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Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Saturday, 17 December 2011

Saturday football as it happened

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By Mike Henson
BBC Sport

1954: That's it from me for today. I trust you will be back tomorrow. Four of the top five in action and hoping to make the most of Chelsea's slip-up. You wouldn't want to miss it. Goodbye for now.

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas: "We're not satisfied but we'll continue to keep pushing. We should have held on to our lead. Our confidence will not be affected."
"Not satisfied" might be understating the mood in the visitors' dressing room I reckon.

Full time
FULL-TIME Wigan 1-1 Chelsea
Sam Sheringham reports: "A well-deserved point for Wigan but frustration for Chelsea after a distinctly flat performance."

Full time
FULL-TIME Wolves 1-2 Stoke
Neil Johnston reports: "Mick McCarthy moaned about the referee's decision not to red card Jonathan Woodgate. But Wolves faded rapidly against a Stoke side that continues to go from strength to strength."

Full time
FULL-TIME Newcastle 0-0 Swansea
Dewi Hughes reports: "Frustration for Newcastle after failing to convert their dominance into a goal. Swansea's net led a charmed life at times, but hard work and defensive discipline paid off."

Full time
FULL-TIME Fulham 2-0 Bolton
Alistair Magowan reports: "This time Owen Coyle says his team did not take their chances, but he can have little complaint with the result. Fulham were better all over the pitch, and they have the added benefit of a more confident team."

Full time
FULL-TIME Everton 1-1 Norwich
Owen Phillips reports: "Grant Holt's stunning opener is enough to earn a resolute Norwich side a point but Everton will look back on a host of missed chances and feel they did more than enough to win."

Full time
FULL-TIME Blackburn 1-2 West Brom
Becky Ashton reports: "West Brom deservedly took the points at Blackburn to move them further clear of the bottom three while piling more pressure on Rovers boss Steve Kean. Peter Odemwingie scored the winner a minute from time to condemn Blackburn to their 10th defeat of the season."

1937: Six games, none of them particular classics I think I can safely say, but 12 goals closer to that magic 20,000-Premier League goal barrier. Let's see what our match reporters made of their afternoon's viewing.

Twitter
Josh Simpkin on Twitter: "That feels like a victory as a Wigan fan - pure grit & determination to keep attacking that distinctively average Chelsea back four."

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Anon via text: "AVB showing he knows nothing about English football. Find a manager who can talk footie to Torres."

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Trevor via text: "AVB seems to mess around with players and positions as much as Mancini. Mancini just does it better though."

1930: Nothing particularly clever about that showing from Chelsea. Andre Villas-Boas' introduction of Jon Mikel Obi and Florent Malouda failed to shut the game down. Would he have been better to bring on Fernando Torres in an attempt to leave Wigan in their dust?

1926: FULL-TIME Wigan 1-1 Chelsea

1925: Into stoppage time and Wigan look the likelier to score with Franco di Santo causing plenty of bother to his former side.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Wigan goal: The Chelsea defence crumbles with just two minutes of normal time remaining. Franco di Santo runs at Branislav Ivanovic down the right before playing in Victor Moses with Raul Meireles failing to keep pace with the midfield runner. Petr Cech gets down to block Moses' shot but Jordi Gomez is on hand to poke in the loose ball.

1918: GOALFLASH Wigan 1-1 Chelsea (Gomez)

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Anon via text: "I can't believe that Torres is not going to get on the pitch tonight. Drogba has been truly awful. Malouda offers no more than Torres can. In fact, he's been poor for two seasons. Joke. "

Blackburn striker Jason Roberts and 606 pundit on BBC Radio 5 live: "If the atmosphere is nasty, it's harder to play. With a young squad like we have it's harder to perform if there's pressure on."

1917: Franco di Santo slashes over the bar from the edge of the box. Plenty of industry from Wigan, but little cutting edge and time is running out in their search for an equaliser.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: There was one late game in the Football League, a League One encounter between MK Dons and Preston, who had Graham Alexander and David Unsworth in temporary charge after the midweek dismissal of Phil Brown. The final whistle has just gone with PNE claiming a much needed 1-0 victory thanks to Paul Parry's early header. They were hanging on at the end though.

1913: Another afternoon collecting splinters and little else for Fernando Torres as Chelsea make their final change. On comes Florent Malouda in place of goalscorer Daniel Sturridge.

1911: All sorts of trouble at the back for Chelsea as Branislav Ivanovic sells Petr Cech short with a backpass. The goalie slides out to get to the ball a fraction before Hugo Rodallega, but Franco di Santo latches onto the loose ball. Ivanovic redeems himself by nodding the Argentine's effort clear.

1907: A worrying sight for Chelsea and England as John Terry lands awkwardly on his right knee and is down writhing in pain. At ease. He makes his way to the sidelines, gets the magic sponge applied and is back onto the pitch to a chorus of boos.

1904: James McCarthy drags a shot wide and Wigan are warming to their task. Roberto Martinez attempts to add a little momentum as he throws on strikers Franco di Santo and Hugo Rodallega in place of Conor Sammon and David Jones.

1900: Andre Villas-Boas seems to be looking to tie these three points down after that little scare. On comes Jon Mikel Obi in place of Juan Mata to shore up the middle of the park.

1857: Maynor Figueroa thumps in a shot from the edge of the box after being allowed to advance unchallenged. Petr Cech is down sharply to push it behind though and the corner comes to nothing.

1855: Chelsea took the lead with 10 men on the pitch. Frank Lampard has received treatment for a cut to his cheek and is no back in the fray.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Chelsea goal: A really high-quality striker's goal from Daniel Sturridge. The former Manchester City man drifts into the space between two defenders and is picked out by a precise crossfield ball from Ashley Cole. Sturridge's first touch kills the ball dead and his second drills it past Ali Al Habsi. The forward has a big and deservedly growing reputation going towards Euro 2012.

1849: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-1 Chelsea (Sturridge)

1848: Antolin Alcaraz is left trailing by Salomon Kalou down the right. Didier Drogba meets the substitute's cut-back with a full-blooded swing of the right boot, but it ripples the wrong side of the net from the Chelsea point of view. The Wigan fans enjoyed some of the travelling support mistakenly thinking it was in. Never gets old that one.

1845: A bit more fizz and zip about the game now as Victor Moses muddles his way towards the byeline, but slashes wildly at a bobbling ball from an acute angle. The corner flag is in more danger than the back of the Chelsea net from that one.

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Anon via text: "Why bring on Kalou when you have Torres sitting on the bench? Got to feel for Torres. AVB has no faith in him."

1842: Gary Caldwell get a vital flick on Jose Bosingwa's cross to divert it over the top of Didier Drogba who was looming just behind him. The Ivorian ends up heading only thin air.

1840: A sighting of the lesser-spotted Fernando Torres stretching off on the sidelines. Could he be on soon?

1839: Jordi Gomez gets off an early second-half sighter as Branislav Ivanovic's feeble clearance lands at his feet and the former Swansea man smacks back a snap-shot just wide of Petr Cech's near post.

1837: The teams are re-emerging for the second half and there is a change for Chelsea. Salomon Kalou is on for Oriol Romeu. It is a tactical switch as Andre Villas-Boas rummages around for an extra attacking gear.

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Anon via text: "It was never ever a penalty and if it had been given would have been completely the wrong decision. It hit Ivanovic on the upper arm as he was turning away, whilst he had his hands deliberately tucked in on his stomach to avoid handball. How can anyone view that as deliberate handball?!! "

BBC Radio 5 live
Blackburn striker Jason Roberts and 606 pundit on BBC Radio 5 live: "We gave our all. All we can do is get back on the training ground and work hard. The players are giving it everything. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you win."

