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By Chris Bevan
1850: I can see Old Trafford from my window. The lights are off and it looks like everyone has gone home, so I'm going to do the same. Like I said, Match of the Day 2 (2200 BST, BBC Two and this website in the UK) is ESSENTIAL viewing tonight, unless you are a United fan, obviously. Thanks for keeping me company on another memorable day of football, and make sure you join Phil Dawkes on Tuesday for the Carling Cup fourth round.
I've been Chris Bevan,
and cheerio for now.
mUtEl0_PR on Twitter:
"In closing, Man City won the battle today, but they have not won the WAR. Form is Temporary, CLASS is PERMANENT."
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas on referee Chris Foy. Funnily enough he doesn't see things quite the same way as Neil Warnock: "The refereeing was not good in this game and that's not the first time it has happened to us. I don't want to believe there is a pattern but three games have been decided by blatant refereeing mistakes. I'm very disappointed with his (the referee's) performance. The three officials weren't up to a game that was this emotional."
From Rory in Salisbury, via text: "How can the Premier League claim to be the best league in the world when incompetent referees such as Chris Foy continue to wrongly influence games by making diabolical decisions like in today's Chelsea match? Definitely one of the worst refereeing performances I have ever seen!"
QPR boss Neil Warnock on referee Chris Foy, who sent off two Chelsea players in Rangers' 1-0 win: "I thought he got everything right, he made less mistakes than both teams." On Jose Bosingwa's red card: "Depending on which way you were looking at it the first one could have gone either way but I thought he (Shaun Wright-Phillips)was past him." And on Didier Drogba's dismissal for a lunge on Adel Taarabt: "I thought the tackle by Didier Drogba was horrendous."
tell me that today was the fourth time in Premier Leagie history that Chelsea had two players sent off in the same match. Previously, they had lost 1-0 at Liverpool (16 Oct 1999), drawn 4-4 hosting Aston Villa (26 Dec 2007) and lost 4-2 hosting Man City (27 Feb 2010).
FULL-TIME QPR 1-0 Chelsea Becky Ashton reports: "Heidar Helguson's first-half penalty is enough to secure victory for QPR in a heated west London derby in which Chelsea had two players sent off."
FULL-TIME Blackburn 1-2 Tottenham Jamie Lillywhite reports: "Rovers fought hard and caused Spurs problems with their physical style, but two sublime finishes from Rafael van der Vaart gave Spurs the points and a fifth victory from their last six matches."
FULL-TIME Fulham 1-3 Everton Chris Brierley reports: "Bobby Zamora will have nightmares about his open goal miss in the 89th minute - before Everton banged in two to win it. Phew!"
FULL-TIME Arsenal 3-1 Stoke Jefferson Lake reports: "Two goals from Arsenal's lethal substitute Robin Van Persie secured a fourth home league win on the spin for the Gunners as Stoke City eventually ran out of steam."
FULL-TIME Man Utd 1-6 Man City Phil McNultyreports from Old Trafford: "We may have witnessed a seminal day in the Premier League, English football and Manchester today. This is a stunning result for Manchester City and a total shock to Manchester United's system. Is this the day the tide turned away from Manchester United towards their "noisy neighbours"?"
1820: Er, no I'm not sure why United fans would want to wash their ironing either. It's been a long day and it's beginning to take its toll on me. Perhaps this would be a good time to remind ourselves exactly what happened...
1818: I think now might be a good time to mention that Match of the Day 2 is on BBC Two and this website (in the UK) at 2200 BST. Manchester United fans might want to save the washing up until then, or perhaps the ironing?
Hmmm, the only thing they are heading for right now is a hefty fine from the Premier League for their six bookings and two red cards today.
UgoSmart on Twitter:
"You can say anything about Drogba's lounge but he clearly won the ball; and I have seen that go free severally - Not even a foul."
Hang on... who brought Drogba's living room into this?
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini on Mario Balotelli, who scored twice in his side's 6-1 win less than 48 hours after setting his house on fire by letting off fireworks in his bathroom: "I hope for him, and for football in general, that the day will arrive when Mario changes his mind completely because after this he will become one of the best three players in the world like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The supporters like Mario because he is crazy. I love him as a guy. I don't know what has happened (with the fire). The only important thing is that Mario and his friend were OK."
From Mike, via text: "Fantastic day of football for neutrals and fans of the winning teams. Almost an average of 4 goals a game, though most of that is down to City. bring on next weekend."
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp defends under-fire Blackburn counterpart Steve Kean after his side beat Rovers at Ewood Park: "It's very unfair he's getting criticised, they are trying for their lives and they chased everything. What more can you do?"
Blackburn boss Steve Kean on the latest fans protest calling for him to be sacked after the final whistle in the 2-1 defeat against Tottenham: "Somebody's got to take it and I've got broad enough shoulders. I'll protect my players, we'll organise, get back out there and win games."
From Leban, from Ealing, via text: "That performance just goes to show how far much we've changed under AVB. Brilliant performance."
Man Utd striker Michael Owen on Twitter:
"Tough to take today where nothing went right. Hard enough playing top sides with 11 men. Credit to City, they played well. Still wouldn't swap our squad for any other in the league. We will dust ourselves down and come back stronger. Lot to be said about the timing of certain fixtures too. First 10 games of the season we were in top form. Lately we have not been ourselves."
kenrobric on Twitter:
Gutted, but not with the display of character from Chelsea. Well done QPR, but a shame the game couldn't be played properly!"
mattscozz on Twitter:
"Feeling very proud of Chelsea. Could have rolled over but showed a lot of spirit."
1757: And that is the last action of a truly extraordinary day of football. Controversy, cards, and tons and tons of goals - most of them scored by Manchester City. What did you make of it? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK).
1755: FULL-TIME QPR 1-0 Chelsea
1754: Paddy Kenny gets a hand to it and Luke Young gets rid as Nicolas Anelka waits for the ball to drop on the edge of the area. QPR clear their lines and there cannot be long left.
1753: Chelsea have a free-kick, and even Petr Cech is going up for this...
1752: Petr Cech launches a clearance downfield and Chelsea have got so many men forward that they don't actually have anyone left in defence apart from their keeper. QPR are hanging on.
1749: There will be FIVE minutes of stoppage time at Loftus Road. QPR still cannot keep the ball and Chelsea's nine men are going to give this one last push.
1748: Blimey, Chris Foy has done well to find a Chelsea player who hasn't been booked already. John Terry collides with Paddy Kenny as he tries to get on the end of a ball into the box, and is none to pleased when Kenny goes to ground. The two go head-to-head like rutting stags and that's a yellow cards for the Blues skipper.
1742: Amazing. How did this stay out? Nicolas Anelka is forced wide as he runs through on goal but he turns and chips in a cross which David Luiz launches himself at with a Mark Hughes-style scissor-kick... He makes a great contact with it too. But the ball hits Frank Lampard as it bounces goalwards and ultimately flies over the bar. QPR were extremely lucky there.
