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By Tom Rostance
2007: Well that's all from me for one day. Make sure you join me back here at 1300 on Sunday for coverage of another two Premier League games. Adios.
FULL-TIME Aston Villa 0-1 Man Utd Marc Higginson reports: "Victory was never really in doubt for United. It was not pretty, but it was certainly effective in the scramble to keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League."
FULL-TIME Wigan 0-4 Arsenal John Sinnottreports: "Arsenal halt Wigan's mini revival after a comfortable win at the DW Stadium, with Robin Van Persie scoring his 14th league goal of the season. Dutch and Arsenal mastery."
FULL-TIME QPR 1-1 West Brom Neil Johnston reports: "QPR will be upset about being denied what appeared a perfectly legal goal. But they only have themselves to blame for failing to take their chances against the battling Baggies."
FULL-TIME Man City 5-1 Norwich Peter Scrivener reports: "Another dominant home performance by the league leaders. Sergio Aguero was superb and could have scored five on his own while Mario Balotelli's finish will be feted and faulted in equal measure."
FULL-TIME Newcastle 0-3 Chelsea Phil Dawkesreports: "The scoreline did not flatter Chelsea. They were far superior although Newcastle were unsettled by the injuries to their key centre-backs. Is this the start of the Blues revival? Will Newcastle bounce back?"
2003: So Manchester City remain five points clear at the top of the Premier League after another action-packed day in the Premier League. Here's a reminder of how the games finished...
Gez Roberts on Twitter:
"#BBCfootball Nani or Young are more than capable of playing there it will also give Valencia a bit more game time, no worries at the moment."
Ahmet Kemal on Twitter:
"So down to three fit strikers at the moment in Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck & Federico Macheda. We are IN TROUBLE. #BBCFootball."
1957: Sir Alex Ferguson is confident United will be fine. He said: "We are having a bit of a time with injuries but it's just as well that we have a strong squad. Danny Welbeck is back and is an option for me for Wednesday against Basel."
1954: So United fans, you are down to three fit strikers at the moment in Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda. Problems?
1948: Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish after the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United: "They had control of it but we were better in the second half and had a few chances. Against teams like United though you have to capitalise on those opportunities. I'm not sure about our injuries, Shay tweaked his hamstring but Brad Guzan looked really secure when he came on. Jermaine Jenas we think has hurt his Achilles and I don't want to be a prophet of doom."
BREAKING NEWS: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirms that Javier Hernandez has "torn ligaments in his ankle" and will be out for "three to four weeks."
1939: Manchester United defender/midfielder Phil Jones after his matchwinner against Aston Villa: "I've been getting plenty of stick for not scoring so I'm delighted to put the ball in the net. I'm still young and learning the game and it doesn't matter if I play in midfield or defence. At the moment I'm just enjoying playing."
Anonymous on text, via 81111: "Cheers Lawro! Your scores may not have been correct but your predictions just won me £130! Wooo."
1936: On a busy old day, let's not forget that Martin O'Neill is back as Sunderland boss and Yakubu became the fifth player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick for three different clubs. The others? Teddy Sheringham, Nicolas Anelka, Kevin Campbell and Les Ferdinand. What a strikeforce that is.
1933: The mood seems all very negative at Villa Park but Alex McLeish's side stay in ninth place. The injuries to Shay Given, Jermaine Jenas and Javier Hernandez will all have a bearing on the next few weeks - we will bring you any news from the post-match interviews as and when we get them.
1932: All very comfortable for Manchester United - but you fear for their goal difference after a rather dull 1-0 win. Manchester City have scored 48 goals in the Premier League after today's thumping of Norwich. United have scored 31.
1931: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 0-1 Man Utd
1926: Danny Welbeck has the ball in the back of the net - but he's offside. And he shouldn't be. Wayne Rooney leads a breakaway but Welbeck makes his run too early and the flag goes up. Naive from the striker.
1925: Lovely move from Manchester United and Wayne Rooney almost scores a fine goal. He plays an intricate one-two with Michael Carrick on the edge of the area before firing in a rising half-volley which sails over the top.
1922: No update for you on the injury to Javier Hernandez yet by the way. United have plenty of strikers at their disposal but noone has really clicked with Wayne Rooney quite like Chicharito. Four minutes to go at a quiet Villa Park.
1917: Into the last 10 minutes at Villa Park - can the home side find a leveller? Manchester United have rather gone off the boil to be honest.
1916: FULL-TIME Bristol City 0-1 Middlesbrough
1915: Ashley Young hits a shot straight at Brad Guzan and is instantly replaced by Danny Welbeck.
1913: Aston Villa are suddenly looking a threat from set-pieces and Anders Lindegaard has to make a decent save. James Collins gets on the end of Richard Dunne's cross but the keeper tips it over the top.
Middlesbrough goal: Well there goes David James' clean sheet - but what a goal. This hasn't been the best game, but Malaury Martin has scored a rocket of a free-kick. Imagine Stuart Pearce with a right foot and you're in the right ballpark. None of this curling over the wall nonsense, he just runs up and smashes it right into the top corner. Unstoppable.
1910: GOALFLASH Bristol City 0-1 Middlesbrough (Malaury Martin)
1906: Improvement for Villa as they get the ball in the box - and a real chance. Gabriel Agbonlahor's deflected shot earns a corner and when the set-piece comes in Richard Dunne flicks on for Emile Heskey at the far post. Hesky should score - he should hit the target anyway - but he puts it over. Massive opportunity for Villa.
1902: That was a strange injury for Jermaine Jenas. He was chasing down a backpass and looked to tread on something on the pitch and buckle over. No idea what that could be though - a rogue sprinkler head? Hard luck for Jenas though who was making his first league start of the season.
1900: Emile Heskey is on for the injured Jermaine Jenas, whlie Ryan Giggs has come on for Rio Ferdinand. Just to fudge our little Phil Jones debate, it looks like he's going to play in defence for the last 25 minutes here.
1859: We've got another injury here and it looks a bad one for Jermaine Jenas. Again, there is no player anywhere near him as he goes down holding his ankle in similar style to Javier Hernandez. That is a bizarre one but he's coming off on a stretcher as well.
1856: Anders Lindegaard has to make a save there! He gets down low to easily hold Gabriel Agbonlahor's cross-shot from wide on the left. Better from Villa though, as Ryan Giggs warms up for the visitors.
1854: Wayne Rooney makes a burst into the area but is stopped by a fine Stephen Warnock challenge. That man Phil Jones is the first to react on the edge of the box but he too is shepherded out. Approaching the hour mark and still no sign of a home goal to be honest.
1852: The word on the street is that Javier Hernandez has suffered ankle ligament damage. I stress that we have not had that confirmed yet but if it is true, that's a massive blow for United. Time to get Dimitar Berbatov off the shelf and dust him down for action. I'll bring any confirmation to you as soon as we get it.
1851: Appeals for a penalty at Ashton Gate where Julio Arca handles but Middlesbrough get away with it. Just under 20 minutes left in that one.
From a Birmingham fan on text, via 8111: 'And there won't be goals at Villa Park this Christmas time; the greatest gift we gave them is our boss. Where no-one ever scores; and they play for nil-nil draws. Do they know it's Christmas time at all?"
1848: Better from Villa. Gabriel Agbonlahor runs at the United defence for the first time all evening and wins a corner. The Villa players have their fans behind them, need a decent spell of pressure now.
1845: Lovely stuff from Wayne Rooney as he nutmegs Barry Bannan but his 40-yard shot is off target. No signs yet of any change in approach from Aston Villa. They do have Stephen Ireland, Fabian Delph and Emile Heskey on the bench.
1841: A cracker of a stat from Bristol City by the way, where David James is keeping a clean sheet in his 750th league appearance. If that doesn't jinx it, nothing will. The players are back on the pitch at Villa Park - and we're off.
Jordan Corkhill on Twitter:
"I defended Houllier to the hills last season as he was at least trying to play football, McLeish's football is just woeful."
Paul on text, via 81111: "I fear for Alex McLeish, these performances are so flat and have no ambition, the fans will turn quickly like the Sunderland fans did with Steve Bruce."
1827: Alex McLeish's side were roundly booed off by their own fans there, and you can see why. Villa haven't been quite as tepid as they were in defeat at Tottenham 10 days or so ago, but they've been close. United utterly comfortable, but they will need a second goal early on in the second half to ensure they don't have a nervy finish.
Aston Villa 0-1 Man Utd Marc Higginson's HT snapshot: "United are in complete control, with goalscorer Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney and Nani pulling the strings. It looks like Fergie has chosen a good time to rest David de Gea - Anders Lindegaard could have done his Christmas shopping he has had so little to do."
1826: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 0-1 Man Utd
1825: Bristol City v Middlesbrough is back up and running. Another game in need of a goal or two.
Nathan Bright on Twitter:
"Is there anyway we can get stats on distance covered by physios in this game? My guess - 3km so far. Conservative guess though."