1832: Lots of talk about Blackburn Rovers' situation today. Jason Roberts was a second-half substitute in their defeat by West Brom and he has gamely taken up his seat as 606 pundit on BBC Radio 5 live. A quick manual refresh and the programme should appear on this page for web users.

Twitter
Nick Simsy on Twitter: "This Sammon chap looks like a fish out of water... offering nothing - not that he's having much support mind! "

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live commentator Nigel Adderley: "There are a few Wigan fans who would like to give referee Martin Atkinson the red card following a controversial decision. Victor Moses's shot hit Branislav Ivanovic on the arm he did not give a penalty. Having watched the replay, it's fairly clear that the Serb moved his hand towards the ball to block it."

Twitter
Jonny Kelly on Twitter: "This Chelsea side looks exhausted and sloppy. They look like they need a four-week break between matches..."

Half time
Wigan 0-0 Chelsea
Sam Sheringham's HT snapshot:
"Dull, drab and dreary at the DW, but Wigan are growing in confidence and had a reasonable shout for a penalty late on when a Moses shot struck Ivanovic on the arm. Torres time?"

1821: HALF-TIME Wigan 0-0 Chelsea

1820: Victor Moses almost gets his boot to a low cross as the ball flies through the six-yard box. Referee Martin Atkinson has seen enough and puts this dog of a first half down.

1817: Ironic cheers from the home fans greet the award of a free-kick for a foul on Moses. Inevitable really.

1816: A penalty shout for Wigan as Victor Moses rifles in a shot and the ball smacks into Branislav Ivanovic. The home side claim it struck the defender's arm, replays suggest they were right, but the Serbian had both arms pinned tight to his side. Difficult for Atkinson to give it and he doesn't.

1813: Chelsea getting closer. Didier Drogba's diving header from Raul Meireles's cross dribbles just wide with Ali Al Habsi at full-stratch in pursuit of it.

1812: Conor Sammon is tussling with John Terry up front as the Wigan striker battles for what few scraps he is offered by his team-mates. Martin Atkinson stays silent as the pair both go down, Roberto Martinez is getting in the ear of the fourth official about the lack of a free-kick.

1807: First hint of danger from Wigan as Mohamed Diame controls a long ball upfield and thrashes a decent long-range effort wide. Petr Cech is happy to wave it through.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live commentator Nigel Adderley : "It's still 0-0 but Wigan are playing very deep. Their fans are urging them to go forward and try to cause Chelsea some problems."

1804: Juan Mata gets a bit of space and time on the left but his low cross fails to pick out Didier Drogba and there are no other Chelsea bodies in the box to pick up the pieces. Strangely flat atmosphere both on the pitch and in the stands so far in this one, it is as if the visitors are still gathering their breath from Monday's win over City.

1800: That is your lot from Final Score for today people. Tap refresh and we'll put away the live video at the top of the page for another day. Thanks very much.

1758: Oriol Romeu volleys a dropping ball goalwards from fully 30 yards, it is trundling wide, but Ali Al-Habsi helps it on its way just to make sure.

1756: The Liverpool trio of manager Kenny Dalglish, assistant Steve Clarke and director of football Damian Comolli are in the stands at the DW Stadium. Liverpool play Wigan away on Wednesday, not much for them to take notes on so far though.

1753: Wigan are hardly getting a touch, certainly in the Chelsea half, as the visitors lock up possession early on. Not much in the way of opportunities for the Blues though. Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata on the flanks look the likeliest source of any breakthrough.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Michael, Newcastle via text: "Torres not starting again? How is he expected to produce his best football if he doesn't play?"

1748: John Terry goes in search of his fifth league goal of the season, sending a 30-yard effort skidding narrowly wide. None too shabby an attempt from the captain.

1746: Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has directed his anger at referee Anthony Taylor instead of his players following a 2-1 home defeat to Stoke. McCarthy was angry Jonathan Woodgate escaped a second yellow card for conceding a penalty. "He should have been sent off. If it had been outside the box he would have been sent off," said McCarthy.

Blackburn boss Steve Kean, when asked if he can see himself walking away: "No I can't. We will be back in tomorrow and we will prepare for the game on Tuesday. After that game the table will hopefully look better. The owners are fully behind me but I am sure they like the players, the staff and fans are disappointed. We want to be winning games especially at home and it makes Tuesday's game (at home to Bolton) massive if it wasn't massive already."

1743: Daniel Sturridge looks lively as he scampers past David Jones on the right but his cut-back is well blocked.

1741: Wigan earn the first corner of the match and, after Victor Moses has driven unsuccessfully at Ashley Cole from a short set-piece, Jordi Gomez dribbles into the box. The Spaniard hits the deck with Cole in attendance, but referee Martin Atkinson rightly keeps his arms by his sides.

1737: Chelsea looking neat and tidy in possession and Ashley Cole draws a foul down the left flank as Wigan grow frustrated.

1735: Oriol Romeu is dropping deep to pick the ball up straight from Chelsea goakeeper Petr Cech, maybe a new starting point for these Chelsea attacks.

1733: Wigan emerge from a pre-match huddle and Chelsea kick off to get the game under way.

1732: Andre Villas-Boas and his backroom staff work through a folder of laminated tactics on the touchline. High blocks, fast transitions, medium lines, all that malarky. I should imagine it is essential bedtime reading for John Terry and co.

1729: Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba applaud the travelling fans as they emerge from the tunnel alongside their opponents. By no means all the home seats in the DW stands occupied.

WIGAN v CHELSEA (1730 GMT)
Sam Sheringham reports:
"Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is relishing the challenge of his team's successive meetings with Premier League heavyweights Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. "We are excited," he claims. "It is very difficult because every game presents problems but playing Chelsea, Liverpool and then Manchester United is what this league is all about." Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas says he wants to give the Manchester clubs a "stressful" Christmas and a fourth victory in a row against Wigan would certainly have Roberto Mancini and Sir Alex Ferguson looking over their shoulders."

Fulham boss Martin Jol: "We did well, especially in the first half, and I was happy that my front players could make the difference, especially if you don't concede goals."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis on his decision to replace Jonathan Woodgate after just 19 minutes at Wolves: "I decided that was the right thing to do. You have to be brave enough to make decisions. I made it because he was having problems with Matt Jarvis. But he's accepted it."

1722: Three successive wins for Chelsea over Newcastle, Valencia and Manchester City, as well as the pleasure of watching of watching City and Manchester United both fail to follow them through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, and you would think things were bubbling along a bit happier with the Blues. But there are still questions over how widely Andre Villas-Boas' vision is being adopted in the dressing room while mega-money man Fernando Torres remain on the bench. It all feels a little combustable to my mind.

WIGAN v CHELSEA (1730 GMT)
Sam Sheringham reports:
"Frank Lampard is rewarded for his late penalty winner against Manchester City with a starting place in the team to face Wigan at the expense of Ramires, who picked up a knock against City. Wigan are unchanged following their victory over West Brom after defender Antolin Alcaraz shrugged off a rib injury."

Bolton manager Owen Coyle: "We have let the opportunity to pass us by and it's getting repetitive saying the same things. It's not like we are five or six games into the season. We've made some mistakes and we are in real dogfight now. Players must show passion and be ready to give better performances. Those 30 seconds [for the goals] have cost us today."

Twitter
Former West Brom midfielder Enzo Maresca, now at Malaga, on Twitter: "Blackburn-WBA 1-2 - three points for my English team! I am happy for the Baggies. The weekend start very good. Congratulation boys."

BBC Final Score pundit Dion Dublin: "I thought Newcastle were very unfortunate. They played very well and hit the woodwork. They looked very strong and confident on the ball."

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST: Rangers recovered from conceding an equaliser to Inverness, with Kyle Lafferty's late breakaway winner opening up a seven-point lead for the Scottish Premier League leaders. Third-top Motherwell lost ground on second-place Celtic, who face St Johnstone tomorrow, when they were held to a draw by St Mirren. Hearts thumped Dunfermline 4-0, with the visitors remaining bottom of the table on goal difference behind Hibs. Kilmarnock and Dundee United shared the points at Rugby Park.

