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Page last updated at 18:46 GMT, Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Wednesday football as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

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By Tom Rostance
BBC Sport

2245: So that's all from us for another night. There is no live text commentary tomorrow, but I'm back on Friday for Liverpool v Oldham in the FA Cup. See you there.

Full time
FULL-TIME Newcastle 3-0 Man Utd
Saj Chowdhury reports: "Another extraordinary result. A brilliant performance by Newcastle but Manchester United were poor and will want to put this week behind them with haste. It's not been a happy 70th for Sir Alex Ferguson so far."

Full time
FULL-TIME Everton 1-2 Bolton
Arindam Rej reports: "It was a pleasure to see Tim Howard's dignity in not celebrating after scoring past a fellow keeper. And it was also exciting to witness the character that Bolton - and Gary Cahill - possess. An evening to remember."

2243: So as Sir Alex himself said, it's advantage Manchester City at the top. But there's a long way to go. Here's what our reporters made of tonight's two games...

Twitter
Balogun David on Twitter: "Teams are no longer scared of Man Utd. NUFC started with two up front, how times have changed."

2235: And here's the man himself, Everton's goalscoring goalkeeper Tim Howard: "It's hard for Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan. It's not a nice place to be and embarrassing. I feel for him. I've been beaten before by a goalkeeper and it's quite awful."

2232: It's not often a goalkeeper scores, and isn't the story, so spare a thought for Tim Howard tonight. He was apparently 16 yards from his own net when he sent his effort down the pitch toward goal, that is a hell of a distance. But credit to Bolton, who started this festive period with a big win at Blackburn, and end it with another one at Everton. It's a pity then that their next three Premier League games are against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Ouch.

Twitter
Anthony Lombardi on Twitter: "Tim Howard was 500-1 to score first tonight. If only I had a Delorean and a clear run to 88mph."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Jon-Marc, a worried Man united fan on text: "Lack of creativity in centre midfield has proved to be our undoing. No Cleverley, Vidic and Fletcher has coincided with a shocking dip in form which started after the dodgy win against Chelsea in September. SAF must tread carefully now to ensure our season doesn't capitulate."

2227: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "We won because we controlled the game in terms of what we wanted to do. We would not let them play. Physically and aerially we had an advantage and capitalised on that. We broke up their play so many times today. We beat the champions 3-0 and probably deserved that scoreline. We have had a great season so far without turning over one of the top teams. Today we had our best team out there and it showed."

2226: Everton manager David Moyes: "We didn't deserve to win, Bolton did. We didn't deal with the conditions particularly well. They adapted better than we did. It was a freak goal from Tim Howard and we hadn't really deserved to be ahead. When we were 1-0 up, I hoped we might have enough to keep the lead but we didn't have."

Twitter
Mike Kinley on Twitter: "Phil Jones getting a lot of plaudits this season unjustified for me. All over the place defensively. Has alot still to learn."

2223: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "The story of the game is they had two fantastic goals which put them in the driving seat and they weren't going to lose it. We have had our opportunity and it's advantage to Man City. We don't normally have back-to-back defeats but the plus point is we had some players back tonight. It's not a time for panic, we have the experience to cope with it. We need to get the show on the road in terms of the run in."

2216: Let's not forget of course, that the two Manchester clubs play each other this weekend in the FA Cup. What price a third straight defeat for United? Or will they bounce back in typical style?

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Ithnan from Derby on text: "At this rate Steve Kean will be calling Sir Alex to offer his support."

2212: More from Owen Coyle: "It was a big win but a merited win. We knew that we had to be at our best and we were. With the wind and conditions, Tim Howard scored with a freakish goal. Adam Bogdan was in a good position. But we still believe in what we are doing."

2211: Speaking of players on the move this month, here's Bolton manager Owen Coyle on the future of defender Gary Cahill: "I don't know if this will be Gary's farewell. The clubs [Bolton and Chelsea] have agreed a fee. Gary's representatives and Chelsea have only had one meeting about personal terms."