1821: Into the third of eight minutes added on and Manchester United continue to dominate. Brad Guzan hasn't had anything to do though yet.
Jonny Escott from Urmston on text, via 81111: "I'm sat on the train on my way back to Manchester from a non-league game in New Mills, please can you give me more information on the Hernandez injury?"
Jonny (above), we will let you all know the latest on injuries to Javier Hernandez and Shay Given when we find out. There is going to be eight minutes of injury time here though as a result.
1815: A flowing move comes to an end when Michael Carrick overcooks his pass to Wayne Rooney and nearly knocks the striker out. Poor from the England man in midfield. Ashley Young then gets in a tangle with Marc Albrighton down on the touchline and the Villa fans momentarily have something to get excited about.
1811: Goalless at Ashton Gate then as Shay Given is carted off down the tunnel for treatment. A bad week for him, but a chance for Brad Guzan. Only his second Premier League appearance for Villa.
1810: HALF-TIME Bristol City 0-0 Middlesbrough
Matt Greenslade on Twitter:
"#bbcfootball Villa are dire. More chance of me winning tonight's lottery than them winning this. And I haven't even bought a ticket."
1809: Another injury here as Shay Given dashes out to make a clearance and pings his hamstring. Looks like Brad Guzan is going to have to come on in goal for Villa.
1805: Woosh - what a strike by Antonio Valencia. The midfielder takes aim from 30 yards and catches it perfectly. Shay Given is not getting anywhere near it, but the ball flies just over the top. All to easy for United at the minute as Darren Bent takes a tumble. He's back on his feet though and I think he will be fine.
1802: It's fair to say that Andrew is taking some flak for his text message (below) but the jury remains out on Phil Jones' best position I reckon. It was a cracking finish though. Aston Villa need to make some changes if they are going to get back into this.
Anonymous on text, via 81111: "Please can you say something about a Villa player being out of position so that he immediately scores?"
1757: Darren Bent has possibly his first touch of the ball but is unable to hold it up as Villa look for a way back into the game. Instead it's the visitors who combine delightfully at the other end and Nani sees his header saved by Shay Given. Only one side in this at the moment.
Man Utd goal: After a sluggish start to the game at Villa Park, United go up through the gears and take the lead through Phil Jones' first career goal. After Villa struggle to get a corner away, the ball is worked back out to the left and Nani. His cross is a peach for Jones who shows textbook technique to control his side-footed volley past Shay Given and into the roof of the net. Defender/midfielder/whatever, that was a fine goal.
1753: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 0-1 Man Utd (Phil Jones)
Andrew on text, via 81111: "Phil Jones is a classy central defender who can also play very well at right back if needed. If Sir Alex continues to play him in central midfield then he's risking what happened to Alan Smith. Let the kid develop alongside Vidic at the back. It'll be best for him as well as England in the long run."
1748: United are now eight points behind Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, with Tottenham momentarily up into second, so Sir Alex Ferguson's men are in need of a win here tonight. They are bossing the play at the minute but Shay Given has not had anything to do as of yet.
1746: For the moment at least it looks like Nani is going up front with Wayne Rooney for Manchester United, who have had the most of the play in a slow start.
1744: Applause rings out around Villa Park as Javier Hernandez leaves the field on a stretcher with that ankle injury. That could be a big moment for Manchester United, let's hope the Mexican is not out for too long. It is Antonio Valencia who comes on so there will be a tweak in the side's shape.
1742: Danny Welbeck is on the bench but it looks like Antonio Valencia is the man primed to come on for Manchester United. Hernandez is still being treated inside the penalty area.
1740: Big moment for Manchester United as striker Javier Hernandez goes down. There was no challenge from a Villa defender, he was just twisting to make a move off the ball. He's coming off here - looks like a left ankle problem.
1738: Phil Jones is in midfield for Manchester United this evening, where of course he was given a run out for England by Fabio Capello last month. Is he the new Rio Ferdinand or the new Steven Gerrard? I don't think anyone has decided just yet - but he is going to be around at the top for years. That's not doubted.
1734: We hear that Aston Villa winger Charles N'Zogbia has been left out today over a breach of club discipline by the way. I am sure that there is one story that will rumble on over the next week or so. His predecessor Ashley Young gets some abuse from the home fans as he chases down a loose ball for Manchester United.
1733: Aston Villa kick us off for the last game of the day.
1730: Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has just been on to show the boots he scored in against Bolton today - they had 'RIP Gary Speed' stitched into them. Another tribute to the former Wales boss, and here's another one - a minute's silence and applause at Villa Park where Aston Villa v Manchester United is imminent.
1729: Norwich manager Paul Lambert on the 5-1 defeat at Manchester City: "Manchester City deserved to win. Whether five is a bit harsh or not, I'm not sure. We tried to keep going at 3-1 - the goal gave us a bit of confidence but we were beaten by a better side. The second goal was poor from our point of view because the ball had travelled a long way. But you dust youselves down and go again."
Ryan from Lincoln on text, via 81111: "As a Blackburn Rovers fan, and as much as I understand the protests against Steve Kean, our next four games is a bigger deal at the moment. We need nine points minimum from the next four starting with today's win. Need everyone behind the boys for a few weeks! Feeling good at last."
1723: The Championship game between Bristol City and Middlesbrough is under way now as Boro look to hang on to the top three.
Kenni Onuoha on Twitter:
"#BBCFootball still can't fathom why Moyes sold Yakubu, with his goals, I don't see how Everton would still have a negative GD....do you Moyes?"
1720: Blackburn boss Steve Kean after the win over Swansea: "I think the performance was excellent. I'm a big admirer of the way Swansea play but we felt we had to keep them in front of us and we did that. Yakubu can score any type of goal. He's performed fantastically well, but a striker is only as good as his service and that was excellent."
Marcus Bearpark on Twitter:
"Szczesny went to the Arsenal fans at the final whistle on his own and started singing "We're by far the greatest team" to them. #bbcfootball"
Anonymous on text, via 81111: "I don't think Arsenal have been given enough credit for today's win, admittedly Wigan are not the best opposition but they've been a bogey team for the Gunners so to pull off such a big win just shows how for they've come since the awful start."
1712: Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers after the 4-2 defeat at Blackburn: "We're obviously very disappointed but there were some good points from the game. I think 4-2 was very flattering for Blackburn, but fair play to them, they get players in the box and it worked for them. We were hopeful of getting something here, but we know our home form is important. The Premier League is a very difficult league and it is very difficult to get points on the road."
CHAMPIONSHIP FULL-TIME: It was a miserable afternoon for Leicester boss Nigel Pearson on his return to Hull after Robert Koren netted with two minutes to go to secure a 2-1 win over the 10-man Foxes. It was also a cruel afternoon for Peterborough who after coming from 3-0 down to level at three apiece against Barnsley, saw Craig Davies strike to secure a 4-3 win for the visitors. Nottingham Forest remain in the bottom three after they conceded in injury time at Brighton to lose 1-0.
ASTON VILLA v MAN UTD TEAM NEWS (1730) Marc Higginson reports: "Both teams have made three changes to their teams from their last Premier League outing, but the biggest surprise is Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to play Anders Lindegaard in goal instead of David de Gea. Ryan Giggs and Fabio Da Silva are replaced by Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. Villa are without Charles N'Zogbia, Fabian Delph and Emile Heskey, who have been replaced by Jermaine Jenas, Marc Albrighton and Barry Bannan."
1708: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini on the 5-1 win over Norwich: "It was not easy because it was only 1-0 in the first half. Norwich defended with all their players behind the ball. [Aguero] scored a fantastic goal and the goal Mario scored today [with his shoulder] was fantastic because it was the only way he could score."
1707: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after the 4-0 win at Wigan: "It was a great team performance, we controlled the game and could have scored more. We can only be happy. There is a difference between the team at the start of the season and now. And we can still improve. Robin van Persie was exceptional, especially in a collective way."
1706: Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "We played some great football although I think the sending off was harsh. I couldn't believe it when the red card came out."
Ben Cullen on Twitter:
"Football is made for players like Ballotelli. In the Cantona ilk. Sheer audacity and brilliance #BBCfootball."
Anonymous on text, via 81111: "City to sign Yakubu in January?"
ASTON VILLA v MAN UTD (1730) Marc Higginson reports: "All eyes will be on Ashley Young at Villa Park this evening when the winger returns to his former club. Villa manager Alex McLeish is hoping it will not be a happy return for the England ace, urging the home crowd to give him a "pretty good reception" while, at the same time, trying to "unnerve him a little bit". Not that it should affect him, considering Sir Alex Ferguson's appraisal of his £17m summer signing. "He's a terrific option just behind the front," said Ferguson. "In that respect, we got an all-round footballer. He's a terrific crosser of the ball and his goal attempts have been good."
1658: A bit of FA Cup news for you, and non-league Wrexham have won at Brentford to go into the hat for round three. Chelmsford also drew with Macclesfield to earn a replay.
