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Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Sunday, 8 January 2012

FA Cup third round as it happened


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By Phil Dawkes
BBC Sport

1817: That is it from me for part two of FA Cup third-round weekend. It started with a bang, fizzled out a touch and then hit back with a final salvo. It wasn't quite Godfather Part Two, but at least it wasn't Cocoon: The Return. Join Chris Bevan tomorrow for the final initial FA Cup third-round game between Arsenal and Leeds. I'll see thee.

Full time
FULL-TIME Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 West Ham
Jonathan Jurejko reports: "This tie looked almost certain to be heading to a replay, which neither promotion-chasing side wanted, before Chris O'Grady lashed in a late winner at Hillsborough."

Full time
FULL-TIME Peterborough 0-2 Sunderland
Sam Sheringham reports: "A stroll in the Posh park for Martin O'Neill's revitalised Sunderland as young winger James McClean continues to enhance his reputation."

Full time
FULL-TIME Chelsea 4-0 Portsmouth
Graham Chase reports: "Chelsea managed four goals for the first time since their 5-0 victory over Genk but needed three in the space of eight minutes at the end to make this convincing. Up until then they had struggled to open up a team that is struggling in the Championship."

Full time
FULL-TIME Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty reports: "Where do you even start? Thrilling game of football with a wonderful show of spirit by Manchester City but ultimately victory for Manchester United. Standing ovation from both sets of supporters at the final whistle."

SCOTTISH CUP: Comfortable Sunday wins for Rangers at Arbroath and Celtic at Peterhead, following the 14 ties on Saturday, mean there were no shocks in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup. David Healy set Rangers on their way to a 4-0 win at Gayfield, then Anthony Stokes's hat-trick for holders Celtic put paid to the Blue Toon's Cup dreams at Balmoor. All eyes in Scotland will be on Hampden on Monday afternoon where Andre Villas-Boas and Marcello Lippi will make the fifth-round draw.

Manchester United striker Michael Owen on Twitter: "And people talk about United always getting lucky cup draws!!! Couldn't get much tougher. What a game to look forward to."

Peri Mould on Twitter: "Bring on united....still the biggest derby in england. Where better to have it than in the FA Cup."

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Chris, Plymouth, via text: "The thought of Gareth Bale at Vicarage Road is going to give me nightmares! I feel for little Lee Hodson!"

iamdanthomas on Twitter: "'unpeeling an orange'? So he's covering it back up..?"
I think I've gone mad from the hunger iamdanthomas. The boss is a remarkable man, though. He's always returning the skin to food. Last week he resheathed a banana.

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill on the FA Cup fourth-round draw which pitted his team against neighbours Middlesbrough: "It's a tough one but we're at home. I wonder what Lee Cattermole [who started his career at Middlesbrough] thinks." On the Black Cats' 2-0 success at Peterborough, he added: "In the first half we allowed Peterborough to play in their own half and when they ventured into our half we closed them down. Second-half we got closer to their goal and took control. Eventually we won well."

Daily Telegraph Football Correspondent Henry Winter on Twitter: "Hold the back-page, buy the ear-plugs & cancel all leave in the FA disciplinary's #lfc v #mufc in fourth round of the FA Cup."

1758: Other notable ties? Well, there's Arsenal or Leeds v Aston Villa, Sunderland hosting north-east rivals Middlesbrough, MK Dons or QPR against Chelsea, and a London derby between Watford and Tottenham. The weekend of the 28/29 of January is going to be a belter.

Matt Harding on Twitter: "Away at City. Away at Liverpool. If we're going to win the FA Cup we're going to have to do it the hard way."

1754: Tie of the round? Hmm, let's think. Could it be Liverpool v Manchester United by any chance? I think that would be fairly accurate. I'm salivating at the thought of it, although that may be because I haven't eaten and the boss has just started unpeeling an orange.

1752: It would appear we had a few technical problems during that draw, but if you refresh now you'll get the whole thing staring you right in the face.

FA Cup fourth-round draw:

Brighton or Wrexham v Newcastle

Sunderland v Middlesbrough

Dagenham & Redbridge or Millwall v Southampton

Hull City v Crawley

MK Dons or QPR v Chelsea

West Brom v Norwich

Blackpool v Sheffield Wednesday

Arsenal or Leeds v Aston Villa

Stevenage v Notts County

Watford v Tottenham

Liverpool v Manchester United

Derby v Stoke City

Everton v Fulham

Macclesfield or Bolton v Swansea

Sheffield United v Birmingham or Wolves

Nottingham Forest or Leicester v Swindon

1740: Here we go then. Fourth-round draw time. If your team is still in it, hope you get a good draw. If you don't blame former Cardiff City manager Dave Jones and Chasetown player Danny Smith, as they're the men pulling out the balls.

Fellow scorer James McClean, the rookie Irish winger brought into the Black Cats side by O'Neill: "The manager has given me a chance and I'm enjoying my football. I'm just trying to get as many games under my belt as possible."

Sunderland goalscorer Seb Larsson on his side's recent revival under Martin O'Neill: "Football is a funny game. We seem to be doing things well at the moment and we're getting a bit of luck."

Jaqqzorr on Twitter: "Not disappointed with the loss, just that we didn't show we're better than this. Fair play to Sunderland, showed their class."

1724: Essentially three minutes of Sunderland passing comes to an end and the full-time whistle is blown. The Black Cats into round four and Peterborough bow out. The fourth-round draw is coming up shortly.

1722: We're going to have three minutes of injury time at London Road.

Alex Winstanley on Twitter: "Technology is a fantastic thing but counting words from dialogue is somewhat....wasting potential."

1720: Apparently, in the FA Cup fourth-round draw rehearsal, Sunderland were paired with Newcastle, which means absolutely nothing at all.

Napster_1988 on Twitter: "I'm disappointed that you're not mentioning Ben Arfa's solo wonder goal versus Blackburn yesterday in the Cup"
Well, I was going to Napster_1988 but you've just beaten me to it.

1717: Sebastian Larsson has been central to Sunderland's performance today. He finds space on the right and provides a superb swinging cross that just skips ahead of substitute Ji-Dong Won.

1715: It is a very flat affair at London Road now. With 10 minutes to go, Sunderland look in no danger. Peterborough have created little throughout the game and don't look like providing a late threat. Martin O'Neill's impressive start to his Sunderland career looks set to continue.

RMtheconspiracy on Twitter: "Can I say on a day that's overshadowed for refereeing decisions that Martin Atkinson in the P'Boro/Sund game has been faultless"

a_ramshaw on Twitter: "MASSIVE result for Wednesday against a West Ham side still with a premiership squad! #hillsboroughfortress"

AdamDawes1 on Twitter: "'Goal' has been used 69 times, 9 times less than that. We best even thing up goal goal goal goal goal goal goal goal goal!!"

1706: All 11 minutes of that injury time at Hillsborough is up and the final whistle blows. League One Wednesday pull off a minor shock with a 1-0 victory over Championship West Ham. It is reminder to the football world that three-time Cup winners Wednesday remain a giant having a snooze.

1703: Sunderland looking more likely to add to their lead than concede at London Road. Phil Bardsley fires a shot wide of the post from the edge of the area. At the moment the Black Cats are easing into the fourth round.

