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Page last updated at 22:18 GMT, Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tuesday football as it happened

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Sam Lyon
By Sam Lyon
BBC Sport

2215: So, as I said earlier, Manchester - it's over to you. And if you thought tonight had drama and excitement, wait until Man Utd and Man City go scrapping for points. Happy days. Join me at the same time tomorrow and I'll talk you through it. Until then, Sam Lyon out.

grzegorz24 on Twitter: "Despite Chelsea's last two wins, they were favourites in both. Next game against City - the acid test."

2210: CHELSEA 3-0 VALENCIA
Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Stamford Bridge:
"Frank Lampard's exclusion was the big talking point before kick-off - but it was the rampant display of another of Chelsea's old guard Didier Drogba that ensured Andre Villas-Boas's decision was a big success. Highly-satisfactory few days for the Chelsea manager."

2207: OLYMPIAKOS 3-1 ARSENAL
Neil Johnston reports:
"Thankfully Arsenal secured their last 16 place before this game because they were so, so sloppy against an inspired Olympiakos side. Don't expect many of the players on show in Athens to start against Everton at the weekend."

2205: What a night. Let's see what our reporters made of it...

nikhil_vaghela on Twitter: "Knowing our luck, having qualified in top spot Arsenal will face AC Milan in the knockout stages."

FRAZBERRY via text: "Got to hand it to AVB - that is some work he has produced in just a four-day period. Tough games both of them and he must have been feeling the pressure. Is this his and Chelsea's turning point?"

2158: Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas: "It's a very, very good result and I'm happy for the players. Guess what? We finished top of the group against all the odds. There has been a lot of criticism of our players and they gave everyone a slap in the face today."

dave_the_ninja on Twitter: "Best end to a Champions League group stage... ever?"

JOHNSTONE'S PAINT TROPHY: In the JPT, Oldham defeated Bradford 2-0 and Swindon won 2-1 at Southend to advance to the next stage of the competition. Joining them will be Chesterfield and Barnet who were victorious on penalties against Preston and Brentford respectively.

2153: Now then, London have done their bit football fans. Arsenal and Chelsea are through as group winners. Manchester - City and United, I'm looking at you - what response from you tomorrow?

DonovanTim on Twitter: "Wonder if the billionaires of Man City can emulate the mighty Apoel Nicosia."

Pally, Arsenal fan via text: "Did any of the Arsenal players (minus a select few) want to win today? Most of them look like they don't even want to be there today."

TomWoods86 on Twitter: "Job supposedly on the line and he produces two flawless 3-0 wins. I think Villas-Boas is the real deal."

2147: Oops, I appear to have deleted Arsenal's consolation goal in my full-time snap. Apologies. It's back now if you refresh - which makes the scoreline look so much better. Ahem.

CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: Barnsley win their fourth game on the bounce after Ricardo Vaz Te's brace gives his side a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace. The Tykes move up to seventh in the table, just two points off a play-off spot, while Palace drop a place to 13th.

2145: What a climax. Let's clarify things in the Chelsea and Arsenal groups, then, with the matches in those groups all done and dusted - both the London clubs top their groups and they will be joined by second-placed Bayer Leverkusen and Marseille respectively.

Full time
2140: FULL-TIME Olympiakos 3-1 Arsenal

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Drama in Dortmund! Two goals in two minutes for Marseille rescue their Champions League campaign and they are through as it stands at Olympiakos's expense despite the Greeks' fine win over Arsenal. Heartbreak.

2138: GOALFLASH Borussia Dortmund 2-3 Marseille (Velbuena)

2137: GOALFLASH Plzen 2-2 AC Milan (Duris)

2137: Not quite the way Arsene Wenger will have wanted to mark his 200th European game in charge this tonight - but let's not forget his side were already through as group winners before kick off. You can understand the foot being off the pedal a touch, right?

2136: GOALFLASH Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Marseille (Ayew)

2136: GOALFLASH Plzen 1-2 AC Milan (Bryston)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Olympiakos goal: It's not been such a great night for Arsenal, though, as Francois Modesto taps in from close range after Olof Mellberg's header crashes back off the post - and the Greeks go postal. Fair play.