Twitter
Adam H on Twitter: "Kean has only won seven games in his entire managerial career. How on earth is he still on charge!?"

Wigan v Chelsea (1730 GMT)
Wigan: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam, Jones, Diame, McCarthy, Moses, Gomez, Sammon. Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, McArthur, Rodallega.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Romeu, Lampard, Meireles, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Torres, Mikel, Malouda, Ferreira, McEachran, Kalou.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1707: The Chelsea team are out trotting through a warm-up at the DW Stadium. I seem to remember a very late Hernan Crespo strike ending the home team's resistance here back in Jose Mourinho's early days at the club.

Twitter
Daily Telegraph football correspondent Henry Winter on Twitter: "Bang goes the 'truce' between Steve Kean & Blackburn Rovers fans. Poor appointment a year ago. Looks even poorer now. Tick Tock."

FOOTBALL LEAGUE ROUND-UP: An equaliser from Jordan Rhodes seven minutes into stoppage-time earned Huddersfield a 4-4 draw at Sheffield Wednesday in an incredible League One clash at Hillsborough. Rhodes scored all four of his team's goals and now has 20 for the season. Middlesbrough leap-frogged Cardiff into third place in the Championship after a 3-2 victory over the Welsh side, while West Ham tightened their grip on an automatic promotion place with a 1-0 home victory over Barnsley. In League Two, leaders Crawley were held to a 1-1 draw by Crewe, and at the bottom Plymouth extended their unbeaten league run to three games as a late Nick Chadwick penalty salvaged a point against fellow strugglers Hereford.


1702: The only consolation for Blackburn fans is that I reckon they are playing a smidge better than Bolton. That game between the two of them on Tuesday evening is looking like an absolute monster for both Owen Coyle and Steve Kean. Is there any way both bosses can survive through until Christmas?

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Anon via text: "The whole of the Venky's regime has been a disaster. Getting rid of Big Sam for someone with no managing experience. What did they really expect?! Do what Sunderland have done, made the change before it's too late. Kean out."

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Blackpool and England defender Jimmy Armfield at Ewood Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "West Brom deserved it over the 90 minutes. They had much more purpose. Heart-breaker this for Blackburn. The fans are streaming home, a number of them booing. They have Tuesday night to try to save themselves."

BBC Final Score pundit Dion Dublin on Steve Kean's woes: "The pressure is so great from the fans. It's a great goal by Odemwingie but there was not enough pressure on him. Fans are impatient and he'll do well to get through the week." Fellow pundit Steve Claridge agrees that Kean's time could be running out: "Until they get stranded at the bottom by five, six or seven points, they won't make a change. But that scenario could happen sooner rather than later.

1655: A clutch of Blackburn fans wearing 'Kean Out' T-shirts hang around after the final whistle to chant for their manager's head.

1654: FULL-TIME Newcastle 0-0 Swansea

1653: FULL-TIME Wolverhampton 1-2 Stoke

1652: FULL-TIME Everton 1-1 Norwich

1652: FULL-TIME Blackburn 1-2 West Brom

1650: FULL-TIME Fulham 2-0 Bolton

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
West Brom goal: The Baggies' Peter Odemwingie cuts in off the right flank and lashes a glorious left-foot curler past a helpless Peter Robinson. It is only the third goal of the season for the striker and the atmosphere has turned 'ugly' at Ewood as the home fans stream for the exits according to Radio 5 live. Three minutes remain.

1647: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-2 West Brom (Odemwingie)

1646: That lad sure can hit them. Everton midfielder Royston Drenthe's long-range shot is swerving about all over the place and John Ruddy is relieved to see it cannon away to safety off his knee.

1645: Blackburn and West Brom struggling to create a decent chance between them at Ewood Park and the match looks destined for a draw. There you go, that should ensure a late winner for us.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: Could this be the winner for Middlesbrough at Cardiff? They have taken a 3-2 lead through Faris Haroun. Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday's incredible comeback continues, with Chris O'Grady's first goal at Hillsborough making it 4-2 to the hosts against Huddersfield, before Jordan Rhodes completes his hat-trick to pull it back to 4-3. It's a good day for the red half of Sheffield too, with United going 2-0 in front at Bournemouth thanks to a Steve Cook own-goal.

Twitter
Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "Scott Dann is the first Englishman to score a Premier League goal for Blackburn since February"

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Everton goal: Everton finally restore parity at Goodison Park as substitute Royston Drenthe cuts in from the right and Leon Osman's deft flick diverts the ball past keeper John Ruddy. David Moyes's men will be chasing all three points now with Norwich on the ropes.

1639: GOALFLASH Everton 1-1 Norwich (Osman)

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Midfielder Frank Lampard starts for Chelsea against Wigan in the late Premier League fixture.

1638: Shane Long almost bundles home during a melee in the Blackburn six-yard box but goalkeeper Paul Robinson drops on the ball before the striker can apply a decisive touch.

1636: Newcastle substitute Shola Ameobi almost makes an immediate impact but Michel Vorm saves Swansea again with fine low save to his left. Swansea then threaten with a rare foray up the other end of the pitch but, having superbly created space for his shot, Scott Sinclair drags his effort wide.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Blackpool and England defender Jimmy Armfield at Ewood Park for BBC Radio 5 live: " Long ball forward and West Brom were found wanting really. That was a real route one goal if ever there was one. That was the only way a goal was coming for Blackburn. They have little width, with no players on the flanks. But suddenly it all changes now!"

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Blackburn goal: Old school, route one, stuff from Rovers as Paul Robinson's long boot forward is won in the air by the towering Christopher Samba and Scott Dann pounces on the loose ball to stab home from six yards out. It is Dann's first goal for the club since his move from Birmingham.

1631: GOALFLASH Blackburn 1-1 West Brom (Dann)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Stoke goal: Wow. Peter Crouch has stunned Molineux and completed a stunning Stoke turnaround after heading his side 2-1 ahead following Matthew Etherington's cross.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: Middlesbrough's Scott McDonald has made it 2-2 in the Championship's big game at Cardiff, while two goals in three minutes from Billy Sharp have given Doncaster a 2-1 lead against Leicester. In League One, Sheffield Wednesday have turned the game on its head, with Stephen Bywater setting up Ben Marshall to put them 3-2 ahead against Huddersfield. And in League Two, Hereford look poised to put daylight between themselves and the relegation zone after taking the lead against struggling Plymouth.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Blackpool and England defender Jimmy Armfield at Ewood Park for BBC Radio 5 live:" Blackburn look a bit better balanced now with Jason Roberts on up front and supporting Yakubu. They're still not testing Ben Foster's goal, mind."

1628: GOALFLASH Wolverhampton 1-2 Stoke (Crouch)

1627: If Newcastle do not defeat Swansea it could be a sleepless night for Demba Ba, who has just failed to capitalise with another chance.

1626: Andy Johnson drills a cross along the six-yard line, but Clint Dempsey cannot stretch to send it goalward and the ball hits the side netting. Bolton pressing, but Fulham are still a threat on the counter.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST: There's now goals in all the afternoon's Scottish Premier League games. Motherwell were first to strike after the break, Michael Higdon giving them the lead over St Mirren, Kilmarnock's James Dayton then struck against Dundee United and now Carlos Bocanegra has given leaders Rangers the lead over Inverness. Hearts continue to lead Dunfermline 2-0. Oh, and Jim Goodwin has just equalised for St Mirren.

1624: Game on at Molineux. Stoke have upped the tempo after half-time but Wolves will still see this as two points dropped if the scoreline stays the same after failing to take their chances.

