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By Jonathan Stevenson
1852: Anyone know where I can buy new eyes? Mine are on the brink. I'm
and after a blinding weekend of Premier League action, it's time to call it a day. Thanks a lot for your company, don't forget to watch Match of the Day 2 on BBC Two and online at 2200 BST and join
on Monday for
Fulham v Liverpool.
I'll probably see you on Saturday for the FA Cup final - but I've got a date with the play-offs first. Night all.
From Dan, Chelsea fan, on text: "The right team will win the title this year - due credit to United, proud that Chelsea made a fight of it, but for all our experience nothing can paper over the cracks of a team needing some creative genius."
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti on his future: "My future, I think we have to wait two weeks. It is not a long time. I hope [to be at Chelsea next season], but it is not my decision."
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti on Man United: "It is not a disappointment because when one team plays better than you, you have to accept it. Today they were better than us and in the season as well. Now they are comfortable to win the title and they deserve it."
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti: "In the first minute we lost the game. We started so bad, it was difficult after that to come back and win. The second half was better but in general United played better and deserved to win. We took a lot of time to clear our heads [after their first goal] because we didn't want to start the game by conceding a goal."
Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on winning the title: "Don't even mention Devon Loch. The players won't muck it up. They'll get the point. It's fantastic to say we are the most successful team in the country regarding championships. It took time to get the foundations of the club right and after we got the first title we improved, improved and improved."
Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on Ryan Giggs: "He is absolutely marvellous. We've said it before, we keep saying it and hopefully we will say it next season."
Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on the nervy finale: "We do it all the time. We could have scored about six in the second half. You expect a tough game against Chelsea and we got that. We got a great start. It was a good team performance. When we gave the ball away for their goal the fans helped us by playing their part. Credit to the players because they deserved it."
From Gwilym in Edinburgh, on text: "Can't believe no-one's mentioned Valencia yet. Bear in mind he was up against consistently the best left-back in the world in Ashley Cole, and he absolutely tore him to shreds."
Man Utd 2-1 Chelsea Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Hard not to believe this is not the day when Manchester United effectively sealed their record 19th title. Fully deserved win over Chelsea built on the foundations of a blistering start and Sir Alex Ferguson is even moved to take a bow in front an exultant Stretford End."
Stoke 3-1 Arsenal Michael Da Silva reports:
"That's it for Arsenal's title hopes for another year and it's the same old weakness - defending set plays - that has come back to haunt them. Arsenal never matched Stoke's hunger and now only have second place to aim for. But Stoke stand on the brink of history as they approach their first ever FA Cup final - and this win will only fuel their belief that they can shock Manchester City at Wembley."
1827: Right, let's find out what our guys made of today's games...
From Rob, United fan, on text: "Great text from Matt. Class."
From philarundell on Twitter:
"Most disappointing thing today: Ancelotti's public humiliation of Luiz. Unnecessary and wasted a sub. Poor man-management."
Ryan Giggs on Man United overhauling Liverpool's 18 league titles: "I guess 15-20 years ago you would never have thought it, it is a great achievement to haul back our greatest rivals of the 1970s, 80s and 90s."
Man United's indefatigable Ryan Giggs: "It's a massive step forward for us. Mathematically we have not won the title but we are nearly there. We know we are capable of playing good football and we knew we had to keep attacking as one goal is not enough against a team like Chelsea. It was a great start and it would have been easy for us to take our foot off the pedal but we didn't."
1818: To clarify, Manchester United now need to take just a point from their last two games - at Blackburn on Saturday 14 May and at home against Blackpool on Sunday 22 May - to be confirmed as Premier League champions.
Man United captain Nemanja Vidic: "We played some good football, especially in the first half and the first 20 minutes. The goals reflected how we played. We knew we had to go for the win today. We defended properly and like a team and I think we deserved this win."
From Matt, Chelsea fan, on text: "Congrats to Man Utd. In a close season they've shown a little more desire and that showed in the first 25 minutes. A close game with United's hunger seeing them through."
1809: I think Fergie really enjoyed that, you know. He bowed down in front of the Stretford End as he walked off the pitch, incredible to think he has effectively just led his team to a 12th Premier League title. TWELVE.
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Mark Lawrenson: "They deserve to win the title and they deserved to win today because they were the better team overall and they have been the best team in England this season. You don't win the league by being lucky."
1804: Full-time Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea The United players, staff and fans are overjoyed at the final whistle, absolutely magical celebrations from them at Old Trafford. Sir Bobby Charlton in the stands looks as happy as Fergie on the bench and Hernandez on the pitch. Well done to the winners, commiserations Chelsea.
1803: Seconds left, the title is United's...
1801: United are so close to springing the Chelsea defence on the break, and then Ashley Cole totally wastes possession by shooting from the halfway line, his effort landing on the roof of the United net.
1759: Into injury time and we're due four minutes. Antonio Valencia sets up Wayne Rooney and his shot is blocked by Alex.
1758: Another chance for Javier Hernandez, teed up this time by Ryan Giggs after Chelsea half clear a cross from the United right, but the Mexican drags another shot wide. Didier Drogba is booked for a foul on Michael Carrick.
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Mark Lawrenson: "The crowd are starting to get a little bit agitated, they want things to be all over. Park Ji-sung has worked tirelessly, he does the simple things so well."
1756: Chance. Fernando Torres finds space just inside the United area and Florent Malouda finds him, the Spaniard taking a touch and then rifling a low right-foot shot wide from 15 yards. Got to hit the target from there. Chris Smalling comes on for Fabio for United.
1755: Should be 3-1. United take a free-kick quickly and Antonio Valencia is in space down the right, the winger fizzing over a sensational cross that Javier Hernandez somehow heads over from six yards. Maybe the pace on the cross did for the Mexican, but you still expect him to score those.
1753: Six minutes left of normal time and Chelsea simply have to score to keep the Premier League title race alive. It's still Man United 2-1 Chelsea.
