To get involved use
) or text us via 81111 with FOOTBALL before your message. (Not all contributions can be used. Messages will be charged at your standard operator rate.)
By Sam Lyon
1825: Super stuff all round, then, not least from you good people - legends. Reward yourself with a lovely evening safe in the knowledge it's a Bank Holiday tomorrow - hurrah! And why not check out Match of the Day 2 at 2230 on BBC Two and Online while you're at it. After that, be back for the Champions League semi-finals with
on Tuesday and Wednesday, yeah? Groovy.
nedccfc on Twitter:
"Superb Sunday, Super Sunday, Sensational Sunday, Sam Lyon Sunday? Whatever, it was a great advert for the Premier League."
MAN CITY 2-1 WEST HAM Alistair Magowan
reports: "Man City made it far harder for their fans than they needed to, but they will worry not with three points in the bag and the Champions League within touching distance."
ARSENAL 1-0 MAN UTD Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports: "Arsenal blow the title race open with a win that will be greeted with as much joy at Stamford Bridge as it was at the Emirates. All a bit late for Arsenal, who were excellent today, but what a game we have now between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford next Sunday..."
LIVERPOOL 3-0 NEWCASTLE Phil Dawkes reports: "A straight-forward win for Liverpool, who have now taken 30 points from their last 14 games and are well in the mix for Europa League qualification. Newcastle are already safe but will need to invest in the summer - Andy Carroll, who came off the bench for the hosts, remains their second top scorer this season."
BIRMINGHAM 1-1 WOLVES Paul Fletcher
reports: "A missed chance for Wolves? They had an extra man for 62 minutes but could not make that count. With every point so precious and Mick McCarthy's team struggling for form, their failure to win at Birmingham could prove to be very costly."
1810: What did our reporters make of today's ties, you ask? Well...
TheClapperBored on Twitter:
"Without Parker, Noble, Bridge and Upson (after 15 minutes)... that was a not a relegation-worthy performance..."
1807: Righto, someone find me a darkened room with a big bottle of falling down water will you? What a weekend of football. It's almost all too much. Rounded off by that Man City win, it means Robert Mancini's boys have one big fat foot in next season's Champions League, sitting as they are seven points clear of Liverpool and Tottenham in fifth and sixth respectively. West Ham, at the other end of the table, face three gargantuan matches to save their season - they're bottom of the table, three points from safety, and facing a mountain to climb that would give even George Mallory the shivers. One for you mountaineering fans out there, that one.
1802: FULL-TIME Man City 2-1 West Ham
1801: Keep ball in the West Ham corner from Man City, the hosts looking to see this out with a bit of savvy.
1759: We'll have three minutes of stoppage time.
1758: Like two tired boxers looking for a knock-out blow, the game remains end to end - and Carlton Cole's decent effort from the edge of the area forces a desperate block in the box by Joleon Lescott.
1755: This second half has flown by - and both teams are still going for it. Into the last three minutes, Man City 2-1 West Ham.
1753: And Victor Obinna has almost just landed his team right in it, the Hammers substitute giving possession away and enabling David Silva to shoot at goal, Robert Green turning the deflected effort over the bar.
1752: My word it's tense at Eastlands. The more West Ham push for the equaliser, though, the more likely it looks that Man City will get them on the counter. Nervy.
1749: Demba Ba lets fly 30 yards out - it zips low past the post.
1747: West Ham looking to get something out of this now - Victor Obinna coming on to replace Luis Boa Morte.
1746: And now Adam Johnson fires a wonderful cross through the 'corridor of uncertainty' in the Hammers box... but no City player has gambled to get on the end of it and the chance is gone. Waste.
1745: When they turn it on, Man City, they can be sublime. Aleksandar Kolarov bursts down the left and his cut-back finds David Silva, but the Spaniard's finish is tame and West Ham are able to hack clear.
1743: Perhaps Edin Dzeko will be the man to get it - the striker, on a red-hot scoring streak of one in his last one games, coming on for Gareth Barry. That could mean City reverting to 4-4-2, tactics-fans.
1741: Less than 20 minutes left in this match and I fancy another goal. From which side, though, I couldn't tell you.
1738: Yep, sorry, scores on the right hand side still not working (see 1719). Don't rely on them for the time being. Believe me instead - it's Man City 2-1 West Ham.
1736: Frustration just creeping into the game of the Man City players now and that's only a result of West Ham's increasing dominance in this match. The visitors definitely in the ascendancy now.
1734: Change for West Ham, Carlton Cole on for Robbie Keane.
1731: My word, how is it not 3-1? Yaya Toure slips a ball through and David Silva is in acres of space one-on-one. Inexplicably, though, the Spaniard pulls up and squares to Mario Balotelli instead of going for goal and James Tomkins clears on the line. Head shakes all round on the City bench.
1730: Save! West Ham have come right back into this match in the last few minutes and they're almost level, Manuel da Costa's header from a corner just about kept out by Joe Hart's instinctive save.
1728: An hour gone at Eastlands, a single goal in it, and West Ham are improving. Still, Man City 2-1 West Ham, though.
1725: A rare West Ham attack in this half ends with an effort on goal by Demba Ba that is more of a threat to the corner flag than the goal. Ho hum.
1723: Crossbar! Man City break brilliantly after a poor piece of play by Demba Ba and David Silva feeds Mario Balotelli inside the box, the Italian taking a touch inside before curling a wonderful effort over Rob Green and on to the visitors' bar. So close. Green saves excellently from Yaya Toure on the follow-up - but the City midfielder was offside anyway.
1722: Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson - sadly without a Twitter account as yet, I believe - has also had his say on this afternoon's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, saying: "Obviously, it gives Chelsea a major chance now and that's what happens when you get these decisions. They got one at Old Trafford last season so that's the worry now. But in terms of ability - a game at Old Trafford, the supporters will be ready for it - and so will our players."