2209: That Yohan Cabaye free-kick really was special, and you have to doff your cap to Newcastle's transfer dealings in the summer. Cabaye and Demba Ba have looked like real bargains. You all seem to agree that Manchester United must buy now, but who do they go far? It's usually tricky to land a decent player in January.

Twitter
Former Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton on Twitter: "Newcastle absolutely brilliant tonight. Buzzing for the lads. What a season so far. Pardew manager of the year?? Ba player??"

2207: Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi: "We did not show up against Liverpool so this was a great opportunity to show what we are about. We saw what Blackburn did against Manchester United a few days ago, so one of our main tactics was to get in behind them and squeeze them up the pitch and it has worked."

Twitter
Dan Smith on Twitter: "If this doesn't show Fergie that he needs to buy this month then nothing will."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Anonymous on text: "What has happened to the old 'big four' this season?! Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal all look a shadow of the teams they were."

Twitter
Aodh Quinlivan on Twitter: "Man Utd shocking tonight. Giggs their best player at 38 which must be depressing for SAF. Well played Newcastle."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Danny Mills at Sports Direct Arena: "Well played Newcastle United. Their tempo was fantastic and they got well in amongst the Manchester United players all game. They worked tirelessly and two big boots down field cost Manchester United, it was embarrassing."

2158: Where does that leave the title race then? Are Bolton staying up - even without Gary Cahill? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @TJRostance or text in via 81111 (UK).

2156: Now then. We talked up the Newcastle v Manchester United fixtures of yesteryear, but this one delivered the goods. A fine win for Alan Pardew's side which will be heartily received by Manchester City fans and those of a Tottenham leaning as well. City remain three points clear at the top, while Spurs are now just three points behind United - with a game in hand. What a season.

2155: FULL-TIME Newcastle 3-0 Man Utd

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Kevin Ratcliffe at Goodison Park: "Bolton seemed to have a lot more than Everton in all departments and they deserved the win. The home fans are furious and if they had put some pressure on the Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, they could have gained something from the game."

2153: Everton so close to stealing a point right at the death as Leighton Baines's curling, 25-yard free-kick strikes the bar. Very unlucky from Baines, but what a three points for Bolton.

2153: FULL-TIME Everton 1-2 Bolton

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Newcastle goal: In the words of Ray Wilkins, my word. This is catastrophically bad from Manchester United. Newcastle launch another long ball down the field, Phil Jones is in two minds as to whether to deal with it or let it bounce through to Anders Lindegaard and manages only to steer it past the keeper with his thigh. Talk about soft.

2150: GOALFLASH Newcastle 3-0 Man Utd (Phil Jones OG)

2149: Demba Ba gets a heroic ovation as he comes off in the last minute.

2147: The Newcastle crowd are understandably loving this, as is Alan Pardew who is playing the crowd like the frontman of a 80s rockband. We reckon the last time Manchester United lost back-to-back games by the way was March 2010, when they lost to Bayern Munich and then Chelsea.

Twitter
Luke Benfield on Twitter: "Obvious Man Utd need to buy in this transfer window. Carrick and other midfielders just aren't up to scratch!"

2144: And now Owen Coyle turns to captain Kevin Davies from the bench to kill this game off. Get the ball in the corner.

2143: Javier Hernandez has been very quiet so far since he came on - he's been offside more than he's been onside. Into the last 10 minutes now, but I still wouldn't rule out a comeback from the champions yet. Bolton are soaking up some Everton pressure as you'd expect.

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Andy in Cambridge on text: "Lionel Perez took a penalty in his farewell appearance for Cambridge United. He missed, but hit it so hard that the opposing keeper had to go off injured. Great moment."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Danny Mills at Sports Direct Arena: "Apart from the Danny Simpson clearance, Manchester United have not created any chances and Newcastle are defending really well. Demba Ba is the focal point up front but it's the midfield combination of Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote which I have been impressed with."