2135: GOALFLASH Olympiakos 3-1 Arsenal (Modesto)

Full time
2134: FULL-TIME Chelsea 3-0 Valencia

2132: In all seriousness, what a win this will be for Chelsea and Andre Villas-Boas huh? Absolutely crucial, against a top Valencia side, and achieved with a sublime display. What pressure?

BBC Radio 5 live
Graham Taylor on BBC Five Live: "Romeu is taking pictures all the time, looking around him and picking out passes. He has the makings of an excellent player, if he isn't one already."

2131: GOALFLASH Barcelona 4-0 BATE Borisov (Pedro)

2130: Another Olympiakos chance - another let-off for Arsenal - Francois Modesto this time contriving to fire Giannis Maniatis's cut-back straight at the keeper eight yards out.

2127: By the way, if anyone has been experiencing any technical issues with Midweek Final Score, please rest assured that they have now been resolved and a quick refresh should sort everything to your satisfaction. Lovely.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: As it stands, Porto are still being held by Zenit at home and will miss out on a place in the knock-out phase if they can not find a way past the stubborn Russians, while Marseille are trailing 2-1 to Dortmund and need an impressive comeback to pip Olympiakos..

BBC Radio 5 live
Graham Taylor on BBC 5 live: "David Luiz has been much more disciplined tonight. I get the impression he has been told to play as a centre-back and get that in order first. 'Cut out all this coming forward and don't take chances.'"

2125: That Bayer goal doesn't change much - Chelsea will still win the group as it stands. Another for the Germans, though, and Chelsea will go through in second. Meanwhile, Juan Mata comes off, Florent Malouda on.

2124: GOALFLASH Genk 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Derdiyok)

2123: Olympiakos should be out of sight in Athens - but substitute Tomas Rosicky goes close to an Arsenal equaliser after fine play by Benayoun, but his effort is well saved. Could there be a late twist?

2122: Valencia are not done just yet at the Bridge, first Jonas forcing a smart low save with a header from Antonio Barragan's cross and then Pablo Hernandez curling straight into the keeper's arms. It's all too little, too late from Valencia.

JOHNSTONE'S PAINT TROPHY: Looks like the half-time break has given the players a chance to get their scoring boots on. Oldham are 1-0 up against Bradford through Tom Adeyemi and Southend are locked at 1-1 with Swindon. Blair Sturrock's strike for the home side cancelled out by Paul Caddis' equaliser. Still 0-0 between Barnet and Brentford.

2120: It's still all Olympiakos in Athens, by the way. As it stands the Greek side are through and the Karaiskaki Stadium is bouncing.

2118: Now the entire stadium rises to applaud Didier Drogba as he is brought off to a standing ovation, replaced by Fernando Torres.

2117: The entire Chelsea XI ran to congratulate Didier Drogba on that goal - they know how well he's played tonight.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Chelsea goal: And that is the game. It really has been the Didier Drogba of old tonight and he bags another to wrap up a crucial Chelsea win, sliding home a fine finish from Juan Mata's through-ball to put a seal on the Blues' best performance of the season.

2116: GOALFLASH Chelsea 3-0 Valencia (Drogba)

2114: Oh! In the end, how did he not score? Didier Drogba - who has been unplayable tonight - muscles his way through the Valencia defence to set himself up a one-on-one chance, but he contrives to skew it wide from the angle with just the keeper to beat. That would have been the game.

2113: Arsenal change - Tomas Rosicky on for Francis Coquelin.

2112: Less than 20 minutes left at Stamford Bridge - and as it stands Chelsea will still go through as group winners. Valencia continuing to plug away, though.

Yellow card
2110: Harsh. Impressive Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu puts in a hard - but for my money fair - tackle on Pablo Hernandez and he receives the game's first yellow card. Followed approximately 12 seconds later by another for dissent for Valencia's Tino Costa. Like London buses these cards...

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "John Mikel Obi's introduction for Ramires is given a mixed reception at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea need to retain possession - Mikel has been more adept at conceding it this season."