1624: Everton banging on the door against Norwich. John Ruddy keeps the Canaries ahead with a splendid stop from substitute Denis Stracqualursi's header. Norwich haven't kept a clean sheet in the league yet this season so still plenty of life left in this one.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: A Jack Smith own-goal has given Hull the lead against Millwall, nine-man Brighton are still 1-0 down to Burnley, but there are no goals yet in the Championship's basement battle at Ashton Gate between Bristol City and Nottingham Forest. In League One, Sheffield United are on course for a valuable three points at Bournemouth, and in League Two a Tom Craddock pile-driver has given Oxford the lead against Northampton.

Twitter
Opta Joe on Twitter: "1000 - James Morrison has scored the 1000th Premier League goal of 2011. Fizzer."

1620: Looking ahead on the fixture list, Bolton play Blackburn on Tuesday at Ewood Park. That one might turn nasty.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Stoke goal: And that's what happens when you don't take your chances. Out of the blue Stoke have equalised at Wolves thanks to Robert Huth's free-kick which took a heavy deflection off Kevin Doyle.

1617: Bolton's third substitute David Ngog, on for Kevin Davies, is instantly involved as he sets up Fabrice Muamba but the midfielder scuffs his shot and it is straight at David Stockdale from 14 yards.

1616: John Ruddy makes a fine save to keep Norwich ahead at Goodison Park, tipping Leon Osman's fierce strike around the post after good work by Louis Saha.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Blackpool and England defender Jimmy Armfield at Ewood Park for BBC Radio 5 live: " A beautiful shot, and the goal's been coming really. West Brom have started the second half like they started the first. Blackburn's players are very poor at closing players down, and Paul Robinson had no chance of saving that. West Brom deserve that goal."

1615: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-1 Stoke (Huth)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
West Brom goal: A belter of a volley from James Morrison and there are a few boos raining down on Steve Kean in the home dug-out at Ewood Park. Steven N'Zonzi only partially clears the corner and Morrison returns fire on the full from the edge of the area with glorious results. The visiting fans join in some of the 'Kean Out' chants doing the rounds.

1611: GOALFLASH Blackburn 0-1 West Brom (Morrison)

Twitter
Andy McNamara on Twitter: "When will Moyes realise that playing one up front does not work? Sort it out!"

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST: Hearts, thanks to goals from Stephen Elliott and Mehdi Taouil, have the only goals in the Scottish Premier League's afternoon fixtures. Their comfortable 2-0 lead looks destined to leave Dunfermline at the foot of the table behind Hibs, who lost earlier to Aberdeen, on goal difference. Leaders Rangers have only had one attempt on target at home to struggling Inverness.

Twitter
Opta Joe on Twitter: "35 - Bolton have taken just one point from the 35 Premier League games where they have been two or more behind at half-time. Doomed?"

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Anon, via text: "Dempsey gets goals. When will the top clubs realise this? I can see him slotting into Liverpool with Suarez and Gerrard like a charm. "

1607: Owen Coyle has shuffled his Bolton pack with Chris Eagles and Gretar Steinsson introduced at the expense of Darren Pratley and Dedryck Boyata at the break.

1604: Back under way everywhere now. Demba Ba is out the blocks quickly as his far-post header whizzes just past the post for the hosts on Tyneside.

Wigan v Chelsea
WIGAN v CHELSEA (1730 BST)
Sam Sheringham reports:
"Wigan played host to the World Pie-Eating Championships on Wednesday and this evening they host a hungry-looking Chelsea side looking to gobble up the three points that would take them within four of leaders Manchester City. The omens aren't great for the relegation-threatened Latics at the start of a run of games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United in the space of nine days. They have only won once at home all season, and have shipped 15 goals without reply in their last three meetings with the Blues."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Tom, Manchester via text: "Owen Coyle's job must be on the line over this festive period. Bolton are in such a mess as a team, you just can't see them winning a game any time soon."

1602: The away dressing room at Craven Cottage is probably quite a scary place to be. Owen Coyle seems a pretty calm, collected fella, but the prospect of his side slipping two points adrift at the bottom might bring out the teacup slinger in him. Will chairman Phil Gartside's trigger finger be getting itchy? West Brom's gamble on ditching Roberto di Matteo as boss last season paid dividends. Just saying like.


FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: Cardiff have taken the lead against Middlesbrough in the Championship after a brilliant back heel from Kenny Miller teed up Aron Gunnarsson to poke home. But as things stand, West Ham will be holding on to second place because they lead Barnsley 1-0 through an early Papa Bouba Diop goal. In League One, it's all calmed down a bit after a breathless first half hour at Hillsborough, which saw Sheffield Wednesday come from 2-0 down to make it 2-2 against Huddersfield. Matt Tubbs has equalised for League Two leaders Crawley against Crewe, while it is 0-0 in the basement clash between Plymouth and Hereford.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Blackpool and England defender Jimmy Armfield at Ewood Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "West Brom always looked to have a bit more threat than Blackburn, but somehow they can't put it together. There's a lack of confidence about both teams. A goal will put that right."

Half time
Fulham 2-0 Bolton
Alistair Magowan's HT snapshot:
"Bolton undone by two goals in two minutes as they succumb to one of their weak points - crossing. But Clint Dempsey's opening header was a cracker."

Half time
Blackburn 0-0 West Brom
Becky Ashton's HT snapshot:
"It's anything but a classic at Ewood Park, although West Brom have had more of the play and chances, but it's easy to see why the Baggies have scored just 14 goals so far this season!"

Half time
Wolves 1-0 Stoke
Neil Johnston's HT snapshot:
"While Jonathan Woodgate will reflect on possibly the worst 19 minutes of his career, Wolves will wonder why they have not secured the points already."

Half time
Newcastle 0-0 Swansea
Dewi Hughes's HT snapshot:
"A half of complete control for Newcastle, with only the post saving Swansea from Fabricio Coloccini's header and Demba Ba's acrobatic effort. Swansea have been toothless and uncharacteristically poor in possession."

Half time
Everton 0-1 Norwich
Owen Phillips's HT snapshot:
"Grant Holt's wonderful turn and finish separates the teams and Everton are getting increasingly frustrated after dominating for large spells and missing several decent chances."

1549: HALF-TIME Newcastle 0-0 Swansea

1548: HALF-TIME Blackburn 0-0 West Brom

1548: HALF-TIME Fulham 2-0 Bolton

1547: HALF-TIME Wolverhampton 1-0 Stoke

1547: HALF-TIME Everton 0-1 Norwich

1547: Swansea playing in their changed shirt, a sort of salmon colour, at Newcastle, but all is not going swimmingly for the Welsh side. The Swans have spent most of this game on the back foot. Michel Vorm makes a superb reaction stop to deny Demba Ba. Cracking save.

1546: Bolton almost grab one back when Nigel Reo-Coker breaks down the right and when his cut-back falls to Mark Davies, the Bolton midfielder cannot find the corner of the net as David Stockdale saves to his right.

Handbags
1545: A bout of handbags at Goodison as Marouane Fellaini and Grant Holt tangle under a high ball. Fellaini clumsily catches the Norwich striker with his forearm and Holt appears to fling a limb across the Belgian's face in retaliation. He pleads innocence though and referee Lee Probert gives him the benefit of the doubt.

1541: Blackburn have just forced Ben Foster into an excellent save in the West Brom goal. Paul Scharner conceded a free-kick just outside the box and up stepped Morten Gamst Pederson who struck a fierce curling effort which Foster tipped over the bar.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST: Rangers are increasing the pressure on Inverness at Ibrox, but the leaders remain tied at 0-0. Hearts are doing Edinburgh neighbours Hibs a favour and look like easing to victory with a lead 2-0 against a Dunfermline side who look destined to end the day firmly at the foot of the Scottish Premier League. The other two games remain goalless.

