamford Bridge pitch - at least the lights are working again."
1855: It is still 1-0 to Chelsea but I am not sure how. The Blues have had a succession of chances, starting with a great little ball by Didier Drogba that found Frank Lampard all alone and bursting into the box - but he scuffed his shot straight at Green. Then Lampard, trying to make amends, has another pop, this time from distance. When Rob Green can only parry, Florent Malouda pounces on the loose ball and tries to beat Green at his near post but fires into the side-netting.
1850: Right, we are back under way, and Chelsea have gone close to scoring a second goal (again). Didier Drogba bends in a free-kick and John Terry, who had got in behind Carlton Cole, is unlucky not to get anything on it in front of goal.
1847: West Ham need to make a change too. Mark Noble is down injured and will need a stretcher, which is a big blow to the Hammers' survival hopes today, and in the coming weeks too, if that proves to be serious. Robbie Keane is about to replace him.
1846: It is Yossi Benayoun who is coming on, to face his former club.
1844: Trouble for Michael Essien, who tweaked his knee in the first half and has just gone to ground in pain after appearing to aggravate the same problem. In fact, Essien has gone off, and Chelsea are down to 10 men until they can get their replacement on.
From Mark in Hull, via text: "Re 1829. I wonder if all those people asking for the game to be postponed are Manchester United fans?"
1842: West Ham's turn to attack. Manuel da Costa gets up well to meet a corner but his header is blocked, before Mark Noble bends a shot wide from about 30 yards out.
1841: A great chance for Chelsea to make it 2-0, with Florent Malouda teeing up Salomon Kalou after Didier Drogba put over a lovely ball into the area. Kalou fired just wide of Rob Green's right-hand post.
1839: Chelsea have put in a couple of decent crosses too, mind, and I think the home fans are more concerned about this weather. The rain has got heavier.
Football League Orno: "Two goals shortly before half-time and a third after the break have given Millwall a seemingly unassailable lead against Preston while pushing Phil Brown's team closer to League One. Five points from safety, Preston need a remarkable final 35 minutes."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"353 - Chelsea made as many passes in the opening 45 mins v West Ham as they did in 90 mins in the PL home game v Man Utd. Dominance."
1836: There is quite a bit of water on the pitch at Stamford Bridge and the players are having to splash around and make the best of it. West Ham have forced Petr Cech into another save, from Carlton Cole's header, but it was a comfortable one.
1835: We are back under way at the Bridge, where it is still raining. A lot.
jimbohammers on Twitter:
"We may go down, but we will still have thousands travelling to away games singing their heart out."
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway after his side's improved display in their 1-1 draw with Newcastle: "We didn't get what we deserved today. We played better than we have done for a few months. And we were denied some strong penalty shouts. That's our benchmark now, we have to keep that belief. It's not over until it's over. Let's get on with it next week."
1829: A few people have asked if there is any chance this game will be postponed. I doubt it, despite the best efforts of this storm, because those floodlights (see 1817) are now back on.
1825: If the scoreline stays the same, Chelsea close the gap back to six points on Manchester United (the same as it was at start of play today). West Ham will be bottom of the Premier League, two points from safety.
1820: HALF-TIME: Chelsea 1-0 West Ham Chief football writer Phil McNulty's
HT snapshot: "West Ham United would have been very satisfied indeed had they held out until the interval. They had flourished after surviving early pressure but Frank Lampard's goal has changed the game's complexion."
1819: A narrow escape for the Hammers on the stroke of half-time. Michael Essien steams in to meet a Florent Malouda cross but Manuel Da Costa is in the right place to clear.
1817: Not sure what is happening at the Bridge. This lightning has short-circuited the electronic advertising hoardings around the pitch and has also knocked out a few of the floodlights. It's all a bit scary, and not just for Hammers fans.
Chelsea goal: The Blues may have toiled in the last few minutes but they have just broken the deadlock with devastating ease. Ashley Cole is all alone as he surges on to Didier Drogba's pass down the left and his low cross is smashed home by Frank Lampard. Not great defending, but a well-worked goal.
1815: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-0 West Ham (Lampard)
1814: More problems for Chelsea. Petr Cech comes out to deal with a ball hoisted into his area and cleans out his defender David Luiz. He needs treatment, but seems to be OK.
1813: Less than five minutes left until the break at the Bridge. Chelsea began this game like a train but I think they will be glad to get in for the interval.
1811: West Ham's best moments in this game have come from set-pieces but they have just wasted another corner, which was worked short to Wayne Bridge, who saw his cross blocked. Still, Chelsea don't look too hot at the back at the moment and West Ham's next attack sees Demba Ba almost slip Carlton Cole free. Cole still got to the ball first, but had to cut back and his shot was blocked by John Terry. Worrying times for Carlo Ancelotti.
1806: Better by Chelsea, but still no end product. John Terry's flick is helped on to Branislav Ivanovic on the right-hand side of the box but his fierce cross-shot eludes his team-mates.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge
"West Ham are starting to have some joy at last with Freddie Sears prominent and their fans, as ever, in great voice. Chelsea started with real intent but have gone off the boil as thunder and lightning provide a spectacular backdrop at Stamford Bridge."
1803: The Hammers go even closer. A corner is met by Freddie Sears at the back post and it takes a combination of Petr Cech and Ashley Cole on the line to keep out his improvised flick.
1801: Thunder and lightning at the Bridge... and a yellow card too. Branislav Ivanovic brings down Demba Ba and then gives referee Phil Dowd a mouthful just to make sure of going into his book.
1759: This has been a frustrating few minutes for Chelsea, and they are not making things any easier for themselves. Didier Drogba collects the ball in a useful position inside the Hammers box but, with Florent Malouda begging for the ball in front of goal, chooses to shoot from a tight angle. The end result is not pretty - in fact it is high, wide and not very handsome.
1757: Another chance for the Hammers, who launch a rapid counter-attack from a Chelsea corner. Freddie Sears breaks down the right and sends over a perfect cross for Jonathan Spector, who chooses to meet it with a stooping header rather than a volley. Petr Cech gets down to push the ball around his post.
1755: Demba Ba picks up the ball just inside the Chelsea half and makes for goal, firing in a rasping shot from 30 yards out that Petr Cech is happy to tip away at the cost of a corner. They might look fragile at the back, but the Hammers remain a threat at the other end.
Aston Villa's stand-in boss Gary McAllister on Gerard Houllier, who was admitted to hospital this week with chest pains, speaking after his side's 1-1 draw with Stoke: "It's been a difficult week and the players showed how much they are behind the manager. We are in a nice run of form and the team has been picking itself after a couple of wins and a draw. "There is no doubt they wanted to perform for the manager. It's been my job keeping the players up to speed with how Gerard is."
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge
"The cloudburst over Stamford Bridge is really having an impact as the ball holds up on the rain-sodden surface. All the early pressure from Chelsea though and West Ham have spent the first 20 minutes on the back foot."
1749: Safe to say West Ham defender Manuel Da Costa is not having the greatest of games so far. Florent Malouda dances past him with ease and has time to pick his spot from the edge of the box... but scuffs his shot well wide. A disappointing finish.
1747: West Ham's first attack of note. Mark Noble bends in a free-kick and Carlton Cole almost gets something on it... in the end the ball comes through to Petr Cech, who collects comfortably, but it was a very dangerous delivery.
1745: The ball breaks for Florent Malouda inside the Hammers box but his shot is charged down by Mark Noble. Still one-way traffic, but still goallless after the first 15 minutes.
1744: The signs are that West Ham keeper Rob Green is going to be a busy man today. Didier Drogba twists on the edge of the box and fires in a snap-shot that Green has to keep out. Chelsea continue to dominate possession and are still piling on the pressure.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"5 - Didier Drogba has scored five goals in nine Premier League appearances against West Ham. District."
From anonymous Sunderland fan, via text: "Heading back from the Stadium of Light. Pleased with the result & second half display. Hope Steve Bruce knows that not all SAFC fans are as fickle as some. Injuries a worry though."
1739: Ashley Cole is unlucky as he tries to latch on to Michael Essien's ball over the top of the Hammers defence, but the ball skips away from him. We've had our first booking too - it goes to West Ham midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger for tripping Salomon Kalou.
1736: No respite in the rain at the Bridge... and these are difficult conditions for goalkeepers. Didier Drogba has a pop from distance and Hammers keeper Rob Green elects to push it away rather than catch it. It's been all Chelsea so far.
1733: Almost a dream start for Chelsea... they should be ahead, to be honest. Florent Malouda gets behind the West Ham defence but fires straight at Rob Green. He should have done better there...
1731: And we are under way, at a very wet Stamford Bridge.
HenryWhitfield on Twitter:
"Chelsea licking their lips at a Parker-less West Ham side, 3 points ripe for the picking. Can they keep pace with United?"
1728: And the answer is... no! Not even any eye contact between the pair actually.