1720: Still City knocking the ball about excellently at the start of this half. The Hammers really struggling to get their foot on the ball as a result. Patience on show from the hosts.
1719: A few of you pointing out the score on the right-hand side is wrong - you're correct - unfortunately, I don't control that. Our technological wizards are all over the gremlins, though, so I'm told.
1717: Oh to have been a fly on the wall of the Man City changing room at half-time huh? Not a huge amount of improved urgency just yet from the hosts - but they are moving the ball about lovely at the start of this half.
1714: Back up and running at Eastlands, then, Man City 2-1 West Ham.
1712: Man City's first goal, by the way, has now been credited to Pablo Zabaleta (who is Argentine and not Spanish, don't let anyone tell you any different).
1710: And talking of one final push... fancy having your say today? Well then Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). Bosh.
Man Utd striker Michael Owen:
"Well, that was a kick in the teeth. We were not happy with our performance. This result makes these next 2 games even bigger. Important to put today behind us now and focus on things we can affect in the future. Still in a great position so time for one final push."
1705: By the way, a couple of the Man Utd boys have been Tweeting...
NufcBano on Twitter:
"Just thought I would mention that De Jong is always an 80/1 outsider for 1st goalscorer..." Cha...ching!
Femi, London via text: "If Man City can sign the likes of Yaya Toure and David Silva now, imagine the players they'll attract with Champions League football."
1700: HALF-TIME Man City 2-1 West Ham Alistair Magowan's
HT snap-shot: "Man City were coasting as if on some Mediterranean boating holiday until Demba Ba pounced. The mood of the match has shifted... so you would expect a terse team-talk from Roberto Mancini right about now."
1657: The half-time whistle blows at Eastlands.
1656: Still bundles of quality in attack, though, the hosts and Adam Johnson stings the palms of Hammers keeper Rob Green with a dipping 25 yarder.
1654: Man City inexplicably looking a bit rattled here. Credit to West Ham, who have come right into this match in the last 15 minutes or so, but City are playing with a real air of sluggishness-come-complacency out there.
1651: Freddie Sears is having a good game for West Ham and he almost kick-starts another fine attacking move, only for Luis Boa Morte's wayward pass 25 yards to put an end to a promising move.
1649: Bit better from City as they force a couple of corners - nothing comes from either, mind.
1648: The Sky boys reckon the last 10 minutes has seen 35% of the ball in Man City's defensive third, just 5% in the Hammers' defensive third. Telling.
1646: All of a sudden, West Ham are buzzing. Man City had just taken their foot off the pedal in the lead up to that Hammers reply - and the hosts are struggling now to re-find their rhythm.
West Ham goal: Hold on... maybe this match isn't done and dusted just yet. Moments after that Robbie Keane miss, Thomas Hitzlsperger sends in a cross that causes all sorts of problems in the Man City defence, and there is Demba Ba on hand to slam home from 10 yards out. Game on.
1643: GOALFLASH Man City 2-1 West Ham (Ba)
1641: BIG chance for West Ham... wasted. Freddie Sears clips a pass through and Robbie Keane is in one-on-one on Joe Hart, only for the Irishman to dally far too long, allowing Hart to come out and save well from the Hammers loanee. How the Hammers needed better from Keane, there.
1638: Man City are swarming all over West Ham today - and Yaya Toure is one of those feeling the benefits in the first half hour, the City midfielder conducting the home orchestra with every touch, pass and move at the moment. Freedom of Eastlands for the big midfielder so far.
1636: And this won't help West Ham's cause, Matthew Upson limping off to be replaced by Manuel da Costa.
1635: After the rip-roarers of earlier, I have to say this match already has a feeling of the inevitables about it.
1632: RE: 1624 - Apologies Liverpool and Tottenham fans - I meant, of course, that Man City are now (not 'not') seven points clear. I am afraid I don't quite have the power to close that gap through the power of a BBC text commentary. Sorry.
Sandler41 on Twitter:
"Re 1624: Party time? They've spent a billion quid and are only going to finish 4th. They should be winning the quadruple."
1628: Not quite party time for West Ham, though, of course. The Londoners are heading firmly for a fifth straight defeat, a run that looks set to leave them bottom of the table and three points clear of safety with just three matches of their season left. Gulp.
Man City goal: I'd say, yep, party time. It's a fine break down the right by Pablo Zabaleta, the Argentine swapping passes with David Silva and then sending a fine cross into the box that Lars Jacobsen can only leather into his own net a couple of yards out attempting to clear.
1625: GOALFLASH Man City 2-0 West Ham (Jacobsen og)
1624: As it stands, Man City are now seven points clear of Liverpool and Tottenham, having played a game less than the Reds and with a home fixture against Harry Redknapp's men to come. Party time?
Man City goal: Champions League football... here come Man City. And what a time for Nigel de Jong to bag his first City goal, the Dutchman latching on to a half clearance from Aleksandar Kolarov's corner and spanking low into the corner first time from 25 yards.
1621: GOALFLASH Man City 1-0 West Ham (De Jong)
1620: Ooh neat footwork from Mario Balotelli, feeding David Silva with a clever pass behind his feet, and the Spaniard's cross is desperately deflected behind for a corner.
1617: Looks like the pattern of the game has been set... plenty of possession and room for Man City in the deeper areas, plenty of West Ham players behind the ball, pressing when City approach the final third. The visitors obviously counting on the counter-attack method.
1614: It's a corner for Man City now, though, and Mario Balotelli should do better with his header as he rises above Lars Jacobsen to meet it, the Italian's effort drifting harmlessly wide.
