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Page last updated at 18:39 GMT, Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Wednesday football as it happened

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Sam Lyon
By Sam Lyon
BBC Sport

2225: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. A mixed night for the London contingent in the Champions League - glory for Arsenal, pain for Chelsea - but just like the two Manchester clubs, all is not lost for Andre Villas-Boas's boys. Everybody - watch this space. I'll see you all again on Saturday for the return of Premier League action so make sure you join us then, yeah? Lovely jubbly. Sam Lyon out.

uddin_rayhan on Twitter: "RVP = Ruddy Valuable Player!"

FA CUP LATEST: So it's Dagenham & Redbridge and Walsall who go into the hat for the second round of the Cup after the sides went through after extra time victories. Dagenham were 3-1 winners over Bath as Jon Nurse bagged a brace and Walsall defeated Exeter 3-2 with George Bowerman the match winner for the Saddlers.

2215: BAYER LEVERKUSEN 2-1 CHELSEA
Phil Dawkes reports:
"Chelsea were better than they have been recently, but the result is the same. It may have been unjust, but Leverkusen's win doesn't half set up one hell of a match between the Blues and Valencia at Stamford Bridge in two weeks' time."

2212: ARSENAL 2-1 BORUSSIA DORTMUND
Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Emirates:
"Arsenal into the knockout phase and Robin van Persie can do no wrong - even a smiling Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp entered the field of play to offer his congratulations at the final whistle."

2210: So what did our reporters make of things?

Paul, Norwich via text: "I am sorry Mr Villa-Boas but four defeats in five is no small detail."

fezfezed on Twitter: "Arsenal; the only team to win this matchday, the only English team qualified, and 11 wins in 13. What crisis?"

Richard MK via text: "AVB = Another Vulnerable Boss."

Buffalloz on Twitter: "Imagine Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea in the Europa league !! Brrrrrrrrrr......."

2200: Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack - after learning his side are definitely through to the knockout stages with their win over Chelsea: "We are in the next round, but Chelsea have a game at home against Valencia so they still have a good chance. Every team has sometimes a difficult moment and Chelsea is in a moment like this now. I know the players are very competitive and I think they will come back. They have a strong side."

2157: Arsenal midfielder Alex Song: "We took our time to get going, it was not easy but in the end it was really good and we got the result. We wanted to do well today so we're really happy. We showed good character." And of Robin van Persie, he added: "He's in unbelievable form. He is very important and we hope he doesn't get injured because when he does, it is very difficult for us. We just need to keep him in good form."

2155: Chelsea boss Andre Villa-Boas: "It's tough for the English clubs in the Champions League at the moment but we have to put on a brave face. We were compact and disciplined against set-plays - right until the last moment. There are no perfect organisations. One small detail makes the whole difference. But we are still in front of Valencia and expect Leverkusen to do their job. We can go through."

DaZubair on Twitter: "RE: 1910 - never mind the orangutang, how about that pint???"

YuYu294 on Twitter: "I believe someone owes you a house Re: 1910."

FA CUP LATEST: Alex Nicholls put Walsall 2-1 up against Exeter, only for the Grecians to equalise minutes later through Elliott Frear and this game also goes into extra time. Dagenham & Redbridge, meanwhile, go ahead in extra time against non-league Bath courtesy of a Jon Nurse effort.

ColiMichael on Twitter: "Is Alex Song on Twitter? He is trending like a giant genius. He was like the Janitor with Messi boots tonight."

Mark in Wantage via text: "That's four stonewall penalties Chelsea havent been given in this season's Champions League so far. One against Genk, two against Valencia and one tonight."

The__Dodo on Twitter: "RE:1910 - You are now the proud owner of a purple orangutan!"

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Valencia's 7-0 demolition of Genk serves warning for Chelsea with the two teams facing each other in a do-or-die, final group game. Olympiakos' Koannis Fetfatzidis strikes the solitary goal at Marseille, leaving the French side's hopes in jeopardy. Porto plunder two late goals at Shakhtar Donetsk for a 2-0 win that keeps them alive, while Barcelona are through as group winners, prevailing 3-2 at AC Milan thanks to Xavi's golden touch.

2140: I may have inadvertantly sent Arsenal to Germany momentarily, but they see out the win they need not only to ensure progression from the group stages for a 12th successive season, but also to top their group. Their early-season poor form now a distant, distant memory.