1751: Johnny Evans does really well to get away from Ramires down the United left and he finds Wayne Rooney 25 yards out, the striker dragging wide of Petr Cech's right-hand post. Rooney is then played through on the left but Cech stands his ground well to block Rooney's shot and then Rooney has a third effort which is deflected over by Alex. United sensing they can kill Chelsea off.
From Andy, very happy in Bolton, on text: "I now love Frank Lampard. Never celebrated a Bolton goal as much as I celebrated that one."
1748: Think they'll all be OK. Play resumes and Fernando Torres's shot inside the United box seems to hit the hand of Antonio Valencia - but Howard Webb has already blown his whistle for an alleged foul on Nemanja Vidic by Alex. Didn't see anything in that one.
1746: Mayhem - Man United have Fabio, Rio Ferdinand and Johnny Evans all down injured. This might take a while.
1745: Chelsea are still attacking, but Didier Drogba has strayed offside from Branislav Ivanovic's cross from the right, needless from the big striker. Man United are getting ready to bring Nani on.
From DizzyBala on Twitter:
"This is what football is all about, not 11-point leads or deadline day transfers, but games that make or break a season."
Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Chelsea's fans have been right behind their team throughout a disappointing afternoon but now they have something to cling on to with Frank Lampard's scrappy goal. Now what can they make of this last 20 minutes?"
1741: Haha, there are a lot of congratulatory messages for Andy from Bolton, who sent his text in at 1557. Well done Andy, see you in the pub after, son.
BBC 5 live summariser Mark Lawrenson: "That was a poacher's goal by Frank Lampard. I think United will react and make a change."
1739: Great chance for United to get their two-goal advantage back. Ashley Cole loses the ball to Antonio Valencia and he finds Javier Hernandez down the right, the Mexican's cross swept goalwards by Wayne Rooney, with Alex getting in a goal-saving block for his team. Great defending.
Chelsea goal: That's made it a whole lot more interesting. Chelsea work the ball to Ramires down the right and his cross into the box is flicked on by Branislav Ivanovic to Frank Lampard, who is definitely not offside when he sticks out a foot and diverts the ball goalwards.
1737: GOAL Man United 2-1 Chelsea (Lampard)
1735: Best of Didier Drogba as he beats the offside trap and brilliantly controls the ball, but it pops up and hits his hand so the left-foot shot he drills just wide of the far post wouldn't have counted anyway.
1734: Chelsea plough a couple of crosses into the United box and the hosts clear and hit them on the break, Antonio Valencia eventually going down under a John Terry challenge in the Blues box and he wants a penalty, but Howard Webb waves play on once more. Up the other end and Alex's daisy-cutter forces Edwin van der Sar to save.
Alfonso from Leyland, on text: "Now's the time for Torres to throw of the 'muleta', (that's cape to you and me!) and gore the bulls at the back! His quick darting runs can either get behind the centre-backs or produce a penalty. Somebody needs to produce that killer reverse pass, instead of blasting the ball all the time."
1730: Fernando Torres comes on for Chelsea in place of Salomon Kalou, very disappointing today. Big whistles for Torres, the former Liverpool player. Big half an hour for him.
1728: Apart from not being able to score, Chelsea's main problem is the pace with which Man United can break against them, and with Park and Valencia supporting Rooney and Hernandez that is serious pace.
1726: Chelsea are seeing a lot of the ball, but United's defence is a tough nut to crack and the visitors are struggling to open them up. Wonder how long Fernando Torres will stay on the bench for, or even whether we'll see him today.
From nmaber on Twitter:
"Ancelotti talked before the game about how Chelsea needed to show character, but his team haven't shown any."
1722: United's fans want a penalty, but the officials give nothing. Antonio Valencia does superbly to shift the ball and do Ashley Cole on the right and his clipped cross hit the outstretched arm of Frank Lampard. Howard Webb looks at his assistant and waves play on, think Chelsea maybe got a bit lucky there.
1720: The ball falls invitingly for Florent Malouda 25 yards out, but the Frenchman's left-foot shot flies a yard or two wide of Edwin van der Sar's left-hand post and the 40-year-old had it covered anyway.
From Hosmodiar on Twitter:
"So Chelsea spent 75 million in January to strengthen and now neither are trusted in their biggest half of the season."
1718: Branislav Ivanovic really needs to be careful - he moves ever so slightly across into Wayne Rooney's path to half-block the striker's run, but Rooney's dive was a bit exaggerated. Chelsea have started the second half brightly, but they need an early goal.
1716: What that means is that Chelsea will only be able to bring one of Fernando Torres and Nicolas Anelka off the bench now. Also, tightrope-walking Branislav Ivanovic is going to have to be super careful with his tackling.
1714: Under way again in Manchester. So, Chelsea have got 45 minutes to score three times at Old Trafford and keep the Premier League title race alive. The Blues have brought on Ramires and Alex at the break for Jon Mikel Obi and David Luiz. United have Jonny Evans on for John O'Shea, who we believe is injured.
From catflap101 on Twitter:
"Ancelotti looks so angry at David Luiz I bet he's going to take a pair of hair straighteners to him during half-time!"
From Regan, Bedford, on text: "On a scale of 1 to John Terry, Chelsea look to have bottled this. Each United goal now is a blow to Ancelotti's chances of being at Chelsea next season."
BBC 5 live summariser Mark Lawrenson: "Manchester United are in command and to score after 37 seconds gives you unbelievable confidence and belief. Their pace of attack has given Chelsea all sorts of problems and it could be more comfortable at the moment. Chelsea have not started and I think Carlo Ancelotti will go crazy at half-time. He needs to get them going."
1703: You might have a point there, markovanwatson, below. Probably the last thing an Italian would do in the same circumstances, but then Carlos Ancelotti has been around long enough to know how Fergie plays things. What do Chelsea do? All-out attack straight away? Get Torres on? Let us know by sending texts to 81111 and tweets to
or with the hashtag
Otherwise it'll be too late to tell Carlo...
From markovanwatson on Twitter:
"Did Man Utd's tactics catch Ancelotti by surprise? He maybe thought they wouldn't start so attacking, with a draw a good result."