1701: West Ham come close to an equaliser. Frank Nouble fires a shot narrowly over the bar. Nine minutes of injury time gone. Two still to play.

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Rivers, London, via text: "Just before things got interesting, I took inspiration from yesterday's letter counting. You said 'that' 3 times in 4 words out of 76 in total."
The winter nights must just fly by!

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Will Ryder, via text: "Ramires has an absolute engine. The most improved player in the league . PURE ATHLETICISM!"

1656: It is full-time at Stamford Bridge, though, where Chelsea have seen off Portsmouth courtesy of a flattering 4-0 scoreline.

1656: West Ham have got time to equalise at Hillsborough courtesy of a massive 11 minutes of injury time, given for an injury to Wednesday's Julian Bennett, who was stretchered off.

Chelsea goal: Frank Lampard adds a deceptive gloss to the scoreline at Stamford Bridge, finishing into the bottom corner of the goal from Ramires' pass. It is a very, very flattering scoreline for AVB's side.

1653: GOALFLASH Chelsea 4-0 Portsmouth (Frank Lampard)

1645: Well, we've had to wait for it, but in a heartbeat we have three goals from all three matches. At Stamford Bridge, after a quick breakaway, Fernando Torres produces a fine assist for Ramires to score his second goal. Meanwhile, it looks like Wednesday have nicked it at the death against West Ham as Chris O'Grady slams home from 12 yards. And at London Road, Sunderland put themselves firmly in control as James McClean heads in from a corner.

1649: GOALFLASH Peterborough 0-2 Sunderland (James McClean)

1648: GOALFLASH Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 West Ham United (Chris O'Grady)

1647: GOALFLASH Chelsea 3-0 Portsmouth (Ramires)

Chelsea goal: You have to believe that that is that at Stamford Bridge. A rare moment of quality from the hosts sees them grab a second goal. Juan Mata sends over a cross and even though Jason Pearce prevents Fernando Torres from getting a header on goal, Ramires pokes in to surely make the game safe with five minutes to go.

1645: Moments after taking the lead Sunderland could have gone 2-0 up. Craig Gardner surges at the heart of the Peterborough defence and releases the ball to Sebastian Larsson, whose low shot has power but not precision and is saved by Joe Lewis. It is starting to pick up. Slowly.

1644: GOALFLASH Chelsea 2-0 Portsmouth (Ramires)

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on Twitter: "Happy to be in the next round of the FA cup, let's see who we get next. Thanks for the support behind the goal, loud as u like!!"

Sunderland goal: Sunderland have finally broken the deadlock at London Road. Sebastian Larsson's inswinging free-kick from the left beats everyone and nestles neatly inside the far post. Craig Gardner tried to get a head to it in the box but it is just as well he didn't. I'm not sure Larsson meant that. It was more a case of putting it in the mix and giving it a chance. Still, it is a goal and we should be grateful for that (unless you follow Peterborough of course).

1639: GOALFLASH Peterborough 0-1 Sunderland (Sebastian Larsson)

BenJFisher on Twitter: "how about Winston Bogarde? I'm sure he must still be lurking around the #ChelseaFC reserves training pitch somewhere."

1638: Apologies. Got my teams mixed up. Baldock struck the post for West Ham, not Wednesday.

alexharker on Twitter: "What an anticlimax from today's cup ties after such a brilliant start!"
Alas, Mr Harker speaks the truth. We've time, though. Keep the faith. Plus there is a whole fourth-round draw to come. Worth sticking around for surely?

1633: West Ham are a lick of paint away from scoring the opening goal against Wednesday at Hillsborough. Sam Baldock's shot strikes the post and West Ham survive.

1632: If we are talking past players coming out of retirement, I'd love to see Tony Yeboah back in action. I fear, though, that watching Yeboah try to run around now would be like Jabba the Hutt's death scene in Return of the Jedi.

DPS026 on Twitter: "All this talk about scholes/henry, what I would do for a prime Marcel Desailly back at the bridge What a player"

1628: Sheffield Wednesday continuing to fashion the better chances at Hillsborough with West Ham's defence hacking clear a Chris O'Grady shot. Then Chris Lines sees another shot blocked as the vocal home fans get behind their team.

1627: You could suggest here that Chelsea are happy to take a 1-0 win over Portsmouth. There is very little action to speak of at Stamford Bridge, where the home side are dominating possession but creating precious little. Another chance for Fernando Torres to trigger that long-mooted scoring spree is slipping away.

Ian Kershaw on Twitter: "If Khan can get a rematch after being mis-scored do we get a rematch if Kompany's red is rescinded? "

Half time
Peterborough 0-0 Sunderland
Sam Sheringham's HT snapshot:
"Sunderland have had the better chances at London Road - with the woodwork still shaking from one thunderous James McClean drive - but the longer this game remains goalless the more Peterborough will believe they can pull off an upset."

1619: Presumably, we are going to have oursleves a fair bit of stoppage time for the head clash between Ryan Bennett and Gabriel Zakuani? Actually no, we're not. Just two minutes. I don't blame the fourth official, probably best to end this drab affair early and hope for a better second half.

1617: We've another defender in the wars, this time Chelsea captain John Terry, who is receiving treatment after colliding with the post before clearing off the line as Portsmouth had three decent chances to pull level. Terry's efforts were in a good cause, though, and he preserves his side's one-goal lead.

BBC Radio 5 live
Radio 5 live pundit Craig Burley at Stamford Bridge: "David Luiz is a bomb scare, a law unto himself. If he was 70 yards away from his box for most of the game then there wouldn't be a problem. When they put defender behind his name, there should be inverted commas around it. People say I'm harsh about him but he's a defender and everything else should be a bonus."

TaaronUppal on Twitter: "With these legends coming back, I dont see why Kenny can't be a player manager again, age is nothing but a number!"

1612: Another Sunderland chance as Craig Gardner meets Sebastian Larsson's cross with his head but Joe Lewis saves with his chest. Ryan Bennett runs back on with his head bandaged after apparently having his injury "glued". Presumably not Pritt Stick.*
*Other glues (including ones presumably better for sealing flesh wounds) are available.

1612: It's all happening now. West Ham defender Winston Reid goes down in the Sheffield Wednesday box and wins an early second-half penalty. But Owls keeper Nicky Weaver superbly dives down to his right to push out Sam Baldock's effort.



Chelsea goal: Finally we have ourselves a post-Manchester derby goal. Minutes after the restart Florent Malouda runs to the byline and pulls back for Juan Mata to finish from close range. After a dreadful first 45 minutes, this was just the start to the second half that Chelsea needed.

1606: GOALFLASH Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth (Juan Mata)

Rob Millward on Twitter: "Seems like were missing Sturridge down the right, Malouda not got much to offer to this game."

1605: The games are back under way at Stamford Bridge and Hillsborough.

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Vic, London, via text: "The Peterborough vs Sunderland game is like a United training game - future United players under Ferguson's watchful eye, against ex-United players!"

