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By Tom Rostance
2242: That's all from us for one night then. Join me back here tomorrow for another cracker as Manchester United travel to Newcastle in need of a win to keep pace with Manchester City and stay ahead of Spurs. Plus there is Bolton's trip to Everton to look forward to. Adios.
FULL-TIME Wigan 1-4 Sunderland Arindam Rej reports: "Wigan manager Roberto Martinez should seriously re-think whether his passing philosophy is appropriate for this group of players. Sunderland were second best in the first half but stunningly clinical in the second period."
FULL-TIME Tottenham 1-0 West Brom Saj Chowdhuryreports: "Sometimes you have to grind out wins and Spurs did just that to keep themselves in the title hunt. West Brom can take some solace in the fact they almost stopped a side that have now scored in 18 successive league games."
2236: So another eventful night, even if it went with the script slightly more than most of the festive period. Here's what our reporters made of the night's games...
Matt in Newton Abbot on text: "City's transfers out, one has to be Carlos Tevez, maybe Nigel de Jong? He's Fallen down the pecking order."
2231: Liverpool did look rusty in front of goal again, but at least Steven Gerrard is on his way to full fitness. There are another seven games without Luis Suarez though. And Blackburn have scored more goals in the Premier League...
2224: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has just confirmed that he plans to sell three players this month. Who do we think is on their way out? Apart from Wayne Bridge...
2222: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "If you want to be successful you have to be clinical, and that's what was missing tonight from ourselves. We worked hard and passed it well, but if you're not clinical you won't progress."
2221: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "It was very important for us because we were playing a strong team and it's not easy to beat them. We played twice in only 48 hours and they played four days ago. We didn't deserve to lose at Sunderland, it was incredible, so it was important to win tonight."
2220: Repeat after me people: 'for every reason under the sun.' Listen and learn with Martin O'Neill. A quality phrase.
2219: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill: "I thought it was our best win since I've been here for every reason under the sun. Players were out on their feet against Man City a couple of days ago - and had a day less to prepare - but the players summoned energy and courage that was fantastic."
2217: Dave (below) I'm going to stick my neck out here and say you'll definitely be playing in the Premier League next season. But what about the Champions League?
David on his way home from White Hart Lane on text: "As a Spurs fan, it shows you how far we've come that my first thought at seeing the table was relief at passing 40 points and being safe for another season."
2213: Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "We didn't make as many chances as we normally do. Full credit to West Brom because they made it hard."
2212: West Brom boss Roy Hodgson after the 1-0 defeat at Tottenham: "We tried to have the game moved to Wednesday, which Spurs were happy with. But for some reason it wasn't moved."
Abraham Bickersteth on Twitter:
"Liverpool need to buy a striker. Look at the stats - possession was 50/50 and City only had two more shots yet they won 3-0."
2204: The situation at the top and bottom of the Premier League can change again tomorrow night, when the marathon festive fixtures come to an end. Manchester United face a tricky trip to Newcastle, while Bolton go to Everton. Even a win at Goodison Park would not be enough for Owen Coyle's men to get out of the drop zone.
2202: Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany: "It was massive for us, we didn't deserve to lose against Sunderland but we were incredibly efficient today. For us it was very challenging, playing two games in 48 hours, and it was a great three points."
2159: Ah, that free-kick from Craig Gardner. What a hit, and it was matched by David Vaughan's strike later on for Sunderland. But Wigan conceded some soft goals too. As much as you have to admire Wigan's approach, sometimes it does them no favours at all. There is a time to pass the ball around your back four, and a time to go direct. It remains gloomy for Lancashire then as Wigan, Blackburn and Bolton stay in the bottom three.
2158: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez: "I don't understand why the referee gave the free-kick [for Sunderland's first goal]. It was the key moment. In the second half, we tried everything and left ourselves a little exposed at the back. The scoreline didn't really show what happened in the game."
Anonymous on text: "The difference between Spurs and Arsenal - Spurs can grind one out. If tonight's game was at the Emirates, WBA would have got a point."
R Owens on Twitter:
"It says something about Liverpool's progress over the last four years that Craig Bellamy looks their best player."
2151: So Spurs fans, can you mount a real title challenge? How important was that for Manchester City? Where next for Sunderland? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK).