Aston Villa v Man Utd Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Herd, Jenas, Bannan, Albrighton, Agbonlahor, Bent. Subs: Ireland, Delph, Heskey, Petrov, Clark, Guzan, Cuellar. Manchester United: Lindegaard, Smalling, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Jones, Young, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: De Gea, Evans, Giggs, Park, Welbeck, Fletcher, Valencia. Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
1655: There's no respite for Steve Kean. He may have seen his side pick up three big points with a win at home to Swansea but he's still being hounded by banners and chants of 'Kean out' at Ewood Park. Yakubu's certainly earnt his corn today though ,the second time he's scored four goals in a Premier League match.
1655: Former England manager Steve McClaren on BBC 5 live: "Man City have been sublime again. What's really impressed me is that they've got the ability and they've got the squad, but their workrate is why they've won this game 5-1. They've not given Norwich an inch on the ball, and when they had the ball they made it count."
BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Anders Lindegaard starts in goal for Manchester United at Aston Villa, while Danny Welbeck makes his return from injury on the bench.
1653: FULL-TIME Blackburn 4-2 Swansea
1653: FULL-TIME QPR 1-1 West Brom
1652: FULL-TIME Man City 5-1 Norwich
1652: FULL-TIME Tottenham 3-0 Bolton
Man City goal: Norwich falling apart now as Vincent Kompany spreads the ball over to the right, Adam Johnson cuts inside his man and finds the far corner with ease. A great finish from the England winger.
1651: FULL-TIME Wigan 0-4 Arsenal
1650: GOALFLASH Man City 5-1 Norwich (Adam Johnson)
Man City goal: He's only been on the pitch a few minutes but Mario Balotelli has another crazy moment to add to his ever-growing scrapbook. A lovely City move sees Adam Johnson burst into the box and tee up the Italian. John Ruddy saves his initial shot but the ball balloons into the air, allowing Balotelli to get under it and nonchalantly knock it in with his shoulder. He could not be more casual.
1648: GOALFLASH Man City 4-1 Norwich (Mario Balotelli)
Blackburn goal: And Yakubu gets his fourth goal moments later from the penalty spot after a trip from Neil Taylor on Simon Vukcevic. Yakubu sends the keeper the wrong way for what could be a vital goal at the bottom of the league.
Swansea red card: Swansea's hopes of grabbing an equaliser are dealt a blow as Joe Allen is sent off for a push on Yakubu as the striker looked to break. His first booking was for dissent.
Norwich goal: Steve Morison heads a late consolation for Norwich when he gets up above Gael Clichy to head powerfully home.
West Brom goal: Roy Hodgson's side find a leveller thanks to a predatory goal from Shane Long. The former Reading man notches a close range tap-in from substitute Peter Odemwingie's cross.
1641: GOALFLASH Blackburn 4-2 Swansea (Yakubu)
PENALTY TO BLACKBURN
RED CARD FOR Swansea (Joe Allen)
1640: GOALFLASH Man City 3-1 Norwich (Steve Morison)
1639: GOALFLASH QPR 1-1 West Brom (Shane Long)
1638: With 20 minutes left, Wrexham are still on course for the FA Cup third round, leading 1-0 at Brentford but Chelmsford and Tamworth have both been pegged back to 1-1. Luton were briefly level with Cheltenham but the Robins now lead 3-2. Salisbury and Grimsby are goalless in their all-non-league encounter. League Two side Swindon are 1-0 up at Colchester, of League One.
Arsenal goal: There we go, the compulsory goal for Arsenal skipper Robin van Persie who bags his 13th goal in his last nine league games. Theo Walcott does all the hard graft for him, breaking through the defence before squaring to Van Persie who easily slots home from 10 yards.
1635: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-4 Arsenal (Robin van Persie)
1634: It's all Swansea at Ewood park as Blackburn nervously hold on to their lead. Scott Sinclair has another chance but shoots over while the lively Jermain Defoe hits the post for Spurs with a low shot from close range. Bolton would take the final whistle right now.
Jordan in Manchester on text, via 81111: "All the top 5 teams have scored 3 goals. Be warned Aston Villa!"
1631: Ben Foster is having a shocker at QPR. The West Brom keeper commits a howler which presents Shaun Wright-Phillips with a chance to make it 2-0 but the former Chelsea player can't find the target. Sergio Aguero gets a standing ovation as he is replaced by Mario Balotelli, while Rafael van der Vaart comes on for Spurs in place of Aaron Lennon.
CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE: Bottom-placed Doncaster have taken a shock lead against leaders Southampton through Billy Sharp, while second-placed West Ham are being held at home by Burnley. The Hammers took the lead through Kevin Nolan but Chris McCann has since equalised. Coventry had also equalised at Portsmouth through Lukas Jutkiewicz but they are behind again after Joel Ward scored, while Blackpool have taken the lead at home to Reading through Callum McManaman.
Man City goal: It's too easy for Manchester City as they take a quick short corner, David Silva picks out Yaya Toure just inside the area and the giant midfielder curls a precise shot past John Ruddy and into the far corner.
Swansea goal: Swansea right back in it at Ewood Park. Wayne Routledge does brilliantly down the right to beat his man and fire in a low cross-shot. Paul Robinson can only parry the ball clear and fellow substitute Luke Moore is on hand to take a touch and fire home.
Mark Roberts on Twitter:
"Anelka has been a good player for us but fair enough he wants to leave, cant see the sense behind letting Alex go, no cb cover #BBCFootball"
1622: Amongst that flurry of goals we've had action elsewhere too. It's still all to play for at Loftus Road with QPR still leading 1-0. But the home side had a scare when West Brom appeals for a penalty were turned down after James Morrison tumbled inside the area following a challenge by Danny Gabbidon. And John Ruddy keeps Norwich 2-0 down with a sharp double save to deny David Silva and then Sergio Aguero.
Tottenham goal: Another soft goal from a corner for Bolton to concede as Luka Modric's delivery from the right is helped on by Gareth Bale, and Jermain Defoe is there to side-foot in from four yards out.
Arsenal goal: Dangerman Robin van Persie sees his fierce shot parried by Ali al Habsi in the Wigan goal and Gervinho follows up for a simple tap-in. There could be more goals here yet as well.
1619: GOALFLASH Tottenham 3-0 Bolton (Jermain Defoe)
1619: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-3 Arsenal (Gervinho)
Blackburn goal: Say what you like about Yakubu, but he knows where the net is. Another Premier League treble for the big man. Chris Samba heads a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner across goal for the striker to nod in from point-blank range.
Opta Sports on Twitter:
"179 - Arsenal ended a run of 179 corners without a goal from a corner in the Premier League when @T_Vermaelen05 scored. Wait."
1613: Mohamed Diame goes close for a Wigan side showing good spirit in this half, while Scott Sinclair again shoots wide for Swansea at Blackburn, where the rain has arrived in true Lancashire style. Belting down.
Man City goal: An early Christmas gift from Norwich keeper John Ruddy to Manchester City. Samir Nasri floats a free-kick from the left flank into the corridor of uncertainty between Ruddy and his defence. The goalkeeper hesitates before watching the ball bounce into the corner. Very soft goal for City who look nailed on for another home win.
1611: GOALFLASH Man City 2-0 Norwich (Samir Nasri)
Tottenham goal: They've been hammering on the door since Gary Cahill was dismissed, but Spurs produce a gem of a goal to double their lead. A sweeping move involving Kyle Walker and Emmanuel Adebayor down the right ends with Aaron Lennon picking the ball up inside the area. He turns inside a defender before drilling into the near post.
1608: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-0 Bolton (Aaron Lennon)
1606: Elliott Bennett has a real chance for Norwich but after he skips round Joe Hart he can't get his shot on target and fires over the top. At Wigan, Arsenal have a muted penalty appeal waved away.
1604: We're off and running in all five Premier League games, where Manchester City had 78% possession in the first half against Norwich. Swansea have brought on winger Wayne Routledge at Ewood Park.
1601: Right, I think that's us up to speed across the land. The second-halves are coming up in a matter of seconds so brace yourself. A big 45 minutes coming up for Blackburn and Bolton at the bottom, and Arsenal, Man City and Spurs at the top.
CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE: It's not the best of afternoons for Nigel Pearson on his return to Hull City, after his side were reduced to 10 men after just 29 minutes. Matt Mills is sent off for a professional foul. Matt Fryatt opened the scoring from the penalty spot but Paul Konchesky did equalise just before break. Ipswich fans finally had something to celebrate on the stroke of half-time as Keith Andrews opened the scoring against Watford."
1559: Despite looking lethargic for much of the first half, St Mirren equalise against Inverness on the stroke of half-time. Striker Steven Thompson rising unchallenged at the far post to bullet home a header. Rangers lead Dunfermline 2-1 at half time; St Johnstone are well worth their 1-0 lead away to Hearts and Kilmarnock are 1-0 up at home to Aberdeen, thanks to Gary Harkins.