2138: Here's a substitution you don't expect from Manchester United, as Anderson comes on for Wayne Rooney. Bizarre. Also, I can't believe I forgot about Jimmy Glass. What a moment.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Bolton goal: That's put a few 000s on Gary Cahill's price tag, and it's a wonderful finish for a centre-half. He wins a header from a free-kick which goes miles in the air, Tim Howard punches it clear, the ball is helped back in and falls for Cahill on the right of the area, the England man steadies himself and fires across Howard into the corner. This could be a massive win for Bolton.

2135: GOALFLASH Everton 1-2 Bolton (Gary Cahill)


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Graeme from Sunderland on text: "Surely Jimmy Glass for Carlisle is the most dramatic, or for a great goal Mart Poom's header for Sunderland v Derby. Both keeper goals deserving a mention."

2132: Demba Ba threatens again with a header which is wide, while Bolton want a penalty when David Ngog hits a cross into Leighton Baines - but the defender has his arm behind his back. He couldn't do a lot more to prevent a handball there.

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Mike from London on text: "I believe Howard wasn't a typo but are you sure Ngog is right?"

2129: I once saw Paddy Kenny miss a free header from two yards out at Sixfields, but then there is Peter Schmeichel, Paul Robinson and Brad Friedel. The list goes on and on…

2128: In the midst of all that keeper chat, Manchester United threw on Javier Hernandez. 20 minutes left for the champions to come back.

2127: That Tim Howard strike is well worth seeing, but he is not on his own. Remember Pat Jennings against Manchester United in 1967, or Steve Sherwood against Coventry in 1984? And who could forget Steve Ogrizovic versus Sheffield Wednesday in 1986? Classics, each and every one.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Bolton goal: Fair play to Bolton, as they strike back instantly. Nigel Reo-Coker is the driving force again as he surges forward, Louis Saha tracks him all the way and puts in a tackle, but only succeeds in flicking the ball through to David Ngog. the former Liverpool man has a lot to do, but does it well, turning inside John Heitinga and curling left-footed into the far corner.

2124: GOALFLASH Everton 1-1 Bolton (David Ngog)

2123: Manchester United could do with a stroke of fortune like that at the moment, but here's one from the history books - Manchester United have recovered from a two-goal deficit to win in the Premier League on six previous occasions. Newcastle look good for now though.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Everton goal: For once, this is not a typo from me, Tim Howard really has netted for Everton. The goalkeeper swipes a clearance downfield from the edge of his own area, the wind-assisted ball sails down field, bounces a good 30 yards from goal but takes off, clearing Adam Bogdan and finding the net. You have to feel for Bogdan there, that was a freak bounce.

2120: GOALFLASH Everton 1-0 Bolton (Tim Howard)


2118: Incredible defending from Danny Simpson! Wayne Rooney should score as he latches onto a cross from the right, but his close-range strike is brilliantly cleared from on the line by the recovering Simpson. Top, top drawer.

2116: As predicted, here comes Danny Welbeck from the bench for Manchester United. He replaces Dimitar Berbatov - who early header apart has been very quiet. Welbeck's pace poses a very different threat though, and there is still over half an hour to go for the champions.

2114: David de Gea may have been dropped for flapping at corners against Blackburn - but this is no better from Anders Lindegaard. He comes for a delivery from the left but gets nowhere near it as Mike Williamson heads over the top. A third goal now would be too much even for Manchester United, surely?

2112: It's promising stuff from Bolton so far who have upped their tempo. Manchester United meanwhile have yet to click in this second half.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Danny Mills at Sports Direct Arena: "An absolutely magnificent strike, that is what you call top corner. Demba Ba is causing all sorts of problems again. He just brushed everyone aside and from the resulting free-kick, Yohan Cabaye won't score a better goal than that."

2110: Bolton pour forward, and a great run by Mark Davies takes him beyond Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga but his low, 10-yard shot is stopped by the left leg of Tim Howard.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Newcastle goal: That foul from Phil Jones proves especially costly as Yohan Cabaye steps up and hits a perfect free-kick into the top corner. The Frenchman bends it over the wall and onto the underside of the crossbar, with the ball bouncing down a clear foot over the line. That was as good as it gets, and all of a sudden this half has got very interesting. What have Manchester United got in the tank?

