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By Chris Bevan
1853: And this is where I bid you farewell... thanks for keeping me company all afternoon, and I implore you to watch Match of the Day 2 at 2200 BST on BBC One (and this website in the UK) tonight to see how all the action unfolded. We will forgive West Ham fans if they can't bear to watch, though. I hope you enjoy the rest of the Premier League season, starting with Man City versus Stoke on Tuesday and ending on Sunday when those five teams will be fighting for their lives. Enjoy, and see you very soon.
Mash1710 on Twitter:
" West Ham need to treat this like a blessing. Use it as a chance to get rid of the dead weight. Build around the youth."
FULL-TIME Chelsea 2-2 Newcastle Saj Chowdhuryreports: "Was this Carlo Ancelotti's final home match in charge of Chelsea? We'll find out next week. Not the greatest way to bow out if it was, but give credit to Newcastle. The way they fought bodes well for next season. Will they buy more than they sell though?"
FULL-TIME Birmingham 0-2 Fulham Peter Scrivener reports: "The only good news for Birmingham today is that they didn't concede more than two goals against Fulham. Ben Foster made a series of smart stops to keep the scoreline down and thus keep the Blues out of the relegation zone on goal difference, by one goal."
FULL-TIME Wigan 3-2 West Ham Chief football writer Phil McNultyreports from the DW Stadium: "Where to start after a stunning afternoon at The DW Stadium? "The Great Escape" blares out and Wigan's supporters are on the pitch in celebration. Despair among West Ham fans as their team collapsed horribly to confirm their relegation. Wigan now have a chance of survival."
1839: It's been another dramatic day in the Premier Leaguie. Here's what our reporters made of it all...
hwhittingdale on Twitter:
"Get Avram out, invest in some decent defenders who are tough enough for the Championship and let a strong academy do the rest."
West Ham manager Avram Grant on his side's relegation after their 3-2 defeat by Wigan, which means he has now been in charge of a side dropping into the Championship two years running: It's a very sad day for me, for the amazing supporters and the club. I knew the problems when I came here but I believed we could do something good. Maybe this game tells the story of the season. It started well for us, like many games, but what happened happened. For me it's the saddest day in my football life. I'm very, very sorry for the supporters and the club. It is a great club. It's a big club and I'm sure they will be back to the Premier League. But it's not the first time they've been in this situiation. I'm sure they will think about it. My future is not important right now."
From Adam in Kidderminster, via text: "Re 1817. Spurs won't be a nice place for Birmingham to have to get a result, Wigan to beat Stoke and Birmingham to join West Ham in relegation with Blackpool; Man Utd will want a confidence boosting win before Barca."
jacknapierr on Twitter:
"Re 1817. Definitely Birmingham and Blackpool to go down with the Hammers. I expect Wigan to win against a disheartened Stoke."
KeithKnight05 on Twitter:
"Re 1817. I do hope Blackpool stay up, attacking and entertaining football the whole season topped off by a real character in Holloway."
1829: So West Ham fans, where now? I assume you want a new manager... but he doesn't seem to want to leave. You are going to need some new players too. Let me know what you think/hope/fear the future will bring.
I'm Chris Bevan,
and you can tweet me at
using the hashtag
please. Or text me via 81111 (UK) instead. Get involved.
Football League Danny: "Hi, have I missed anything? Anyway, just a reminder that your League Two play-off semi-final first leg between
Stevenage and Accrington Stanley
kicks off at 1830 BST. Drama = over? I think not."
Wigan striker Connor Sammon, who scored one of his side's goals in a thrilling match against West Ham: At half time at 2-0 down, people are writing us off but we showed a lot of character. We got the early goal and that gave us a lot of belief. I didn't think the manager would put me straight on after half time. But I'm delighted to get my opportunity and to get the goal was brilliant for me. We're happy with today's win but we have to prepare and be ready for Stoke."
Birmingham striker Kevin Phillips after being asked what Alex McLeish said in the dressing room after their 2-0 defeat by Fulham: "I don't think I can repeat it on the television."
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, a former West Ham player who was in charge of the Hammers from 1994 until 2001, on his old side's relegation: "Hopefully they will bounce back. They are one of these great clubs in football and always will be."
1817: The three teams in 17th, 18th and 19th position are all away from home next week on the final day of the season: Stoke v Wigan, Man Utd v Blackpool and Tottenham v Birmingham. The two teams above them who are also in the relegation mix, Wolves and Blackburn, play each other. Anyone want to call the two teams who will join West Ham in the Premier League out of that little lot?
lostlibertine on Twitter:
"West Ham are in for a long haul. Can't see us being in the promotion chase next year. Need a lot of new blood & a new board."
1813: The fans are off the pitch at the DW Stadium and the Wigan players are back on, waving to their fans after their last home game of the season. West Ham's players will do the same after they play Sunderland next week, but the difference is most of them will be waving goodbye.
From Tom, a Pompey fan in Portsmouth, via text: "Avram Grant is to blame for West Ham going down. The players always come out after the break playing worse, must be something he does! Sympathies to Hammers supporters, they do not deserve this and the blame lies with those in charge."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"1 - West Ham are relegated from the top-flight with a game remaining for the first time since April 1992. Sunk."
nickmaginnis on Twitter:
"So the Hammers are relegated. The vultures who get Demba Ba, Scott Parker and Rob Green are going to be very lucky."
1806: You can tell it's nearly the end of the season. My TV feed from the DW Stadium is flipping between an overweight Wigan fan dancing, and a middle-aged West Ham supporter in tears.
damienwells on Twitter:
"Barring Christmas and New Year, neither the Hammers nor Avram Grant have performed when it's counted this season. Appalling."
StephenCoombes on Twitter:
"West Ham down, interesting to see both their response next season and where Grant lands after inevitable departure."
