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Page last updated at 20:02 GMT, Saturday, 5 November 2011

Saturday football as it happened


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Sam Lyon
By Sam Lyon
BBC Sport

2000: And on that bombshell, folks, I shall bid you adieu. Until tomorrow anyway. A good day for the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, the Manchester clubs and Newcastle, then, but Liverpool, Sunderland and QPR will all go home wondering what more they could have done. Perhaps they can check out Match of the Day later to find out? Thanks awfully for your company today my friends - join me against tomorrow for the terrific trio that is Wolves v Wigan, Bolton v Stoke and Fulham v Tottenham . Oh come on, it's not that bad a line-up is it? See you all then... Sam Lyon out.

Embo via text: "To all long suffering fans City out there - only another three points and we should be safe!! Crack on!!"

ZaKKarim on Twitter: "All three title contenders won ugly today."

1950: As promised, people, your running order for tonight's Match of the Day (2230 BBC One and Online) is as follows...
1. Man Utd v Sunderland
2. QPR v Man City
3. Newcastle v Everton
4. Aston Villa v Norwich
5. Blackburn v Chelsea
6. Arsenal v West Brom
7. Liverpool v Swansea

batterg on Twitter: "Man City not on form today. QPR played well. Too many tweets saying we have been found out. All teams have a bad day."

Man City coach David Platt: "Perhaps we weren't at our sharpest, what with all the travelling to Villareal and the game, and a few knocks as well. We didn't have that brightness in our play. The important thing is that when we aren't at our sharpest we can still go on and take the three points."

binary_dinosaur on Twitter: "While QPR deserve praise for not giving up, so too do Manchester City. Strong determination from both teams."

1943: QPR 2-3 MAN CITY
Phil Dawkes reports:
"It is often said that the sign of a good side is that they win when they do not play well. In that case, City are definitely a good side. A record of 10 wins out of 11 so far this league season testifies to this - but QPR can take a lot of heart from today."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"United win, but this was not a game to match the occasion of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25th anniversary. Sunderland dug in but ultimately leave empty-handed."

Pete Shuttleworth reports:
"Bore draw? You're having a laugh. A thrilling game where Swansea City earn a memorable point as Liverpool's hoodoo against newly-promoted clubs at Anfield goes on."

Neil Johnston's FT snapshot:
"It was not pretty but Chelsea won't care. This is mission accomplished as far as Andre Villas-Boas is concerned. Blackburn's problems mount. But they only have themselves to blame after some poor misses."

Becky Ashton reports:
"Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor were in devastating form as Aston Villa came from behind to secure their first win in four."

Owen Phillips reports:
"Arsenal, inspired by another classy Robin van Persie display, steadily upped the tempo and ended up beating the Baggies with the minimal of fuss."

Tom Rostance reports:
"Newcastle's remarkable unbeaten start to the season continues after a game which will be remembered for Ryan Taylor's cracking goal."

1933: Before I bring you tonight's Match of the Day running order, then, a run-down of today's Premier League action...

jpoole28 on Twitter: "Title winners sometimes win ugly."

Adam, forced to miss the game for fireworks, via text: "Fair play to QPR. Sounds like a cracker of a game. But City just keep finding ways to win. Love it."

1930: Unlucky indeed for QPR - but Manchester City eke out their eighth win on the bounce in all competitions to underline, as if anyone doubted it, just how big a challenge they can launch in this season's title race. Roberto Mancini's are back five points clear at the top of the Premier League table - and they will take some stopping.

andrew_moss on Twitter: "Very good performance from QPR. Unlucky not to get something."

Full time
1924: FULL-TIME QPR 2-3 Man City

1923: ...headed wide by Heidar Helguson.

1923: Corner to QPR...

1922: We're two minutes into the allotted three added minutes.

1921: Ahhh waste. Alejandro Faurlin puts paid to some lovely QPR build-up with a speculative long-ranger that flies a mile wide from 30 yards out. Shame.

1918: Late Man City substitution - Kolo Toure on for Edin Dzeko.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: The final whistle goes at the Riverside - Middlesbrough finishing the game strongly on their way to beating Watford 1-0. Tony Mowbray's men go to within a point of second-placed West Ham in the Championship table.

1917: Man City are a bit nervy here, QPR patient in their build-up but just struggling to find that killer final ball.

1915: As we approach the last five minutes, it is QPR pushing forward...

Someone has struck the woodwork
1913: Crossbar again! My word the woodwork has taken a battering today. QPR oh so close to levelling again, Heidar Helguson rising to meet Joey Barton's free-kick from deep to head at goal - only to watch in horror as it crashes out off the angle of post and bar. So unlucky.

1910: Into the last 10 minutes at Loftus Road.

Yellow card
1908: Oh that's awful. Leave it in the swimming pool Mario. Balotelli drives into the box before throwing himself theatrically over Luke Young's non-existent tackle - the Italian quite rightly booked for the dive.

1907: QPR boss Neil Warnock responds by replacing Jay Bothroyd with Jason Puncheon.

1906: Attacking change from Roberto Mancini following that goal - Mario Balotelli is on for Gareth Barry.

Man City goal: That's the response. Aleksandar Kolarov is the creator, whipping in a superb cross from the left for Yaya Toure to run on to and head firmly home off the underside of the bar. Parity for QPR lasts less than five minutes.

1904: GOALFLASH QPR 2-3 Man City (Yaya Toure)

1903: What response from Man City now?

1901: It has initially gone down as a Heidar Helguson goal. Neil Warnock, right now, gives not one single jot.

QPR goal: Man City aren't happy but QPR are level - and rightly so. Jay Bothroyd and Heidar Helguson will have to scrap it out to determine who gets it, but the former's header from Armand Traore's cross is helped in close in by the latter and Man City, who wrongly appealed for offside, are pegged back.

1859: GOALFLASH QPR 2-2 Man City (Helguson)

1858: Man City change - Adam Johnson on for Sergio Aguero.

1857: Chance! Alejandro Faurlin crosses from the left and it's met by the onrushing Joey Barton at the near post - but his shot flies well over. Could have done better there the former Man City man.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Faris Haroun misses a glorious chance to seal victory for Middlesbrough in their Championship clash with Watford. The Belgium midfielder blazes over the bar from six yards out. Into the last 20 minutes there.

1852: End-to-end. Jamie Mackie bursts into the box and only the thinnest of flicks on the ball from Stefan Savic puts him off his stride, the Scot's cross cut out before it reaches Jay Bothroyd. Had the QPR man gone down then, though, referee Martin Atkinson might have had a decision to make...

1850: Man City look dangerous with every attack now, though, and it takes a fabulous one-handed stop from Paddy Kenny to keep Edin Dzeko's low 18-yard shot out this time.

1848: And yet here come QPR on the attack again... the Londoners don't know they're beaten just yet.

1846: Suddenly Man City are full of verve and vigour and QPR are looking pretty vulnerable.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Watford are winning plenty of corners in the Championship game at Middlesbrough, but they cannot find a way through a well-marshalled home defence. Boro remain one goal to the good.

1844: What do they say about teams that are able to win even when not playing at their best?

Man City goal: Oh it's a delightful goal. David Silva has been unusually quiet today but he lights the game up here, providing the perfect touch to set himself up from Edin Dzeko's slid cross before slamming home eight yards out.

1842: GOALFLASH QPR 1-2 Man City (Silva)

1841: But here come Man City on the break...

1840: I imagine the Man City players celebrated fireworks night early with a rocket in their pants from Robert Mancini at half-time - and they're showing a touch more patience and quality on the ball so far in this half. It's still QPR impressing, though.

1836: Oh close! Shaun Wright-Phillips's surge at the Man City defence sees the ball spill to Joey Barton, whose first-time shot left-footed from range forces a sprawling save to his left from Joe Hart. Positive start to the half again from the hosts.

1835: QPR kick us off...

1834: Right... the players are back out... here we go...

TraumaticThrash on Twitter: "Come on QPR. Do us all a favour."

Chris from Coventry via text: "Missing Kompany big time. Don't know if Savic was the best bet for this game. Was always going to be difficult for him."

aj_bowen on Twitter: "I think the Man City's player's minds are elsewhere!! Balotelli's firework display later perhaps?"

Craig in Aberdeen via text: "How can City suffer from European hangovers when they can change the whole line up of necessary?? Options galore."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "[Sunderland boss Steve] Bruce very concerned about Connor Wickham. Fears a long lay-off with damaged knee ligaments."

1825: One final push people? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @sampatricklyon or text in via 81111 (UK). It's gotta be worth a go, right?

IainFordyce17 on Twitter: "Man City starting to find it hard juggling the Champions League with the Premier League?"

Half time
1822: HALF-TIME QPR 1-1 Man City
Phil Dawkes's HT snap-shot:
"QPR have been the better side, but such is Man City's quality that they can capitalise on one of their very few chances to go into the break level."

1819: There's your half-time whistle.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1818: Woodwork! It's Man City's turn to hit the post now as Sergio Aguero drills against the foot of the post from range with QPR keeper Paddy Kenny unmoved in the home goal. The visitors are a different side since their goal.

1817: Man City tails are up - finally - and QPR are like a rabbit in the headlights right now.

Man City goal: It's a fine goal but more than Man City deserve as QPR pay the price for just falling asleep for the briefest of moments. Edin Dzeko collects James Milner's pass, dances inside the area from side and then slots a low finish in on the spin.

1815: GOALFLASH QPR 1-1 Man City (Dzeko)

1813: Man City free-kick, 25 yards out... curled harmlessly wide by Aleksandar Kolarov.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: It's half-time at Middlesbrough and the fans can leave their seats for the second time in 15 minutes - but this time it will be for refreshment and not because of a faulty fire alarm. The inquest has already started into Middlesbrough's disputed goal, which separates the two Championship teams at the break.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1812: Post! My word Man City are living dangerously. Heidar Helguson makes the most of a dire Edin Dzeko pass with a fine cross that is met by the unmarked Jay Bothroyd, but the QPR striker's header back across goal beats Joe Hart but not the post. So close.