2107: GOALFLASH Newcastle 2-0 Man Utd (Yohan Cabaye)

Yellow card
2106: Not a good start for Phil Jones, who is booked as he impedes another powerful run from Demba Ba. There could be plenty more runs like that to deal with in the next 45 minutes.

2105: Jack Rodwell shoots wide from a Leighton Baines corner, and we are off and running in Newcastle. Manchester United need to step it up a gear if they are to keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the table.

2103: We are back under way at Everton then. Can David Moyes' side or Bolton find a way through?

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Anonymous on text: "Never mind Demba Ba, its all about Cheick Tiote so far! Dominating the middle of the park!"

2057: Just seeing that Landon Donovan - Sam Ricketts penalty shout again, and I think the ref was right not to give a spot-kick. There is a hand on the shoulder from Ricketts, but Donovan goes down too easily. Very bright 45 minutes from Donovan though, he's settled back into the Premier League with ease.

2055: There's a man on the pitch at Goodison Park proposing to his girlfriend. I have to say his intended doesn't look entirely overjoyed with this one but I think he's sealed the deal - for now anyway. Nothing like the peer pressure of 30-odd thousand people to sway a dubious call.

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Anonymous on text: "DEMBA - BA! OOHH DEMBA DEMBA - DEMBA BA! (To the tune of Byker Grove)."

Half time
Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd
Saj Chowdhury's HT snapshot:
"What will Newcastle do without Demba Ba? It was another glorious finish from the Senegal striker who is set to head off to the African Cup of Nations at the weekend. Manchester United really cannot afford another setback - Danny Welbeck to come on after the break? It's been a cracker so far, expect better in the second half."

Half time
Everton 0-0 Bolton
Arindam Rej's HT snapshot: "This is a familiar story for Everton. Lots of openings and shots - and a penalty appeal - but no goal scored. Bolton have had the wind in their favour but created too few chances."

2049: Well, well, well - Manchester City and Tottenham fans will be liking this so far as Newcastle look good value for their lead. Demba Ba certainly takes some stopping. He has now scored 22 top-flight goals for West Ham and Newcastle. Since his first, for the Hammers on 12 February last year, only Arsenal's Robin van Persie has scored more, with 27. Dynamite.

2049: HALF-TIME Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd

2047: HALF-TIME Everton 0-0 Bolton

2047: Bolton's best chance of the half arrives just before the break as Nigel Reo-Coker plays a ball down the middle for David Ngog, whose strike is pushed over by Tim Howard.

2044: Strange decision here from referee Phil Dowd. Landon Donovan bursts into the area and hits the deck under pressure from Sam Ricketts. Dowd gives a corner, but the Bolton player is nowhere near the ball. I don't think he fouled the American either though, Donovan just took a heavy touch. Luckily for Wanderers nothing comes from the corner. In Newcastle, Manchester United are having plenty of the ball but are coming up with nothing in the final third.

2042: That's the end of Phil Jagielka for the evening as Jack Rodwell comes on in his place. Newcastle striker Demba Ba does brilliantly in midfield to surge away from Ryan Giggs and send in a 25-yard shot, but he is caught late by Giggs and is currently down.

Twitter
Manchester United striker Michael Owen on Twitter: "That's a blow. Plenty of time to get back into it. Nothing pretty about the set up play but the finish was sublime."

Twitter
Former Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton on Twitter: "Wow, SJP is rocking! Demba Ba is on fire, what a finish.......good game so far."

2039: There is a sniff of a chance for Bolton as David Ngog runs onto a ball over the top, but Phil Jagielka gets across well to make a fine tackle. Jagielka is hurt in that challenge and is receiving some treatment.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Danny Mills at Sports Direct Arena: "Newcastle deserve that with a hopeful launch that the Manchester United defenders didn't deal with. It's a fantastic finish and the home side have started brightly."