1801: West Ham are done, down, doomed... whatever you want to call it. They will be in the Championship next season. The other two relegation places are between five teams all separated by a point, from Blackburn in 15th to Wigan in 19th. Wolves, Birmingham and Blackpool are the other teams in the mix on what will be a thrilling final day of the season.
1757: The Wigan fans are going barmy at the DW Stadium, where there has been a pitch invasion, while Arsenal are getting a rather muted response as they make their traditional lap-of-honour at the end of their final home game of the season. Not too many smiles on display from Arsene Wenger or his players.
1756: FULL-TIME Liverpool 0-2 Tottenham
1755: FULL-TIME Arsenal 1-2 Aston Villa
1755: WEST HAM ARE RELEGATED FROM THE PREMIER LEAGUE
1755: FULL-TIME Wigan 3-2 West Ham
Wigan goal: A huge goal this for Wigan, massive in fact. Charles N'Zogbia cuts inside and lets fly with a speculative shot that Rob Green lets slip past him. West Ham are definitely down now, but the Latics have given themselves a great chance of staying up next week.
1753: GOALFLASH Wigan 3-2 West Ham (N'Zogbia)
1752: West Ham's turn to threaten. Thomas Hitzlsperger finds space on the right of the box and his cross finds Carlton Cole at the near post, about a yard out. Cole gets a boot on it, but does not make good enough contact. The ball spins up and out of play. Wigan fans breathe again.
1751: FULL-TIME Birmingham 0-2 Fulham
1750: Wigan are after a winner themselves of course - they need all three points too. Ben Watson comes agonisingly close to finding a winner, but his shot comes off the inside of the post and bounces into the arms of Rob Green.
Arsenal goal: A scrappy one this, but it gives Arsenal hope of salvaging a point so they won't care. Nicklas Bendtner loses the ball as he runs into the box but it bounces off Richard Dunne and into the path of Robin van Persie, who converts from close range. There will be four minutes of injury time for them to find an equaliser.
1747: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-2 Aston Villa (Van Persie)
1744: Frantic stuff at the DW, where West Ham have sent Robbie Keane on and are pouring forward. Zavon Hines has a couple of shots on goal but the first is saved and the second is blocked. At the other end Danny Gabbidon seems to bring down Connor Sammon as he runs through. Replays show he did not get near the ball.
1742: Still no joy for Arsenal. The evergreen Brad Friedel produces another top-drawer save to deny Robin van Persie, diving at his feet. At the other end, Darren Bent - on his hat-trick - blasts wide from distance.
1741: West Ham have got 10 minutes left to find a goal to keep them in the Premier League, but they have got some defending to do first. The impressive Connor Sammon bursts through but is crowded out of it before he can shape to shoot.
1738: Not much happening at Anfield, apart from a streaker who has just been taken out by the stewards. Liverpool look a shadow of the side that took Fulham to the cleaners and Tottenham look happy with their two-goal lead.
tef90 on Twitter:
"What have Arsenal done to offend Michael Oliver today? Nightmare afternoon for him."
I think we can assume that Arsene won't be happy...
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the DW Stadium:
"At the very moment Connor Sammon equalised for Wigan to leave West Ham on the brink of relegation, that light aircraft arrived in the skies above The DW Stadium trailing the "Avram Grant: Millwall Legend" banner. Someone's gone to a lot of trouble there."
1734: Carlton Cole is on for the Hammers, replacing fellow striker Frederic Piquionne. And referee Michael Oliver is not exactly gaining any popularity points at the Emirates. He's just chalked off a Maroune Chamakh goal, claiming he pushed Kyle Walker from Theo Walcott's cross. Looked a bit harsh that, from the replay I saw.
1731: A plan carrying the banner 'Avram Grant - Millwall legend' is flying over the DW Stadium.... but West Ham are not down yet. Still 20 minutes or so to go in our 1600 BST matches. At the Emirates, Ashley Young and then Stewart Downing are denied by Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny.
1730: Still lots of Arsenal pressure at the Emirates, but no more real chances to tell you about. Tottenham are still on top at Anfield and Fulham are controlling things at St Andrew's. The DW Stadium is where the drama is at.
>Wigan goal: What a time to score your first goal in English football, and Connor Sammon takes it extremely well too. Ben Watson plays him through and Sammon steadies himself before firing into the bottom corner. As things stand, West Ham are down.
1727: GOALFLASH Wigan 2-2 West Ham (Sammon)
1726: Oh dear. Here's a chance for Demba Ba, on a hat-trick remember. He runs through on goal but fires straight at Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi. West Ham's lead remains a precarious one.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the DW Stadium:
"Is that a game-changer from Charles N'Zogbia? Brilliant free-kick and suddenly The DW is alive with noise. Avram Grant is in deep discussion with coach Wally Downes - or should I say Wally Downes is in deep discussion with Avram Grant. Scott Parker is on to steady a ship that is rocking a little bit."
1723: Wigan come forward again in search of an equaliser but Danny Gabbidon makes a vital interception with Hugo Rodallega waiting to tuck away Victor Moses' pullback. This game is still in the balance.
Bazroy99 on Twitter:
"This is why Avram Grant is a dreadful manager. Can't keep a lead. Watch Wigan change tactics and bring it level/win."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"2 - Liverpool have conceded two PL goals at Anfield for the first time since K Dalglish's first game as caretaker (v Everton). Squib."
1720: West Ham fans probably need cheering up ahead of what is sure to be a tense final half-hour... so here's some good news. Scott Parker is on, replacing the injured Jonathan Spector.
1718: It's all Arsenal at the Emirates, where Villa still lead 2-0. The Gunners have had their chances, mind. Robin Van Persie teed up Kieran Gibbs, but the left-back's close-range shot was smothered by Brad Friedel. Shortly afterwards, Van Persie found space in the box but fired wastefully over.