2150: FULL-TIME Man City 3-0 Liverpool
Matt on text: "The influence of Martin O'Neill is immense. Sunderland are playing totally different football. Glad to have the wee Irishman back in the Premier League."
2146: Fine play from Craig Bellamy, as he beats a man on the edge of the box and smashes in a shot which Joe Hart can only parry. Again Maxi Rodriguez is alive to the chance but shoots horribly wide. A bad few minutes for Maxi.
2143: Maxi Rodriguez fashions a chance for himself but the Liverpool winger stabs his shot wide after a lively spin inside the box. That rather sums up Liverpool's display tonight, all huff and puff but no real quality.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: Panic not fans of the Championship, the evening's solitary fixture has been illuminated with a goal, Nicky Maynard putting Bristol City ahead against Millwall deep into stoppage time; a decisive effort. With Bristol Rovers sacking their manager earlier, this has been a decent day for City fans.
2142: So that's Sunderland up to the giddy heights of 10th, while Tottenham keep their run going. Title challengers? They have to be at the moment.
2140: FULL-TIME Tottenham 1-0 West Brom
2140: FULL-TIME Wigan 1-4 Sunderland
2139: You remember me saying that Jack Colback turned his ankle in the warm-up? He's just gone over it again - a full 90 minutes later - but still carries on. Nails that boy, nails. Wigan calling out for the whistle here.
2136: Spurs need Rafael van der Vaart to make a clearing header at the back post and keep West Brom out, while substitute Adam Johnson hits the post for Manchester City with a low drive.
2133: Sunderland are in no mood to declare at four as they pour forwards at Wigan, while Spurs are hanging on for the win at White Hart Lane. We are into the last few moments there.
Manchester City goal: A manic minute in Manchester. First, Gareth Barry is shown a second yellow card for impeding Daniel Agger in midfield. It looks very soft to me, but seconds later Yaya Toure powers into the area and goes down under the challenge of Martin Skrtel. Again, there doesn't appear to be a great deal of contact, but James Milner steps up to slam the spot-kick into the top corner.
2131: GOALFLASH Man City 3-0 Liverpool (James Milner)
PENALTY TO MANCHESTER CITY
Red card for Manchester City (Gareth Barry)
Sunderland goal: You just don't save these, as Sunderland score another beauty. James McClean runs in from the right and sees a shot blocked into the path of David Vaughan - who takes aim and lashes the ball first time into the top corner from 20 yards. Right in the postage stamp. It's turning into a fine evening for Martin O'Neill but a disaster for Wigan.
2123: Spurs were momentarily down to nine men as both Younes Kaboul and Jake Livermore needed treatment for cuts. Kaboul is back on but Livermore is replaced by Niko Kranjcar. Manchester City midfielder James Milner looks in trouble after clashing knees with Glen Johnson but after a dose of the magic sponge both players can continue.
Sunderland goal: It's another bit of soft defending from Wigan, and they are ruthlessly picked off. Maynor Figueroa thinks he's fouled by Nicklas Bendtner as the ball is played forward but he's just not strong enough - Bendtner is able to break clear down the right and pick out Stephane Sessegnon lurking at the back post for a tap-in. Game over?
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson on BBC 5 live: "Liverpool have put Craig Bellamy down the left and Stewart Downing on the right. Manchester City defender Micah Richards knows Bellamy can beat him and, as a defender, you take half a step back. City, as a team, have done that so far in this second half."
2117: Liverpool are bossing the game at the minute in midfield, and as a result Roberto Mancini is set to bring on Nigel de Jong. The weather in Manchester - believe it or not - is horrendous at the moment. Near horizontal rain at the Etihad.
2114: A touch of handbags breaks out between Edin Dzeko and Martin Skrtel but the situation is rapidly diffused. It's safe to say I would not want to get on the wrong side of Martin Skrtel.
2113: Here come Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy for Liverpool. They have just over half an hour to turn this one around. Bellamy gets a very warm welcome from Manchester City fans by the way.
Wigan goal: Wigan deservedly get back in the game as James McCarthy finds Hugo Rodallega, who turns on the edge of the box to evade John O'Shea, and then fires in a low shot that goes in with the assistance of a deflection.
