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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 August 2007, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
Premier League as it happened
Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool Bolton 1-3 Newcastle Derby 2-2 Portsmouth Everton 2-1 Wigan Middlesbrough 1-2 Blackburn Sunderland 1-0 Tottenham West Ham 0-2 Man City

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

By Charlie Henderson

Player of the Day: Everton's Mikel Arteta takes the honour. The midfielder polled 8.87 to edge out Newcastle's two-goal striker Obafemi Martins on 8.85, with Blackburn's Roque Santa Cruz third on 8.41 - ahead of a rising Steven Gerrard.

1915: And finally, don't forget to tune in to the BBC Sport website on Sunday from 1130 BST for all the action and reaction from Arsenal v Fulham, Chelsea v Birmingham and Manchester United v Reading. Will any of them knock Newcastle off top spot?

1913: Before that get on the phone and have your say on BBC Radio 5live with Alan Green on 606, which you can also listen to on the BBC Sport website. Call on 0500 909 693, send in a text on 85058 or log on at 606 to join the debate.

1910: The Premier League is back. Seven games, 20 goals, two clean sheets and a host of new faces. Catch everything on Match of the Day with Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Alan Hansen on BBC One from 2215 BST.

"The Liverpool match was like me playing Crown Green Bowls - one-sided. I always win at Crown Green Bowls, but always know I could have done better. Liverpool could have done better. They will win the Premier League this season.
Cory Mcleod on 606

1907: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
That's that then for the opening day - although not soon enough for Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez who is pointing at his watch.The Reds end the day nestled nicely in fifth, a place behind city rivals Everton.

1906: Liverpool are holding firm in defence high up the pitch.

1905: John Carew jumps high to get a back header to Ashley Young's cross. Pepe Reina tips the ball over. A villa foul checks any chance of an equaliser from the corner.

1904: Liverpool make a change with time running out. Mohamed Sissoko comes on. The Reds stoutly defend a corner.

1903: Nothing as yet, apart from a yellow card for Stilian Petrov as he petulantly throws the ball away.

1902: Is it the last goal of the day? Have Villa got a response?

1901: GOAL Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
Blimey, not half. The best goal of the day is the last. Steven Gerrard arcs a free-kick into the top of the top corner of the Villa goal. The excellent Stuart Taylor gets fingertips to the ball, but that is not enough to deny the Reds skipper. The free-kick was given for a barge by Stilian Petrov on Gerrard.

1900: Five minutes to go. Have Liverpool got a response?

1858: GOAL Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool
Villa skipper Gareth Barry makes no mistake from the spot. That is the club's first home goal against Liverpool in 311 minutes.

1857: Penalty for Liverpool after Jamie Carragher handles in the box to defend against John Carew's faint flick on in the box. Pepe Reina is booked for antics that delay the spot-kick.

1856: Villa manager Martin O'Neill is doing his nut over something. Referee Mike Riley has words.

1855: Wow. Ryan Babel thumps the ball with punishing power. From an acute angle he catches the sweet spot again, but Stuart Taylor beats the effort away. But for Taylor, Liverpool would be home and hosed on top of the table tonight.

1854: When Liverpool get the ball they use it much better. Their problem is that as the game gets ever more frantic they are not getting enough of it.

1852: Liverpool throw on a second new player off the bench. The pony-tailed Andriy Voronin replaces Fernando Torres.

1851: Head tennis in the Liverpool box before the visitors get some relief from the referee's whistle for a foul on Alvaro Arbeloa. The Reds look far from comfortable at the moment. A little over 10 minutes left on the clock.

1849: Jamie Carragher gets in a vital clearance as Luke Moore looks to control the ball in the box. End to end and Ryan Babel has the chance to make an instant impact but arrows Dirk Kuyt's cross wide with a venemous volley.

1847: It is a welcome to the Premier League for Liverpool's Ryan Babel, who is wearing 18. And from a Villa perspective it is good riddance to Jermaine Pennant. The winger is roundly jeered as he goes off.

1846: Villa manager Martin O'Neill shuffles his pack and it is an attacking move. Luke Moore replaces Wilfred Bouma.

1842: Lovely play from Liverpool which nearly ends in a goal. Jermaine Pennant picks out the on-rushing Steven Gerrard, who is denied by a fine save from Stuart Taylor.

1838: John Carew goes down under a lunging challenge from behind by Jamie Carragher. The Norwegian is flagged offside anyway, so penalty shouts are abbreviated at best.

