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By Sam Lyon
1835: Eight down, then, one to go. Can
round off the opening round of Premier League fixtures with its first home win - or will new-boys
hit the ground running on their first appearance in the top flight since 1983? Make sure you join me -
- tomorrow night to find out. Before then it's all about Match of the Day 2 tonight at 2225. Until tomorrow, then, see ya!
PaulThompson89 on Twitter:
"West Brom concede thanks to Reid who did the deed to give Utd the lead and it's not what the Baggies need..."
Mitesh, Sawbridgeworth via text: "I love how everyone is defining the entire season on one game. There is a long way still to go!"
WEST BROM 1-2 MAN UTD Saj Chowdhury
reports: "A winning start for United, but at what cost? Rio Ferdinand out for six weeks and centre-back partner Nemanja Vidic out for two weeks. Fortune saved United today, but they will have to improve fast without their senior defenders."
STOKE 0-0 CHELSEA Alistair Magowan
reports: "A tough baptism for Andre Villas-Boas' first taste of the Premier League but promising signs from Fernando Torres. For Stoke, Jonathan Woodgate was a big highlight."
1823: Some troubling news for Man Utd, then, on an otherwise positive day. Let's hear what our match reporters made of it...
1820: BREAKING NEWS Back to all things Manchester United, meanwhile, and Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed Rio Ferdinand will be out for six weeks with a hamstring injury, Nemanja Vidic (calf) a couple of weeks and Rafael da Silva 10 weeks. Patrice Evra will return next week, though.
jamboski on Twitter:
"I knew Roy Hodgson would do a good job with the Baggies, might have lost today, but looked worth a draw at the least."
Glen, Bury via text: "Good to see 'Own Goals' back in form for United!"
EddHilton on Twitter:
"Chelsea doing what they did last season... failing to grind out a win. Unfortunatly that's why United will win title again."
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas: "In the first half we had defend a lot of set plays, we didn't manage to get ball on ground like we wanted but in second half we did the opposite. We were on top in second half and we controlled it but unfortunately we didn't get the goal. The challenge you face at Stoke is one of most difficult you face in Premier League. It's not a great start but it's not bad."
Stoke manager Tony Pulis: "I thought we played really well first half and gave them a game, but in the second half they are a good team and we had to show our character and commitment. With Chelsea we are talking about a football club with a wage bill five or six times bigger than ours. As for us, we are desperate to try and bring more players in but we have a group here with great character."
1808: If that's not your cup of tea, though, maybe you want to hear what Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas and Stoke counterpart Tony Pulis made of the earlier
Stoke 0-0 Chelsea
1805: And you know what will boost anyone and everybody's mood? Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton is due on
with Mark Chapman and Robbie Savage imminently. Feisty. Get involved.
Man Utd striker Michael Owen
on Twitter: "Great win. First half an hour was top class. West Brom did well to get back into the game but a bit of magic from Ash won us the game."
1800: How often do they do it? How often? Another late, late win for Manchester United and a winning start to their title defence. Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool look on with wry smiles. And still we wait for a first home win of this Premier League opening weekend.
Iainrussell83 on Twitter:
"Man Utd do what other top teams seem not able to do - Grind out one goal winning margins to rack up the points when it matters."
Ian, London via text: "Steven won't want to Reid about that in the morning!!"
1752: FULL-TIME West Brom 1-2 Man Utd
1751: Free-kick to West Brom from deep... keeper Ben Foster is up! He only goes and wins the ball in the air, too, but David de Gea is out to claim under pressure. Time running out for the hosts and fast.
1749: West Brom finishing quite strongly here...
1748: Four minutes of stoppage time.
1747: No no no... Gabriel Tamas decides he is Pele momentarily and attempts to drill one in from 40 yards - it flies miles over.
1746: West Brom aren't done yet, though, and Chris Brunt forces a save low down from David de Gea with a firm 20-yard effort. Into the last two minutes.
1745: Shut-up-shop time for Man Utd, which means... keep-ball.
1742: It's basically the last action of the match for Steven Reid - harsh - as he is replaced by Gonzalo Jara. Can the Baggies pin United back again?
Man Utd goal: It's just so... Man Utd isn't it? Nine minutes remaining, the game drifting, and Ashley Young bursts from the left into the box before firing a cross over that is deflected into his own net by Baggies defender Steven Reid. Winner?
1738: GOALFLASH West Brom 1-2 Man Utd (Reid og)
1736: This is proving something of a baptism of fire for David de Gea - the Spaniard twice having to deal with the rough and tumble of West Brom's attacking force under free-kicks. The first is flapped behind for a corner, the second the hosts penalised for a foul on the young keeper.
1733: An opportunity West Brom fail to make the most of as James Morrison's delivery is nodded away by Jonny Evans.
1732: West Brom care not, though, and carry on playing to force a free-kick on the edge of the box. It gives United an opportunity to replace Rio Ferdinand with Phil Jones - what a youthful backline that makes for Man Utd now - but this is a decent opportunity for the Baggies...
1731: More worry for Manchester United as Rio Ferdinand signals to the bench he has a hamstring problem. His match is over.