1658: Half-time Man United 2-0 Chelsea Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"The first half Sir Alex Ferguson would have dreamed about. Manchester United are in complete command and heading towards that record 19th title unless Chelsea can do something spectacular."
Rachel from Essex, on text: "It was always going to be United's day, Chelsea just haven't shown up. Hate to say it as a City fan, but Ferguson has played this perfectly."
1655: Into first-half stoppage time at Old Trafford, we're due an extra three minutes.
1654: Chelsea are starting to look like a good side again, and they work the ball into the area from the left, Didier Drogba's left-foot snap-shot taking a deflection before flying behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.
1652: It's getting feisty, oh yes. Michael Essien is shown a yellow card by Howard Webb for a blatant pull-back on Park. Antonio Valencia then scampers down the United right and his devilish ball into the six-yard box is superbly cleared away by Jon Mikel Obi, doing a very important job for his team.
1650: Chelsea might just be as well taking Branislav Ivanovic off here - he clatters in to Wayne Rooney once again, and he's treading a very fine line having already been booked. Players surround the referee, it's like watching Barca-Real just for a moment.
1648: Wayne Rooney is booked by Howard Webb, the Man United striker appearing to try to pull out of a challenge when he realised David Luiz would win the ball but failing to do so in time. Luiz needs some treatment, looks a bit groggy the Brazilian.
1645: Didier Drogba gets up to head a Florent Malouda cross from the left wide, the Ivorian just couldn't get enough of a contact on the ball. Do Chelsea need to score before half-time to have any chance?
From James, on text: "Getting ahead of myself here but... this is probably the team to start against Barca, and if they come out of the blocks like this United have every chance of beating them."
1642: Didier Drogba hammers it over the wall and a couple of yards wide of Edwin van der Sar's right-hand post.
1641: Dider Drogba has another chance, this time a bit closer, the free-kick about 25 yards out, just left of centre too...
1640: Didier Drogba blasts the ball goalwards and Edwin van der Sar gets down to his left to make the save, alert goalkeeping from the Dutchman. Chelsea are going to have to score three - at least - if they want to win the title.
1639: Chelsea knock the ball around and David Luiz slaps a left-foot shot from 25 yards into the midriff of Edwin van der Sar. The Blues just cannot believe what has hit them so far - they need some time on the ball just to stop wave after wave of United attack. They have a free-kick 30 yards out for a foul on Salomon Kalou, they need a goal out of nothing...
1635: Chelsea have a chance at the other end as a corner from their left is headed goalwards by Salomon Kalou but Edwin van der Sar makes the save and then from the rebound Branislav Ivanovic hooks wide.
United goal: I cannot remember watching a team in the Premier League play so well. This is amazing stuff from United, and they are 2-0 up now. A corner is played short and Ryan Giggs gets it back, the 37-year-old jinking past Salomon Kalou and whipping in a cross that Nemanja Vidic stoops to head into the Chelsea net.
1633: GOAL Man United 2-0 Chelsea (Vidic)
1632: Branislav Ivanovic bundles into Wayne Rooney and concedes another free-kick 30 yards out - Rooney plays it wide, but Fabio's cross is headed away by Ivanovic at the far post. United attack again and Park cuts in from the left and smashes in a sizzling right-foot shot that Petr Cech has to parry away. Relentless United.
From Henry in Blandford, on text: "United have started with a far better mental attitude, but they need to make sure they don't start getting complacent."
Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Manchester United have opened up at a blistering pace here and could have had this wrapped up already. Chelsea's defence is currently finding it almost impossible to track the pace and movement of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez."
1628: Better from Chelsea. Florent Malouda swings in a cross from the left and after Edwin van der Sar half manages to punch clear, he has to react well to save Salomon Kalou's right-foot shot.
BBC 5 live summariser Mark Lawrenson: "Ji-Sung Park is playing like Roy of the Rovers. An incredible start. Chelsea's three units are working separately, whereas Manchester United are as one."
1625: Wayne Rooney pulls the trigger from 22 yards and the ball flies just wide of Petr Cech's right-hand post. If you read any piece in the build-up to the Champions League final about how United can beat Barcelona, I hope they mention the first 15 minutes here. Even Barca would struggle against this pace and power.
1622: First booking of the afternoon and it's for Branislav Ivanovic, who stops the slippery Wayne Rooney in his tracks with a clumsy challenge on halfway. Easy decision for referee Howard Webb.
1621: Could be 2-0. Park plays another fine clipped cross from just inside the Chelsea box to the back post and the presence of David Luiz must just put Javier Hernandez off, because the Mexican misses his kick. The pace is electric.
BBC 5 live summariser Mark Lawrenson: "One of Chelsea's problems is that Salomon Kalou is very narrow. He's not playing on the right of a front three and the problem is that Branislav Ivanovic could get overloaded down the right-hand side."
1619: Didier Drogba tries to do a Rooney, but his effort from about 40 yards bobbles harmlessly wide of Edwin van der Sar's right-hand post. Not a happy camp at the moment, the visitors.
1618: This is living up to all the hype and more. Wayne Rooney hits an absolute screamer of a right-foot shot from 30 yards, it's heading right for the corner of Petr Cech's goal until the big goalkeeper dives to his right and parries it behind for a corner. Superb stuff from the two best teams in this league.
1615: Chelsea need to get a grip on this game, and fast. Branislav Ivanovic needs to be super alert to tackle Wayne Rooney cleanly on the edge of the Chelsea box and then Ashley Cole's block prevents Antonio Valencia getting in a shot. It's like a party atmosphere at OT.
1613: Football. Just blows your mind sometimes, dunnit? Chelsea look shell-shocked and United are playing without a care in the world.
United goal: Incredible start. With 37 seconds on the clock, Javier Hernandez justifies Sir Alex Ferguson's faith in his selection. Ryan Giggs finds Park Ji-Sung in the Chelsea half and he slides a super pass forward - David Luiz cannot cut it out and Hernandez is through, keeping his cool, slotting past Petr Cech and sending Old Trafford into ecstasy.