Wigan goal: Hang on, maybe West Ham aren't safe today after all. James Tomkins fouls Charles N'Zogbia on the edge of the box and the French wideman steps up to smah his free-kick into the top corner. A super strike, and if Wigan score again then the Hammers are down.
1716: GOALFLASH Wigan 1-2 West Ham (N'Zogbia)
Tottenham goal: Not sure about this one. John Flanagan barges into Steven Pienaar on the right-hand edge of the area. It's a foul, but is it inside the area? I need another dozen looks at it to be sure. Anyway, Luka Modric steps up to take the penalty and sends it right down the middle of the goal. Pep Reina had dived out of the way.
1713: GOALFLASH Liverpool 0-2 Tottenham (Modric pen)
1713: PENALTY to TOTTENHAM
1712: Tottenham are forced into a change. Rafael van der Vaart is injured, and replaced by Jermain Defoe.
1710: That second Fuham goal means things are looking very good for West Ham, and even Wigan... for today at least. As for Birmingham? If they concede a third goal, they will drop into the bottom three on goal difference.
Fulham goal: An amazing sequence of chances, and finally a goal. The Cottagers go close again, through Bobby Zamora and Steven Sidwell, who fires against the post, before they do finally add the second goal their astonishing pressure has deserved. A corner comes across and Zamora cannot quite turn it home from on the line, but Brede Hangeland reacts quickly to volley home from inside the six-yard box.
1707: GOALFLASH Birmingham 0-2 Fulham (Hangeland)
1705: A golden chance for Fulham, with Bobby Zamora heading straight at Ben Foster from point-blank range while, at the DW Stadium, Wigan defender Gary Caldwell denies Jonathan Spector with a perfectly-timed challenge inside the box.
1703: We are back under way everywhere in the top flight. Arsenal have made an attacking change, with Marouane Chamakh replacing Sebastien Squillaci. And Wigan are bringing on Victor Moses and Conor Sammon for James McCarthy and Tom Cleverley.
1659: Let's not forget that, if the score stays the same at Anfield, Tottenham will edge ahead in the race for fifth place. Manchester City will be watching events at the Emirates very closely, because should Villa take the points, that will open the way for City to possibly take third.
From a depressed Arsenal fan via text: "Arsenal rightly booed off at half time at the Emirates. No fight, no heart, no desire! Need some English grit in the team! Got to feel as though Fabregas has played his last game for the Gunners too."
HALF-TIME Birmingham 0-1 Fulham Peter Scrivener's HT snapshot "A rocking St Andrew's was stunned into silence by Brede Hangeland's early goal for Fulham and the early cheers turned to jeers as a nervy Birmingham side struggled to get into the game."
HALF-TIME Liverpool 0-1 Tottenham Mandeep Sanghera's
HT snapshot: "Tottenham on top at Anfield. They've dominated the first half and are deservedly ahead against a Reds side who only started to come into the game in the latter stages ahead of the break."
HALF-TIME: Wigan 0-2 West Ham Chief football writer Phil Mcnulty's
HT snapshot: "West Ham United in the perfect position to secure victory but a tense second period ahead as they know that may still not be enough. Wigan showed signs of life towards the end of the half but boss Roberto Martinez with real work to do at the interval."
HALF-TIME: Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa Sam Sheringham's HT snapshot:"Lacklustre and lethargic, Arsenal did not wake up until the 20 minute mark, by which time they were 2-0 down to two fine finishes from Darren Bent."
1648: It is half-time in all four of our Premier League games, and the four away teams are still winning.
1647: The battle for fifth-place is just as close. Liverpool's Luis Suarez bends a free-kick just over the bar, and Tottenham still lead 1-0.
1645: All eyes on Birmingham, who need a point today to send West Ham and Wigan down (if the score at the DW stays the same). The Blues are finding it tough to break down Fulham, though. They think they should have a free-kick when Matt Derbyshire goes down outside the box but referee Peter Walton is having none of it.
stevecon88 on Twitter:
"Tried not to get too emotionally involved in the relegation battle but can't help it. You have a hold on me West Ham!"
1640: News from Anfield, where Liverpool are improving. Jay Spearing fires wide before Martin Skrtel crosses to the far post where Andy Carroll has a great chance to haul Liverpool level, but horribly mistimes his header, which flies over.
1639: Forget events at St Andrew's, West Ham fans have enough to worry about at the DW Stadium. Mohamed Diame muscles his way through but Rob Green is equal to his shot, then the Hammers keeper makes an even better save to keep out a Hugo Rodallega header too.
1636: More woodwork, this time at the Emirates. Robin van Persie twists and turns inside the Villa box before slamming a fierce low shot against the base of the post. The Gunners still trail 2-0 though.
1633: Wigan's defence is all over the place. Ali Al Habsi gets nowhere near a cross from the right but Frederic Piquionne cannot quite turn it in at the far post. Don't get too excited, though, Hammers fans... because Birmingham have just come close to equalising. Martin Jiranek chested the ball against the post after meeting a Stuart Parnaby cross.
1632: Nothing is going right for Arsenal right now. Aaron Ramsey lines up a shot inside the box but goes down under a strong challenge from Richard Dunne. TV replays show the Villa defender seemed to catch Ramsey's leg but referee Michael Oliver waved away the appeals.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the DW Stadium:
"Wigan Athletic are in serious trouble here and West Ham fans are starting to turn their attentions to events between Birmingham City and Fulham. West Ham have fully exploited awful Wigan defending and now at least survival can cross their minds."
1630: But, if Fulham hold on to their lead against Birmingham, Wigan will not be relegated today, and neither will West Ham. The good news for those two is that Fulham are still creating chances - Bobby Zamora just hit the post with a glancing header from a Jonathan Greening free-kick.