1740: Another change for QPR. Jamie Mackie is on for Shaun Derry.
1739: I think they will be a nervous last 10 minutes for the home fans too. Anton Ferdinand has to be alert to reach a free-kick in the box before John Terry but Chelsea are soon coming forward again and Branislav Ivanovic's superb clipped cross finds Nicolas Anelka in front of goal. Either side of Paddy Kenny and the Blues are level, but the Frenchman heads straight at the QPR keeper. That was their best chance of the game.
1736: Chelsea keep racking up the bookings, making it six yellows when Ashley Cole trips Joey Barton. That's Cole's fifth of the season so he misses their Carling Cup tie with Everton on Wednesday. By the looks of things, though, QPR will need a third Blues player to be sent off for them to be sure of victory. Just over 10 minutes left now and still only one goal in it.
1731: Another penalty shout for Chelsea. Heidur Helguson and David Luiz have a bit of a wrestle as they wait for a throw in the the QPR box and Luiz ends up on the floor. As they say, I've seen them given. Chris Foy is not impressed though and books Raul Meireles for his protests, after allowing Joey Barton to break forward and drag his shot wide from the edge of the box. QPR continue to live dangerously.
mmcdonald147 on Twitter:
"How difficult is it to close out a game when you have a 2 man advantage, QPR making it difficult..again."
1727: A big shout for a penalty by Chelsea when Frank Lampard goes to ground as he tries to run on to an Ashley Cole ball into the box. It looks like Anton Ferdinand gave him a little shove to help him on his way but what didn't help Chelsea's cause was that Cole's pass was poor and straight at Paddy Kenny.
1725: Better by QPR, and Luke Young is in again down the right. He has time to pick Tommy Smith in the middle but hesitates too long and Petr Cech easily cuts out the ball when he eventually sends in a low cross.
Pauljomo79 on Twitter:
"Hope for Chelsea ... QPR might be one of the few teams capable of snatching a draw / defeat from these jaws of victory!"
JohnnyMagrinho on Twitter:
"Foy has completely lost control of this game now. Every challenge is at least a yellow according to him. Expect another red."
1721: Time for a QPR change, and the man coming off is not a happy chappy. Adel Taarabt has not quite made the impression he hoped in the Premier League this season and he won't get the chance to show us any more tricks today either. Tarrabt storms off straight down the tunnel, and Tommy Smith is on instead. Just under half an hour to go, and QPR still lead by only one goal.
1719: QPR might be playing against nine men but they are struggling here. The home side give the ball away again and Chelsea surge forward. It takes a well-timed tackle by Joey Barton to deny Frank Lampard as he looks to cut the ball back.
1717: Another booking? You bet. Branislav Ivanovic slides in on Adel Taarabt, about five seconds after the Moroccan has deftly flicked the ball away. Chelsea now have four men on yellow cards to go with the two who have already been shown red. Referee Chris Foy isn't done yet, though, because Joey Barton upends John Terry and he becomes the second QPR player to be booked.
1714: You sense another QPR goal would kill Chelsea's nine-men off and they almost get it here. It all opens up for Luke Young inside the area but he fires a low shot the wrong side of the post.
1711: Referee Chris Foy is being kept busy at Loftus Road today, and he has just got his notebook out again. Shaun Derry slides in on Frank Lampard, who is none too happy with the challenge. Both of them are shown yellow.
1709: The danger for Chelsea is going to be when QPR break forward. Which they do here. Joey Barton surges down the right and feeds Adel Taarabt , who is sent tumbling by John Mikel Obi's desperate sliding tackle. That's a booking for the Chelsea man.
1707: Chelsea are definitely giving this a real go. Another neat move ends with Branislav Ivanovic driving in a cross from the right, which Paddy Kenny has to punch clear. Frank Lampard is getting forward well too, and moments later his shot is turned behind for a corner.
1705: I tell you what, this is a real chance for the Blues. Raul Meireles bends in a great cross from the right and Frank Lampard is on the end of it, but his header takes a nick off a QPR defender and flies a yard wide.
1703: The second half is under way at Loftus Road. Is there any way back for the nine men of Chelsea?
Football League update: Keith Fahey and Chris Burke combine again with the same outcome as the former Cardiff man scores a second for Birmingham. It's not a happy 41st birthday for Bristol City goalkeeper David James as his side continue their worst start for 78 years and stay rooted to the bottom of the table. Birmingham, though, climb to 14th position and continue their impressive form with five wins on the trot in all competitions. FULL-TIME Bristol City 0-2 Birmingham City
Scottish Premier League update: A frantic affair at Celtic Park saw Aberdeen goal-scorer Ryan Jack sent off for a second yellow after a poor tackle on Gary Hooper. There were some great moments of attacking play from the hosts, yet manager Neil Lennon will be concerned by defensive frailties. Celtic are now one point adrift of second placed Motherwell but remain ten points behind great rivals Rangers. FULL-TIME Celtic 2-1 Aberdeen
QPR 1-0 Chelsea Becky Ashton's HT snapshot: "It's all gone wrong for Chelsea at Loftus Road, as they trail 1-0 and are down to nine men. It's going to take something special in the second half as QPR managed to contain them when they had their full quota, while also looking a threat."
1658: There's another protest going on against Blackburn boss Steve Keane at Ewood Park. He must be used to it by now. Rovers are trying to drown out the chants of 'Kean out' by turning the music up over the tannoy but their unhappy fans are still perservering.
1657: FULL-TIME Celtic 2-1 Aberdeen
Fair to say Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is not getting carried away by his side's crushing win over United: "United are still one yard above us and we can only change this if we win the title. After that it might be different but until then United are better than us. I still have big respect for United and for their squad. There are still four or five teams who can win the title and the season is long."
From Paul G, via text: "Horribly uncomfortable win for Spurs. Blackburn fans should keep faith in Steve Kean, they were unlucky with the result as they battered us."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"2 - Chelsea have had more players sent off in the first half against QPR than they did in the entire 2010/11 league campaign (one). Mist."
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Red cards for Bosingwa and Drogba. The first time #Chelsea are reduced to nine men since a 4-2 defeat against Man City on February 2010."
jonnafon on Twitter:
"I've had some weird dreams in the last few days... can you confirm that this is real and not just my crazy subconscious?"
1649: Two derbies today, and two incredible matches - not that United or Chelsea fans will agree. Another 45 minutes to go at Loftus Road too, where the home fans are enjoying themselves a lot more than they probably expected before kick-off.
1648: HALF-TIME QPR 1-0 Chelsea
1648: There will be FOUR minutes of added time at Ewood Park. Spurs lead 2-1 but Blackburn are still causing them problems with those balls into the box.