1611: GOAL Man United 1-0 Chelsea (Hernandez)
1610: We're under way at Old Trafford in the decisive game of the Premier League season. Get the texts coming in to 81111 and tweets to
or with the hashtag
As long as you know I'm 100% neutral, we should get on like a house on fire.
1607: The two best centre-backs in the Premier League, Nemanja Vidic and John Terry, lead out Manchester United and Chelsea respectively at Old Trafford. One of those boys will be lifting the trophy in a couple of weeks' time.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "Our home form has been fantastic, some of the performances here this season have been really good. The pitch looks great and we're all really looking forward to it."
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti: "This is a different game to the Champions League, we want to do our best and try to win the game, we have the experience required to win. We are happy to be here to fight for the title because two months ago it seemed over."
Manchester United v Chelsea scene-setter: Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Leaders Manchester United are back to something like full strength after Sir Alex Ferguson played a shadow squad against Schalke in the Champions League semi-final. Patrice Evra misses out with a thigh injury and is replaced by John O'Shea. As expected, Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti prefers Didier Drogba to Fernando Torres, who is on the bench."
1559: Just over 10 minutes until we get under way in the main event of the day - it's
Manchester United v Chelsea
right at the top of the Premier League.
1557: Full-time Stoke 3-1 Arsenal Arsenal's season seems to have been written off so many times, but I guess their already-slim hopes of winning the title have just ended. As for Stoke - they will go into next week's FA Cup final in buoyant mood.
From Andy, Bolton, on text: "I've had 30 quid on every Premier League team to score this weekend, just need a goalfest at Old Trafford for £6,127, don't care who wins."
1553: Into injury time we go at the Britannia Stadium, and for what it's worth there will be four minutes. Stoke 3-1 Arsenal.
1550: Manchester United v Chelsea line-ups: Man Utd: Van der Sar, Fabio Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Kuszczak, Anderson, Berbatov, Smalling, Nani, Scholes, Evans. Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, David Luiz, Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Essien, Kalou, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Ramires, Torres, Benayoun, Ferreira, Alex, Anelka. Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
1549: "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" reverberates around the Britannia Stadium and we've got about four minutes of normal time left. There isn't long enough for Arsenal to get back into it, though. They've been well and truly 'Stoke'd' today.
From Jack, disgusted Gooner, on text: "Utterly pathetic."
Stoke goal: If you're looking for a snapshot of Arsenal's 2010-11 season, that is it. Stoke plough forward immediately after conceding and after Andy Wilkinson's shot is woefully kicked straight to Jon Walters by Johan Djorou, the striker keeps his cool to take a touch and stab the ball past Wojciech Szczesny. Rubbish defending.
1545: GOAL Stoke 3-1 Arsenal (Walters)
Arsenal goal: Lifeline for the Gunners. Robin van Persie fastens on to a loose ball, holds off a couple of tackles and fires a shot under the body of Asmir Begovic from 12 yards. That's the eighth successive away game the Dutchman has scored in.
1543: GOAL Stoke 2-1 Arsenal (Van Persie)
1542: On Sky they are saying Robert Huth has suffered a knee injury and he will be taken for a scan on Monday, but the Stoke medical people are confident he will be fit for the FA Cup final on Saturday. That's good news. Arsenal bring on Tomas Rosicky for Alex Song.
1540: If Jack Wilshere doesn't get taken off, he's in danger of being sent off. The Arsenal midfielder seems to be going around looking for a scrap - Arsene Wenger should have hauled him off by now.
1538: Good save at the other end from Wojciech Szczesny now, the Arsenal keeper pushing away Glenn Whelan's fierce 15-yard right-foot shot at his near post. Less than 15 minutes left, still Stoke 2-0 Arsenal.
1535: That's a magnificent piece of goalkeeping from Asmir Begovic to keep Stoke two goals ahead. A ball into the Stoke box sees Robin van Persie in acres of space 10 yards out and he looks for all the world like he is about to score, but his left-foot shot is wonderfully parried behind by Begovic, who raced off his line to deny the Dutchman.
1534: Stoke take Jermaine Pennant off and send on Danny Pugh in his place. Sensible management.
1533: Oof. Jack Wilshere goes in seriously strongly on Jermaine Pennannt and then Andy Wilkinson goes in hard on Wilshere. Pennant isn't pleased and he barges into Wilshere - that's the cue for players from both teams to pile in and Mark Halsey chats to his assistant before taking action. Yellow for Pennant and yellow for Wilshere.
1531: Referee Mark Halsey has to deal with another altercation, this time between Stoke's Marc Wilson and Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner. Then it all kicks off, there's trouble brewing here...
1529: It feels a bit like Stoke are toying with Arsenal. Happy to let the Gunners have sole possession of the football, harry them into giving it away every so often and then try to catch them with a quick counter-attack. Working a treat, too.
From Mike in London, on text: "Just once I'd like to see Wenger play Walcott through the middle with Van Persie rather than have him stuck wide right."
1525: Only 45 minutes until we get under way at Old Trafford for the title showdown between Manchester United and Chelsea.
1523: They'll huff and they'll puff, but they won't blow your house down. Arsenal keep the ball for two minutes, give it away and then Nicklas Bendtner trips Jermaine Pennant in trying to retrieve it and is cautioned. Jon Walters then shoots from about 12 yards, but Bacary Sagna's last-ditch tackle saves Arsenal.
1518: Very quiet at Stoke. Arsenal are dictating possession, as they did for most of the first half, but they just can't create a clear-cut chance and Stoke are defending quite comfortably at the moment.
From Jon, on text: "I think Chelsea can get a win today, we have proven we can win at Old Trafford. Even if we don't win I am proud that we are still in the race with three games left when it looked so hopeless 10 games ago."
1514: Nicklas Bendtner collects the ball 25 yards out and has a pop, curling tamely wide of Asmir Begovic's left-hand post. At least the Dane is willing to have a go, though.