1612: And it's West Ham with the more positive start, forcing an early corner that leads to a quarter-chance for Danny Gabbidon on the edge of the area, the defender blazing well over the bar, though.
1611: Up and running, Man City v West Ham.
1609: The players are out at Eastlands, then, and we're moments from kick off.
1608: MAN CITY v WEST HAM (1610) Alistair Magowan
reports: "So Man City name an unchanged team, Mario Balotelli retaining his place up front ahead of Edin Dzeko, but West Ham ring the changes - four of them, in fact - to the side that lost at Chelsea last time out. Out go the ineligible Wayne Bridge and centre-back Manuel Da Costa to be replaced by James Tomkins and Matthew Upson, while Luis Boa Morte is in for the unwell Mark Noble and Robbie Keane starts in place of Carlton Cole in attack."
1606: This day just keeps on giving doesn't it?
1605: AND WE'RE NOT EVEN DONE WITH THE ACTION YET!
Faiz81 on Twitter:
"Absolutely gutted with that result but in fairness Arsenal deserved the win. We were not up for this game at all."
niallfogg on Twitter:
"Wilshere and Ramsey were great for Arsenal today, would selling Fabregas be so bad?"
1601: Deary me, the title race just got blown wide open once more. With three matches to play, Man Utd lead Chelsea by three points - with exactly the same goal difference - and those two meet next week at Old Trafford in what in many ways could well be a title decider. How big is that game now? Huh? I need a new thesaurus.
1558: FULL-TIME Arsenal 1-0 Man Utd
1557: ...nope, Nani slams it into the wall. We've over the allotted injury time now.
1557: Man Utd free-kick, 30 yards out, Nani over it... they couldn't could they?
1555: Not a huge amount in the way of United pressure here. Arsenal holding firm at present. Into the 93rd minute..
1553: Man Utd continuing to press - and Arsenal are packing numbers in defence. We'll have FOUR minutes of stoppage time - just enough time for Chelsea fans to chew their fingers down to nubs, I'd imagine.
1551: MASSIVE penalty shout as Man Utd substitute Michael Owen goes down under Gael Clichy's trailing leg in the box - and, once again, referee Chris Foy has got this one wrong, for me. Clichy clearly appeared to step on Owen's left calf, there, and it looked to me to be a fairly clear penalty. Justice for the missed Nemanja Vidic handball in the first half? Or just another poor decision? Either way, United are not happy - understandably.
1548: He promised his followers on
a big goal this season - and a goal here could hardly be bigger for Man Utd. Step up Michael Owen, on for Michael Carrick.
1547: ...curled straight into the arms of Edwin van der Sar, who kick-starts a Man Utd attack with a monster throw...
1547: Arsenal free-kick, 22 yards out, Robin van Persie over it...
1545: And in fact it's Arsenal breaking here... Robin van Persie making up ground after a tangle with Rio Ferdinand as Arsenal counter, but his cross just eludes Jack Wilshere at the far post unmarked. Bit of a let-off for Man Utd, there.
1544: Into the last 10 minutes, and Man Utd not exactly throwing the kitchen sink at Arsenal. Yet.
sanj06 on Twitter:
"This League is incredible! As things stand the Title is back in Chelsea's hands. Three wins from their last three games and they're Champs!"
Tim, London, via text: "The script has been written. Arsenal concede late goals, United score late goals, Berbatov - who can only score in the league - is on..."
1542: Approaching the final 10 minutes, and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger decides now is the time for defensive reinforcements - Emmanuel Eboue on for Theo Walcott.
1540: And that's arguably their best break yet, Wayne Rooney charging at the Arsenal defence before releasing Nani, the winger's shot from the angle 12 yards out parried away by Wojciech Szczesny. Good chance, decent save.
1539: Just building something like a head of steam, here, Man Utd.
1538: The ball finds its way to the other side of the box where United earn another free-kick courtesy of Aaron Ramsey's handball that was just - and I mean just - outside the area. Wayne Rooney curls it into the arms of Wojciech Szczesny.
1536: And he will make his introduction just as Man Utd earn a free-kick by the right touchline - Javier Hernandez the man replaced.
1535: Dimitar Berbatov - the Premier League's leading goalscorer - is warming up for Man Utd.
1533: Change for Arsenal, enforced because of an injury, Johan Djourou replaced by Sebastien Squillaci.
1532: MAN CITY v WEST HAM Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, De Jong, Barry, Adam Johnson, Toure Yaya, Silva, Balotelli. Subs: Taylor, Milner, Wright-Phillips, Dzeko, Vieira, Jo, Boyata. West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Tomkins, Upson, Gabbidon, Sears, Spector, Hitzlsperger, Boa Morte, Ba, Keane. Subs: Boffin, Reid, Cole, Kovac, da Costa, Piquionne, Obinna. Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
1530: Man Utd just looking a bit bereft of ideas at the moment. And with only five league wins away from home before today this season, perhaps you could argue that's symptomatic of their form outside of Old Trafford this term. Spark needed by the visitors.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates: "Lots of activity and warming up among Manchester United's substitutes - probably to keep out of Sir Alex Ferguson's way. He's not happy at all as Arsenal continue to look the better side. Gone through some chewing gum today."
1526: Aha! Your favourite graphic and mine - handbags - as Alex Song's foul on Patrice Evra sparks a melee between the two sides that barely warrants mention, and indeed wouldn't get one if it wasn't such a fine excuse to put a pink handbag up on the commentary page. Doesn't it make it look pretty? Ahhh.
1524: What are Man Utd made of now, then? Set pieces could be key - but Nemanja Vidic has just headed the visitors' latest wide when well placed.
1522: TEAM NEWS SNAP Edin Dzeko remains on the bench for Man City despite his match-winner against Blackburn last time out, while Scott Parker is ruled out for West Ham. Matthew Upson, though, returns after illness.
