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By Sam Lyon
1438: NORWICH v NEWCASTLE (1500) Arindam Rej reports: "Newcastle's back four - which has been so settled this season - is unrecognisable. Davide Santon is drafted in at left back and Ryan Taylor switches to right-back as Fabricio Coloccini is left out of the squad because of a thigh injury. Versatile Dan Gosling also starts. Norwich have Grant Holt back up front while Zak Whitbread returns to central defence after his hamstring injury."
1437: WEST BROM v WIGAN (1500) Emlyn Begley reports: "As expected West Brom make one change, with Peter Odemwingie coming in for Graham Dorrans, and he will start up front alongside Shane Long. Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz returns from suspension, while striker Hugo Rodallega is again on the bench as he recovers from a knee injury. Victor Moses and Connor Sammon start up front - the pair have not scored in 24 games between them this season."
lydiarkell on Twitter:
"Could today be the end of Southampton's reign at the top of the Championship? Come on you Irons."
Anon via text: "I think that 20,000 goal could be scored today if Van Persie's up against Tony Hibbert..."
1435: SWANSEA v FULHAM (1500) Swansea: Vorm, Richards, Williams, Caulker, Taylor, Routledge, Britton, Gower, Sinclair, Lita, Moore. Subs: Tremmel, Graham, Dyer, Dobbie, Monk, Bessone, Agustien. Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, John Arne Riise, Dembele, Davies, Etuhu, Dempsey, Ruiz, Johnson. Subs: Etheridge, Orlando Sa, Gecov, Bjorn Helge Riise, Hughes, Frei, Briggs. Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)
JacobRobertson8 on Twitter:
"Jonas Gutierrez to captain Newcastle today. Given his huge superstition to be last out of the tunnel every game, this should be fun."
1433: MAN UTD v WOLVES Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Jones, Nani, Welbeck, Rooney. Subs: Lindegaard, Giggs, Park, Young, Macheda, Gibson, Fryers. Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Zubar, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Edwards, Henry, O'Hara, Jarvis, Doyle, Fletcher. Subs: De Vries, Elokobi, Stearman, Ebanks-Blake, Hunt, Hammill, Milijas. Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
1431: Do we have an added treat for you today, by the way, or do we have an added treat for you today. Clue; we have an added treat for you today. Give this page a cheeky refresh and Final Score - for the first time in HD - will appear at the top... and if you want it on your TV you can find it here; Freesat - 109, Freeview - 54, Sky - 169, Virgin Media - 187 or on the Red Button. Bootiful.
1430: ARSENAL v EVERTON Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta, Song, Walcott, Ramsey, Gervinho, van Persie. Subs: Almunia, Rosicky, Arshavin, Frimpong, Chamakh, Benayoun, Miquel. Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Coleman, Neville, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Cahill, Saha. Subs: Mucha, Stracqualursi, Distin, Gueye, Barkley, Vellios, McAleny. Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
1429: WEST BROM v WIGAN (1500) West Brom: Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey, Brunt, Mulumbu, Morrison, Thomas, Long, Odemwingie. Subs: Fulop, Tchoyi, Dorrans, Dawson, Jones, Cox, Scharner. Wigan: Al Habsi, Stam, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Moses, Diame, Gomez, McCarthy, Jones, Sammon. Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Watson, Di Santo, Maloney, McArthur, Rodallega. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
1424: LIVERPOOL v QPR (1500) Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Maxi, Adam, Henderson, Downing, Suarez, Kuyt. Subs: Doni, Carroll, Coates, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly, Bellamy. QPR: Cerny, Young, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Traore, Mackie, Barton, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips, Smith, Bothroyd. Subs: Putnins, Orr, Hill, Derry, Campbell, Buzsaky, Connolly. Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
1423: BOLTON v ASTON VILLA (1500) Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Eagles, Pratley, Mark Davies, Tuncay, Kevin Davies, Klasnic. Subs: Bogdan, Steinsson, Muamba, Petrov, Ngog, Kakuta, O'Halloran. Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, N'Zogbia, Petrov, Herd, Albrighton, Agbonlahor, Bent. Subs: Marshall, Ireland, Delfounso, Heskey, Clark, Bannan, Weimann. Referee: Phil Dowd
1421: TEAM NEWS SNAP Everton make two chances from their defeat at Stoke for the trip to Arsenal, Phil Neville and Louis Saha replacing Leon Osman and Apostolos Vellios
AP261 on Twitter:
"Scrap Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool. It's all about Bradford v Plymouth at the bottom of League Two!"