From Chris, in the Toon, via text: "Looking forward to Chelsea getting beat 6-0 so Newcastle can go 3rd. Ahem."
1645: At the moment Juan Mata is playing up front for Chelsea, who have adopted a 4-3-1 formation. QPR's fans can scent more goals here, although there might not be time before the break. We are into the last minute of the first half.
Drogba red card: This is turning into a disastrous day for Chelsea too. They are down to NINE men and you have to say they deserve to be. Didier Drogba loses out in a midfield tussle and launches himself two-footed at Adel Taarabt. That was late and wild, and dangerous too. Referee Chris Foy might have got the first Chelsea dismissal wrong but he is spot on here.
1641: RED CARD Chelsea's Didier Drogba
1640: Another chance for Blackburn but Yakubu is horribly off target from a useful Martin Olsson cross. Rovers are running out of time to salvage a point from this one, and the pressure is only going to mount on Steve Kean if they lose another game at home.
1638: A change for Chelsea's 10 men, with Daniel Sturridge sacrificed up front to allow Branislav Ivanovic to come on and shore up their defence. About eight minutes to go until the break, and the Blues are a goal down and a man down too.
Celtic goal: Sustained pressure from the home side pays off as a Ki Sung-Yong free kick fails to be cleared by the Dons defence, the ball falls to Celtic captain Charlie Mulgrew who hammers home from six yards.
Bosingwa red card: Chelsea's job just got a whole lot harder. A bit of controversy over this dismissal, though, because although Jose Bosingwa undoubtedly pulled back Shaun Wright-Phillips as he cut in from the left, John Terry was there to cover for Chelsea. That doesn't stop Chris Foy from sending him off, though.
1633: RED CARD Chelsea's Jose Bosingwa
1632: A flurry of substitutions at Ewood Park to tell you about actualy, For Blackburn, Mauro Formica made way for Yakubu and Ruben Rochina replaces Simon Vukcevic, while Danny Rose is on for Aaron Lennon for Spurs.
1631: The Yak is on for Rovers... And he is already throwing his weight around. The impressive Junior Hoilett dances down the right and sends over a cross which the big striker meets at the near post but cannot divert on target. About 20 minutes left for Spurs to hang on to their 2-1 lead.
Aberdeen goal: Aberdeen are enjoying more posession in the second half at Celtic Park and Ryan Jack makes the most of it, ghosting through the questionable home defence and fires left-footed into the net from 18 yards.
1626: Chelsea are seeing plenty of the ball but have not exactly created much as they search for an equaliser at Loftus Road. Didier Drogba tries his luck but is hopelessly off-target - his shot actually went out for a throw. When they have stopped laughing, the QPR fans 'politely' ask him 'what the flipping heck was that?'.
1624: Spurs are looking dangerous too, mind. Luka Modric takes a touch on the edge of the area before firing goalwards. Blackburn's former Tottenham keeper Paul Robinson sees it late but manages to push it to safety.
1622: GOALFLASH Celtic 1-1 Aberdeen (Ryan Jack)
1621: Can Blackburn fight back again? They are going down route one as they hunt for a second equaliser, hoisting a succession of balls forward and into the Spurs box. Their best effort sees Chris Samba get on the end of an enormous Morten Gamst Pedersen throw, but Brad Friedel tips his back-header over his bar.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on bringing Robin van Persie off the bench to inspire his side's win over Stoke: "It was a gamble to play him but he has a special quality. He can open teams up and maybe when he plays the confidence of the other players grows too. He is a very intelligent player and his record is just incredible. It was a deserved victory in an important game after a tough week."
Tottenham goal: Spurs are back in front, courtesy of a cracking finish by Rafael Van der Vaart, who scores his second of the day with a curling left-footed shot into the corner from 20 yards out.
QPR goal: Is this a penalty? Probably. Heidar Helguson and David Luiz bounce off each other as they challenge for a ball in the box and Helguson comes off best. Luiz doesn't like it and clumsily barges the Icelander over. Chris Foy points to the spot and Helguson gets the ball off Adel Taarabt before lifting the ball over Petr Cech. Loftus Road is bouncing.
1610: GOALFLASH QPR 1-0 Chelsea (Heidar Helguson pen)
1609: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-2 Tottenham (Rafael van der Vaart)
1608: PENALTY to QPR
Manchester City keeper Joe Hart after his side's amazing 6-1 victory at Old Trafford: "We've got to stay level headed. We're a winning side and a team of winners but you don't get extra points by winning by that margin or by beating Manchester United. You could hear the fans today and we are delighted for them. We're a unit, the players, the staff, the fans and that is how we roll."
1607: Tottenham are enjoying a lot of possession at Ewood Park but they haven't been able to do much with it. Up front, Emmanuel Adebayor is having one of those days where he looks like he would prefer to be elsewhere. Jermain Defoe is on the bench waiting for Adebayor's wish to be granted.
1605: Another Chelsea sniff. From a free-kick, Frank Lampard dinks the ball towards David Luiz, who has burst into the Rangers box... but he cannot make a proper contact on the dropping ball and the chance is gone. QPR need to settle down here, and fast.
1603: Chelsea are first to attack, with Daniel Sturridge cutting in from the right, exchanging passes with Didier Drogba and letting fly. Sturridge had escaped the attention of Clint Hill but Rangers have enough men back to block his shot. No corner given, although I'm sure a defender got the last touch.
1601: And the second half is under way at Ewood Park too.
1600: Right, time for our second derby of the day. This one is an all west London affair, where Chelsea have just kicked off at Loftus Road.
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Frank Lampard will play his 500th match in the Premier League today. Becomes 5th player to reach this milestone in the #EPL era. "
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"6 - Man Utd have conceded six goals at home in the league for the first time since Sep 1930 (4-7 vs Newcastle). Drubbing."
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on his side's humiliating defeat by their neighbours City at Old Trafford: "You cannot believe the scoreline if you look at the first 30 minutes of the game. The sending off was a killer, it was a long way after that with 10 men. It is a bad defeat. The impact will come from the embarrassment of the defeat. Without doubt there will be a response to that."
Everton boss David Moyes on a terrible miss by Fulham striker Bobby Zamora seconds before Louis Saha broke up the other end to put the Toffees 2-1 up in their 3-1 win at Craven Cottage: "You just need a centre forward to round a goalie and miss. We looked at that point we might be struggling. But Zamora didn't score and we did. Once he gets round the goalie I expect to see net bulging but we went down the pitch and Louis produced a great finish. Fulham will feel hard done by that they lost the game."
LeJake1 on Twitter:
"I'm still expecting the site to update and say Manchester United 1-7 Manchester City. What a finish to the game!"
1552: Hundreds of texts and tweets on a truly astonishing Manchester derby have come in so far. Keep em coming in too. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK).