1727: West Ham's former Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge is all smiles at Stamford Bridge as he runs out on to the pitch. Will he shake hands with John Terry today though? We are about to find out...
1725: After all that lovely sunshine earlier in the day, it is now tipping it down at Stamford Bridge. The players are in the tunnel, and probably want to stay there...
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp after his side's top-four bid was hit by their draw against West Brom: "Obviously we're disappointed. We were 2-1 up and feeling quite comfortable, but what a strike from their boy from outside the box. That's just how it goes - what can you do about it? It's difficult winning games in this league and they are a good side, West Brom. We moved the ball about well today but you've got no divine right to win games. We'll try and make the top four and if we don't we'll try again next year."
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce after his injury-hit side returned to winning ways with a bang against Wigan: "It doesn't really make sense because we have got no fit strikers left on the pitch or in the club and we scored four goals. The injuries could have ruined today too, but we got away with it - the players showed real resilience."
Football League Orno: "And last but by no means least, League Two. Chesterfield move five points clear at the summit after a goalless draw with Oxford but Gillingham are replaced in the top six by Accrington Stanley after losing 4-2 at home to lowly Barnet and seeing Accrington ease past Bradford. Barnet will be buoyed by their win but not by the knowledge that bottom-of-the-table Stockport stunned play-off hopefuls Port Vale to keep their own survival hopes alive and Burton Albion triumphed at Aldershot. A fascinating fight at the foot of the division."
NicBillot19 on Twitter:
"How crucial could that Liverpool - Spurs fixture be in the penultimate game of the season? A possible Europa League decider!"
Europa League? We could be talking Champions League at this rate - Liverpool are only four points off fourth...
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish after his side's thumping win over Birmingham: The players give me the joy and satisfaction. I'm celebrating for them as much as myself. I know how hard they work during the week. Overall it was a thoroughly deserving three points. We played some fantastic football. The young lads have shown they can handle the pressure, which is fantastic for the football club." How high can Liverpool finish? "We can only do what we can do. We can't take points off Spurs until they come here. We'll just focus on the next game, which is Newcastle United.
1716: Talk about a super-sub: Andy Johnson had been on the pitch for only 18 seconds when he popped up to score Fulham's vital equaliser. And, just to clarify, the assist definitely wasn't by Clint Dempsey - because he was the man that Johnson had replaced. Some of you noticed the, ahem, deliberate mistake...
Football League Orno: "Moving on to League One and the final unbeaten home record in the Football League has gone after champions Brighton were beaten at home by Southampton, Jose Fonte scoring an 89th-minute winner to move Saints above Huddersfield on goal difference and with a game in hand. Sixth-place Bournemouth looked on course for a comfortable win until hosts Yeovil came from 2-0 behind to snatch a point, but seventh-place Rochdale failed to capitalise as mid-table Carlisle got the better of a five-goal encounter. Notts County's come-from-behind victory over Swindon edges them away from the bottom three and keeps Paul Hart's men rock bottom, while strugglers Walsall and Bristol Rovers both picked up home draws against Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday respectively."
OliRoston on Twitter:
"Really poor Spurs result, another draw, another missed opportunity. Making it very hard for ourselves. Still believe..."
West Brom boss Roy Hodgson after his side's battling draw with Tottenham: "They are one of the hardest teams to play against in terms of defending, because they have so many attacking options and they move the ball around so well. Luckily we scored two good goals and we can come away with a very good point. You have to be a very good team to get a point here."
From Stewie in Reading, via text: "Excellent performance by Liverpool. To play like that without Carroll, Gerrard, Agger and Johnson and with inevitable summer signings to come things look very exciting."
Football League Orno: "WHAT A DAY in tiers two to four. Starting with the Championship and Burnley have given their play-off hopes a significant boost with a 4-2 victory at Derby which puts them level on points with Nottingham Forest in sixth. Hull missed the chance to do that, too, but were stunned 4-2 at home by Middlesbrough, Scott McDonald notching a first-half hat-trick. Sheffield United got the better of Bristol City in a five-goal thriller at Bramall Lane to keep their slim hopes of survival alive, while Swansea were held to a 0-0 draw at mid-table Portsmouth."
Chelsea v West Ham line-ups Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Kalou, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Torres, Benayoun, Zhirkov, Ferreira, Bertrand, Anelka. West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Gabbidon, da Costa, Bridge, Spector, Noble, Hitzlsperger, Sears, Cole, Ba. Subs: Boffin, Tomkins, Boa Morte, Kovac, Piquionne, Obinna, Keane. Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
CHELSEA v WEST HAM TEAM NEWS Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Stamford Bridge: "Fernando Torres stays on the bench for Chelsea with Didier Drogba leading the attack. West Ham United make four changes from the side that lost at home to Aston Villa, with Matthew Upson joining Scott Parker on the list of absentees. Danny Gabbidon, Jonathan Spector, Freddie Sears and Demba Ba coming in for Upson, Gary O'Neil, Victor Obinna and Robbie Keane."
CHELSEA v WEST HAM (1730 BST) Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Stamford Bridge: "Manchester United's late winner against Everton has made it even more crucial that Chelsea beat West Ham to maintain even the slimmest of slim hopes of retaining their Premier League crown. West Ham's need, if anything, is even desperate as they now confront the very real danger of dropping into the Championship."
1659: Still one Premier League game to come of course, with Chelsea taking on London rivals West Ham at Stamford Bridge in about half an hour or so. Just enough time to get your breath back then...
Football League Orno: "Have Swindon chucked away their League One lifeline? Alan Judge delivers his verdict to cancel out Matt Ritchie's 18th-minute opener before Lee Hughes twists the knife by making it 2-1 to Notts County. Meanwhile, Southampton have comes from a goal down to lead champions Brighton 2-1, Jose Fonte the hero. What a huge result for the Saints if they hold on. Quickly over to League Two and Stockport are back in contention for an unlikely escape, Anthony Elding grabbing his second of the day to give his side a shock 2-1 lead at play-off chasing Port Vale. And Bristol Rovers have come from 2-0 down to draw level with nine-man Charlton."
1657: Phew. No shortage of goals in the top flight this afternoon then? My fat fingers are looking a bit leaner after that little lot.
1656: FULL-TIME Wolves 1-1 Fulham
1656: FULL-TIME Sunderland 4-2 Wigan
1655: FULL-TIME Tottenham 2-2 West Brom
1655: FULL-TIME Liverpool 5-0 Birmingham
Wigan goal: Surely no more than a consolation this. Victor Moses fires the ball across the face of goal and Franco di Santo is there to slide it in at the far post.
1654: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 1-1 Stoke
1652: Tottenham have sent on Peter Crouch to try and nick a late winner against West Brom but the Baggies will feel they should have had a penalty a few moments ago. A James Morrison goalbound shot appeared to flick up on to the arm of Michael Dawson but referee Stuart Attwell dismissed the penalty claims. The TV replays suggest Spurs got lucky.
1651: GOALFLASH Sunderland 4-2 Wigan (Di Santo)
1650: FULL-TIME Blackpool 1-1 Newcastle
1649: A draw would be bad news for Wolves but a defeat would be a disaster. They are hanging on at Molineux, where Gael Kakuta has gone twice for Fulham - first being denied by Wayne Hennessey and then, moments later, bending a shot just wide.
Liverpool goal: Joe Cole? Remember him? The former England midfielder has just come off the bench for the Reds and makes an instant impact by wriggling into space in the box and beating Colin Doyle at his near post. The Blues keeper got a hand to it, but could not stop it creeping over the line.
1646: GOALFLASH Liverpool 5-0 Birmingham (Cole)
Football League Orno: "Where do we start? Izale McLeod completes his hat-trick with a penalty to put lowly Barnet 4-1 up at Gillingham in League Two, although the same man has just missed another spot kick for his fourth. Great day for the Bees but they won't be pleased to see Burton Albion going 2-1 up at Aldershot through Calvin Zola. Up in League One, Bristol Rovers have got one back against nine-man Charlton at the Memorial but the visitors still lead 2-1. And in the Championship, Burnley look to be home at dry against Derby thanks to Chris McCann's 64th-minute effort."
Football League Orno: "Goals, goals and even more goals. Rochdale v Carlisle in League One is turning into an absolute barnstormer and after coming from behind to lead 2-1, the hosts are now 3-2 down following strikes by Liam Noble and Matt Robinson. In the Championship, Burnley have turned it around at Derby, with Chris Eagles getting his second and Wade Elliot his first - three minutes later - to put the visitors 3-2 up and improve their chances of drawing level on points with Nottingham Forest in sixth. Meanwhile, Anthony Gerard has pulled one back for Hull to make it 4-2 to Boro at the KC. Up at Bramall Lane, a Brett Pitman penalty for Bristol City has reeled Sheffield United in and made it 2-2. Time left yet, though."
West Brom goal: Now, there have been some cracking goals already today but I would watch Match of the Day tonight for this strike alone. Simon Cox, who had come off the bench for the Baggies, has nothing on when he collects the ball on the left-hand corner of the Spurs area... so he decides to go for goal, curling an a pearler of a shot past the diving Heurelho Gomes and just inside the far post. Superb.