1727: And now Fabio da Silva crosses from the left, finding Nani unmarked, but the Portuguese winger can only flick his header harmlessly wide.
1726: Ashley Young cuts in from the left and curls at goal right-footed - but it's way off target. Dum de dum.
1725: Man Utd by far the more ambitious team at present - but West Brom holding firm nicely at the back.
1722: ...nope, Nani's delivery eludes everyone and goes harmlessly past the goal. Here comes Dimitar Berbatov, meanwhile, Danny Welbeck the man replaced.
1721: Ooh... Ashley Young thinks he's earned a penalty as he goes down under Chris Brunt's challenge - but the decision is free-kick outside the area instead. Anything doing with this one...?
1718: Hhmm... Man Utd threaten to string a decent move together but then fluff it when Chris Smalling's pass misses its intended target by about half a mile. All eyes immediately turn to see if there is any action on the visitors' bench. There isn't.
aaron1606 on Twitter:
"When was the last time Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all dropped points on opening weekend?"
1713: Booked. Ashley Young has his name taken for a clumsy trip on Shane Long. Bit stop-start this now, needs a spark.
1711: ...and it's not too far away, Wayne Rooney's glance header from Ashley Young's delivery zipping just wide of the far post.
1710: No great head of steam being built by either side in this half, yet. Though Man Utd have a free-kick in a decent position here...
1708: Yep - Nemanja Vidic is struggling and will be replaced. He took a knock in the first half, the Serbian, and has clearly been unable to run it off.
1706: Looks like Jonny Evans is going to come on for Man Utd - an injury to someone perhaps?
1704: Early corner to Man Utd... referee Mike Jones penalises the visitors for a foul in the box.
1703: We're back up and running, people, West Brom 1-1 Man Utd.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "So Cardiff secure a comfortable 3-1 victory over Bristol City in the Championship. Goals from Mark Hudson, Craig Conway and Robert Earnshaw set the Welsh side on their way to their second successive win of the season. Blackpool weren't to be outdone as they too made it back-to-back wins by overcoming Peterborough 2-1. A brace from veteran striker Kevin Phillips giving the Seasiders the three points, while George Boyd responded for the Posh."
PREMIER LEAGUE FACT: Shane Long has been on the winning side in each of the previous four Premier League home matches in which he has scored. Man Utd, meanwhile, have won only one of their last five Premier League away matches in which the half-time score was 1-1. Courtesy of Infostrada Sports
1655: Think you can top Nigel's pun? Then Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK). On your marks, get set, go...
Nigel, Eastbourne via text: "De Gea should never have been beaten by that - not by a Long shot..." Oh ho yes. I like that. I like that a lot.
noahnaira on Twitter:
"De Gea is 20 yrs old, he makes mistakes but he'll learn, don't bash the kid's confidence when he needs it the most."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Nicky Maynard scores Bristol City's first goal of the season - as Cardiff concede their first league goal - before Bluebirds striker Rudy Gestede has a goal ruled out for offside. George Boyd gives Peterborough hope with a late goal for the Posh, who are now 2-1 down at Blackpool."
1649: HALF-TIME West Brom 1-1 Man Utd Saj Chowdhury
reports: "Oh dear De Gea. A horrible error by the 20-year-old on his league debut. Hairdryer or hug from Sir Alex at half-time? Either way, the Baggies spy a weak link..."
1647: There's your half-time whistle.
1646: Half-time drawing near... another Premier League match on level terms...
1644: Close! Somen Tchoyi's cross looks to be dipping in the far post and David de Gea is forced to scramble away on the stretch.
1643: The Man Utd juggernaut is derailed at the moment and West Brom are growing in confidence...
1642: You lot with your David de Gea/Massimo Taibi jibes are very cruel. Funny. But cruel.
1639: Completely against the run of play that goal, but reward nonetheless for West Brom's continued tenacity in the face of some fine Man Utd football. David de Gea will not want to watch Match of the Day 2 later...
West Brom goal: Woah. It's a debut goal for Shane Long and a half-decent strike, turning inside from the left and firing low across goal, but David de Gea should do so much better than to dive over it and allow it to creep inside the far post. Clanger.
1636: GOALFLASH West Brom 1-1 Man Utd (Long)
1635: But here come West Brom with an excellently-worked move, Steven Reid and Shane Long combining well to set Paul Scharner through on goal - the Austrian denied by a fine point-blank save from David de Gea. The best moment of the game for both the Baggies and De Gea.
1633: It's a bit relentless from Man Utd at the moment.
1631: Here come Man Utd again - and West Brom are having to defend for their lives at times. Thus far, though, that defence has only been breached once and the hosts can take small comfort from that.
1628: ...another miss! Ben Foster flaps lamely at the set piece and the ball falls to Nani eight yards out, but the Portugal international can only hook over the bar with the keeper beaten. That's two he's missed now.
1628: Corner to Man Utd...
1627: There's also a banner in the away end reading: "Who Needs Wesley - We've Got Cleverley". I wonder how Sneijder would think about that?