1809: This, by the way, is the first time Manchester City have been behind in a Premier League game this season.

chris__charles on Twitter: "'Are you Chelsea in disguise?' - the chant at Loftus Road."

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: A rare goal from striker Scott McDonald - his first since August - puts Middlesbrough into the lead against Watford in the late Championship game. It looked offside, though, and you have to feel sorry for the Hornets who have grown into the match.

1806: Save! So nearly 2-0 to QPR as Jamie Mackie is found in the box on the back of a driving Shaun Wright-Phillips run, but the Scot's rising drive is palmed away by Joe Hart. Heidar Helguson gets his head on the follow up - forcing an even better save from Hart - but the QPR man was offside anyway.

1803: They've beaten Chelsea already this season, QPR - can they go on and now overcome Man City? There's a long way to go...

1802: Almost an immediate reply from Man City as Edin Dzeko, from Sergio Aguero's cut-back, forces a brave block from Anton Ferdinand. But QPR are good for their lead nonetheless.

QPR goal: Told ya. Joey Barton whips in a delightful delivery from a free-kick on the right and Jay Bothroyd rises highest to nod a firm header home into the corner. Deserved.

1800: GOALFLASH QPR 1-0 Man City (Bothroyd)

1759: Manchester City look right out of sorts this evening, they really do.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: False alarm at the Riverside Stadium… literally. Just sixty seconds after a fire alarm signalled the evacuation of a stand, the fans come flooding back in. The Championship game does not stop during the confusion and Watford are slowly working their way back into the contest. It's quite an even game.

1756: ...almost! Heidar Helguson at the back post heads back across goal and Anton Ferdinand - with the goal gaping - is inches away from nodding into the empty net, but the ball just drifts past his lunge. Close for QPR.

1755: This one's not great either - but it's a decent free-kick delivery from Joey Barton and Micah Richards gives away the corner...

1752: No great chances being created just yet, though.

1751: Neil Warnock must be enjoying this - QPR full of running, full of commitment and showing no little threat in attack too.

1747: QPR continue onwards unflustered, mind, and this time Heidar Helguson - having done well to keep the ball in on the right - cuts inside and fires a shot goalwards from the edge of the area, Hart down to save comfortably.

1746: And then the first signs of threat from Man City as Sergio Aguero wriggles free down the right on the byeline, Armand Traore having to get back quickly to cut the Argentine's cross out.

1743: Armand Traore bursts down the QPR left in another fine break, but his cross is cut out in the middle by Stefan Savic. The team they call the Superhoops are super-charged at the start of this match. I just nicked that off commentator Steve Wilson. Good from me.

1740: QPR refusing to allow Man City a single second of time and space so far in this match, while also committing impressive nnumbers forward in attack. Bright start from Neil Warnock's boys.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: In the Championship's late kick-off, Middlesbrough have started well against Watford without creating too many chances. Victory would put the Riversiders to within one point of second-placed West Ham.

1737: In fact, it is QPR making the early running so far - fair play to them. A Champions League hangover for Man City perhaps? Too early to tell.

1735: Early chance for QPR - well, half a chance - as Heidar Helguson lashes a tricky volley wide of the Manchester City upright from the edge of the area.

1733: Manchester City kick us off...

1732: Right then, let's concentrate on events at Loftus Road yes?

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish on Bent and Agbonlahor for England: "I don't know, it's obviously down to Fabio Capello and his thinking and his style of place and he does have other choices. Sometimes the jigsaw doesn't always fit together as well as it has for us but they were certainly eye-catching."

1728: Don't forget to keep your missives coming into us here, folks. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @sampatricklyon or text in via 81111 (UK). Easy life.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce: "I'm never destined to get everything here [at Old Trafford]. I think I've had all my good times. For all United's great play to lose to an own goal from a set piece is disappointing. Wes Brown couldn't do much about it. I think we have the nucleus of a very good squad and we've seen signs here again. We'll keep plodding away and hopefully things will change."

1725: QPR v MAN CITY (1730)
Phil Dawkes reports:
"'Let's have a go,' is the theme of Neil Warnock's very realistic view ahead of the game with high-flying Manchester City. 'We've got to try and find a way of giving them a game and that's what we've been doing this week,' said the Hoops boss. Complacency is the dirtiest word for Warnock's counterpart Roberto Mancini, who is adamant his team will not take Rangers lightly. 'QPR beat Chelsea and did well against Tottenham so it will be a tough game,' said the Italian. 'I have a big respect for them.'"

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "We did not do what we are capable of today and credit to Swansea for that. I am disappointed with the level of performance we produced but, as much as we have to respect the opposition, we need to see what we can do not to repeat a performance like that again."

Norwich boss Paul Lambert after his side's 3-2 loss at Aston Villa: "The lads have done great [so far this season]. There's a long long way to go and it's all new to us but we are holding our own."

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas reveals Petr Cech played on with a broken nose against Blackburn. "He's very injury-prone in football accidents. All sorts of things have happened to him. But he hung on bravely today."

C_Gillon on Twitter: "Norwich, QPR and Swansea were the teams most people tipped to go down. Does anybody genuinely think thats still the case?"

BBC Radio 5 live
Mark Lawrenson speaking on 5 live, on the handball that wasn't at Old Trafford: "The decision in the first place was completely wrong. At least the referee overturned his assistant's decision." And on events at Ewood Park: "Why are all those numpties chanting 'Kean Out'? Today their team played quite well. The chanting just strikes you as extremely pre-meditated. Blackburn could have got something from the game."

1721: Time, I think, for a bit of Mark Lawrenson...

1720: QPR v MAN CITY (1730)
Phil Dawkes reports:
"Here's a few ominous numbers for QPR: 28, 36 and nine out of 10. That's the number of points Manchester City have earned, goals they've scored and the league games they have won respectively; all better than everyone else in the league. However, there is hope for the Hoops as the only time Mancini's men have failed to win in the league this season was in west London after a Champions League game; the same circumstances as today."

AndrewCoroneo on Twitter: "No mention of p/t Southport?! Seven aways wins in a row and only 1 loss in 15 in the conference! Up the Port!!!"

Mark in Aberdeen via text: "Torres' performances have gone from poor to 'should he even be in the Premier League?' What on earth happened to the one-time world beater?"

1715: QPR v MAN CITY (1730)
Phil Dawkes reports: "QPR
make three changes from the side that lost 3-1 at Tottenham. Adel Taarabt has a bug and is replaced by Jay Bothroyd, Fitz Hall is injured so Danny Gabbidon starts and Jamie Mackie is in for Shaun Derry. Meanwhile, Stefan Savic starts his first league game for Manchester City in place of suspended captain Vincent Kompany. Midfielder David Silva has recovered from the back injury he sustained at Villarreal in midweek and plays. James Milner also starts, with Samir Nasri on the bench."

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers: "It was a fantastic performance and we played like a big team today. At a club who are historically fantastic with some top players and a great manager. There's not too many teams walk off at Anfield and get a clap from the home crowd. "

Abdirahman_Ali on Twitter: "Top five teams all with clean sheets, lets hope Man city can do likewise."

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "I think there was some anxiety about our play but credit to Sunderland because they battled hard. They are going through a sticky patch but I can't see how they're going to be in trouble. Steve [Bruce] is a great manager and has done fantastically well. I didn't expect that [the presentation] today. I felt very honoured and emotional to see my name on that stand. I didn't know a thing about it."

ellis_tim on Twitter: "Dalglish said Liverpool will eventually convert their chances but when? We have scored only 14 times. Home games are becoming torture."

Chet, Wembley via text: "Owen doesn't hang around for long does he after a game? he left the stadium rather quick! maybe he wants to catch strictly."

myflapjack on Twitter: "Rovers played great again today, the fans will always support the players. We keep playing like that, we will stay up."

1710: QPR v MAN CITY (1730)
Kenny, Young, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Traore, Mackie, Barton, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd, Helguson. Subs: Murphy, Orr, Hill, Derry, Smith, Andrade, Puncheon.
Man City: Hart, Richards, Savic, Lescott, Kolarov, Barry, Toure Yaya, Milner, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Johnson, Nasri, Clichy, Toure, Balotelli.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1708: Oh, and in case you were wondering… it finished honours even in the clash between the 'two worst teams in Britain'. Logan Barker rescued a point for Fort William in a thrilling 2-2 draw with fellow Highland League side Strathspey Thistle. It is the first point of the season for both teams.

1705: Narrow wins for Chelsea and Manchester United keep up their challenge at the top of the table, then, while Arsenal's comfortable win over West Brom continues their resurgence after the early-season blip. Swansea will be delighted with a point from Anfield, meanwhile, while Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor give a timely nod to England coach Fabio Capello with a cracking display to see Aston Villa past Norwich... just. Room for more? How about a bit of QPR v Man City then? Lovely jubbly.

Man Utd striker Michael Owen on Twitter: "On my way back from the match. Good three points but the day will be remembered for the presentation to the Boss before the game. Unbelievable."

1701: The majority of home fans at Ewood Park have remained behind, by the way, to launch a protest against both boss Steve Kean and owners Venky's, by the look of things. Hhmm.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Rangers extend their lead at the top of the table, with a hat-trick from Nikica Jelavic giving the Ibrox side a 3-1 win over Dundee United. Andrew Shinnie also grabbed three goals in an incredible match as Inverness shocked Kilmarnock 6-3 at Rugby Park. Dunfermline held on to Austin McCann's early goal at Easter Road as three points separates the clubs in the bottom half of the table, as St Mirren and Hearts let the side down with a 0-0 draw.