1628: So, at the moment, the away teams are winning all four of our Premier League games. And, as things stand, Wigan are bottom.
West Ham goal: It still might not be enough to keep them up, but West Ham have breathing space. Thomas Hitzlsperger's free-kick is headed back across goal by James Tomkins and Demba Ba runs in to bundle it home.
1626: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-2 West Ham (Ba)
1625: Mohamed Diame tries his luck from distance, but Hammers keeper Rob Green is behind his shot all the way. No shortage of chances at the DW Stadium so far.
1624: And Arsenal are not exactly knocking on the door either. Plenty of patient probing by Arsene Wenger's men, but you know the rest, right? No cutting edge.
1623: No sign of a response yet from Liverpool but, at the DW Stadium, Wigan are looking dangerous. Tom Cleverley on the overlap just wasted a decent opening with a rather tame cross, but the Latics continue to come forward.
TWoods34 on Twitter:
"West Ham, you cruel mistress. Are you going down or not, make up your minds... "
1618: Birmingham have not turned up yet either. They allow Steve Sidwell to run the length of the pitch, but he shoots straight at Ben Foster from the edge of the box. Fulham remain well on top.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the DW Stadium:
"The sort of start you would expect in game with so much riding on it. Frantic, end to end and tense but great noise from West Ham's travelling contingent after Demba Ba's fine header. Co-owner David Sullivan remains stone-faced throughout. Wigan fans also trying to raise the noise levels with their side in trouble."
Aston Villa goal: Arsenal's implosion continues. Thomas Vermaelen's slip gives Ashley Young the space to pick out Darren Bent, again, who runs through to extend Villa's lead. Terrible defending by the Gunners, even with Vermaelen back in action.
1615: More news from St Andrew's. Andy Johnson should double Fulham's lead but he directs his header just beyond Ben Foster's far post after being picked out by Jonathan Greening's centre.
1615: GOALFLASH Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa (Bent)
Aston Villa goal: Villa's goal is nothing more than they deserve after starting the game much sharper than the hosts. Kyle Walker's chipped through-ball is inch-perfect for Darren Bent, who controls the ball on his chest and volleys over the advancing Wojciech Szczesny.
West Ham goal: The Hammers are alive and kicking. One heck of a goalmouth scramble ends with Jack Collison's shot which is blocked, but the ball is quickly played back into the danger zone by Thomas Hitzlsperger for Demba Ba to net with a close-range glancing header.
1612: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-1 West Ham (Ba)
1611: GOALFLASH Arsenal 0-1 Aston Villa (Bent)
Tottenham goal: Maybe Harry Redknapp does want the Europa League after all? Luka Modric's corner eventually finds Rafael van der Vaart lurking on the edge of the box and he controls the ball before placing a pearler of a shot into the top corner. A strike of real quality, that one.
1609: GOALFLASH Liverpool 0-1 Tottenham (Van der Vaart)
Fulham goal: Quite a story behind this one. Blues keeper Ben Foster has to scramble to keep out Mark Schwarzer's enormous goal-kick, which is bouncing in. From the resulting corner, Brede Hangeland jumps highest and heads home. Ignore what I said earlier, this is good news for Wigan and West Ham.
1605: GOALFLASH Birmingham 0-1 Fulham (Hangeland)
1603: Wigan are up for this. Tom Cleverley finds Mohamed Diame again, who cuts inside before blasting his shot over Robert Green's crossbar. The Hammers fans, all 4,500 of them, are making lots of noise.
1603: And Clint Dempsey goes close for Fulham too, firing over from close range, under pressure from a Birmingham defender.
1601: First chance to Wigan. Mohamed Diame's deflected shot almost flies past Rob Green, who reacts well to keep it out at his right-hand post.
1601: And at St Andrew's and the Emirates too.
1600: We are under way at Anfield, and the DW Stadium.
1557: West Ham's co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan, and vice-chairman Karren Brady got a bit of stick for not turning up at Eastlands earlier this month, for the Hammers' defeat by Man City. Gold and Brady are at the DW Stadium today, though. Is that good news for boss Avram Grant if the worst happens?
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"0 - West Ham have won none and lost 5 of the 6 PL games in which Scott Parker has not been in the starting XI this season. Rudderless."
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on the long-awaited return of defender Thomas Vermaelen: "Players have confidence in him and his quality, experience and determination. Many of our players are tired after a long season, but his season starts today. I expect him to be hungry."
1552: So, West Ham need a win to have any chance of staying up and even that might not be enough. And Wigan will go down if they lose and Birmingham get a point against Fulham. Fair to say, then, that there is rather a lot riding on events at the DW Stadium.
1551: Good news, if you are in the UK. You can listen to live commentary of Wigan v West Ham (on BBC Radio 5 live) and Liverpool v Tottenham (on 5 live sports extra) if you give this page a manual refresh now.
1549: The next couple of hours are going to be tight and tense, and might just end in tears. I promise to be a shoulder to cry on, even if nobody else is.
I'm Chris Bevan,
and you can tweet me at
using the hashtag
please. Or text me via 81111 (UK) instead. Get involved.
WIGAN v WEST HAM TEAM NEWS Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports from the DW Stadium: "Footballer of the Year Scott Parker can only make the bench for West Ham United as he continues his recovery from an Achilles tendon problem while Carlton Cole and Robbie Keane are also substitutes in a game where even victory may not be enough to retain their Premier League status. Jordan Spence makes his full debut at right-back. Wigan make just one change with Mohamed Diame in for Victor Moses."
MihirHS215 on Twitter:
"Really good to see Ledley King back in the Spurs team today! Quality defender with unfortunately only one knee!"