Sunderland goal: And the goals keep coming. You get the feeling Sunderland are letting out some frustration here. With the Wigan defence nowhere to be seen, Stephane Sessegnon races clear and picks out Jordan Henderson, who takes a touch and calmly slots in his second goal of the day from 15 yards. Sunderland's slide towards the relegation zone is about to finish, emphatically.
1642: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-2 West Brom (Cox)
Fulham goal: Disaster for Wolves, who saw this game as a must-win in their relegation fight. A long ball into their area is helped on to Andy Johnson - who had just come on for Clint Dempsey - and Johnson steadies himself before slamming Fulham's equaliser.
Liverpool goal: Liverpool don't want this afternoon to end, or this season (probably). Maxi Rodriguez's initial shot from the edge of the area is blocked, but Birmingham are unable to clear and the Argentine is left free to hammer home a second effort inside the near post. That's his hat-trick.
1639: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-1 Fulham (Johnson)
1638: GOALFLASH Sunderland 4-1 Wigan (Henderson)
Sunderland goal: Some debate over the penalty, awarded when Stephane Sessegnon is sent tumbling by Antolin Alcaraz. There didn't look like much contact to me. French midfielder Sessegnon, who has been playing as Sunderland's striker since Asamoah Gyan's injury, picks himself up to slot home from the spot.
1634: GOALFLASH Sunderland 3-1 Wigan (Sessegnon)
1634: GOALFLASH Liverpool 4-0 Birmingham (Rodriguez hat-trick)
1633: PENALTY TO SUNDERLAND
Sunderland goal: Who needs strikers? Jordan Henderson picks up a loose ball in the Wigan area and manages to find the gap between Latics keeper Ali Al Habsi and his near post. The turning point in Sunderland's season?
Liverpool goal: And, seconds later, Maxi Rodriguez nets with another tremendous strike that puts Liverpool out of sight at Anfield. Martin Skrtel's long ball forward finds Luis Suarez, who beat the offside trap and progressed down the right before crossing for the unmarked Rodriguez to volley in from close range. Game over? You would think so...
Spurs goal: Some strike this by Jermain Defoe, who scores his 100th Premier League goal, and 100th for Spurs in all competitions. Defoe picks the ball up on the edge of the box, makes space for a shot with a dink to his right and then smashes a ferocious low shot past Scott Carson.
Football League Orno: "Let's refocus our attentions on the foot of League Two, where Barnet are now 3-1 up at Gillingham and Port Vale have equalised against Stockport. If Stockport lose today they will be nine points adrift of safety with three games remaining and a dreadful goal difference. Third-bottom Burton Albion, remember, are drawing 1-1 at Aldershot."
1628: GOALFLASH Sunderland 2-1 Wigan (Henderson)
1627: GOALFLASH Liverpool 3-0 Birmingham (Rodriguez)
1627: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-1 West Brom (Defoe)
1626: Liverpool's second-half performance so far is a testimony to their position of superiority in the game: dominating possession without demonstrating a real urgency to attack. Plenty of effort from Birmingham, but they are struggling to create anything of meaning.
1626: Spurs do make a change, but it is Aaron Lennon coming on in place of Tom Huddlestone - looking to add a bit of zip to their attacks.
1624: Would you believe it? Another Sunderland injury. Asamoah Gyan pulls up as he chases a ball over the top - and that's his afternoon over with a hamstring injury. Sulley Muntari is coming on, but the Black Cats are not without any out-and-out strikers in their line-up.
1622: Blackpool are well on top at Bloomfield Road but it is still all-square despite a flurry of chances, including a low shot from Charlie Adam that came back off the post.
Sam Sheringham at White Hart Lane
"The fans are just starting to get on the Spurs' players backs here as one or two passes go astray. With away trips to Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool to come, you can't help feeling Tottenham must win today. I don't think it will be long before we see Peter Crouch."
Football League Orno: "Second halves well under way in the Football League and the opening goal goes to League One play-off chasers Rochdale. Who done it? Matt Done, of course. Rochdale are hoping to leap into the top six today at the expense of Bournemouth, but the Cherries have just gone 1-0 up at Yeovil. Sticking with the third tier and there's more bad news for Bristol Rovers as Kyel Reid puts Charlton 2-0 up at the Memorial Stadium."
1621: Tottenham have been pressing for a second goal but they almost fell behind again against the Baggies after some sloppy defending. Peter Odemwingie was unmarked at far post but his header from the edge of six-yard box superbly pushed away by Heurelho Gomes.
Sunderland goal: ... Because from Sunderland's first attack since falling behind, Steed Malbranque whipped in a cross from the right and Asamoah Gyan rose to meet it and nod home at the near post. A breathless couple of minutes at the Stadium of Light.
Wigan goal: Pick that one out. Mohamed Diame collects the ball from Charles N'Zogbia and arrows unstoppable shot past Simon Mignolet. Unstoppable, but Sunderland did not wait long to reply...
1617: GOALFLASH Sunderland 1-1 Wigan (Gyan)
1615: Wow. Brede Hangeland is booked (a bit harsly) for a sliding challenge on Steven Fletcher and Fulham boss Mark Hughes goes absolutely ballistic, kicking away a row of water bottles and directing his wrath at the officials. His reward is a red card.
1614: GOALFLASH Sunderland 0-1 Wigan (Diame)
1611: A real chance for a Fulham equaliser, and it falls to Eidur Gudjohnsen, making his first Premier League start of the season. Gudjohnsen makes it too, to be fair, with a weaving run that takes him to the left of Wayne Hennessey's goal, before he wildly blasts it over the bar. A bit of a waste, after all that good work.
From Ringo, via text: "Two more injuries before half time AGAIN? Not the only reason but must contribute to Sunderland's form?!?"
1607: Those remaining top-flight matches have all restarted too, and not before time. All the action is at Molineux right now, though... Adlene Guedioura lets fly from distance but Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer gets down to push it away. Wolves still lead 1-0.
1605: Wolves had made a lively start to the second half, with Matt Jarvis taking on - and being fouled by - Chris Baird, who was booked. But Mick McCarthy's men have just had a massive let-off at the other end. Baird sent a bouncing ball across the face of goal and Wayne Hennessey spilt it... only to recover it just in time with Moussa Dembele lurking. Nervy times at Molineux.
Football League Orno: "At the top of League Two, Chesterfield are being held at home by mid-table Oxford. Down at the bottom, Stockport lead 1-0 at Port Vale but, unfortunately for them, second-bottom Barnet are 2-1 up at Gillingham. Thrilling scenes in the fight for survival. Burton, also in the battle, are drawing 1-1 at Aldershot and play-off hopefuls Accrington look home and dry thanks to three first-half goals against Bradford."
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on his side's late win over Everton that moves them nine points clear at the top of the Premier League: "We kept going. Perseverance was the key. In the first half our decision-making wasn't great, but we kept going until the end and we got there. It was a fantastic performance from the lads that they kept going against a very good Everton team. We didn't expect this from Javier Hernandez. He's in at 9 o'clock every morning and the last to leave, he's truly dedicated. There's a winning attitude about this whole team."
Football League Orno: "Brighton have already wrapped up the League One title but they're eyeing a 29th win of the season and Ashley Barnes has put them 1-0 against Southampton, who know a win would see them replace Huddersfield in the second automatic promotion spot on goal difference with a game in hand. Bottom-of-the-pile Swindon enter half-time 1-0 up at home to Notts County and struggling Bristol Rovers are 1-0 down against Charlton. Play-off chasing Rochdale are level with Carlisle, as are Walsall with Sheffield Wednesday and Yeovil with Bournemouth."
1603: And Villa Park and Molineux too.
1602: We are back under way at Bloomfield Road...
From Jonny Farnan, sat in the Kop, via text: "The atmosphere about Anfield has been lovely today, just like the weather! Contrast that with the Wolves game in December when we were cold, wet and calling for Kenny. What a lift the King has given us."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"13 - Liverpool had 13 shots in the first half v Birmingham, more than they've managed in 90 mins in 10 PL games this season. Rampant."
jay_unadkat on Twitter:
"Am so proud of Jay Spearing, he's playing with such confidence for Liverpool now. Remember his name everyone, he's the one to watch!"
HALF-TIME Sunderland 0-0 Wigan Kevin Darling's HT snapshot "These sides played six minutes of injury time, following that nasty head injury to Phil Bardsley, but still failed to muster a proper chance between them. Sunderland are giving it a go, even if their attacking smacks more of desperation than inspiration, while Wigan look marginally more composed."
HALF-TIME: Tottenham 1-1 West Brom Sam Sheringham's
HT snapshot: "Decent game, fair scoreline, but the Baggies must cut off the supply to Gareth Bale, who is running the show from left-back."