1626: Guess who's in the crowd surrounded by Man Utd fans? Only former Red and current Everton skipper Phil Neville. Who's he with? His father and fantastically-named Neville Neville. Yes, that is serious.
1623: Chance! West Brom are continuing to plug away - and Chris Brunt's free-kick eventually falls to Steven Reid, whose hooked snap-shot is vitally deflected behind by a Man Utd defender. The hosts far from out of this match.
1622: Oh dear. Cracking Man Utd build-up - Wayne Rooney, Tom Cleverley and Nani all involved - and the latter is set up with just the keeper to beat 10 yards out, but he spoons it well over. Awful finish.
1618: Right then, what response do West Brom have in them? Still plenty lively, the hosts, only with the look of a team who have just realised they've left the stove on back home. They have tasted Man Utd's incisiveness first hand and early - and now they're doubly wary.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Kevin Phillips scores again to extend Blackpool's lead and put them in control against Peterborough. The Seasiders look set to end their disappointing record of having failed to win their opening two league fixtures since 1991."
1614: And it's almost two in two minutes as West Brom afford the lively Wayne Rooney far too much room and the striker tonks a drilled effort wide of the goal from range.
Man Utd goal: And, of course, Man Utd go and bounce upfield and score. Ashley Young lays in Wayne Rooney on the edge of the box, the England international turning and firing low into the corner in one swift movement. Fine strike, 13 minutes gone.
1612: GOALFLASH West Brom 0-1 Man Utd (Rooney)
1610: I tell you what, this is a fine spell from West Brom, who have weathered the early Man Utd storm to push the visitors right on to the back foot now. Somen Tchoyi at the forefront of all that is good about the hosts so far.
1609: And now West Brom force a corner - under which Man Utd keeper David de Gea is again found wanting in no-man's land - but Somen Tchoyi's follow-up shot is blocked.
1608: Ambitious - but why not? Baggies midfielder Paul Scharner has a pop at goal from a good 30 yards out, the ball flying past David de Gea's upright.
1606: ...and that's not great from Man Utd league debutant David de Gea, flapping at the delivery and relying on his defence to clear their lines. Hhmm.
1605: West Brom have the ball! I repeat, West Brom have the ball. And Somen Tchoyi does well down the left to force a free-kick to the left of the Man Utd box...
1603: Ashley Young free-kick, whipped in, well defended by the Baggies in their own six-yard area.
1602: Your other early headline, Man Utd are right on the front foot already - stroking the ball about nicely, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Nani and Danny Welbeck providing plenty of early pace, touch and movement.
1601: Your early headline - Wayne "The Transplant" Rooney has gone with a blended head shave. Nice.
1600: Ladies and gentlemen... it's time for the champions. What have they got?
1557: As the players emerge from the tunnel at The Hawthorns, a note that our international users can listen to this West Brom-Man Utd match on
our BBC World Service Radio.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "The evergreen Kevin Phillips gives Blackpool the lead over Peterborough on the stroke of half-time, nodding in a cross from Alex Baptiste. The 38-year-old has scored more than 250 career goals for seven professional clubs."
1553: BREAKING NEWS Manchester United defender Rafael will be out of action for around 10 weeks after dislocating his shoulder in training ahead of the trip to West Brom.
Howie via text: "When was the title and/or relegation last decided on the first day of the season? I have no idea!"
1550: WEST BROM v MAN UTD (1600) Saj Chowdhury
reports: "Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says of his current crop of youngsters: "If they have the ability and temperament, there is only one thing you can do, play them." You cannot win anything with young players, can you? Meanwhile, West Brom counterpart Roy Hodgson, 64, said he hoped to stay in management as long as 69-year-old Ferguson. "Will I go on as long as Sir Alex? Yes, I can see that," he said. Golden oldies."
1548: And you know what Sir Alex Ferguson makes of it all?
1545: I tell you what donny_wasabi - if, indeed, that is your real name - you may have a point there. The average age of today's Man Utd team? 23.9 years. The average age of the starting XI that beat Blackpool 4-2 on the last day of the last campaign? 28.45 years. Watch your back.. it's a stat attack. Although, how old is 0.45 years?
1541: WEST BROM v MAN UTD (1600) Saj Chowdhury
reports: "Man Utd's second-half display against Manchester City in the Community Shield was pure Hollywood and would have sent shivers down the spines of their rivals. The young guns Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley sparkled at Wembley while senior duo Nani and Wayne Rooney combined brilliantly in the final third. So how do West Brom, who have lost the last seven times they have hosted United at home in the league, stop the champions? Well, erm..."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "It's still 0-0 at Bloomfield Road after half an hour but Peterborough have looked the more likely to make something happen, forcing Blackpool goalkeeper Matthew Gilks into a number of saves. At Cardiff, meanwhile, Bluebirds striker Robert Earnshaw marks his second coming with a simple tap-in after Bristol City keeper David James parries Don Cowie's effort ten minutes before the break - 3-0 Cardiff."
thesmallprint13 on Twitter:
"What's the lowest number of goals on an opening weekend of a Premier league season? I think this may be a contender."