Scottish Premier League update: Early pressure from Aberdeen was snuffed out by a Celtic side growing into the game as well as some wonderful one-touch-football that created the only goal of the contest so far. The home side have had some nervous moments towards the break with the Dons looking lively, so the second half should be interesting. HALF-TIME Celtic 1-0 Aberdeen You can follow a live text commentary of that game, here.
Blackburn 1-1 Tottenham Jamie Lillywhite's HT snapshot: "Spurs seemed set to dominate proceedings after carving out a delightful opener through Kyle Walker's athleticism down the right flank and the precise finishing of Rafael Van der Vaart, but Rovers have shown admiral tenacity, and always likely to test the visitors with their more physical approach, they levelled with a superb finish of their own from Mauro Formica, into the top corner from 12 yards."
1548: I remember when Neil Warnock turned down the chance to manage Chelsea - in 1991, I think. He had just taken Notts County up into the old Division One and wanted a crack at the top flight with the Magpies. They got relegated after one season and he left during the following campaign. I bet he used to regret rejecting the Blues, but not any more.
1547: HALF-TIME Blackburn 1-1 Tottenham
QPR v CHELSEA (1600 BST) Becky Ashton reports: "Neil Warnock has admitted he's "really looking forward" to the game against the side he's confident are "title contenders" but the worrying thing for the Rangers boss is that they're looking "more fluent than they were before." His opposite number Andre Villas-Boas believes the game will be "an emotional challenge" as well as a footballing one because of the tight stadium and derby atmosphere."
Brads10 on Twitter:
"Huge win for the Toffees today! Our team spirit should be an example to the league! Good to see King Louis is back!"
LJBaker91 on Twitter:
"Did anyone feel that tremor? Oh wait, it was just the balance of power shifting in Manchester... "
From Shropshire spurs fan, via text: "Enough about boring Manchester. If Spurs can win today, we are two points off 4th with a game in hand, we WILL play Champions League next year!"
1541: Tottenham started at Ewood Park like a train but Blackburn have come right back into this one and have not sat back since equalising. Chris Samba climbs above Younes Kaboul to meet Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross but his header flies a fraction wide. Not sure Brad Friedel would have reached it if it had been on target.
Football League latest: In the Championship, Birmingham show no signs of suffering from any Europa League exertions as they take the lead against Bristol City as Chris Burke heads home a Keith Fahey cross. Bristol City 0-1 Birmingham
QPR v CHELSEA TEAM NEWS Becky Ashton reports: "Adel Taarabt returns to the starting XI for QPR after being dropped to the bench last weekend, while Clint Hill starts in defence after being recalled from a loan spell at Nottingham Forest. Chelsea welcome back John Terry, Didier Drogba, Juan Mata, John Mikel Obi and Daniel Sturridge after they were all rested for the midweek Champions League win over Genk."
Man City defender Micah Richards after his side's stunning win at Old Trafford: "To come here and win 6-1 is unbelievable. People called us the noisy neighbours and here we are. We want to show people what we can do. This victory is what dreams are made of."
QPR v CHELSEA (1600 BST) Becky Ashton reports: "Queens Park Rangers go in search of their first home win of the season when they take on Chelsea at Loftus Road but they're going to have to be at their best against a side who have scored 12 goals in their last three league matches. Rangers on the other hand have scored just six goals so far but they will be buoyed by the fact they've kept more clean sheets than today's opponents with three to one."
Blackburn goal: Chris Samba meets Morten Gamst Pedersen's free-kick and Mauro Formica gets on the end of his knockdown to fire a fine finish into the top corner from 12 yards.
Celtic goal: One touch football from Celtic as the ball is popped from Beram Kayal to Gary Hooper to Ki Sung-Yong who shoots from the left-hand-side of the Aberdeen goal to open the scoring.
1528: Phew, the goals just keep on coming, don't they? Anyone got a new set of fingers I can borrow?
1527: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-1 Tottenham (Mauro Formica)
1526: Er, in a word: WOW! That is United's heaviest home defeat since 1955. The fortress walls have just come tumbling down and City extend their lead at the top of the table to five points.
1525: GOALFLASH Celtic 1-0 Aberdeen (Ki Sung-Yong)
1525: FULL-TIME Arsenal 3-1 Stoke
1525: FULL-TIME Fulham 1-3 Everton
1525: FULL-TIME Man Utd 1-6 Man City
Man City goal (1-6): An absolutely amazing pass from David Silva, who splits the United defence and plays Edin Dzeko through on goal for the City striker to score his team's sixth goal. Amazing scenes.
Man City goal (1-5): Edin Dzeko slots a ball through to David Silva, who closes in on goal before placing his neat finish beyond David de Gea.
Everton goal (1-3): "Fulham half-clear a cross but Jack Rodwell seals the points with a rasping shot.
Man City goal (1-4): Gareth Barry rises to meet a corner and the ball is played back in for Edin Dzeko to tap home from close range. A lot has happened since then though...
1521: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-6 Man City (Edin Dzeko)
Everton goal (1-2): Seconds after Bobby Zamora misses an open goal for Fulham, Everton break forward and Louis Saha squeezes his shot between Mark Schwarzer and the post. A clinical finish to put the Toffees ahead.
1520: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-3 Everton (Jack Rodwell)
1519: Let's start with the Everton goal... bear with me here...
1518: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-5 Man City (David Silva)
1517: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-4 Man City (Edin Dzeko)
1517: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-2 Everton (Louis Saha)
Tottenham goal: What a run by Kyle Walker, who surges down the right wing leaving Gael Givet in his wake. Walker looks up to find Rafael van der Vaart in front of goal, and the Dutchman buries his first-time shot. Tottenham make the breakthrough.
1515: GOALFLASH Blackburn 0-1 Tottenham (Rafael van der Vaart)
theriseoffred on Twitter:
"It's worrying that I'm so pleased about Arsenal being up to 7th (as it stands, the fat lady hasn't sung just yet!"
Arsenal goal: I suspect Stoke were much happier when Robin van Persie was sat on the bench. He has just extended their lead in a mirror image of his first strike, converting another Gervinho cross, this time from the left flank.
United goal: Hang on. Maybe this one isn't over just yet. Darren Fletcher exchanges passes with Javier Hernandez outside the area and curls a delightful shot into the top corner. Less than 10 minutes left for the 10 men to pull off what would be the comeback of all comebacks.
1510: It's been a decent start for Blackburn against Spurs but it is the visitors who have had the first sniff of goal. Rovers midfielder Jason Lowe is needed to make a key interception to deny Tottenham's Gareth Bale. Still 0-0 in that one.
1509: GOALFLASH Arsenal 3-1 Stoke (Robin van Persie)
1508: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-3 Man City (Darren Fletcher)
1507: Still level at Craven Cottage, where Everton striker Louis Saha has brought a fine diving save from Mark Schwarzer. Anyone want to pick a winner there?