1604: A clash of heads leads to a delay at London Road. Ryan Bennett and Gabriel Zakuani both go for the same ball and the latter takes the formers skull in his face. Bennett heads off down to the tunnel, possibly for stitches, while Zakuani takes his time to recover. He does, though, and we are back under way.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1600: Yes! Action, precious, precious action. Paul Taylor picks up the ball on halfway and drives into Sunderland territory. He steers wide of Matt Kilgallon and strikes at goal. For a second London Road think it's net bound but it drifts past the post. Minutes later, at the other end, James McClean strikes from 25 yards but is denied by the crossbar.

djgaryr83 on Twitter: "Wednesday on top..... Gary megsons glowing ginger hair being the main highlight so far! Come on Wednesday #bbcfootball #gingermourinho"

1555: Joe Lewis does his best to give us that elusive goal. He flaps at a cross like a paranoid moth but no Sunderland attacker can steer the loose ball goalwards. We remain painfully score free.

steMUFC87 on Twitter: "maybe AVB should take a leaf out of fergie and wengers book, bring back a legend, im thinking ZOLA!!!"

Tall and Brown on Twitter: "AWOL starring Jean Claude Van Damme & Samir Nasri."

1551: I wish I could tell you something different but after the rip-roaring Manchester derby earlier it has all gone a bit flat. Surely we've not had all our goals for the day?

Half time
Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 West Ham
Jonathan Jurejko's HT snapshot: "Delicately poised at Hillsborough as Gary Megson and Sam Allardyce go head-to-head in the battle of the former Bolton bosses. But both men will be heading down the tunnel thinking their teams should be ahead. Jermaine Johnson missed a sitter for the Owls, skewing wide after doing all the hard work, before Hammers forward Freddie Sears headed over from three yards in an equally glorious chance."

Half time
Chelsea 0-0 Portsmouth
Graham Chase's HT snapshot: "So far this is hardly a performance to silence the doubts about Andre Villas-Boas and his struggling Chelsea side. Visiting goalkeeper Stephen Henderson has made just one routine save, from a Fernando Torres header from the penalty spot. Portsmouth have looked comfortable and the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge is getting flatter and flatter."

1548: Better from Posh at London Road as Tommy Rowe has two shots in quick succession. The first hits his own player and the second whistles past the far post.

ajaved24 on Twitter: "Despite Peterborough's poor defensive record, Zakauni and Bennet look solid. Enigma?"

1546: It is fair to say it is drab and largely event free at Stamford Bridge. Not good news for AVB or Chelsea, but it's a cracking effort from Pompey, who are looking good under the management of Michael Appleton.

1544: Over to Hillsborough and Wednesday are still on top. They threaten again with defender Danny Batth going close with a firm header, before West Ham's Freddie Sears nods over from three yards at the other end seconds later.

1544: Again Sunderland press but Craig Gardner's cross to the back post is nipped away from Sebastian Larsson by Ryan Bennett.

1541: Saying that, Sunderland have just threatened again as Craig Gardner dispossesses George Boyd before firing at goal from 30 yards. Joe Lewis dives to his left to palm it away. The Black Cats are on the prowl (I'm going to have to abandon the animal nickname puns now - I won't be able to look myself in the mirror if I continue).

1540: First chance for Sunderland at London Road as Sebastian Larsson is played in down the right but he blazes his shot across the face of goal. Pretty even stuff so far.

1539: For those of you wondering, yes ITV have been in touch for an emergency loan and we have packed a couple of commentators off to London Road.

1537: London Road is classic cupset territory: a small, compact ground with a vociferous home crowd. The home side almost get off to a good start as Paul Taylor shoots from 25 yards, but the effort sails harmlessly over.

1534: The game is under way at London Road.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill: "We want to try and stay in the competition. We've had decent results in the Premier League recently. We want to continue that run if at all possible. It has eluded me as player and a manager. A couple of quarter-finals, a semi-final two years ago, never that elusive trip to Wembley final. But we're talking Wembley finals when we're in the third round, playing a side steeped in FA Cup history. Since the draw's been made, the reports we've heard are they're very attacking, they score lots of goals. I hope it's a decent game, although I would forsake that for being in the hat at 6 o'clock."

1532: So Roberto Mancini has confirmed the club will appeal the red card shown to Vincent Kompany. I'd be very surprised if the FA overturn it. You've got to imagine they will back Chris Foy interpretation, even if it is widely believed to be harsh.

BBC Radio 5 live
Radio 5 live pundit Craig Burley at Stamford Bridge: "People talk about Andre Villas-Boas being a tactical genius but he needs to find a way to get Mata in behind the striker and let him go into those pockets behind people and play balls alongside centre-halves. At the moment he's playing wide and if you're up against him you'd be happy. I've got a huge reservation about the manager and there are a lot of people within this club who aren't sure about this fellow."

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini confirms the club will appeal against Vincent Kompany's red card."

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "It's better we talk the game, not the referee. Fantastic performance, played well in second-half... [With eleven men?] A different game, clearly."

1527: Like Paul Daniels, Chelsea and Portsmouth aren't bringing any quality magic to the table. It is still pretty quiet at Stamford Bridge. Aaron Mokoena headed over from six yards from a Liam Lawrence corner, with Petr Cech rooted to his line, but otherwise there is all too little goalmouth action.

1526: Sheffield Wednesday are making most of the running at Hillsborough and should be ahead - Jermaine Johnson has missed a sitter. The Owls attacker did everything right as he cut inside the West Ham defence but, as Boffin went to ground, he somehow skewed his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Peterborough v Sunderland
Peterborough: Lewis, Alcock, Bennett, Zakuani, Rowe, Tunnicliffe, Wootton, Tomlin, Boyd, Sinclair, Taylor. Subs: Jones, Little, Newell, Thompson, Kearns, Gordon-Hutton, Lawler.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Kilgallon, Bardsley, Larsson, Richardson, Cattermole, Vaughan, McClean, Sessegnon. Subs: Westwood, Turner, Wickham, Ji, Meyler, Elmohamady, Noble.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

nchurch44 on Twitter: "City down to 10men for 80mins and lose 2-3, united down to 10men for 45mins and lose 6-1, that puts the result into perspective."

Andrew Sweerts on Twitter: "35 Years to win a trophy. 93 Minutes to lose it."

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Lee Tomlin has overcome a calf injury to make Peterborough's team, which also includes on-loan Manchester United duo Scott Wootton and Ryan Tunnicliffe.

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Ben, Sheffield, via text: "Not a city fan but it is so good to see a team often castigated as mercenary millionaires fight like that in the FA cup. Quality and passion, and that's why they'll win the league."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "I think we made them better than we were. Probably 3-0 up we thought we were through, but we took our foot off the pedal. We lost possession, gave away a free-kick, and they score. They went into defensive formation, hoping we made mistakes. It was a careless performance, we should have been home and dry."

1519: First real chance at Hillsborough falls to hosts Sheffield Wednesday. James Tavernier breaks down the right and lets fly with a right-foot shot which flashes across the face of West Ham keeper Ruud Boffin's goal. The Owls starting to spread their wings.

1518: So, from one victorious Ferguson to another hoping to emulate his father's Fourth-round qualifying ways. Darren will send his Peterborough team up against Martin O'Neill's Sunderland revolution. Once that game is concluded we'll be bringing you the fourth round draw. So stay tuned.