1535: WEST BROM v MAN UTD (1600) Saj Chowdhury
reports: "West Brom's new signings striker Shane Long and former United goalkeeper Ben Foster are named in the starting XI. Forward Peter Odemwingie is out with an ankle injury and Jerome Thomas is also sidelined after picking up a problem in training on Saturday. Steven Reid has recovered from a calf injury to take his place at right-back. Manchester United field a young team with Fabio in for injured full-back Patrice Evra and Michael Carrick, who is on the bench, making way for Tom Cleverley. New signings goalkeeper David de Gea and midfielder Ashley Young also start."
1533: WEST BROM v MAN UTD (1600) West Brom: Foster, Reid, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey, Brunt, Scharner, Mulumbu, Morrison, Tchoyi, Long. Subs: Fulop, Dorrans, Jara Reyes, Dawson, Thorne, Cox, Fortune. Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio Da Silva, Young, Cleverley, Anderson, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck. Subs: Lindegaard, Jones, Evans, Berbatov, Giggs, Park, Carrick. Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Wobbly Chris via text: "It's looking like Bolton's title to lose already."
EPLchat on Twitter:
"Stoke got to be happy with a point. Did well first half but couldn't get an attack together second half."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: Craig Conway's left-footed drive doubles Cardiff's lead against Bristol City, who have now conceded five without scoring in the league so far this season.
1525: Not the result Chelsea will have wanted, then, for sure - and something of an inauspicious start to his reign for Andre Villas-Boas. That's dropped points for Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea already this weekend... will Manchester United follow suit later this afternoon?
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: Deadlock broken 18 minutes in at the Cardiff City Stadium as the Welsh outfit take the lead against Bristol City through Mark Hudson, the skipper heading in Craig Conway's cross from close range.
1523: FULL-TIME Stoke 0-0 Chelsea
1521: ...into the wall. Ho hum.
1520: Hold up, though, Chelsea free-kick, 25 yards out, centre of goal...
1519: I won't lie - not a huge amount going down right now. It's tighter than Tom Jones' trousers right now.
1516: If Chelsea are going to get a winner they will do so without Fernando Torres - he is replaced by Yossi Benayoun.
1515: Soft booking, Frank Lampard having his name taken for unnecessarily throwing the ball away for a Stoke free-kick.
1514: BREAKING TEAM NEWS Patrice Evra, Dimitar Berbatov, Ryan Giggs and Ji-Sung Park all miss out for Manchester United at West Brom this afternoon - but Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck start.
1513: Deep into the last 10 minutes, Stoke are going to make a third and final chance - Ryan Shotton on for Kenwyne Jones. Time for a winner from anyone?
1509: ...well hit, straight down Asmir Begovic's throat. Simple save.
1509: Now then, can Didier Drogba make an impression? Chelsea free-kick, 30 yards out, centre of goal...
1507: Marc Wilson makes his impression - on Jose Bosingwa with a cynical block. Booked.
1504: Glenn Whelan tries one from range on the back of a rare Stoke foray forward - but it's easily held by Petr Cech in the Blues goal.
1503: It's time for some Didier Drogba - the Ivorian on for Salomon Kalou. Chelsea ramping up the pressure.
1500: And another! This time Fernando Torres's cross is met by Salomon Kalou but Asmir Begovic is down well to save at near point-blank range. Great keeping.
1459: Cracking save! The closest this match has come to an opening goal as Nicolas Anelka takes a touch and curls towards the far corner, Asmir Begovic doing brilliantly to tip the goalbound effort on to the bar.
1457: Rory Delap's afternoon's work looks done now as he pulls up with a hamstring injury. Danny Pugh comes on.
1455: Another long Stoke throw - more problems in the Chelsea box - and it takes a desperate touch at the second attempt from Petr Cech to stop Jon Walters hooking goalwards 10 yards out with the keeper seemingly beaten. Stoke still bang in this match despite Chelsea's effervescent start to the half.
1454: Second booking of the game - Ashley Cole having his name taken for a heavy follow-through on Jermaine Pennant.
1453: Chelsea substitution - Nicolas Anelka is on in place of compatriot Florent Malouda.
1452: FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Approaching kick-off in the two Championship games and Cardiff City remain unchanged following their opening-day triumph at title-favourites West Ham United. Bristol City make three changes after their 3-0 hammering by Ipswich as striker Brett Pitman, defender James Wilson and midfielder Neil Kilkenny, who played in Australia's 2-1 win over Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday, come in. Blackpool, who play Peterborough, are looking to build on their win over Hull and field the same side that won at the KC Stadium."
1450: Oh dear. Matt Etherington is actually in a lot of pain here. It looks like a dislocated shoulder. That's his match done - and a lengthy spell on the sidelines I'd wager. Dean Whitehead is his replacement.
1447: Chelsea building a real head of steam here. The home fans are apoplectic that the Blues are playing on with Matt Etherington lying prostrate on the floor up the field - but much like Van Morrison, the Londoners Carry On Regardless.
1445: Cue the accusations of Chelsea bias...