HALF-TIME Aston Villa 1-1 Stoke Owen Phillips's HT snapshot "Stoke are looking determined, powerful and very dangerous from set-pieces but a brilliant Darren Bent header sees Villa draw level and end a frustrating half on a high."
HALF-TIME Liverpool 2-0 Birmingham Phil Dawkes' HT snapshot "Liverpool totally dominant at Anfield. You suspect they are not finished on the goal-scoring front either. Just to make Birmingham's job that bit harder, their reliable last line of defence, goalkeeper Ben Foster, has gone off injured."
Football League Orno: "A couple of meaningful updates from the Championship. Jamie Ward has put Derby 2-1 up against Burnley and there could yet be hope for Sheffield United. Bramall Lane may have been hit by a deluge of hail stones but the Blades are now ahead against Bristol City. Lee Williamson cancelled out Steve Simonsen's own goal before Nicky Maynard was sent off for the visitors - and David McAllister has just gone and rifled the hosts in front. Boro are now 4-1 up at Hull - Scott McDonald sealing a first-half hat-trick on the stroke of half-time - while Portsmouth and Swansea are goalless."
HALF-TIME: Blackpool 1-1 Newcastle Chris Whyatt's
HT snapshot: "Comical errors, flashes of genius: Blackpool remain wonderfully eccentric. Enigmatic Newcastle dangerous on the break. Frantic entertainment on Lancashire coast."
HALF-TIME Wolves 1-0 Fulham Les Roopanarine's HT snapshot "Chances at either end, a well-taken goal, a feisty midfield battle, and an atmosphere so electric it should carry a high-voltage warning another 45 minutes like that would do just fine."
1550: Right, it is half-time everywhere now. It's been a very good first 45 minutes for Liverpool and Wolves, but a very bad one for Birmingham in particular. Plenty of time for all that to change though...
1548: We are still going at Anfield and the Stadium of Light too, where we will have six minutes of injury time - mostly because of the treatment Phil Bardsley needed before going off.
1547: We are still playing at White Hart Lane, though. The Baggies have got an injury to contend with, as well as lots of Tottenham pressure. Steven Reid is off and has been replaced by Gonzalo Jara.
1547: The half-time whistles have blown at Bloomfield Road, Molinueux and Villa Park.
1546: Replacement Birmingham keeper Colin Doyle has not been forced into action yet but it still appears only a matter of time until Liverpool extend their lead at Anfield. The latest of a number of chances sees Raul Meireles' free-kick to the back post headed across goal, and wide, by Dirk Kuyt.
Villa goal: Darren Bent shows (again) why Villa paid £24m for him in January, with a top drawer finish just before the break. The England striker gets on the end of Kyle Walker's cross to send a glancing header past Asmir Begovic via the far post. Accurate, and deadly. Far better than Harry Redknapp's wife Sandra in the air too.
1543: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-1 Stoke (Bent)
1542: Birmingham's afternoon just got even worse. The Blues are 2-0 down at Anfield and now have keeper Ben Foster forced off injured. I think he was hurt in a collision with Luis Suarez for Liverpool's second goal. Colin Doyle is on instead for his first PL appearance of the season.
Football League Orno: "The goals are going in over in League Two as well. Stockport are in a desperate position at the foot of the table but could they be about to throw themselves a lifeline? Anthony Elding has put them ahead at Port Vale. Elsewhere, play-off hopefuls Accrington are 2-0 up against Bradford, struggling Burton have been pegged back by Aldershot after taking an early lead and Barnet are 1-1 with Gillingham."
1538: It's taken them a while but Villa have just had their first real attack. It comes to nothing, though, because Robert Huth makes a fine diving tackle to stop Darren Bent getting a shot away after a surging run from Stiliyan Petrov. By the way, it was Rory Delap with the long throw for Stoke's goal, not Rory Delay (which would be a fantastic name for a footballer). Blame my fat fingers...
Football League Orno: "From bad to worse for Hull as Julio Arca puts Middlesbrough 3-1 up at the KC. It's not looking good for one of the Championship's most in-form sides."
1536: More pressure from Tottenham to tell you about. Rafael van der Vaart's stinging drive from a tight angle is parried by Scott Carson and Roman Pavlyuchenko fires the rebound over.
Blackpool goal: Not sure about this one.. wait until Match of the Day tonight to make your own minds up. Charlie Adam's corner is met at the near post by DJ Campbell and his flick might (might!) just have crossed the line before Jose Enrique nodded clear. The linesman gave it, which is the important thing. Blackpool get their reward for a decent spell of pressure.
1533: Yet more injury woe for Sunderland. Danny Wellbeck, who passed a late fitness test to play today, has pulled up with a hamstring injury and won't continue. Steed Malbranque is on, and the Black Cats' task of halting a nine-match winless run gets that little bit harder.
Football League Orno: "Over to League One we go and there are contrasting emotions for fellow relegation-strugglers Bristol Rovers and Swindon. Rovers, a point adrift of safety, have gone behind to Paul Benson's early goal for Charlton while bottom-of-the-table Swindon have opened the scoring against Notts County through Matt Ritchie. Like Rovers, Walsall are a point adrift of safety - but they're 1-0 up on Sheffield Wednesday, Jon Macken the scorer."
Sam Sheringham at White Hart Lane
"Spurs are well on top now and thoroughly deserved that equaliser. The Baggies are struggling to cope with the movement of Jermain Defoe and goalscorer Roman Pavlyuchenko up front, and the pace of Gareth Bale down the left."
Tottenham goal: Spurs are level but the Baggies will be kicking themselves after some sloppy defending. Roman Pavlyuchenko is slightly fortunate that the ball reaches him in the first place, via a deflection but then he has time on the edge of the area to compose himself, hold off one challenge and rifle the ball home.
Liverpool goal: Dirk Kuyt gets his reward for persevering as he extends Liverpool's lead. Kuyt meets the loose ball after Luis Suarez is denied by Ben Foster but his initial effort is saved too... before he reacts quickly to pick up the second rebound, then swivels to slide the ball home.
1527: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-1 West Brom (Pavlyuchenko)
Football League Orno: "Dreadful news for Sheffield United fans as the Blades - nine points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship - go behind against Bristol City courtesy of Steve Simonsen's own goal. Elsewhere, Burnley are back on level terms at Derby, Chris Eagles getting the equaliser."
Wolves goal: A big, big goal for Wolves at Molineux which (as things stand) lifts them out of the bottom three. Karl Henry stands the ball up from the right and Steven Fletcher hurls himself at the cross, nodding past Mark Schwarzer. A great finish.
1524: GOALFLASH Liverpool 2-0 Birmingham (Kuyt)
1522: Any sign of a Spurs reply against the Baggies? Not really. Their best chance so far sees William Gallas get underneath a header from inside the six-yard box after meeting a Rafael Van der Vaart right-wing free-kick. The ball sails way over.
Stoke goal: We've seen this before. Plenty of times. Rory Delap hurls in one of those long throws and Kenwyne Jones rises above Richard Dunne to power home a near-post header. The Cup finalists are ahead, and Villa need to get their act together.
1521: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-0 Fulham (Fletcher)
Football League Orno: "Such a bright start for promotion-chasing Hull at the KC, but suddenly it's all going wrong for Nigel Pearson's men. Scott McDonald has just got his second goal in quick succession to put Middlesbrough 2-1 to the good."
1520: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 0-1 Stoke (Jones)
1519: A bit of a commotion at Molineux. Wolves defender Richard Stearman is booked for an over-the-top challenge on Eidur Gudjohnsen, and - judging by the incensed reaction of the Fulham players, not least Danny Murphy - the Karl Henry challenge that broke Bobby Zamora's leg in the reverse fixture last September is far from forgotten. Moments later, Carlos Salcido crosses for Clint Dempsey, who fires over from six yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Newcastle goal: Ouch. The Magpies score with their first attack of the game. Even worse, Charlie Adam got the assist. The Blackpool midfielder gifted possession to Peter Lovenkrands who advanced before slamming a powerful low drive into the bottom corner of the net. The Seasiders, yet again, have given themselves work to do by conceding an early goal.
Football League Orno: "A flurry of significant early goals in the Championship. Hull, knowing a win will take them level on points with Nottingham Forest in sixth, take the lead at home to Middlesbrough through Jay Simpson - but Scott McDonald levels for the visitors soon after. Burnley are currently level on points with Hull but a Theo Robinson effort has seen them go 1-0 behind at Derby."
1516: Quite an open game so far at Bloomfield Road, where Gary Taylor-Fletcher has been threatening for Blackpool. First he fired wide and then just failed to get on the end of a Stephen Crainey cross.
1515: Ten minutes of gentle sparring comes to an end at Villa Park as home keeper Brad Friedel makes fabulous saves from Robert Huth's thumping shot and then a close-range Kenwyne Jones header from the corner which followed.