1512: Six days away from the FA Cup final, that is a real worry for Stoke - their defender Robert Huth limps off at the Britannia Stadium, arm-in-arm with the club's physio. Abdoulaye Faye comes on in his place and the race is on for Huth to make it to Wembley.
1510: So nearly 3-0. A corner from the Stoke right is headed goalwards by Robert Huth, his effort flashing only a yard over the bar. In the process Huth pulls Alex Song to the floor and Song isn't happy with Huth. Mark Halsey deals with the situation well once again, talking to the players and keeping his cards in his pocket.
1508: Get ready for an aerial bombardment - from Arsenal. They make two changes at the break, with Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh both coming on in place of Andrey Arshavin and Aaron Ramsey. Back under way at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke 2-0 Arsenal.
From simonfallaha on Twitter:
"The big one is far too close to call. Heart says Man Utd to win, head says Chelsea are stronger and have more momentum. Thoughts?"
From Anon, on text: "I think we need to send out a message to Barca. I reckon screw cagey. I reckon full-on all-out attack. First 20 mins blow them out the water. Think of the team we will have today. Vidic and Ferdinand, Giggs and Scholes. Hernandez and Rooney. Throw in Fletcher, Evra and Van der Sar. It's not a good team - it's a brilliant team, eight or nine world-class players. We've nothing to fear from Chelsea. We've nothing to fear from Barca."
1501: Teams on the way from Old Trafford - all eyes on the strikers I'd have thought - will Javier Hernandez and Fernando Torres be playing or will they be left on the bench? Keep the missives coming, either on text on 81111 or twitter
or with the hashtag
It's about to get a whole lot more anxious around here.
Manchester United v Chelsea scene-setter: Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Huge sense of anticipation around Old Trafford. The Premier League title is effectively on the line. Sir Alex Ferguson believes victory today will more or less seal Manchester United's record 19th title while Chelsea are suddenly presented with a chance to retain the crown that looked lost a few weeks ago."
From Max in Oxford, on text: "What has happened to Arsenal? Is this really the same team that ripped up Chelsea and beat Barcelona at the Emirates? Demoralising."
1452: Half-time Stoke 2-0 Arsenal Michael Da Silva
reports: "Arsenal's faint title hopes are crumbling at the Britannia Stadium. Goals from Kenwyne Jones and a deflected Jermaine Pennant effort are just reward for Stoke's perseverance in attack. But it's the same old problems for Arsenal; yet another goal conceded at a set-piece."
1450: Into first-half stoppage time and Robin van Persie is flagged offside. Disaster of a 45 minutes for Arsenal so far at the Britannia Stadium.
1447: Perilously close to 3-0 as Jon Walters hustles Bacary Sagna out of possession down the Stoke left, cuts inside close to the byeline and then curls a fabulous shot against the crossbar. Blimey.
Stoke goal: Worse and worse for Arsenal, better and better for Stoke. Aaron Ramsey plays a poor pass that sets up Jermaine Pennant 40 yards from the Gunners goal and he keeps going forward with the visiting defence backing off. He fires goalwards, the ball takes a deflection off Johan Djorou and loops over Wojciech Szczesny and into the net. Amazing stuff.
1445: GOAL Stoke 2-0 Arsenal (Pennant)
1444: There's a lot of chat that Patrice Evra won't be playing for Manchester United today. We can't 100% confirm that, but will have line-ups and chat from Old Trafford shortly.
1441: That's a quite brilliant sliding tackle from Robert Huth, the big German defender reading the play superbly to get across and tackle Andrey Arshavin after Robin van Persie almost slipped his team-mate clean through.
1440: It's a much more even game at the Britannia since the goal, whereas Arsenal were dominating before Stoke took the lead. Jermaine Pennant is an increasing threat for the hosts and Arsenal need to get Robin van Persie into dangerous areas more often.
From solo_nesta on Twitter:
"Arsenal are one of the worst teams I've ever seen in dealing with long balls and set-pieces. What a shame for a big team."
1435: Arsene Wenger looks like a man who has seen it all before, which he clearly is this season. "One-nil, to the rugby team" is the latest chant from the Stoke fans. Does that mean they get five for that last one?
Stoke goal: Dear oh dear, Arsenal's have caught West Brom's not-marking virus. Jermaine Pennant swings the ball into the six-yard box and Kenwyne Jones has nipped in front of Johan Djorou, the big striker bundling the ball in with his midriff. Woeful defending.
1433: GOAL Stoke 1-0 Arsenal (Jones)
1432: Andrey Arshavin shoves Jermaine Pennant to the ground and that's an easy free-kick for the officials to give. On the right, by the byeline, ball coming into the box here...
From andrewrayner on Twitter:
"Re 1412 - hope not true, as a SCFC fan I hope I speak for most true fans in wishing Ramsey well on his return to the Brit."
1428: Most of the play is in the Stoke half, the hosts defending deep and resolutely and waiting for their chance to hit Arsenal on the break. They aren't getting many opportunities to do that at the moment.
1425: After 124 passes (ish), Arsenal move the ball out to the right to Bacary Sagna - he looks for another pass, but instead cuts inside and fires wide from the edge of the Stoke box.
From Ross, on text: "I'm suspecting we're going to get plenty of use out of the handbags graphic at Old Trafford later."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy: "On 22 May I want to be out of the bottom three. As good as it feels today we have still got two vital games. I talked about cool heads and (Steven) Fletcher had one, he had ice running through his veins when he took his third."
1420: Needle. Jack Wilshere goes in on Dean Whitehead in super lively fashion, that's a pretty un-Arsenal tackle if you know what I mean. Mark Halsey talks to Wilshere and calms him down because there are some afters between the players that follow on, and the ref keeps his cards in his pocket.
1418: That's more like Stoke as Rory Delap ploughs a throw and then a cross into the Arsenal box - after Wojciech Szczesny half-punches clear, Jermaine Pennant lobs over the keeper and wide.