2036: Back on Merseyside, there is more good work from Landon Donovan which allows Leon Osman to send an angled shot just wide of the far post from 15 yards. Everton are looking good but need to take one of these chances.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Newcastle goal: Route one stuff from Newcastle - capped by a marvellous finish. Tim Krul's goal-kick is flicked on by Shola Ameobi and Demba Ba gets ahead of Rio Ferdinand to casually lift the ball over Anders Lindegaard and into the far corner. He made that look very, very easy. Game on.

2033: GOALFLASH Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd (Demba Ba)


BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Danny Mills at Sports Direct Arena speaking about Rio Ferdinand's challenge on Demba Ba: "It could have been a penalty. The linesman had the best view and could have easily given it. Controversy in this game already."

2029: Alan Pardew was adamant that Newcastle should have been given a spot kick there - it could have gone either way if you ask me. Harry Redknapp is at Goodison Park with his January spending money burning a hole in his pocket, I wonder who the Tottenham boss is checking out. Gary Cahill? Phil Neville? Leon Osman won't earn a move like that - the midfielder shoots tamely at Adam Bogdan - who has been solid so far.

2026: Here's a rare chance for Demba Ba to power into the box, but he is stopped in his tracks by a Rio Ferdinand challenge. The England man does tangle legs with Ba but referee Howard Webb is unmoved. It looks more like a penalty each time you see it. Ferdinand conceded a penalty at Old Trafford when these sides met earlier in the season of course.

2025: Landon Donovan is looking sharp on his return for Everton, but he is being well marshalled down that right flank by Sam Ricketts.

2022: What a mess from Wayne Rooney. Ryan Giggs cuts open Newcastle's backline with a gem of a through ball, but Rooney elects to try and curl the ball with the outside of his foot instead of taking a touch and the move breaks down. Manchester United looking threatening now, while at Goodison Everton are dictating the play. No goals in either game as we reach the halfway mark of the first half. Who can find the spark?

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Craig in Aberdeen on text: "Berbatov's hold-up play and distribution is world class, rarely puts a pass wrong. Top quality."

2021: This wind is really testing Everton and Bolton go close. Chris Eagles floats in a cross that Phil Jagielka can only head towards his own goal and Tim Howard is forced to tip the ball over. High balls are going to be tricky to deal with at Everton's end.

2019: Yohan Cabaye likes a dig from range, and his shot is deflected away. Anders Lindegaard does well at the following corner as he comes and punches the ball away. It's a confident start from the Manchester United keeper.

2017: A couple of quick chances fall to Everton at Goodison. Landon Donovan is making an impact already, beating Sam Ricketts down the right and whipping in a cross but Denis Stracqualursi - who has not made the best start - fires wide inside the box. On the other flank, Leighton Baines puts in a brilliant cross that Zat Knight makes a mess of clearing but Louis Saha also shoots wide from close range.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2015: I was just about to say that Dimitar Berbatov had had a quiet start, before the Bulgarian hits the post. He gets onto an Antonio Valencia cross but his header is deflected off Davide Santon and onto the far post. Close - very close.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Kevin Ratcliffe at Goodison Park: "Bolton have settled down and they don't look like they're bottom of the table, knocking the ball around well and playing with confidence. It looks like it will be a fierce contest."

2012: Shooting chance for Manchester United, and Nani stings the palms of Tim Krul with a swerving shot from 20 yards. Krul can only parry it, but the big keeper is able to bat the ball away from Wayne Rooney.

Yellow card
2010: David Ngog is ploughing a lone furrow through the middle for Bolton tonight, and he could be in for a lonely evening if the opening 10 minutes are anything to go by. He's hardly seen the ball, and now he is booked for a challenge on Sylvain Distin.

2008: Cheick Tiote is next to call Anders Lindegaard into action, but his shot from a mile out is also straight at the keeper. The home side may be adopting a shoot on sight policy here. It's all a bit scrappy at Everton so far.

Twitter
Jack Lovatt on Twitter: "If Everton go behind in this Clash, at least they'll have Landon Calling."