1515: Fernando Torres goes close to opening the scoring for Chelsea, having a header from Florent Malouda's cross tipped over by goalkeeper Stephen Henderson.

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Martin O'Neill makes two changes to his Sunderland side for the Black Cats' FA Cup third-round clash at Peterborough. Phil Bardsley is back from injury and replaces Jack Colback at left-back, while Seb Larsson replaces Nicklas Bendtner. Meanwhile, Connor Whickham, Michael Turner and Keiren Westwood all return to the bench.

Sam Sheringham reports:
"'Bring it on' was the tone of Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson's pre-match press conference as he relished the challenge of hosting in-form Premier League side Sunderland in the FA Cup. 'You can say our task has got harder because Sunderland have improved so much in the last month, but then so have we,' Ferguson said. 'We are unbeaten in our last five Championship games, and in big games against the likes of Leicester, Middlesbrough and Birmingham.' Martin O'Neill is long enough in the tooth to know the dangers of cup ties against lower division sides. 'When I was managing Aston Villa a few years ago, we were drawn away in the third round against Gillingham, and it was a really difficult afternoon for us. We finally scrambled home in the game, and that's the nature of it. You wouldn't even have to tell me it's going to be hard, it's going to be exceptionally difficult for us.'"

Sam Sheringham reports:
"Can Martin O'Neill maintain Sunderland's extraordinary resurgence in the FA Cup after steering the Black Cats to four wins and a draw in his six league games since taking over? Peterborough have not disposed of a top-flight club since 1965 and were thrashed 7-1 by Sunderland in their only other meeting in the competition in 1967. But Posh are unbeaten in five Championship matches and have scored 27 goals at home this season, second only to table-toppers Southampton."

1512: There is, of course, another game kicking off at 1530 GMT between Peterborough and Sunderland. Here is the lowdown...

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Robbie Savage at Etihad Stadium: "It was an unbelievable second half and what a specatacle for the FA Cup. Chris Foy is the talking point for me, it's a yellow card not red. He bottled the decision for the foul on Antonio Valencia and Anders Lindegaard was flapping all over the place for Untied. What a game, what a game!"

1511: Not much to bring you from Stamford Bridge and Hillsborough just yet. Very much the calm after the Etihad storm at the moment.

Rishi Verma on Twitter: "Today was never about getting a 6-1 win of our own; today was about quietening our 'so-called' noisy neighbours. Job done."

Opta Sports on Twitter: "71 - After coming on after 60 mins, Paul Scholes made 71 passes (97% complete), more than any Man City player in the entire game. Comeback."
Yes, but it was one of the few passes he misplaced that almost cost his side. Let-off.

1507: There are only three survivors from the Portsmouth team that was beaten by Didier Drogba's goal in the FA Cup final in 2010 but it says much for the changes at Stamford Bridge that Andre Villas-Boas has only picked five players that started in that 1-0 win.

1507: If you refresh your page now a lovely commentary link to the Sheffield Wednesday v West Ham game will appear. And Chelsea v Portsmouth? Well that is on 5 live. Sorted.

And here is what he had to say about Paul Scholes, who made a surprise United comeback today: "It was a bit of a shock about Scholes - we didn't even know until we were in the dressing-room. But it's great to have such a quality player coming back."

Wayne Rooney has been chatting to ITV about his future. Here's what he had to say: "Everything which had been in the press is a load of nonsense. There are no problems with me at this club, I want to be at this club for a long time. We knew it was an important game."

Dan Irvine on Twitter: "Who ever said manchester derbys are over-hyped? WHAT A GAME! (and not for the first time this season!)"

1503: The game is under way at Hillsborough between Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham.

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Jon Slade, Worcester, via text: "A very proud Man-City, total credit to the boys for such hard work. Well done City!"

1503: An early chance for Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge, where the visitors should have taken the lead, but Dave Kitson fires wide of goal after running through.

1502: I'll be bringing you reaction from that tie at Etihad Stadium, but I'll also be switching attention over to Stamford Bridge and Hillsborough.

Jonathan Jurejko reports: "Boss Gary Megson wants the Owls to claim a shock scalp at Hillsborough this afternoon, but stresses his players must not take their eyes off the upcoming League One clash with promotion rivals Charlton. He said: 'This is an important game but it's nowhere near as important as the one next week.' And Hammers counterpart Sam Allardyce agrees the tie is a slight distraction for his own promotion-chasers. He said: 'It provides a great opportunity for the players of both sides to go through to the next stage. But the priorities for both clubs lie elsewhere.'"

Jonathan Jurejko reports: "Both clubs have a rich history in the competition having lifted the famous trophy on six occasions between them. But there has been little to cheer on any front recently with Wednesday plummeting to League One and the Hammers dealing with life in the Championship - just six years after finishing FA Cup runners-up. Can one of these traditional footballing powerhouses wake up from their slumber and embark on a morale-boosting cup run?"

1456: Both sets of fans are applauding their team. And rightly so. It was a superb Cup tie, full of passion, pride, class and controversy.

1455: City will have another chance, though, from a corner. It is delivered into the middle where Wayne Rooney gets a head to it, diverting it back towards his own goal but the clearance comes. And that is it! United had to do it the hard way, but they have completed a massive win against 10-man Manchester City.

1452: My word, it almost was the game as well! Aleksandar Kolarov's free-kick from 22 yards is hammered on goal and Anders Lindegaard fumbles it but City's attackers cannot get a touch and it is cleared.

1452: Here's a chance for City, though. Micah Richards is upended by Rio Ferdinand and the home side have a great chance to complete the comeback. This is the game, right here.

1451: United are holding possession. Eating into the injury time.

1450: We are into injury time. Does this game have one final twist in the following three minutes of injury time?

1450: One for you fact fans. All of United's Champions League final 2008 midfield are on the pitch: Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes and Owen Hargreaves.

Rhys Jones on Twitter: "Blimey, not bad for a Europa League match."

1448: If you have a seat, I'd recommend you perch on the edge of it. A melee in the United box in which Anders Lindegaard flaps about like a nervous butterfly, is finally ended by a United clearance, but the ball is delievered back in where Micah Richards misses with an overhead kick. The melee drew some claret from Stefan Savic's head and after a brief bit of treatment he returns to the fray.

1446: United's tempers are flaring. Well, Rio Ferdinand is anyway. He is giving Patrice Evra a real ear-full. I can't see excatly what for, but I'm sure Evra will have a clear idea given the volume of Rio's ire.

1444: City are fuming. Absolutely fuming. They wanted a penalty and they have a very good case. Aleksandar Kolarov is free on the right-hand side of the box and his cross strikes Phil Jones' leg and then his hand. Kolarov struck the ball hard but penalties have been given for far less clear handballs. Chris Foy rmains central to the action.

1442: Here is Owen Hargreaves, on for Samir Nasri. His fourth City appearance. More than he made in the last two years of his United contract.