1506: The points are in the bag but City could get more goals here, you know. They come forward again and it takes a smart stop from David de Gea at his near post to deny Edin Dzeko.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"This result - and the manner of it - has been like a bucket of ice cold water being thrown over the Stretford End. Since Mario Balotelli gave them the lead Manchester City have simply accelerated away from Manchester United."
1504: Another City change. Sergio Aguero, who just hooked a volley over the bar from a tight angle is off, and Samir Nasri is on. Mark Clattenburg has got his book out again too, showing yellow to Edin Dzeko for a lunge on Phil Jones.
Arsenal goal: The Gunners do look a different side when their Dutch talisman is on the pitch and, after a spell of probing by the home side, they are back in front. Gervinho does well down the right flank and his cross is expertly turned in at the near post by Robin van Persie.
1501: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-1 Stoke (Robin van Persie)
1500: We are under way at Ewood Park.
Scottish Premier League update: Gary Hooper returns to the Celtic side after missing out in the midweek Europa League tie with Rennes due to an ankle injury and plays alongside Anthony Stokes in attack. Aberdeen, who have won their last two SPL games, keep the same side for the third consecutive match with Rory Fallon and Scott Vernon leading the line
You can follow a live text commentary of that game, here.
1458: No hat-trick for Mario Balotelli today, though. He is off and City have brought on Edin Dzeko instead. Several United fans have seen enough and are heading for the exits with 20 minutes left... it's difficult to see anyway back for United's 10 men now.
Man City goal: Mario Balotelli will get the headlines - he always does. But James Milner has been magnificent today, and is involved again as City pile on the agony for their neighbours. He plays in Micah Richards down the right and his low cross is swept home by Sergio Aguero from close range.
1456: GOALFLASH Man Utd 0-3 Man City (Sergio Aguero)
Fulham goal: I was about to write that the chances had dried up at Craven Cottage. They had, until Bryan Ruiz announced his arrival in English football with a delicious lobbed equaliser from the left-hand side of the area. He had only just come off the bench too.
1454: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-1 Everton (Bryan Ruiz)
1452: "This city is ours," sing the City fans. Sir Alex Ferguson is trying to do something about that, replacing Anderson - who has just been booked - with Phil Jones and bringing on Javier Hernandez for Nani. There are 25 minutes left at Old Trafford, where City lead 2-0.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Manchester United have struggled up a few hills in the past - but this is a very steep one now as Manchester City take total control and go two up against ten man. David Silva was again involved and he is a real member of world football's A-List."
1451: Right, Robin van Persie is on for Arsenal, who have got stuck in a rut against Stoke. At Old Trafford, City are coming forward looking for more goals and David Silva has just had a shot deflected wide.
Man City goal: City are doing more than just defending, mind. James Milner, who fired across a dangerous cross a few moments ago, links up brilliantly with David Silva down the right and drills the ball across goal for Mario Balotelli to turn home at the far post. A nicely worked goal, and City lead 2-0 with 30 minutes left.
1447: GOALFLASH Man Utd 0-2 Man City (Mario Balotelli)
1446: Arsenal could do with Van Persie coming on now to be honest. They have made a sluggish start to the second half and are playing with very little spark in the final third. Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta are trying to get the team going, but without much success so far.
1445: Problems for Stoke, with Jon Walters down and looking in real pain after colliding with his team-mate. Salif Diao is ready to come on, but Walters is having treatment on the sidelines in the hope of coming on. In other news, Robin van Persie is warming up for Arsenal.
1442: United break forward but Ashley Young's shot is blocked by James Milner and the ball ricochets off Young and wide. He's the main man for United at the moment, and they have a corner after a decent spell of pressure.
Blackburn v Tottenham line-ups Blackburn: Robinson, Lowe, Samba, Givet, Olsson, Vukcevic, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Hoilett, Roberts, Formica. Subs: Bunn, Petrovic, Slew, Rochina, Yakubu, Goodwillie, Hanley. Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Parker, Modric, Bale, Van der Vaart, Adebayor. Subs: Cudicini, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe, Rose, Livermore, Sandro, Townsend. Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
BLACKBURN v TOTTENHAM TEAM NEWS Jamie Lillywhite reports: "Blackburn make three changes Simon Vukcevic, Mauro Formica and fit-again Morten Gamst Pedersen all starting. Spurs have two changes from last week's draw at Newcastle, Sebastien Bassong replaces the injured Ledley King to partner Younes Kaboul in the centre of defence, while Aaron Lennon returns on the flank. Scott Parker captains the side with Luka Modric alongside him in the central midfield engine room, and Rafael Van der Vaart links up with Emmanuel Adebayor up front, Jermain Defoe only a substitute."
mdriver11 on Twitter:
"Evans reminds me of Skrtel. You always feel as if he's about to make a mistake. Daft challenge. Better off conceding the goal."
yellif on Twitter:
"People who call Arteta 'Fabregas-lite' are doing a disservice to both Fabregas and the word 'lite'."
1438: United are a goal down and a man down and it almost gets worse for them when Anderson tangles with Micah Richards in the box. City appeal for a penalty but Mark Clattenburg is not impressed.
Evans red card: Not much doubt about this sending off. City, who had started the second half brightly, play in Mario Balotelli, who is clean through until he is pulled back by Jonny Evans right on the edge of the area. Referee Mark Clattenburg is quick to brandish the red card and a miserable afternoon for Evans just got a whole lot worse. Balotelli slams the resulting free-kick into the United wall.
1434: RED CARD Man Utd's Jonny Evans
1433: Battle resumes in Manchester, and at the Emirates. No changes anywhere at the break.
1432: We are back under way at Craven Cottage. At Old Trafford, United were out early for the second half and City made them wait.
Immanuel, via text: "It's a little embarrassing that United's best chance was a Jonny Evans miskick.
Scottish Premier League update: An impressive and dogged display from Rangers, who have not conceded either a goal or a point in their six SPL away matches so far this season, to move nine points ahead of second placed Motherwell. Hearts played well, yet simply lacked a threat up-front during the match.
You can follow a live text commentary of today's SPL games, here.
1426: FULL-TIME Hearts 0-2 Rangers
1425: I've just taken another look at Jonny Evans' contributions to the first half - some sloppy marking for Mario Balotelli's goal and then a miskick at the other end when Wayne Rooney had found him with a pull-back from the right-hand byline. Not the greatest 45 minutes of Evans' life, to be honest.
1424: There's a game in the Championship too. Birmingham's Europa League exploits sees them playing on a Sunday again, with a trip to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City (1500 BST KO). Derek McInnes takes charge of the division's bottom side for the first time, after joining the club from St Johnstone this week. The Robins are without a win in nine and still looking for their first home victory of the season. Chris Hughton's men will be hoping to continue their good form with a third straight league win and are unbeaten in five against Bristol City. Surely an away banker then?