2007: First shot in anger, and it comes from Newcastle. Demba Ba knocks a long ball down and Yohan Cabaye thumps in a low drive from the edge of the box which Anders Lindegaard pouches with ease.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live summariser Danny Mills at Sports Direct Arena: "Alan Pardew has been quite brave going with two up front, maybe looking at the Manchester United defence thinking it's been a bit shaky. But the champions need to put down a marker to Manchester City tonight with a win."

2004: It's equally blustery at Everton, with the wind very much in Bolton's favour at the moment. First sighter for the dangerous Demba Ba but he takes an air shot at a Danny Simpson cross from the right.

2003: It's all Manchester United in the opening exchanges at a very windy Sports Direct Arena, but a smart tackle from Cheick Tiote prevents Park Ji-sung from breaking clear.

2002: Instant chance for Everton, as Leighton Baines swings in a free-kick but Denis Stracqualursi makes a total mess of his effort and the ball just harmlessly hits him on the back. Big chance.

Whistle
2000: We are under way at Everton, where Landon Donovan has been given the number 9 shirt by the way. Everton wearing black armbands in memory of former player Gary Ablett. And we are off at Newcastle too.

1955: The teams are out on the pitch at both games tonight. And there's the aforementioned Philippe Albert in the stands doing some media work - what a goal that chip was. Can we see the same from Fabricio Coloccini? Er, probably not...

1951: There's a United States flag at Goodison - they love a bit of Landon Donovan. Mind you, a signing of any kind is a rare beast in those parts these days. Despite a lack of investment though David Moyes keeps on plugging away - a win tonight and Everton will be ninth. Top work.

1947: Smart words from Demba Ba as he says he woud say no to the mystical number 9 shirt at Newcastle. "I'm happy with 19" the big man says. He could be on for 19 goals for the season at this rate - though he will miss a chunk of games for Newcastle as he travels to the upcoming African Cup of Nations.

Twitter
Thomas Dolfi on Twitter: "De Gea dropped for Lindegaard after making a couple of mistakes against Blackburn? It's a Krul World being a goalkeeper."

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Conor in York on text: "Lindegaard will make the number 1 jersey his own, I've always rated him above De Gea due to the authority and calmness he has that De Gea lacks."

1942: Interesting stuff from Sir Alex there - not often he comes out and criticises one of his players, but David de Gea pays the price for a shoddy display against Blackburn. That has ramped the pressure up on Anders Lindegaard though.

1941: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "There have been things [unusual results] that have happened over the past few days - you couldn't write it. It says a lot about the Premier League. I think it elevates its status. Goalkeeper David de Gea made a couple of mistakes against Blackburn so I'm playing Anders Lindegaard, who has more experience of coming to places like Newcastle."

1940: Landon Donovan has lost some hair in the 22 months since he last played in the Premier League, but Everton fans will be hoping he hasn't lost any pace. Can Dimitar Berbatov keep up his goal streak tonight as well? He's lethal against the teams at the bottom of the table but I fancy Newcastle will be a tougher nut to crack.

1936: It will be interesting to see how sharp Landon Donovan is tonight as well. Infostrada Sports tell me that Everton won all five games at Goodison Park he played in last time around. Whether he's the same player two years on remains to be seen.

1934: It's a big call dropping David de Gea, especially when Sir Alex Ferguson said after the defeat to Blackburn that he would stick with him. Anders Lindegaard has looked very solid whenever I've seen him though - he's yet to concede a goal in the league for United.

Twitter
Southall's Tash on Twitter: "Neville and Heitinga centre mid with Osman and Donovan out wide? It's Dogs Of War all over again."

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Ed in Manchester on text: "It wasn't United playing Alan Smith in midfield which 'ruined' him, it was the broken leg and the dislocated ankle. Never fully recovered. A real pity, always whole hearted, determined and actually quite talented."