1419: TEAM NEWS SNAP More bad injury news for Newcastle's defence as Fabricio Coloccini is ruled out by a thigh injury and is not even in their squad for the trip to Norwich - but Jonas Gutierrez is back in after suspension.
1417: TEAM NEWS SNAP Liverpool call up Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez for the visit of QPR, with Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll dropping to the bench.
DanielMein on Twitter:
"Newcastle's bubble burst?! No way! We have a team spirit that cannot be defeated and a good team to go with it! 2-1 today!"
1415: TEAM NEWS SNAP Thomas Vermaelen and Johan Djourou the only survivors from Tuesday's defeat at Olympiakos for Arsenal against Everton, with Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott among those recalled.
1413: TEAM NEWS SNAP Norwich make four changes for the visit of Newcastle, including Zak Whitbread's return to central defence after his hamstring injury.
1411: TEAM NEWS SNAP Man Utd's under-fire keeper David de Gea continues in goal against Wolves, with Jonny Evans in for the injured Nemanja Vidic.
Former England right-back Danny Mills reckons Wolves need to tear into hosts Manchester United from the first whistle. The
BBC Radio 5live
pundit says: "Wolves cannot allow United any time on the ball. Confidence is a bit of a problem. They're out of the Carling Cup, out of the Champions League and five points behind City. It's not the greatest of times for United."
Roy, Spurs fan, via text: "You don't want Harry Redknapp for England. He's rubbish. Take Alan Pardew, the guy's awesome."
Freddie Leech on Twitter:
"Whole foundation of a Sir Alex Ferguson team is that they pick themselves up and return stronger. Here is the start of a LONG winning streak!"
SCOTTISH PREMIER LATEST: Rangers look to have taken control at Easter Road and Hibs defender Michael Hart will be particularly disappointed at that. Hart's grab at the arm of Lee Wallace resulted in a penalty tucked away by Nikica Jelavic. And the Croatia international evaded the full-back's attentions to head in the second from a Gregg Wylde corner kick. Hibernian 0-2 Rangers.
1405: Our next port of call, then, is your team news (alongside the Scottish Premier and Championship updates of course). While we wait for that, why not get in touch? You know you want to. Tweet the commentary via
or text in via 81111 (UK). Now.
1402: And they, ladies and gentlemen, are your scene setters for a bumper afternoon of Premier League football. Nice, huh?
Dan, Spurs fan, via text: "On the 125th anniversary for Spurs we were 4-1 at home to Villa before coming back to draw 4-4. Another celebratory football feast on the cards at the Emirates? Hope not."
philbeck10 on Twitter:
"That Blackpool goal was justice for what Southampton did to poor old Massimo Taibi all those years ago..."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Southampton goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski has had a shocker with this one in the early Championship game, perfoming what's known in the industry as a 'Taibi'. Blackpool striker Callum McManaman's tame effort at goal is unable to be gathered by the Polish shotstopper as it trickles in between his legs and into the net. The Saints' home record is under threat. Southampton 1-2 Blackpool."
1357: LIVERPOOL v QPR (1500) John Sinnott
reports: "It's a tale of two penalty boxes for Liverpool this season. They are miserly at one end, only conceding 13 goals this season, but they are more accommodating to the opposition up front. Andy Carroll is struggling to live up to expectations and, perhaps more worringly for the Reds, Luis Suarez has scored just four league goals this season, the last on 1 October. QPR, meanwhile, have an impressive away record having already won three times this season, and given Liverpool have drawn five games at Anfield this season Rangers fans will hope for a positive result."
1355: ARSENAL v EVERTON (1500) David Ornstein
reports: "It may be a day of celebration for Arsenal but once the pre-match 125-year anniversary festivities are over, their sole concern will be three points. That would move them above Chelsea into fourth, until Monday evening at least. Everton have taken the lead in each of their past three visits to Emirates Stadium - will they play the role of part-poopers today? Without a victory at Arsenal since 1996, history suggests not."
holformr on Twitter:
"Re: ccalum: You would have a valid point if the England job was about developing young French talent like he does at Newcastle!"
Shahil, London via text: "Tough game for us cottagers today! Having won against Liverpool, I'm hoping we continue improving our away form! Zamora to get a hat trick."