Full time
2137: FULL-TIME Arsenal 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

2136: Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny is not happy with his defence. He doesn't like conceding cheap goal does Sczczesny.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Borussia Dortmund goal: No clean sheet for Arsenal tonight but it won't prove costly, Robert Lewandowski making the most of a defensive error to feed Shinji Kagawa to slam home.

2136: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-1 B Dortmund (Kagawa)

2135: So Chelsea will face a winner-takes-all clash with Valencia in their final group game, then. Bayer Leverkusen top Group E ahead of their London rivals, who share eight points with Valencia. Only a goalless draw or win will be enough for Chelsea in that game. Crunch.

Full time
2134: FULL-TIME Bayer Leverekusen 2-1 Chelsea

2133: GOALFLASH Shakhtar Dontesk 0-2 Porto (Rat og)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Bayer Leverkusen goal: Injury-time heartbreak for Chelsea - and that penalty shout that wasn't given earlier looks even more costly. Manuel Friedrich is the goalscorer, rising to meet Gonzalo Castro's corner and heading home in off the bar.

2132: GOALFLASH Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Chelsea (Friedrich)

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL LATEST: England beat Serbia 2-0 in their Euro 2013 Group 6 qualifier thanks to goals from Lincoln's Jess Clarke and Arsenal's Ellen White.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Arsenal goal: Game, set, match and Arsenal are through to the last 16 with a game to spare. Robin van Persie continues his staggering form with the finish, sweeping home from close range after Thomas Vermaelen had flicked on Mikel Arteta's corner.

2129: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-0 B Dortmund (Van Persie)

2128: Mikel Arteta lines a free-kick 25 yards out - but it flicks off the wall and off target. Arsenal pulling the stuffing out of any potential Dortmund renaissance here.

2126: Arsenal kill a few seconds at the Emirates with a substitution - Johan Djourou on for Laurent Koscielny.

2125: Chance for Chelsea to go back in front... but Didier Drogba volleys Florent Malouda's deep cross inches wide of the near post. Close.

2124: GOALFLASH Marseille 0-1 Olympiakos (Fetfatzidis)

2123: That Valencia goal, by the way, means they are just one goal away from equalling the biggest ever Champions League win - Liverpool's 8-0 win over Besiktas in 2007. Stat attack.

nathj1993 on Twitter: "How many times is AVB going to let his defence make him a villain?"

2122: GOALFLASH Shakhtar Donetsk 0-1 Porto (Hulk)

2121: GOALFLASH Valencia 7-0 Genk (Costa)

mattniman14 on Twitter: "'danhitmanhearn' clearly does not know the offside rule then..."

2120: It's not quite so open in London, but that's partly because Arsenal are sitting a little deeper now and stifling their opponents. The Germans getting a touch frustrated now.

2118: BIG penalty shout from Chelsea as Didier Drogba goes down in the box under Lars Bender's challenge - but referee Viktor Kassai is having none of it. Watching the replays, I'd suggest Bender is a lucky boy there. Moments later Bayer bounce up the pitch and Eren Derdiyok forces a smart deflected block from John Terry with a firm long-ranger. That game wide open now.

2117: Arsenal change now, Gervinho off and Yossi Benayoun on.

danhitmanhearn on Twitter: "Shocking decision from Ivanovic, shocking decision from Cech, shocking decision from the linesman. That is all."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Bayer Leverkusen goal: I tell you what, now that's a super-sub. He's only been on the pitch a matter of seconds but up pops Eren Derdiyok to head Bayer Leverkusen level with his first touch, nodding into the empty net after Sidney Sam's cross had drifted over Petr Cech. Game back on.

2113: GOALFLASH Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Chelsea (Derdiyok)

FA CUP LATEST: Adam Connolly equalises for Bath City against Dagenham & Redbridge and the game goes into extra time. It's also 1-1 between Walsall and Exeter as Jonathan Macken levels up the scores with 20 minutes to go.

2112: After that brief flurry from Leverkusen, Chelsea have taken the sting out of the game a touch again - and they almost make it 2-0 when Branislav Ivanovic releases Florent Malouda in the box, the Frenchman forcing a low save from Bernd Leno.

2111: GOALFLASH Valencia 6-0 Genk (Aduriz)

2110: GOALFLASH Valencia 5-0 Genk (Pablo)

2109: Change for Chelsea again, Alex on for David Luiz.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Emirates: "Arsenal looking a little more in control now after Robin van Persie's goal - and what great work from Alex Song to set him up with a powerful run and fine delivery. The Gunners on course for the knockout phase as it stands."

graemedriscoll on Twitter: "Gervinho? Half Ricky Gervais, half Robinho."