Joshua Peck on Twitter: "BBC mentioned earlier that Gillingham v Northampton was game of the day - so it seems! Gills win 4-3."

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Steve Cotterill's former side Portsmouth return to haunt him this afternoon, defeating his new Nottingham Forest side 3-0 in the Championship. Southampton continue their relentless pursuit of promotion with a 4-2 win at Coventry and West Ham enjoy an impressive 2-0 result at Hull. In League One, Stevenage stun Sheffield United 2-1 while leaders Charlton enjoy a crushing 5-1 defeat of Preston and Huddersfield are held by Walsall. Lowly League Two side Hereford will savour their draw against high-flying Crawley while Shrewsbury survive 75 minutes with 10 men to beat Dagenham and Redbridge 2-0.

Full time
1659: FULL-TIME Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea

1658: Chelsea looking about as comfortable as barbed wire slippers here...

1656: Horrid miss! Fernando Torres with a great chance to wrap up Chelsea's win at Ewood Park, but the Spaniard contriving to volley well over the bar five yards out from Ashley Cole's cross. Awful.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former England international Danny Mills is at Old Trafford for BBC Radio 5 live: "It certainly wasn't vintage Manchester United, but Sir Alex Ferguson will say a win is a win. They weren't at their best. Sunderland were in the game but United march on, despite not looking completely convincing."

Full time
1656: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 3-2 Norwich

1655: FULL-TIME Liverpool 0-0 Swansea

1654: Norwich still pushing for an equaliser at Villa Park, the hosts just holding firm at present...

Full time
1653: FULL-TIME Man Utd 1-0 Sunderland

1652: FULL-TIME Arsenal 3-0 West Brom

1652: And now Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is denied a penalty in the last minute of added-time at Anfield following a challenge by Swansea right-back Angel Rangel.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1651: Crossbar! Blackburn oh so close to a late leveller against Chelsea, Gael Givet smashing a header against the bar from a corner. Unbelievable.

1650: Into stoppage time around the grounds...

1649: Crackerjack save! Liverpool full-back Glen Johnson connects with a volley about as sweetly as you could hope and it looks for all the world like squeezing into the top corner - only for the flying Michel Vorm to fingertip it over the bar at full stretch. Stunning save.

1647: Liverpool goal... disallowed! And it's a cracking decision from official Sian Massey on the touchline, ruling Dirk Kuyt was inches offside from Daniel Agger's flick-on before nodding home. Relief for Swansea.

1646: At Old Trafford, meanwhile, there's not a huge amount of spark from Sunderland - which is just as well for the hosts whose passing this afternoon has bordered on the woeful at times.

1644: It's all very niggly at Ewood Park as Blackburn's frustration at the prospect of another league defeat grows by the minute.

1642: What a chance for Swansea - wasted! Nathan Dyer's deep cross is nodded back into the danger area by Danny Graham and Mark Gower gets on the end of it, only to fire well over with the goal gaping. Oh dear.

1641: Sunderland inches away from an equaliser at Old Trafford. Sebastian Larsson finds space on the right but Nicklas Bendtner is unable to get a touch on his well-placed cross. Chances have been few and far between for the visitors and they could well rue that.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE: It's been raining goals at Rugby Park where Inverness, without an away success all season, have raced into a 5-2 lead. A Nikica Jelavic double has Rangers 2-1 ahead against Dundee United, while Dunfermline are holding on to their 1-0 lead at Hibs and it remains goalless between St Mirren and Hearts.

Norwich goal: Game back on at Villa Park as Steve Morison rises at the back post to head home Grant Holt's brilliant deep cross. Norwich don't go down without a fight, do they?

1639: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 3-2 Norwich (Morison)

1638: Arsenal are really stepping up the pressure against West Brom and Alex Song's fierce strike is beaten away by Ben Foster following some lovely build-up play. A fourth Gunners goal looks inevitable.

1638: More heart-in-your-mouth moments at Anfield for Liverpool as keeper Jose Reina spills Nathan Dyer's 20-yard shot into the path of Swansea striker Danny Graham - but Reina makes amends to block Graham's nudged follow-up

1638: Liverpool can count themselves lucky that they did not concede a penalty as Swansea midfielder Leon Britton was fouled on the line of the penalty box by Daniel Agger. Referee Phil Dowd awarded the free-kick which Mark Gower wasted but Swansea are dominating at Anfield.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Kevin Phillips is showing there is life in the old dog yet after putting Blackpool in front against Millwall in the Championship. Bristol City have gone 3-1 up over Burnley, Cardiff are beating Palace and Southampton lead 3-2 at Coventry. League One title-chasers Huddersfield have finally broken through against Walsall, while Bournemouth have seemingly put their game against Scunthrope to bed with a second goal. Over in League Two, Southend have edged in front against Oxford and Plymouth are clinging on in their clash with high-flying Morecambe.

1637: Big chance for a West Brom reply at the Emirates as Somen Tchoyi is released one-on-one, but the big man dallies far too long and Thomas Vermaelen is able to get back and block his eventual shot.

1636: As we lean into the final 15 minutes at Anfield, it remains goalless between Liverpool and Swansea. And, if anything, it's the Welsh side who are looking the more impressive. Time for a winner?

1634: And Blackburn continue to hammer away at Ewood Park. He might be blooded and battered, but Petr Cech rescues Chelsea to deny Yakubu's curling effort after Alex and John Terry get in a muddle inside the Blues box.

1632: Oh Manchester United should be 2-0 up at Old Trafford. That they are not is due to Sunderland keeper Keiren Westwood. The Irishman firstly saves well from a powerful close-range Wayne Rooney shot and then somehow gets himself up to tip over Patrice Evra's goal-bound follow-up from near point-blank range.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Sunderland manager Steve Bruce argued long and loud that his side should have had a penalty - but referee Lee Mason's decision was correct as the offender was Ji Dong-Won."

Arsenal goal: The Gunners are rampant and Robin van Persie - of course - is involved again, holding the ball up well in the box before laying it back to Mikel Arteta to sweep into the corner from the edge of the area.

1631: GOALFLASH Arsenal 3-0 West Brom (Arteta)

1629: Fine reception at Villa Park as Jermaine Jenas comes on for his long awaited debut - though that may be just because he's replacing Emile Heskey in the Aston Villa midfield to be fair.

RobertBodsworth on Twitter: "Agbonlahor is the best English wide-man in the Premier League right now. Big season and deserves taking to the Euros"

1627: Controversy at Old Trafford! Moments after Javier Hernandez has a header cleared off the line, Sunderland are awarded a penalty at the other end when Phil Jones is adjudged by the linesman to have handled Sebastian Larsson's cross. However, after a moment's consultation, referee Lee Mason over-rules his assistant and overturns his decision - no penalty. The replays aren't clear, but I suspect that's a good decision.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Jack Collison has doubled West Ham's lead at Hull - will this be the Hammers' first Championship victory of the season against a team in the top seven? In League One, Stevenage remain on course for a shock win against much-fancied Sheffield United and Chesterfield have gone back in front against Yeovil. Berahino, on loan from West Brom, is fast becoming a hero for Northampton in League Two - he has scored two as the Cobblers have fought back to 3-3 at Gillingham.

1625: After a tedious first half, Blackburn-Chelsea has burst into life. Goalscorer Lampard is denied a second goal from distance following Paul Robinson's finger-tip save.

1624: Jose Reina again saves Liverpool again as the Reds stopper palms Swansea winger Nathan Dyer's shot, from Wayne Routledge's lovely defence-splitting pass, past the post.

Lee in Manchester: "All I want for xmas is Wesley Snjieder...well in the January transfer window anyway!"

Aston Villa goal: It's those two again - are you watching Fabio Capello? - Gabriel Agbonlahor again teeing up strike partner Darren Bent to fire home with a beauty of a cross. If only England were playing Norwich next weekend... and not Spain.

1623: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 3-1 Norwich (Bent)

1621: Deary me, that is awful! Blackburn - again - are left to rue some poor finishing as Grant Hanley is presented with an open goal as Petr Cech can only parry Morten Gamst Pedersen's free-kick, but the youngster contrives to fire straight at the prostrate Chelsea keeper. Ellery Hanley would have scored that, I think.

1620: Back down in London Aaron Ramsey goes close to netting Arsenal's third, shooting narrowly with his left foot from a tight angle after being teed up by Gervinho. West Brom, despite some promising approach play, are still to test home keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

1618: Emile Heskey has an excellent chance to make it 3-1 at Villa Park, meeting a right wing cross from Charles N'Zogbiaat the near post only for his header to be deflected over. From the resulting corner James Collins gets a free header but directs it well wide.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former England international Danny Mills is at Old Trafford for BBC Radio 5 live: "What is detrimental to Manchester United, particularly in the second half, is that Wayne Rooney seems to have dropped back even further to almost a quarter-back role. He's a great player but he cannot be dangerous from that position."

1617: Luis Suarez is looking to be Liverpool's greatest goal threat against Swansea as the Uruguay striker heads Charlie Adam's inswinging left-wing free-kick into the arms of Swans keeper Michel Vorm. Moments later, Pepe Reina's mis-control from a back-pass almost lets in Danny Graham but the Reds keeper recovers to clear from the Swans frontman.

Chelsea goal: Finally some quality from Chelsea and it results in the opening goal. Branislav Ivanovic curls a doozy of a cross from the right-hand side with the outside of his right boot and Frank Lampard stoops to direct a fine diving header into the corner.

1615: GOALFLASH Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea (Lampard)

Opta Sports on Twitter: "Gabriel Agbonlahor has now scored a goal against 26 of the 30 different teams that he has faced in the Premier League. Collection."