Tottenham goal: If there is such a thing as a textbook Jermain Defoe strike, this is it. Rafael van der Vaart plays the ball to Gareth Bale on the left and his cross is taken in by Defoe with his back to goal. He has four men on him but somehow manages to create enough space to find a shot into the bottom corner. The Demolition Man indeed.
2107: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-0 West Brom (Jermain Defoe)
Mohamed Toorani on Twitter:
"Just saw Gardner's free kick. Sorry Tom, that was not C Ronaldo-esque, that was even better! Eat your heart out Gardner!"
2106: Tottenham keeper Brad Friedel is forced into making his first save of the match, palming away a stinging shot from Simon Cox at the near post.
Sunderland goal: Wigan are again punished for giving the ball away in their own defensive third. David Jones is the guilty party as he is stripped of the ball in the left-back position. David Vaughan delivers the cross to the back post where James McClean is just onside. His first header is not great but Ali Al Habsi can only tip the ball into the air, and McClean is able to head the loose ball into the net.
2059: There's a rare sighter for West Brom as defender Craig Dawson gets on the end of a corner but he can't guide his header on goal. Meanwhile, at Wigan, Victor Moses chances his arm from 25 yards but fails to hit the target.
Opta Sports on Twitter:
"The last time Liverpool came from two goals down to win a PL match was away at Man City in October 2008 (W 3-2). Repeat?"
2056: And there is so nearly the breakthrough for Tottenham. Rafael van der Vaart fires the ball in from the left and Jermain Defoe improvises brilliantly to flick the ball toward the corner - but it's deflected wide. Ben Foster was well beaten in the West Brom goal.
2054: It's been a quiet start to both second halves so far. Spurs could do with getting a goal soon.
2052: And we are off at Wigan as well.
2050: Spurs are back in action - and they create a chance instantly. Jermain Defoe volleys way over the top after Emmanuel Adebayor helps the ball on. This is a big 45 minutes for Tottenham.
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson on BBC 5 live: "It's far, far, too easy for City because they haven't had to play that well. Liverpool haven't even been ordinary."
2048: You feel Steven Gerrard is integral to any sort of Liverpool fightback here. As for Sunderland, all eight goals scored by them since Martin O'Neill took over have come from different players. Talk about getting the best out of your squad.
Anon via text: "Defoe, Van der Vaart and Adebayor don't play well together, and Van der Vaart can't play on the wing! Kranjcar should be on the pitch and Defoe as an impact sub."
Matthew Hall on Twitter:
"Liverpool have too many players below required standard for a top four team. Think they'd struggle against Holby City."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: No goals to tell you about in Tuesday's solitary Football League fixture. Bristol City and Millwall might have huffed and puffed but their Championship contest remains goalless.
2043: Big chance for Liverpool, who are denied by some excellent defending. Andy Carroll wins a big header at the back post and Dirk Kuyt hammers the volley toward goal, only to see City skipper Vincent Kompany make the block. That would have made the half-time team talks very different.
BBC Radio 5 live extra summariser Matt Holland: "In terms of the control of the game, passing and the movement, I think Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp will be pleased. West Brom have kept a clean-sheet so far and clean-sheets are what Roy Hodgson has wanted from his team."
2040: Liverpool have responded well to going two down with some crisp passing but they are yet to really test Joe Hart. Five minutes until half-time.
Wigan 0-1 Sunderland Arindam Rej's HT snapshot: "Wigan play too much football for their own good. They've hit the post twice, but their inaccurate over-passing has allowed Sunderland to threaten on the counter-attack and they've punished Wigan from a controversially-awarded free-kick."
Tottenham 0-0 West Brom Saj Chowdhury's HT snapshot: "Tottenham dominated possession and won 10 corners in the first half, but West Brom's defence have dealt well with what has been thrown at them. Spurs need a spark from somewhere, but who'll provide that?"
Sunderland goal: What a strike this is. Sunderland win a free-kick 25 yards out and Craig Gardner steps up and bullets it into the top corner. Dare I say it, but that was Cristiano Ronaldo-esque. Real swerve on the ball as he struck across it. Fabulous.