1836: Craig Gardner takes one in the crown jewels, point-blank range from the howitzer-footed John Arne Riise. His eyes might be watering, but he kept the deficit at a goal. Riise thundered on to Dirk Kuyt's cross.

1833: It looks unlikely that anyone from this game will knock Obafemi Martins off the Player of the Day pedestal. Newcastle's Nigerian striker still leads Mikel Arteta. The leading contender at Villa Park looks to be Fernando Torres.

1831: Wilfred Bouma catches Jermaine Pennant late and the Liverpool man reacts. Referee Mike Riley was already reaching for his pocket and Villa's Dutch defender is booked. Pennant escapes with a word, much to the annoyance of the home support. They want him heading for an early bath.

1830: Whatever Martin O'Neill said at the break is working. Villa have upped the tempo and their fans have upped the noise in response. Liverpool look a little rattled.

1828: Jermaine Pennant spitefully chops at the ankles of the lively Ashley Young. He's in the book for that needless challenge.

1826: Newcastle look set to end the day top of the table, and while Sam Allardyce will take the plaudits his replacement as Bolton boss Sammy Lee has been left "far from happy" at his side's 3-1 defeat to the Magpies. But all is not lost. "When we got the ball down and played in the second half we looked like a decent unit," Lee added.

"Sammy Lee= first manager to be sacked."
chrisegan on 606

"Newcastle top of the league, as it should be."
toon for life on 606

1824: More good news on Blackburn's Benni McCarthy. The South Africa has been released from hospital and is travelling back to Lancashire from Middlesbrough with his team-mates.

1821: Ashley Young beats Steve Finnan all ends up on the left but cannot pick out a claret and blue shirt. Pepe Reina parries and John Arne Riise completes the clearance.

1819: An early effort from Liverpool. John Arne Riise powers forward but shoots wide as Nigel Reo-Coker slides in with a tackle.

1818: Back to the action and Villa boss Martin O'Neill has dipped into the Premier League's smallest squad to replace Martin Laursen with Gary Cahill. The Dane is feeling ill. Sick as a parrot you could say after that own goal.

1813: And now an advert for the 5live people - equal opportunities and that. Tune in to 606 after the Aston Villa-Liverpool game with Alan Green to rant and rave about whatever takes your fancy. You can call on 0500 909 693 or send in a text on 85058.

1809: A parish notice as Dare by the Gorillaz plays at Aston Villa. Match of the Day is on BBC One at 2215 when the two Alans - Shearer and Hansen - join Gary Lineker. They're not as funny as the Two Ronnies, but they will guide you through the action with aplomb in a new look show.

1802: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool's hold over Villa looks set to remains. The Reds have not lost any of the last 12 meetings. Back a bit further, as you might urge the mother-in-law at a photo opportunity atop a big cliff, they've only lost one of the last 17.

1800: Gabriel Agbonlahor breaks on the left, but there are not enough people up in support. He is behind the defence, but as he looks up to pick out a player he is met by four white shirts. His eventual shot, having cut back on to his right foot, is blocked.

1757: Liverpool have been getting it right, but here's a chance for Villa. Gareth Barry picks out Stilian Petrov on the left, but the Bulgarian's effort is straight at Pepe Reina.

"If Liverpool get their away form right, they'll challenge Chelsea and Manchester United. The challenge they've had is getting the combination right up front."
Garth Crooks, BBC Score pundit

1753: A square pass across the box from John Arne Riise finds Steven Gerrard, but the Liverpool skipper fails to keep his shot down.

1750: Aston Villa are on the rack as Liverpool stretch them here. Stuart Taylor does well to deny Dirk Kuyt.

1746: GOAL Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool Stuart Taylor denies Fernando Torres one-on-one after the Spaniard spins away from Olof Mellberg, but the ball is in the back of the net after Martin Laursen turns in the follow-up pull back from Dirk Kuyt for an own goal.

1745: Chants of 'Who are you, who are you' from the Holte End greet a first real effort on goal from Liverpool striker Fernando Torres. It fizzes across the six-yard box.

1738: Good news on the Benni McCarthy front. For latecomers, the Blackburn striker collapsed on the pitch. Boss Mark Hughes confirms he did not swallow his tongue and is confident he will be OK.

1736: Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is understandably delighted with an opening day win on the road. "If you talk about points, that was the perfect start," he said. Sounds like he thinks there's room for improvement.

1734: A chance for Liverpool. Jermaine Pennant cuts in from the right and picks out Steven Gerrard. Villa keeper Steven Taylor gathers the sidefooted shot at the second attempt. He was lucky nobody was following up.