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Bristol City's lead over Burnley has not lasted long, thanks to Ross Wallace's leveller. Also in the Championship, Coventry have pulled one back against Southampton while Sam Baldock has put West Ham one up at Hull. In League One, MK Dons are coasting to victory at home to Rochdale but Hartlepool have drawn level with Leyton Orient.

1613: The second half at Old Trafford has begun in the fashion that characterised much of the first 45 minutes, with the home side having the majority of possession but doing precious little with it.

colm_hogan on Twitter: "How long before Man City snap up Robin Van Persie! My guess is January!"

aftab147 on Twitter: "Man utd's centre midfield needs emergency repairs if we have any chance this year"

1611: Over at the Emirates, Thomas Vermaelen is fractionally wide with a free header from Robin van Persie's delicious inswinging corner. At 3-0 that would surely have been game over.

1610: Blackburn-Chelsea restarts - and it's no surprise to see Fernando Torres on at the start of the second half for the lacklustre visitors in place of Florent Malouda. Can the Spaniard make a difference?

Aston Villa goal: It might be 50 days until Christmas but Leon Barnett is dishing out presents early here, his woeful backpass letting in Gabriel Agbonlahor, who strides clear of the defence before bundling Villa back in front.

1608: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 2-1 Norwich (Agbonlahor)

BBC Radio 5 live
Former England international Danny Mills is at Old Trafford for BBC Radio 5 live: "Let's hope the second half is much better than the first, which quite frankly couldn't have been much worse as a spectacle."

1606: A signal of intent by Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish, by the way, as Dirk Kuyt, searching for his 50th Premier League goal, replaces Jordan Henderson at Anfield.

1605: ...and now Aston Villa-Norwich. We'll have ato wait a while for Blackburn-Chelsea, I'll guess.

1604: ...followed, not so swiftly by Liverpool-Swansea and Man Utd-Sunderland...

1602: Keen to beat the Saturday evening traffic, Arsenal-West Brom is the first of the 1500 Premier League kick-offs to restart...

SebBeasant on Twitter: "Should be Welbeck's goal, his header is on target & if it were a freekick with the same situation it will be awarded to him "

abdoolhass on Twitter: "No pace no drive at Old Trafford, is it the effect of the Silver Jubilee celebrations?"

1600: Enjoying this, then, people? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @sampatricklyon or text in via 81111 (UK). This is your time to shine.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Rangers lead Dundee United 1-0 at half-time thanks to a header from Nikica Jelavic, while Dunfermline enjoy the same cushion away to Hibs. Kilmarnock and Inverness are all square, with Dean Shiels and Andrew Shinnie trading excellent finishes. It's goalless between St Mirren and Hearts.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: In the Championship, Bristol City and Portsmouth will be enjoying their half-time brew after scoring late in the first half against Burnley and Nottingham Forest respectively. The teacups might start flying in Preston's dressing room when Phil Brown gets in there with North End on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline at Charlton in League One. And there has been a goal in every League Two fixture this afternoon, but Gillingham striker Jo Kuffour takes the honours for his first-half hat-trick against Northampton.

Shea from Exeter via text: "RE: 1537: Does that mean in 25 years time Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves will dominate the league?"

Half time
1557: HALF-TIME Blackburn 0-0 Chelsea
Neil Johnston's HT snapshot:
"All the action taking place in the skies above Ewood. Yakubu may regret his glaring miss while Chelsea have to step it up. Time for Torres?"

Half time
1556: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich
Becky Ashton reports:
"Four out of the last five clashes between Aston Villa and Norwich have ended in draws and this one is heading the same way. Good game, though."

1555: The half-time whistle - finally - blows at Ewood Park, putting everyone out of their misery for 15 minutes or so.

Half time
1555: HALF-TIME Liverpool 0-0 Swansea
Pete Shuttleworth's HT snap-shot:
"It has been a game of 'I can dominate possession more than you' at Anfield but Liverpool have had the better chances in a hugely entertaining half."

Half time
1553: HALF-TIME Man Utd 1-0 Sunderland
Chief football writer Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot:
"Man Utd's goal in stoppage time saved this dire first half from a complete absence of excitement. Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will be desperately frustrated not to have seen it out until the interval."

Half time
1552: HALF-TIME Arsenal 2-0 West Brom
Owen Phillips' HT snap-shot:
"Just two chances created at the Emirates but the goal-hungry Robin van Persie took the only one to fall to him and laid on the second to give Arsenal a wonderful platform to land a fourth consecutive league win."

1550: That's half-time at Villa Park now, though.

1549: The half-time whistles blow at Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd - but a couple of lengthy injury delays, in particular for Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, ensures they are still playing at Blackburn and Aston Villa.

1548: Just time before the break at Anfield for Swans keeper Michel Vorm to fingertip a close-range Andy Carroll header just wide of the post from Charlie Adam's right-wing corner. Fine stop.

Man Utd goal: Breakthrough for United - and it's former Red Wes Brown who is on hand to provide it for them, the Sunderland defender unfortunate to deflect a header from Nani's corner into his own net under pressure from Danny Welbeck.

1546: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 Sunderland (Brown og)

BBC Radio 5 live
Former England international Danny Mills is at Old Trafford for BBC Radio 5 live: "The final ball in from both sides has been woeful so far. These are two Premier League teams and you expect so much better than this."

1544: It's pretty dull stuff at Ewood Park right now - though that will suit the hosts rather nicely, I'd wager. Frank Lampard has just fired a mile over the Blackburn goal with a shot that rather sums up the half there.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Hooray! We're starting to see the goals fly in at Championship grounds. Richard Chaplow and Adam Lallana have set Southampton on their way at Coventry and Theo Robinson has scored a quickfire brace for Derby in their duel with Peterborough. Doncaster are now three up at Ipswich - Diouf getting his second.

AScooley on Twitter: "A plane has flown over Ewood park with a banner saying "STEVE KEAN OUT" ...You have got to feel sorry for the bloke."

Rob in Edinburgh via text: "Given that the Ballon D'Or is awarded on the basis of the calender year, can someone please clarify why Robin van Persie didn't even make the 22 man shortlist?"

1542: Man Utd are appealing for a penalty at Old Trafford as Javier Hernandez, running on to Darren Fletcher's pass, goes down under Sebastien Larsson's challenge - but referee Lee Mason is unmoved, and rightly so. Moments later Phil Jones drills a snap-shot narrowly over the bar from a corner, but the hosts are still looking rather below-par so far.

Arsenal goal: Cruise control for Arsenal as Thomas Vermaelen puts them 2-0 up with his first goal in almost two years, the defender in the right place at the right time to lash Robin van Persie's cut-back home unmarked 12 yards out.

1539: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-0 West Brom (Vermaelen)

1538: Neat football from Swansea at Liverpool as midfielder Joe Allen fires inches wide of Jose Reina's left-hand-post with a lovely curling right-footed shot. The Welsh side not afraid to push forward today.

1537: As a measure of Manchester United's success under Sir Alex Ferguson, by the way, they have picked up over 200 points more than the next most successful team in the Premier League era, which is Arsenal. United have amassed 1597 points to Arsenal's 1395.

Anon via text: "25 years ago today, when Alex Ferguson took over at Manchester United the bottom 4 clubs were Chelsea, Man united, Newcastle United, and Man City. The top 4 today? The same."
Now THAT is a cracking stat.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "To answer those kind enough to ask, I do not think Sir Alex's statue will depict the great man tapping his watch."

1534: Manchester United still struggling to break down Sunderland, who are defending superbly. Wayne Rooney is being shackled so far in his midfield role, while Javier Hernandez up front has barely had a kick. Rooney's 30-yard shot, comfortably saved by Keiren Westwood, is the only shot on goal so far.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Nikica Jelavic has headed Rangers in front against Dundee United, while a cool Dean Shiels finish has Kilmarnock ahead at home to Inverness and a shaky Hibs side trail to an early strike from Dunfermline full-back Austin McCann.

1533: And now at Luis Suarez brings the best out of Swansea keeper Michel Vorm as the Liverpool striker lets fly from 25 yards. Chances galore there but no goals just yet.

Aston Villa goal: Norwich's lead lasts just five minutes - and this goal is all down to Gabriel Agbonlahor, who produces a fabulous surge down the left before putting his cross on a plate for Darren Bent to prod home. Brilliant.

1531: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich (Bent)

1530: Save! Liverpool keeper Jose Reina needs to pull off a superb point-blank save as Swansea striker Danny Graham nudges Wayne Routledge's teasing inswinging left-wing cross goalwards.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: It's turning into a great day for Doncaster fans, with Billy Sharp rounding off his emotional week by adding to El-Hadji Diouf's opener at Ipswich. However, it's all quiet elsewhere in the Championship while, as predicted, Preston are 3-0 behind at Charlton in League One and Bury lead at Oldham, who saw goalkeeper Alex Cisak sent-off after just 10 minutes. In League Two, Rotherham have gone into the lead at Aldershot.

Opta Sports on Twitter: "300 - Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington has scored the 300th goal of the 2011/12 Premier League season. Spartan."

Norwich goal: Beauty. Anthony Pilkington, who only a few years ago was playing in front of one man and his dog in the non league, curls a superb free-kick into the top corner from 22 yards out to hand Norwich a deserved lead.

1526: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 0-1 Norwich (Pilkington)

Guardian journalist Daniel Taylor on Twitter: "Man Utd also announce they have commissioned a statue of Sir Alex Ferguson to go outside the newly named stand."

1525: Over at Ewood Park, Daniel Sturridge crumples in a heap following a challenge with Chris Samba inside the Blackburn area. No penalty. Samba and Rovers keeper Paul Robinson not happy with Sturridge, who did go over rather easily.