MrWiseCracks on Twitter:
"Andre Villas-Boas is absolutely right! If the media can't take criticism, they shouldn't dish it out."
1352: WEST BROM v WIGAN (1500) Emlyn Begley reports: "Two teams seemingly allergic to goals come head to head at The Hawthorns. Wigan have scored fewer goals in the league than any other professional team in England, while West Brom are the least prolific side at home in the top five divisions. No man sums up the visitors' problems more than Victor Moses, who has had 43 shots this season without scoring."
1348: SWANSEA v FULHAM (1500) Pete Shuttleworth reports: "Swansea City are keen to stop their worrying slide towards the Premier League relegation zone as Brendan Rodgers' men hope for their first win in five league games. But Fulham are improving under Martin Jol and have lost just once to the Swans in their last 13 meetings. Fulham, however have scored the joint fewest goals on the road in the Premier League this season, scoring just four, while Swansea have the best defensive home record conceding only two - and the Welsh team have not lost a Saturday 3pm kick-off at home for exactly two years."
1345: NORWICH v NEWCASTLE (1500) Arindam Rej reports: "Has the Newcastle bubble burst? Will their injury crisis impede them further? It sounds harsh but the answer to both questions could be 'yes'. The evidence is one point from the last three games, all against top clubs, and five players on the treatment table. Norwich have been performing admirably in recent weeks - but have just been hammered 5-1 by Manchester City and they've still not kept a clean sheet this season."
Race Goer on Twitter:
"Liverpool's position in the table is justified - Downing, Adam and Henderson were signed and 6/7th place is where their limits are."
1342: BOLTON v ASTON VILLA (1500) Marc Higginson reports: "The only thing Owen Coyle and Alex McLeish want for Christmas is a long overdue victory. Bolton have lost five of their last six Premier League matches, with Villa winning just one of their last seven. Wanderers' problems are at the back - they have the worst defensive record in the division. Aston Villa's issues are at the other end after stats showed record signing Darren Bent touches the ball on average just 24.6 times a game, the fewest in the league. Surely something has to give this afternoon?"
1338: MAN UTD v WOLVES (1500) Sam Sheringham
reports: "The Specials were at number one in the pop charts the last time Wolves beat Manchester United at Old Trafford in February 1980. Mick McCarthy's men certainly need a special performance to get something today against the wounded Reds. When United were last
eliminated from the Champions League
in the group stage in 2005, they went unbeaten in their next 10 matches in all competitions. Wolves will, however, take heart from
beating United the last time the two teams met,
1335: With our bumper seven-strong 1500 Premier League kick-offs fast approaching, then, I say we hear from our match reporters...
aaronhardy5 on Twitter:
"Re Geoff Hurst - Englishman would be nice but remember the last one didn't even get us to the competition."
STAT ATTACK: Liverpool have picked up 23 points from their 14 Premier League matches - their equal-lowest ever points total at this stage of a season under Dalglish. They also had 23 points from their opening 14 matches in old Division One in 1988-89... when they eventually finished second in the table.
ccalum on Twitter:
"Erm, has anyone even considered Alan Pardew for the England job? Newcastle are unrecognisable from the team he inherited a year ago."
1330: Golly, are we 90 minutes into this commentary already? How time flies. This seems like as good a time as any, then, to let you know that we're only doing a dedicated commentary on El Clasico
Real Madrid v Barcelona
later! Christmas come early. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Iker Casillas, Xavi... let me tell you, as a man who knows his onions, they're all quite good at football. True say.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: Two goals in quick succession in the Championship. It's not good defending from Blackpool as Neal Eardley gets caught in possession and is duly punished by Southampton's lethal, goalscoring machine Rickie Lambert whose shot takes a deflection of Craig Cathcart and ends up in the back of the net but Ian Holloway's men quickly equalise through Chris Basham who nods in from close range. Southampton 1-1 Blackpool.
Luke Cullen on Twitter:
"All home wins?! Knowing Sam's luck they'll probably all finish 0-0..... what's the odds on that?? Well it's 25455375-1 actually."