Newcastle v Man Utd
NEWCASTLE v MAN UTD TEAM NEWS
Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Newcastle's Shola Ameobi starts alongside Demba Ba in attack, while Ryan Taylor begins on the right of midfield replacing Gabriel Obertan, who is on the bench. Italian Davide Santon comes in at left-back. Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney returns having been dropped for the game against Blackburn, defender Rio Ferdinand is also back in the starting XI after recovering from injury, while Anders Lindegaard replaces David de Gea in goal."

Newcastle v Man Utd
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Ryan Taylor, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Shola Ameobi, Ba. Subs: Harper, Ben Arfa, Perch, Best, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Vuckic.
Man Utd: Lindegaard, Valencia, Ferdinand, Jones, Evra, Park, Carrick, Giggs, Nani, Berbatov, Rooney. Subs: De Gea, Anderson, Hernandez, Welbeck, Rafael Da Silva, Pogba, Lingard.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

Everton v Bolton
EVERTON v BOLTON TEAM NEWS
Arindam Rej reports: "Landon Donovan makes his hotly-anticipated return as Everton look to find some final-third punch. Jack Rodwell - linked to a host of clubs - is on the bench as is out-of-form Tim Cahill, while Denis Stracqualursi comes in. Gary Cahill starts in what could prove his final game for Bolton before his expected switch to Chelsea. Bolton's injured keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen makes way for Adam Bogdan and Chris Eagles is picked ahead of Ivan Klasnic, meaning a five-man midfield is on the cards."

Everton v Bolton
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Donovan, Neville, Heitinga, Osman, Stracqualursi, Saha. Subs: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, McFadden, Cahill, Gueye, Rodwell, Anichebe.
Bolton: Bogdan, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts, Mark Davies, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Eagles, Ngog. Subs: Lynch, Robinson, Sanli, Kevin Davies, Klasnic, Pratley, Wheater.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1923: Alan Smith could end up at Arsenal yet - if the rumours linking Arsene Wenger to an attempt to sign Kieran Richardson from Sunderland are anything to go by. It's only the fourth day of January - we normally save that sort of madness for the last few days of the window.

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Wayne Rooney is restored to the Manchester United line-up, while Anders Lindegaard starts in goal ahead of David de Gea. Rio Ferdinand returns and Antonio Valencia continues at right-back.

Newcastle v Man Utd
NEWCASTLE v MAN UTD (2000)
Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Alan Pardew believes there is little point considering Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson as a benchmark for his managerial colleagues. 'He isn't really because he's just ridiculous,' said the Newcastle boss. 'Something like 50 trophies - you just can't possibly imagine getting yourself into a position to win that many.' Meanwhile, Ferguson insists striker Wayne Rooney missed the Blackburn match for missing training sessions rather than being below-par in training, having gone out for a meal on Boxing Day. 'You've got to be fit to play in this league, you can't miss training sessions,' said the Scot."

Everton v Bolton
EVERTON v BOLTON (2000)
Arindam Rej reports: "Everyone wants to see how Bolton's out-going Gary Cahill and Everton's in-coming Landon Donovan perform tonight - will Cahill be distracted and is Donovan match fit? Both managers are bullish. On Cahill, Owen Coyle says: "The other day Gary prepared and then played at a very high level and will continue to do that." On Donovan, Moyes comments: "He has settled in very quickly."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Anonymous on text: "I remember when Man United were touting Alan Smith as the new Roy Keane. Ruined him trying to make a midfielder out of him. He was never the same player. United could use a Keano tonight!"

Newcastle v Man Utd
NEWCASTLE v MAN UTD (2000)
Saj Chowdhury reports:
"This fixture usually produces enough entertainment to keep people talking for a few days. Remember the 5-0 and the 6-2 reverse? Manchester United come to this wounded having lost at home to struggling Blackburn and Newcastle will be fearful of shipping more goals, following their 3-1 defeat at Liverpool. A win for the visitors would move them back level on points with local rivals City - the perfect preparation for this weekend's FA Cup clash."