1444: TV replays of that Frank Lampard penalty appeal... again I can't help thinking Stoke are a touch fortunate. Marc Wilson got nothing of the ball and something of Lampard's shin in the area, for sure. The England midfielder certainly went down easily... but I think Mark Halsey's done Stoke a favour there.
1442: Boom! Moments after another Chelsea penalty appeal - Frank Lampard claiming to be felled this time - John Mikel Obi's dipping volley forces Asmir Begovic into a sprawling fingertip save. Best effort of the game so far and a really bright start to the second half.
1441: Chance! Florent Malouda finally finds a team-mate with a corner and John Terry's nod down seems to present Fernando Torres with a fine chance to turn and fire home inside the six-yard box - only for the Spaniard to fluff his shot completely. Rubbish effort.
1439: A few of you
that Andre Villas-Boas has 45 minutes to save his job. I trust - like
at 1322 - that all your tongues are firmly in your cheek. If not, gawd help us.
1438: Fernando Torres is not particularly happy with the treatment he's getting from the Stoke defenders - but they've shackled him well so far, despite some lively touches from the Spaniard.
1435: BIG penalty shout as Fernando Torres tumbles over Ryan Shawcross's lunge on the left-hand edge of the box. It wasn't clear if it was inside or outside the area - but Mark Halsey is unmoved either way. I thought it was a good shout, to be honest.
1433: Corner to Stoke...
1433: Stoke get the second half up and running. No substitutions.
1430: What are we thinking folks? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK). Immediately. Best Tweet wins... nothing. Go.
ljchatterley on Twitter:
"Torres playing quite well. Credit where credit due but very even game and shows how far Stoke have come over past few seasons."
Conor in Ballymena via text: "When will Chelsea realise what a talent McEachran is, and start giving him some game time?"
Lord Alan Sugar on Twitter:
"No fireworks in the Stoke v Chelsea game. Roman left his boat by chopper this morning. Should not have bothered."
1420: HALF-TIME Stoke 0-0 Chelsea Alistair Magowan's
HT snap-shot: "Not too much to get excited about. Stoke showing little threat in open play, while Fernando Torres looks like Chelsea's sharpest player so far."
1418: And that's practically the last action of the half.
1417: Oh they almost weren't happy there, though, as Fernando Torres dances into the area and is only denied by a fabulous interception from Ryan Shawcross 12 yards out. Close.
1415: Half-time drawing nearer - I'd say Stoke are the happier team with the scoreline at the moment.
1411: Looking at TV replays of that penalty shout a moment ago it looks like a cracking decision from Mark Halsey. Impossible to tell - even on replay - if Jon Walters' clip hit John Terry's chest or arm, but either way I'm not sure you could say it was intentional. You can't give those.
1409: Best Stoke attack of the half. First the hosts scream for a penalty when the ball bounces up off John Terry in the box - it looked more chest than arm to me - and then Rory Delap's dinked cross to the back post is nodded away on the stretch with Kenwyne Jones lurking.
1407: This might be his first Premier League appearance in nearly 21 months but Jonathan Woodgate is aquitting himself pretty well so far on his Stoke debut - particularly there as he denies Frank Lampard a shooting chance with a fine snap-tackle on the edge of the area.
1402: Yes... yes... yes... no. Ramires fires the jet-burners and speeds past a few Stoke players into the box, fashioning himself a fine shooting chance, but his cross-shot is wayward and it slides past the far post.
1401: I wonder what Didier Drogba is making of things? A look of him on the bench reminds me that this time last year he was banging in a hat-trick against West Brom in a 6-0 Chelsea demolition. Not built for the bench is Drogba, not for me.
1359: Ah. Oops. Fernando Torres feeds Florent Malouda in acres of space on the left but the winger gets his cross all wrong and he skews it harmless behind the goal.
1357: Just a feeling this match is starting to open up a touch, with Jon Walters in particular getting some joy down Chelsea's left for the first time in the match. Working his socks off, the Stoke striker.
1354: Nice from Chelsea - and a good cross from the right from Frank Lampard, Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross doing well to clear on the stretch with Salomon Kalou poised to pounce six yards out.
1352: Just getting a bit feisty now with a few crossed words and the odd foul creeping in. Mark Halsey will have his work cut out - good job he spent the summer preparing well,
as Tom Rostance found out.
1349: That earlier good spell of Chelsea pressure is replaced by something of a good spell for Stoke - though mostly off the back of Rory Delap's long throws so far.
JezMeyer on Twitter:
"Torres can look lively all he wants but unless he scores 20+ this season he's going to be regarded as a failure."
1345: Long Rory Delap throw... Ryan Shawcross right under Petr Cech's nose... Robert Huth back-heads over. Was Cech being impeded? Probably. Did it look like Mark Halsey would've given anything? Nope.
1344: Penalty appeal as Salomon Kalou goes down under pressure from Glenn Whelan in the box - but it's no penalty in Mark Halsey's eyes, and quite rightly too if you ask me.