LIVERPOOL v TOTTENHAM TEAM NEWS Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Liverpool make one change from the win at Fulham. Striker Andy Carroll returns to the starting line-up following a knee injury as he replaces injured midfielder Raul Meireles. Tottenham centre-back Ledley King makes his first appearance since 16 October. He comes into the Spurs side along with defender Younes Kaboul and Steven Pienaar as Vedran Corluka, William Gallas and Wilson Palacios miss out."
Wigan v West Ham line-ups Wigan: Al Habsi, Boyce, Gary Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Diame, McCarthy, Watson, N'Zogbia, Rodallega, Cleverley. Subs: Kirkland, Gohouri, Di Santo, Moses, Gomez, McArthur, Sammon. West Ham: Green, Spence, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Bridge, Spector, Hitzlsperger, Collison, Piquionne, Ba, Hines. Subs: Boffin, Parker, Cole, Upson, Sears, da Costa, Keane. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
manavm1 on Twitter:
"Really nervous Arsenal fan here. With Man City only 2 points away we needed a strong team today but that bench is very weak."
Arsenal v Aston Villa line-ups Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Song, Wilshere, Walcott, Ramsey, Arshavin, van Persie. Subs: Lehmann, Denilson, Eboue, Chamakh, Henderson, Miquel, Bendtner. Aston Villa: Friedel, Walker, Collins, Dunne, Luke Young, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Delph, Downing, Bent, Ashley Young. Subs: Marshall, Pires, Agbonlahor, Albrighton, Bradley, Heskey, Cuellar. Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
1533: Scott Parker is on the bench for West Ham, and will surely feature at some point today. Surely?
ARSENAL v ASTON VILLA TEAM NEWS Sam Sheringham reports:"Welcome back Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian defender makes his first Arsenal appearance since injuring his Achilles in September, replacing Laurent Koscielny in the only change to the side beaten 3-1 at Stoke last weekend. Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas both miss out after failing late fitness tests. Aston Villa also make just a single alteration to the team held 1-1 by Wigan, with 21-year-old midfielder Fabian Delph replacing striker Emile Heskey. Gabriel Agbonlahor, returning from illness, has to make do with a place on the bench, along with former Gunners winger Robert Pires."
Liverpool v Tottenham line-ups Liverpool: Reina, Flanagan, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Kuyt, Lucas, Spearing, Maxi, Suarez, Carroll. Subs: Gulacsi, Cole, Kyrgiakos, Ngog, Poulsen, Shelvey, Robinson. Tottenham: Cudicini, Kaboul, Dawson, King, Rose, Lennon, Modric, Sandro, Pienaar, Van der Vaart, Crouch. Subs: Pletikosa, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe, Bassong, Kranjcar, Livermore, Bostock. Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
charliehamouy on Twitter:
"Many Chelsea players are heading straight down the tunnel ignoring the fans on our last home game of the season. Disappointing!"
BIRMINGHAM v FULHAM TEAM NEWS Peter Scrivener reports: "Birmingham make four changes from the defeat by Newcastle as left-back Stuart Parnaby, midfielder David Bentley and strikers Matt Derbyshire and Kevin Phillips start. They replace Liam Ridgewell, Keith Fahey, Jean Beausejour and Cameron Jerome. Fulham boss Mark Hughes gives rare starts to defender Philippe Senderos and midfielder Jonathan Greening as Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora are preferred in attack to Moussa Dembele and Eidur Gudjohnsen."
1529: Right then. Before we focus on today's relegation issues, here's a bit more trophy news for you: Ajax have just beaten FC Twente 3-1, and that win gives them the Dutch title for the first time since 2004.
1526: Not the way Carlo Ancelotti would have wanted to sign off at Stamford Bridge, if indeed that proves to be his last home game in charge of Chelsea.
1523: FULL-TIME Chelsea 2-2 Newcastle
Newcastle goal: Er, not exactly great defending by Chelsea here. They escape when Kazenga LuaLua's corner cannons behind off John Terry but, when Ryan Taylor sends his corner over, Steven Taylor is unmarked to crash home a header for a dramatic late leveller.
1521: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-2 Newcastle (Steven Taylor)
1520: The Magpies do get a sniff when Danny Simpson crosses from the right, with Sammy Ameobi running in, but the ball is too close to Petr Cech.
1519: There will be three minutes of stoppage time. Not much sign of a Newcastle equaliser at the moment.
1517: BREAKING TEAM NEWS FROM THE EMIRATES Defender Thomas Vermaelen starts for Arsenal, for his first appearance since injuring his Achilles in September. They've missed him a bit, I think.
1515: We are into the last three minutes of the 90 at Stamford Bridge. Sammy Ameobi gets on the ball for the first time... he looks a bit leggy, doesn't he?
1515: BREAKING TEAM NEWS FROM ANFIELD Andy Carroll starts for Liverpool.
Chelsea goal: Where did that come from? With the game meandering towards a draw, Frank Lampard bends in a deep free-kick from the right and Tim Krul cannot reach it, allowing Alex to head home at the far post. Jose Enrique was booked for the foul on Nicolas Anelka that led to it, by the way.
1512: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle (Alex)
1510: Peter Lovenkrands is coming off... and our dreams are coming true. Sammy Ameobi is coming on to join his brother Shola.
1509: Jose Enrique finds Peter Lovenkrands with a lifted cross from the left, but the Newcastle striker cannot quite adjust his body to get a proper strike on the ball, which flies across the face of goal and evades Shola Ameobi at the far post.
predemption on Twitter:
"Re 1458. I would love Sammy to come on too; played a couple of 5-a-side tournaments with him back in the day. He stood out even then."
1506: Coming up to 10 minutes left. As things stand, Carlo Ancelotti is (potentially) going to sign off at Stamford Bridge with a rather disappointing draw.