2107: Another snub for Frank Lampard at the Bridge. Midfielder Ramires is brought off by manager Andre Villas-Boas, but it's not Lampard who is chosen to replace him but John Mikel Obi. Oof.

2106: GOALFLASH Barcelona 3-0 BATE Borisov (Pedro)

2105: Deary me. Yossi Benayoun's goal should have settled Arsenal's nerves but another defensive howler almost lets in Francois Modesto who heads wide from close range.

2104: Valencia are offering the occasional scare at the Bridge - and here's another as Sofiane Feghouli finds space inside the area to unleash a left-footed drive which Petr Cech pushes away at full stretch. Good save.

2103: GOALFLASH Apoel Nicosia 0-1 Shakhtar D (Adriano)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Arsenal goal: Out of nowhere, Arsenal are back in it in Athens as Ignasi Miguel's cross is chested down by Marouane Chamakh and Yossi Benayoun thumps a doozy into the top corner. Game on.

2102: GOALFLASH Olympiakos 2-1 Arsenal (Benayoun)

2102: GOALFLASH Barcelona 2-0 BATE Borisov (Montoya)

2100: Chelsea continue to concede the majority of possession - and continue to look the more dangerous of the two sides, especially on the counter attack. All going to plan for the Blues and their manager Andre Villas-Boas. So far.

2057: Arsenal down to 10 men at the moment as defender Andre Santos is carried off on a stretcher - that's another injury for the Gunners - and Olympiakos almost take advantage when Kevin Mirallas's shot is deflected past the post 16 yards out. Ignasi Miquel then comes on for Arsenal to replaces Santos.

2055: Valencia substitution, Jordi Alba off and Aritz Aduriz on. Attacking change, that.

2054: Another good break from Daniel Sturridge down the Chelsea right, another decent near-post effort saved - and another break that should have brought a pass to the better-placed Raul Meireles in the area.

2053: Olympiakos pick up exactly where they left off in the first half - by forging another chance on the Arsenal goal. Andre Santos's poor header from a cross falls right at the feet of Francois Modesto 12 yards out, but the midfielder's low effort from the angle is saved well by Vito Mannone. Arsenal just not switched on tonight.

2052: GOALFLASH Plzen 0-2 AC Milan (Robinho)

2051: We're back under way at Olympiakos - where, surprisingly, there are no changes for Arsenal. Olympiakos 2-0 Arsenal.

JOHNSTONE'S PAINT TROPHY: As we restart in the JPT, it's been rather barren thus far, with three of the four ties still goalless, but at Deepdale it's level at 1-1 between Preston and Chesterfield, where Jamie McCombe's opener for the home side was cancelled out by Craig Westcarr.

2051: GOALFLASH Plzen 0-1 AC Milan (Pato)

2050: ...which Didier Drogba curls wide.

2049: And Chelsea have a free-kick 22 yards out...

2047: We're back under way at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea 2-0 Valencia.

DaZubair on Twitter: "Arshavin, Benayoun, Djourou, Squillaci, all very disappointing so far, not to mention the two keepers!"

Peny via text: "'Don't Stop Believing' playin at Stamford Bridge, quality..."

2043: People of the BBC text commentary, where are you? Tweet the commentary via #BBCFootball, tweet me @sampatricklyon or text in on 81111 (UK). You know you want to, folks.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: There may not be many goals around but that suits Zenit, who are holding Porto to a goalless draw and hanging on to second place at half time. Dortmund may be leading Marseille 2-1 but they will have to settle for third spot without a remarkable Arsenal comeback at Olympiakos.

T_Duncan242 on Twitter: "Chelsea looking good, but one Valencia goal will make it a very nervous finish (especially as I'm watching with a Spurs fan!)."

CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: Half-time from Oakwell and after their blistering start, Barnsley have been pegged back by Crystal Palace. It's not Christmas, it's Easter... Jermaine to be precise, whose low drive squares the game up at 1-1.

EvanOLaoirezzz on Twitter: "Woeful stuff. Wenger will be livid."

Half time
2040: HALF-TIME Olympiakos 2-0 Arsenal
Neil Johnston's HT snap-shot:
"This has been a Greek tragedy for Arsenal's second-string. Arsene Wenger's side have to sort themselves out after allowing Olympiakos to dominate."