1558: Stourbridge are out of the FA Cup after losing 3-0 at home to Stevenage in the 1400 kick-off. The teams were level at half-time but Chris Beardsley scored twice and Robin Shroot added some gloss to the scoreline in injury time. The Glassboys had knocked Plymouth out in the first round.
ASTON VILLA v MAN UTD (1730) Marc Higginson reports: "There are few certainties in life - but Manchester United beating Aston Villa seems to be one of them. The Villains have won just once in their last 29 league and cup matches against the Reds, stretching back to a Julian Joachim-inspired 3-0 victory in October 1999. Throw in all of United's cup semi-final wins at Villa Park down the years and most will assume it's a nailed on away win this evening. Thankfully, for Villa fans at least, football is not played on paper ."
1555: At half-time in the FA Cup second round, two non-league sides lead Football League opposition. Chelmsford are beating Macclesfield 1-0 and Wrexham are ahead at Brentford by the same scoreline. Tamworth are also ahead, at Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Gateshead. Two other non-league sides in 1500 action, Luton and Redbridge, are behind.
Blackburn 2-1 Swansea Alistair Magowan's HT snapshot: "Yakubu is on a one-man mission to get Blackburn three points here. Ewood has gone from delirium to despair and back to delirium again thanks to the Yak's brace, either side of Leroy Lita's header for Swansea. There are more goals in this I suspect."
Wigan 0-2 Arsenal John Sinnott's HT snapshot: "After a slow start Arsenal are in total control at the JJB Stadium thanks to two goals in two minutes. The only surprise is that Robin van Persie scored neither of the two goals. Worrying for Wigan."
QPR 1-0 West Brom Neil Johnston's HT snapshot: "West Brom are still alive thanks to the controversial decision to disallow Shaun Wright-Phillips' goal. But QPR are in control with Joey Barton in menacing form."
Man City 1-0 Norwich Peter Scrivener's HT snapshot: "It's attack v defence at the Etihad Stadium and there's no prizes for guessing which team is in the ascendancy. Norwich haven't 'parked the bus' on the edge of the penalty area at the Etihad Stadium, more turned it into a static home. The Canaries have spent the first 45 minutes caged in but Manchester City have only been able to unlock the door once, Sergio Aguero twisting and turning and stabbing home through a crowd of legs. You get the feeling there's more to come though."
Tottenham 1-0 Bolton Saj Chowdhury's HT snapshot: "Poor Bolton. It was a horrible decision by referee Stuart Attwell to send Gary Cahill off. Spurs have been brilliant though and should be at least 3-0 up - if it was not for that pesky Jussi Jaaskelainen."
Blackburn goal: Blackburn strike right on the brink of half-time as Simon Vukcevic volleys a corner back across goal and Yakubu nods it in at the back post.
1550: HALF-TIME Blackburn 2-1 Swansea
1549: GOALFLASH Blackburn 2-1 Swansea (Yakubu)
1548:: HALF-TIME QPR 1-0 West Brom
1548: HALF-TIME Man City 1-0 Norwich
1548: HALF-TIME Tottenham 1-0 Bolton
1547: HALF-TIME Wigan 0-2 Arsenal
1546: Redbridge's FA Cup run looks set to come to an end in their eighth game of this season's tournament. Matt Tubbs has scored twice to give Crawley a 2-0 lead and total control of the tie. Jermain Defoe misses another chance for Tottenham.
1544: North of the border, Rangers came racing out of the traps to take a two-goal lead at home to Dunfermline. But Joe Cardle has reduced the deficit for the Pars with a cool finish past Allan McGregor. Kilmarnock and Inverness lead against Aberdeen and St Mirren respectively. And St Johnstone lead away to Hearts courtesy of Liam Craig's lob and are threatening to double their lead at Tynecastle.
1543: There have been no further chances at Loftus Road while Spurs could and should be four or five up over 10-man Bolton. Scott Parker is the latest to go close. Down the league ladder in the Blue Square Bet Premier, York City are 3-0 up after half an hour, but Kettering may struggle to turn that one around, as they have named just two substitutes on the bench.
1541: I've given him some stick earlier but that was much better from goalkeeper Ali al Habsi to keep Wigan just about in the game. He saves well from Robin van Persie after Gervinho's run and cross down the left.
1540: Sergio Aguero, whose goal a couple of minutes ago was his 13th of the season, could already have scored a hat-trick for Manchester City this afternoon. He volleyed over earlier in the half and has just side-footed another effort into the crowd. City looking good but Norwich have already picked up a point at Liverpool this season and remain a threat on the counter.
1539: Former England manager Steve McClaren on BBC 5 live: "Man City have been so patient. Aguero must have been surrounded by five defenders, but he wriggled and wriggled and showed patience before he hit it into the back of the net. After one second of pure magic they're one goal up."
1538: Keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen comes to the rescue for Bolton again, this time tipping Gareth Bale's shot away. Jermain Defoe's follow-up is fired wide. Moments later, Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor strikes his shot half a foot wide. It's all Tottenham at the moment.
Swansea goal: Swansea put their superior possession to good use as Mark Gower stands up an inviting cross to the back post and Leroy Lita gets up really well to send a header back across Paul Robinson in goal and find the far corner. A great header from the former Reading man. Steve Kean looks right miffed with that one.
CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE: We've had just two goals in the Championship so far, after a slow start. Barnsley lead Peterborough 1-0 at London Road thanks to goal from Jim O'Brien. Things are going from bad to worse for Coventry, who sit second from bottom of the table and they are already a goal down at Portsmouth. Greg Halford opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Joel Ward was bought down by the Sky Blues keeper Joe Murphy.
Man City goal: Fabulous improvised finish from Sergio Aguero as Manchester City finally find a way through. Micah Richards bursts into the box and squares for the Argentine, who has five defenders in close proximity but manages to wriggle free before finding a chink of space to toe-poke a cheeky finish into the far corner.
1533: GOALFLASH Man City 1-0 Norwich (Sergio Aguero)
1532: So a good few minutes for Arsenal at Wigan, while back in north London Spurs are on top. Emmanuel Adebayor's fierce strike inside the area is saved low by Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen before Gareth Bale blazes over.
Arsenal goal: Two in as many minutes for Arsenal as Thomas Vermaelen rises highest to get on the end of a Robin van Persie corner and head in at the far post. Again you would have to sasy that Ali Al Habsi may have done a bit better with that one.
1530: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-2 Arsenal (Thomas Vermaelen)
Arsenal goal: Oh dear, a howler from Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi as Mikel Arteta drills in a shot from 25 yards and he makes a total hash of saving it. The ball goes right through him and inyo the back of the net. Real test for Wigan now.
1528: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-1 Arsenal (Mikel Arteta)
1528: At White Hart Lane Aaron Lennon fires in a low cross from the right which Jermain Defoe latches on to four yards from goal, but his shot is somehow saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen. At the other end, Chris Eagles' effort is deflected off the boot of Younes Kaboul and tipped over the bar by Brad Friedel.
1526: QPR think they have doubled their lead through Shaun Wright-Phillips but his effort is chalked off for a tight offside call, while Gael Givet goes close to a second for Blackburn with a header which is saved by Michel Vorm. Manchester City continue to struggle to breakdown Norwich's epic back nine, while Aaron Ramsey has the first chance for Arsenal but his cross-shot is easily dealt with.
Blackburn goal: Lovely goal for Rovers. Gael Givet provides an unlikely overlap down the left and cuts the ball back to Yakubu, who side-foots a great finish into the top corner from 15 yards. Yakubu ran straight to boss Steve Kean as well.
QPR goal: Neil Warnock's side are ahead and it's Heidar Helguson who scores for the fourth home game in a row. Joey Barton makes an immediate impact on his QPR return after his inch-perfect cross allows Helguson to head his sixth league goal of the season from six yards.
1521: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-0 Swansea (Yakubu)
1520: GOALFLASH QPR 1-0 West Brom (Heidar Helguson)
Bolton red card: It's another early sending off for Bolton but this is very harsh. Gary Cahill takes an unwise touch on the halfway line and is robbed by the dogged Scott Parker. Cahill trips his England team-mate but Parker is tight to the touchline, 50 yards from goal and with several covering defenders in the middle. Referee Stuart Attwell shows a straight red card though when a yellow would have done.
RED CARD FOR BOLTON (Gary Cahill)
1515: Aaron Lennon puts in a dangerous ball for Tottenham but Bolton clear their lines, while there has been little in the way of attacking flair shown by Arsenal so far. With Robin van Persie in the mood he is in though anything could happen.
BREAKING NEWS: Chelsea confirm transfer requests have been accepted from striker Nicolas Anelka and defender Alex. They will be off next month if Chelsea can find a buyer. What do we think of that?
1512: Wigan should have taken the lead at the DW Stadium after a lively start. A ball in from David Jones on the left was punched clear by Wojciech Szczesny but only as far as Jordi Gomez eight-yards out - but his effort was deflected wide by Andre Santos. Real chance for Wigan. And one for Norwich as well as Steve Morison barges his way through but takes a heavy touch and Joe Hart is able to gather.