BIRMINGHAM v FULHAM (1600 BST) Peter Scrivener reports: "Birmingham are nervously looking over their shoulders after a dismal run since winning the League Cup at the end of February. Just two wins in 10 games has seen the Blues slide to 17th in the Premier League table, just one point above the dreaded relegation zone. A win could guarantee survival, depending on other results, but they entertain a Fulham side who are draw specialists away from Craven Cottage. Half of their games have ended in a stalemate and of their two victories, the last was a thumping 3-0 win at Sunderland two weeks ago."
1505: Why oh why didn't Ashley Cole shoot there? Didier Drogba knocks down a cross into his path but Cole decides to pull the ball back for his team-mate rather than have a pop himself, and Drogba is not expecting it. Anyway, Newcastle are making another change, but still no sign of Sammy Ameobi... Nile Ranger is on for Jonas Gutierrez.
LIVERPOOL v TOTTENHAM (1600 BST) Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"With any hopes of Champions League qualification over for both teams, Liverpool and Tottenham are left to play for the dubious honour of a spot in the Europa League. The Reds can secure fifth and their spot in Europe's less prestigious competition with a win over Spurs in a week when manager Kenny Dalglish was rewarded for reviving the club's fortunes with a three-year contract. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp sees the Europa League as a hindrance and his side are certainly doing their best to avoid qualifying for it with just one win in 13."
1502: Danny Simpson becomes the first Newcastle player to be booked, after catching Michael Essien. Chelsea lead 4-1 in terms of yellows.
ARSENAL v ASTON VILLA (1600 BST) Sam Sheringham reports: "It wasn't supposed to be this way. Six weeks ago, Arsenal fans might have viewed this fixture as a potentially decisive one in their title bid, but after a dismal run of two wins in nine games, Gunners followers are now looking over their shoulders. Lose to Aston Villa and Arsenal could open the door for Manchester City to pip them in the race for third place and the automatic Champions League qualifying spot that goes with it. Villa, who will guarantee their Premier League safety with a point, have only won once in their last 24 league games away to Arsenal."
1459: Plenty of speculation that Didier Drogba is leaving Chelsea in the summer, so is this his Stamford Bridge farewell too? Anyway, Drogba just swung in a lovely free-kick from the right but none of his team-mates could get on the end of it.
1458: Shane Ferguson cannot continue, so Kazenga LuaLua replaces him. I am the only person who wants to see Sammy Ameobi come on for the Magpies?
WIGAN v WEST HAM (1600 BST) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports from the DW Stadium: "No confusion here at a rain-soaked DW Stadium. Wigan Athletic and West Ham United simply have to win - and even a win will not be enough for the Hammers if Birmingham City get a point against Fulham. So much riding on the outcome for Roberto Martinez and Avram Grant but the price is being paid for poor season at both clubs. Expect tension, pressure and the real possibility of relegation for one or both of these clubs at the end of 90 minutes."
1455: Shane Ferguson is down and needs some treatment, so let's start to look ahead to those 1600 BST kick-offs...
1452: Here come the big guns for Chelsea. Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Florent Malouda are on for Ramires, Yossi Benayoun and Josh McEachran. With 25 minutes left, it is still 1-1.
JohnHiley on Twitter:
"Chelsea's priority should be a creative midfielder in the summer. Torres looks poor but he has been starved of support."
1451: Ryan Taylor is going to get another go, though. Newcastle have another free-kick, about 30 yards out and more central this time... but it is fired straight at the wall.
1449: That foul leaves Newcastle with a free-kick in a dangerous position too. Ryan Taylor (who else) is behind it and fires it through a crowd of players, but straight at Petr Cech.
1448: Another Chelsea booking. Branislav Ivanovic dives in on the speedy Shane Ferguson and sends him tumbling.
1447: That's more like it from Newcastle. Shola Ameobi wins the ball back and Jonas Gutierrez swings in a shot that Petr Cech does well to hold on to.
1447: Newcastle just haven't got going since the restart, although Jonas Gutierrez has just had a free header in the Chelsea box. Anyway, back with the action - Frank Lampard earns a yellow card after taking a chunk out of Joey Barton, who had just slid in on him too. Tasty.
1443: Well, they were keeping Chelsea at arms length... Only a brave block by Joey Barton denies Fernando Torres from the resulting corner, and Chelsea are not done yet. Tim Krul punches away another corner but Ramires' first-time shot from distance is well off target.
1440: This is a decent spell of pressure by Chelsea but they are just not doing enough with their balls into the box. Newcastle are keeping them at arms' length, although Ashley Cole does see his header deflected wide from a Branislav Ivanovic cross.
1438: Josh McEachran also has a pop after Newcastle only half-clear. But he slips as he shoots from about 25 yards out and, after the ball ricochets around the Magpies area, Nicolas Anelka is unable to get a clean strike away either.
1436: An early sniff for Chelsea, as Ashley Cole feeds Yossi Benayoun and he is allowed to advance to the edge of the Newcastle box. Just a shame about the finish really, with Benayoun's attempt at a cheeky chip floating a long, long way off target.
1434: We are back under way at the Bridge.
1433: I don't really want to talk about Chelsea's new kit though. I'd much rather get your thoughts on West Ham, Wigan et al, and how they might fare later on.
I'm Chris Bevan,
and you can tweet me at
using the hashtag
please. Or text me via 81111 (UK) instead. Get involved.
1431: Rout82 has a point you know. I had high hopes for this one after that frenetic start but it went off the boil pretty quickly. Still, even if it doesn't get going again, we can talk about Chelsea's new kit and there is only another hour-and-a-half until our four other PL games kick-off. Drama guaranteed in those ones, I should think...
Rout82 on Twitter:
"A very end of season feel to the game at Stamford Bridge. Josh McEachran looks a real star of the future though."