1341: First booking of the match - Ryan Shawcross for a clear hack at Fernando Torres. Already causing problems the Spaniard, looking more effective in these first 10 minutes than he did almost entirely in the second half of last season.
1339: Ooof, that's almost snuck in you know - moments after Fernando Torres produces a lovely little run through the Stoke defence, Jose Bosingwa pings in a cross-come-shot that almost creeps in Asmir Begovic's near post, only for the keeper to scramble it behind.
1337: Chelsea are far from slouches on the ball themselves, though, and they settle in for the first time with a neat move down the right with Ramires heavily involved... but after earning a corner it is easily nodded away by the monstrous Stoke backline.
1336: This is a phrase I expect to be rolling out a lot this season, but Stoke - better footballing side than they're given credit for aren't they? Knocking it about fairly nicely so far the hosts.
1334: Chelsea rattled early doors? Booed every time they are on the ball by the partisan home support and giving the ball away cheaply twice in succession as a result. Hhmm.
1332: Less than a minute in and the first look of the 2011-12 season at a Rory Delap long throw. Genius. Petr Cech flaps at it a touch, but just about manages to scramble clear and the danger is averted.
1331: Fairly prompt start at in Stoke, where Chelsea kick us off...
CapitalR on Twitter:
"£66.5million pounds worth of talent on the Chelsea bench! That's double the amount of most first teams!"
1328: The teams' handshake procession was interesting viewing. Are these two of the most powerful sides in the Premier League? I think it would be safe to say the Arsenal XI, for example, wouldn't fancy bumping into these two down a dark alley late at night.
1326: Here come the teams, people...
jordanphilips on Twitter:
"Disappointed not to see Ivanovic playing at right back and Drogba starting, aerial presence needed against Stoke."
TheSunRun on Twitter:
"Come on Stoke! Show Chelsea how you old fashioned teams play! Villas Boas won't know what's hit him!"
1322: The atmosphere already hotter than a Bhut Jolokia sandwich at the Britannia Stadium - as it always is - but the question on the lips of all away fans, I'm sure, is... why Fernando Torres? Well, Andre Villas-Boas has explained: "We know that we are defenders of our 4-3-3 system, in that system we have one main striker position so we have to choose. We made the decision that we were most comfortable with and that is the most important thing." That's, erm, cleared that up then.
1318: STOKE v CHELSEA (1330) Alistair Magowan
reports: "So Stoke hand a Premier League debut to Jonathan Woodgate, who will start alongside Ryan Shawcross, while Rory Delap replaces Dean Whitehead in midfield. But the big surprise is for Chelsea, who will be spearheaded by Fernando Torres as Didier Drogba begins his season on the bench. The Spaniard will be supported by Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou in attack."
1312: For now, though, all eyes are on the Britannia...
acogden on Twitter:
"So Kieron Dyer lasted all of three minutes yesterday. Who wants a sweepstake on Jonathan Woodgate?"
Joseph via text: "Just to let Blackpool and Peterborough fans know that the sky ride is on, so you have better leave early."
1310: FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Relegated Blackpool are at home to promoted Peterborough. Both sides started the season with victories. Gary Taylor-Fletcher's sublime volley gave the Seasiders a 1-0 win at Hull and Darren Ferguson's men began their campaign with a 2-1 triumph against Crystal Palace. Cardiff opened their season with victory at heavily-fancied West Ham after new recruit Kenny Miller struck in injury-time and the Bluebirds will be hoping to make it two out of two against Bristol City, who were not so happy after their opening-day fixture, a 3-0 defeat to Ipswich."
1307: Before we get too caught up in the season kick-off of two of the Premier League's geniune heavyweights, though, it's worth remembering that there are two Football League fixtures on Sunday, both in the Championship, and kicking off at 1500 BST. Your man for those two bad boys is
JP_607 on Twitter:
"Gonna be a tough first game for us today but hopefully chelsea can get off to a winning start! Torres to get a hatrick today!"
Anon via text: "As a Spurs fan, I really want to see Woodgate do well. Such a great defender. Such bad luck with injuries."
1302: And while regular readers of my commentaries last season will know that I don't do predictions - and I never will -
does. And, as it happens, so does Hollywood megastar Samuel L Jackson. Lawro has gone for a draw and away win today, with Jacko going for two away wins. Before you go putting your mortgage on those, though, you may want to be aware that the pair got just the one result right yesterday out of six games. Mystic Meg, they aint...
HenryWhitfield on Twitter:
"Weird moment yesterday when the wife asked 'Who is Sam?' and 'Why'd you ask him to hold you and never let go?'"
1257: Did you know, by the way, that Chelsea have won five and drawn one of their six Premier League meetins with Stoke? That Chelsea have won their last nine Premier League opening matches? That Chelsea are unbeaten in opening-day fixtures since 1998, in fact? And that new Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas was unbeaten in all 30 matches as Porto manager last season? Hands up Stoke fans if you'd take a point today...
1253: BREAKING TEAM NEWS As for Stoke - Jonathan Woodgate makes his league debut for the club, Jon Walters and Kenwyne Jones start up front.