Half time
2038: HALF-TIME Chelsea 2-0 Valencia
Chief football writer Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot at Stamford Bridge:
"The beast that can be Didier Drogba has been revived at Stamford Bridge tonight. The striker has been the inspiration behind a hugely satisfactory first 45 minutes for Andre Villas-Boas and Chelsea."

2037: GOALFLASH Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Marseille (Remy)

2035: And that will be half time in Athens.

2034: There's half a chance for Arsenal, though, Thomas Vermaelen getting forward to head a whipped cross a country mile over the bar.

2032: But we'll have five minutes of stoppage time in Athens thanks to those earlier injuries - and that's bad news for Arsenal who continue to wobble badly. This time Francois Modesto robs Emmanuel Frimpong on the edge of the area to go clean through on goal, but his curler is easily plucked out of the air by Vito Mannone. Let-off.

2030: The half-time whistle blows at Stamford Bridge.

2028: By the way, did you lot know that Juan Mata and Roberto Soldado - of Chelsea and Valencia respectively - were let go by Real Madrid as youngsters? Gosh you have to be good to make it at the Bernabeu don't you?

CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: It remains Barnsley 1-0 Crystal Palace at Oakwell - but it's worth noting that Ricardo Vaz Te's opener came after just seven seconds. Lightning.

2025: Chelsea looking even more comfortable in the last few minutes, even if Valencia have enjoyed the majority of the ball. The counter-attack is suiting this Chelsea line-up tonight.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Olympiakos goal: Stop. Clanger time. Vito Mannone has only been on the pitch about 10 minutes but already he's made his mark. In the worst possible way. Out comes the Arsenal keeper to clear a through ball but he succeeds only in nodding it straight to David Fuster, before flapping wildly at the Olympiakos man's return shot and allowing it to squirm in. Awful goal.

2021: GOALFLASH Olympiakos 2-0 Arsenal (Fuster)

2021: GOALFLASH Barcelona 1-0 BATE Borisov (Sergi Roberto)

2020: GOALFLASH B Dormund 2-0 Marseille (Hummels pen)

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Genk have been on the back-foot all night against Bayer Leverkusen but they've taken the lead now with Jelle Vossen scoring just their second goal in this season's competition. Chelsea currently in top spot in Group E. Crisis? What crisis?

2019: GOALFLASH Genk 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen (Vossen)

BBC Radio 5 live
Graham Taylor on BBC 5 Live at Stamford Bridge: "Chelsea just need to keep doing what they are doing, moving the ball quickly and not making any silly mistakes. For all the possession Valencia have had, Chelsea have been far the more potent team."

Yellow card
2016: Arsenal's players are dropping like flies in Athens. No sooner has Lukasz Fabianski been taken off than Francis Coquelin requires lengthy treatment following a nasty challenge from Jose Holebas which earns the Olympiakos player a yellow card. He'll carry on for now.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Jakub Blaszczykowski gives Dortmund a 1-0 lead over Marseille in his first Champions League start - though they still need three more goals and for Olympiakos to lose to move into second place.

2013: And from that platform the Londoners almost make it three, Daniel Sturridge bursting down the right and getting the better of his man bursting into the area - but his shot from the angle is palmed behind. With Raul Meireles free in the middle, a square pass might have been a better option there.

2012: I tell you what else is making a difference, Chelsea's backline is a lot deeper than usual tonight. As a result they're looking a sight more hard to break down.

2011: Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Marseille (Blaszczykowski)

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Chelsea cannot relax yet but this is surely how Andre Villas-Boas dreamed it would happen. What a difference a fired up Didier Drogba makes - and he is really fired up tonight."

2010: Close - and Arsenal are fortunate to still be only 1-0 down. A defensive mix-up almost allows Kevin Mirallas to double Olympiakos' advantage but he hits it wide from distance. To compound Arsenal's problems, keeper Lukasz Fabianksi is stretchered off to be replaced by Vito Mannone. The Gunners struggling a touch there.

CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: Barnsley look in good shape to maintain their winning streak, having taken an early 1-0 lead over Crystal Palace, courtesy of Ricardo Vaz Te. The Portuguese man found first-team opportunities limited at Bolton, but has found his feet at Oakwell this season with five goals.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Luiz Adriano has missed a penalty for Shakhtar Donetsk at Apoel Nicosia. Still 0-0 in Cyprus.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Chelsea goal: Dreamland. The Bridge is rocking as Ramires doubles Chelsea's lead, running through on goal following Victor Ruiz's slip to slide in Didier Drogba's through ball. Andre Villas Boas punches the air with such venom he almost splits particles.

2006: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-0 Valencia (Ramires)

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Nine of Barcelona's team tonight have come through the club's youth ranks, with eight of those 22 or younger. Worryingly for the rest of Europe, they are also out-playing a Bate Borisov team that has to win to have a chance of reaching the Europa League. It's still 0-0 as it stands, mind.

2004: That goal puts Olympiakos through as it stands with Marseille and Borussia Dortmund level. That'd be a turn-up.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Olympiakos goal: And after all that Olympiakos take the lead. David Fuster's through-ball ricochets off Johan Djourou via the foot of Sebastien Squillaci to find its way to Rafik Djebbour through on goal, the striker exploiting Lukasz Fabianski's poor positioning to curl into the near post for his eighth goal in 10 games.

2001: GOALFLASH Olympiakos 1-0 Arsenal (Djebbour)

BBC Radio 5 live
Graham Taylor on BBC Five Live at Stamford Bridge: "Valencia have had more of the ball, but it's all been controlled passing and nothing has really hurt Chelsea. The important thing is Chelsea have got the goal and that's what really matters."

1959: And moments later Emmanuel Frimpong rips a curler into the side netting from the edge of the area after Marouane Chamakh has an effort blocked one-on-one.

1958: Arsenal starting to settle in Athens now and another chance goes begging as Andre Santos's zipped cross from the left just evades the unmarked Marouane Chamakh in the centre of goal. Close.

1955: I'll tell you this for free - Valencia are bang up for this tonight despite conceding an early goal. The Spaniards already have the run of the midfield and now David Albelda, enjoying the freedom of Stamford Bridge, draws a flying fingertip save from Petr Cech with a brilliant 25-yard strike that was destined for the top corner. Valencia fancy goals here - and look like getting them too.

1954: Arsenal's first chance falls to Andrey Arshavin eight-yards out, but Olympiakos keeper Balazs Megyert makes a fine stop following Marouane Chamakh's powerful run.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Vibrant atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge tonight and Chelsea have given their fans what they demanded with that early goal - long way to go though and Valencia already a threat."

1953: That Chelsea goal, by the way, is the club's fastest ever in the Champions League.

Yellow card
1952: Over in Athens, Arsenal have made a sloppy start with the home side, desperately requiring a win to stand a chance of going through, looking lively. Still, the first booking has gone to the home team's Avraam Papadopoulos for chopping down Emmanuel Frimpong.

1950: A perfect opening almost ruined in a moment of naivety, Jordi Alba getting in behind the Chelsea defence on the left-hand side of the box and then rattling the outside of the post with a rising drive. What an explosive start to this game from both sides.

1949: That doesn't change a huge amount just yet folks - a leveller for Valencia puts them back in pole position - but a perfect opening for Chelsea nonetheless.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Chelsea goal: Make that a great start. Didier Drogba gives Chelsea the absolutely dream start, collecting Juan Mata's pull-back before slamming left-footed into the corner from 12 yards out. The keeper got a hand to it and should have done better.

1948: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-0 Valencia (Drogba)

1947: And immediately an early chance for Chelsea, Daniel Sturridge picking the pocket of left-back Jordi Alba and feeding Didier Drogba, whose lay-off is curled goalwards 20 yards out by Raul Meireles, forcing a decent save. Good start.

1945: Here we go, under way in London and Athens...

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor on Juan Mata: "Mata should be given the freedom to roam tonight. Don't isolate him on the wing. He can make passes others can't see. He will score goals but he is also a great provider. If he is dependent on service and then not allowed to go in search of the ball and make things happen, you will not get the best out of him."