1417: More "boring, boring" chants from Stoke's fans. They have barely touched the ball yet, the Potters. Andrey Arshavin's aimless, abysmal ball into the area stops that move, but the home team need to get a grip on the game.
From Aaron, on text: "Hopefully Gibbs can take his chance today and impress, I am getting tired of Gael Clichy's defending."
1414: A corner from the Arsenal left falls for Laurent Koscielny at the far post, but the defender can only blaze his shot way over the Stoke crossbar. The hosts haven't offered much so far, it's all Gunners.
1412: Seem to be a few boos from the Stoke fans towards Aaron Ramsey. Please someone, tell me that isn't true.
1410: "Boring, boring" is the chant from the Stoke fans as Arsenal play keep-ball for a while. Hope they don't ever invite Barca to the Britannia for a pre-season friendly. What a chance that is for Robin van Persie, he is put in on the right by Aaron Ramsey but toe-punts his shot just wide of the angle of post and bar.
1408: Nice and lively start at Stoke - and I need you to be nice and lively too. Keep the texts coming in to 81111 and send us a tweet
or with the hashtag
1406: Jack Wilshere's cross from the left is headed away and Wilshere wins a header to set up Andrey Arshavin, the Russian dragging his shot wide of the near post from an angle on the left.
1405: Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Robin van Persie get us started at Stoke, in beautiful sunshine in the Potteries. Pitch looks in pretty decent nick too.
From Charlie, on text: "Wolves got lucky today, playing a West Brom side that are already safe and didn't fancy turning up. WHU are going down and it's finally hit me."
1402: Captains Ryan Shawcross and Robin van Persie lead the Stoke and Arsenal teams out at the Britannia Stadium. Shawcross and Aaron Ramsey shake hands along with all the other players, and we're about to get under way.
1400: Oops, forgot more
chat. In association with the
Euro Club Index,
here's each team's chances of winning today, along with their ECI ranking in brackets: Stoke (74) 24% v Arsenal (six) 46% Man United (three) 55% v Chelsea (five) 18%
From The60ftOctopus on Twitter:
"Coming from a Baggies fan, in a way I'm glad Wolves might not get relegated. Nothing better than a bit of Midlands rivalry."
Wolves hero Steven Fletcher: "It's an unbelievable result for us, it's come at the perfect time. Hopefully we can get the points we need now and stay up. It's been a huge weekend for us, we did our job well today."
1355: There are huge celebrations at Wolves - what a time to bring your A-game to the party, with relegation staring you in the face and your fiercest rivals in town.
1353: Full-time Wolves 3-1 West Brom A huge result for Wolves and one that has implications for everyone in the relegation dogfight. You've got to congratulate Mick McCarthy and his players - however badly West Brom were at the back, they still had to go out and win the game.
1351: Mis-placed West Brom passes bring huge roars of approval from the Wolves supporters and they are now only seconds away from clambering out of the bottom three and dragging Blackpool into all sorts of bother.
1349: Peter Odemwingie gets it all wrong, that's a hopeless free-kick, miles over, and Wayne Hennessey takes his time getting us re-started. Not happening today for West Brom, but this isn't really about them.
1348: Into injury time at Molineux and we will have five minutes of it. West Brom have a free-kick 25 yards out and there are smoke bombs going off somewhere in the crowd.
1347: Nicky Shorey ploughs a couple of crosses into the Wolves box, but they clear their lines quite comfortably. The difference today has been that one team has defended well, and one team hasn't.
1345: About three minutes left of normal time at Molineux and Wolves are on the brink of an absolutely crucial three points. Scott Carson saves well from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, that would've wrapped it up for sure.
Stoke v Arsenal team news: Michael Da Silva
reports: "Tony Pulis names an unchanged side from the one that drew at Blackpool last week, as Stoke enter their last game before Saturday's FA Cup final. Arsenal make two changes from the side that beat leaders Manchester United with Kieran Gibbs replacing the hamstrung Gael Clichy and Andrey Arshavin coming in for the injured Samir Nasri. Thomas Vermaelen, who has not played since August, has a place on the bench."
From Pete, on text: "Disastrous result for WHU. As things stand they have to avoid defeat in their last two games."
1342: That was almost one of the goals of the season - Stephen Ward fastens on to a knock-down 35 yards out, chips the ball superbly over one defender, strongly holds off another one and gets into the box, his fierce left-foot drive flying just wide of the far post. Wolves bring on Sylvan Ebanks-Blake for Steven Fletcher.
1341: West Brom are having pretty much all of the play but they cannot create clear-cut chances, and Wolves are holding them off comfortably. Maybe this man can make the difference - Carlos Vela comes on for Jerome Thomas. Not long for the Mexican to make his impact.
1338: Great covering from Stephen Ward there, tracking Somen Tchoyi all the way from halfway into the Wolves box and to the byeline, preventing the West Brom man from getting his cross in. Wolves take Jamie O'Hara off and Richard Stearman comes on in his place.
1336: West Brom send on Ishmael Miller for Simon Cox. They are going to throw the kitchen sink at Wolves in the next few minutes.
From InfostradaLive on Twitter:
"Peter Odemwingie becomes the first WBA player in more than 40 years (Tony Brown) to score in five successive top flight matches."
1334: Marc-Antoine Fortune shows fabulous strength to hold off Jody Craddock and turn the defender inside the Wolves box, but at an angle on the left he spoons his shot high and wide. Into the last 15 minutes, still a tension-soaked Molineux. Wolves 3-1 West Brom.
1332: Steven Fletcher has another half-chance inside the West Brom box, but he cannot catch it cleanly and the ball loops into the arms of Scott Carson. Wolves make a change and it's Matt Jarvis on for the impressive Adlene Guedioura.
From deanamite90 on Twitter:
"Wolves have taken 12 pts this season against Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool. They should not let WBA back into this."
1328: What a chance for West Brom. A corner is half-cleared and when Youssuf Mulumbu swings the ball back into the mixer, it lands on the head of Somen Tchoyi, who can only head inches past the angle of post and crossbar. Lots of you suggesting Jerome Thomas dived for that West Brom penalty - I only saw one replay, but looked like there was contact. Hopefully will get to see it again.