Sheffield Wednesday v West Ham United
Sheffield Wednesday: Weaver, Otsemobor, Rob Jones, Batth, Bennett, Tavernier, Semedo, Lines, Reda Johnson, O'Grady, Jermaine Johnson. Subs: Bywater, Prutton, Palmer, Beevers, Morrison, Daniel Jones, Lowe.
West Ham United: Boffin, O'Brien, Reid, McCartney, Potts, O'Neil, Collison, Lansbury, Sears, Baldock, Carew. Subs: Green, Tomkins, Diop, Nouble, Montenegro, Lee, Hall.
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

James Barrott on Twitter: "And this is why we should love the FA Cup!"

1440: And all our storylines converge. Owen Hargreaves is about to come on for Manchester City.

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Rob, Belfast, via text: "Time for some really unnecessary squeaky bum time... Sums up United's season!"

1439: United have taken a bit of the heat out City for now, but there is still plenty of tension out there on the pitch. United having plenty of possession, but they will be wary that one slip up and their lead could be wiped out. City remain determined, but their 10 men will be drained by now. Can they muster a final salvo?

Graham Chase reports: "Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton is in no doubt about the task facing his stretched squad at Stamford Bridge. He said: 'We're in the Championship now with a small squad and a lot of players who are coming towards the end of their careers but we're in good form lately and hopefully we can be one of those teams around the country celebrating a shock this weekend. We just have to hope they go into the game with the attitude that they're facing a side in the bottom half of the Championship, and that we then catch them off guard.' Assistant manager Roberto Di Matteo believes an FA Cup victory could be a catalyst for Chelsea. He said: 'Let's not forget this team have been very successful throughout their careers in past years and winning the cup could possibly re-ignite a new cycle; winning trophies brings you that belief and confidence that you can go on and win other things.'"

Graham Chase reports: "Chelsea beat Portsmouth in the final of this competition in 2010 and while many Stamford Bridge fans would consider what has happened since, a trophyless season last term followed by Andre Villas-Boas' early problems, as a disappointment, they have nothing on what has been going on at Portsmouth. Now in their second season in the Championship, financial problems continue to dog the Fratton Park club, who have not beaten Chelsea in 29 attempts since 1960."

1435: Conservative change from United with Anderson on for Danny Welbeck. With the striker on a yellow card that is a sensible move from Sir Alex.

Chelsea v Portsmouth
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Meireles, Lampard, Mata, Torres, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Lukaku, Ferreira, McEachran, Hutchinson, Bertrand.
Portsmouth: Henderson, Mokoena, Rocha, Pearce, Halford, Ward, Norris, Mullins, Lawrence, Kitson, Futacs. Subs: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Huseklepp, Williams, Mwaruwari, Ben-Haim, Webster.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Championship promotion-hopefuls West Ham make seven changes for their third-round trip to Sheffield Wednesday. James Tomkins, linked with a Premier League move this month, drops to the bench. Three changes for the Owls with skipper Rob Jones returning from injury.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium: "Manchester City supporters have belief that an incredible comeback can become reality. Manager Roberto Mancini is actually urging calm among his players with so much time left. Anxious faces among those Manchester United fans who were taunting their counterparts mercilessly not so long ago."

QPR midfielder Joey Barton on Twitter: "Wow, what a game. Good to see Scholes back. I remember being 3-0 down and down to 10 at Spurs once in the FA cup for City, surely not again?"

1431: That Kolarov goal at the start of the second half has completely changed the momentum of this tie. It simply could not have been timed better for the home side. City certainly don't look like a side with 10 men right now.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Robbie Savage at Etihad Stadium: "Patrice Evra, the captain, is having a terrible afternoon. Paul Scholes gives the ball away from the throw which leads to the goal. The bad touch showed he is lacking in games. What a game!"

Matt Foley on Twitter: "He didn't Linderguard his goal very well there..."

1429: Etihad is alive with noise right now. The City fans sense they could achieve something remarkable here. Unsurprisingly, the United fans are not quite as vocal as they were.

Manchester City goal: Did I say steadying influence from Paul Scholes? More like suicidal influence. The midfielder gives the ball away to James Milner in a dangerous area down the right and his cross is met by Sergio Aguero in the box. The first shot is saved by Anders Lindegaard, but the keeper is powerless to prevent the Argentine following up to score. Did sentiment or sense influence Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to bring on Scholes so early? Either way, this game is very much back on.

1424: GOALFLASH Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United (Sergio Aguero)

1424: Another United penalty? Probably. Aleksandar Kolarov (again) bundles Antonio Valencia to the ground in the box. Chris Foy waves away the appeals. It's not right, but Foy was never likely to give anything other than a stonewall spot kick to United now.

1422: That was a chance for City. Sergio Aguero has an opportunity to run at goal but he is short of team-mates and is bundled away from goal by Patrice Evra. Danger averted.

Nik Porteous on Twitter: "re 1412: Paul Scholes - Steadying influence? Maybe worth dusting off your 'RED CARD FOR MANCHESTER UNITED (Paul Scholes)' Phil"

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Anon via text: "Have United signed Paul Scholes based on the fact he scored 8 second half goals in a charity Dads match a couple of months back?"

1420: And here comes Scholes, replacing Nani. The United fans greet him as you'd expect. With utter delight. In the circumstances, though, everything is greeted with glee by the United fans.

1417: Looks like we are about to see Paul Scholes' return for Manchester United. The 37-year-old is stripped off and ready for action.

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Chelsea captain John Terry is passed fit to play following a fitness test on his knee. Fernando Torres also starts for the Blues.

1414: City boss Roberto Mancini has re-jigged his line-up here and looks to be playing a 3-4-2 formation in the second half. Joleon Lescott is in the centre of defence with Stefan Savic to his left and Micah Richards to his right. Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolorov are on the flanks, with Samir Nasri joining Sergio Aguero up front.

1412: United looking to restore their three-goal cushion but Danny Welbeck can only head Antonio Valencia's cross wide of goal. A minute later Wayne Rooney drags a shot from the edge of the area wide. We also get our first glimpse of Paul Scholes warming up on the touchline. Could his steadying influence in midfield help United now?

BBC Radio 5 live
Former referee Dermot Gallagher on BBC Radio 5 live : "It looks harsh but with what has happened lately and the criteria for red cards, he was going to go. The minute he is airborne, he loses control of his body and the referees have sat down and said any player off the ground will be sent off."

Manchester City goal: Now then, what is this going to do for the tie. From the foul on Richards by Evra, Aleksandar Kolarov curls the free-kick over the wall and into the corner of thye net from 25 yards. Cup tie back on? Certainly more than it was at half time.

1408: GOALFLASH Manchester City 1-3 Manchester United (Aleksandar Kolarov)

1408: Chris Foy has his cards out again, this time a booking for Patrice Evra for a foul on Micah Richards. That's three players on yellow for United now.

1405: And what promises to be a very interesting second half gets under way.

1405: The players are on their way out. City making two changes: Pablo Zabaleta and Stefan Savic on for Adam Johnson and David Silva. Very defensive. Looks like City will go three at the back. How will this play out?

jduncan16 on Twitter: "Wasnt there a certain red card in the game at Old Trafford when the away team were 1-0 up that changed the game??"