Arsenal goal: Breakthrough. Aaron Ramsey - only in the side because of an injury to Cesc Fabregas - breaks the deadlock with a lovely finish, sliding into the corner from Robin van Persie's cut-back - and I think I heard the Chelsea cheers from here. Title race firmly back on?
1520: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 Man Utd (Ramsey)
1519: Change for Man Utd, Antonio Valencia on for Anderson.
1518: A touch more open this game now and moments after Nani's cross narrowly eludes Javier Hernandez in the six-yard area, the Portuguese winger dips a free-kick inches wide that looked to have Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny beat all ends up.
1515: At the other end Bacary Sagna drifts infield on to his left foot and slaps wide from outside the area. At least Arsenal are shooting this half.
1514: And now an early corner for Man Utd, though Fabio's cross from the short-corner routine drifts behind. More encouraging for the visitors, though.
1512: And that was almost the perfect response right on cue! Wayne Rooney lines up a free-kick 22 yards out and forces a sprawling save from Wojciech Sczcesny in the Arsenal goal with a fine curling effort. Patrice Evra slams into the side netting on the follow-up. United's best effort of the match so far.
1511: What response from Man Utd this half then? Improvement needed for the league leaders...
1509: Back up and running in the second half, Arsenal 0-0 Man Utd.
1508: Here come the players at the Emirates, then, and Andrey Arshavin is coming on to replace Samir Nasri for Arsenal.
alexte88 on Twitter:
"Man Utd don't get away with decisions more than other teams - it's just selective memory. Not saying it's not a pen though."
Guy, Manchester via text: "Yes it's a definite penalty, but no one apart from Van Persie appealed. So 60,000 people + the officials got it wrong."
1502: MAN CITY v WEST HAM (1610) Alistair Magowan
victory over Newcastle
Tottenham's loss at Chelsea
means that Man City's Champions League task has been made a tad easier as they take on the lowly Hammers. A win at Eastlands would take City seven points of their rivals - whereas an away victory for Avram Grant's team would take them out of the bottom three, although that is something West Ham have only managed once in the league this season."
1500: And we've still got the mega match between
Man City and West Ham
to come too. Alistair Magowan is your match reporter...
1459: Talking points? Don't you just know it. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). I'm not hearing from many Man Utd fans...
Ben, Chelsea fan, London via text: "Are the referees trying to even things up over two days?"
1455: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Man Utd Chief football writer Phil McNulty's
HT snap-shot from the Emirates: "Arsenal the better side - and have had the rough end of the decisions - but they've just not turned their pressure and opportunities into goals. Manchester United will be happy to reach the interval on level terms after a below-par first 45 minutes."
1452: The half-time whistle blows - and Robin van Persie immediately takes the opportunity to pick up his case over that penalty with referee Chris Foy. It's hardly a storming atmosphere inside the Emirates, but most of the noise is grumbling as the officials head down the tunnel.
1450: This match just limping towards half time a touch now. Neither side looking right on their mettle at the sharp end of the pitch just yet.
1448: Half-decent effort - if that - for Man Utd as Anderson's slap at goal is easily held by Arsenal Wojciech Szczesny.
1445: ...but it's cleared - and the ensuing Arsenal break is ended by a Wayne Rooney foul on Jack Wilshere, a foul that earns the Man Utd striker a booking.
1444: And now a Man Utd corner... Nemanja Vidic is up for it...
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates: "Arsenal fans, with justification, are very unhappy with referee Chris Foy and the officials in general. Nemanja Vidic's foul on Jack Wilshere on the edge of the area was inexplicably missed, as was the Manchester United captain's handball from Theo Walcott's cross. Sir Alex has been bending the fourth officials ear all match - and now Arsene has joined in. I can't say I blame him on this occasion."
1442: Chelsea yesterday, Man Utd today. We're back talking about refereeing decisions and the lack of technology in the game. In this day and age. Crazy.
1440: Tell a lie, Robin van Persie did appeal - berating the linesman for not giving the penalty in the process - and you can see why. The more replays you see, the clearer it gets. Nemanja Vidic has definitely got away with one there.
1438: I'll tell you now - it was Nemanja Vidic's hand. Hardly an appeal from the Arsenal boys, bizarrely, but TV replays suggest it came off the Man Utd defender's outstretched arm with Robin van Persie, behind him, poised to glance in. Massive moment.
1437: But that's a chance... and was that handball? Theo Walcott's excellent whipped cross is cleared on the stretch by Nemanja Vidic, but what with - his head? His hand?
1435: Half an hour gone, Arsenal 0-0 Man Utd, chances at a premium. So far.
1431: And having survived the early pressure, Man Utd are - for the first time in the match - enjoying a bit of the ball themselves now.
1429: For all their possession, there's still the underlying lack of penetration running through the Arsenal team out there. How often has that been said in recent years?
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates: "Arsenal have applied all the early pressure as Manchester United sit deep - a ploy that has brought them such success against The Gunners in the past. Sir Alex Ferguson has been marching briskly into the technical area, always bad news for his players, clearly unhappy that Arsenal have already been able to fashion opportunities."
1426: And then, out of nowhere, Man Utd almost carve Arsenal apart, Fabio bursting into the box but dallying too long in trying to find Javier Hernandez centre of goal, Arsenal eventually able to clear. From the corner, Ji-Sung Park's shot is blocked.
1424: Man Utd defender Nemanja Vidic gets away with one as he fells Jack Wilshere right on the edge of his own box, only for Chris Foy to inexplicably wave play on. Strange decision.
1423: Still it's Arsenal enjoying by far the majority of possession. Man Utd just looking to weather the early storm for the most part.