SCOTTISH PREMIER LATEST: Hibernian will be kicking themselves for not taking a half-time lead against SPL leaders Rangers. The reigning champions have had slightly the better of a game stifled by a crowded midfield. However, on-loan Wolves striker Leigh Griffiths missed the only real chance of the game when he fired straight at Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor from close range in stoppage time. Hibernian 0-0 Rangers
1325: After a Swansea vibe, people? Let me hit you with some knowledge - Swans midfielder Leon Britton is set to make his 350th English league appearance today having made his league debut eight years ago in the 4-2 home victory against Bury at the Vetch Field... in the fourth tier of English football... in front of 8,826 fans. The times they are a'changing, huh?
England World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Thursday, has revealed which Englishman he is backing to replace Fabio Capello after Euro 2012. He told
: "Having had two foreign coaches that haven't got us beyond the quarter-finals, I believe an English coach could have taken us that far. The next manager should be English and it should be Harry Redknapp."
guest Paul Ince says he is ready for a return to football management: "I've had six months out and I feel refreshed. I'm going to spend Christmas with the wife and kids, then next year I will look to get back into the game."
James Hurley via text: "Putting poor old Perry Groves in the same bracket as Cygan and Caesar is rather harsh. If you'd said Chamakh, I'd have been with you..."
Tim, Battersea via text: "Re 1250. As a Spurs fan I'm loving every minute of it, while also fully expecting the wheels to fall off. COYS!"
1311: Can I just say at this juncture, a thousand heartfelt thanks for all your messages re: my commentary farewell. I love you all. If I could make this page all about me, trust me I would. In fact I nearly did, but I have a man with a very large stick hovering over me and he's not afraid to use it. Keep your missives coming in, though, blatantly. Tweet the commentary via
or text in via 81111 (UK). Jubbly.
1305: One man totally alien to mistakes, meanwhile, is a Mr Wayne Rooney. You may have heard of him. He's the Man Utd/England striker - arguably one of the best in a generation - with the weave. Well he's had a rare let-off from the authorities this week after
Uefa reduced his Euro 2012 suspension for trying to kick Montenegrin Miodrag Dzudovic's legs off from three matches to two,
meaning he can turn out for Fabio Capello's boys in their last group match against Ukraine next summer - and beyond (optimism alert). You all know what this means don't you? Hop aboard... the 'England can win Euro 2012' bandwagon is about to set off...
SCOTTISH PREMIER LATEST: Midway through the first half and neither goalkeeper has been tested at Easter Road. SPL leaders Rangers have had the better of possession, but Hibernian have had the only attempt worthy of note. Even then, Lewis Stevenson's drive from just outside the box was yards wide in what is a tactical battle smothered by a crowded midfield.
Shane Long says there is more to come after impressing during his first few months at West Brom. He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I still have a lot to do, the pressure is on my shoulders because I still have a few years on my contract to prove my worth."
Mrbakestone on Twitter:
"Don't you think though that Spurs are the most exciting team to watch live? Their fast fluid passing is enough to excite..."
1257: Mistakes. We all make 'em. Heaven knows in my entire time leading the commentaries on here I may have made a typo or two. Three even. Ahem. But not even those typos (all three of them) have landed me an FA charge. But then I'm not Luis Suarez - the Liverpool striker
who landed himself in hot water this week with a hand gesture at Fulham fans.
A hand gesture I'm sure not one single football fan has either offered nor would even recognise. He's on a bit of a run with the FA, Suarez - what effect might that have on the Reds' charge for Europe this season we wonder?
1250: Tottenham. They're being talked about a lot.
As title challengers.
Yep, believe it. To be fair, they've won six in a row in the league, 10 out of their last 11, and can go second in the table by rights if they win their game in hand over Manchester United. Isn't it around about this time that the white half of London gets a nose bleed, implodes, and slumps lazily down the league before a late-season surge sees them threaten again but ultimately fall short?
D_Benton on Twitter:
"Back on twitter after being banned this week! Let's hope the football is something worth talking about!"
John Hartson on Radio 5 Live: "Andre Villas-Boas has to take criticism, that's why we have pundits. Gary Neville is there to give an opinion and I think he is correct about David Luiz. A centre-half is there to head the ball and tackle, not to pretend they are Alan Hansen."
Sahil Goyal on Twitter:
"Think I should kickstart Sam's greatest hits.The LaFontainesque opening of last season's UCL El Clasico, an absolute peach."
Former England skipper Paul Ince cannot believe Arsenal have overlooked fellow
pundit Martin Keown in the statue stakes: "I'm disappointed. I thought he was better than Tony Adams!"