1514: Sunderland have had plenty of injury problems of late, and I bring more bad news for Black Cats fans on that front. Steve Bruce has been forced to make an early change at the Stadium of Light after what looks like it could be a serious injury to Phil Bardsley. The left-back spent several minutes on the turf after a clash with his own player Nedum Onuoha, and received sympathetic applause as he was stretchered off. That has certainly dampened the atmosphere. The stoppage was six and a half minutes, and Anton Ferdinand is on instead.
zharries on Twitter:
"Foster's got great ability but always prone to an error! Shame really, could have been great at Manchester United without those in his game"
Sam Sheringham at White Hart Lane
"It won't please Spurs fans to learn that the West Brom goal owed much to the vision and creativity of Arsenal loanee Carlos Vela. It was his cross-field ball that set up Peter Odemwingie for his 13th league goal of the season, making him the Baggies' all-time Premier League top scorer."
Liverpool goal: Birmingham keeper Ben Foster has made some great saves this season but he is still prone to the odd error, and makes a very costly one here. Foster cannot hold Jay Spearing's fierce shot and Maxi Rodriguez is first to the rebound, slamming home the loose ball.
1508: GOALFLASH Liverpool 1-0 Birmingham (Rodriguez)
West Brom goal: Not the start Spurs wanted either. Peter Odemwingie cuts into the area and finds the corner of the net with a precise finish. It gets worse for Tottenham too because Benoit Assou-Ekotto was injured as he tried to tackle the Baggies striker and has been forced off. Sandro is on instead.
1505: GOALFLASH Tottenham 0-1 West Brom (Odemwingie)
1503: And Fulham have made a quick start too, with Carlos Salcido forcing a flying save from Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessy in the early moments at Molineux. Not the start Mick McCarthy was hoping for.
1502: An early chance for Sunderland, but Danny Welbeck scuffs his shot when well-placed.
1501: And White Hart Lane, Anfield and Molineux.
1500: We are under way at Villa, Blackpool and Sunderland.
1459: Right then... time for our 1500 BST kick-offs. Expect thrills and spill, and twists and turns....
From Chris, Chelsea fan in London, via text: "I hate Hernandez, how many points has he single handedly won for United by being in the right place at the right time - a great player but you have to wonder if United would be at the top without him?"
jronnie92 on Twitter:
"It's a good result for United but don't forget they have two huge games againt Arsenal and Chelsea! Title race is still alive."
BBC Wales Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at Cardiff City Stadium: "The two Championship heavyweights slog out a thrilling draw as both Cardiff City and QPR must be happy with a point in their Premier League promotion pursuit. And the stars shone in this biggest of Football League games this season as Jay Bothroyd, Craig Bellamy and Adel Taarabt twice struck as the cream rose to the top. So QPR will have to wait another day to secure promotion to the promised land while Cardiff, who remain in third, could follow with more performances like this."
Aston Villa v Stoke City line-ups Aston Villa: Friedel, Walker, Dunne, Collins, Luke Young, Downing, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Ashley Young, Bent, Heskey. Subs: Marshall, Pires, Agbonlahor, Albrighton, Makoun, Clark, Cuellar. Stoke City: Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Pennant, Whelan, Delap, Etherington, Jones, Walters. Subs: Sorensen, Collins, Fuller, Pugh, Diao, Whitehead, Faye. Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
WOLVES v FULHAM TEAM NEWS Les Roopanarine reports: "Wolves manager Mick McCarthy makes a trio of changes to the side beaten 3-0 by Everton at Molineux last time out. Stephen Ward deputises at left-back for the injured George Elokobi, while Jody Craddock also slots into the back four. Nenand Milijas will feature in what looks like a five-man midfield, while Kevin Foley and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake drop to the bench. Fulham also welcome three fresh faces as they look to bounce back from a lacklustre 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford, with Steve Sidwell, Simon Davies and Eidur Gudjohnsen all starting."
Cardiff striker Jay Bothroyd after his side's thrilling 2-2 draw with QPR, which means they stay in third place in the Championship: "We worked really hard during week on the way QPR play and although we let in two sloppy goals, we scored two ourselves. There's a long way to go and lot of twists and turns to come yet. If we can stay unbeaten we've got a great chance of automatic promotion. It's disappointing having taken the lead twice and not won but we can still do it."
BLACKPOOL v NEWCASTLE TEAM NEWS Chris Whyatt
reports: "Creative skipper Charlie Adam is returned to health so slots back into the bosom of a midfield three with Keith Southern and fit-again David Vaughan - which Blackpool's official website describes as their 'Holy Trinity'. Matt Phillips also replaces Luke Varney in attack. After a two-match ban, Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan replaces Danny Guthrie in visitors only change from the starting XI which drew 0-0 with Manchester United on Tuesday."
TOTTENHAM v WEST BROM TEAM NEWS Sam Sheringham
reports from White Hart Lane: "PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale has shaken off a knee injury and starts for Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Harry Redknapp makes two changes from the 3-3 midweek draw with Arsenal, with Younes Kaboul replacing Vedran Corluka at right-back and Jermain Defoe given the nod ahead of Peter Crouch up front. West Brom boss Roy Hodgson makes one alteration to the side beaten 3-1 by Chelsea, with Arsenal loanee Carlos Vela starting in attack and James Morrison missing out."
LIVERPOOL v BIRMINGHAM TEAM NEWS Phil Dawkes reports: "Full-back Jack Robinson makes his first start for Liverpool in place of the injured Fabio Aurelio. The teenager is joined in the back four by Jamie Carragher, who was stretchered off against Arsenal last Sunday. Midfielder Maxi Rodriguez returns in place of striker Andy Carroll, who has failed to recover from a knee injury picked up at the Emirates. Defender Martin Jiranek returns for Birmingham in place of Stuart Parnaby. The only other change from the side that lost 3-1 at Chelsea last Wednesday sees Lee Bowyer come into midfield for Barry Ferguson."
SUNDERLAND v WIGAN TEAM NEWS Kevin Darling reports: "Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has cunningly subverted the "never change a winning team" adage by naming an unchanged line-up despite the Black Cats' run of zero victories in nine matches. The only amendments are on the substitutes' bench, where Sulley Muntari and Anton Ferdinand are fit to return. Wigan boss Roberto Martinez follows suit, naming the same XI that won at Blackpool last weekend.
ASTON VILLA v STOKE TEAM NEWS Owen Phillips reports: "Stand-in Aston Villa boss Gary McAllister keeps faith with the side that so impressed
in beating West Ham last time out,
meaning matchwinner Gabriel Agbonlahor once again starts on the bench. Stoke City also look for success through consistency so the only change from the
thumping 5-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Bolton
last weekend sees Asmir Begovic named in goal ahead of Thomas Sorensen."
Sunderland v Wigan line-ups Sunderland: Mignolet, Elmohamady, Turner, Onuoha, Bardsley, Henderson, Cattermole, Colback, Sessegnon, Gyan, Welbeck. Subs: Carson, Zenden, Malbranque, Muntari, Riveros, Meyler, Ferdinand Wigan: Al Habsi, Gohouri, Alcaraz, McCarthy, Gary Caldwell, Watson, N'Zogbia, Cleverley, Boyce, Rodallega, Diame. Subs:Kirkland, Thomas, Di Santo, Moses, Gomez, Sammon, Stam Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Blackpool v Newcastle line-ups Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, Vaughan, Adam, Southern, Phillips, Campbell, Taylor-Fletcher. Subs: Kingson, Ormerod, Varney, Cathcart, Puncheon, Reid, Beattie. Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Barton, Nolan, Tiote, Gutierrez, Ameobi, Lovenkrands. Subs: Soderberg, Perch, Ryan Taylor, Ireland, Steven Taylor, Ranger, Kuqi. Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)
BLACKPOOL v NEWCASTLE (1500 BST) Chris Whyatt
reports: "After beating Newcastle earlier this season, breath-of-fresh-air Blackpool proudly sat fourth in the Premier League as Ian Holloway's brilliant brain conjured images of Charlie Adam 'megging Messi in front of 90,000 at the Nou Camp. Forward to 'nitty-gritty' April and, having tumbled spectacularly into the relegation pit with just five games left, boss Holloway is busy plotting how to avoid trips to somewhere earthy like Oakwell next season. So. Huge game against visitors deeply motivated by ensuring their own safety today."
WOLVES v FULHAM (1500 BST) Les Roopanarine reports: "As they seek to avoid a spirit-sapping third defeat in succession, bottom-of-the-table Wolves can take heart from Fulham's miserable away record. Mark Hughes' visitors have won just once on their Premier League travels all season, and Molineux will doubtless be dreaming of the perfect scenario - a home victory coupled with results elsewhere going their way - that would lift Wolves out of the drop zone. The reality may be rather different. Fulham - themselves only five points clear of trouble - have drawn more away games than any side other than Manchester United, and you wouldn't bet against more of the same."
1440: So, United left it late but eventually got the win that sends them nine points clear at the top of the Premier League table, and within seven points of a 19th title with four games to play. QPR are still waiting to wrap up their promotion too - the Championship leaders have to settle for a pulsating point in Wales. No champagne needed just yet...