From Rick in Cambridge, via text: "Ramires should be off two times over. Once for a two-footed challenge and again for persistent fouling followed by kicking the ball away. A disgraceful first half."
harrymccombe on Twitter:
"Chelsea's new kit makes them look like Wigan. Played like them in the last 20 minutes of the 1st half. Confused "
1422: Now I know I said (at 1235) that today was going to be more about relegation tears than trophies, but there has been some silverware sorted out in Scotland today, where
Rangers have just clinched the SPL title,
courtesy of a 5-1 win over Kilmarnock.
1418: CHELSEA 1-1 NEWCASTLE Saj Chowdhury's
HT snap-shot: "Chelsea have had plenty of possession but have created very few chances. Newcastle have given the ball away on several occasions, but are somehow level. Strange game."
1417: Ramires is the latest player to be booked, for kicking the ball away after being penalised for a foul on Jonas Gutierrez. Newcastle have a free-kick, as we approach the end of first-half stoppage time... but Ryan Taylor's effort is easily cleared.
1416: End to end stuff to end the first half. It starts with a bit of a goalmouth scramble from a Frank Lampard corner, but John Terry is just unable to get a shot in. With Branislav Ivanovic down injured, Newcastle break forward through Shane Ferguson, but his cross is dealt with by Ashley Cole, who challenges Peter Lovenkrands at the far post.
Football League Danny: "Full-time in the League One play-off semi-final first leg - MK Dons 3-2 Peterborough. Hugely controversial second goal for Posh means this tie is absolutely in the balance ahead of Thursday night's second leg "
Hmmmm. I don't think the space taken up by their hair would leave too much room out there for anyone else.
1410: About five minutes left until half-time. Both sides are making lots of mistakes in possession, with the latest coming from Petr Cech. His poor clearance only finds Shane Ferguson but he runs into a dead-end down the left as he tries to capitalise.
1407: Speaking of Ryan Taylor free-kicks, the Newcastle midfielder has just fired one goalwards from about 35 yards out. He got plenty of power behind it, but it flew a few yards wide.
1405: Ramires is a bit wild with his tackling today, getting the ball this time, but a piece of Shane Ferguson too as he smashes it out for a corner. At the other end, he tries to hustle Tim Krul out of possession, with the Newcastle keeper trying to shield the ball and run out of play... and winning the free-kick. I don't think Ramires did too much wrong with that last one, actually.
Football League Danny: "Posh lifeline and Dons injustice. A brilliant break down the right from Mark Little ends with the Peterborough man miskicking the ball across the box and falling over. There may have been contact with MK Dons Stephen Gleeson, but even if so it was minimal and outside the box. Inexplicably, the ref awards a penalty to Peterborough and sends off Gleeson. Grant McCann slots the spot-kick and it's MK Dons 3-2 Peterborough. Game very much on."
1359: Ha! Almost another deflected goal via a Newcastle player, this time at the other end. Josh McEachran picks out Ashley Cole, who delivers a low ball across the face of goal. Jose Enrique tries to clear but the ball cannons off Ryan Taylor and flies a bit too close to Tim Krul's goal for comfort.
1358: Just as I was about to say this one's got a bit scrappy in the last few minutes, Shane Ferguson breaks down the left and crosses for Peter Lovenkrands... who would be through on goal if not for a perferctly-timed sliding interception by Alex.
For those of you who haven't seen it already (or can't see it today), Chelsea's new home kit is bright pink, with yellow stripes. Nah, just kidding. It's still all-blue, with the addition of some white bits on the shoulders.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"2 - Newcastle's opener today is only their second league goal at Stamford Bridge since August 2001. Sporadic."
1352: Neither side are defending too convincingly right now. Newcastle cannot clear a Chelsea free-kick when it is pumped into their box, but Alex drags his shot wide when the ball drops for him. Twenty minutes gone at Stamford Bridge, and it's been pretty eventful so far.
1349: Chelsea break quickly through Fernando Torres, before a flurry of ferocious tackles on the edge of the Newcastle box, not all of them fair. The worst of them is by Ramires, though, and Newcastle get a free-kick when Chelsea feel they should have one.
Football League Danny: "Great first half for Peterborough in Milton Keynes. Diabolical second. They've conceded three and now have had a man sent off - and there are still 20 minutes left. Charlie Lee has seen red for a second yellow. MK Dons 3-1 Peterborough."
1346: Jonas Gutierrez didn't know too much about that free-kick, until it smashed into him, but he will claim the goal I'm sure. Anyway, Newcastle continue to attack and Petr Cech drops a cross under pressure from Shola Ameobi. Chelsea are glad to have enough defenders back to clear the loose ball.
GeorgeBouras on Twitter:
"I'm sure I'm not the only United fan telling @dnhhawkins that United are a tad better than Newcastle."
Newcastle goal: Extremely fortunate, to say the least, this one. Ryan Taylor slams that free-kick goalwards and it takes a huge deflection off his team-mate Jonas Gutierrez to wrongfoot Petr Cech and trundle over the line. All-square, out of nothing.
1341: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-1 Newcastle (Gutierrez)
1339: Better from Newcastle, in that they have a bit of possession in the Chelsea half. They have a free-kick too, when Alex's loose pass only finds Peter Lovenkrands and John Terry brings him down. That's a booking as well.
1337: By the way, Branislav Ivanovic had helped win the corner that led to his goal, with a delicious low cross that caused chaos in the Magpies backline. Chelsea have continued to dominate since taking the lead, too.
Football League Danny: "Wow, Peterborough are going to pot here. More slack defending allows Angelo Balanta to beat Charlie Lee and smash low into the net. MK Dons 3-1 Peterborough."
Chelsea goal: Some start for the Blues. Fernando Torres flicks on Frank Lampard's corner and Branislav Ivanovic runs in to knock it home from close range. Chelsea lead in less than two minutes, and Newcastle have barely touched the ball. Their defending was not exactly top-drawer just then either.