1942: Here come the teams, here comes the music, here comes the nerves and here comes the pressure... you lot up for it?

1940: Ooh I'm like a Teepee and a Wigwam. Two tents. You lot? Tweet the commentary via #BBCFootball, tweet me @sampatricklyon or text in on 81111 (UK). And beat that joke.

JoeBurgues on Twitter: "Chelsea with definately create chances with Sturridge up front, but they'll also concede them with Luiz at the back, 2-1 Blues."

1937: OLYMPIAKOS v ARSENAL (1945)
Neil Johnston reports:
"As expected, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has made wholesale changes as he looks forward to next week's draw - but it's a more experienced line-up than some might have imagined. There are starts for youngsters Emmanuel Frimpong and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but also for Thomas Vermaelen, Andrey Arshavin, Sebastien Squillaci and Marouane Chamakh. Former Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg starts for a strong Olympiakos side."

Madeira431 on Twitter: "Congratulation to Wenger for his 200th CL game and 12th season in a row taking Arsenal through to knockout stages."

1934: CHELSEA v VALENCIA (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Chelsea
manager Andre Villas-Boas has proved he will not shy away from the big decision by leaving Frank Lampard on the bench against Valencia. Raul Meireles, Ramires and impressive youngster Oriol Romeu are entrusted with midfield duties. The exclusion of Fernando Torres, on the bench, while Didier Drogba continues is no surprise. Valencia manager Unai Emery makes five alterations as he recalls Victor Ruiz, David Albelda, Sofiane Feghouli, Roberto Soldado and Jonas after they were rested at the weekend."

1930: Right, let me hit you with some knowledge. Via Infostrada Sports. Valencia have never beaten Chelsea in five previous meetings (three draws and two defeats). However, both of the encounters at Stamford Bridge ended in a draw, while Valencia are unbeaten in their last seven away matches against English clubs. Olympiacos, meanwhile, are unbeaten in all four home matches against clubs from London (2-2-0) while Arsenal are winless in their last three visits to clubs from Greece since beating Panathinaikos 1-3 in December 1998. Omen? Bothered?

Frosty, London via text: "London engaging in two European battles tonight. One really Mata-s the other? nOxo much!"

DaveTalbot on Twitter: "Bad news Chelsea fans, I'm the 10yr old kid controlling Luiz via a playstation controller and I am supporting Valencia tonight."

JOHNSTONE'S PAINT TROPHY LATEST: There are four Johnstone's Paint Trophy fixtures to look out for as well, with ties including Bradford's visit to Oldham and League Two leaders Southend hosting Swindon. Barnet face Brentford and Preston entertain Chesterfield. And they're area semi-finals too. Nice.

harryjblack on Twitter: "Would be interesting to see Arsenal do a Liverpool, win the CL and finish out of the top four. Interesting for Wenger's job anyway."

Jonny in Keele via text: "Playing David Luiz in a match like this is insane! Liability."

1920: OLYMPIAKOS V ARSENAL (1945)
Neil Johnston reports:
"Arsene Wenger insists he is fully focused on Olympiakos and not Saturday's home game with Everton - something underlined by his team selection - even though Arsenal are through. 'The target is to respect the competition, win our game and finish the group stage unbeaten,' said the Gunners manager. Olympiakos manager Ernesto Valverde, meanwhile, knows his side can join Arsenal in the next phase with a win, but admitted: 'We're playing one of the best teams in Europe.' It doesn't scream confidence does it?"

1917: CHELSEA v VALENCIA (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Chelsea
manager Andre Villas-Boas admits the final round of matches in Group E are 'life and death' - and he will maintain his attacking policy to ensure survival, saying: 'We won't change our strategy. We don't play counter-attack or long balls, we want good quality possession.' Valencia coach Unai Emery is an admirer of Chelsea and Villas-Boas, meanwhile. He said: 'Chelsea are a great team, but I don't want to find that out now. They have endured some hesitation but the last game was won decisively.' Game on."