1420: And Arsenal attacks like that are hardly going to help Sir Alex's mood, Jack Wilshere's fine cross forcing a fabulous last-ditch clearance behind on the stretch by Patrice Evra under pressure from Theo Walcott.
1418: Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez have enjoyed only the occasional touches in this opening 12 minutes or so, but the odd sign creeping into things that United are just starting to get up to speed now. It might have something to do with Sir Alex Ferguson having already spent more time on his feet barking orders than he has sat chewing on the sideline benches. Nervy look on the Scot's face.
1415: ...it's worked short but to no avail as Man Utd press and clear their lines well.
1415: Corner to Arsenal...
1414: Close! Gael Clichy breaks free down the left - Nani was nowhere to be seen there - and his excellent cross just finds the onrushing Theo Walcott inside the box, the Arsenal winger spooning his shot over the bar on the stretch. Man Utd on the ropes.
1412: This is a really bright start from Arsenal here, and even though Robin van Persie heads their latest half-chance well off target I'm sure Arsene Wenger will be delighted with these opening few minutes.
"Arsenal field their youngest line-up of the season. They average 23 years and 296 days today - also the youngest line-up of all clubs this Premier League season."
1409: Chance! Theo Walcott's ball into the box is only half-cleared by Nemanja Vidic and the ball falls to Jack Wilshere on the edge of the Man Utd box in front of goal... only for the young midfielder to drill wide. Hhmm.
1407: Whatever both sides' incentive for this afternoon, it's Arsenal right on to the front foot at the Emirates.
1405: Up and running at the Emirates, Arsenal v Man Utd.
1404: The players are out, the sun is beating down, and the anticipation is palpable. Bring. It. On.
Dan via text: "Bendtner to come off the bench and score a sublime hat trick, you heard it here first."
KopMaestro on Twitter:
"Cesc being out may just be a blessing for Arsenal today. He seems to have been feeling sorry for himself as of late."
1400: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on Sky Sports: "Ryan Giggs has got a bit of flu, but hopefully he'll be okay for next week. Aside from that, I have a bit of luxury [in terms of choice] because the team are in great form. I'm not really thinking about the Schalke second leg [with this selection]. I just had to make the decision between Nani and Luis Antonia Valencia. But Nani always does well in this game. Arsenal are a good team. It's an important part of the season, so you'd expect an even more difficult game than usual. My players are aware that they're within touching distance [of the title]. We go into this match with a good deal of confidence."
1358: A reminder, then, of what the match at the Emirates means for this season's title race... a win for Man Utd would take them six points clear of rivals Chelsea in second place and mean they could wrap up a 19th league title next week with a positive result from their match against the Blues. Lose, however, and Chelsea could draw level on points - and overtake United on goal difference - with a win at Old Trafford next week, a scenario that would make Carlo Ancelotti's men favourites for the title come 22 May. Needless to say, today's encounter in London is absolutely ginormous. And then some. Man, I'm so excited I might actually implode here.
1355: So Liverpool storm into the European places at the expense of Tottenham - those two sides have to face each other at Anfield yet this season, too with a Sunday afternoon stroll past Newcastle - while Wolves remain a point from safety courtesy of that draw at St Andrew's that sees Birmingham edge ever nearer safety. More than enough on show to whet the appetite ahead of our next course... the stonker that is
Arsenal v Man Utd.
1353: FULL-TIME Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle
1352: FULL-TIME Birmingham 1-1 Wolves
1351: Late drama? Not likely.
1349: And we'll have three minutes of stoppage time at St Andrew's - where only one team, the boys in gold and black, look keen on pressing for a winner.
1348: Into injury time at Anfield, four minutes of it. For my money, Liverpool are favourites for the three points here.
Faraq, Marrakech, via text: "United's season is going to be defined by their wingers today - Anderson and Nani can win them their historic 19th league."
1344: Every Birmingham player other Cameron Jerome temporarily behind the ball as Wolves - for once this afternoon, it must be said - stroke the ball around nicely in midfield... and Adam Hammill's ball into the box leads to the mother of all scrambles as Steven Fletcher and Karl Henry hunt around for a half-chance with Birmingham defenders throwing themselves at every pass and shot - the hosts eventually able to clear when Hammill handles.
1341: ARSENAL v MAN UTD (1405) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports from the Emirates: "Big blow for Arsenal, then, as captain Cesc Fabregas is sidelined by a kick to the thigh he sustained in training. Sir Alex Ferguson makes two changes from the Man Utd side that
won so impressively against Schalke 04
in the Champions League semi-final, Anderson and Nani replacing Ryan Giggs and Antonio Valencia."
1339: Andy Carroll yet to have a really meaningful touch since his introduction at Anfield, not that Liverpool are too desperate for an intervention from the £35m man. Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle still the score there.
1336: Approaching the last 10 minutes at St Andrew's and scrappy and feisty still winning the day over passing and movement. Plenty of time for late drama, though. Still Birmingham 1-1 Wolves.
1333: Yep, beenser (below), you have your wish. It might have come a tad too late, though, to be fair. Nile Ranger comes on for Newcastle in place of Peter Lovenkrands. His task? Simple. Score at least three goals in 15 minutes at the Anfield Road End. Easy life.
1331: ARSENAL v MAN UTD (1405) Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy, Song, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Nasri, van Persie. Subs: Lehmann, Squillaci, Arshavin, Eboue, Gibbs, Chamakh, Bendtner. Man Utd: Van der Sar, Fabio Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Park, Carrick, Anderson, Nani, Hernandez, Rooney. Subs: Kuszczak, Owen, Berbatov, Smalling, Rafael Da Silva, O'Shea, Valencia. Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
1328: Here comes Andy Carroll, the £35m signing from Newcastle replacing Maxi Rodriguez - and despite the away fans' attempts to pour cold water on his appearance it's a fine reception for the big frontman from the Anfield faithful.