2108: GOALFLASH AC Milan 2-3 Barcelona (Xavi)

2107: Change for Chelsea, Juan Mata replaced by Florent Malouda.

2106: Still, though, Daniel Sturridge is looking a real threat for Chelsea. The striker storms away down the right, out-pacing two players, before buying himself space with a step-over - however his low-shot was too close to Bernd Leno and the keeper saves.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Tottenham legend Kevin-Prince Boateng cushions the ball down, flicks it up and fires it in for AC Milan at the San Siro, making it 2-2 against Barcelona. As things stand, the Spanish team will stay two points clear at the top of the group ahead of the sides' respective final games against the minnows. But will Milan snatch another goal and leapfrog them?

2105: Deary me. I can't be the only man in England completely unconvinced by Gervinho can I? This time the Ivorian is set clear one-on-one by Aaron Ramsey, but after rounding the keeper he dallies far too long and allows Mats Hummels time to get back and clear. Waste.

2103: While Dortmund appear to have been knocked off their stride by Arsenal's opener - Chelsea' goal has only lit a fire under Leverkusen in Germany and this time Stefan Kiessling rises to meet a cross eight yards out, only for Petr Cech to pull off another fine stop.

infostradaLive on Twitter: "Van Persie has now scored 14 of his 16 Champions League goals at home, including his last six."

2100: Petr Cech - take a bow, son. Two fabulous saves in a mintue preserve Chelsea's lead - and the Czech works his way off Michael Ballack's Christmas card list at the same time. First Ballack's brilliant overhead kick is tipped over the bar and then Cech is out expertly and bravely to deny the same player at point-blank range from the resulting corner. Superb keeping.

2058: GOALFLASH AC Milan 2-2 Barcelona (Boateng)

janniky on Twitter: "Robin van Persie has sold his soul to the devil, it is the only way to explain his incredible form."

2056: Both Arsenal and Chelsea through to the knockout stages comfortably as it stands, then. But there's plenty of time left in both matches.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Arsenal goal: Anything Chelsea can do... Arsenal open the scoring at the Emirates through - who else? - Robin van Persie, but it's a goal made brilliantly by Alex Song, whose fabulous run and cross down the left allowed the Dutchman to head down into the ground and home with aplomb at the back post.

2053: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 B Dortmund (Van Persie)

2052: Another chance for Chelsea, minutes after their opening goal and it's Didier Drogba involved again. He nods on to the onrushing Frank Lampard but his header is straight at keeper Bernd Leno.

2051: And it's almost a breakthrough at the Emirates too - only this time for Dortmund, Robert Lewandowski playing through for Shinji Kagawa and the Japanese midfielder forces a decent near-post save from Wojciech Szczesny.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Chelsea goal: Three minutes into the half in Leverkusen and Chelsea have their breakthrough. Daniel Sturridge is again at the heart of the move, his angled ball turned on in the box by Didier Drogba before the Ivorian sweeps expertly into the corner.

2049: GOALFLASH Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Chelsea (Drogba)

2048: As we are now back in London. A reminder that, as it stands, Arsenal are through with a draw as Olympiakos are being held.

2046: Oi, stop messing about folks, we're back under way in Leverkusen.

daveygravy1993 on Twitter: "Mario Gotze will undoubtedly be the best midfielder in the world in a few years time."

Baz via text: "Did somebody just seriously just say Ramires out? He's been our best player this season! Blues doing well, much better at the back."

Chelseapete1961 on Twitter: "Half-time trivia: Leverkusen founded in 1904, Chelsea in 1905."

SCOTTISH PREMIER LATEST: It's not looking good for Dunfermline with Celtic leading 2-0 at the break. Gary Hooper scored the first, and James Forrest hit his seventh of the season.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live pundit David Pleat at Arsenal: "Dortmund have been well organised and have closed down quickly. But the game has been void of goalmouth incident. Not the highest quality game."

FA CUP LATEST: Half time in the game between Walsall and Exeter and as it stands it's the home side who will be progressing to the second round as Richard Logan gives the Grecians the lead. Still 1-0 in the encounter between Bath and Dagenham & Redbridge.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Mark Lawrenson in Leverkusen: "Chelsea have been very comfortable. Daniel Sturridge has been the star so far - all the good things have gone through him. Chelsea will be satisfied with that first half."

2042: People of the live text commentary massive, where are you? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, tweet me @sampatricklyon or text in via 81111 (UK). Please and thank you.