2035: HALF-TIME Tottenham 0-0 West Brom
2035: HALF-TIME Wigan 0-1 Sunderland
Manchester City goal: Yaya Toure punishes Liverpool for some slack marking as he is able to peel away from Glen Johnson to head a corner powerfully into the net off the underside of the crosbar.
2033: GOALFLASH Man City 2-0 Liverpool (Yaya Toure)
2031: Is this a penalty? Manchester City think so. Sergio Aguero wriggles his way into the area and as the ball pops up, it strikes Martin Skrtel on the arm. The defender had his arms up at a dangerous height, and he was very lucky to get away with that. Vincent Kompany then has a header saved well by Pepe Reina as City go up a gear here.
2029: Liverpool have another free-kick in a dangerous area, but after a lengthy meeting between several players Jordan Henderson barely gets the ball off the ground as it hits the wall. Very disappointing.
2028: Another injury at Wigan, who have Albert Crusat carried off with a back injury. He sustained the knock after being accidentally kneed there by David Vaughan while the pair challenged for the ball. Victor Moses comes on, but it's a shame for Wigan that the impressive Crusat is exiting.
2026: Gareth Bale seems to have shaken off his knock, and Spurs need him at the moment as they are struggling to find a way through a disciplined West Brom team. Jermain Defoe has not seen much of the ball - despite his sharp new hairstyle.
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson on BBC 5 live: "Liverpool keep trying to hit striker Andy Carroll but he's got two or three defenders around him and the ball keeps coming back."
2024: Better from Liverpool as Joe Hart has to be alert to tip away a Charlie Adam free-kick, while there are worrying signs for Spurs fans as Gareth Bale is limping after a challenge from Paul Scharner.
BBC Radio 5 live extra summariser Matt Holland: "Spurs have been the dominant force and created opportunities, but nothing overly clear-cut."
2021: Almost two for Manchester City, as Edin Dzeko takes aim from 30 yards. His weak shot is deflected just wide, with Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina helpless on the floor. A close shave for the visitors.
2020: It's a decent game at Wigan, who hit a post twice in very quick succession. Albert Crusat - who's having a good game - plays in David Jones, whose eight-yard shot comes off an upright before Ben Watson tries his luck from 12 yards and is similarly unlucky.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium:
"Liverpool started well and Stewart Downing should have put them in front - but a really poor piece of goalkeeping by Pepe Reina has handed the initiative over to Man City and the Premier League leaders look more settled now."
2016: Sunderland come very close to opening the score after a swift counter-attack. Kieran Richardson finds James McClean on his left and he crosses tantalisingly. Nicklas Bendtner slides in, just six yards out, but fails to get the touch (just) and is injured in the process. He is hobbling off for now. Not so lucky at White Hart Lane is Sandro, who comes off with an injury. Jake Livermore is on.
2015: It's been all City since that goal. Without Craig Bellamy in attack Liverpool are lacking any real pace when they look to counter attack.
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson on BBC 5 live: "Reina completely dived all around it. It was a decent shot, and you might argue that it bounced before him, but he got it completely wrong. He committed the goalkeeping original sin; he forgot to get his body behind his hands."
2013: Back at White Hart Lane, Gareth Bale delivers a low ball from the left which finds Rafael van der Vaart, whose shot at the near post has to be tipped over by Ben Foster. Meanwhile, WBA's Gonzalo Jara comes on for the injured Jerome Thomas.
Man City goal: That man Sergio Aguero ends City's goal drought - but he owes it all to Pepe Reina. Aguero takes aim from 25 yards with a speculative effort, but it's terrible from Reina as he dives over the top of the ball. He would save that nine times out of 10. A real boost for City though.
2010: GOALFLASH Man City 1-0 Liverpool (Sergio Aguero)
2008: This is a good chance for Liverpool - Stewart Downing is released into the area by Jordan Henderson but his shot is well smothered by the onrushing Joe Hart. City then break clear down the left and Edin Dzeko is able to spin and send in a low shot which Pepe Reina turns away. This is livening up now.
Anon on text: "If Liverpool are still in it at the 60min mark - and that's a big if - they have got the stronger bench to go on and win it."