1246: Up and running in the day's second kick-off, this time in the Championship, with Southampton playing host to Blackpool.
PeteFHumphreys on Twitter:
"Can't wait for the football today! Bring on 3 o'clock! I've put some Yorkshire Puds in the oven for a lunchtime snack!"
BBC pundit Robbie Savage reckons there are still huge question marks over goalkeeper David de Gea and his Manchester United team-mates after their embarrassing Champions League exit. He told
: "The goalkeeper's performance against Basel was, again, poor. Very poor. Is it now time for United to get more creative players like we've seen them do in the past?"
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: One early kick-off in the Championship today as Southampton welcome Blackpool to the St Mary's Stadium. The Saints have made their home ground a fortress and defend a 100% win record of 10 victories from 10. The three points will also mean they extend their lead at the top of the table. Blackpool will enter the play-off spots with a triumph and have won all six game they have kept clean sheets in, just like their opponents.
Everton defender Phil Jagielka says the players are not worried about the Merseyside club's off-the-field worries. He told
: "I think as far as the ownership of the club is concerned it's been going on for about six years. I massively understand the fans' frustrations. Unfortunately there's not much we can do about it. We haven't got any money."
1236: Now then, talking of statues (mildly tenuous link alert), it's been a week of unveiling from Arsenal at the Emirates this week, hasn't it? To mark their 125-year anniversary,
the club have had three statues at the ground installed - of Thierry Henry, Tony Adams and Herbert Chapman.
Henry, bless 'im, shed a tear so he did, claiming it was the first time he'd cried since... leaving Arsenal. Sheesh, get a room Thierry. In other news, fans are still awaiting confirmation that statues of Perry Groves, Pascal Cygan and Gus Caesar are to be unveiled after Christmas.
RhysMorgan453 on Twitter:
"No can't believe it's your last weekend commentary Sam! You are the king of Saturday football! I'm sure a statue will be made ;)"
1231: Up and running in the day's early kick-off north of the border, Hibernian v Rangers.
Mergasaurus on Twitter:
"Nice to see all the games at 3pm for a change, football shouldn't have to change to fit in with television schedules."
Will in London via text: "Sad to see you go Sam, but any chance I can get your job? I could do that thing you do at the end of a sentence. Cheeky."
SCOTTISH PREMIER LATEST: So Rangers have the chance to stretch their lead over Celtic, who later host troubled Hearts, in the table to seven points in the early kick-off against Hibernian at Easter Road. Hibs boss Pat Fenlon has named an unchanged line-up, but Rangers counterpart Ally McCoist makes three changes. One is forced following the two-match ban handed to Sone Aluko after the forward was ruled to have dived during last week's narrow win over Dunfermline Athletic. Fit-again Carlos Bocanegra and Lee Wallace come in for Thomas Bendiksen and Kirk Broadfoot.
Terry__Cox on Twitter:
"Cooking puppies?" I know Wogan rants about the BBC canteens, but I didn't think it was that bad."
STAT ATTACK: When Manchester United last exited the Champions League in the group stages in 2005-06, they went unbeaten in their next 10 matches in all competitions, starting with a 1-1 home Premier League draw with Everton.
1215: First and foremost, though - give this page a nice, cheeky Saturday morning refresh and Football Focus will magically* appear before your very eyes at the top. Get involved. * Not actually magic
1212: So put your violins away my friends, dry your weeping eyes, and climb aboard the good ship 'Saturday football'. There is much to discuss, ponder and argue - and I'm going to need your help. Tweet the commentary via
or text in via 81111 (UK). Let's get this puppy cooking real nice.
1210: And I'll tell you this for free - it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that this is my last weekend commentary shift at BBC Sport before I sail off down the canal and into the sunset bound for pastures exciting and new. Oh ho no. Don't even think it. Na-uh.
1204: But, do you know what, it's Christmas. Why shouldn't we revel in the glorious game we call football for as long as we can, right? We can talk about the week gone by, the big talking points, build up to what promises to be another monster day of football. It's all there.
1200: Seven Premier League kick-offs all at 1500 GMT, with no early or late game to cover, and I'm kicking off the BBC live commentary at 1200 GMT? Have I completely taken leave of my senses? Have I?! Do you know what, people, I think I just might have done. Sue me.
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