Twitter
Opta Joe on Twitter: "6 - Grant Holt has scored six goals in his last eight Premier League matches. Bullish."

Twitter
Jack Garwood on Twitter: "Capello should take a look at Holt, twice the player Carroll is. Olympics or Euros, he should be going to one of them.#BBCFootball"

1539: Fine save by Thomas Sorensen to deny the impressive Stephen Hunt and keep Stoke alive at Molineux. Wolves are peppering the Potters defence but only have one goal to show for their efforts so far.

1538: Louis Saha goes close twice in a minute as Everton look for a swift reply, first with a deflected strike that keeper John Ruddy has to punch clear as he runs back towards goal and then kissing the post with a fizzing, low shot from the edge of the box.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Fulham goal: Less than a minute after the first and Bolton sink further behind. Clint Dempsey's throughball springs Bryan Ruiz who holds off Marcos Alonso before scooping a clever chip over Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Fulham goal: Fulham take a deserved lead when Bryan Ruiz cuts in from the right to cross for Clint Dempsey, who does very well to steer his header into the corner from 12 yards out.

1534: GOALFLASH Fulham 2-0 Bolton (Ruiz)

1533: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-0 Bolton (Dempsey)

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: What a game at Hillsborough! Sheffield Wednesday, after falling 2-0 behind to Huddersfield, have now pulled it back to 2-2 after goals in quick succession from Rob Jones and Reda Johnson. In the Championship, it's now all square between Cardiff and Middlesbrough after Ben Turner headed home a Peter Whittingham corner for Cardiff. League Two leaders Crawley are trailing at home to a goal from Crewe's Wes Fletcher.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Norwich goal: The twin towers attack of Steve Morison and Grant Holt pays dividends for Norwich, but it is very much against the run of play. Morison bundles the ball to his strike-partner from a deep free-kick and Holt swivels and wriggles with two defenders at his back, before slotting home.

1528: GOALFLASH Everton 0-1 Norwich (Holt)

Someone has struck the woodwork
1527: Newcastle have twice been within a post's width of taking the lead after a slow start. Leon Best's chested knock-down fell invitingly into the path of Demba Ba whose volley bounced off the woodwork and to safety. Earlier Fabricio Coloccini had headed against the frame of the goal.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: A great start for Huddersfield against second-placed Sheffield Wednesday in the big game of the day in League One, with Jordan Rhodes scoring twice in the first 16 minutes to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. Meanwhile, it is raining red cards at the Amex Stadium where Brighton are down to nine men against Burnley after French midfielder Romain Vincelot was shown a red card for foul and abusive language and Ashley Barnes was sent off for the first time in his career for violent conduct. At the top of the Championship, Bart Ogbeche has given Middlesbrough the lead at Cardiff with his first goal for the club.

1522: Brede Hangeland's header from Danny Murphy's corner is just wide as Fulham continue to enjoy the best of the early stages at the Cottage.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Blackpool and England defender Jimmy Armfield at Ewood Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "West Brom look the more comfortable, and Blackburn are busy trying to work out their own system. Yakubu seems to be playing as a target man for them. West Brom are looking the more composed, they've had a couple of chances and they've started well."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Wolves goal: Christmas cheer at Molineux as Wolves take the lead thanks to Stephen Hunt's penalty after Matt Jarvis was fouled by the already booked Jonathan Woodgate. Referee Anthony Taylor spares Woodgate a second yellow card but the former England defender is hauled off by Tony Pulis with Jermaine Pennant on.

1518: West Brom's Peter Odemwingie is within a whisker of getting his head onto Chris Brunt's cross. The Baggies are full of bounce so far at Ewood.

1516: GOALFLASH Wolverhampton 1-0 Stoke (Hunt)

PENALTY TO WOLVES

1516: Stoke's Jonathan Woodgate has been booked for a cynical foul on Matt Jarvis. Could be a busy shift for referee Anthony Taylor.

1515: All Everton at Goodison. Leon Osman's curling effort may have been heading wide, but with Ruddy beaten, defender Russell Martin takes no chances and heads clear.

1513: First sniff of a goal at Craven Cottage as Nigel Reo-Coker fires wide for Bolton from the angle. Then minutes later, Andy Johnson cannot steer the ball on target after being put through, despite appearing to come back from an offside position in the build-up to the goal.

1512: A Wolves free-kick causes a brief bit of bother in the Stoke box but referee Anthony Taylor pulls the action back for an infringement. Roger Johnson can't make much of the retake at the back post.

1508: Early pressure from Everton as Tim Cahill's sublime little touch almost gets Marouane Fellaini in on goal. Norwich keeper John Ruddy is out to smother at the Belgian's feet though.

BBC Radio 5 live
Former Blackpool and England defender Jimmy Armfield at Ewood Park for BBC Radio 5 live: "It's a massive match for these two clubs, even at this stage of the season. A victory for either side could act as a springboard. And it's been a good start by Blackburn, with Yakubu showing some physical intent. The Blackburn fans have stopped their protests for Christmas. That's a good thing."

1506: Wolves have lost three of the last four league games yet they've made a confident start against Stoke after Ronald Zubar stabs narrowly wide from 15 yards.

Twitter
BBC Sport's Damian Johnson on Twitter: "#bbcfootball Blackburn fans true to their word so far. No sign of any demo against Steve Kean. How long will Xmas truce last today?"

1504: Newcastle's French midfielder Yohan Cabaye takes an early crack from a free-kick about 30 yards away from the Swansea goal. Just over the top and goalkeeper Michael Vorm is unconcerned.

1503: England boss Fabio Capello is among the interested spectators at Craven Cottage to watch Fulham versus Bolton. A check on Gary Cahill perhaps?

1503: If any of you are wondering whether we have suddenly been transported back several months to the world of BST, rest assured a quick refresh will take us all back to GMT and the Premier League landscape of wintry December.

1502: Up and running everywhere now.

1459: Emotional scenes at the Sports Direct Arena as a rendition of Bread of Heaven from the crowd is followed by a minute's applause. Steve Harper and John Carver both visibly moved as Tyneside remembers Gary Speed.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST: Rangers have the chance to extend their lead to seven points over Celtic in the Scottish Premier League as they entertain struggling Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Second-top Celtic are not in action until Sunday against St Johnstone. Third-placed Motherwell can narrow the gap on Neil Lennon's side should they beat St Mirren at Fir Park, while Dunfermline Athletic will move off the bottom ahead of Hibernian should they earn at least a point away to troubled Hearts. Kilmarnock host Dundee United in the other 1500 kick-off.

Wolves v Stoke
WOLVES v STOKE (1500 GMT)
Neil Johnston reports: "Christmas is a time for peace and goodwill, right? Not when Wolves and Stoke get together. Yet Mick McCarthy and Tony Pulis have paid glowing tributes to one another ahead of what's expected to be a blood and thunder derby. "They make the best of everything they've got," said Wolves manager McCarthy of Stoke. Pulis was quick to return the compliment. "Mick's a great football man, he's done a remarkable job."

BLACKBURN v WEST BROM (1500 GMT)
Becky Ashton reports: "West Brom manager Roy Hodgson has praised the "mental strength" of his Blackburn counterpart Steve Kean for what he has gone through this season and believes he has "shown a lot of dignity." But Kean as ever is putting everything else out of his mind and concentrating solely on the match "it is a very big game and one which gives us a great chance to take a major step forward."

Twitter
Match of the Day on Twitter: "Alan Hansen will be studying Newcastle v Swansea, Lawro keeping a careful eye on Fulham v Bolton. Big game for Jol, Man U and Chelsea next."