2006: It's been a slow start at the Etihad, but Edin Dzeko has the first sniff of a chance as he latches onto a flick from Sergio Aguero - but his touch is poor and Liverpool clear away.
2005: Not so robust at Tottenham though, where the cockerel on top on one of the stands at White Hart Lane was taken down prior to the match because of the high winds sweeping across Britain. Rubbish.
2004: Sunderland's midfield are made of stern stuff. Lee Cattermole goes down under a challenge from Maynor Figueroa which leaves a nasty-looking gash on his shin - but Cattermole carries on.
2001: Despite the obvious gulf in quality, Wigan are determined to try and play like Barcelona at times. They try to pass it out from the back and lose possession, allowing Stephane Sessegnon to go forward on a teasing run before his strike is diverted away for a corner by Antolin Alcaraz.
2000: We are under way at the Etihad with Liverpool in possession.
1958: Ever get the impression that Benoit Assou-Ekotto is off his rocker? The maverick left-back is wearing odd boots here - one is black and green, and one is black and orange. It'll never catch on. West Brom have survived that initial onslaught and are looking to get on the ball more as the half wears on.
1956: Wigan's confident start continues as Ben Watson plays in Hugo Rodallega, whose shot is deflected out for a corner. From it, Sunderland struggle to clear and a Steve Gohouri long-ranger is cleared off the line by Craig Gardner. Wigan turning the screw.
1953: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "Liverpool is a strong, fantastic team. It will be very hard. If we want to win we will have to play very well. I trust all my players. We played only 48 hours ago, it is impossible to play with the same players."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: There is also one game in the Championship tonight, as Bristol City entertain Millwall. Both teams are teetering on the edge of the relegation zone. The home side are looking for their third win at Ashton Gate this season, while Millwall haven't lost their first league game of the year since 2005.
1951: Jack Colback looks fine to me by the way, either his ankle knock was a myth or he is made of granite. It's been all Wigan at the DW so far but there's been no clear-cut chances.
1949: Spurs have already forced five corners in an intense start but West Brom are standing strong at the back. Jermain Defoe is sporting a blonde crewcut tonight by the way. Very Demolition Man.
1946: Bright start for Wigan who force a corner through David Jones, while at Tottenham Luka Modric has a shot blocked. Then Hugo Rodallega almost ghosts onto an Albert Crusat cross but he is well marshalled by the Sunderland back four. Promising from the strugglers.
1945: And we are off at White Hart Lane and Wigan...
1942: The players are on the pitch at White Hart Lane, with West Brom lining up in their all-red away kit. A few of you seem baffled by the fact that Craig Bellamy's not starting for Liverpool tonight, and I have to agree with you. A fired-up Bellamy against one of his former clubs? Wind him up and let him go.
1940: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "There's a temptation to start Steven Gerrard every game if he's fit, but it's right for us to go along the sensible path and reward him for the good work he's done getting fit."
1938: We are hearing reports that Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback turned his ankle during the warm up - but is still going to start. What a trooper. Mind you, I wouldn't fancy telling Martin O'Neill that I couldn't play 10 minutes before kick-off.
MAN CITY v LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Etihad Stadium: "Liverpool are without Luis Suarez, who starts his eight-match ban after being found guilty by the FA of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, while Steven Gerrard starts on the bench. Suarez was also suspended for the win against Newcastle for gesturing at Fulham's fans in the recent defeat at Craven Cottage, so the only change is Dirk Kuyt coming in for Craig Bellamy, who is a substitute. Mario Balotelli and Samir Nasri are out of Manchester City's line up, reportedly because of illness, but there is plenty of potency in attack in the shape of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko."
Man City v Liverpool Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Kolo Toure, Clichy, Yaya Toure, Barry, Aguero, Silva, Milner, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Johnson, Kolarov, Savic, De Jong. Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Adam, Kuyt, Henderson, Spearing, Downing, Carroll. Subs: Doni, Gerrard, Maxi, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly, Bellamy. Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)
1932: Andy Carroll is in the thick of it as Liverpool warm up, he looked a real threat the other day - as soon as Steven Gerrard came on. Shame Gerrard's back on the bench then.
1931: If you all do me a favour and hit refresh now, midweek Final Score will appear at the top of your screens. Cheers.