1523: That also makes it 29 goals in the calendar year for Robin van Persie. Only five players before him have scored 30 or more in a single year.

Arsenal goal: Who else? Robin van Persie makes it eight goals in four games with a close-range finish after Theo Walcott's initial effort is saved after being put through by Mikel Arteta's delightful pass. Breakthrough.

1522: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 West Brom (Van Persie)

1521: Aston Villa should be ahead at Villa Park, Darren Bent with a superb chance after he found himself on his own in the box but Norwich keeper John Ruddy stood tall and blocked shot

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: We're up and running in the Championship, and it's everyone's favourite pantomime villain who has done the business - El-Hadji Diouf putting Doncaster into the lead at Ipswich

1520: Chance at Anfield as Liverpool striker Luis Suarez shrugs off Swansea pair Mark Gower and Angel Rangel before shooting narrowly wide from 25 yards out.

1519: Just the two glaring errors in my 1514 update. Refresh please.

1518: It's all a bit 'after the Lord Mayor's show' at Old Trafford right now, and Sunderland are revelling in Man Utd's muted start. Little urgency on show from the hosts so far.

1517: Petr Cech will continue for Chelsea - after a seven-minute delay.

1516: It has been a relatively low-key opening at Old Trafford, in which Manchester United have dominated possession. However, Sunderland have twice just gone close to breaking the deadlock in the space of a minute. A cross from the right almost falls kindly for Nicklas Bendtner, before Sebastian Larsson fires into the side-netting. Then, soon after, Bendtner draws a full-length save from Anders Lindegaard with a 25-yard shot.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: It's all quiet in the Championship - no goals to report as yet. In League One, Notts County storm out of the traps with a goal inside sixty seconds against Wycombe, with Chesterfield also leading Yeovil 1-0. Accrington, Torquay, Hereford, Shrewsbury and Gillingham are also in front in League Two.

1514: There's blood, too, at the Emirates as Jonas Olssen takes a blow in the face from Thomas Vermaelen's flailing boot. He will carry on as well, though.

1513: It's a long hold up at Ewood Park as Petr Cech - who has a bloodied nose - receives treatment. He should be OK to carry on, though.

1511: Big, big miss for Blackburn as Yakubu fires wide from close range following Mauro Formica's run into the area - he should have done so much better. Chelsea keeper Petr Cech is hurt by his own player Ashley Cole in the scramble, meanwhile, and that is a touch worrying. I'll keep you updated.

infostadaLive on Twitter: "It is over six years since Manchester United lost a Premier League match at Old Trafford at 3pm on a Saturday - 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers on September 24, 2005, was the last time"

1510: First half-chance of the game at Old Trafford and it goes to the home side. Javier Hernandez darts to the near post to connect with Nani's right-wing cross but the attentions of a Sunderland defender prevent him getting enough purchase on his shot to worry Keiren Westwood.

1509: Arsenal on top at the Emirates but West Brom holding their own defensively so far - and even looking a threat on the break.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1508: Crossbar! Over at Anfield, where Liverpool have bossed possession without creating a chance, the hosts go within inches of opening the scoring, Andy Carroll found by Stewart Downing's beauty of a cross from the left but succeeding only in side-footing left-footed against the bar from six yards out. Let-off.

1506: Fine early effort for Norwich at Villa Park as the visitors work the ball to Anthony Pilkington inside the Villa box, only for Shay Given to palm his curler away from the far post. Good save.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former England international Danny Mills is at Old Trafford for BBC Radio 5 live: "Congratulations to Sir Alex Ferguson. But all that fuss dragged on rather..."

1504: Bright start for Chelsea at Ewood Park as Florent Malouda's cross finds Daniel Sturridge, but the striker is unable to control the ball. Moments later Frank Lampard tries his luck from long-range - it's on target but easily saved.

1502: Early concern for Sunderland at Old Trafford as Connor Wickham slips, rolls over on his ankle - and that's his match done and dusted already. He'll be stretchered off. Shame.

1501: We are up and running in all the 1500 kick-offs...

1459: At Blackburn - as around the Premier League grounds - there will be a minute's silence in tribute to Remembrance Sunday.

whomovedmypeace on Twitter: "Take a bow, Sir Alex Ferguson. Living legend, enough said!"

Damien from Wakefield, via text: "Maybe Blackburn should put as much effort into supporting the team as they do protesting. Chelsea are there for the taking."

Mase159 on Twitter: "How much longer can Kenny keep faith with Carroll whilst he fails to produce? Will probably net a hattrick today now"

1457: Yes, I'm joking. It's a cracking tribute.

1457: Talking of Sir Alex Ferguson and Man Utd - having walked through a players guard of honour on his way on to the Old Trafford pitch, the Scot - celebrating a remarkable 25 years at the helm, of course - shows no little emotion as chief executive David Gill announces the north stand of the ground is to be renamed the 'Sir Alex Ferguson stand'. Blimey. 25 years of service and all he gets is a stand and some seats. He'd have preferred a bottle of the good stuff, I reckon.

1456: Phew...

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford reports:
"Sir Alex Ferguson's 25th anniversary is the talk of Old Trafford and the Manchester United manager says in his programme notes: 'It has all been a fairytale dream - give or take the occasional nightmare.' His former captain, now Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce, says simply: 'There will never be another manager like Sir Alex Ferguson.'"

1453: LIVERPOOL v SWANSEA (1500)
Peter Shuttleworth reports: "Liverpool
have struggled against promoted teams at home in recent seasons but boss Kenny Dalglish points-out: 'I think we've created more chances than anyone else in the Premier League. Eventually we are going to convert a high proportion of the chances.' Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers is excited ahead of an 'iconic game' for his team at Anfield: 'It is fantastic for the supporters to go to a club with great history in world football. But the club has earned the right to play at these great clubs.'"

1452: ARSENAL v WEST BROM (1500)
Owen Phillips reports:
"Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged caution following three consecutive Premier League wins. 'It is too far to say we are playing for the championship,' he said. 'But we can aspire to be in the top four. Let's be humble and progressive.' West Brom boss Roy Hogson is demanding a response to their first loss in five. He said: 'We showed Liverpool too much respect. But I think that was a blip.'"

1451: ASTON VILLA v NORWICH (1500)
Becky Ashton reports:
"Alex McLeish believes on-loan Jermaine Jenas will be a 'man on a mission' when he finally kick-starts his Aston Villa career, which could get underway this afternoon after recovering from injury. His Norwich counterpart Paul Lambert is expecting no favours when he goes up against his former manager at Motherwell and believes Villa 'are still really a top side' and that today's game will be 'as big as they come'."

1450: BLACKBURN v CHELSEA (1500)
Neil Johnston reports:
"With more protests expected, Blackburn manager Steve Kean needs all the friends he can get. And he certainly has one in Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas. 'Blackburn are a team that are going through ups and down in terms of emotions; a public that has shown a bit of disrespect for their manager,' said Villas-Boas. Kean returned the compliment: 'Andre is a forward-thinking coach who is dynamic.'"

stevecummins78 on Twitter: "I expect goals at Emirates today, lots of attacking players for West Brom, will be very open"

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Championship leaders Southampton have to defy history if they are to get the better of Coventry - the Saints have not won at the Ricoh Arena in four previous attempts. Something has to give in the clash between Cardiff and Crystal Palace. The Eagles have not conceded a goal in 550 minutes of football, but Cardiff are the division's third-highest scorers at home this season. West Ham, who have not beaten a top-seven side this season, face Hull in a match that was a Premier League fixture two years ago.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford reports:
"Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson rests David de Gea and starts with Anders Lindegaard in goal, while Nemanja Vidic is reunited with Rio Ferdinand in central defence. For Sunderland, John O'Shea misses out on a return to Old Trafford through injury, but Wes Brown is available to face his former club along with Steve Bruce's other former United stars Phil Bardsley and Kieran Richardson."

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: In League One Preston, who have conceded 13 goals in their last four matches, should be fearful ahead of their trip to face Charlton and the free-scoring Bradley Wright-Phillips. But, should North End spring a surprise, second-placed Huddersfield will fancy their chances of overhauling the leaders at home to lowly Walsall. Elsewhere, any of the Match of the Day pundits wanting to sample some true Lancashire fayre on their first day in the north might want to check out Bury's clash at Oldham.

1446: LIVERPOOL v SWANSEA (1500)
Pete Shuttleworth reports: "Liverpool
remain unchanged as Swansea visit Anfield so Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll are paired up-front but Steven Gerrard (ankle) and Jamie Carragher (calf) are out. A hamstring niggle means England under-21 winger Scott Sinclair drops to the substitutes bench. Wayne Routledge is called into the team in the only change for Swansea."

NickSlobodyanyk on Twitter: "A real chance for Sturridge to prove himself today. Cheeky brace today I reckon. Mark my words"

FOOTBALL LEAGUE: High-flying Morecambe will hope to gatecrash Plymouth's 'coming out of administration' party at Home Park this afternoon in League Two. Meanwhile, Steve Evans will be bidding to avoid the manager of the month curse when he takes his team to struggling Hereford and leaders Southend have their work cut out at home to fourth-placed Oxford. AFC Wimbledon will be hoping to arrest their recent slide in their London derby with Barnet.

EliteKM on Twitter: "Looks like Rooney in central midfield today again. He will prove he is Paul Scholes' successor today."

1444: BLACKBURN v CHELSEA (1500)
Neil Johnston reports:
"John Terry is back to captain Chelsea after being left on the substitutes bench against Genk in the Champions League in midweek. Fernando Torres, who makes ways for Florent Malouda, starts on the bench at Ewood Park. Alex starts in place of Jose Bosingwa. Blackburn name the same side that started the 3-3 draw at Norwich last week."