1731: Obafemi Martins is currently your player of the day with a score of 8.81. The two-goal Newcastle striker is closely followed by Everton's Mikel Arteta and Blackburn debutant Roque Santa Cruz. If you want to mark any Premier League player out of 10 have a go on the BBC Sport Player rater.

1725: A few complaints this afternoon about the lack of audio commentary from games on the BBC Sport website. Apologies to all who are left frustrated when it suddenly dies, but that is a rights issue.

1723: So many tales from the first day of the Premier League season, but it is still the opening game of the afternoon that is dominating on 606 - or more pertinently Tottenham's chances this season. If you were at any games today let us know your thoughts via text on 81111 or on 606.

The two former Tottenham players on the BBC Score panel sound worried. Garth Crooks: "They were not prepared to get in behind Sunderland. If Spurs want to finish top-four they have to play better than that." Les Ferdinand: "I was expecting big things from Spurs this season, you'd expcet them to get a result at Sunderland."

1718: Jermaine Pennant is being roundly booed by Villa fans becuase of his links with cross-city rivals Birmingham at a sunny Villa Park. The right winger's cross is easily cleared.

1717: But Aston Villa could be their perfect opponents. The Reds have not lost on a trip to Villa Park since February 1998.

1716: Liverpool - white shirts, black shorts - have not won an opening day fixture for five seasons. They get things going at Aston Villa.

1707: TEAM NEWS Aston Villa v Liverpool
Nigel Reo-Coker makes his debut for Aston Villa, who have Stuart Taylor in goal, with new signing Scott Carson, loaned to them by Liverpool, ineligible to play. Fernando Torres makes his debut for Liverpool, with Peter Crouch not even worth a place on the bench.

"The fans are nervous that Gareth Southgate hasn't been able to bring players in"
Gary Pallister, Score pundit

"City are back! We are a massive club again. We will have our big pitch back and some really tall floodlights!"
Braggyfan on 606

"I look at the WHUFC side and we are short of 6 players; otherwise I see another long season ahead."
richardtapper on 606

1656: FULL-TIME Bolton 1-3 Newcastle
The Magpies go top of the table, knocking north-east rivals Sunderland off their perch. Do the math. Bolton are bottom. Acutally, do the alphabet, they are second bottom to West Ham.

1656: FULL-TIME Middlesbrough 1-2 Blackburn
It has been testy all afternoon at the Riverside and it boils over at the whistle. They're all looking for a handbag as Rovers celebrate victory inbetween a few pushes and shoves. Boro's Andrew Taylor and Yakubu seem to be the main protagonists.

1656: FULL-TIME Everton 2-1 Wigan
The Toffees were sweating at the end but it's job done for them. THat is the sort of game you have to pick up three points from. It could be a long, hard season for Wigan and boss Chris Hutchings.

1655: Boro's George Boateng tangles with Blackburn substitute Matt Derbyshire. All a bit ungainly and they are rolling around on the turf as if auditioning for the lightweight's version of WWF.

1654: FULL-TIME West Ham 0-2 Manchester City
Svensational. "The goals City scored were through individual brilliance," says Gary Pallister on Score. Never mind the individuality of it all. It was simply brilliant for City fans - and Sheffield United supporters! West Ham are surely too good to get involved in another relegation fight. When did we hear that before?

1654: FULL-TIME Derby 2-2 Portsmouth
Welcome to the Premier League Derby. They were the last team to win on the opening day and go down. That was in 2001. Maybe a drawn, see-saw game will serve them better in 2007.

1653: West Ham keeper Robert Green denies Manchester City substitute Valery Bojinov with a firm right hand.

1652: Blackburn custodian Brad Friedel dives low to save a point-blank header from Boro's David Wheater.

1650: Six minutes of injury time to be played at the Riverside after that serious injury to Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy in the second half.

1647: GOAL West Ham 0-2 Manchester City
Sven Goran-Eriksson is smiling and so are the travelling support at Upton Park. Nedum Onuoha finds Geovanni in the box and the Brazilian rifles in a low effort.

1645: Wins are a priority on the opening weekend. In the last seven seasons the champions have always picked up three points. In the same period only one team that has won on the opening day has ended up going down. In short, bag those points.

1644: GOAL Derby 2-2 Portsmouth
Unbelievable reply from the newcomers, showing the fighting spirit of their gaffer Billy Davies, who is up in the stands today. Gary Teale surges down the right and his cross is met by a thundering diving header by debutant central defender Andy Todd. Brilliant response.