1439: FULL-TIME CARDIFF 2-2 QPR
1439: Heidar Helguson wastes a magnificent late chance to seal QPR's promotion to the Premier League. Adel Taarabt produces a poorly-struck shot from the left but it bobbles across goal for the on-rushing Helguson, only for the sliding Icelandic forward to somehow put his effort into the side netting with manager Neil Warnock already in the midst of his celebration.
1438: FULL-TIME MAN UTD 1-0 EVERTON
1437: Phil Neville, on the half-way line, pumps a free-kick into the penalty area... and straight out of play. Just 60 seconds left now...
Tottenham v West Brom line-ups Tottenham: Gomes, Kaboul, Gallas, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Lennon, Jenas, Crouch, Bassong, Sandro, Pienaar West Brom: Carson, Reid, Meite, Olsson, Shorey, Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner, Thomas, Odemwingie, Vela. Subs: Myhill, Tchoyi, Pablo, Morrison, Fortune, Cox, Jara. Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
1435: Everton attack again. Tony Hibbert sends over a deep cross from the right but Tim Cahill's header lacks power and direction. No problems for Edwin van der Sar there.
1434: Hope for Everton (and Chelsea and Arsenal too). There will be five minutes of added time at Old Trafford. The Toffees have been on the attack but Phil Jagielka just volleyed over from the edge of the area. A bit optimistic, that one.
TOTTENHAM v WEST BROM (1500 BST) Sam Sheringham at White Hart Lane
reports: "Tottenham can leapfrog Manchester City in the battle for the fourth Champions League qualifying spot with a victory over West Brom today. But don't bank on it. Spurs, who could be feeling the effects of their thrilling 3-3 draw with Arsenal on Wednesday night, have only one win in their last eight games against promoted sides. A point would take Roy Hodgson's side to the mythical 40-point mark and all but secure their Premier League safety. But the Baggies haven't won at White Hart Lane since November 1984."
LIVERPOOL v BIRMINGHAM (1500 BST) Phil Dawkes reports: "This week, Lacrosse-loving leisurewear lot Warrior reportedly gave Liverpool fans 25m more reasons to be optimistic about the future. Three months ago, Anfield was a veritable misery-fest, but thanks to two strikers, a bit of youth and the return of the King, the Kop is grinning like Jack Nicholson on Oscar night. A win today maintains the Reds' hopes of snatching a Europa League spot. Birmingham boss Alex McLeish thinks City need one win to secure safety. A draw would make it eight stalemates on the bounce between these two. You sense McLeish would take that."
1430: United are playing keep-ball at Old Trafford, which they can do now they have the goal they craved. No sign of a response from Everton, as we move into the 89th minute.
1430: Over to Cardiff again now. The Bluebirds are pushing hard for what would be a huge victory but, not for the first time, Paddy Kenny comes to QPR's rescue with a fine save to block Craig Bellamy's goalbound strike. Still 2-2 in that one, with seven minutes of the 90 to go.
1429: Shrewsbury look set to replace Wycombe in the League Two automatic promotion places after Tom Bradshaw gets on the scoresheet to give his side a 2-0 lead at 18th-place Hereford.
United goal: It's been coming, but it seemed unlikely that United would be given a helping hand by the Everton defence, which is what happens here. Sylvain Distin's error allows United to regain possession and Antonio Valencia sends over a perfect cross from the right, met by Javier Hernandez with an unstoppable header. A great finish, and perhaps the goal that settles this season's title race?
1426: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 Everton (Hernandez)
1425: Sir Alex Ferguson is unhappy about the amount of time Tim Howard is taking over goal-kicks and referee Peter Walton seems to agree - he has just booked the Everton goalkeeper for exactly that. I think we can expect quite a bit of stoppage time at Old Trafford...
1424: A flurry of chances for United, who see Antonio Valencia's shot blocked and Javier Hernandez's header tipped over. Somehow, Everton are holding out but it is all hands to the pump. Still 0-0 with 10 minutes left.
1422: The corner is taken quickly and Wayne Rooney meets it with a first-time shot... which flies wide.
1421: United have a free-kick about 25 yards out after Javier Hernandez is fouled, and Wayne Rooney is standing over it... he fires in a dipping, curling shot over the Everton wall but Tim Howard is across to tip it over.
SUNDERLAND v WIGAN (1500 BST) Kevin Darling reports: "Steve Bruce has been in some scrapes but he's rarely been associated with anything quite as ugly as Sunderland's current run of form. One point from nine games has transformed the Black Cats from a buoyant top-six side, which they were as recently as February, to the apprehensive participants in today's relegation battle against Wigan. The Latics, heartened by last week's triumph at Blackpool, will move just a point behind the Wearsiders if they win again - a prospect sure to interfere with Bruce's beauty sleep."
QPR goal: Out of nowhere, QPR equalise. Wayne Routledge chips the ball to the edge of the penalty area, where that man Adel Taarabt brings it down, gets the better of Kevin McNaughton and drills another superb finish past Stephen Bywater.
1419: A couple of changes to tell you about. Ryan Giggs replaces Darron Gibson for United and Magaye Gueye is on for Seamus Coleman for Everton.
1418: GOALFLASH Cardiff 2-2 QPR (Taarabt)
1417: So close for United. Fabio's cross from the right is missed by Michael Owen but comes off Sylvain Distin and hits the outside of the post. That would have been harsh on Distin, who has been top class today.
1416: Right, less than 20 minutes now and United need a late surge here - this has not exactly been a vintage performance so far. Otherwise they are going to leave the title door a little further ajar for Chelsea and Arsenal.
1415: Another sniff for Everton, after a nice little build-up too. Seamus Coleman tries to clip Victor Anichebe clear, and he almost gets on the end of it... but the ball runs through to Edwin van der Sar.
TOTTENHAM v WEST BROM (1500 BST) Sam Sheringham
reports from White Hart Lane: "Tottenham can leapfrog Manchester City in the battle for the fourth Champions League qualifying spot with a victory over West Brom today. But don't bank on it. Spurs, who could be feeling the effects of their thrilling 3-3 draw with Arsenal on Wednesday night, have just one win in their last eight games against promoted sides. A point would take Roy Hodgson's side to the mythical 40-point mark and all but secure their Premier League safety. But the Baggies haven't won at White Hart Lane since November 1984."
1413: Edwin van der Sar's first real save of the match, and it is a vital one. Jack Rodwell lets fly from the edge of the box and his low shot, which deflects off Jonny Evans, is heading for the bottom corner of the net until the United keeper gets a vital touch on it to push it round his post. A brilliant stop by the veteran Dutchman.
1411: Leon Osman finds space down the left but his cross is headed away by Jonny Evans just as Seamus Coleman looks to get on the end of it.
BBC Wales Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at Cardiff City Stadium: "While football was the winner here at the Cardiff City Stadium in the first-half, the heat is leading in the second. The intensity has understandably dropped as the on-field temperatures rise as the Welsh capital basks in the Spring sunshine. Cardiff's Seyi Olofinyana has gone closest since the break but his goal-bound volley was blocked by QPR defender Bradley Orr."
1409: It's all a bit quiet in Cardiff, but you know what happened the last time I said that (see 1320). At Old Trafford, referee Peter Walton takes a tumble - to the delight of the crowd. He didn't give a penalty for that, either.
ASTON VILLA v STOKE (1500 BST) Owen Phillips reports: "Villa's impressive
victory over West Ham
may already be enough to see them safe but a win over potentially sidetracked Stoke should guarantee it and be a welcome boost for absent boss Gerard Houllier following his
Potters manager Tony Pulis will be desperate to avoid any absent-minded
FA Cup daydreaming;
Stoke are not yet safe and will dearly love to make sure their Wembley trip can be fully enjoyed. Plenty of muscle, pace and quality on show - and lots to play for. Should be a cracker."
From Ed, Chelsea fan, via text: "Jagielka and Distin awesome at the back for Everton so far today. Please keep it up!"
1406: Patrice Evra came on for John O'Shea a couple of minutes ago and it is time for another United change. Michael Owen replaces Nani.
1405: An hour gone at Old Trafford, and United have stepped things up. Javier Hernandez has one cross blocked and the other headed away by Leighton Baines, before Antonio Valencia weaves his way into the box after a mistake by Jack Rodwell, but sees his cross eventually cleared.
1402: United's turn to attack. Darron Gibson meets a ball dropping on the edge of the area but his first-time shot is bravely blocked by Phil Jagielka, who throws himself in front of the ball. This is much more of a game than it was before the break, but still no goals.
1400: A HUGE shout for a penalty by Everton. Victor Anichebe cuts into the area from the left and goes to ground after tangling with Rio Ferdinand. Replays suggest Ferdinand gave Anichebe a nudge to help him over, to say the least. Nothing given by referee Peter Walton though.