1443: ARSENAL v WEST BROM (1500)
Owen Phillips reports: "Arsenal
restore top scorer Robin van Persie to the side after he was rested for the midweek Champions League draw with Marseille. Laurent Koscielny also returns to partner Thomas Vermaelen in central defence, meaning Per Mertesacker drops to the bench. West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie misses out with a knee injury as does Paul Scharner, two of four changes from the side beaten by Liverpool last time out. Simon Cox starts up front - his first league start of the season - and Zoltan Gera also makes the XI."

1441: ASTON VILLA v NORWICH (1500)
Becky Ashton reports: "Aston Villa
are unchanged, so there is no place in the squad for Barry Bannan who returned to training this week after a club suspension. Jermaine Jenas could finally make his debut for the side after joining on loan from Tottenham in the summer, after he's named on the bench. For visitors Norwich Grant Holt returns to the starting XI in place of David Fox in their only change from the side who drew with Blackburn last weekend."

1440: MAN UTD v SUNDERLAND (1500)
Man Utd:
Lindegaard, Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Rooney, Park, Welbeck, Hernandez. Subs: De Gea, Evans, Berbatov, Carrick, Fabio Da Silva, Valencia, Diouf.
Sunderland: Westwood, Bardsley, Brown, Turner, Richardson, Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, Sessegnon, Bendtner, Wickham. Subs: Carson, Gardner, Ji, Meyler, McClean, Elmohamady, Egan.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

1439: A seventh win of what is turning into a remarkable season for Newcastle, then, and that pushes them - temporarily at least - up into second. Whodda thunk it? No time for us to dwell on that, though... we've got a wealth of 1500 kick-offs to look forward to...

Full time
1438: FULL-TIME Newcastle 2-1 Everton

1437: Solid as a rock at the back, Newcastle. Everton fast running out of ideas.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Newcastle forward Kevin Gallacher is at St James' Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "Alan Pardew has both his hands in the air, clapping and encouraging the fans to get behind his team. They could be the 12th man in these final few minutes."

1435: Into stoppage time at St James' - four minutes of it.

1434: Fabulous defensive work from Jonas Gutierrez - who has been converted overnight by Alan Pardew from a flamboyant lackadaisical winger into a tough-tackling work-horse - as another promising Everton attack is snuffed out.

1432: Neat build-up, poor finish. Everton drive forward with Phil Jagielka and Tim Cahill heavily involved, but when the ball is cued up for Louis Saha to have a strike from range on the run, he punts it wide of the Newcastle upright.

1430: This could be a nervy last few minutes for Newcastle here, with Everton starting to build something like a head of steam.

1429: ARSENAL v WEST BROM (1500)
Szczesny, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Ramsey, Song, Arteta, Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho. Subs: Fabianski, Mertesacker, Rosicky, Park, Djourou, Arshavin, Benayoun.
West Brom: Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Jones, Morrison, Dorrans, Brunt, Cox, Gera, Thomas. Subs: Fulop, Tchoyi, Shorey, Mulumbu, Dawson, Thorne, Fortune.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

1427: ASTON VILLA v NORWICH (1500)
Aston Villa:
Given, Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, N'Zogbia, Herd, Petrov, Heskey, Bent, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Jenas, Ireland, Albrighton, Delph, Clark, Cuellar.
Norwich: Ruddy, Naughton, Russell Martin, Barnett, Tierney, Bennett, Johnson, Hoolahan, Pilkington, Holt, Morison. Subs: Rudd, Crofts, Surman, Fox, Jackson, Wilbraham, De Laet.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

1425: Here's a familiar face - James McFadden is on for Everton for the first appearance of his second spell at the club in place of Tony Hibbert. Seamus Coleman will be pushed back to right back.

1423: Ooohh... Newcastle just went to sleep a bit there and Louis Saha almost made them pay, keeping Tony Hibbert's deep cross in at the byeline with a header back into the danger zone - but no Everton player is on hand to get a strike on goal.

1422: LIVERPOOL v SWANSEA (1500)
Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Lucas, Adam, Downing, Carroll, Suarez. Subs: Doni, Maxi, Coates, Kuyt, Spearing, Kelly, Bellamy.
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Monk, Williams, Taylor, Gower, Britton, Allen, Routledge, Graham, Dyer. Subs: Tremmel, Sinclair, Lita, Moore, Agustien, Richards, Moras.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1421: BLACKBURN v CHELSEA (1500)
Robinson, Lowe, Samba, Givet, Olsson, Rochina, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Hoilett, Formica, Yakubu. Subs: Bunn, Dunn, Petrovic, Blackman, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Hanley.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Lampard, Mata, Sturridge, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Torres, Meireles, Bosingwa, Lukaku, Kalou.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

1419: Heading into the last 15 minutes and matters remain very finely poised at St James' Park. It might be just me, but I think Newcastle are just starting to drop a little deep here...

1417: A great reception at St James' Park as Hatem Ben Arfa returns to action as a substitute in place of Leon Best.

Three changes for Man Utd against Sunderland, with keeper Anders Lindegaard, Rio Ferdinand and Nani all starting what Sir Alex Ferguson hopes will be his celebration match.

Fernando Torres is on the Chelsea bench at Blackburn, but John Terry returns to the starting line-up having been an unused substitute against Genk in midweek.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Newcastle forward Kevin Gallacher is at St James' Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "It's all about counter attacking at the moment, with both teams hurtling towards the opposition's box. The play is so open."

1412: Back at St James' Park, Newcastle remain on top - but Everton are starting to look dangerous on the break with Tim Cahill a threat, too. Watch this space, I say.

are unchanged against Swansea, meaning Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez again start up front for Kenny Dalglish's team.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Leaders Rangers are at home to Dundee United, who were the last side to beat the Ibrox side on league duty - back on 2 April. Having finally received their overdue wages, Hearts visit St Mirren, while Kilmarnock host bottom club Inverness and Dunfermline make the short trip to Hibernian. Follow all the latest with our dedicated commentary service, folks.

Jermaine Jenas starts on the bench for Aston Villa against Norwich, but there is no place at all in the matchday squad for Barry Bannan despite his return from suspension.

Robin van Persie returns to the Arsenal starting line-up against West Brom, who are without Peter Odemwingie after he sustained an injury in training this week.

1405: ...blazed a country mile over the crossbar at the backpost by Sammy Ameobi. Wretched effort.

1405: Corner to Newcastle...

1402: Positive change from Everton boss David Moyes, Tim Cahill coming on to replace Johnny Heitinga. There has to be more goals in this, surely.

duuuaaaane on Twitter: "If Newcastle qualify for Europe, I'll buy Sam Lyon nothing. And let's face it, nor will any of you."
Well that ends that, then. Killjoy.

1401: That penalty incident gets clearer every time I see it. Dan Gosling haunts his former club... again... and the heavens continue to smile on Newcastle.

poisonarrow on Twitter: "If Newcastle qualify for the Champions League instead of Chelsea, I'm calling all my kids Sam Lyon, male or female."

1358: Close! And it should be an Everton penalty, too. The ball drops to Louis Saha on the edge of the area and his snap-shot is deflected inches past the Newcastle post - via Dan Gosling's hand. Only muted appeals from Everton and Newcastle again step out of the bear trap.

1356: They're dropping like flies at St James'. Sylvain Marveaux - who, I must admit, I'd forgotten was playing today such has been his 'performance' - limps off with a groin injury, Sammy Ameobi the man given the nod to replace him.

1353: And Newcastle are right back on the front foot despite that Everton reply just before half-time, Danny Guthrie swiping well over the bar from the edge of the area. Everton still failing to cope with the Toon on the wings at the start of this half.

1351: Sounds like the drinks are on me if Newcastle continue their early-season surge, then. Bonanza. Let's see how they get on in the second half, first, mind... we're back up and running at St James'...

TomSunderland on Twitter: " If Newcastle qualify for Europe, I'll buy Sam Lyon his own pub."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford reports:
"Old Trafford is ready for a silver anniversary party to celebrate Sir Alex Ferguson's reign at Manchester United. A giant banner is snaking its way along the Stretford End reading "Sir Alex 25 Years - The Impossible Dream Made Possible." Ferguson will want to focus on starting his 26th year with a Premier League victory. Sunderland manager Steve Bruce played his part in Ferguson's success story as a United captain, but he will be hoping to spoil the party today."

1346: LIVERPOOL v SWANSEA (1500)
Peter Shuttleworth:
"Liverpool are unbeaten at home this season and could move into the top four with victory over Swansea if Chelsea fail to beat Blackburn. The omens do not look good for the Swans as the team with the joint worst away record in the league, having never won a league game at Anfield and making their first visit since an 8-0 FA Cup thrashing in 1990. Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers, though, will be buoyed by the fact Liverpool have only won three of their last 10 home games against newly-promoted sides."

Neil Johnston reports:
"Remember the last time Chelsea lost three league games in a row? No, I can't either. Actually, it was in October 1999. Andre Villas-Boas and his side arrive at Ewood Park desperate to avoid a hat-trick of defeats after setbacks at QPR and Arsenal. They might just have a chance against a Blackburn side two points adrift of safety and without a clean sheet in 13 league games, right?"

1344: ARSENAL v WEST BROM (1500)
Owen Phillips reports:
"Arsene Wenger has barely stopped grinning since Arsenal's derby destruction of Chelsea, but anything other than a win over West Brom will see that smile and talk of a title challenge fade. The Baggies have shown some impressive form of late - notably derby wins over Wolves and Aston Villa - and were unbeaten in four before losing to Liverpool. An intriguing offering."