Darren Fox on Twitter:
"Big game for Defoe tonight, especially with the Euros this year. He needs to cement his place in the Spurs team."
WIGAN v SUNDERLAND TEAM NEWS Arindam Rej reports: "Sunderland's Wes Brown fails to recover from the groin injury he sustained against Manchester City but Matt Kilgallon returns for his first start since May 2010. Their other change is Kieran Richardson, back from illness, coming in for Sebastian Larsson. In the Wigan side, there's no Mohamed Diame or Victor Moses while Gary Caldwell is suspended. They bring in Steve Gohouri, Ben Watson and Albert Crusat."
Wigan v Sunderland Wigan: Al Habsi, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam, Watson, McCarthy, Jones, Gomez, Crusat, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Di Santo, Moses, McArthur, Boyce, Sammon, Diame. Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Kilgallon, O'Shea, Colback, McClean, Cattermole, Vaughan, Richardson, Sessegnon, Bendtner. Subs: Carson, Ji, Meyler, Elmohamady, Noble, Lynch, Laing. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
TOTTENHAM v WEST BROM Saj Chowdhury reports: "Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker is ruled out through injury. Jermain Defoe comes into the first XI and makes his first league start since the win over Bolton at the start of December. West Brom are without influential pair Shane Long and Chris Brunt, who are both injured. Midfielder James Morrison is on the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury, while teenager George Thorne is handed his full Premier League debut."
Tottenham v West Brom Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Modric, Sandro, Bale, Adebayor, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Pavlyuchenko, Giovani, Bassong, Kranjcar, Rose, Livermore. West Brom: Foster, Jones, Dawson, McAuley, Shorey, Cox, Thorne, Scharner, Dorrans, Thomas, Odemwingie. Subs: Fulop, Tchoyi, Morrison, Jara Reyes, Mantom, Tamas, Fortune. Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Jamie at White Hart Lane on text: "With no super Scott Parker tonight, it's time for Sandro to step up and show us the future! COYS!"
MAN CITY v LIVERPOOL (2000) Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Etihad Stadium: "Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has demanded an instant response from the Premier League leaders to their defeat at Sunderland, saying: "I was very disappointed after the game, but I want the players to have a positive reaction. We lost a big chance to go three points clear of Manchester United." Liverpool counterpart Kenny Dalglish is in confident mood. He warned: "They are a fantastic side but so are we so we are not going to go there and be scared."
WIGAN v SUNDERLAND (1945) Arindam Rej reports: "It was Bye, Bye Bruce the last time these sides met in November. But Sunderland are in rude health now with captain Lee Cattermole saying: "The fans got on Steve Bruce's back, and then they started to get on my back a little bit because I was his captain. But now we're getting the results we deserve." Wigan manager Roberto Martinez admits: "We'll have to be at our best."
TOTTENHAM v WEST BROM (1945) Saj Chowdhury reports: "If Tottenham beat West Brom then they will move to within three points of the top two. However, manager Harry Redknapp is more modest with his targets. 'We have a big chance to finish in the top four, or maybe get second or third,' he said. Meanwhile, his West Brom counterpart, Roy Hodgson, said: 'It's a championship contender against a team who will have to work very hard and play a lot better than we did against Everton to stay away from the relegation candidates.'"
MAN CITY v LIVERPOOL (2000) Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Etihad Stadium: "Manchester City have a chance to re-assert their authority on the Premier League title race after the shock stoppage time defeat at Sunderland saw them fail to take advantage of Manchester United's slip at home to Blackburn Rovers. Roberto Mancini's side have only had a two-day break before facing Liverpool, who will be buoyed by their impressive 3-1 win against Newcastle on Friday."
WIGAN v SUNDERLAND (1945) Arindam Rej reports: "The Martin O'Neill factor: a seemingly unstoppable force that galvanises under-achieving teams. Good luck to Wigan as they try to burst it tonight - a feat that Man City couldn't manage on Sunday. Mind you, Wigan have found their best form of the season and Sunderland have not won at the JJB/DW on five previous top-flight visits. Roberto Martinez, like his managerial opponent tonight, is again proving he's a principled, positive-thinking and tactically-aware boss."