1327: It aint Christmas, but anyone fancy some Carroll singing?
1326: Stephen Hunt is on for Wolves in place of Matt Jarvis. It's been scrappy and ill-tempered this half, and Mick McCarthy has spent most of his time screaming at his players. I imagine them he's urging them forward - a draw does his boys little good in their battle against the drop.
Liverpool goal: Deck-chair and sun-hat time for Liverpool, they're coasting. Luis Suarez drives into the box, the ball squirms to Dirk Kuyt who returns it to his Uruguayan strike partner, and Suarez taps home from six yards out. Easy.
1323: GOALFLASH Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle (Suarez)
1322: Precious few chances so far in the second half at Birmingham but Sebastian Larsson goes close for the home team with a free-kick that flies narrowly over the crossbar.
1321: TEAM NEWS SNAP Cesc Fabregas misses out for Arsenal against Man Utd after receiving an injury in training. Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, opts for Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez up front. Full teams to follow...
1319: It should be 3-0 at Anfield, Dirk Kuyt found completely unmarked eight yards out by Raul Meireles's free-kick but the Dutchman contriving to head wide with the goal gaping. Shame. Kuyt, by the way, has now scored in four successive games - the fifth player to do so this season in the Premier League, so
tell me. Which is nice.
Liverpool goal: The Reds' grip on fifth spot in the table tightens. Mike Williamson is beaten for skill and pace by Luis Suarez by the touchline and reacts by hauling the Liverpool man to the ground. Up steps Dirk Kuyt to bag from the spot.
1317: GOALFLASH Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle (Kuyt pen)
1316: PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL
1315: Woodwork at Anfield - though it was far from intentional - Maxi Rodriguez's cross drifting over Tim Krul's head in the Newcastle goal and bouncing back off the crossbar. Bemusement all round.
Eddmuzza on Twitter:
"Nervous Man Utd fan here! Just get the feeling a poor refereeing decision will cost us three points and leave Chelsea smiling!"
1312: Talking of bookings - it's another at St Andrew's, Karl Henry the man into Kevin Friend's notebook this time for a bit of a lunge at Lee Bowyer.
1310: Another surprise for you now - not - Cheik Tiote has his name taken at Anfield. That's the Newcastle midfielder's 13th yellow this season - an average of one every other game. Graduate of the Paul Scholes school of tackling *snigger*.
1308: In the end, he's done well there - but for a moment it looked like being another rickett from Ben Foster, the Birmingham keeper dashing out of his area to clear, losing out to Adam Hammill, but then recovering to clear the danger from the Wolves man's cross.
1306: Chances at both ends at the start of the half in Liverpool, Joey Barton volleying Kevin Nolan's cross wide at the far post 16 yards out, and then Luis Suarez seeing his goalbound shot from inside the area deflected into the side netting up the other end. Open.
1305: And now at St Andrew's, where it's Birmingham 1-1 Wolves. Big 45 minutes in the midlands, this, big.
1305: Back under way at Anfield, Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle.
1304: Looks like an attacking change for Wolves against 10-man Birmingham, forward Adam Hammill on for defender Richard Stearman.
1302: And don't forget I want to hear from all you good people too. As always, Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). Jubbly.
1300: ARSENAL v MAN UTD (1405) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports from the Emirates: "Man Utd's quest for a 19th title was not helped by
the lack of goalline technology at Stamford Bridge
as Chelsea's contentious win against Spurs kept Carlo Ancelotti's side in the hunt just three points behind the leaders. So the stakes are high as United take on Arsenal at The Emirates - with Arsene Wenger hoping victory might just provide small crumbs of comfort for him after the recent collapse of his side's own hopes of success. Potential crackerjack."
1258: A super start to Super Sunday so far, hey? Well it's only going to continue with the prospect of
Arsenal v Man Utd
on the horizon... our man at the Emirates is Phil McNulty...
beenser on Twitter:
"Nile Ranger needs to come on for Lovenkrands against Liverpool. He changed the game when he came on at St James' in December [when Newcastle on 3-1]."
Will, Oakshotte, via text: "Birmingham and Wolves are looking temperamental - 90% temper, 10% mental!"
1252: HALF-TIME Birmingham 1-1 Wolves Paul Fletcher's
HT snap-shot: "Feisty, furious and flat-out, this match has everything you would expect when local rivalry is mixed with the desperation induced by a battle for Premier League survival. Cracking stuff."
1250: HALF-TIME Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle Phil Dawkes's HT snap-shot: "Liverpool haven't been brilliant, just marginally better than Newcastle. They lead through Rodriguez's goal, but haven't threatened as often as they'd like. Newcastle crept back into the game as the half wore on and will still feel they can get something out of this."
1249: And now at St Andrew's.
1248: There's the half-time whistle at Anfield.
1247: Wolves finishing the half the better side at St Andrew's.
1244: Half-chance for Wolves, the ball dropping to Kevin Foley unmarked in the box 12 yards out but the defender snatching at the chance and skewing his effort wide. Should have done better.
1242: That red card has hardly dampened tempers at St Andrew's a jot, I tell you, with tackles still flying in and the Anglo-Saxon phrasebook being given a right stern work-out. Delicious derby fare.
Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby on BBC Radio 5 live: "Newcastle slowly creeping back into the match at the moment, and having a lot of free-kicks. But you feel that is the only way they might make a breakthrough - if at all."
1238: Ooh, lovely football from Liverpool, the hosts working the ball nicely before Jay Spearing picks Lucas out in the box with a delightful pass, the Brazilian midfielder's tame header easily collected by Toon keeper Tim Krul.
1235: Back at Anfield, Newcastle are settling in a touch - thanks largely to a spell of some wasteful passing from the hosts. Jonas Gutierrez is the visitors' dangerman and no mistake, the definite key to the Magpies' success if they are to have any.