JonathanCroft1 on Twitter: "Following Chelsea game online, watching masterchef on TV, looks like I made the right choice."

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Elsewhere, Barcelona take that 2-1 lead into half-time at AC Milan and it remains goalless in the other games. Marseille are being frustrated by Group F strugglers Olympiakos and, in Group G, Porto - hoping to keep in touch with second-placed Zenit St Petersburg - are being held at Shakhtar Donetsk. The Portuguese side will be out if they lose.

jamesphillips11 on Twitter: "This Arsenal midfield need to keep to the ball better. RVP starved of service, and giving the ball away far too easily"

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Valencia go into the break with a 4-0 lead at home against Genk so a thrilling final night of games is in prospect in Group E. If Chelsea end up drawing with Bayer Leverkusen, as they are at present, then Valencia's win will have major consequences for them. Andre Villas-Boas's men would still be top but just a point clear of Valencia - with the sides facing each other - and two ahead of Leverkusen.

EddHilton on Twitter: "Ramires and Luiz out. Alex and Mceachren in. Then we might stand a chance of competing"

Half time
2037: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Borussia Dortmund
Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Emirates:
"A poor first 45 minutes at The Emirates. Arsenal have barely laid a glove on Borussia Dortmund - so improvement needed if they are to confirm their progress tonight."

Half time
2035: HALF-TIME Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Chelsea
Phil Dawkes's HT snap-shot:
"Somewhere in here there is a decent football match trying to break out, but it has taken until the last five minutes of this half for evidence to surface. Chelsea just edging it despite Michael Ballack hitting the bar for Bayer."

2033: And it's the break at the Emirates now as well.

2031: The half-time whistle blows in Leverkusen.

2030: Ooh... so close to an opener at Arsenal now, Aaron Ramsey feeding Theo Walcott on the right and the winger's superb cross oh so close to being tapped in by Robin van Persie, only for Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller to get out well and cut out the low delivery.

2029: Chelsea just starting to create a couple of chances in Leverkusen again and Juan Mata stings the palms of home keeper Bernd (not Jay) Leno from 18 yards out from Didier Drogba's lay-off. Moments later Daniel Sturridge's curler is plucked out of the night sky by the Leverkusen keeper. It's opening up, folks...

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL LATEST: It's half-time in England's Uefa Women's Euro 2013 qualifier against Serbia in Doncaster, and it's good news for Hope Powell's side who lead 1-0 thanks to Jess Clarke's 41st-minute strike.

2026: GOALFLASH Valencia 4-0 Genk (Soldado, hat-trick)

2026: Back in London, after a shocking clearance from Alex Song, Dortmund's Sebastien Kehl shoots from about 20 yards and puts it about 20 yards over. Sums up the last 10 minutes or so.

2024: Oh - best chance of the night for Chelsea. Daniel Sturridge picks a lovely pass to release Didier Drogba one-on-one, but having rounded Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno he can only spoon over from a tight angle.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: It's been wide open at the San Siro, where Barcelona have re-gained the lead to go 2-1 in front against AC Milan. Lionel Messi makes up for hitting the bar earlier by tucking in the penalty. If it stays like this, Barca go through as group winners - but there'll be more goals if it carries on like this. Valencia are 3-0 up against Genk thanks to in-form Roberto Soldado's double, cranking up the pressure on Chelsea.

2022: GOALFLASH Valencia 3-0 Genk (Soldado)

2021: To be fair, the game at Arsenal isn't really tearing up any trees either. Ho hum.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2017: Eat that NickParker89! Something happened in Leverkusen! Michael Ballack goes within an inch of returning to haunt his former club by rising highest to meet a corner and send it goalwards - but his header crashes back off the bar. Let-off.

NickParker89 on Twitter: "Enjoyed 25 minutes of the Chelsea game but fancy something a little more exciting - so I'm gonna check out some paint drying."

2016: GOALFLASH AC Milan 1-2 Barcelona (Messi pen)

2015: I did warn you I would give defences their day in the sun tonight didn't I? Erm... sorry.

2013: But this could improve Arsenal spirits - or at least dampen Dortmund's - as the visitors' star turn Mario Gotze limps from the field to be replaced by Ivan Perisic. Bonus for the Gunners, that.

2012: After a period of Arsenal improvement, Robert Lewandowski nearly lifts Dortmund's mood with a drive from 25 yards that flies just wide. Close.

FA CUP LATEST: Half time in the game between Bath and Dagenham & Redbridge and the home side will need to start again in the second half as they go in at the break 1-0 behind thanks to a Brian Woodall strike. In our other game, it's still 0-0 between Walsall and Exeter.