1333: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle (Ivanovic)
1332: Some nice early touches for Josh McEachran, who tries but fails to play in Ashley Cole. Chelsea playing keep-ball at the moment.
1331: Here we go, then. We are under way at Stamford Bridge. Will the Blues do it for Carlo? We are about to find out..
Football League Danny: "Turnaround o'clock. MK Dons 2-1 Peterborough - Sam Baldock gives the Dons the lead with a free-kick. Posh wall not really doing a job there, but a powerful strike."
mattharding007 on Twitter:
"Actually looking forward to seeing this Chelsea team play - could be next season's first 11, with Sturridge replacing Anelka."
Football League Danny: "Brilliant start to the second half of the League One play-off semi final for MK Dons - horror defending from Peterborough through. Daniel Powell levels from close range and it's 1-1."
1324: Right, now we know which young players to keep an eye out for at Stamford Bridge. Kick-off there is now just five minutes away.
From anon, via text: "Watch out for young Shane Ferguson on the left wing today. Looks like a 12-year-old, but is the Toon's brightest prospect."
Football League Danny: "It's MK Dons 0-1 Peterborough at half-time in the League One play-off semi-final first leg (LOPOSFFL for short). Only 25% of the way through the tie mind..."
From Barry in Lincoln, via text: "Nice to see the Chelsea fans getting complacent. here's hoping the Toon give them the lesson they deserve as we did in the Mickey Mouse Cup. Howay the lads."
CHELSEA v NEWCASTLE TEAM NEWS Saj Chowdhury reports:Chelsea drop Didier Drogba, David Luiz, Florent Malouda, Michael Essien, John Mikel Obi and Salomon Kalou from the first XI, with Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun, Josh McEachran, Alex, Nicolas Anelka and Ramires all starting. Newcastle make two changes, with Ryan Taylor in central midfield for Kevin Nolan (ankle surgery) and Shane Ferguson coming in to the left of midfield with Cheik Tiote rested. Alan Smith and Sammy Ameobi, brother of Shola, are on the bench."
From Matt Klesel in Chelmsford, via text: "Re 1301. If Ancelotti is sacked this summer, It will be bitterly disappointing. He's a world class manager and deserves at least another year. Football is so fickle."
AdrianoMarioM on Twitter:
"Re 1301. Under Carlo, Chelsea have developed this slow, patient build up style up front! Lack of pace has cost us dearly this season!"
Chelsea v Newcastle line-ups Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole, Ramires, McEachran, Lampard, Anelka, Benayoun, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, David Luiz, Essien, Drogba, Mikel, Malouda, Ferreira. Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Gutierrez, Barton, Ryan Taylor, Ferguson, Shola Ameobi, Lovenkrands. Subs: Soderberg, Smith, LuaLua, Ranger, Tavernier, Kuqi, Sammy Ameobi. Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
1305: Time for some stat chat as we approach kick-off at Stamford Bridge... and it's not pleasant reading for Newcastle fans.
tell me that Newcastle have failed to score in six of their last seven Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge, conceding a total of 18 goals over this period. Although the Magpies did
win there in the Carling Cup in December.
1301: Strange isn't it, that
exactly a year after
Carlo Ancelotti won at Wembley to complete a Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season in charge of Chelsea, he could be waving farewell to Blues fans in what looks like it could be his last home game in charge. Seems a bit harsh to me, but that's the price you pay for failing to deliver the Champions League, or any trophy for that matter, to Stamford Bridge these days.
Billiar10 on Twitter:
"Can't wait for the Chelsea match, there's no pressure on us whatsoever so expecting a big win."
philbeck10 on Twitter:
"Without Scott Parker, West Ham would've been relegated by Christmas. Deserve to go down in all honesty."
Football League Danny: "It's not just Premier League and FA Cup ding-dongs this weekend. The play-off semi-finals continue on Sunday. Stevenage host Accrington Stanley at 1830 BST in the League Two first leg, but League One action is already under way. Peterborough lead 1-0 at MK Dons thanks to Craig Mackail-Smith's goal - 30 minutes gone there."
CHELSEA v NEWCASTLE (1330 BST) Saj Chowdhury reports: To quote Nick Cave, 'Faraway, So Close'. Last year's title winners, Chelsea, didn't become serious challengers to Manchester United until these final two months and even then they were hoping for their rivals to suffer the jitters, which, as expected, never happened.
Motty came up with this golden nugget in the preview,
stating that the Blues have only managed 67 goals this season compared to 103 during the previous campaign - that stat tells the tale. Newcastle are snug on the mid-table sofa. The early season dramas seem a distant memory and the fans will be hoping (and praying) for no more in the future.
1245: Whether you've got avoiding relegation, or avoiding the Europa League, on your mind, I need you to get in touch.
I'm Chris Bevan,
and you can tweet me at
using the hashtag
please. Or feel free to text me via 81111 (UK) instead.
1242: First things first, though, here is what is happening in the top flight today: Five games, starting with Chelsea against Newcastle at 1330 BST, and the others all starting at 1600 BST. It's not ALL about the bottom of the table, either. Chelsea and Arsenal are still playing for second and third, and there is a big battle for fifth at Anfield too, between Liverpool and Tottenham... when we might see who wants Europa League football the most, or even the least...
1239: I will explain all the exact relegation permutations in due course but one thing is for sure - if West Ham don't win at Wigan today, they will definitely be looking forward to Championship football next season, and even a victory might not be enough to save them. The Latics can go down too, if they lose, and Birmingham get at least a point against Fulham.
1235: So, have you had your fill of watching trophies being lifted by smiling footballers yet after Saturday's
Mancunian title-clinching and Cup-winning fest?
I hope so, because today is (mostly) going to be about relegation. We might even see some tears...
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