1643: GOAL Derby 1-2 Portsmouth
John Utaka
looks like he has given Pompey all three points on his debut by coolly slotting in from six yards after Hermann Hreidarsson heads a long ball into the box back across goal.

1642: GOAL Everton 2-1 Wigan
Maybe Everton are not looking so comfy after all. Paul Scharner's cross finds Antoine Sibierski unmarked and the Latics cut their arrears by half.

1641: We are entering the final 10 minutes. Newcastle and Everton look to have the points in the bag, but things are up in the air elsewhere.

1640: A chance for Dean Ashton from eight yards. What a miss. He sidefoots Jonathan Spector's cross over the bar after getting behind Javier Garrido at the back post.

1638 GOAL Middlesbrough 1-2 Blackburn
Another substitute scores for Rovers - and what a goal. Matt Derbyshire picks up the ball on the left-hand corner of the box, turns and spears a shot beyond Boro's Mark Schwarzer. He had only been on the pitch for 23 seconds!

1637 GOAL Everton 2-0 Wigan
Andy Johnson's stabbed cross is poked in by Victor Anichebe.

1633: A release of pressure for Manchester City as Martin Petrov hits the target, Robert Green juggling the ball wide for a corner. City have been under the cosh in the second 45 so far.

1632: Obafemi Martins has done his work for the day. Two goals. Not a bad return. Nolberto Solano comes on. Rumour has it he wants to head for the Newcastle exit. Will this be his last game for the Magpies?

1629: Kanu replaces David Nugent for Portsmouth. There have been some good scoring debuts today, but former Preston striker Nugent will want to forget that 68 minutes. Anonymous.

1626: Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is looking nervy on the touchline. So are his backroom staff. Wonder if he watched them on video only as well before bringing them in? Eriksson's former England assistant Steve McClaren is looking on from high in the stands at Upton Park.

1624: Huge cheers at Upton Park where Dean Ashton makes his first appearance in 12 months. He missed the whole of last season. George McCartney is the man to make way.

1622: GOAL Middlesbrough 1-1 Blackburn
He didn't come on in the best of circumstances, but what a start for Roque Santa Cruz. The Paraguayan climbs high to head in David Bentley's cross from the right. "Shades of Les Ferdinand" remarks Garth Crooks on Score.

1621: Bobby Zamora has been playing well. The Hammers striker picks out Matthew Etherington at the far post, but Freddie Ljungberg cannot turn in the substitute's drilled cross.

1619: Blackburn's Benni McCarthy is stretchered off with an oxygen mask over his face at the Riverside. Roque Santa Cruz comes on for his debut. Looking forward to seeing him.

1616: What looks like a serious injury for Blackburn's Benni McCarthy. He took a bang under a high ball from Andrew Davies, initially seemed fine but then fell to the ground. Fortunately the Rovers physio was in close attendance and got the South African in the recovery position ASAP.

1615: Craig Fagan sprints clear of the Pompey defence but David James manages to get two hands to the Derby man's low shot.

1613: News from Goodison Park where it is reported that Everton manager David Moyes congratulated referee Mark Clattenburg on a good penalty call - despite the fact that it was against Mikel Arteta. Who's stolen the real Moyes?

1612: GOAL Bolton 1-3 Newcastle
Is this the start of the Bolton comeback? Nicolas Anelka breaks from halfway and makes no mistake one on one with Steve Harper.

1610: Matthew Etherington and Hayden Mullins came on at the break for Lee Bowyer and Luis Boa Morte and they seem to have had an impact on West Ham, who are playing much better.

1609: Steve Harper makes a fine save to maintain Newcastle's three-goal lead. Kevin Davies breaks down the left and finds Nicolas Anelka. Gary Speed spanks the Frenchman's lay-off on goal, but Harper parries the effort round the post.

1604: The action resumes.

1603: Everton players Leighton Baines, Paddy Boyle and James Vaughan looked to be enjoying themselves at the break have a giggle at something on the injured Vaughan's mobile.

1602: You could have got 25/1 on Newcastle's Obafemi Martins being the Premier League's top scorer this season at the start of the day. A few hours ago Bolton boss Sammy Lee was 7/2 second favourite to be the first manager to be handed a P45. What price now?

1555: Sunderland manager Roy Keane hailed his side's "spirit" and "desire" in the 1-0 win over Tottenham. "We deserved to win." Martin Jol described the game as "disappointing" and "boring". He added: "There was not a creativity in the side. It is not just about the front players, you have to be better in midfield."

"Someone should tell Martin Jol that in the Premier League it's the midfield that counts not the strikers. Look how great Man United were last season.
Gurdev Singh, via text on 81111

The Spurs debate rumbles on on 606 where Berbagod says: "Not end of the world. It's one bad result." Get involved at the link below...