1342: ASTON VILLA v NORWICH (1500)
Becky Ashton reports:
"Just one point and one place separate Aston Villa and Norwich before kick-off, with the Canaries leading the way. The home side have won just one of their last six after conceding a last minute equaliser at Sunderland last weekend, while Norwich have lost only one of their last six but they have failed to keep a clean sheet all season - so we can expect goals at Villa Park."

1340: Ahem. As I try to work out whether I now want Newcastle to qualify for Europe or not under threat of a dirty pint and a man date, let's have a look ahead to our 1500 GMT kick-offs shall we? Yes...

Daniel Curry on Twitter: "If Newcastle qualify for the Champions League, I'm taking Sam Lyon on a man date. "

icollectnoise on Twitter: "If Newcastle qualify for European football at the expense of Chelsea, I'm doing something bad in Sam Lyon's free pint."

Half time
1338: HALF-TIME Newcastle 2-1 Everton
Tom Rostance reports:
"Jack Rodwell's goal on the stroke of half-time was only what Everton deserved after a strong attacking display. All set for an action-packed second half."

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Newcastle forward Kevin Gallacher is at St James' Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "It's a bad time for Newcastle to concede a goal. A set-piece, so Alan Pardew will not be happy. It's a free header too. It eases David Moyes' half-time team-talk."

1335: And that really is the last action of the half as referee Andre Marriner calls a break to proceedings.

Everton goal: Right on the stroke of half time, Everton are back in it. Royston Drenthe delivers the perfect corner and Jack Rodwell gets ahead of marker Danny Simpson to head home at the near post. Game on.

1334: GOALFLASH Newcastle 2-1 Everton (Rodwell)

1332: Ouch. Johnny Heitinga felt that, the Dutchman wearing Danny Guthrie's fierce effort right in the gut on the edge of the box. Good block, though.

1330: The game's just going through a patchy spell as we approach half-time. It's not taking away from what's been a fabulous first half, mind.

1327: And now another substitution - Phil Neville suffering a recurrence of that hamstring strain and having to be replaced by Sylvain Distin. Distin will slot into Everton defence, with Johnny Heitinga pushed into midfield.

Gareth Milner on Twitter: "If Newcastle qualify for European football, I'm buying Sam Lyon a pint."

1324: Here's a little spice to add into the melting pot now as Newcastle midfielder Dan Gosling comes on for Yohan Cabaye, who limps off with what looks to be a groin strain. Gosling, of course, left Everton in rather controversial circumstances last summer. Wonder what his reception will be from the away faithful?

Someone has struck the woodwork
1320: Crossbar! My word, both defences are having the afternoon off today. This one has more than a sniff of fluke about it, mind, Ryan Taylor's attempted cross drifting over Tim Howard in the Everton goal and crashing back off the bar and away.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1319: Post! Gosh, things are going Newcastle's way at the moment. Phil Neville's long-ranger ricochets around the Newcastle box and Louis Saha is on to it like a flash, swiping left-footed at goal and beating Tim Krul's desperate dive - but not the post as it rebounds away.

1318: It's party time at St James' Park now - and who can blame them. Conversely for Everton, that Ryan Taylor strike came just as the visitors were enjoying their best spell of the game. How costly might those early misses prove?

Newcastle goal: Boom. It's a belting strike from Ryan Taylor, looping a beauty in off the bar from 22 yards out after Everton only half-clear a cross, and Newcastle are two to the good.

1315: GOALFLASH Newcastle 2-0 Everton (R Taylor)

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Newcastle forward Kevin Gallacher is at St James' Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "Newcastle are getting very complacent at the back. That's three attempts from Everton in a minute and a half. Alan Pardew is out of the technical area now and is having a word with his midfield."

1312: Chance o'clock. Moments after Demba Ba flays well over at the merest sniff of goal 20 yards out, Louis Saha dashes clear of the Newcastle defence at the other end and on to Phil Jagielka's long pass only to skew his shot well over one-on-one. Massive let-off.

1310: And in the next attack, Royston Drenthe cuts back to Leon Osman, whose snap-shot is held well by Tim Krul.

1309: Good few minutes for Everton, this - and Royston Drenthe creates their first real chance of note, the Dutchman's cross headed goalwards by Jack Rodwell but it is saved low down by Tim Krul.

1307: The Premier League as it stands, Newcastle second. Wowzers.

1304: Another awkward moment for Everton as Demba Ba beats the offside trap to get on Yohan Cabaye's ball over the top in behind the defence - but the Senegalese frontman's first touch goes awry and the visitors are able to clear.

1302: Newcastle's tails are up now - as you would expect - and it takes a good defensive header from Phil Jagielka to clear the danger from another Danny Simpson cross from the right. The home full-backs both getting a lot of joy down the flanks so far.

Newcastle goal: Oops-a-daisy. It's a decent cross from the right by Danny Simpson but Tim Howard looks set to collect it ahead of Leon Best until Johnny Heitinga sticks out a toe to deflect the ball into his own net. Gift.

1258: GOALFLASH Newcastle 1-0 Everton (Heitinga og)

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Newcastle forward Kevin Gallacher is at St James' Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "The Toon Army are buoyant at the moment but they also have to calm down! They cannot get carried away, you just have to look at the fixtures coming up in the next month."

QPR fan RJ Vijverberg on Twitter: "Thank God there is Everton, they have managed to come up with a worse away kit than our tango one. Epic achievement."

1256: Everton chance! And Seamus Coleman should really have done better. Royston Drenthe's cross is flicked on by Louis Saha into the path of Coleman, unmarked, wide in the Newcastle box, but the Irishman shanks his swiped half-volley and the shot flies wide. Let-off for the hosts.

1254: Newcastle just starting to flex their muscles in the early stages, and we have our first shot in anger of the match - Danny Guthrie's low left-foot shot from the edge of the box straight down Everton keeper Tim Howard's throat. (Not literally.)

1253: This match, by the way, is the first this season to employ the Premier League's winter football (yellow and blue), which will now be used until the end of February. One to impress your mates down the pub with, that. Sort of.

1251: And it's a fairly tame start to proceedings in Newcastle, with both teams full of buzz but lacking sparkle right now.

1247: A minute's silence in tribute to Remembrance Sunday (with no Premier League fixtures due next weekend) is perfectly observed... and then Everton kick us off. Up and running at St James' Park.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Newcastle forward Kevin Gallacher is at St James' Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "This has been a massive learning process for a lot of players. Relegation was an eye-opener for them, and they've matured and come back as better, stronger players. Now they're doing fantastically well."

Steve McClaren on why it all went wrong at Nottingham Forest tells Football Focus: "It was a mistake rushing into something. I found after three or four weeks we were on completely different pages - the board, the chairman and myself."

1244: Everton's away kit... mustard yellow?

1244: The teams are out, people. We'll be bringing you PLENTY of chat on the day's other action in due course, bien sur, but right now it's all about the black-and-whites v the mustard-yellows. Ready?

1243: Newcastle have only lost once this calendar year at St James' Park, don't you know. Their conquerors that day? Everton. Whammy.

Selb85 on Twitter: "Bob Paisley, Lawro."

Former Manchester United captain Steve Bruce, on taking his Sunderland team to Old Trafford on Sir Alex Ferguson's 25th anniversary, tells Football Focus: "I'll have a glass of red with him afterwards like I always do. If anyone deserves a glass of red then Sir Alex does. I'm sure everyone will drink to that."

tattmandoo on Twitter: "West brom, Everton, Swansea and Sunderland all to win away. What're the odds on that one!"

1237: NEWCASTLE v EVERTON (1245)
Tom Rostance reports:
"Compliments do not come much higher than the one Newcastle manager Alan Pardew paid Everton boss David Moyes ahead of this game: 'We are playing against an Everton side who have some good players and a manager who is one of the best in the world.' Moyes himself says: 'It's a big game for us. Newcastle are probably the form team at the moment.' Love-in."

Vektrix on Twitter: "Bill Shankly, Lawro."

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson, asked on Football Focus whether Sir Alex Ferguson is the greatest manager of all time, said: "I'm going to get mullered, but yes."

1231: NEWCASTLE v EVERTON (1245)
Tom Rostance reports:
"So can anyone stop the juggernaut that is Newcastle? Four wins in five league games has established Alan Pardew's side in the top three, with Demba Ba scoring eight goals in his last five league outings. Everton manager David Moyes, who decided against bidding for him in the summer, will be hoping his decision not to sign Ba does not hurt him. Where's ya money?"

Steve McClaren, a former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, on Football Focus: "He's on his sixth team in 25 years. Each one of those teams has been successful."

pokergazuol on Twitter: "Why are people so bent on slamming Newcastle's early season success? It's fully deserved, give us some credit people!"

1228: NEWCASTLE v EVERTON (1245)
Tom Rostance reports:
"Newcastle's only change from Monday night's win at Stoke is enforced, with former Man Utd winger Gabriel Obertan missing through illness. Sylvain Marveaux is handed a first league start by manager Alan Pardew as the Magpies look to go second in the table. Everton winger Royston Drenthe is back from suspension with Phil Neville also coming in to steady the ship."

1226: Time, then, to hear from our morning match reporter...

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes, speaking to Football Focus, pays tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson: "I'm still afraid of him now. Whenever I heard his voice I used to get out of the way."

Zain Patel on Twitter: "Everton are four places off the bottom but a win could put them four places off the top four!"

John from Beccles, via text: "Early request for updates when it starts on the biggest game of the day: Fort William v Strathspey."
Love it. A match, I am reliably informed, between the two worst teams in Britain. Not including Wigan Athletic (joke).

1221: This morning's Newcastle-Everton clash, by the way, is the 100th Premier League match of the season, so Infostrada Sports tell me. So far there have been 295 goals scored - an average of 2.98 per match, 20 of which have been penalties (a further 13 have been missed). There have been 377 yellow cards and 20 reds, while - and here's the big one - there have been 537 substitutions made. Bosh.