BLACKBURN v TOTTENHAM (1500 BST) Jamie Lillywhite reports: "The last time Blackburn played a north London club at Ewood Park there was a vociferous anti-Steve Kean protest before the game but Rovers produced a stirring fightback to beat Arsenal and avert the pressure on their manager. There has been no league victory since that day in mid-September, however, and fans remain dissatisfied with Kean, with another protest planned. But will the team be inspired to another victory, which would lift them out of the relegation zone and give the beleaguered Scot some more breathing space?"
1422: Just a reminder that there are two more Premier League games to come this afternoon, starting with Blackburn-Tottenham at Ewood Park...
Arsenal 1-1 Stoke Jefferson Lake's HT snapshot: "Stoke reacted superbly to going behind with a trademark set-piece goal to equalise, but Arsenal will wonder how they are not in front at the end of a 45 minutes in which they dominated possession and had the bulk of the chances."
Fulham 0-1 Everton Chris Brierley's HT snapshot: "Everton threatened to over-run the Cottagers after Roston Drenthe's cracking early strike but Fulham have rallied and it's game on."
Utd_F4n on Twitter:
"Sneijder... Cleverley... aah what could have been. A season too far for Utd with a second rate midfield."
1417: HALF-TIME Arsenal 1-1 Stoke
1417: HALF-TIME Fulham 0-1 Everton
1417: HALF-TIME Man Utd 0-1 Man City
1416: Fulham are still knocking on the door against Everton, but Clint Dempsey sees his curling effort swerve wide. News from the Emirates too, where a timely headed clearance by Stoke defender Matthew Upson stopped the ball falling for Gervinho in front of goal.
1414: It's still all United in terms of possession at Old Trafford. When they do find a way through the masss of Blue shirts at the moment, Jonny Evans mis-cues his volley from Wayne Rooney's cross. No more chances to tell you about the Emirates, either, where Per Mertesacker is dealing well with Rory Delap's long throws at the moment.
From Kayleigh, via text: "All those defending Jonny Evans, who gave the ball away for Cit's goal?? Who didnt close down Balotelli?? Oh yes that would be Evans! Thats why many Utd fans fear for us when he's playing. We were in control of this match before that error!!"
Rangers goal: Nikica Jalavic is on the pitch a matter of minutes, meets a 50-yard pass from Carlos Bocanegra deep in the Rangers half, and volleys the ball into the net with his first touch. A sniff of offside but Rangers lead 2-0.
1411: This time Mark Clattenburg does get his cards out, when Vincent Kompany cynically hauls back Danny Welbeck as he chases a ball over the top. United are enjoying all the pressure right now and City are defending their lead in numbers as we approach half-time, although Sergio Aguero did have a sniff of goal on the break at the other end. Jonny Evans was across to cover.
Madeiragel on Twitter:
"The noisy neigbours were always gona give us a game & expose some of our flaws..their midfield superior!"
1407: Hmmm, Mark Clattenburg decides against booking Anderson when he lunges in on City playmaker David Silva, maybe to equal things up after Micah Richards dived in on Darren Fletcher moments before. City have a free-kick, though, which Mario Balotelli fires into the wall.
Stoke goal: Out of nothing, Stoke are level. Arsenal's tempo dropped noticably when they took the lead and the Potters punish them. Ryan Shawcross gets on the end of a hoisted cross, heading back across goal where Jon Walters gets on the end of it and the ball looks as if it is going in anyway, until Peter Crouch makes sure from all of a yard out.
1403: End to end stuff at Craven Cottage, where Jack Rodwell has gone close for Everton but Brede Hangeland has seen a header kept out by Tim Howard. At Old Trafford, Anderson latches on to the loose ball when Joe Hart punches out a corner, but the City keeper is back on his line to keep out the Brazilian's shot.
1401: Yaya Toure tries his luck from about 30 yards out but his effort flies over David de Gea's goal. We are yet to see much of a response from United since they went behind. Half an hour gone in the Manchester derby and it is advantage Blue at the moment.
1400: Yep, as Phil says, Mario Balotelli was booked for his celebration after putting City in front. I don't think it will bother him too much, mind.
Scottish Premier League update: Mid-way throught the second half, the Scottish Champions are looking reasonably solid at Tynecastle, however you can't discount the possibility of Hearts coming back into the game. Adrian Mrowjec however has just squandered the best chance the home team have had so far and Rangers still lead by a single goal.
You can follow a live text commentary of that game, here.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Manchester United had barely let Manchester City have the ball until that goal - and Mario Balotelli proved what they can do with it when they get it. Great "Why Always Me?" t-shirt as well. How sad that a humorous moment is rewarded with a yellow card. Hardly provocative."
Arsenal goal: It's been coming. Moments after Aaron Ramsey fires a fizzing shot an inch or two wide, the Welshman turns provider to chip a delicate pass into the path of Gervinho inside the Stoke area, and the Ivorian striker slots confidently home. Who needs Robin van Persie?
1357: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 Stoke (Gervinho)
1356: Fulham have come to life in a big way, but Everton still lead. Danny Murphy's rasping shot hits the post, rebounds off Tim Howards' head and bounces behind. When the corner comes across, Clint Dempsey brings a diving stop from the Toffees keeper.
1355: The City fans are making a LOT of noise at Old Trafford all of a sudden. Still a long way to go in that one, though.
Man City goal: David Silva and James Milner make it, but what a finish this is by the man of the moment Mario Balotelli. He meets Milner's pull-back with a first-time shot into the bottom corner and celebrates by lifting his shirt to reveal a t-shirt reading 'why always me?'. Not even a flicker of a smile on his face either. Totally against the run of play, but City lead.
1352: GOALFLASH Man Utd 0-1 Man City (Mario Balotelli)
1350: Royston Drenthe has obviously brought his shooting boots with him today, and he has just let rip with another blockbusting effort, which took a deflection on its way in but was still dealt with by Mark Schwarzer. At the other end, Fulham's best attack so far ends with John Arne Riise volleying over.
1348: City are struggling to keep hold of the ball at the moment, and they are having to do a lot of defending. Vincent Kompany dives in to dispossess Wayne Rooney inside the area to break up another United attack, and his timing had to be spot on there.
1347: Arsenal are well on top now, and the chances are starting to come. Aaron Ramsey's clipped pass releases Gervinho, who seems to handle the ball as he tries to bring it down, but Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic is sharp enough to collect anyway.
1344: City come forward with purpose for the first time, with Micah Richards charging down the right before David Silva takes over with a more delicate approach. The Spaniard dances into the area before being crowded out, and United are able to clear when a corner is over-hit.
1343: This is more like it by Arsenal, who have a poor record this season following European outings but seem to be waking up a bit. Mikel Arteta has a pop with his left foot from outside the area, but his shot flies wide.
1342: It's still all Everton at Craven Cottage. Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell have both gone close with headers from Leighton Baines crosses. Looks like Fulham have a Europa League-sized hangover to me.