SBirch91 on Twitter: "I've been so impressed with Oriol Romeu this season, so glad a youngster is getting a good run in the Chelsea squad."

CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: One game in the Championship this evening as Crystal Palace travel to Oakwell to face in-form Barnsley, who have won their last three. Despite their heroic efforts in the Carling Cup against Manchester United, things aren't looking too rosy in the league for the Eagles, who are without a win in six games. Can they turn it around tonight?

pp0u20e8 on Twitter: "Wenger reckons he'd like all four English teams to go through... I think I'd prefer the bragging rights."

1912: OLYMPIAKOS v ARSENAL (1945)
Olympiakos:
Megyeri, Torosidis, Papadopoulos, Mellberg, Marcano, Maniatis, David Fuster, Modesto, Mirallas, Djebbour, Holebas. Subs: Costanzo, Papazoglou, Pantelic, Fetfatzidis, Orbaiz, Potouridis, Abdoun.
Arsenal: Fabianski, Djourou, Vermaelen, Squillaci, Andre Santos, Coquelin, Frimpong, Benayoun, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Arshavin. Subs: Mannone, Rosicky, Park, Eastmond, Miquel, Ozyakup, Yennaris.
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain)

1910: I wonder if Arsene Wenger's selection has been influenced by his desire to mark his 200th match in Europe with a win? A fantastic landmark for the Frenchman, that, and tonight he can sit back and enjoy it whatever the result, right? No chance. No matter that Arsenal are through as winners, if they don't win I predict we'll see Wenger looking like Susan Boyle sucking on a lemon come full time.

1907: CHELSEA v VALENCIA (1945)
Chelsea:
Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Romeu, Meireles, Ramires, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Lampard, Torres, Mikel, Malouda, Ferreira, Kalou.
Valencia: Diego Alves, Barragan, Rami, Victor Ruiz, Jordi Alba, Feghouli, Tino Costa, Albelda, Mathieu, Jonas, Soldado. Subs: Guaita, Topal, Aduriz, Piatti, Dealbert, Pablo, Parejo.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

manavm1 on Twitter: "Strong squad. Wenger has definitely fulfilled his 'moral' obligation to go for the win rather than give the young guns a chance."

TannerJay on Twitter: "Went to Valencia to see them face Espanyol at the weekend. Fringe players or not they were still entertaining. Score draw IMO."

1903: OLYMPIAKOS V ARSENAL (1945)
Neil Johnston reports:
"When was the last time Arsene Wenger was able to sit back and relax on a European night? With Arsenal's place in the knockout phase secured, Wenger's side have a stress-free night in Greece although Olympiakos, who can join Arsenal in the last 16 with a win, will be determined to end Wenger's unbeaten Group F record."

1900: CHELSEA v VALENCIA (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Chelsea
manager Andre Villas-Boas knows that many of the clouds hanging over Stamford Bridge will be blown away - for the time being at least - if they can reach the Champions League knockout stage against Valencia tonight. Patience will be the order of the day, on and off the pitch, against an improving Valencia side who come to London confident they can move through at Chelsea's expense."

nroberts88 on Twitter: "Drogba vs Rami and Soldado vs Terry. Valencia are overlooked by Europe but I can see them winning."

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Marseille, Olympiakos and Dortmund hold hopes of following Arsenal into the knock-out phase from Group F, with the French side sure to progress if they can win in Germany. Apoel Nicosia are already through and Porto must beat Zenit to finish second in Group G. With Barcelona and AC Milan already through from Group H, Plzen are two points clear of Bate Borisov, who have to win in the Nou Camp to have a chance of snatching third.

nicktolhurst on Twitter: "Madness to risk both Vermaelen & Santos in tonight's match. Rather lose 5-0 than risk injury to either. Risky."

Tom in Scarborough via text: "So Anelka's going, as is Alex, AVB leaving Lampard out again. Seems to me he's discovering HIS team and how he wants to shape it. January will be an interesting month at Stamford Bridge."

1852: TEAM NEWS SNAP
Thomas Vermaelen and Andre Santos both start for Arsenal at Olympiakos, as do Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh.