Hutchyyyy on Twitter: "The Newcastle situation makes me think of the heady days when Blackpool were 4th in PL Table- they didn't stay there very long."

Matt in High Wycombe via text: "Feeling Liverpool can jump Chelsea in the table today! Carroll to grab a brace and looking for a Hoilett masterclass to sink Chelsea! YNWA!"

1217: NEWCASTLE v EVERTON (1245)
Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor, Marveaux, Cabaye, Guthrie, Gutierrez, Best, Ba. Subs: Elliot, Santon, Ben Arfa, Lovenkrands, Perch, Gosling, Sammy Ameobi.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Coleman, Neville, Rodwell, Drenthe, Osman, Saha. Subs: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Stracqualursi, McFadden, Distin, Cahill, Vellios.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

1215: A cheeky manual refresh of this page, my friends, will see Football Focus magically* appear at the top of this page. Nice.
* - not actually magic.

Sylvain Marveaux is handed a first Premier League start for Newcastle against Everton, who are able to recall Phil Neville.

BluePacino on Twitter: "Chelsea have not lost three Premier League games on the bounce since Oct 1999. Hope it happens again today."

Rannie via text: "Not much being said about Norwich today? They could move about Arsenal on 16 points if results go their way. Even more of a shock than Newcastle surely?"

mattdvernon on Twitter: "In Dec 1998, Aston Villa led the PL by a point from Chelsea. They finished 6th. Well done Newcastle but let's not go crazy."

1209: Sitting down... and seeing if you can't get your name up here in lights by way of a Tweet or text. I can make you famous, folks. Ish. So Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @sampatricklyon or text in via 81111 (UK). By the way, did you know there are only 50 days until Christmas? Bosh.

1204: And with a jam-packed lower league schedule as well as all the action from Scotland to come, you might just as well abandon any thoughts of that shopping trip, family visit or catching up with your chores - today is designed for football and plenty of sitting down.

1201: Here then, ladies and gentlemen, is your top-flight line-up.
Newcastle v Everton (1245)
Arsenal v West Brom
Aston Villa v Norwich
Blackburn v Chelsea
Liverpool v Swansea
Man Utd v Sunderland
QPR v Man City (1730)

After me, in true bonfire night tradition... "oooohh", "aaaahhh"...

1158: Today is all about those teams knocking about at the right end of the table, people. Nine of your top 10 teams are involved, including top dogs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd - and of course Newcastle, and despite not normally being able to predict that night would follow day, I'm tipping a bagful of goals. And those that know me well will observe that's quite a tip - for I don't do predictions. And I never will. Ahem.

1155: I mean that in no way as a slight to the Magpies, I assure you. It's been a remarkable effort from Alan Pardew and his boys so far this season hasn't it? I had them down to struggle a bit in the summer, I must confess. But with a home match against out-of-sorts Everton this morning to come, I for one am not betting against their hot streak continuing, fo' sho' (kids' speak). And that match is only the beginning of what is a crackerjack Saturday, I'm telling you.

1150: What's more surprising - the fact Sir Alex Ferguson has lasted 25 years as manager at Manchester United or the fact that Newcastle could end the day in second spot tonight? I'm torn.

By Tom Rostance

1145: A veritable feast of action awaits us all then, and here to guide you through it is our very own 80s blockbuster, Mr Sam Patrick Lyon.

Football Focus presenter Dan Walker on Twitter: "Get your questions in for Steve McClaren if you haven't already. Whack a #bbcfootball on it. He's our Focus guest at 12:15."

1140: Blackburn are the only team in the bottom three in action this afternoon. More motivation for Steve Kean's men to do the business at home to Chelsea.

1135: I've opened up a massive can of worms with my mention for Top Gun as blockbuster of the 80s here. Plenty of texts and tweets coming in for ET, Indiana Jones and Ferris Bueller. A great decade for films without a doubt. Almost as much traffic coming in for the next United manager, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being backed heavily. A fine striker, but does one title with Molde put him in the running? Sir Alex told him to stay put this week.

1125: An hour and a half in and I've not mentioned Manchester City or Mario Balotelli. A record. Who knows what antics Mario has got planned for bonfire night but I'm sure the Sunday papers will let us know all the gory details. As for City, they play QPR in the day's late game. Could be a goalfest that one, as City have scored three goals or more in six of their eight away games. Prolific is the word.

1120: Wales manager Gary Speed set nearly as many Premier League records as Sir Alex - seriously, if you are in a pub quiz and there is an appearance related question, go for Gaz - and he has waded into the Olympics row this morning. He insists Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale will not be told to reject the chance to play for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.

1118: Newcastle fans, I haven't forgotten you lot this morning. After a highly efficient performance at Stoke on Monday, the Magpies could end the day in second place if they beat Everton - and Sunderland spoil the party at Old Trafford.

1110: So moving away from Ferguson & co, and it's a big day for Chelsea. Andre Villas-Boas has lost two Premier League games in a row and could only draw with Genk in midweek. They travel to Blackburn this afternoon which would normally be an away banker, but with Chelsea's back four looking as stable as the Greek economy at the moment who knows?

Football Focus presenter Dan Walker on Twitter: "Steve Bruce very good on Asamoah Gyan's departure, Niall Quinn's departure & the future for #SAFC. Full interview on Focus."

Worth noting that Match of the Day comes from our new Salford studios tonight for the very first time. Check out Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson braving the rain and eating chips and gravy from 2230 on BBC One

1055: The Guardian focus on who is in the frame to eventually replace Ferguson. Mourinho inevitably heads the list, with the likes of Pep Guardiola, David Moyes and Laurent Blanc in the running. That really will be an impossible job. Which makes it even more likely that Mourinho will take it surely? That man loves the limelight.

1050: Over in the Daily Mail, Martin Edwards - chairman of United in 1986 - describes the decision to appoint Sir Alex and a clandestine meeting in a motorway service station. "We knew Alex was the one," Edwards says. Stop it guys, I'm welling up here...

1045: As promised then, to the papers. The Sun have scored an interview with Jose Mourinho, with the Special One calling Ferguson "a unique manager in the history of European football." Will Jose be the man to replace Sir Alex one day?

Guy Burton on Twitter: "Fergie is definitely Top Gun but he's been on the highway to the dangerzone with recent selections. In Fergie we trust? Always. #BBCFootball"

1035: So Sunderland are the visitors to the big 25th anniversary party at Old Trafford this afternoon. In a neat twist, Sunderland boss Steve Bruce was United captain for the first of Fergie's titles in 1993. Let's hope he's brought a gift for his old boss today, though not just in the guise of a rookie goalkeeper and shoddy back four. A nice drop of claret should do the job. I see that Brucie has never beaten Fergie as a manager in 17 previous attempts with his various clubs. Terrible record that Steve. Raise your game.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Dave from Aberdeen on text, via 81111: "Best 1980s blockbuster? Got to be Back to the Future. It was the start of something special, much like Fergie's appointment
Very good shout. Back to the Future was scintillating cinema, without a doubt. I once went to a birthday party dressed as the Doc no less.

1030: As you'd expect, the papers are full to the brim with Fergie tales this morning. I'll bring you the highlights shortly but first, let's see what Premier League games we've got on the cards today:
Newcastle v Everton (1245)
Arsenal v West Brom
Aston Villa v Norwich
Blackburn v Chelsea
Liverpool v Swansea
Man Utd v Sunderland
QPR v Man City (1730)
We've got a full programme in the Football League as well of course, where we all know the main game is Gillingham v Northampton. Or is that just me?

Johnny Seven on Twitter: "Is there going to be a bottle of wine big enough for Alex Ferguson's celebrations today? #BBCFootball"

1020: Because as ever, we want you to get involved. Were you a United fan in 1986 when Big Ron was in charge? Do you remember Ferguson taking over? Is he the best manager ever? Can you name me a better 1980s blockbuster than Top Gun? All valid questions. You can Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, send me a line at @TJRostance or text in via 81111 (UK).

1015: BBC Sport's Chris Bevan reminds us that Berlin's soft-rock classic 'Take my breath away' - the theme from Top Gun - was number one when Ferguson started at Old Trafford, while Phil McNulty has kicked off a tasty debate in his latest blog asking if Fergie is the best ever. What do we think?

1010: And fear not, we are not short of Fergie-related content for you to cast your eyes over this morning. The great man himself has called his reign 'a fairytale', while Arsenal manager and long-running rival Arsene Wenger called it 'remarkable.'

1005: Yep, as if you didn't know, this weekend is the 25th anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson taking charge of Manchester United. Twenty-five whole years. Incredible effort. Just to put that into perspective, from the United team which beat Everton 1-0 last weekend, only Patrice Evra, Ji-sung Park, Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher and Nemanja Vidic were even born when Fergie first sat down at his desk.

1000 GMT: Morning all. Ready for a full day - and night - of fireworks? We are in for a busy one today as it's a very special weekend for a certain someone...

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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 5 Nov 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man City 11 29 31
2 Man Utd 11 16 26
3 Newcastle 11 9 25
4 Chelsea 11 9 22
5 Tottenham 9 4 19
6 Liverpool 11 4 19
7 Arsenal 11 2 19
8 Aston Villa 11 1 15
9 Norwich 11 -2 13
10 Swansea 11 -3 13
11 Stoke 10 -6 12
12 QPR 11 -10 12
13 West Brom 11 -7 11
14 Sunderland 11 1 10
15 Fulham 10 1 10
16 Everton 10 -4 10
17 Wolves 10 -8 8
18 Blackburn 11 -11 6
19 Bolton 10 -14 6
20 Wigan 10 -11 5

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