1340: It is Ashley Young who bends it in, aiming for Wayne Rooney, but Mario Balotelli is back to nod clear. City are very much on the back foot in the opening minutes though.
1338: Another free-kick for United, with James Milner diving in to send Ashley Young tumbling on the left flank. Referee Mark Clattenburg decides on a stern talking to rather than a card as punishment, but this is still dangerous.
1336: A far cagier start at the Emirates, where Arsenal's passing game is yet to find its groove. Early days of course but Stoke do love making it difficult for them.
Everton goal: Some start here by Everton and Royston Drenthe, who scores with his first touch. Jack Rodwell helps to set him up on the edge of the box and the Dutchman slams the ball past the diving Mark Schwarzer. A real screamer.
1334: Ashley Young and Micah Richards have an early tussle at Old Trafford, and the Manchester United winger wins a free-kick on the left-hand side of the area by the byline. City easily clear the ball when it is played in, but it is the home side who are doing most of the attacking at the moment.
1327: Lots of empty seats again at the Emirates. Will be interesting to see what the official attendance is...
1326: Yep, it's time for the big one. The Premier League champions against the Premier League leaders. Too tight to call? I reckon so. Let's hope it's a lively one, though.
1325: They are still watering the pitch at Craven Cottage, where the players are waiting to emerge. At Old Trafford, here come United and City...
From Dan in London, via text: "Clearly those who think Evans is no good in defence are the same people that never rated the likes of O'Shea. These are superb utility players that are capable of putting in solid and reliable performances in varying positions. Quiet, unassuming guys that are never in the papers for the wrong reasons and just get on with their jobs no matter where they are asked to play. We should be praising their efforts not moaning just because they have an ordinary sounding name."
Scottish Premier League update: Despite continued pressure from Hearts, it was not until five minutes before the break that Rangers keeper Allan McGregor was troubled. The combination of hard working Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith are making the difference in this one so far. HALF-TIME Hearts 0-1 Rangers You can follow a live text commentary of that game, here.
alexk_2394 on Twitter:
"City can finally prove today that they are genuine title contenders and in it for the long haul! COME ON CITY!"
1315: Ah. Forget all about that sunshine graphic from 1204... the clouds are back in Manchester in a big way. I have got some good news, though. Kick-off at Old Trafford, the Emirates and Craven Cottage is just 15 minutes away. Feeling nervous yet?
LukeShirley on Twitter:
"Big day today. Think people will have to take notice of Chelsea come 6pm. They will be right amongst it with a win."
daws9999 on Twitter:
"Have those criticising Jonny Evans' selection actually seen any United games this season? He's been in great form."
ARSENAL v STOKE TEAM NEWS Jefferson Lake reports: "Arsenal make four changes from the team that started at Marseille, with captain Robin van Persie dropped to the bench in favour of Gervinho. Maroune Chamakh replaces Andrey Arshavin, while Johan Djourou is in for the injured Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Ramsey comes in for Tomas Rosicky. Stoke make six changes from the 11 that kicked off against Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Thursday, with Asmir Begovic, Andy Wilkinson, Glenn Whelan, Rory Delap, Jon Walters and Peter Crouch in for Thomas Sorensen, Robert Huth, Ryan Shotton, Salif Diao, Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones."
Man Utd v Man City line-ups Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Anderson, Young, Rooney, Welbeck. Subs: Lindegaard, Jones, Berbatov, Park, Hernandez, Fabio Da Silva, Valencia. Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Toure Yaya, Barry, Milner, Silva, Balotelli, Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Dzeko, Kolarov, Nasri, Toure, De Jong. Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
From Matt, Arsenal fan, via text: "RvP is on the bench so Stoke rugby team don't injure him. This is not tactical suicide."
FULHAM v EVERTON TEAM NEWS Chris Brierley reports: "Fulham have made eight changes from Thursday's trip to Poland with only Mark Scharzer, Brede Hangeland and Mousa Dembele staying in the starting line-up. Captain Danny Murphy is back after injury as is Zdenek Grygera. Everton bring in skipper Phil Neville, Royston Drenthe and Apostolos Vellios who were all on the bench last week against Chelsea."
Rangers goal: Steven Whittaker goes on a lung-busting run from his own half and toe-pokes a pass to team-mate Steven Naismith, who hammers his shot home low into the net."
ARSENAL v STOKE (1330 BST) Jefferson Lake reports: "Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Aaron Ramsey is still feeling the effects of the broken leg he suffered 18 months ago against Stoke, saying the midfielder lost his touch as a result of Ryan Shawcross' controversial challenge. Wenger says Ramsey's speed of movement has recovered but that "it takes a long time." Tony Pulis admits any kind of positive result will be a success for his side at the Emirates, and the fact his side are playing there at all shows the progress that has been made at a club who five years ago "were going to places like Scunthorpe."
Arsenal v Stoke line-ups Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Andre Santos, Walcott, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Gervinho, Chamakh. Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Park, van Persie, Arshavin, Frimpong, Benayoun. Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson, Whitehead, Delap, Whelan, Etherington, Walters, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Huth, Jones, Diao, Shotton, Jerome, Palacios. Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
1256: Lots of people questioning team selections in our first three Premier League games of the day, and only Everton fans seem to be truly happy with theirs. For the doubters, can I point you in the direction of the Wolves fans who chanted "you don't know what you're doing" at Mick McCarthy when he made an unpopular double substitution with 20 minutes left of Saturday's game with Swansea.
Wolves were 2-0 down at the time...
_TeamTilda_ on Twitter:
"2 upfront for City? Evans instead of Vidic? RVP on the bench? Is this going to be a day of tactical madness?"
MartinRoberts0n on Twitter:
"What is Wenger playing at sticking RVP on the bench, he bloke baffles me, Barca dont rest Messi because he's their best player!"
MAN UTD v MAN CITY TEAM NEWS Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Old Trafford: "Sir Alex Ferguson once again shows his faith in the emerging Danny Welbeck by pairing him with Wayne Rooney in Manchester United's attack, but Nemanja Vidic is not risked and Phil Jones is also out. Manchester City leave Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko out of their starting line-up, but still plenty of attacking intent in there wit David Silva, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero."
Scottiboi89 on Twitter:
"Nice to see Chamakh getting a start but I don't understand why our best player is on the bench?!"
RBanfield17 on Twitter:
"Really happy to see Vellios and Drenthe start for #efc today. Vellios has looked our most threatening forward this season."
BREAKING FULHAM AND EVERTON TEAM NEWS: Fulham have made eight changes from their midweek Europa League outing, while Everton bring in Phil Neville, Royston Drenthe and Apostolos Vellios, who were all on the bench last week against Chelsea.
1240: A late change to the Man City line-up. Yaya Toure is in for Nigel de Jong.