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Nick, London, via text: "City 3-0 down at half time with 10 men....reminds me of City against Spurs in the cup a few years ago and we know how that one finished.... time for another twist in this game!"

Ryan Richards on Twitter: "Man City may be down to ten men, but you can already see they miss Toure in the middle. Could be a big miss for them"

1400: Debate is raging in the office on the red card. Putting all club loyalties aside, general concensus is that referee Chris Foy has somewhat ruined this tie. Not only was it not a red card to start with, but so early in the game it is nonsensical to be so quick to dish out such harsh punishment. Not that United fans will feel this way, of course. You can only assume that at normal speed Foy has interpreted it as a dangerous two-footed lunge.

Andy_B1G_M4N88 on Twitter: "Best thing about the Kompany Red means he'll miss the Liverpool game on Wednesday for sure."
And, chances are, the following three games after that with it being the defender's second red of the season.

1353: I'm not entirely sure I agree with the last text. Yes City had more possession in the early stages, but they hadn't created much and United were 1-0 up before the red card came. However, there is no doubt the way the tide has been moving since. It is all United, and, as it stands, it is a case of how many the Red Devils win by. From City's point of view they need a serious re-group over the next 15 minutes.

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Anon via text: "You can't seriously think this is based on form? The red card has changed everything. City were bossing the game before that."

Half time
Manchester City 0-3 Manchester United
Phil McNulty's HT snapshot:
"Manchester City completely undone by Wayne Rooney's magnificent early header and the contentious sending off of captain Vincent Kompany. Surely no way back as Manchester United stroll - not even sure we will see Paul Scholes now."

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Man Utd fans chanting "We Want Seven"....well it's a thought."

1348: They should have even more to celebrate as well. Antonio Valencia's cross from the right finds the boot of Danny Welbeck, unmarked and three yards out, but he is unable to direct what was a pretty speedy delivery on goal. Instead it flashes wide of the far post.

1346: United fans are celebrating by doing the Poznan. Salt. In. Wound.

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Tom, Winchester, via text: "This is too easy right now! Loving it. Shows City are not invincible and could throw the title race wide open if this form carries on."

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Robbie Savage after United's third goal: "Game over. This could be any score for United. The half-time team-talk from Alex Ferguson is 'go out and get five or six'. As simple as that."

Manchester United goal: It just gets better and better for Manchester United. Ryan Giggs threads a pass through to Danny Welbeck in the box and he is taken down by a sliding challenge from Aleksandar Kolarov. Chris Foy points to the spot. Wayne Rooney steps up and sees his spot-kick saved by Costel Pantilimon, only for the ball to sit up nicely for the striker to head in unchallenged. Is a very apt revenge on for the men from the red side of Manchester for a certain result earlier in the season?

1340: GOALFLASH Manchester City 0-3 Manchester United (Wayne Rooney)


BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Manchester United's fans are failing miserably to resist the temptation to rub Manchester City's supporters' noses in it."

1338: Two contrasting shots of players in the crowd. A blinged up Mario Balotelli looks anxious, while David Beckham looks very content. On the pitch, Nani is shown United's second yellow card for dissent.

1336: Danny Welbeck slightly blots his copy book by picking up a yellow card for shoving Aleksandar Kolarov in the back.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5live pundit Robbie Savage at Etihad Stadium on Manchester United's second goal: "Nigel De Jong needs to clear that but Danny Welbeck smashes that on the volley. United have dictated the play since City have gone down to 10-men and it's the perfect game for Paul Scholes to make a return in."CPS:EVENT>
1335: This is one hell of a test for City now. 2-0 down, a man light. If Roberto Mancini wanted to know the character of his side, he's going to find out over the next hour.

Manchester United goal: There is daylight between these two now. Anything Wayne Rooney can do, Danny Welbeck can match. Nani finds Patrice Evra on the left and his cross is initially flicked into the air before being hooked into the far corner of the City net on the volley by Welbeck. United couldn't have dreamed of a start like this. It is a nightmare for City, though.

1331: GOALFLASH Manchester City 0-2 Manchester United (Danny Welbeck)

Manchester United striker Michael Owen on Twitter: "What a start. The lads were fired up for this one."
Michael Owen there; the king of understatement.

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Robbie Savage at the Etihad Stadium: "The referee is losing control a little. City's players are trying to get it evened up."

1329: Manchester United almost their own enemy as Rio Ferdinand gives the ball away to David Silva, who finds Sergio Aguero. The striker is sheparded wide, which means his eventual shot can only find the side-netting.

Blackburn striker and BBC pundit Jason Roberts on Twitter: "We ALL know the rules NO two-footed challenges allowed..even with no connection. By the does not matter if it was a good tackle five years ago!"

1327: Clumsy tackle from Phil Jones on Sergio Aguero sees the Argentine felled. No card for the United man.

1325: City fighting hard to get back into this game. They are still holding most of the possession. It could well have to be a moment of magic to get them level, though. David Silva could be the man to deliver that. The Spaniard jinks into a shooting chance on the edge of the area but his powerful shot is deflected wide. The resulting corner comes to nothing.

janniky on Twitter: "Referee's going to get all the headlines yet again. The FA need to do something, happening far too often."

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium: "The atmosphere is red-hot inside The Etihad. Manchester City fans are already nursing a burning sense of injustice about Vincent Kompany's red card but Manchester United's followers are elated. And Wayne Rooney making a point by clutching the badge on his shirt after scoring. Mancini, Ferguson and Phelan already stalking the technical areas."

1321: Tactically, it looks like City have shifted Micah Richards to centre-back following Kompany's dismissal, with James Milner withdrawn more defensively on the right. Richards is a potent force going forward for City, but that has been nullified now.

1319: For now at least, City don't look like the side with 10 men. Adam Johnson is released by David Silva but his pull-back is blocked by a United defender and cleared.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Robbie Savage on Vincent Kompany's dismissal at the Etihad Stadium: "He's won the ball. It was not malicious and he's not touched Nani. For me that is not a red card. The referee has got to use common sense. Should have been a yellow card at best."

1318: The red card was a huge decision. Chris Foy may well have just given Chris Hoy a very busy afternoon on Twitter!

1317: Well, they cope pretty well initially. City are almost back on level terms as Sergio Aguero works himself some space outside the area and curls a delicious shot towards the far top corner, but Anders Lindegaard pulls off a brilliant one-handed save to turn it round the post.

Red card
Manchester City red card: It goes from bad to much, much worse for City. Vincent Kompany slides on Nani. It is two-footed, he is slightly off the ground, but a red card? I don't think so. It's a wet surface and it wasn't really dangerous. A tad over-zealous yes but a very harsh decision. Kompany takes his time leaving the pitch. How will City cope now without their influential captain?

1313: RED CARD FOR MANCHESTER CITY (Vincent Kompany)

Manchester United goal: Bang! One chance, one goal. United have barely been in the City half but as soon as they are they make it count. Wayne Rooney spreads play wide to Antonio Valencia and then charges into the box to meet the winger's cross, his header crashing off the underside of the bar before falling inside the goal. Completely against the run of play, and completely clinical.