1511: Unsurprisingly, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew had a different view on the David Luiz 'incident'. He said: "It's a sending off, it's as simple as that. We didn't play great in the first half it is as simple as that. To lose both centre-halves is just too much. I don't think any analyst would look at that and say it wasn't a sending off. I genuinely thought the referee got that wrong."
1510: Disjointed fare on offer at Loftus Road between QPR and West Brom, while Scott Sinclair goes close for Swansea at struggling Blackburn but drags his shot wide.
1509: Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas on Sky Sports: "If there was a result today that was fair, it was Chelsea to win. The referee made a decision that he thought was right not to send off David Luiz, maybe the decision today fell our way. But it doesn't overshadow the performance of the Chelsea players. It was a win that nobody was expecting so it's a massive win for us."
Tottenham goal: So much for Bolton's bright start as they concede a bad goal. Luka Modric drills a corner to the near post and Gareth Bale runs in front of his marker to stab a low shot past the goalkeeper. The Wales winger then removes his boot in a celebration presumably in memory of his former boss Gary Speed. Owen Coyle's bad run set to continue?
1506: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-0 Bolton (Gareth Bale)
1430: Former England manager Steve McClarenon BBC 5 live: "A very tough game for Norwich today, who will have to defend very well and flood the midfield area, breaking very quickly trying to score."
1504: First sighter for Premier League leaders Manchester City as Edin Dzeko fizzes a low shot wide from 25 yards. No chances of note in our other games, but Bolton have made a bright start at Spurs.
1502: Don't forget there are 17 FA Cup second round ties today, with nine non-league sides bidding for a place in the third round draw. Redbridge, from the eighth tier, visit League Two promotion favourites Crawley, while Chelmsford host Macclesfield and Salisbury are at home to fellow non-leaguers Grimsby. Stourbridge and Stevenage are goalless in their 1400 kick-off.
1501: We are off in all five Premier League games.
1500: All settled and ready to go? All the grounds are having a minute's applause in memory of Gary Speed but we are set to go.
1457: Chelsea striker Didier Drogba on Sky Sports: "We are not in a good moment so it was difficult to come here, but the team had a good reaction." Playmaker Juan Mata: "This result gives us a lot of confidence going into the Champions League match against Valencia."
Wigan v Arsenal Wigan: Al Habsi, Stam, Gohouri, Caldwell, Figueroa, Diame, Jones, Gomez, McCarthy, Moses, Sammon. Subs: Pollitt, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, McArthur, Rodallega, Lopez. Arsenal: Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Ramsey, Song, Arteta, Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho. Subs: Fabianski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou, Arshavin, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin. Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
Tottenham v Bolton Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Modric, Parker, Bale, Adebayor, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Pavlyuchenko, Van der Vaart, Bassong, Corluka, Livermore, Pienaar.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Cahill, Knight, Mark Davies, Eagles, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Robinson, Kevin Davies, Klasnic. Subs: Bogdan, Steinsson, Sanli, Petrov, Pratley, Ngog, Kakuta. Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
QPR v West Brom QPR: Cerny, Young, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Traore, Faurlin, Mackie, Barton, Wright-Phillips, Helguson, Bothroyd. Substitutes: Putnins, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt, Buzsaky, Smith. West Brom: Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey, Brunt, Mulumbu, Morrison, Thomas, Dorrans, Long. Substitutes: Fulop, Scharner, Tchoyi, Odemwingie, Jones, Cox, Dawson. Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire).
Man City v Norwich Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Toure, Clichy, Silva, Yaya Toure, Barry, Nasri, Aguero, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon,Lescott, Milner, Johnson, Savic, De Jong, Balotelli. Norwich: Ruddy, Naughton, Martin, Barnett, Tierney, Bennett, Crofts, Johnson, Pilkington, Surman, Morison. Subs: Rudd, Whitbread, Holt, Jackson, Hoolahan, Fox, Wilbraham. Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
WIGAN v ARSENAL TEAM NEWS John Sinnott reports: "Wigan name an unchanged side from the team that won at Sunderland last weekend, with Franco Di Santo, who scored the winning goal in that victory at the Stadium of Light, on the bench. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger makes two changes from the side that drew with Fulham in their last Premier League game with Laurent Koscielny and Gervinho replacing Johan Djourou and Andrey Arshavin."
QPR v WEST BROM TEAM NEWS Neil Johnston reports: "As expected, Joey Barton makes an automatic return to the QPR midfield after suspension while Jay Bothroyd is also back in attack. Graeme Dorrans replaces Zoltan Gera, out for the rest of the season, in the West Brom side."
MAN CITY v NORWICH TEAM NEWS Peter Scrivener reports: "Joleon Lescott and James Milner are both named on the bench for Manchester City who make two changes from the side that faced Liverpool in their last Premier League outing. Kolo Toure and Edin Dzeko come in, with Mario Balotelli also named amongst the substitutes after his ban. Norwich also make two changes with Kyle Naughton replacing the injured Ritchie de Laet in defence and Elliott Bennett coming in for Simeon Jackson who drops to the bench."
BLACKBURN v SWANSEA TEAM NEWS Alistair Magowan reports: "So the weakened Blackburn team against Cardiff in midweek can be partly explained by the missing Michel Salgado and Martin Olsson this afternoon. The good news is that talisman Chris Samba is back, so too is the energetic Junior Hoilett. Both of Swansea's two changes are enforced with Angel Rangel and Danny Graham injured against Aston Villa. That means Ashley Richards and Leroy Lita come in"
TOTTENHAM v BOLTON TEAM NEWS Saj Chowdhury reports:"Tottenham name Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor in attack with Rafael van der Vaart on the bench having recovered from a hamstring injury. Defender William Gallas is in for Ledley King, while midfielder Luka Modric comes in for Sandro. Bolton's Dedryck Boyata returns from injury to replace suspended defender David Wheater."
1441: A big win for Chelsea then but Newcastle had more than their fair share of chances. Strap yourselves in for a busy few minutes as I bring you team news from across the grounds ahead of our five 1500 Premier League kick-offs.
1441: FULL-TIME Newcastle 0-3 Chelsea
Chelsea goal. After at least seven good chances, Daniel Sturridge does find the net. Again the Newcastle backline is cut open and Sturridge cuts in from the right before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner. Persistence pays off.
1439: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-3 Chelsea (Daniel Sturridge)
Chelsea goal. It's a goal Chelsea deserve and a win they badly needed. Fernando Torres bursts through a vacant Newcastle defence and while the chance looks to have gone as he cuts inside, he has the presence of mind to play in Salomon Kalou. The brilliant Tim Krul gets a hand to his effort but it's not enough as the ball spins agonisingly slowly into the back of the net.
1435: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea (Salomon Kalou)
1431: Yet another chance for Daniel Sturridge who just cannot score today. Tim Krul saves from him yet again - it's been a right old duel that one and the Dutchman has won it hands down. Great reaction from Andre Villas-Boas who erupts on the touchline. He needs these three points.
1430: Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC 5 live: "Chelsea have turned into a team of individuals. There's no real cohesion and they don't look solid. They don't see to know what others are doing at times, and that's a big big problem."
BREAKING TEAM NEWS: William Gallas starts for Tottenham in place of Ledley King.
1428: I'm losing count of how many times the woodwork has been lashed today and this is the pick of the bunch. Three touches of brilliance from Shola Ameobi as he controls a hopeful ball from Danny Simpson, turns his man and thumps a 20-yard bolt against the crossbar. Almost brilliant.
1426: FULL-TIME Leeds 2-0 Millwall
1425: Into the last 10 minutes at Newcastle and Fernando Torres is on for Didier Drogba. Who hasn't got a £50m sub on the bench for the last 10 minutes?
1420: Off the line! Petr Cech can only tip a cross away under pressure from Demba Ba and Sammy Ameobi sees his volley well cleared by John Terry. The magnificent Juan Mata is coming off for Salomon Kalou. Maybe one eye on the big Champions League game with Valencia there from Andre Villas-Boas.
1418: Sammy Ameobi instantly goes on a direct run but loses the ball and Chelsea break with purpose. Daniel Sturridge pokes a ball through to Juan Mata but the Spaniard can't quite toe the ball on target and it drifts wide.
1417: What's better than one Ameobi? Two Ameobis of course. Here comes Sammy Ameobi - Shola's brother. Newcastle going for it.
1415: An excellent and brave piece of defending from Ashley Cole denies Newcastle a decent chance. Demba Ba swivels to try and volley a loose ball but Cole throws himself in the way and nicks it away. Good play from the left-back.
BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Midfielder Rafael van der Vaart is named as one of Tottenham's substitutes having missed the last league match against West Brom with a hamstring injury.
1410: After a manic 10 minutes there it's gone a bit quiet at Newcastle. Still 25 minutes left for either side to get on the scoresheet though.