2011: Injuries a-go-go at the moment as Sven Bender has to be replaced after being caught by the boot of Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen right in the face. The Dortmund man looks completely out of sorts and Moritz Leitner is the man called upon to come on.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Emirates: "Borussia Dortmund - roared on by around 8,000 supporters - have just about made the better start here. Arsenal are not being allowed to settle in possession and Arsene Wenger has already been showing his frustration in the technical area."

2009: It's definitely Chelsea on top now in Germany, too, with Andre Villas-Boas's boys starting to stroke the ball around with precision and patience. Frank Lampard might want to abstain from free-kick duties for a while, though, he's just punted one into row Z from 35 yards out.

2007: Arsenal picking up the pace now and they finally open the Germans up with Aaron Ramsey sending Theo Walcott in behind the Dortmund defence, but goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller is alert to the danger and blocks the ball to safety. Nice move though.

2006: GOALFLASH AC Milan 1-1 Barcelona (Ibrahimovic)

2005: Ooh close. Daniel Sturridge - Chelsea's most potent threat up front so far - bursts infield past a couple of Leverkusen defenders before looking to release Juan Mata one-on-one, but the striker's pass is just a touch too strong and Mata can't get on the end of it.

2004: Dortmund are pressing well into the Arsenal half and still having the better of it. On the evidence so far, this game is going to be a cracker. Van Persie has just wasted a free kick and a corner with poor deliveries, though. Shame.

2002: Ouch o'clock for David Luiz in Leverkusen, the Chelsea man wearing one right wear it hurts from Stefan Kiessling. After a bit of treatment - spray, no rub - he should be OK, but I don't suppose his controller in the crowd intended that at all. Oh no.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LATEST: Celtic have taken an early lead against Dunfermline. Gary Hooper pounces on a poor pass from Paul Willis and beats keeper Paul Gallacher with a shot from inside the area."

2000: GOALFLASH AC Milan 0-1 Barcelona (Van Bommel og)

1959: GOALFLASH Valencia 2-0 Genk (Soldado)

1959: Over in Leverkusen it's fairly even Steven - though Daniel Sturridge has just broken free of the German defence on the right with a good bit of pace, forcing Bernd Leno to save a firm cross smartly that would have had Didier Drogba's eyes lighting up on the edge of the six-yard box had it got there.

1957: Arsenal settling down a touch now and that's their first real chance of any note, Andre Santos's cross from the left headed goalwards on the stretch by Robin van Persie - but it's an easy save for Roman Weidenfeller.

1955: GOALFLASH Valencia 1-0 Genk (Oliveira Jonas)

Champagne moment
1954: Crowd-watch at the Emirates - former striker Thierry Henry is in attendance to watch his beloved Arsenal alongside tennis superstar Roger Federer, currently smashing down a monster of a hot-dog. Fair play.

_Motters_ on Twitter: "Petr Cech is beginning to resemble Darth Vader of late."

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Plzen hold on to their slender lead and seal a 1-0 victory at Bate Borisov, who crash to the bottom of Group H. It looks like they'll stay there too. Why? They go to Barcelona for their last game. Ouch.

1952: Dortmund, meanwhile, continue to do all the pressing and midfielder Shinji Kagawa forces a low save from Wojciech Szezsesny and a Sven Bender pass has also caused chaos in the Arsenal box. The hosts are not showing much authority early on.

1951: The first half-chance in Leverkusen goes to the visitors as Frank Lampard feeds in to Didier Drogba 20 yards out, but he snatches at his shot and fires it well wide.

MattSuarez7 on Twitter: "Why does Milan v Barca have to be on the night before my last ever undergrad exam? At least with BBC I can pretend to be studying!"

Full time
1950: FULL-TIME BATE 0-1 Plzen

1949: Back in London, Dortmund have got right on to the front foot against Arsenal, mindful of the fact they are desperate for a win tonight. Positive stuff from the German visitors.

1948: Ashley Cole, by the way, has been kept out of the Chelsea line-up today by an ankle injury - he has a 60% chance of facing Wolves at home at the weekend, apparently.

1947: As tipped by our man Phil Dawkes, it is indeed David Luiz in the centre of defence with Jose Bosingwa and Branislav Ivanovic at full-back. Interesting. Especially as Luiz has already just given possession away on the edge of the box forcing John Terry to clear. Hhmm.

Whistle
1945: For now, though, it's all about events on the pitch. We are under way in London and Leverkusen. Boomtown.