1311: GOALFLASH Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United (Wayne Rooney)

1310: Shake that off Danny son. Aleksandar Kolarov blasts a free-kick right into Welbeck's chops. The striker's made of stern stuff and barely even rubs it. All in a day's work and that.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5live pundit Robbie Savage at Etihad Stadium: "I'd have thought Ferguson would have put Phil Jones in the centre of the park today as Yaya Toure is missing for Manchester City. Jones has power, pace and penetration but he plays at right back."

1309: Sir Alex's heart will have been in his mouth then, though, as Anders Lindegaard dwells on his clearance, allowing Sergio Aguero to close him down and block. Fortunately for the United keeper the deflection goes well wide of goal.

1307: United very much under the cosh at the moment. They're being deprived of possession by a patient City. The visitors have looked solid so far, though. Sir Alex will have no doubt drilled his troops about weathering the first 15 minutes.

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Ian, Ayr, via text: "Obviously just a cynical ploy by Sir Alex to divert attention from the day's top game at Hillsborough. Come on you Blue & White Wizards!"

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Liz, Carlisle, via text: "There are three other games on today. Amazingly not many people (outside Manchester) are bothered about this game. Always overhyped. Spare a few minutes to at least let fans of the six other teams involved have something to say."

1305: As the home side it is unsurprising to see City make the early pressing. However, James Milner and Micah Richards both waste crossing opportunities by finding United defenders.

1303: You don't see that too often at this level. Nani goes all schoolboy with a foul throw. Probably don't want to gift possession to a side as potent as City so easily.

1302: Looks like Phil Jones is at right-back for United. He's a bit versatile that kid.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Sir Alex Ferguson said he would not be mentioning Man City's 6-1 win at Old Trafford. No such problems for Man City's fans inside the Etihad."

1301: Here we go. Tie of the round. Top two in the Premier League aiming for a third-round knock-out of the other. And it is United who get us under way.

1257: The teams make their way out of the tunnel. And the reception from the Etihad crowd is, as you'd expect, vociferous.

sharkastic on Twitter: "Has Fergie decided that 'you don't win anything with kids'?"

1254: But what about the last time these two met in any competition. Do you really need reminding?

1253: Kick-off is just under 10 minutes away at the Etihad. Time to look at the FA Cup record between the two Manchester clubs. The two have met eight times in the competition, the first way back in 1881 when United were still called Newton Heath and the last, prior to today, was last season's semi. United have won five to City's three.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live commentator Alan Green on Scholes' return: "I'm astounded a player who retired back in May is suddenly on the bench and makes himself available until the end of the season. It's asking a lot. I think it's a panic measure."

samwoodcock on Twitter: "Reports that Alan Shearer is set to be unveiled as Newcastle's replacement while Demba Ba is at African Cup of Nations!"
If we're going to do this old players making a comeback lets do it properly... Marco Boogers, Sean Dundee, Ulrich van Gobbel, Steve Froggatt, your former clubs need you. Or maybe not.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Etihad Stadium:
"Roberto Mancini and Sir Alex Ferguson have been locked in mutual admiration ahead of the FA Cup third round tie at the Etihad. City boss Mancini believes United are still the team to beat and says: 'It is impossible for any team to win all the time but United have won so many trophies over the years it is impossible for Sir Alex's reputation to be damaged now.' And United boss Ferguson is full of respect for his counterpart, saying: 'I've got on very well with Roberto, I think he has done a great job and there is no reason why you can't get on with the rest of the managers because we've got the same job.'"

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "It's been in the offing for a few weeks. He has been playing really well. He came to see me and said he was missing it too much. There were no negatives as far as I'm concerned - the fans will be happy and I am happy. Everyone knows he is one of the greatest players in Manchester United's history. He has not lost his real fitness."

Former Manchester United skipper Gary Neville on Twitter: "The boy is back! The best I've seen!"

SamB_Official on Twitter: "Scholes on the bench? Reeks of desperation, club in regression. Makes the Henry signing look genius. Embarrassing."

1244: Severe side-parting alert. Former United midfielder David Beckham arrives at the Etihad looking as effortlessly trendy as ever. If he'd phoned ahead he could have had a game.

Former United captain Roy Keane on ITV: "I'm very surprised I have to say. I can understand that it's probably worth a gamble. But Scholesy retired seven or eight months ago because he thought his legs were gone and wasn't contributing in big games so in that respect I'm surprised. But it's probably worth the gamble to lift the squad."

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Paul, Maidstone, via text: "I'm backing Paul Scholes to come on as a sub, score a wondergoal and get sent off all in five minutes. Inevitable!"

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Andy, Manchester, via text: "Scholes decision makes perfect sense. Experience, it's cost us nothing, he's no worse than our current centre mids and it's not like he'll start every game. Not to mention the psychological boost! Absolute no brainer."

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Etihad Stadium:
"No problems with the profile of The FA Cup at the Etihad as Manchester City prepare to face Manchester United. The areas around the stadium were alive hours before kick-off and even David Beckham is back in town to watch his old club in this third round tie as they try recover from successive losses against Blackburn and Newcastle. No easy task against the City side that thrashed them 6-1 at Old Trafford earlier this season. Wayne Rooney's name is involved in all the sub-plots - and this big stage will provide him with the perfect opportunity to prove there is no fracture in his relationship with United and manager Sir Alex Ferguson."

Manchester City v Manchester United
Manchester City: Pantilimon, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, Milner, De Jong, Johnson, Silva, Nasri, Aguero. Subs: Hart, Zabaleta, Savic, Hargreaves, Clichy, Suarez, Razak.
Manchester United: Lindegaard, Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck. Subs: De Gea, Evans, Anderson, Park, Hernandez, Rafael Da Silva, Scholes.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

BBC Radio Manchester former Manchester City midfield Paul Simpson at Etihad Stadium: " For the first time in a long time, the Manchester City fans seems to have the upper hand but this is the start of a long run of tricky games. By the end of the month, they could be still top of the league, and still in the cup..but maybe it could all be different and Manchester United fans will have the upper hand."

1237: The Scholes blizzard has also buried another interesting midfield side-story to today's game: the presence of former United man Owen Hargreaves on the Manchester City bench. Hargreaves was, of course, ditched by United (in the nicest way possible), who considered his injury problems sufficient reason not to offer him a new deal. City saw the England man's personal YouTube fitness video and snapped him up. It's fair to say, Hargreaves will be chomping at the bit to get on the field today.

Ben Paige on Twitter: "Scholes to come off the bench and score the winner... story of the year settled, and we're only in January!"

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5live pundit Robbie Savage on the return of Paul Scholes: "What if Scholesy does well for another season - does he play for England? If he plays exceptionally well, then..."

1232: With all this Scholes chat it has almost been forgotten that yesterday the Independent put the for sale signs around Manchester United's prize asset Wayne Rooney's neck. To say United and Rooney were quick to deny it is an understatement. Sneezes have come out slower.

stoobs68 on Twitter: "Gazza and Larsson coming back for the old firm sides as well today #cupmagic."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Anon via text: "What better way to replace Paul Scholes than... Paul Scholes."

Christopher Bolton on Twitter: "This feels like the build up to an FA Cup final."