EVERTON v NORWICH (1500 GMT)
Owen Phillips reports: "Everton manager David Moyes maintains performances have been better than results. "We have to get back playing and scoring goals," Moyes said. "We have created a lot of opportunities to make chances but have not delivered it well enough or not finished it off." Norwich boss Paul Lambert wants his side to continue to prove the doubters wrong: "We are playing well, competing and giving teams a game, which people never thought we could do," he said. "We have done really fine to put ourselves in a decent position - at the minute."

FULHAM v BOLTON (1500 GMT)
Alistair Magowan reports:
"Fulham manager Martin Jol is trying to convince himself and supporters that their agonising midweek Europa League defeat can be a good thing. "There is always some positives in everything," Jol said. "It was awful but we can focus now on the games in the league. We don't have to play all these matches." Under-pressure Bolton boss Owen Coyle is another staying upbeat in adversity. "We have to start giving something back. We know how quickly it can change. We can win games and get a smile back on those fans' faces."

NEWCASTLE v SWANSEA (1500 GMT)
Dewi Hughes reports: "Alan Pardew hopes the ferocity of the Toon Army roar can unsettle the Swansea players at the Sports Direct Arena. "A team who plays like Swansea is liable to make the odd error and gift a goal, because they put the ball at risk in terms of the way they play out," he said. "For us, it will be about making sure that when they come to our stadium they feel the impact of it. It's a big stage and for their players it will be their first time. I think that is an advantage for us." Brendan Rodgers, though, insists his Swansea players will not be intimidated. "The supporters don't score a goal, they are passionate and vocal but it is a wonderful place to go and play," he said. "We go into it with no fear, out motivation is to do well, we have the game to win matches."

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST: One final observation on the win for Aberdeen. It came in controversial circumstances. Hibs believe Peter Pawlett dived to earn the second-half winner, scored by Scott Vernon from the penalty spot. Then Pawlett was sent off minutes later for a lunge on Lewis Stevenson, although the Aberdeen bench claimed that the winger had made little or no contact.

BBC Final Score pundit Steve Claridge on Bolton: "The quality of their squad has a Championship look about it. They didn't finish last season well and have continued that over. It's difficult to make a case for them. Gary Cahill will go in January but you can't change the manager, he's proved that he's a good manager."

Twitter
MOTD commentator Guy Mowbray on Twitter: "Lovely Christmassy drive over the hills to Wigan. Snow capped tops and all that. 5.30 kick off here."

WOLVES v STOKE (1500 GMT)
Neil Johnston reports: "No surprises from Tony Pulis as the Stoke manager names the same side that overcame Tottenham 2-1 last weekend after the midweek defeat to Besiktas in the Europa League. Wolves, who need a win to stay away from the relegation zone, welcome back Nenad Milijas and Stephen Hunt with Dave Edwards and Jamie O'Hara making way."

Twitter
Opta Sports on Twitter: "40% - Since Cheik Tiote's debut, Newcastle's win percentage is nearly twice as good with him in the starting line-up, than in his absence (21%). Cog."
A cog that Alan Pardew admitted could be "vulnerable" to bids in January though. After Andy Carroll's departure last year, selling the former Twente anchorman would go down pretty badly on Tyneside.

EVERTON v NORWICH (1500 GMT)
Owen Phillips reports: "Everton manager David Moyes makes two changes from the team narrowly beaten by Arsenal last Saturday, recalling midfielder Leon Osman after hamstring problems and handing striker Magaye Gueye just his third Premier League start. Unsurprisingly Norwich keep faith with the side that so impressed in the 4-2 win over Newcastle in their last fixture."

1445: Bobby Zamora apparently failed a fitness test on that dicky knee and that is why he is absent today. There have been rumours of a rift with boss Martin Jol though... Conspirators start your engines.

FULHAM v BOLTON (1500 GMT)
Alistair Magowan reports:
"Fulham striker Andy Johnson starts instead of Bobby Zamora, who has been suffering from a knee problem but played in midweek. Martin Jol makes seven changes to the team which drew with Odense, including recalls for skipper Danny Murphy and keeper David Stockdale. For Bolton, Owen Coyle drops Chris Eagles, Tuncay and Paul Robinson to the bench with Nigel Reo-Coker, Fabrice Muamba and Marcos Alonso coming in."

NEWCASTLE v BOLTON (1500 GMT)
Dewi Hughes reports: "Newcastle's injury crisis eases as they welcome back captain Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Cheick Tiote. A tactical change sees Leon Best replacing Shola Ameobi up front. Two changes in the Swansea side that beat Fulham last Saturday as Joe Allen returns to the midfield after suspension and Newcastle fan Danny Graham takes over from Leroy Lita as the lone striker."

BLACKBURN v WEST BROM (1500 GMT)
Becky Ashton reports: "Blackburn make two changes from the side that lost at Sunderland with Steven Nzonzi returning after suspension in place of Michel Salgado, while Ruben Rochina comes in for Gael Givet, who misses out completely and is reportedly due to undergo a "heart procedure". Paul Scharner comes back into the starting line-up in place of Jerome Thomas, in the only change for West Brom."

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST: The early game in Scotland has gone the way of Aberdeen, who have defeated Hibs 1-0 to record pick up their seventh valuable point in the last eight days. Pat Fenlon is still seeking his first points as manager of Hibs, who are now on a run of six league games without a win. Leaders Rangers host struggling Inverness Caley Thistle in one of the four 1500 kick-offs.

1437: WOLVES v STOKE (1500)
Wolves: Hennessey, Zubar, Berra, Johnson, Ward, Hunt, Henry, Milijas, Jarvis, Fletcher, Doyle. Subs: De Vries, Elokobi, Stearman, Hammill, Ebanks-Blake, Guedioura, Forde. Stoke: Sorensen; Woodgate, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Shotton, Whitehead, Whelan, Etherington, Crouch, Walters. Subs: Begovic, Jones, Fuller, Pennant, Upson, Jerome, Palacios.

1436: NEWCASTLE v SWANSEA (1500)
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Perch, Coloccini, Santon, Obertan, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Best, Ba. Subs: Harper, Williamson, Ben Arfa, Abeid, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi, Vuckic.
Swansea: Vorm, Richards, Williams, Caulker, Taylor, Routledge, Gower, Britton, Sinclair, Allen, Graham. Subs: Tremmel, Dyer, Dobbie, Monk, Lita, Moore, Agustien.

1433: A quick manual refresh and Final Score should be front, centre and top of your page for your enjoyment. That is F5 for you keyboard-shortcut fans.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Dan, Devon via text: "If Blackburn are going to change manager they need do to it now, to allow new manager to make changes in January! Come on Rovers, where have the days of scraping a top table finish gone?!"

1430: BLACKBURN v WEST BROM (1500)
Blackburn Rovers: Robinson; Nzonzi, Samba, Dann, Rochina; Vukcevic, Lowe, Dunn, Pedersen; Formica, Yakubu. Subs: Bunn (gk), Petrovic, Blackman, Goodwille, Roberts, Hanley, Henley.
West Brom: Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey; Morrison, Scharner, Mulumbu, Brunt; Long, Odemwingie. Subs: Fulop (gk), Dorrans, Thomas, Jones, Tamas, Cox, Dawson.

Twitter
BBC Sport's Tony Husband on Twitter: "#bbcfootball Bright cold day by the river, could be a key game between Fulham and Bolton. Reports from 3 on #finalscore"

1426: FULHAM v BOLTON (1500)
Fulham: Stockdale, Baird, Senderos, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Ruiz, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson, Dembele. Subs: Etheridge, Kelly, Orlando Sa, Gecov, Duff, Hughes, Frei.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Cahill, Knight, Alonso, Mark Davies, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Pratley, Kevin Davies, Klasnic. Subs: Bogdan, Steinsson, Robinson, Eagles, Sanli, Petrov, Ngog.