1233: Oh - and fancy re-reading my 1223 entry? Man I'm good.
1232: Kevin Phillips is the man sacrificed as a result of that Craig Gardner sending off, Jean Beausejour on in his place.
Birmingham red card: Blimey, could this match have squeezed any more into the opening half hour? Birmingham are reduced to 10 men as Craig Gardner - on a booking - throws himself theatrically over Jody Craddock's challenge and receives a second yellow and his marching orders. It did look to be a dive from the Blues midfielder, too.
1230: SENT OFF, Craig Gardner, BIRMINGHAM
1229: It's a magic game at St Andrew's, I tell you...
Birmingham goal: And it's a gift. Moments after Steven Fletcher fluffs a decent chance from a corner at one end, Birmingham level at the other, Michael Mancienne getting his back-header from Ben Foster's long clearance all wrong and finding only the onrushing Sebastian Larsson, who lashes in from 16 yards.
1227: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-1 Wolves (Larsson)
1224: Long-range effort from Jay Spearing at Liverpool and Newcastle keeper Tim Krul makes a meal of it before clutching the ball at the second attempt with Raul Meireles and Dirk Kuyt sniffing around the fumble.
1223: More needle than in a grandmother's wool cupboard at St Andrew's - as you'd expect - and I dare say it might be a surprise were we to make it through the afternoon with all 22 players left on the pitch at this rate.
1220: Liverpool more comfortable than a pair of velvet slippers at Anfield, the Reds totally dominating possession. Their high-intensity pressing game has Newcastle in all sorts of bother early doors, too.
1217: ...crossbar! It's a beauty of an effort from Sebastian Larsson, curled right-footed towards the top far corner, but, with Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey beaten, it crashes back off the upright. So close.
1216: Big, BIG call at St Andrew's - and referee Kevin is no Friend of Birmingham on this occasion, ruling Richard Stearman's ugly challenge on Craig Gardner was just outside the area rather than inside and a penalty. It was such a close call... but I make Mr Friend just about right. Anyway, free-kick Birmingham, 18 yards out...
1215: And don't forget, web users, we have an 'as it stands' Premier League table on the right. If it's not kicked into gear - give your refresh button a cheeky little nudge. Make it cheeky, mind.
1214: Cracking start huh? Eat that TheMerrick!
Liverpool goal: Liverpool's European push continues apace. Young full-back John Flanagan's cross is flapped at by Toon defender Mike Williamson and the ball falls to Maxi Rodriguez, who wraps his foot around it and guides it home from 12 yards out via deflection of Danny Simpson. Reds up to fifth as it stands.
1211: GOALFLASH Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle (Rodriguez)
1209: Handbags! Who had nine minutes in the sweepstake? Jamie O'Hara's robust - but fair - challenge on Craig Gardner prompts an angry reaction from the Blues midfielder and a melee ensues. Both players are booked. Feisty.
Wolves goal: What a start. It could be a big goal in their battle against relegation - and Wolves have much to thank Ben Foster for. The Birmingham keeper's poor clearance finds Matt Jarvis, who slips in Stephen Ward, who in turn is felled in the box by the home stopper. Up steps Steven Fletcher to send Foster the wrong way. The away end goes mental.
1205: Decent start from Newcastle at Anfield, but more nip and tuck than on Hollywood Boulevard in all fairness so far.
1204: A start full of intent from Wolves at St Andrew's - I think it's fair to say each and every one of the visiting players emerged from the tunnel with a Mick McCarthy-shaped rocket in their shorts today. As you'd expect, it's 100 miles an hour.
1202: A late change to the Newcastle substitutes bench, by the way, with the news James Perch sustained an injury in the warm-up and is replaced by young James Tavernier.
1201: And now at Anfield, Liverpool v Newcastle.
1200: Under way at St Andrew's, Birmingham v Wolves.
1158: Blimey O'Reilly it's a glorious day in Liverpool and Birmingham, with Anfield and St Andrew's bathed in sunshine. The players are out and about and we're moments from kick-off. Ready?
TheMerrick on Twitter:
"My money's on four 0-0's, just for the anticlimax. Worryingly, all the games have potential to be fairly dire." Geeze. Aren't you just a little ray of sunshine.
blake2108 on Twitter:
"Only three sets of fixtures left after today and as it stands any of 11 teams could still go down. Incredible!"
1154: Omen fans, check dis out (ooh, I've gone all 'street'). Birmingham are the only team without a win in a West-Midlands derby in this season's Premier League - but they face a Wolves side without a top-flight win at St Andrew's in 30 years. The added trouble with that, Wanderers fans, is that the last time Wolves won a top flight match at Birmingham, they ended the season second-bottom and were relegated. Gulp.
1151: Early-morning bonus for Liverpool fans, meanwhile, with the news that captain Steven Gerrard has finally had surgery on a troublesome groin problem - leaving him confident about his recovery and future fitness. "Being injured is absolutely killing me," he wrote in his programme notes for today's match. "[Now] I am pleased I have had the surgery because for the first time in a while I'm feeling confident about my groin. Fingers crossed I'll be there on the first day of pre-season."
Kay__Gee on Twitter:
"Why is it when Liverpool have to get the job done they always fail? Hope they prove me wrong today though!"
1147: LIVERPOOL v NEWCASTLE (1200) Phil Dawkes reports: "Regardless of whether he makes it off the bench or not, Liverpool's Andy Carroll will cast an imposing shadow over Anfield today, like a big pony-tailed pylon made of meat.