1227: OK so this is the FA Cup, but clearly there are potential implications for the all-Manchester tie beyond the competition. You may have noticed that City and United are currently numbers one and two in the Premier League table. The teams may be slightly altered from their full-strength league variation, but this game could give us clues towards how the rest of the campaign may play out. Alan Hansen certainly thinks so.

DavidM33 on Twitter: "Scholes was poor last season and will be off the pace now. Shows how desperate United's season has become- win or bust"

Former Manchester United defender Arthur Albiston on BBC Radio Manchester: "If you lose two games at Manchester United, it's a disaster but Paul Scholes returning has put a smile on my face. The decision has come about after the midfield injury situation and it will give a boost to the rest of the players."

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium: "Real buzz sweeping through the media area at The Etihad with that news about Paul Scholes. Opinions? Desperation is the view of some but Sir Alex Ferguson is short of midfield players and will have seen him regularly at Carrington. And if there is one player who would never come back as a vanity project it is Paul Scholes."

James Lynch on Twitter: "Scholes back? Paul Scholes back?...Scholesy? Unbelievably excited United fan, we have a chance today now!"

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck in for Ji-Sung Park and Dimitar Berbatov. Looks like Smalling plays at right-back with Valencia moving up to right midfield and Welbeck swap for Berbatov. Oh, and did I mention that Paul Scholes is on the bench?

1218: We've had word from Etihad that Sir Bobby Charlton has been spotted warming up. Clearly I'm joking.

1215: Last but not least, the intriguing tie between two fallen giants: West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday. The latter from League One can go someway towards reminding the football world they are still a potential force. The Hammers are looking good in the Championship, but is a Cup run what they need to distract away from the big goal of promotion?

1213: And let's not forget the fine work that Martin O'Neill has done at Sunderland of late, which will no doubt be tested at London Road from 1530 onwards by Championship side Peterborough.

Joshyyyyyyyyyyy on Twitter: "Paul Scholes was past it last year. Fergies got him back for the wrong game by a mile, how will he cope with CIty? no pace now."

1210: While Manchester City v Manchester United and the seemingly endless column inches it generates remains top billing, let's not forget there are three other FA Cup ties today. On any other day two recent winners in the shape of Portsmouth (2008) and Chelsea (2010) would be firmly in the spotlight. One interesting aspect of this is the repercussions should Chelsea lose on AVB's future?

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: As suggested earlier, Joe Hart is rested for Manchester City with Costel Pantilimon starting. Midfielders Samir Nasri and Adam Johnson both start.

JamesCulvinator on Twitter: "Re Sequels: Fergie Strikes Back?"

1204: What about that then. Scholes back at United. As if today's game didn't have enough talking points. What do you reckon, will Scholes' influence make a difference for United today and for the rest of the season? Is this the kind of psychological lift United need to push on for trophies? Or are you going to take the less-travelled path and tell me he's past it?

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Paul Scholes is on the bench for Manchester United for the third-round tie at Manchester City. He has rejoined the club as a player for the rest of the season.

Nozieboy290 on Twitter: "Have to go with a Man U win. City did their gloating in October - United have BIG scores to settle with the noisy neighbours."

1201: United know all about midfield absences this season. So injury-ravaged are they in the middle of the park that there are strong suggestions that a certain Paul Scholes (who retired at the end of last season but has been coaching the United youngters and training with the club reserves since) may make a comeback. If the 37-year-old does make an appearance, who would bet against it being a hugely influential and highly dramatic one? As the Lord* will testify, Scholes scores goals.
*May or may not exist.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Roy Keane happily signing autographs for Man City fans outside the Etihad. Sure Sir Alex will be ready with an equally warm welcome."

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Anon via text: "Will Man City struggle without Yaya Toure? I think so..."

1159: The younger Toure brother was, of course, the match-winner last time these two met in the FA Cup for last year's semi-final in April. He also scored the winner in the final to give City their first trophy in 35 years. This season, in a team of outstanding performers, he has been one of City's best players. If, as expected, he doesn't play, it will be the very epitome of a blow.

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Chris, Wirral, via text: "Re 1130: Terminator 2 now that WAS a sequel!"

1155: The quality of my eyes, especially early on a Sunday morning, means that this information does not totally disprove Sir Alex Ferguson's slightly paranoid assertion that Manchester City would pull a fast one and play Yaya today, despite the midfielder being due to meet up with the Ivory Coast squad tomorrow for the African Cup of Nations.

1151: Forgive me for name dropping but I actually walked past the entire Manchester City squad as they made their way down Deansgate to Beetham Tower in central Manchester this morning. A number of figures stood out: Edin Dzeko (massive), James Milner (bad trainers) and Roberto Mancini (dressed like a hobo fisherman). One man I didn't see, though, was Yaya Toure.

RussVernonSport on Twitter: "Hope Man City beat Man Utd later 6-1 again anyone?"

1148: First hint at a bit of early team news for the Manchester derby. Mark Ogden of the Telegraph is suggesting that Manchester City may rest goalkeeper Joe Hart for this afternoon's big Cup tie. Presumably that would mean Costel Pantilimon will start in goal. From what I've seen, the Romanian is a useful keeper, but he's no Joe Hart. What impact will this have on the game?

1145: Here then is your full list of FA Cup third-round fixtures for today:
Man City v Man Utd (1300 GMT)
Chelsea v Portsmouth (1500)
Sheffield Wednesday v West Ham (1500)
Peterborough v Sunderland (1530)
There is also two Scottish Cup fixtures featuring both Old Firm sides, with Celtic travelling to Peterhead and Rangers hosted by Arbroath.

1144: We've had a tiny technical glitch early on. A ghost in the machine. Perhaps a metaphor for.... anyway, if you could refresh now, you'll lose the rogue entries (as good as they were you don't want to read them thrice). Cheers.

JakeBlairAFC on Twitter: "Wouldn't it just be brilliant if Tevez played today!"

Former Manchester United skipper Gary Neville on Twitter: "Crazy season always the unexpected.. What will happen today? Anyone who says they know is a liar. You can never predict these games! Replay!"

1142: No, I won't have that. It is not going to 0-0. But what will the score be? Who will be today's heroes and villains? If your team made it through, who do you want in round four? And why is it always Mario Balotelli? I want answers. You can Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @phildawkes or text in via 81111 (UK).

1138: I jest of course. The Manchester City v Manchester United match looms over today like a big loomy thing, eclipsing all other games (unless you're a Chelsea, Portsmouth, Peterborough, Sunderland, Wednesday or West Ham fan that is). It is an encounter dripping with history, ferocity and local pride. The partisan expect a result, the neutral demand entertainment. Goalless draw then?

1134: When the third-round draw was made 38 days ago, one tie stood out above all others. A monumental match, a gargantuan game, a titanic tussle between two footballing giants currently riding high in the league. A game of passion, pride and points to prove. But before Sheffield Wednesday play West Ham there's this little Manchester derby to get out of the way.

1130: The law of diminishing returns suggests that sequels are invariably worse than the original. Not this one. Welcome one and all to what promises to be a truly bombastic second day of FA Cup third round weekend: the Godfather Part Two of football follow-ups.

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see also
FA Cup third-round photos
08 Jan 12 |  Football

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