1424: EVERTON v NORWICH (1500)
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Gueye, Neville, Fellaini, Osman, Cahill, Saha. Subs: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Drenthe, Stracqualursi, Distin, Rodwell, McAleny.
Norwich: Ruddy, Naughton, Martin, Whitbread, Tierney, Crofts, Fox, Hoolahan, Surman, Morison, Holt. Subs: Rudd, Johnson, Jackson, Pilkington, Bennett, Barnett, Wilbraham.

1422: Still filling up slowly at Goodison Park where Everton take on Norwich today. The home fans will be cheered by the news of United States international Landon Donovan's return to Merseyside in January and a new contract for bright, young thing Ross Barkley.

FULHAM TEAM NEWS SNAP: Bobby Zamora left out entirely by Martin Jol from the match-day squad, the striker has been suffering with a twinge in the knee during the week. David Stockdale is between the sticks.

BOLTON TEAM NEWS SNAP: Fabrice Muamba and Nigel Reo-Coker are included in Owen Coyle's starting line-up as Chris Eagles and Tuncay drop to the bench.

WOLVES TEAM NEWS SNAP: Jamie O'Hara replaced by Nenad Milijas for Wolves while Stephen Hunt also returns in place of David Edwards.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: LEAGUE TWO Table-toppers Crawley Town are the only one of the top three in action this afternoon, and they travel to recently revitalised Crewe looking to extend their lead. Second bottom side Plymouth, who followed up their amazing 4-1 win at home to Northampton on 26 November with a solid 1-1 draw away at Bradford last weekend, will look to close the gap on Hereford, the team just above them, when they welcome the Bulls to Home Park.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: LEAGUE ONE The Owls may be flying high in League One, but second-placed Sheffield Wednesday will have a tough time of it today against a Huddersfield Town side who are still in the play-offs despite losing their 43-game unbeaten run at Charlton late last month. If Wednesday lose, MK Dons will be looking to capitalise but manager Karl Robinson will patrol his dugout during the 1720 kick-off next to a Preston side without a permanent boss. Bottom team Chesterfield host fourth-from-bottom Walsall in a basement battle at the other end of the table.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: CHAMPIONSHIP With the south coast derby between Portsmouth and Southampton on Sunday lunchtime, the big game at the top of the table is Cardiff v Middlesbrough, with both clubs tied in third on 38 points. Either team, if they win, will leapfrog West Ham into the automatic promotion places if Sam Allardyce's Hammers lose at home to Barnsley. At the bottom, Bristol City v Nottingham Forest is a biggie; both sides will be fighting tooth-and-nail to pull clear of the relegation spots.

1406: Time to get a little perspective beyond the top-flight now because, 20,000 goals or not, there is plenty of intrigue elsewhere.

Twitter
Match of the Day on Twitter: "Mark Lawrenson has hot-footed it from Salford Lads Club to the BBC studios for MOTD. Five games at 3pm - his prediction, not a single away win."

1402: A chipper-looking Steve Kean has just stepped off the bus at Ewood Park. He strolled past the Premier League trophy in the Blackburn trophy cabinet on his way to the dressing rooms. How times change eh?

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST: Aberdeen take the lead at Pittodrie against Hibs, but they have to rely on a penalty in a game bereft of creativity. Ivan Sproule clips the heels of Peter Pawlett and Scott Vernon tucks away the spot kick.

1356: A fair few votes coming in for Manchester United legend Eric Cantona's chip over Sunderland's Lionel Perez. Not sure whether a celebration can be included as part of a goal, if so his case gets considerably stronger.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Bob Macc, Essex by way of Suffolk via text: "Re best goal - Bergkamp's goal against Newcastle. Not seen anything like it before or since, utterly unique. Artistry."

Twitter
Gadge Murphy on Twitter: "Di Canio against Wimbledon, that sweet scissor volley or Zola's back heel from the front post against Norwich. #BBCFootball"

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
The Barneseys, Florida via text: "Best Premier League goal ever? Paul Robinson's 80-yarder at the Lane v Watford. Top bloke, top keeper, still loved in N17."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Stuart, Surrey via text: "Best Premier League goal, Dalian Atkinson for Villa vs Wimbledon."

1349: Unsurprisingly it appears not all of you are entirely won over by the sight of Tony Yeboah's Selhurst Park rocket slamming in off the underside of the crossbar. Plenty more suggestions of the best Premier League goal ever coming in. Let's line em' up.

Wolves v Stoke
WOLVES v STOKE (1500 GMT)
Neil Johnston reports: "Andy Gray was banging in the goals at Molineux the last time Wolves won three successive top-flight home games in 1980. Mick McCarthy's class of 2011 will equal that 31-year feat if they continue Stoke's poor record after Europa League action. The Potters, defeated by Besiktas in midweek, have lost to Sunderland, Swansea, Arsenal and Bolton immediately after playing continental opposition. Can they find a cure for their Euro hangover?."

Newcastle v Swansea
NEWCASTLE v SWANSEA (1500 GMT)
Dewi Hughes reports:
"After losing to Norwich last Saturday, a second successive defeat to a promoted team would set the alarm bells ringing at Newcastle. Injuries continue to hit the Magpies hard, but they face a Swansea side yet to register an away win in the Premier League. Two points on the road is a complete contrast to Swans' fine home record, but the visitors are quietly confident of capitalising on Newcastle's slump. An interesting subplot sees two of the league's in-from keepers go head-to-head, as Dutchmen Tim Krul and Michel Vorm aim to impress the national selectors. A tribute to former Newcastle midfielder and Wales manager Gary Speed will precede the match, with his wife, Louise, in attendance."

Fulham v Bolton
FULHAM v BOLTON (1500 GMT)
Alistair Magowan reports:
"Bolton boss Owen Coyle has described his club's next four games as crucial as he hopes to lift them off the bottom of the table and save his job. But this match and Tuesday's battle at Blackburn, will sharpen the focus on his future as they aim to avoid their fifth defeat on the trot. Fulham may concentrate on Bolton's inability to stop conceding from wide areas, and, at least, after beginning their European journey in June, they can now home in on the league."

Everton v Norwich
EVERTON v NORWICH (1500 GMT)
Owen Phillips reports: "Some excellent home displays have helped Norwich reach mid-table, and although the away record of just one win is not so impressive, the performances at both Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford could easily have yielded maximum points. Everton's expectations dictate that, although they will leapfrog the Canaries with a win, their situation is much less satisfying. The Toffees have only scored 15 goals in their 14 league games and have lost four from seven at home. Can they lift the Goodison gloom against free-scoring Norwich?"

Blackburn v West Brom
BLACKBURN v WEST BROM (1500 GMT)
Becky Ashton reports: "Fans have postponed protests for the next two matches at Ewood Park and six points from those games could put a permanent stop to them, starting today with a win against West Brom. Steve Kean's first win in charge came against the Baggies almost 12 months ago and he'd love to celebrate a year in the job with another this afternoon. For the visitors their run of just one win in six has left them just three points off the relegation zone."

1332: So, just under ninety minutes till kick-off in the first five Premier League matches of the day, time to take in the views from each of our match reporters. Oh, and a quick manual refresh will remove the video from the top of the page now that Football Focus has finished. Thanks very much.

Twitter
Bryan Seah on Twitter: "Henry goal against Manchester United in 2000. He flicked and lobbed Barthez. Best goal ever. #TH14 #BBCFootball"

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Luke, Durham via text: "Re stat attack. Surely Shearer's volley v Everton in Dec 2002 is up there?"

Sammy's Stat
STAT ATTACK: One stat in town today. Sheffield United's Brian Deane found the net against Manchester United in August 1992 to register the first goal of the sparkly new Premier League era. Since then there have been another 19,963 goals, leaving us 36 short of the big 20,000 barrier. Tony Yeboah's stunner for Leeds against Wimbledon in 1996 was the best of all of them though. All agreed with that? Thought so. On we go…

Football Focus pundit Mark Lawrenson on Manchester United's squad: "They haven't replaced Edwin van der Sar. They signed David de Gea but they needed an experienced keeper. Their best defender Nemanja Vidic is out for the season, and Paul Scholes has never been replaced. The quality of the players they want will arguably be playing in the Champions League. Would someone leave a Champions League club for Manchester United in January? I wouldn't have thought so."