1406: He's missed a penalty, and now Frank Lampard is being subbed. He's not happy, but Raul Meireles is coming on for the last half an hour. I think there will be more goals in this yet.
1404: So Newcastle terribly unlucky not to be level, but on the other end of the scale Chelsea could be out of sight. You would back Didier Drogba and Ramires to both bury those chances more often than not.
1401: Scratch that, it's back to basketball at Newcastle. First the home side come extremely close to levelling when Didier Drogba smacks a header against his own crossbar, and Chelsea then break from the corner. Daniel Sturridge sprints down the right before finding Ramires, but the midfielder is denied by yet another fine save from Tim Krul.
1359: Big chance for Chelsea to double their lead. A cross from the left is beautifully chested down at the back stick by Didier Drogba, but the striker thrashes his shot wildly wide from no more than five yards out.
1358: Back in the top flight, Shola Ameobi gets on the end of some good work from Gabriel Obertan but his low shot is well blocked by Frank Lampard. Not quite so frenetic so far.
Leeds goal: It's all going off for Leeds. Lloyd Sam crosses from the left and Robert Snodgrass heads into the bottom corner.
1353: Not a lot going on at Elland Road by the way, a tame Andy Keogh header is about all that has happened in the second half.
1351: There's a half-time change for Newcastle as Hatem Ben Arfa is replaced by the unit that is Shola Ameobi. Be interesting to see how that affects the game. Second half has kicked off.
William Lovell on Twitter:
"Blatant red for Luiz. It's not even a decision Dean needs to debate in his head. Has changed entire game #BBCFootball"
James Ward on Twitter:
"Great 1st half offensive display from Chelsea, Sturridge is looking in great form - but some awful defending, where's Alex?? #BBCFootball"
Nigel Quelch on Twitter:
"Time to park the bus Mourinho-style. Unfortunately we're simply not that solid anymore. #CFC #BBCFootball"
Jack Finnamore on Twitter:
"That was a Drogba goal of old. Power, determination, skill. Dids at his best. Credit to Mata though, top class cross. #BBCFootball"
Luke Woodward on Twitter:
"Newcastle looking a bit like arsenal. too much faffing around outside the box. not enough crosses into Ba #BBCFootball"
1345: Martin O'Neill is the new Sunderland boss then, and he has said this: "It's a very nice feeling to be back in football and to be the manager of Sunderland. It's a big moment for me." I for one am looking forward to having him back on the post-match interview scene.
WIGAN v ARSENAL (1500) John Sinnott reports: "Tis the month to be jolly if you are a Arsenal fan. Arsene Wenger's side have lost just one of their last 19 Premier League matches in December - a run stretching back four years. Their only defeat since 2007 in December was a 1-0 loss at Manchester United last year. However Wigan's recent record against Arsenal gives their fans cause to "strike the harp and join the chorus". Last season Roberto Martinez's side drew 2-2 with Arsenal, despite having 10 men and trailing 2-1with 10 minutes left. And the season before that, former Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia's superb goal ensured a memorable 3-2 win over Arsenal."
TOTTENHAM v BOLTON (1500) Saj Chowdhury reports: "If Tottenham continue at this rate then they will probably have the league sewn up by March. They have managed eight wins and a draw in their last league outings and are aiming to equal the 11-game unbeaten run they enjoyed back in 1995. I can't see them falling short. Bolton? Well, they have lost the last 10 of their 13 league matches and they have not won at Spurs since 2004. You do the math(s)."
QPR v WEST BROM (1500) Neil Johnston reports: "No prizes for guessing what Neil Warnock would like for his birthday. Having turned 63 on Thursday, the QPR manager would dearly welcome three points having seen his side win once in the league at Loftus Road this season. West Brom face the blow of losing Zoltan Gera for the season with knee ligament damage as they seek a third league away win."
MAN CITY v NORWICH (1500) Peter Scrivener reports: "Manchester City can go eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table if they extend their unbeaten start to the season to 14 games with victory over Norwich - and history and recent form suggests they just might do that. The Canaries have won just two of their 25 league games at City in 73 years and have lost on their last three visits. Visiting fans may be encouraged by the fact that Roberto Mancini's side have conceded a goal in each of their last six games, however, they have also scored in their last 19 matches. Anyone brave enough to back Norwich on their coupon this weekend?"
BLACKBURN v SWANSEA (1500) Alistair Magowan reports: "Is December too soon to be talking of cup finals? Not for under-pressure Blackburn boss Steve Kean who has been using that type of rhetoric ahead this, the first of four crucial matches against fellow strugglers. Kean can expect fresh fan protests, but has some big names back after a rotten week and will hope his team can expose Swansea, who have the worst away record in the Premier League."
1341: Before I do though, some breaking news. Martin O'Neill has been appointed Sunderland manager on a three-year deal. Much more to follow on that one on the BBC Sport website. Here's today's action as promised...
1340: Want to know what to expect from our 1500 Premier League games? Course you do...
Newcastle 0-1 Chelsea Phil Dawkes' HT snapshot: "Chelsea deservedly lead, but whether they should still have 11 men on the pitch is highly debatable following last man David Luiz's early "tackle" on Demba Ba. It will take a big United effort to challenge Chelsea's XI men in the second half."
1339: The second half has kicked off at Leeds v Millwall by the way.
1255: Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC 5 live: "A fantastic game. Incident at both ends. The referee should have put Chelsea down to 10 men early on. Newcastle are still in this and have a decent chance of getting something. For Chelsea, it's all been about Daniel Sturridge."
1335: HALF-TIME Newcastle 0-1 Chelsea
1332: It's still end to end at Newcastle, this is like the Kevin Keegan era. It's great to watch but you feel Chelsea must run away with it if they continue to create as many chances. Juan Mata is at the heart of it, and that cross for the goal was his seventh assist in his last nine starts. He looks like a younger Andre Villas-Boas as well. He's basically got the lot.
1328: Well this could be about 4-2 already. Frank Lampard plays one pass which cuts open what is left of the Newcastle defence and Daniel Sturridge is in again. Again his low shot is well saved by Tim Krul who is showing just why he is Newcastle's number one this term. Didier Drogba's header for the goal by the way was a cracking effort. He had to generate a lot of power to beat Krul and did just that.
Chelsea goal: The goal has been coming, and it is the visitors who strike first. It's a soft one as well as Newcastle switch off from a throw-in. Ashley Cole throws to Juan Mata, who lofts over a lovely little cross for Didier Drogba, who powers in an unstoppable header into the roof of the net.
1326: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-1 Chelsea (Didier Drogba)
1322: Newcastle hit the post but again it is Chelsea's defending which is all at sea. First, Demba Ba gets above David Luiz to head Danny Guthrie's cross onto the post, but then John Terry smacks the loose ball right into Luiz and can only watch as it floats up and inches wide. That would have been a shocker of an own goal.
1322: So no breakthrough as of yet at an emotional Elland Road where the game has fallen a bit flat.
1321: HALF-TIME Leeds 0-0 Millwall
Chelsea fan Lee on text, via 81111: "Our defence is appalling no doubt, but Mata and Sturridge are so entertaining."
1317: That was only Frank Lampard's fourth penalty miss in the Premier League by the way. Another minute, another chance meanwhile as Juan Mata first beats his man with a deft touch and then floats in a peach of a cross from the left which Didier Drogba fires over.
1315: Bad news for Newcastle as defender Fabrico Coloccini is forced off with an injury and James Perch comes on. More woe at Leeds who have also lost Michael Brown to injury.
1312: Chance for Newcastle! Great stuff from Peter Lovenkrands on the left to make space for a cross and when it comes in, Demba Ba somehow manages to flick a powerful effort on goal. Petr Cech though makes a good save to tip it over the top. A goal is coming...
1311: A blow for Leeds as midfielder Jonny Howson hurts his knee at Elland Road. The physio signals for the stretcher but Howson is made of strong stuff and he gets to his feet and hobbles to the touchline for further treatment. A decision is quickly made that he cannot continue though and Lloyd Sam comes on. At Newcastle, Daniel Sturridge has another effort but shoots into the side-netting.
1309: BIG chance for Chelsea and again it's Daniel Sturridge. Juan Mata slides in a lovely pass down the side and Sturridge is in on goal but only hits it straight at Tim Krul. Maybe I was a bit premature on his England chances there. Both sides look like they can't defend at the moment though. I predict a goal imminently.
1307: Andre Villas-Boas is adopting his now trademark pose here, hunched down in a sort of squat on the touchline. That cannot be good for his calf muscles. On the pitch, the impressive Daniel Sturridge again cuts inside and whistles a 20-yarder just wide. Sturridge for England's Euro 2012 squad?
1255: Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC 5 live: "Absolutely brilliant save, though it wasn't the greatest of penalties. Newcastle survive, and Yohan Cabaye is a lucky man. It was a poor decision by him to make that challenge. He just hung his leg out and it was a penalty.""
1304: This is going to end up 3-3. All of a sudden Chelsea look extremely lively and Daniel Sturridge twists and turns inside the area before lashing a low shot against the post from a tight angle. Great game so far.