Jonny in Blackpool via text: "Just got into Blackpool for the Peterborough Game. In the car: one Peterborough fan, one Blackpool fan and one disinterested female. It's good to be back."
1249: BREAKING TEAM NEWS It's confirmed - Fernando Torres starts for Chelsea, as do Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou, Didier Drogba is on the bench.
benjamin_machin on Twitter:
"Another year, another new manager with no idea of what's coming in the bear pit. Come on you rip roaring Potters."
1245: STOKE v CHELSEA (1330) Alistair Magowan
reports: "Although Stoke reached the FA Cup final last season and have now qualified for the next round of the Europa League, manager Tony Pulis still insists Premier League survival is his priority. "I think we have to be a little bit careful," he said. "The expectation levels go through the roof. The supporters have enjoyed it so much but they remember what it's like in the Championship." Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas hopes "failure will never happen" now he is in charge, but admits his team are short in midfield."
1242: A new start for Andre Villas Boas today, then - the new Chelsea boss referring to himself not as "The Special One" ala Jose Mourinho, but "The Group One". Not quite as showbiz that is it? Man I miss Jose sometimes. Anyway, 20 years separate the new Chelsea boss and Stoke supremo Tony Pulis - and if you're wondering what both managers make of todays' match...
JRAsh1 on Twitter:
"Man Utd and Chelsea will be desperate to already put some distance between themselves and Arsenal and Livepool."
1238: STOKE v CHELSEA (1330) Alistair Magowan
reports: "New Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas won't get a better introduction to the unique rigours of English football than at Stoke, but his players are well-versed in dealing with the atmosphere at the Britannia Stadium having yet to lose in four visits there. Stoke, though, have new defenders Matthew Upson and Jonathan Woodgate among their ranks and they may be sharper than their opponents following their two Europa League games."
duncs06 on Twitter:
"Can't wait to see what the big guns can do today - Torres and Rooney to have stormers."
Cal, Chester via text: "No mention of Everton's best start to a season for years after having the away game at Spurs called off!?"
colinandmatt on Twitter:
"I reckon Chelsea may be the big club that has a faltering start this season. Don't make me say I told you so."
1231: And with the Stoke-Chelsea match drawing ever closer, I can tell you that the rumour (and it is just a rumour at present) is that Fernando Torres has been given the nod up front for the Blues today ahead of both Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. Thoughts?
Steve from Loughborough via text: "I have a sneaking feeling that both Stoke and West Brom will hold their more illustrious opponents to draws today."
1223: One of approximately 3.7bn debates that will be had between now and May, that, I'd wager - so why not get involved early doors and make your mark? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK). And if you haven't done so, could you refresh this page to restore order in the byline department please my lovelies? Cheers.
1218: Well let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, huh? I know, being the soothsaying football experts that you all are, that each and every one of you predicted Bolton and Wolves would top the early-season table, but let us assume that
aren't just going to roll over. Would that lend further weight to the argument this might be the most competitive Premier League season yet?
1215: Cheers to
then, for a cracking little run through of yesterday's headlines. For the first time in Premier League history, there was not a single home win on the opening day of the season - and who's betting against that stretching across the weekend? Anyone? You? No, not you, the man at the back. No?
1210: Eleven goals, missed penalties, a couple of dismissals, a near 22-man fracas, the re-opening of the goalline technology debate, a new-boy spanking, records broken, the lost art of defending arguably rediscovered... and very, very bad haircuts. Ladies and gentlemen, the Premier League is back up and running. Bish. Bash. Bosh.
1205: Oh ho ho yes. It's like it's never been away isn't it?
By Tom Rostance
1200: The vaguaries of Premier League team selection will drag on all day - well until the team sheets are in at the Britannia in around 40 minutes, anyway. Should be a good one, and here to steer you through this afternoon's action is none other than
1155: Having such a big squad must be a nice problem for Ferguson to have. He's not exactly short of options at the back either. Will Phil Jones get a start?
1151: More of you on Twitter and the texts going for Danny Welbeck over Dimitar Berbatov to start today. Where does that leave the languid Bulgarian? Lest we forget, he won the golden boot last season.
Anon, via text on 81111: "Re 1111 - Steve Bruce can top Stoke for signing of the summer. Wes Brown cost £1m and as anyone who watched MOTD will know, was phenomenal at Liverpool. Amen."
1147: Javier Hernandez scored the winner for Manchester United at the Hawthorns last season in a game marked by a stunning goal from James Morrison. No Chicharito for United today though - and Michael Owen is also out - so Wayne Rooney is set to be partnered by one of Dimitar Berbatov or Danny Welbeck. Big call for Sir Alex Ferguson.
Saskia Bowes on Twitter:
"Cleverley had better start! My fantasy football team is failing: Gervinho, Suarez and Gabbidon have failed me! #bbcfootball" Danny Gabbidon - very much the wildcard option there
1131: So who will start for the champions? Tom Cleverley did his chances no harm with a 45-minute cameo at Wembley last weekend. It earnt him
an England call-up
- can he get in Sir Alex Ferguson's side?