1326: West Brom take defender Gonzalo Jara off and send on striker Marc-Antoine Fortune. There's a statement of intent for the last 20-odd minutes of the game.
1324: Breaking news: Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey starts against Stoke. Thomas Vermaelen is on the bench.
1323: That was almost it. Somen Tchoyi does really well to burst forward and he slips a clever pass in to Jerome Thomas 20 yards out, the forward getting into the box and, at an angle on the right, smashing a shot against the upright, nearly uprooting the frame of the goal. West Brom are very much still in this game.
1322: West Brom are playing some decent stuff now and there is a definite air of tension at Molineux right now. One more goal for the visitors and we've got one hell of a finish on our hands.
From Jon, a nervous Wolves fan on edge of his seat, on text: "Why oh why do we always have to make things difficult for ourselves?"
1318: Nervy times for Wolves, who are only still two goals ahead courtesy of a magnificent one-handed save from Wayne Hennessey. Simon Cox's first-time shot from 12 yards after a cross from the West Brom right seems to be going in, but the Welsh keeper sticks out his right hand and claws it away from goal.
1316: West Brom are back in it, but they still aren't bothering to defend. You know the drill - Wolves swing in a corner, Adlene Guedioura flicks it on and this time Steven Fletcher is just inches away from poking home inside the six-yard box. They might as well have statues in there, the visitors.
Baggies goal: Molineux is silenced for the first time today - surely West Brom can't, can they? Adlene Guedioura trips Jerome Thomas inside the Wolves area, it's a definite penalty, and Peter Odemwingie steps up to slot home and get the Baggies on the board.
1313: GOAL Wolves 3-1 West Brom (Odemwingie)
1312: Penalty to West Brom
1309: Decent move from West Brom, ends with Jerome Thomas lashing in a 20-yard shot that Wayne Hennessey handles well. At the other end Adlene Guedioura is allowed time and space to get to the edge of the Baggies area and his shot is deflected narrowly wide.
1307: Match of the Day 2 is on BBC Two and online at 2200 BST. Watch it for some barely believable defending from the Baggies.
Wolves goal: Correction: they can get worse. That's embarrassing. Kevin Foley plays a hopeful pass forward and it's straight to Abdoulaye Meite, who has a total brain melt, lets the ball roll under his foot and then Steven Fletcher's clean through, the striker keeping his cool to slot left-footed past Scott Carson, who has been very badly let down this afternoon.
1305: GOAL Wolves 3-0 West Brom (Fletcher)
1303: TV pictures emerge of Arsenal arriving at Stoke, with Aaron Ramsey - who suffered a broken leg at Stoke 14 months ago - in particular looking stony-faced. Meanwhile, we're back under way at Molineux, where it is Wolves 2-0 West Brom. The hosts will want more of the same; the visitors cannot get any worse.
Stoke v Arsenal scene-setter: (1405 BST) Michael Da Silva
reports: "Arsenal travel to Stoke in the knowledge that defeat could see their lingering title hopes extinguished. But the Gunners have the best away record in the Premier League and have won their last four league games against Stoke, and will be looking to overwhelm a Stoke side with one eye on next weekend's FA Cup final."
From Will Rider, on text: "Despite the woeful defending, Wolves are playing with far more assurance. Surely if they'd played with such confidence throughout the season they wouldn't be in the relegation scrap!"
1247: Half-time Wolves 2-0 West Brom Mandeep Sanghera
reports: "They might be bitter rivals but Wolves are benefitting from a Baggies defence gifting them the time and space to go into the break with a comfortable lead."
1246: Wolves are letting West Brom have more of the ball as the first half drifts towards a conclusion, but they are defending with ease - until Peter Odemwingie bursts into their area from the right and whips in a sizzling right-foot shot that Wayne Hennessey gets fingertips to to deflect wide. Goalkick given, however.
1244: Whistles from the locals are the soundtrack to a quite considered, deliberate West Brom build-up, but it ends with Jerome Thomas swiping his shot way, way off target. Roy Hodgson does not look impressed.
1241: Just for a moment there, George Elokobi seemed to turn into Sergio Busquets - writhing around in the floor on agony, then a split-second later jumping to his feet and getting on with the game. West Brom still look threatening up front, but it's a long way back into the game for them now.
1239: Ridiculous. Jamie O'Hara swings over another corner from the Wolves right and, once again inside the six-yard box, Steven Fletcher heads wide of Scott Carson's left-hand upright. Is this a joke? Come on, you can tell me now if it is.
1237: Roy Hodgson will be tearing paint off the walls at half-time if this match means anything to West Brom - which it absolutely should do. He has done a phenomenal job since taking over at the club, but their defending today is just incredible. Schoolboy doesn't even begin to describe it.
From Matt, on text: "Birmingham and Blackburn are by no means out of this relegation scrap yet."
1233: West Brom have a free-kick of their own 25 yards out, but left-back Nicky Shorey spanks it miles over Wayne Hennessey's crossbar. The Wolves fans are thoroughly enjoying themselves so far today, and why not?
1231: There were a minimum of five West Brom players inside the six-yard box when an unmarked Adlene Guedioura scored that goal for Wolves. Now if you can work that out, you know more about stuff than me. Perplexing.
Wolves goal: That's the worst defending you could imagine in the Premier League, staggering really. Wolves win another corner, Stephen Hunt whips it in from the left, Steven Fletcher heads it back across goal and Adlene Guedioura is there all on his own inside the six-yard box to volley past a helpless Scott Carson.
1229: GOAL Wolves 2-0 West Brom (Guedioura)
From OptaJoe on Twitter:
"WBA have now extended the all-time Premier League record of games without a clean sheet to 34. Loose."
1225: Another set-piece, another problem for West Brom, with Scott Carson unconvincingly punching a corner clear. But Wolves now have a free-kick 30-odd yards out and Jamie O'Hara swings it into the box, the ball just evading Steven Fletcher at the back stick.