1357: Not such good work by Anderson, who slides in a bit rashly on Seamus Coleman and earns the first yellow card of the afternoon in the top flight, swiftly followed into the book by Tim Cahill, who is very late when he catches Rio Ferdinand.
1355: At last United, wake up. Anderson, who has been impressive today, finds Javier Hernandez with a raking long ball forward, but his quick lay-off for Wayne Rooney does not quite come off.
1354: Another neat move by Everton, who are still on the front foot. Rio Ferdinand cuts out a cross from the left to snuff out the danger, but United have not got going since the restart and have more defending to do when Seamus Coleman blasts over from a Tim Cahill lay-off soon afterwards.
1351: We are back under way in Cardiff too.
1350: Everton start the second half brightly, and are enjoying some possession in the United half for a change. Still no chances for the visitors, mind.
1347: Everton are making two changes at the break. Tim Cahill and Victor Anichebe for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Jermaine Beckford. The second half has just started, too.
Conor_Walmsley on Twitter:
"Manchester United are playing like Arsenal, all the good football is there but they are trying to walk it into the net."
BBC pundit Lee Dixon reflects on the first half of Cardiff versus QPR: "The goals have made the half. Fabulous strikes, all three of them are world class goals. Cardiff have got at the QPR full-backs through Bellamy and Bothroyd - and they fully deserve their lead."
1341: Over to the early kick-off in League Two, where Shrewsbury have taken the lead at Hereford through James Collins. If Graham Turner's men manage to hold on to the lead, they will move above Wycombe into the third automatic promotion place.
HALF-TIME: Cardiff 2-1 QPR Peter Shuttleworth's
HT snapshot: "What stunning goals, what relentless tempo and what quality here at the Cardiff City Stadium. The collision of the Championship's big boys is living up to the billing in a great advert for the Football League in the scorching south Wales sunshine. Cardiff lead leaders QPR 2-1 at the break but the heat will certainly be a factor in the second-half as this pace will be tough to maintain in these conditions."
Conor_Walmsley on Twitter:
"Manchester United are playing like Arsenal, all the good football is there but they are trying to walk it into the net."
1335: The half-time whistle blows at the Cardiff City Stadium. Work to do for QPR if they are to seal promotion today.
1333: We are still playing in Cardiff, though. QPR almost equalise shortly before half-time after a shot from distance is deflected towards goal by Adel Taarabt. Cardiff goalkeeper Stephen Bywater manages to push the ball away yet Taarabt is lurking for the rebound but he narrowly fails to tap the ball home before it rolls out for a corner.
1332: HALF-TIME: Man Utd 0-0 Everton Jonathan Stevenson's
HT snapshot: "After a sluggish start only Man United look like winning this one, but they've wasted some cracking positions. Wonder if Michael Owen might have a part to play later on "
1332: Whatever Phil Neville can do, Nani can do better. He has the ball on the left and is running at the Everton defence, well, until he falls over anyway.
1331: Just one minute of stoppage time to be played Old Trafford at the end of the first half.
1328: A rare foray forward by Phil Neville sees him try a tricky dribble, and then fall over. Sort of sums up Everton's attacking display so far. The important thing from their point of view is that they have defended far, far better. Still 0-0, into the last minute of the first 45.
BBC Wales Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at Cardiff City Stadium: "All the big players are coming to this top-of-the-table party as Craig Bellamy cracks Cardiff back in front. Jay Bothroyd has smashed in a stunner, Adel Taarabt has dazzled with a wicked cross-shot and now Bellamy wants a bit of the action. The Wales star is rarely quiet and the Bluebirds captain, who has been Cardiff's creative talisman here, capitalises from a defence error just as QPR looked to be assuming control."
1325: Another very decent opening for United, as Wayne Rooney beats the offside trap and cuts in from the right. He should cross to the waiting Javier Hernandez, but dwells too long on the ball and is crowded out of it. Everton survive again.
1323: Everton have a shout for a penalty turned down when Jermaine Beckford is muscled to the ground by Jonny Evans, and United are back on the attack. They should score too, after Antonio Valencia gets the better of Leighton Baines down the left and his cross finds Nani... whose shot hits team-mate Javier Hernandez on the ground in front of goal. Everton survive.
Cardiff goal: Quiet? Not anymore. Jay Bothroyd's cross is not cut out by Matthew Connolly, who might even handle it on its way through. No matter, because it drops for Craig Bellamy who lashes it past Paddy Kenny.
1321: GOALFLASH Cardiff 2-1 QPR (Bellamy)
1320: Still one-way traffic at Old Trafford, but Everton are still defending well. Over in Cardiff, things are still relatively quiet but QPR did threaten through a close-range Tommy Smith header from Wayne Routledge's cross... but it was comfortably saved.
1317: United's best effort so far. After a sweeping move, Wayne Rooney plays in Javier Hernandez and his first-time shot is pushed away by Tim Howard. Darron Gibson tries his luck again from the resulting corner, but he is not getting any nearer - his shot from the edge of the area bounces horribly and harmlessly wide.
From Luke Byrne, via text: "Last time QPR got promoted to top flight (in 1983) I was a mascot doing a lap of honour with Peter Hucker at Loftus Road... Happy memories. Come on you Rs."
1313: Darron Gibson has got a shot on him from distance - we all know that. But the United midfielder is misfiring today, with his latest effort from the edge of the area skewing well wide of Tim Howard's goal. Almost half an hour gone at Old Trafford and it is still United 0-0 Everton.
1311: Tim Howard is forced into action again, this time with a meaningful save. Javier Hernandez got behind Phil Jagielka and the rest of the Everton defence but his shot from a tight angle is tipped round his near post by Howard.
EdGutteridge90 on Twitter:
"United have made a bad habit of not converting early chances recently. Have to feel that they need a 1st half goal here."
NitroN1ck on Twitter:
"Some dream football at Old Trafford but no end product as of yet. United look most likely to score!"
1308: Everton get themselves in a decent position but Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is robbed by Fabio and United counter-attack again. Wayne Rooney feeds Javier Hernandez on the left but his cross takes a nick of Sylvain Distin and is deflected straight to Tim Howard, when United had plenty of men charging into the area to get on the end of it.
1306: We've only had one more chance in Cardiff since that flurry of early goals. The Bluebirds almost restored their advantage as goalscorer Jay Bothroyd sent strike partner Craig Bellamy scampering clear on the left, only for the Welshman to see his strike from an angle well saved by Paddy Kenny.
1304: Another fluid United attack sees Wayne Rooney drive the ball across the face of goal, but Phil Jagielka is in the right place to clear. Everton need to take the sting out of this game, if they can.
BBC Wales Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at Cardiff City Stadium: "In a classic case of whatever you can do, I can do better QPR playmaker Adel Taarabt shows why he was named Championship player of the season. Cardiff allowed the Rangers skipper time and space on the left flank and his curling, right-foot inswinger eluded Stephen Bywater in the Bluebirds goal and dipped inside the far post. What a cracker here at the Cardiff City Stadium."
1301: United are still putting Everton under quite a bit of pressure here. Anderson's corner is eventually cleared but United are quickly coming forward again. Darron Gibson tries his luck from 25 yards out but his shot hits Phil Neville and rebounds out of play.
BBC pundit Mark Bright at the Cardiff City Stadium on Adel Taarabt: "At his best, he's unplayable. What can you say? Sensational. Ten minutes in and we've already seen two brilliant goals."
1258: United break forward quickly and this is dangerous, especially when Wayne Rooney plays in Nani on the left. Nani cuts inside too, but he hesitates before shooting and Everton have enough men back to make him rush his shot, which is tame and straight at Tim Howard. Chance gone.
QPR goal: Er, it's quite lively in Cardiff isn't it? QPR respond quickly, with another quality strike. The ball breaks to Adel Taarabt on the left of the area and, when most players would simply cross the ball into the danger area, Taarabt shows how special he is by expertly lifting the ball into the opposite corner of the net. All-square again.
1256: GOALFLASH Cardiff 1-1 QPR (Taarabt)
1255: Leon Osman has been in great form for Everton recently, so it's probably not a good idea for United to give him space to shoot on the edge of the area. They do, but Osman's effort is a daisy-cutter that rolls into the grateful paws of Edwin van der Sar.
Cardiff goal: Should QPR put that promotion champagne on ice? Cardiff are ahead, and it is an absolute belter too. Jay Bothroyd picks up the ball from Craig Bellamy on the right-hand corner of the area and curls an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Top class.
1252: GOALFLASH Cardiff 1-0 QPR (Bothroyd)
1251: A Massive chance for Cardiff to take an early lead. Peter Whittingham is sent clean through on goal but can only manage a nervous strike that is repelled by QPR goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.
1251: Everton are still struggling to get a touch of the ball, and a foothold in this match. Tony Hibbert takes out Nani on the left and United have another free-kick. Nani plays it short this time, to Wayne Rooney... and his shot is deflected wide.
1248: Plenty of possession for United in the first couple of minutes, and they have won a free-kick about 30 yards out on the left too. Nani whipped it into the area, but it was easily cleared.