TOTTENHAM v WEST BROM (1945) Saj Chowdhury reports: "Although Tottenham suffered a setback to their title challenge against Swansea, it was certainly not a result of 'silly season' proportions like that experienced by the leading duo from Manchester. They won't find it easy against West Brom, who have won four matches away from home this season. Fatigue may be a factor for the Baggies at White Hart Lane, having played Everton little more than 48 hours earlier. "
1911: With the team news arriving by the minute, here's what our reporters expect from tonight's games...
BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Jermain Defoe comes into the Spurs XI alongside Emmanuel Adebayor, with Scott Parker missing out. Andy Carroll starts for Liverpool - with Steven Gerrard on the bench again.
Josh D on Twitter:
"Paul Buckle left Torquay for Bristol Rovers, taking his favourite players with him. Current L2 table: Torquay 9th; Rovers 19th!"
1905: With the massive squads carried by today's top sides, fatigue shouldn't be an issue. But I feel it may become one if Man City lose tonight. City were at Sunderland on Sunday, while opponents Liverpool have had the luxury of resting since Friday night for this one. Will we see Steven Gerrard in the starting XI?
BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Wigan call midfielder Ben Watson off the special teams' bench and into the starting XI. Victor Moses is out though.
1857: At the other end, Sunderland go from beating Manchester City at the death on Sunday to a trip to Wigan tonight. A win for the home side would see Roberto Martinez's men out of the drop zone, with QPR freefalling in. If Sunderland continue their resurgence under Martin O'Neill with three more points, however, they could go 10th. It's all to play for.
Anonymous on text: "Unless Liverpool have a replay in the FA Cup Suarez's first game back is United away. Erm..."
1850: City remain at the summit because all the other clubs at the top of the table have been as careless with points over Christmas as a student with his loan money. If Spurs had won at Swansea on Saturday for example, they could have closed to within a point of the top two with a win over West Brom tonight. But they didn't - so they can't. At six points off the pace with a game in hand though, 'Arry Redknapp's lot are still in contention - but you feel they must win tonight.
1848: Back to tonight then - and it was all going so well for Manchester City, but they have failed to find the net since Sergio Aguero's second in the 3-0 defeat of Stoke a fortnight ago. Or to put it in more pressing terms, they are goalless in three hours, 47 minutes and 53 seconds of league action. Against the titans of West Brom and Sunderland. But they are still top - for one more night at least.
James from Stoke on text, via 81111: "A sensible move on the part of Liverpool - to appeal would only have aggravated the situation."
1844: So as well as your thoughts on Luis Suarez sitting out all eight games of his ban, we've got three matches this evening which all have plenty at stake. Can City steer back onto the goal trail to put the pressure on Manchester United's trip to Newcastle tomorrow? Or will Liverpool stake their claim for a shot at the top four? Can Wigan move on up? Will Spurs find a way past a stubborn West Brom? So many questions - and I want answers. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK).
1842: Here's a quote from Luis Suarez before we get on with tonight's action: "I will carry out the suspension with the resignation of someone who hasn't done anything wrong and who feels extremely upset by the events. I do feel sorry for the fans and for my team mates whom I will not be able to help during the next month. It will be a very difficult time for me."
1839: Rest assured, we'll have plenty more on that piece of news on the BBC Sport website as soon as we get it.
BREAKING LIVERPOOL NEWS: The Football Association confim that Liverpool will not appeal against Luis Suarez's eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
1835: Liverpool are the visitors to take on Roberto Mancini's league leaders tonight, and they arrive with a good deal more confidence than they would have done just 10 days ago. Not only have City's prolific strikeforce suddenly come down with a severe case of the yips, but Steven Gerrard is back afer injury for the Reds. And just when we all thought he was on the wane, he put in
a match-winning cameo
that Sean Bean himself would have been proud of against Newcastle. Make no mistake - this is a big test of City's ambitions...
1830: Does anybody want to win the Premier League this season? After a frantic few weeks of festive action, it seems not. Next up in the race to drop points at the top of the table are leaders Manchester City and third-placed Tottenham - while Wigan can climb out of the bottom three with a win tonight. Whichever way you look at it, it's a cracking night of action. Come aboard...
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