1944: As if things weren't bad enough ahead of the game for Andre Villas-Boas, it looks like he's being attacked by an electrical cable in the dug-out too. Which must have come as a shock. Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger was on good form in his pre-match interview. The Arsenal manager admitted he could not remember when he last named an unchanged team and can not recall working with a striker as prolific as Robin van Persie although he acknowledged he would have to check the stats on both. Somehow you believe he will.

1943: Don't forget to keep the missives coming, folks - tweet the commentary via #BBCFootball, tweet me @sampatricklyon or text in via 81111 (UK). It really is that easy.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Mark Lawrenson: "The aura has gone with Chelsea. A couple of years ago, it didn't matter who played alongside John Terry. Now it matters."

bluesmurf1988 on Twitter: "I worry for all our English contingent if they Arsenal and Chelsea lose tonight....can you imagine the Europa league though?"

1941: ARSENAL v BORUSSIA DORTMUND (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Emirates:
"Arsene Wenger wants to put Arsenal's group stage to bed and reach the knockout stage with victory against Borussia Dortmund tonight, saying: 'Everyone is conscious it is a very important night for us. We feel strong enough to finish the job.' Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is in equally confident mood, though, after the win against Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich. He has Arsenal in his sights as he said: 'Practically nothing tops beating good teams. We managed that against Bayern and we can do that again.'"

1939: BAYER LEVERKUSEN v CHELSEA (1945)
Phil Dawkes reports:
"Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas hopes his players will use the memory of the "negative spiral" they went through during November and December last season to avoid a repeat this campaign. 'We can turn the results round,' said the Portuguese. However, on the opposite side, former Blues midfielder Michael Ballack is hoping his Leverkusen side can capitalise on Chelsea's current perceived fragility. 'Chelsea are under pressure,' he said. 'We cannot hide and we should not be afraid.'"

F2K8 on Twitter: "Arsenal are actually in a dangerous position. If they lose tonight, they might end up not qualifying! Come on you Gooners!!"

Deano via text: "Chelsea fans ate forgetting no matter how bad Chelsea are in league, they always seem to get results in Europe! Especially in group stages!"

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Emirates: "Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has used his programme notes for tonight's game to stress his bond to the club, saying: 'Arsenal is the club of my life. I have a contract that I will honour and the only way I would one day consider that position is if I feel I am not doing well enough for the club. My commitment and love for this club is completely total.' That's put that to bed, then, yes?"

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Elsewhere in Europe, the stand-out game - despite both teams having already qualified - is Barcelona's trip to AC Milan in the tussle for Group H's top spot, with Pep Guardiola's men two points ahead. In Chelsea's Group E, Valencia host Genk with the Belgian minnows heading through the exit door if they are beaten by the Spanish side, who trail second-placed Bayer Leverkusen by a point, while in Arsenal's Group F Olympiakos must win at Marseille to stay in the hunt for qualification.

Umbrella
1930: Anyone want a little bit of news from the continent? Brolly good. Over in Spain, it's been announced the match between Granada and Mallorca will be completed behind closed doors on 7 December. Granada were leading 2-1 before Sunday's La Liga game was abandoned after a teenager's flying umbrella accidentally hit a linesman in the face. A shame for Granada, then, the match had to be re-a-rain-ged. Ahem.

FA CUP LATEST: We also have fixtures in the FA Cup tonight with a couple of first round replays, as sides look to progress in the oldest club competition in the world. Bath entertain Dagenham and Redbridge with the home side hoping they don't go for an early one and Exeter travel to the Bescott Stadium to face Walsall after they earned a replay with a 94th-minute equaliser in the first game.

bluekrackers on Twitter: "What has Alex done to annoy AVB? He should be at the heart of the Chelsea defence!!!"

Nick Watts in London via text: "As a Chelsea fan I would love to see more of future England playmaker Josh McEachran."

tomboxy on Twitter: "Spurs fan living in Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, same region as Leverkusen and Dortmund. Wanna guess who I'm supporting tonight?"

1925: ARSENAL v BORUSSIA DORTMUND (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Emirates:
"Arsenal will confirm their place in the Champions League knockout phase if they beat Borussia Dortumund at The Emirates. The Germans will present dangerous opposition, however, after beating Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday. They also have the much-coveted Mario Gotze, who has been strongly linked with Arsenal, in their ranks. Gunners beware."