BREAKING ARSENAL TEAM NEWS: Interesting for all of you who think the Gunners are a one-man team these days, because Robin van Persie starts on the bench against Stoke. Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh are up front. Alex Song is captain.
From anonymous Liverpool fan via text: "Re 1232: It's bit of both for me, was at the Norwich game and yes, it does frustrate me that he has those bad aspects of his game, but Elliot Bennett pulled and yanked at him all game and he got nothing. Boy who cried wolf I suppose."
BREAKING MAN UTD TEAM NEWS: Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck start up front for Manchester United. No Nemanja Vidic at the back - Jonny Evans is playing instead.
footballuncut on Twitter:
"Dalglish wants Suarez protection - what does he want? a mattress for him to dive on so he doesn't hurt himself?"
BREAKING MAN CITY TEAM NEWS: Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero both start for Manchester City at Old Trafford. More on that, and full line-ups for both teams to follow shortly, I hope.
1231: Plenty of fall-out from Saturday's action to get through too. I couldn't help but notice Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish
calling for Luis Suarez to get greater protection from referees,
following his side's
draw with Norwich.
Suarez gets no sympathy from me, though. An absolute wizard of a striker, yes, but the sooner he cuts out his tendency to dive AND scream at the ref for a foul everytime he trips over a blade of grass the better. What goes around, comes around, no? And surely Dalglish should be telling him that too... but do any Liverpool fans (or anyone else) see it differently?
Scottish Premier League update: Hearts are unchanged for their fourth consecutive game while Rangers are without Nikica Jelavic, who has to settle for a place on the bench after a mid-week illness, leaving Kyle Lafferty with the lone striker task up front.
You can follow a live text commentary of that game, here.
MAN UTD v MAN CITY (1330 BST) Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Old Trafford: "No mind games from Sir Alex Ferguson as he is lavish in his praise of opposite number Roberto Mancini for his handling of the Carlos Tevez affair, saying: "If anyone ever doubted the ability of Mancini as a manager you just have to study his handling of the Carlos Tevez situation recently, for this was a masterclass in management." Mancini is equal in his admiration for Ferguson, saying: "I can say thank you to him because I have big respect for him - he won everything for 25 years. He is a teacher and I learn from him."
FULHAM v EVERTON (1330 BST) Chris Brierley reports: "Martin Jol has a few tricks up his sleeve to breach "a very good" Everton back four but he reckons his strikeforce has the firepower to "exploit their weaknesses". Moyes reckons Fulham's tough European schedule "can be tiring" but would love it to be Everton "playing Thursday and Sunday" because Everton "need European football"."
1225: Time for some stat chat. United lead the way in derby wins with 66 wins to City's 43. There has only been one Blue victory at Old Trafford since 1974, a
2-1 win for Sven-Goran Eriksson's City side in February 2008.
If Roberto Mancini is going to emulate that feat, he will have to end United's unbeaten run of 25 Premier League games at Old Trafford, of which they have won the last 19. Sir Alex Ferguson's men have not lost in 37 games at home in any competition, either.
From Luke in Oxford, via text: "United looked better in the Community Shield but two differences for City from that game - Nasri and Aguero."
From anon, via text: "Football today is all what Fergie does up front with either Welbeck or Hernandez to start alongside wazza (Rooney) & our central defensive partnership, could see Vidic back! Oh I've already got butterflies, C'MON UNITED!!!!!!"
RowanPellegrin on Twitter:
"Going for 2-2 in Manchester derby, but I reckon Arsenal/Stoke game might be the most entertaining of the day."
ARSENAL v STOKE (1330 BST) Jefferson Lake reports: "There is no shortage of history between Arsenal and Stoke City, whose managers Arsene Wenger and Tony Pulis have been involved in several high-profile confrontations in recent years. A four-goal victory for Stoke would take them fifth, while the hosts can overtake the Potters if they win. Aaron Ramsey, who plays for the second time against Stoke since breaking his leg there 18 months ago, bids to add to his goalscoring tally of three in his last four."
FULHAM v EVERTON (1330 BST) Chris Brierley reports: "Two teams desperate to climb away from the prickly end of the Premier League go head-to head by the Thames. Both are locked on seven points and, while Everton have lost their last three games, Fulham are the draw specialists with six in eight games. The key could be how Martin Jol's men respond to their midweek defeat to Wislaw Krakow in Poland when Moussa Dembele was sent-off."
MAN UTD v MAN CITY (1330 BST) Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Old Trafford:
"Manchester City arrive at Old Trafford in the position their Abu Dhabi's owners craved when they embarked on their vast investment programme - ahead of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table. But will Roberto Mancini's side have the courage of their convictions at the home of the champions to confirm their growing theat to their rivals' crown?"
Scottish Premier League update: Two matches in the SPL today, starting with Rangers at Hearts (1230 BST). You won't be hearing much from either manager on the BBC. Rangers have withdraw co-operation with the corporation over a BBC Scotland documentary aired this week, while on Saturday withdrew their players from media activity while an SFA charge hangs over their manager Paolo Sergio. Things are a bit simpler on the pitch. Rangers can extend their lead at the top of the table to nine points. Hearts have scored nine goals without reply in four successive SPL wins at home - which included victory over Celtic - and their manager Paulo Sergio wants to notch up an Old Firm double. "It's going to be very good motivation for us, trying to be the first one to beat Rangers," he said.
TonyjRandall on Twitter:
"This town ain't big enough for the two of us. #MUFC v #MCFC... Utd will run City out of town today winning 2-1."
CapitalR on Twitter:
"Bigggg game today & first test of Man City - today will prove if they really are title contenders."
1214: You lot have got a big part to play too. Whether you are a noisy neighbour or are harbouring derby day delusions I wat to hear from you. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK).
1208: But fireworks are guaranteed at Old Trafford today... because
Mario Balotelli is bringing some along.
You really couldn't make that guy up, could you? Whoever says there are no characters in football anymore has not met him.
1206: This is the SECOND all-Manchester meeting this season, of course. I was at Wembley
for the first one in August.
At the time United looked streets ahead of City, to be honest, despite needing a stoppage-time goal to fight back from 2-0 down and win the Community Shield. But Roberto Mancini's men have come on a bit themselves since then, haven't they? Personally, I just hope both teams show off their attacking, rather than defensive, qualities today.
1204: Even the sun doesn't want to miss today's potentially epic clash between Premier League pacesetters Manchester United and City - it is currently trying to burn through a typical Mancunian haze, and not doing too bad a job either. From where I'm sitting, Old Trafford is shimmering in the distance. All was quiet on Sir Matt Busby Way when I cycled down it earlier, but I've got a feeling that is going to change fairly soon. Hold on to your hats...
1159: Red versus Blue, and they are the top two too. Yep, it's the one we've all been waiting for... The 160th Manchester derby starts here - and welcome to what promises to be a gargantuan Sunday of football.
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