1246: ... and we have started in Cardiff too.
1245: Here we go. United get us under way...
benjtaylor92 on Twitter:
"I have a strange feeling Michael Owen will do something big today, that's if Sir Alex gives him time! C'MON UNITED!"
1242: Here come the players at Old Trafford... and the Cardiff City Stadium too. Quite a reception for them at both venues.
1239: Right then. Kick-off is fast approaching in Manchester and Cardiff. Looks like a tricky afternoon in store for Premier League leaders Manchester United and Championship pace-setters QPR... and don't forget you can watch Cardiff v Rangers live on BBC One and this website (in the UK).
TheHussler101 on Twitter:
"Re 1230. Berbs should start - he's an excellent player and doesn't get enough credit. Not having him is a loss."
Cardiff City boss Dave Jones on his side's promotion prospects ahead of the visit of Championship leaders QPR: "Everybody keeps going on about QPR - they're this, they're that - but we've gone quietly about our business. It's a massive game for us and there's another on Monday at Preston. We've worked hard and it's been steady progress for a long time at this football club."
BBC Wales Sport's Peter Shuttleworth at Cardiff City Stadium: "I'm not sure if Neil Warnock is one for omens as the QPR manager bids to secure his sixth promotion here at the Cardiff City Stadium today. But the last time Warnock won passage to the Premier League was in Cardiff, over the road at the now demolished Ninian Park, in the Easter of 2006 while he was Sheffield United surpemo. However, the last time QPR were chasing promotion in Cardiff, the boys from Shepherds Bush were beaten in extra-time at the Millennium Stadium in the 2003 League One play-off final by the Bluebirds."
augustburnsalex on Twitter:
"Re 1230. Berbatov shouldn't get a look in. I've never been a fan since he joined, he just isn't a United player."
DannythatGuy on Twitter:
"As an Arsenal fan, maybe it would be kinder if Everton lost just so we wouldn't have another chance to get our hopes dashed."
Hmmm. Fair to say that Gunners fans are not exactly feeling chipper at the moment. Their team have not done themselves too many favours recently, have they?
1230: Further to 1227, I'm told Dimitar Berbatov might actually have a minor groin strain, which would explain why he is not involved in the United squad at all at the moment. Would he start if he was fully fit though? And should he?
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"74% - Manchester United's PL win percentage with Nemanja Vidic since Jan 2006, compared to 58% without him. Gamble."
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Nemanja Vidic is out for Manchester Utd today. Their last PL defeat came without Vidic, also v Merseyside opposition - at Liverpool."
1227: Isn't it strange that the Premier League's leading scorer Dimitar Berbatov isn't getting a look-in at United at the moment? The Bulgarian isn't injured, and wasn't involved in Tuesday's draw at Newcastle either, so it would be generous indeed to say he is being rested for the Schalke game. Just like at St James' Park, he is not even on the bench today.
From Joe in Glasgow, via text: "As a Wolves fan we have a huge game for us today at home to Fulham, a win would be massive. A defeat? Let's not go there! Good luck to QPR, we got promoted against them in 2009 so they'll know the celebrations to look forward to!"
CARDIFF CITY v QPR TEAM NEWS Peter Shuttleworth reports from Cardiff City Stadium: "Both Cardiff City and QPR name unchanged line-ups. Cardff top-scorer Jay Bothroyd has shaken off a groin injury to start but goalkeeper Tom Heaton has failed to fully recover from a groin injury so is on the bench as the on-loan Stephen Bywater deputises. Defender Fitz Hall is fit again for QPR but is on the subs bench, while Kaspars Gorkss, who needed stitches in his head after colliding with a TV camera against Derby on Monday, is passed fit to start."
MAN UTD v EVERTON TEAM NEWS Jonathan Stevenson
reports: "Sir Alex Ferguson makes five changes to the Manchester United team, with captain Nemanja Vidic among those rested ahead of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Schalke in Germany. Fabio, Darron Gibson and Jonny Evans get chances to impress, while Rio Ferdinand and Antonio Valencia are restored to the XI. Everton bring in Seamus Coleman and rumoured-to-be-a-United-target Jack Rodwell, with Johnny Heitinga injured and Magaye Gueye dropping to the bench."
Cameron_Laws on Twitter:
"Can never feel confident with Gibson or Evans in the team but still think United's line up is enough to get the 3 points!"
1214: Here's another stat for you - even if United win their last two away games (at Arsenal and Blackburn) they will still have the worst record on the road of any Premier League champions (assuming they do win the title this season of course).
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"3 - Man Utd need to win their last 3 home games to equal the 38-game Premier League record of P19 W18 D1 (Chelsea 05-06). Fortress."
CARDIFF CITY v QPR (1245 BST) Peter Shuttleworth reports from Cardiff City Stadium: "Even the sun has come out to watch arguably the Championship's biggest game of the season here at the Cardiff City Stadium. Leaders Queens Park Rangers could secure promotion back to the Premier League after a 15-year absence with a scorching victory at Cardiff City Stadium. While Dave Jones' third-placed hosts want to keep up the heat on QPR and get back into the automatic promotion places as the Bluebirds hunt down a top-flight return after 49 years in the lower divisions."
United travel to Schalke for their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday... that's got to have come into Sir Alex's thinking today, hasn't it?
Man Utd v Everton line-ups Man Utd: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Evans, Fabio Da Silva, Valencia, Gibson, Anderson, Nani, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Kuszczak, Evra, Brown, Owen, Giggs, Carrick, Rafael Da Silva. Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Coleman, Neville, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov, Osman, Beckford. Subs: Mucha, Cahill, Gueye, Vellios, Anichebe, Mustafi, Duffy. Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)
BREAKING MAN UTD TEAM NEWS: No Nemanja Vidic, so Jonny Evans partners Rio Ferdinand in the centre of defence. Fabio and Darron Gibson also both start and John O'Shea is at right-back. More on that in a jiffy.
From Dave in London, via text: So excited!! Massive QPR fan so today will be great to watch. Was too young to remember the last time we were in the top flight. To all you haters out there, no points deducted means we WILL be promoted!"
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on the emergence of Chelsea as title challengers along with faltering Arsenal, who are both six points behind his side with five games to go: "It is good to know someone is behind you. We cannot become complacent. We can use our experience of years past in situations like this. Hopefully it will get us where we want to go."
MAN UTD v EVERTON (1245 BST) Jonathan Stevenson
reports: "Their rivals may still believe, but the destiny of the Premier League title remains firmly in Manchester United's hands. United can stretch their lead to nine points if they beat Everton at fortress Old Trafford - a place where they have accrued 46 points in 16 games this season. The Toffees, on a six-game unbeaten run, could move above Liverpool in sixth, but they haven't won at United since August 1992, when Peter Beardsley, Robert Warzycha and Mo Johnston earned a 3-0 victory."
1155: A full run-down on what else is going on elsewhere in the Football League will follow shortly (promise) but I'm going to need some chat from you lot too, of course. It won't be the same without you. How? Easy.
I'm Chris Bevan,
and you can tweet me at
using the hashtag
please. Or feel free to text me via 81111 (UK) instead.
QPR midfielder Adel Taarabt ahead of his side's trip to the Cardiff City Stadium: "As a player, these are the types of games that you want to play in. It's on TV, it's first against (third), and it's going to be a big game. I expect it to be an open game. Every team we have left to play needs to win. I don't think Cardiff are going to defend, they need to score goals."
1150: Lots to play for in the Championship this afternoon too, starting with QPR's trip to Cardiff (again, at 1245 BST and live on BBC One and this website in the UK). A win for Rangers and they are promoted to the Premier League, ending a 15-year absence from the top flight (well, until they reach the small hurdle of that
end-of-season disciplinary hearing, and possible points deduction,
over the transfer of Alejandro Faurlin anyway). Football Focus (which has just started on BBC One and, again, this website in the UK) is in Cardiff today, previewing the big match.
1147: So, Britain is basking in a mini-heatwave and you lot (or most of you) have got the first long weekend of the year to make the most of it. How does life get any better? Simple. There are a bumper eight Premier League games in total today, starting at Old Trafford and ending at Stamford Bridge for a mouthwatering London derby between Chelsea and struggling West Ham (at 1730 BST). Plenty happening in-between, affecting the top and bottom of the table - I don't think meaningless mid-table meetings exist this season - the closest we have got to that today is Villa-Stoke, and both those sides still need points.
1143: Don't you go thinking the title race is a done deal, though. Anything less than a United win will be welcomed by Chelsea and Arsenal, who are relying on Sir Alex Ferguson's men stumbling in the home straight - and in-form Everton are in no mood to be Easter lambs to the slaughter at Old Trafford.
1138: Good Friday? Yep, me too. Nice to see the sun is still shining today as well. But let's get back to business. The finishing line is in sight for Manchester United as they close in on a record 19th championship, and three points from their game against Everton (at 1245 BST) today will take them yet another step nearer.
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