1302: Well, well, well. Chelsea are awarded a penalty when Daniel Sturridge bursts into the area and is clipped by Yohan Cabaye. The correct call from referee Mike Dean to be fair to him. Up steps Frank Lampard but his tame kick is well saved by Tim Krul who turns it on to the post.
MISSED PENALTY FOR CHELSEA (Frank Lampard)
PENALTY TO CHELSEA
1300: Newcastle fans are now singing Gary Speed's name as we enter the 11th minute. The fact Chelsea still have 11 men on the pitch is the main talking point though.
1258: Chance at Elland Road as Millwall almost take the lead against the run of play. Leeds goalkeeper Alex McCarthy dives to his right to turn Darius Henderson's downward header round the post. Think Gordon Banks' save to deny Pele, but not quite as good.
1256: More slapstick defending from David Luiz as he attempts an overly elaborate turn and is stripped of the ball by Demba Ba. John Terry manages to recover in time but Newcastle are all over the shop at the back.
1255: Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC 5 live: "That had to be a red card for David Luiz, by the letter of the law. Was he denying a goal-scoring opportunity? You don't get more of an opportunity than one-on-one with Petr Cech! It's a blatant red card."
1253: Ryan Taylor takes the free-kick but slams it into the wall. Bizarre decision from Mike Dean, that had to be either not a foul, or a red card. Where he got a booking from is beyond me.
1251: First real moment of danger at Newcastle - and it's a huge let-off for David Luiz. The defender tangles with Demba Ba as the last man - but is only booked by referee Mike Dean. What on earth is that all about? He was last man by about 20 yards. As stonewall a red card as you will ever see.
Nigel at Elland Road on text, via 81111: "Not a dry eye here today - the match feels irrelevant. The banner (below) refers to commentary of one of Gary's early goals which is famous amongst Leeds fans."
1247: Eleven minutes gone at Elland Road and the Leeds fans begin chanting Gary Speed's name again, in recognition of the shirt number he wore. At Nottingham Forest in midweek, his name was chanted for 11 minutes. Robert Snodgrass has a clipped cross-shot cleared off the line.
1245: The players are out on the pitch at Newcastle where there is a rousing minute's of applause for Gary Speed. Newcastle coach John Carver is very upset. Speed by the way scored his first goal for Newcastle in this fixture - a 3-1 defeat of Chelsea in 1998.
1240: No real chances at Elland Road, where a huge banner is being passed around the ground by the supporters. It reads: 'Go on Gary Speed, get one yourself'
1235: A reminder that you can listen to live radio commentary from Elland Road on BBC 5 live sports extra via the link on the top right of the screen. Also there is a link to 5 live sport which will have Newcastle v Chelsea at 1245 and Manchester City v Norwich at 1500. We are a one-stop shop of football action right here.
1232: In emotional scenes at Elland Road, the Leeds anthem "Marching on Together" is sung with even more passion than normal as Gordon Strachan, flanked by a tearful Gary McAllister and David Batty, carries a wreath on to the pitch. A minute's applause follows with cries of Speedo from the terraces. The match has now kicked off.
1231: Former Leeds United manager Kevin Blackwell on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "Gary Speed was an absolute first-class person and an absolute privilege to work with. He was someone dedicated to making the best of what he had. I tried to sign him when I came to Leeds United, but Bolton nicked him. By the Billy Bremner stand it's been chock-a-block. It will be massively emotional today. Leeds fans are some of the best fans in the world and they will give a massive ovation to Speedo. I'm glad I'm here today."
NEWCASTLE v CHELSEA TEAM NEWS (1245) Phil Dawkes reports: "Newcastle make just one change to the side that drew 1-1 at Old Trafford last weekend, with the suspended Jonas Gutierrez replaced by Peter Lovenkrands. For the 13th time this season, United are able to field the same defence that has conceded the equal fewest in the division (12). Frank Lampard returns to the Chelsea midfield, in place of Raul Meireles, who drops to the bench. This is the Blues only change, with striker Fernando Torres again having to settle for a place on the bench. Didier Drogba and Daniel Sturridge start up front."
Newcastle v Chelsea Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Lovenkrands, Guthrie, Cabaye, Obertan, Ben Arfa, Ba. Subs: Harper, Santon, Perch, Gosling, Best, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi. Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Romeu, Lampard, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Torres, Malouda, Meireles, Bosingwa, Kalou, Bertrand. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
1228: John Hartson, talking on Football Focus, pays tribute to ex-international team-mate and friend Gary Speed: "It's easy to call people a legend but he's well worthy of the plaudits. Wales is still in mourning. He was an icon because of the effort he put in on the pitch. It's tragic."
NEWCASTLE v CHELSEA (1245) Phil Dawkes reports: "Newcastle boss Alan Pardew knows how much sweeter his players' Christmas dinner will taste (not literally) if they are still in the top four come 25 December. Full-back Ryan Taylor said: "The Gaffer mentioned today, 'Imagine having your Christmas dinner sitting in fourth position'. What a fantastic achievement that would be. Standing in their way today are Chelsea - a rival for that top four spot - who are better away from home according to manager Andre Villas-Boas. "We might perform better away because the players [are] more concentrated," he suggested."
1224: Footage of Gary Speed with the old First Division trophy and a montage of his goals is being beamed into Elland Road to rapturous applause ahead of the teams emerging from the tunnel.
1223: BBC local radio stations across the land are providing FA Cup commentary as well - and you can find all the details
1220: The first chants of Gary Speed are ringing out at Elland Road as the supporters of Leeds United prepare to pay their own tributes to the midfielder. Worth mentioning as well that alongside the Championship we have plenty of FA Cup second round fixtures on the cards this afternoon. We'll bring you the best shocks as we go.
CHAMPIONSHIP SCENE-SETTER: It's top versus bottom at the Keepmoat Stadium, as Doncaster host Southampton looking for only their second win in 10. Second-placed West Ham, just two points behind the leaders, host Burnley. At the other end of the table Ipswich, who have lost the last six, host Watford while Nottingham Forest - who slipped into the bottom three in midweek - travel to Brighton, who have won their last two.
NEWCASTLE v CHELSEA (1245) Phil Dawkes reports: "Where do we direct our attention first? Well, that depends on how you rank over and under-achievement. Fourth-placed Newcastle are fulfilling the former with last week's draw at Old Trafford disproving the idea they would get completely found out in a taxing trio of recent fixtures, of which this is the third. Fifth-placed Chelsea are locked in the latter having lost five of their last nine matches and AVB having to discredit suggestions he is under pressure on a daily basis. Throw all that together and we've got a potential cracker on our hands."
1215: With half an hour to go before the first top-flight kick-off, let's see what Phil Dawkes is expecting on Tyneside.
1213: Football Focus is about to kick off, and the guests are John Hartson, Steve Staunton and Rafa Benitez. If you hit refresh again then you will be able to watch it right here at the top of this page.
1210: Former Leeds midfielder Gary McAllister told BBC Sport: "It's still pretty raw in Yorkshire. With people you've won something with there's that camaraderie, that togetherness which is essential to win. As soon as you meet any of that team, within a couple of minutes you're back talking about it. There is a unique bond between that group and Gary was a popular player and all the guys in that dressing room loved him."
1207: Leeds title-winning trio David Batty, Gary McAllister and Gordon Strachan will lead tributes to former team-mate Gary Speed at Elland Road ahead of United's game with Millwall, which kicks off at 1230 GMT and is live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.
1204: Of course, this afternoon's game will be tinged with sadness as supporters around the country pay tribute to Gary Speed. Speed spent six years with Newcastle and a planned celebration of his life has been postponed until the next home game with Swansea on 17 December at the request of his widow Louise - who is attending a similar event at his first club Leeds today. There will still be a minute's applause for Speed at St James' Park - and at every Premier League game this weekend.
1200: So all in all, the pressure is on for Chelsea today. And there are easier places to be heading at the moment than Sports Direct Arena where Alan Pardew's boys are unbeaten this term. What do you think? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK)
1155: So comically-haired David Luiz keeps his place despite the fact Chelsea have been shipping goals left, right and centre. Meanwhile, Newcastle have become a fixture in the top four. This football lark is not so predictable any more is it? Chelsea lost against Liverpool in midweek and the Blues have now lost five of their last nine in all competitions. With Arsenal back on song and Tottenham flying, can they even make it into next year's Champions League?
1154: If you could all hit refresh quickly, that would be spot on.
BREAKING TEAM NEWS: That Chelsea backline will be tested by the pace of Peter Lovenkrands as he is handed a start, while Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye are also in. Daniel Sturridge starts for Chelsea alongside Didier Drogba so there is no place for Fernando Torres.
1152: Yep, Alan Pardew has had a fantastic start to the season while Andre Villas-Boas most certainly hasn't. I expected AVB to be resembling a young Jose Mourinho by now in charge of an unstoppable juggernaut with a defence tighter than Mick Quinn's wristwatch. But not so.