1922: BAYER LEVERKUSEN v CHELSEA (1945)
Phil Dawkes reports:
"When things get stressful at home, it's time for a holiday. Okay, so tonight is more of a busman's trip for Chelsea, but they will be hoping they can combine business with pleasure to ease their domestic woes. The business involves beating Leverkusen, while the pleasure comes from qualifying for the last 16 as a result. Such an eventuality will certainly aid Andre Villas-Boas' attempts to silence the doom-mongers. After all, what better way to keep Roman on side than through success in Europe?"

DervockBeast on Twitter: "With that Chelsea line-up I would like to see a back four from right to left as Bosingwa-Ivan-Terry-Luiz."

SCOTTISH PREMIER LATEST: Celtic face a mountain to climb as they chase leaders Rangers at the Scottish Premier League's summit - but Neil Lennon's side have their game in hand tonight. Dunfermline are in opposition as Celtic aim to cut Rangers' lead to seven points. Lowly Dunfermline are making their first trip to Parkhead in four years, having been promoted last season, and their squad is depleted by injuries so Celtic will expect a handsome win.

aleksklosok on Twitter: "Chelsea fans just don't learn - patience and stability is key. Trophies don't grow on trees... although that would be interesting."

1917: So people, what to expect tonight? Well after Mr Dawkes brought you a goal-fest last night, I think it's only fair I represent the other great bastion of the modern game tonight - defences. No? Oh. Well Infostrada Live tell me that the record number of goals on a Champions League matchday (over two nights and 16 matches) is 63 on matchday one in 2000-01. We need 35 goals tonight to match that after 28 last night. Quick maths from me, that, hey?

authorayoade on Twitter: "Tonight London is going to show Manchester how its done."

1912: BAYER LEVERKUSEN v CHELSEA (1945)
Phil Dawkes reports:
"Ashley Cole is not in the Chelsea playing squad, despite travelling to Germany, and his place at left-back goes to Jose Bosingwa. The chief victims for Chelsea's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday are Jon Mikel Obi and Florent Malouda, who are replaced by Raul Meireles and Daniel Sturridge. Fernando Torres remains on the bench. Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack starts in midfield for Leverkusen against his former club and makes his 100th European appearance in the process."

1910: ARSENAL v BORUSSIA DORTMUND (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Emirates:
"So Arsenal are unchanged from the side that won at Norwich City. Arsene Wenger rested captain Robin van Persie from his starting line-up for their last Champions League game, the home draw against Marseille. No such tactics tonight - the in-form captain starts. Borussia Dortmund will look to gifted teenage midfield man Mario Gotze, attracting interest around Europe, to provide their inspiration."

philarundell on Twitter: "What is AVB thinking with his team selection? Is he trying to get himself sacked? I can't see this ending well tonight."

ArthurOzols on Twitter: "If Chelsea lose tonight, I'll buy dear old Sam a pint, a house, and a purple orangutan."

1907: ARSENAL v BORUSSIA DORTMUND (1945)
Arsenal:
Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Song, Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho. Subs: Fabianski, Diaby, Djourou, Arshavin, Frimpong, Chamakh, Benayoun.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Schmelzer, Hummels, Felipe Santana, Piszczek, Grosskreutz, Kehl, Kagawa, Bender, Gotze, Lewandowski. Subs: Langerak, Leitner, Blaszczykowski, Barrios, Gundogan, Owomoyela, Perisic.
Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium)

1905: BAYER LEVERKUSEN v CHELSEA (1945)
Bayer Leverkusen:
Leno, Schwaab, Friedrich, Toprak, Kadlec, Bender, Rolfes, Castro, Ballack, Sam, Kiessling. Subs: Giefer, Reinartz, Oczipka, Schurrle, Ortega, Derdiyok, Jorgensen.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Bosingwa, Lampard, Meireles, Ramires, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Torres, Mikel, Malouda, McEachran, Kalou, Alex.
Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: And they've done it! APOEL become the first Cypriot team to qualify for the Champions League's knock-out stages as they draw 0-0 at Zenit St Petersburg in the night's first early game. It is half-time in the other, early match - a wooden spoon contest in Group H - as Plzen lead Bate Borisov 1-0. Plzen's only non-Czech player - Marek Bakos - scores the goal that could send Bate to the bottom of the group.

Full time
1902: FULL-TIME Zenit St Petersburg 0-0 APOEL Nicosia

MattRogers16 on Twitter: "Arsenal v APOEL final - you heard it here first!"

Adam from Uxbridge on the train from Cologne to Leverkusen via text: "AVB is not to blame for slump in form - general consensus in the bars in and around Cologne today - players must accept responsibility."