1127: I'd imagine Roy Hodgson will have something to say about that. This time last year he was preparing for his first game as Liverpool manager don't forget. And in
£7m striker Shane Long
they could have the debutant of the day. He's a real livewire.
1125: United looked ominously good in the second half of last weekend's
3-2 win over Manchester City
didn't they? Do we expect a cruise at the Hawthorns this afternoon?
1120: So a good away win for Wolves - what about Manchester United's form on the road? Only five away wins last season, Sir Alex Ferguson will surely be looking for an improvement on that. Of course, they did win the league last season...
1115: It's been pointed out by a few angry texts from the west midlands that I failed to mention Wolves'2-1 win at Blackburn
yesterday. Quite remiss of me, a fine win for Mick McCarthy's men. And here's a stat that has just been aired in the office - that was Wolves' first away win in the Premier League after going behind. Impressed?
1111: Quite a strikeforce that for Chelsea. Woodgate and Upson could be in for a busy afternoon if they start. By the way, as two free transfers go, can anyone top those two? Good shopping from Tony Pulis. More money for tracksuits and caps then no doubt.
1107: Sturridge followed up his form from last season's loan spell at Bolton with an impressive pre-season and while he is suspended for today's match, he could have a big season. Of course, Villas-Boas has still got £50m man Fernando Torres as an option. And Didier Drogba. And Nicolas Anelka. And Salomon Kalou...
1105: So what about Chelsea then? Aside from the manager there's not been a lot of movement in at Stamford Bridge this summer, with
the only new man who could be involved this afternoon. I've got a feeling it could all be about Daniel Sturridge...
Jamie Badham on Twitter:
"We should be talking more about the Song stamp than Barton. He hasn't done an awful lot wrong. Reputation going before him #bbcfootball"
1058: In a few hours' time Tony Pulis' men will be hosting Chelsea in front of a 27,000 sell-out, and the central defence could well contain Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson. No offence to Dubes, but those two have got 29 England caps between them. Quite a leap in five years.
1057: And Stoke fans tucking into your oatcakes, here's a nice early morning stat for you. Five years ago the Potters lost their opening game of the season at Southend in front of 8,971 fans with a central defensive pairing of Michael Duberry and Clint Hill.
1053: So Lawsy reckons Stoke will get a point later on, and it will be a very early examination of Chelsea's title credentials. August at the Britannia? I'd be taking at least a scarf and fingerless gloves. Maybe bring a balaclava just to be on the safe side.
Lawsy the Geordie, via text on 81111: "Morning Tom! Up early this morning after a (small, honest) drink last night after the Newcastle game. Stoke to hold Chelsea, and Rooney to get a hat-trick today, simply because I've got him in my fantasy team!"
1043: So a bad start on the road for Arsenal yesterday, and it could be a tricky Premier League start for Andre Villas-Boas at the Britannia this afternoon.
1037: And in the first of what could well become a weekly event, we want to hear your thoughts on Mr Barton. Was he right to admit he
made the most of the slap,
or was the new Arsenal striker just out of order? Let me know by texting in to 81111 or messaging us on Twitter with the hashtag
1034: At the other end of the country Gervinho made his mark on the top flight but would surely have preferred to start with a goal than his
red card for slapping
1030: Of course, not everyone can have a blinder on their first day, and - QPR fans look away now - Kieron Dyer lasted just
of his. Rangers fans, I promise that is the last mention of yesterday's debacle for at least an hour...
1028: While Shay Given was in predictably solid form between the sticks for Aston Villa in their
goalless draw at Fulham.
1025: Seb Larsson can be happy with his first shift for Sunderland after his
gave Steve Bruce's men a deserved share of the spoils at Anfield.
1023: The first weekend of the season always throws up plenty of new names to watch and it was a mixed day for those making their debuts in the top flight.
1021: Ian Holloway's Seasiders scored 55 goals and conceded 78 last season on their way out of the Premier League, while Darren Ferguson's Posh scored 106 in League One on their way up. All set for a goalless draw then...
1015: In the Championship we have a tasty-looking derby between Cardiff and Bristol City, while a veritable goalfest is on the cards as Blackpool host newly-promoted Peterborough. Both kick-off at 1500.
1013: Quite frankly if that isn't enough to satisfy your Sunday afternoon cravings then you have serious issues but fear not - there's even more football to savour.
1010: The third newcomers to the table - Swansea - don't get underway until Monday night as this afternoon is set aside for two of the big boys. Andre Villas-Boas takes charge of Chelsea for the first time at Stoke (kick-off at 1330 BST), while defending champions Manchester United are in action at West Brom (1600).
1007: The 4,500 Norwich fans who made the 494 mile round-trip to Wigan though will have been celebrating after
a 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium.
Decent start for Paul Lambert's boys on their return to the top flight.
1004: Premier League football returned yesterday and there will be a few groggy heads around this morning. QPR fans, I'm sorry to confirm that it wasn't a bad dream and you really did get thumped 4-0 at home by Bolton. Still, 111 more points to play for...
1000: Reach for the orange juice and crack open the paracetamol everyone - it's the morning after the night before...
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