1223: West Brom look like they've forgotten how to defend, but Jerome Thomas and Peter Odemwingie still look seriously dangerous going forward at pace, so the hosts are far from comfortable. Mick McCarthy prowls his technical area, looking fairly calm for now.
1218: West Brom cannot afford to keep giving away free-kicks in dangerous positions - this one is 20 yards out and Adlene Guedioura curls it just over Scott Carson's crossbar. Wolves are buzzing.
Wolves goal: I think the roof just came off Molineux. The hosts have their most precious lead of the season - and they need to keep it. They win a corner when Jamie O'Hara's 25-yard free-kick forces a save from Scott Carson, but when the corner comes in West Brom's marking it woeful, allowing Adlene Guedioura to chest the ball down for Steven Fletcher to smash home from six yards. Joy everywhere you look.
1216: GOAL Wolves 1-0 West Brom (Fletcher)
From Brent, on text: "Am praying for Ramsey to once again run the show and banish the memory of Stoke for good. And Chelsea to win if only to keep this crazy season alive."
1212: The sun just cannot make its mind up at Molineux - in one minute, out the next. Fortunately, both these teams have come out to play and it's thoroughly entertaining fare. None of the silly stuff you usually associate with derbies either, so long may that continue.
1209: Another exchange of shots as Jamie O'Hara's effort is deflected behind for Wolves, while West Brom's Somen Tchoyi shoots off target from 20 yards. Bright and breezy, it's probably a bit more open than Mick McCarthy would like it to be at the moment.
From mjb2112 on Twitter:
"Your pub comment makes me wonder what its like for you to have to stay sober for these big games? Erm, you DO stay sober?" Haha. I love that you even have to ask ;)
1206: George Elokobi rampages down the Wolves left and flings over a super cross that the visitors defend well and then it's their turn to attack, with Jerome Thomas cutting in from the left and having his right-foot shot deflected into the arms of Wayne Hennessey.
1204: Half of a half chance for Wolves, with Steven Fletcher screwing a shot way wide from a tight angle out on the left after a pass from Stephen Ward. Cautious start from both teams thus far.
1201: In glorious sunshine at Molineux we are under way, with Wolves taking on West Brom. Nervous tension reigns supreme.
From Matt, London, on text: "Stevo, I have to play cricket this afternoon, I need a way to watch the game. Any ideas?!" Bat first, get hit on finger, break finger, watch game in pub
1157: Wolves captain Karl Henry and West Brom skipper Jonas Olsson lead their teams out at Molineux and we are on the very cusp of getting under way in the Black Country derby.
From Steve, Winchelsea Beach, on text:"I've just played about with predictor
and if Chelsea win today Arsenal have every chance. Everton can beat Chelsea and Blackpool may be fighting for their lives on the last day. Blackburn look very vulnerable too."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy: "Matt Jarvis has been involved in more games than anyone else this season and Stephen Hunt is bursting to play - I think he's got a goal in him today. We can't force the issue because we might find ourselves 1-0 down and facing an uphill struggle, so we have to be patient."
1151: But for now, it's only fair to concentrate wholeheartedly on
Wolves v West Brom,
which is an enormous game for the hosts in the context of the season. Win and they move out of the relegation zone, anything else and they remain in serious danger of a return to the Championship. The Baggies are effectively safe, but bragging rights and the demands of their fans mean they will be taking it every bit as seriously.
1149: With thanks to
here is some statty chat on today's games: - Wolves and West Brom are the only teams in the Premier League this season that have not been involved in a scoreless draw. - Stoke's Ryan Shawcross and Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny are among a group of players to have been sent off twice this season. - It is exactly 400 days ago that Manchester United lost their last official match at Old Trafford, on 3 April 2010, against Chelsea. - Carlo Ancelotti's team can reach 79 points if they win their final three matches. This total has not been enough to win the league title since 1998/1999, when Man Utd won it.
From Issy D, on text: "Dear Agony Uncle Stevo, what should I do - spend the afternoon revising for my degree finals next week or watch the Blues go top of the league?" I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer (unless this counts as one, in which case ignore it)
Wolves v West Brom team news: Mandeep Sanghera reports:"Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has dropped winger Matt Jarvis to the bench along with defender Richard Stearman. The pair have been replaced by Stephen Hunt and Adlene Guedioura. West Brom also make two changes as midfielders Somen Tchoyi and Jerome Thomas replace Carlos Vela and the suspended Paul Scharner."
From bloggerwolf on Twitter:
"Jarvis dropped, out of form but our only player with a bit of pace! That team does not inspire confidence, but in Mick we trust."
From ScouseMick, on text: "Re: 1121. I don't agree Jonny my friend. I got a sneaky feeling Chelsea will win today then blow it at Goodison against Everton on the last day. Might even stick a cheeky pound on it." Fine. Stick a pound on that for me too, pal
Wolves v West Brom (1200 BST) Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"West Brom are safe from relegation and their fans would take great delight in celebrating their top-flight survival by helping send their struggling Black Country rivals down. West Brom are the form team of the two with 17 points from 30, while Wolves, who can lift themselves out of the drop zone with a win, have 10 points from 10 games. Wolves will be hoping the old adage that form goes out of the window in these derby games rings true."
1123: In a minute, I'll tell you exactly what's going on today. But first, you have to promise to keep me company. Deal? OK, then get thumbing those texts to 81111 and get in touch on twitter - either to me personally
or with the hashtag
"These are the days we live for; the days that come as a gift from above. Today, kids will fall in love with football for the first time and grown men and women will look upon the action free from the cynicism they encounter in everyday life. Today, all of us will watch the game through the eyes of a child - with hope in our hearts, with this sport we love coursing through our veins. After eight months of manoeuvring, jostling, cruising clear at the top and lagging off the pace, it comes down to this: a 90-minute shootout at the Theatre of Dreams to decide who will be bestowed with glory and who, after such a sacrifice, will have ultimately fought in vain."
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