ChelseaRob93 on Twitter: "Big game for Chelsea tonight, Mata and Sturridge need to shine on the wings - but the spotlight is still on the defence!"

1859: BREAKING TEAM NEWS
The team news not quite as exciting at the Emirates, where Arsene Wenger names an unchanged Arsenal side for the visit of Borussia Dortmund.

1857: BREAKING TEAM NEWS
There is no Ashley Cole either in the starting XI or on the bench for Chelsea tonight in Leverkusen, while the likes of Mikel and Fernando Torres start on the bench. Raul Meireles does start, though.

brasseye on Twitter: "The flipside for Villas-Boas is that lose tonight, and it's a very tough winner-takes-all vs Valencia to face."
Well yes there is that. Good point, well raised.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: There have already been (unwanted) fireworks in the Champions League tonight. In the early-kick off in Russia, Zenit St Petersburg's crucial home game against Apoel was abandoned for 10 minutes at the start of the second half due to flares being thrown on to the pitch. Zenit players and staff pleaded with fans to stop as smoke drifted around the field. The score is 0-0 there with the minutes ticking away.

FuteraFWFmag on Twitter: "Surely a better night in store for English clubs tonight! I'm actually going for two wins, and two group winners this evening!"

1855: Or is it...? Why don't you take this opportunity to have your say on all things Arsenal, Chelsea, football... and anything else you like really by tweeting the commentary via #BBCFootball, tweeting me @sampatricklyon or texting in via 81111 (UK). Go on... do it.

1851: So while the best of Manchester stutter and stumble in their European campaigns - shhh, don't tell Sir Alex Ferguson - the red and blue of London continue apace in Europe's finest cup competition. It's all a little bit rosier than the nay-sayers claim really, isn't it?

1848: And talking of appeasing critics, Arsenal are once again being talked of as contenders at home and in Europe, despite being written off like a bad debt only a few weeks into this season. A win for the Gunners tonight, too, would see them through to the Champions League knockout stages - and for the 12th successive season.

1845: Now, I'm not saying the Premier League doesn't matter to Chelsea - in fact, reports would suggest third spot is a minimum requirement of Andre Villas-Boas this year - but progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the ninth successive season, which would be guaranteed by a win in Bayer Leverkusen tonight, would appease even the fiercest critics of AVB wouldn't it?

1840: Andre Villas-Boas, if you're reading this - which, as always, you are I'm sure - relax. Some people may claim you are a man under pressure given your Chelsea side is on a run of three defeats in four Premier League games, but what they forget is that Roman Abramovich craves Champions League glory like a frog prince craves kisses. And in that, believe it or not, you're doing just fine sir. Jubbly.



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Champions League results

23 Nov 2011 23:59 UK


Champ Lge Group A table snapshot

As it stood on 23 Nov 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Bayern Munich 5 7 13
2 Napoli 5 2 8
3 Man City 5 1 7
4 Villarreal 5 -10 0

Champ Lge Group B table snapshot

As it stood on 23 Nov 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Inter Milan 5 2 10
2 Trabzonspor 5 -2 6
3 Lille 5 0 5
4 CSKA Moscow 5 0 5

Champ Lge Group C table snapshot

As it stood on 23 Nov 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Benfica 5 3 9
2 Man Utd 5 4 9
3 FC Basel 5 0 8
4 Otelul Galati 5 -7 0

Champ Lge Group D table snapshot

As it stood on 23 Nov 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Real Madrid 5 14 15
2 Ajax 5 3 8
3 Lyon 5 -4 5
4 Dinamo Zagreb 5 -13 0

Champ Lge Group E table snapshot

As it stood on 23 Nov 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Bayer Leverkusen 5 0 9
2 Chelsea 5 6 8
3 Valencia 5 8 8
4 Genk 5 -14 2

Champ Lge Group F table snapshot

As it stood on 23 Nov 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Arsenal 5 3 11
2 Marseille 5 2 7
3 Olympiakos 5 0 6
4 Borussia Dortmund 5 -5 4

Champ Lge Group G table snapshot

As it stood on 23 Nov 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Apoel Nicosia 5 2 9
2 Zenit St P'sbg 5 2 8
3 FC Porto 5 0 7
4 Shakhtar Donetsk 5 -4 2

Champ Lge Group H table snapshot

As it stood on 23 Nov 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Barcelona 5 12 13
2 AC Milan 5 3 8
3 Plzen 5 -7 4
4 BATE Borisov 5 -8 2

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