Everton v Bolton
EVERTON v BOLTON (2000)
Arindam Rej reports: "Are slow starters Everton about to produce some characteristic mid-season improvement? A four-game unbeaten run indicates that they're finally building some consistency and Landon Donovan's return will fuel the feel-good factor further. The focal point in bottom-placed Bolton's side will be Chelsea target Gary Cahill as they try to earn a rare win to leapfrog Wigan and Blackburn. With just one clean sheet in 35 away league games, they'll be desperate to shut out goal-shy Everton."

1913: Here's what our reporters expect from tonight's games...

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Liam K on text, via 81111: "Was hoping Moyes would start with Stracqualursi or Stracula for short - he does have a much needed touch of the Nosferatu about him."

Twitter
Jack Anniky on Twitter: "I can see Newcastle's midfield dominating a Man Utd midfield that is lacking quality & strength. Tiote & Cabaye are key."

1907: So Newcastle winger Gabriel Obertan misses out against his former club tonight with a toe infection, but answer me this one good people of textworld - what the devil has happened to fellow ex-Red Devil Alan Smith? He's only made two substitute appearances for the Magpies all season - clocking up a massive five minutes of action - and last scored a league goal in November 2005. That is the mother of all barren spells. Worth a punt for someone on loan this month?

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Shola Ameobi starts for Newcastle, while Gabriel Obertan misses out. Landon Donovan starts for Everton on his second debut for the club.

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Chelsea transfer target Gary Cahill starts for Bolton, but goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen misses out with a thigh injury so Adam Bogdan comes in. Bogdan had a shocker against Chelsea earlier in the season I recall.

1903: And crunch time for you lot - it's time to get involved. Will United head into the FA Cup this weekend level on points at the top? Or can Newcastle pick up their first home win over Sir Alex's lot since a certain Roy Keane was dismissed in September 2001? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @TJRostance or text in via 81111 (UK).

1900: So we're all pretty excited about the game in Newcastle then. But there's more for your money tonight, as Everton face Bolton. Not Bolton v Everton as I may have suggested earlier. We may see Landon Donovan back in a Toffees shirt after he rejoined Everton on loan but it is the visitors who are in dire need of a win. Three points tonight and Owen Coyle's men will climb above both Wigan and Blackburn to 18th - lose, and they stay bottom. Crunch time for Wanderers.

1854: In the Newcastle ranks, all eyes are on Demba Ba. The man rejected by Stoke has bagged 14 goals in his last 14 league games, and with Manchester United shipping three to Blackburn last time out, he will be hungry for more tonight. Can Phil Jones and co shut him out and win to keep the pressure on leaders Manchester City?

1852: Manchester United at Newcastle conjures up a host of great memories from down the years, from Philippe Albert chips to Eric Cantona volleys, and everything is pointing to another tasty affair tonight. How Sir Alex Ferguson could do with Paul Scholes - the mercurial midfielder netted 11 times against the Magpies down the years - but he'll probably have to make do with Michael Carrick.

1845: Twelfth night is almost upon us - and the end of the festive football fixtures are mercifully in sight. We've had 38 Premier League games since Bolton kick-started this crazy run of games with a win at Blackburn a fortnight ago, and there's been seven red cards and a whopping 99 goals. We here at the BBC have brought you the lot, and we have the scars to prove it. But we're ending the run in style - it's Newcastle v Manchester United and Everton v Bolton. Time to tear this tree down...



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Premier League results

4 Jan 2012 23:59 UK


Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Jan 2012 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man City 20 40 48
2 Man Utd 20 29 45
3 Tottenham 19 16 42
4 Chelsea 20 14 37
5 Arsenal 20 8 36
6 Liverpool 20 6 34
7 Newcastle 20 4 33
8 Stoke 20 -9 29
9 Norwich 20 -5 25
10 Sunderland 20 4 24
11 Everton 19 -2 24
12 Swansea 20 -3 23
13 Aston Villa 20 -4 23
14 Fulham 20 -4 23
15 West Brom 20 -9 22
16 Wolves 20 -14 17
17 QPR 20 -16 17
18 Bolton 20 -18 16
19 Wigan 20 -23 15
20 Blackburn 20 -14 14

see also
Wednesday football photos
04 Jan 12 |  Football


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