1149: Morning all, and I tell you what, it's a cracking day in Salford. That's not a sentence I thought I'd be writing on the first weekend in December. And here's another one - Newcastle host Chelsea and you could be very, very tempted to say they start as favourites.
By Phil Dawkes
1146: Thank you very much for all your contributions this morning. As Yaya's favourite singer would say, I will always love you. I'm going to leave you now in the capable hands of Mr Tom Rostance. I'll see thee.
1144: Speaking of big Yaya, here's another quote from his
Daily Mail interview:
"I kept the teamsheet from the United match. Later on I called my friends in paris to tell them we'd won 6-1. They said: 'What? On PlayStation?'" Whitney Houston though Yaya? Seriously?
Stephen Bickerstaffe on Twitter:
"I think with his performances (and size) Yaya has earned the right to listen to what he likes, I won't argue with him one bit."
Robbie Devenney on Twitter:
"I think England's group could a number of ways. It just depends what England and France turn up to the tournament."
Billy Walker-Lane on Twitter:
"Overreaction about England's travel in Euros. Silly really, Krakow to Kiev is only 40 miles farther than Plymouth to Glasgow."
From Matt in Notts, via text: "It would seem that saying 'you heard it here first' justifies the most farcical statements. Since this is the case...Norwich to beat Man City to then go on and win the league! You know the rest...."
1127: I have some shocking news to bring you (unless you've already read today's
or watched Sky Sports News this morning... in that case I'm just repeating it). Are you ready? Okay, here it is... Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure is a big Whitney Houston fan. Yaya's brother Kolo has told him it is bad for his image. I wholeheartedly concur.
Fraser Marnie on Twitter:
"Dear England fans. Why are France a so called "weaker team"? Didn't they beat you at Wembley earlier this year?"
1123: During his time as Leicester boss, Martin O'Neill confided that he was a
"Sunderland fanatic as a kid because of Charlie Hurley."
Irish-born Hurley is a former Sunderland centre-half and captained the side in the 1960s. He was voted the club's Player of the 20th Century. O'Neill's affections probably aren't going to harm his popularity on Wearside.
Paul Epton on Twitter:
"2002 world cup group of death. Didn't want it but brought out the best in us. We underwhelm against weaker teams. Bring it on."
From Jim in Birmingham, via text: "Man City will effectively win the league today when Villa beat utd in a surprise result & Spurs jump up to second. You heard it here first."
1118: O'Neill will apparently be in the directors' box for Sunday's match at Wolves. Sky Sports News are also reporting that the 59-year-old has arrived at the Sunderland training ground this morning. Putting two and two together, I'm guessing he's there to watch them train. Or maybe they just serve a genuinely top-notch breakfast buffet? If so let's hope he's brought a 12 inch plate with him.
Daanish Diwan on Twitter:
"Arsenal became known as "chokers" after that 3-2 shocker against Wigan in 2010. Full circle? Lets hope so. Optimistic Gooner."
Marek on Twitter:
"It would be nice if Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheff Utd would win their matches #RIPGarySpeed"
1112: As mentioned earlier, Steve Bruce departed as Sunderland boss this week (Wednesday in fact). And the Black Cats have wasted no time in replacing him, it would seem. Former Wycombe, Norwich, Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa boss
Martin O'Neill has reportedly agreed to fill the vacancy.
Much to the delight of the red and white striped Wearside.
Rich Foster on Twitter:
"Villa are going to get hammered today, only saving grace is that come January we may be rid of McLeish"
Al Simons on Twitter:
"Going to see my Arsenal-fan Father-in-Law today wearing my Spurs shirt and holding a copy of the leage table... can't wait!"
1108: There are going to be a few beads of sweat on the brows of Dutch, German, Danish and Portuguese players this morning as they contemplate being stuck with each other in Group B. It's like the semi-final of X Factor, except all four contestants are good instead of utterly, utterly terrible.
1106: Of course, England aren't the only team in the tournament, which is a shame because they would have a better chance of winning it (although we'd still probably get knocked out in the quarters on penalties). No, Ireland are also attending and find themselves in Group C along with Spain, Italy and Croatia. Ouch. Although, if you think that's bad...
From Chris in Basingstoke, via text: "FOOTBALL 13 games in and people are saying that today's games are season defining. Calm down. Saying that, I think if Chelsea lose today, they could be relegated."
1100: It wouldn't be the English press without some criticism of the national team and this has centered around
England's decision to stick with the Polish city of Krakow as their base,
despite all three of their group games being played in Ukraine. This means the squad will travel over 4000 miles to and from fixtures. The other teams in the group are all based in Ukraine, by the way, because, you know, it's like practical and that.
1055: Unlike my colleague Mr Lyon, I can assure you I'm above bribery. I like to think of myself as the Elliott Ness of the BBC text commentary world. Or maybe I'm nothing but a lot of talk and a BBC badge?
Arthur on Twitter:
"Let me see if this works on Phil... If Chelsea lose today, I'll buy you a palace, the Queen's Palace, to be exact."
1052: "FABulous," declares the
"Ukraine Dance," says the
all of which believe that Fabio Capello's men should be second round bound come 19 June next year.
Tom Robinson on Twitter:
"Really tough month of fixtures for Villa. Could find ourselves in totally different situation come 2012."
Andreas Mallia on Twitter:
"Some fans are getting abit ahead of themselves. It's December not may. Season still has a long way to go."
From Carl in Newcastle, via text: "Everyone is going on about if chelsea don't win today big questions need to be asked, newcastle are no push overs and i think they have a better chance of winning. TOON TOON!!!"
1045: Understandably, this morning's papers are awash with all things Euro 2012, in particular
England's selection in Group D of the tournament
along with Ukraine, Sweden and France. The general concensus appears to be overwhelming positivity. Which is unlike the papers in the build-up to a major tournament featuring England.
Benjamin Howells on Twitter:
"If Tottenham win today, top 4 is pretty much guaranteed, I think it's that big a game. We'll start being taken seriously."
1040: It has also been an emotional seven days, with the football world still coming to terms with the
death of Gary Speed.
Last Sunday saw tributes at the Liberty Stadium and Anfield and today will see further honouring of the former Wales player and manager across the country. In particular, at Elland Road, where Speed played for Leeds between 1988 and 1996, there will be a pre-match ceremony attended by his wife Louise and former United midfield team-mates
Gary McAllister, Gordon Strachan and David Batty
From Dan in Stourbridge, via text: "Can we get a shout out for Stourbridge today, in the FA Cup second round for the first time ever and a home tie against Stevenage, c'mon you Glassboys!"
1030: Also on the card today is a full programme of Championship fixtures, starting at Elland Road and ending at Ashton Gate, 17 FA Cup second round matches and a shed load of action from Scotland. Let's be honest, you'd be mad to go shopping. So back slowly away from your wallet, stick the kettle on and get ready for a concerted spell of sitting.
Levi Barrow on Twitter:
"Huge game today. A loss could hand City an unassailable lead at the top with a trip to Eastlands one of our remaining fixtures!"
Will McFerran on Twitter:
"Massive game for Chelsea today, possibly there biggest in Abramovich era, lose and serious questions need asking!"
1026: So, today we start with an over-achiever against an under-achiever, before the leaders attempt to be even more leadery, the bottom club hope to be less bottomy, and all sorts of issues in-between are advanced another step, with an intriguing final salvo from Villa Park. And that's just the top-flight.
1024: I tell you what, though, in all the excitement about today, I forgot that Fleetwood and Yeovil played in the FA Cup last night. And drew 2-2. You can read about it as well
on this site.
There are details and everything.
1022: A bit of breaking news from north of the border to tell you about. Celtic captain Scott Brown has signed a new contract which will keep him at Parkhead until 2015.
From Anon, via text: "Nail on head Phil. Been up an hour and already spent half that time in Harvey Nic's* with the missus. Need a strong Toon performance to keep my spirits up!" * Other department stores with maze-like make-up sections and dire Christmas soundtracks full of gawping, slow-moving erratic pedestrians are available.
1012: However, like some sort of technologically-advanced Santa, I can't do my job properly without hearing from you first, not by grovelling letter but via the medium of Twitter and text. As always, you can Tweet the commentary via
or text in via 81111 (UK).
1008: And what action there is. All of the Premier League top four and the bottom three are playing, along with the vast bulk of the Championship and 34 sides in the FA Cup. I haven't even mentioned Scotland yet. But have now.
1005: Yes, as you attempt to navigate your way through the make-up section maze of half-a-dozen department stores, obstructed at every turn by gawping, slow-moving, erratic pedestrians, with Slade and Mud ringing in your ears, me and my band of BBC Sport elves will be here working our baubles off to bring you everything you need to know about the day's action.
1000: There is a good chance you'll be hitting the mean shop-lined streets of your nearest city today, with only your mobile phone, this website and the way they magically combine to beam the day's football information directly into your eyes to save you from the sheer festive horror of it all.
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