1321: Blackburn's Steve Kean may be the manager who has seemed to have been perenially on the brink of the sack this season, but Owen Coyle, whose Bolton side have lost 12 of their 15 league games this season, is fast running out of the goodwill he built up last season. BBC Sport's Al Magowan has had a little look into where it has all gone wrong at the Reebok.

Football Focus pundit Robbie Savage on Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, his former team-mate at Leicester City: "He was at the latter stages of his career then. He was magnificent, still our best player. He was quiet and laid-back, but he couldn't speak much English. I am surprised at how well he's done. He takes no nonsense. He's a very hard manager."

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST: Aberdeen hope to retain their recent momentum after a 2-2 draw with St Mirren last weekend followed by a 2-1 victory away to St Johnstone on Tuesday lifted the Dons off the bottom of the Scottish Premier League table. However, in the 1230 GMT kick-off, it has been poor so far and both Aberdeen and opponents Hibernian have rarely threatened to break the deadlock. A Rory Fallon header a good chance wide for the Dons and a Martin Scott volley that stung the hands of Aberdeen goalkeeper Jason Brown are the closest we have come to raising a cheer.

Twitter
Antonio Turkaly on Twitter: " #BBCFootball. Fully agree with Lawro on Focus, Balotelli is one of the best things that has happened to the Premier League this season."

1310: In the week that a peach of a statue of the French striker was unveiled, The Daily Telegraph runs with Arsene Wenger refusing to rule out bringing the real-life Thierry Henry back to the Emirates. The Daily Mail have a cracking snap of Mario Balotelli and Micah Richards posing as boxers taken 24 hours before they scrapped for real. And with January fast approaching there is a humdinger of a gossip column to get your teeth into.

1305: While Lawro and the lads keep hammering away at the issues of the day, I have been gazing at the Saturday papers. And this is what I found: A couple of good Tottenham interviews with on-loan striker Emmanuel Adebayor in the Times and Rafael van der Vaart in the Guardian.

Ronak Patel on Twitter: "Loving the change in location of Football Focus, I think it's a mad idea doing it in front of a live audience #BBCFootball"

1300: Football Focus may have finished for those watching on television, but, and keep this on the down-low, for us web-watchers there is a sneaky extra half-hour of content. Get stuck straight back in.

1257: If that hasn't got you in the Christmas spirit then what about a seasonal outbreak of goodwill at Ewood Park? A section of Blackburn fans have promised to spare Steve Kean the boos at least during the match. Should his side come a cropper against West Brom this afternoon don't expect the ceasefire to extend more than a millisecond beyond the final whistle.

1255: The seasonal cold weather has claimed seven games north of the border so if you preparing to head out it might be an idea to check our full list of what is on and off in Scotland. Lovely stuff.

1249: The all-time standard to aspire to though? There is one stand-out example. Peter Crouch as a parrot? A geriatric Steven Gerrard on a mobility scooter? Jamie Carragher as X-Factor noise nuisance Rhydian? Fabio Aurelio as, well, I just know what… Liverpool class of 2008, we salute you.

1246: Manchester City weren't the only Premier League squad out on the town this week. A middling effort from the Arsenal boys was partly redeemed by Theo Walcott's enthusiastic party hooter tooting, while over the other side of north London Harry Redknapp has come over Scrooge and banned the Spurs annual bash. Bah.

Molde manager and former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Football Focus : "I had a great grounding in Manchester. If I hadn't learnt from Sir Alex Ferguson, I wouldn't learn from anyone. I think it's good taking it step by step and this is the first step. I never had massive ambitions as a manager. I'm going to go along and see if I enjoy it and do well. And if I do, better jobs will come."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
John, Essex via text: "Fulham badly need a win today or there will be a lot of speculation about Martin Jol's impact on the team spirit that prior to his arrival was rock solid."

1239: I missed the office Christmas do this year keeping you good people in Luke Donald award news and transfer babble late into Tuesday evening. No such problems for the Manchester City squad who raided the fancy dress box in a grand way in the wake of their defeat to Chelsea on Monday night. Good to see…

QPR captain Joey Barton talking to Football Focus on musicians Morrissey and the Smiths: "After listening to Meat is Murder, I gave up meat for a week. But obviously with the rigours of the game, I ended up slipping back into old habits. People say don't meet your heroes. But he shattered that and I'm glad I met him. "
Football Focus is coming from Salford Lads Club which featured on the inside sleeve of the Smiths' 1986 album The Queen is Dead, hence the musical tone to the chat.

1233: There is some early action north of the border today. Aberdeen and Hibernian are just about to get under way. You can follow that and the rest of the Scottish League action via BBC Scotland's live text commentary.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure talking about challenging for the Europa League and Premier League on Football Focus : "We dealt with that last year and we can again this year. It'll be difficult but we've got enough players to compete everywhere."

1227: So be it the Champions League coming over all early-90s and Anglo-Italian Cup on us, a lip-smackingly tasty Europa League draw, Harry Redknapp batting his eyelashes at Carlos Tevez or the latest episode in the one-man soap opera that is Mario Balotelli. Let's hear what you have to say about the last five days as well as this one.

Twitter
BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey on Twitter: "My first full Saturday at home for MONTHS!!! Hardly know what to do with myself... Job 1, join @danwalkerbbc at 12.15 for #footballfocus."

1222: If you are already tired waiting, though, a quick manual refresh will bring Football Focus kicking and screaming into the top of your screen. Some great interviews in there from Doncaster striker Billy Sharp and West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster for you to enjoy.

1214: At ease, Andrew. The time is going to fly by. There may be three glorious hours to wallow in before today's Premier League action gets under way, but frankly it is still not time enough to gather our thoughts on another head-spinningly busy week on planet football.

Twitter
Andrew Horrocks on Twitter: "No early games? The wait is killing me! #BBCFootball."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Twitter
1211: Let's see those fingers this afternoon people. You can tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @mikehensonbbc or text in via 81111 (UK). Choose your weapon and start swinging.

1206: So this is how it pans out in the Premier League this afternoon: 1500: Blackburn v West Brom, Everton v Norwich, Fulham v Bolton, Newcastle v Swansea, Wolves v Stoke. 1730: Wigan v Chelsea

1203: Now you are relieved of any wild ideas of joining the high-street hordes on the last shopping weekend before Crimbo. All I ask in return is that you focus your full attention on a stonking afternoon of football. Ta muchly...

1200: A box of chocolates for Mum, a driving atlas for Dad, a litre of car oil for your Nan, and a pint of milk for the cat. There you go, list done and all available for purchase at your local 24-hour garage over the next week. No need to thank me, it is all part of public service broadcasting.



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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 17 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man City 15 34 38
2 Man Utd 15 21 36
3 Chelsea 16 15 32
4 Tottenham 14 12 31
5 Arsenal 15 8 29
6 Newcastle 16 2 27
7 Liverpool 15 5 26
8 Stoke 16 -7 24
9 Norwich 16 -4 20
10 Aston Villa 15 -1 19
11 Fulham 16 0 18
12 Swansea 16 -4 18
13 West Brom 16 -8 18
14 Everton 15 -3 17
15 QPR 15 -11 16
16 Sunderland 15 0 14
17 Wolves 16 -13 14
18 Wigan 16 -15 13
19 Blackburn 16 -13 10
20 Bolton 16 -18 9

see also
Saturday's football photos
17 Dec 11 |  Football
SPL as it happened
17 Dec 11 |  Scottish Premier


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