1850: TEAM NEWS SNAP
Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres start on the bench for Chelsea against Valencia, with Oriol Romeu starting in midfield.

ArthurOzols on Twitter: "Sam is back! Yes! Put your money on Sam lads, buy him all kinds of things!"

Ollie in Wiltshire via text: "Chelsea have had many big games this season, but this is by far the biggest. Make or Break."

Garymac03 on Twitter: "And it's on nights like this you wonder, What exactly is wrong with goal difference??!!"

1845: So what excuse do you have for not getting in touch tonight? Exactly. Zero. Come on... tweet the commentary via #BBCFootball, tweet me @sampatricklyon or text in on 81111 (UK) and I can put your name on here in blue or black typeface. Aces.

1843: And outside of those two I'll be bringing you all the latest from the night's other Champions League games, the best action from the Championship match between Barnsley and Crystal Palace, and news from four Johnstone's Paint Trophy matches. Monster.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Frank Lampard apparently left out of the Chelsea side to face Valencia. Brave and big decision by Andre Villas-Boas."

WHAT ARSENAL NEED TO DO
Arsenal
Kick back (not literally), enjoy the Karaiskaki Stadium atmosphere, and stroll about safe in the knowledge that top spot in Group F is signed and sealed. Happy days.

1840: Outside of the Chelsea-Valencia extravaganza, we've also got Arsenal's final group game at Olympiakos. I'm not going to lie, people, that one is not quite as significant...

WHAT CHELSEA NEED TO DO
Newcastle v Chelsea
There has been a bit of confusion about this - and I may be about to upset quite a few Chelsea fans. Despite widespread reports that a 0-0 draw will be enough to send Chelsea through, it won't be if Bayer Leverkusen lose. That is because Leverkusen, Chelsea and Valencia will then all be on nine points in Group E, creating a mini-league in which the trio's results against Genk are disregarded and in which Leverkusen top the group ahead of Valencia who have scored one more goal than the Blues. In the eventuality of a Bayer Leverkusen defeat, only a Chelsea win will see them through. If Bayer Leverksuen win or draw, however, Chelsea can go through with a win or a 0-0. Got that? No? My brain hurts.

1837: Yep, you read me, only a win guarantees Chelsea's progression. Allow me to explain why...

1835: Winner-takes-all. Do-or-die. All or nothing*. It doesn't get much bigger than this for Chelsea, folks. Tonight, Andre Villas-Boas's outfit face the very definition of a crunch tie against Valencia - with Champions League progression the prize at stake. And if they don't want to drop out at the group stage for the first time in nine years, only a win will guarantee the Londoners' campaign continues. Ready?
* Not nothing. There's the Europa League. But, well, you know...



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Champions League results

6 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

  • Apoel Nicosia0-2Shakhtar Donetsk
    FT
  • Barcelona4-0BATE Borisov
    FT
  • Borussia Dortmund2-3Marseille
    FT
  • Chelsea3-0ValenciaFT
  • FC Porto0-0Zenit St P'sbg
    FT
  • Genk1-1Bayer Leverkusen
    FT
  • Olympiakos3-1ArsenalFT
  • Plzen2-2AC Milan
    FT

Champ Lge Group A table snapshot

As it stood on 6 Dec 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 6 Dec 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 6 Dec 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 6 Dec 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 6 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 6 9 11
2 Bayer Leverkusen 6 0 10
3 Valencia 6 5 8
4 Genk 6 -14 3

Champ Lge Group F table snapshot

As it stood on 6 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Arsenal 6 1 11
2 Marseille 6 3 10
3 Olympiakos 6 2 9
4 Borussia Dortmund 6 -6 4

Champ Lge Group G table snapshot

As it stood on 6 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Apoel Nicosia 6 0 9
2 Zenit St P'sbg 6 2 9
3 FC Porto 6 0 8
4 Shakhtar Donetsk 6 -2 5

Champ Lge Group H table snapshot

As it stood on 6 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Barcelona 6 16 16
2 AC Milan 6 3 9
3 Plzen 6 -7 5
4 BATE Borisov 6 -12 2

see also
Tuesday's football photos
06 Dec 11 |  Football


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