United captain Kevin Nolan may have lost his baby-sitter,
but Newcastle have fared pretty well since they swapped Carroll for 35m of Liverpool's pounds. They've averaged more points without him than with him this season, although they are without a win in three. The striker hasn't had chance to contribute much to it, but Liverpool have gone from strength to strength since he rocked up on Merseyside as part of King Kenny's revolution. They've taken 27 points from their last 13 games and can go above fifth-placed Tottenham with a win."
1143: BIRMINGHAM v WOLVES (1200) Paul Fletcher
reports: "With Blackburn winning on Saturday and Blackpool and Wigan both picking up a point, the pressure on Wolves to take something from their trip to local rivals Birmingham is immense. Victory for Mick McCarthy's team would lift them out of the relegation zone by a point - but they are not in good form, having picked up just a point from their last four games. In contrast, Birmingham are in the relatively lofty and secure position of 16th, three points above the bottom three. Expect... feisty."
Lloyd91 on Twitter:
"Being a Newcastle fan, I can never fully relax, but a point today will at least make sitting down more comfortable."
Matt via text: "Another baffling team selection from Mick. At least three players out of position again. No lessons learned from the shambles of Stoke. Clueless!!"
1139: Over at Anfield, meanwhile, you might suspect
Liverpool will want this a touch more than Newcastle.
While the Magpies can in all likelihood consider themselves safe in their return season in the Premier League, Liverpool are pressing hard for a European place that would make a mockery of those critics that wrote them off during their awful early-season form.
Tottenham's controversial defeat to Chelsea yesterday
left the door wide open for Liverpool to charge into the top five come the season's end and they'll be going for it, for sure - but Newcastle pride is never to be underestimated, and the Andy Carroll effect should ensure the Toon will roll over for no man today. Intriguing.
1135: What's the dealio in our midday kick-offs, then, I hear none of you ask (for all of you know already). Well, first up, midlands derbies rarely get bigger than the
clash, with stakes so high a 4ft butcher wouldn't have a hope of reaching them. A win for Wolves and they launch themselves out of the bottom three, a win for Birmingham and their relegation worries are all but over. The phrase 'six-pointer' was made for matches like this. Lovely.
thomasheedy on Twitter:
"I would like Blackpool and West Ham to stay up, but unfortunately I think its one or the other. I'm with Holloway on this one."
Musaib, Liverpool fan from London, via text: "Seeing Liverpool win and Man Utd and Man City lose today will complete the perfect weekend after Tottenham's defeat yesterday."
little_miss_lau on Twitter:
"Plenty of industry for Wolves today, but with our two creative centre midfielders on the bench where will the goals come from?"
1130: LIVERPOOL v NEWCASTLE (1200) Phil Dawkes reports: "The big news for Liverpool, and to some extent Newcastle as well, is that former Toon hero Andy Carroll is on the bench after recovering from a knee injury. The only change from the Reds' 5-0 win over Birmingham last Saturday sees full-back Glen Johnson return in place of teenager Jack Robinson, who drops to the bench. Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan starts despite nursing a groin strain meaning United are unchanged from the side that drew 1-1 at Blackpool eight days ago."
1127: BIRMINGHAM v WOLVES (1200) Paul Fletcher
reports: "So Birmingham make two changes from the team thrashed 5-0 by Liverpool, with Kevin Phillips and Barry Ferguson coming in for Aleksandr Hleb and Keith Fahey. Wolves, desperate to bounce back from their 3-0 defeat against Stoke, also make two changes, with George Elokobi and Kevin Foley replacing Christophe Berra and Michael Kightly."
1125: Yep, no time for settling in folks, we've had to hit the ground running today. Yes, the gargantuan tie at the Emirates between
Arsenal and Man Utd
- need I tell you how important that match could be in the title race? - looms large, while who might be more desperate for a win between
Champions League-hopefuls Man City and relegation-battlers West Ham
later on might be a topic for some debate too. But, for now, fancy hearing from our midday match reporters? Course you do...
Pengumile on Twitter:
"A win for Wolves and West Ham would make things amazingly tight at the bottom. Unfortunately, I think they will be left behind."
mikeytim on Twitter:
"Another day of university 'revision' spent refreshing BBC live football. Thanks Sam. Thanks."
1120: LIVERPOOL v NEWCASTLE (1200) Liverpool: Reina, Flanagan, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Meireles, Lucas, Spearing, Maxi, Suarez, Kuyt. Subs: Gulacsi, Carroll, Cole, Kyrgiakos, Ngog, Shelvey, Robinson. Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Jose Enrique, Barton, Nolan, Tiote, Gutierrez, Lovenkrands, Ameobi. Subs: Harper, Perch, Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ranger, Ferguson, Kuqi. Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)
TOONLOWDOWN on Twitter:
"Shola Ameobi will show Andy Carroll how it's done today and Newcastle United will snatch the draw!"
Tom, Moor Park via text: "Football. YES. AWESOME."
logos8 on Twitter:
"Great set of fixtures today. I don't know how I got so lucky, but this is a great day! BBC commentary all the way..."
1115: And while you sit there stewing in your dressing gown shouting at your laptop, why not throw me a message? Every single one of you knows the drill by now, I'm sure, but just in case one or two of you had too much of the falling down water last night, here's a reminder. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). Aces.
1105: You want Title Issues? I got 'em. Relegation Issues? Oh ho yes. Chase for Europe Issues? You betcha your backside. Four Premier League fixtures of such import, fascination and quality that you'd expect them gift-wrapped in gold, with diamond ribbon bows, and dipped in anti-matter under the tree on Christmas morning.
1103: Days like today make you wish you'd invested in that word of the day toilet paper, don't they? Or, you know, had access to some kind of
online digital thesaurus.
Which I do! Hurrah. It's astronomic, colossal, epic, humongous, mammoth, massive, mega, monster, monumental, tremendous... whopping. It's, erm, big. Very big.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.