"Wow. Newcastle have been impressive. Bolton haven't had a shout. I hope this is a sign of things to come for Newcastle."
nat113 on 606

"1-1 despite handing the game to Derby. Strong words required by Mr Redknapp at half time me thinks."
pompey_chimes on 606

1548: HALF-TIME
The teams turn for the tunnel and Newcastle are heading for the top of the table as things stand.

1547: Blackburn boss Mark Hughes is getting a lecture on the touchline from Andre Marriner. Tempers are frayed on the pitch at the Riverside, and now the dug out.

1546: Talking about biscuits, Eggert Magnusson's West Ham are pushing for an equaliser. Freddie Ljungberg's shot is well saved by Kasper Schmeichel after a mazy Luis Boa Morte run.

1543: The last time Newcastle won at Bolton was in 2001 when they travelled home with a 4-0 win in the bag. Mark Viduka looks for a United fourth from inside his own half. Things might be going Newcastle's way, but that would have taken the biscuit.

1541: Pompey duo Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin are big lads, but they have got their hands full with Steve Howard. The Derby striker is winning so much in the air and he gets on the end of another cross there. He beats David James but his effort rebounds off the post to safety.

1539: George Boateng clobbers Robbie Savage with a crunching challenge. A yellow card for the Boro skipper. Savage is not having the best of afternoons so far.

"I don't think Man City managed this type of football at anytime last season. Looks good for them so far."Cold War Kid on 606

1534: Chance for a slight breather after a flurry of goals. The Premier League is certainly back in business.

1532: Action everywhere, including the Morecambe press box. Mark Clemmit's chair collapses uinderneath him as he gives an update live on BBC Radio 5live. Cue guffawing all around as the intrepid reporter explains "I'm sitting with my legs in the air".

1531: GOAL Middlesbrough 1-0 Blackburn
Stewart Downing strikes a crisp, low free-kick through the Rovers wall and in at Brad Friedel's near post. The giant American keeper is furious at Robbie Savage and Morten Gamst Pedersen who were the weak bricks in that flimsy wall.

1529: GOAL Bolton 0-3 Newcastle
It is a second goal for Obafemi Martins, although the Nigerian got a large slice of luck. His shot from outside the area, after racing on to Steven Taylor's long ball, takes a deflection off Aboulaye Faye.

1528: GOAL Everton 1-0 Wigan
Leon Osman heads Everton in front from around the penalty spot after Tony Hibbert's cross takes a deflection off Titus Bramble.

1528: GOAL Derby 1-1 Portsmouth
The visitors launch a quick break upfield and Benjani levels matters, dribbling neatly inside and poking a shot under Stephen Bywater with the outside of his right foot.

1527: Alan Smith and Steven Taylor combine to clear Gary Speed's effort off the line. Calls for a penalty for handball against Smith fall on deaf ears.

1526: Manchester City's Kasper Schmeichel tips a Lee Bowyer shot on to the bar.

1524: Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes chances his arm from distance. Derby's Stephen Bywater easily saves.

1523: GOAL Bolton 0-2 Newcastle
Another ball into the Bolton box and another Newcastle goal. James Milner drifts a cross in from the left and Obafemi Martins has time to chest it up and crack in an overhead kick.

1520: GOAL West Ham 0-1 Manchester City
The City rollercoaster is up and running and Rolando Bianchi will not score an easier goal in English football. Elano breaks on the right, burns past Matthew Upson and puts in a low, teasing cross.

1518: Babylon Zoo's 'Spaceman' was top of the charts when Derby last beat Portsmouth. The date was 24 February 1996. Admittedly, they've only met twice since then.

1517: Derby remain on top against Portsmouth and are causing their visitors trouble in the air. More power from Darren Moore and David James could have been in trouble as the defender steals in at the back post to meet Matt Oakley's cross with a header.

1514: GOAL Bolton 0-1 Newcastle
Charles N'Zogbia floats a free-kick in from the left and new boy David Rozenhal gets a glancing touch beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen. Happy days for the travelling fans.

1512: Manchester City look to be gelling well. Martin Petrov and Javier Garrido have shots on goal.

1508: Middlesbrough break at pace. Tuncay Sanli slides a pass across the box, but Jeremie Aliadiere cannot turn the ball in.

1507: Heart in mouth defending for Bolton where Gerald Cid almost deflects an effort into his own goal with Mark Viduka sniffing around.

1504: GOAL Derby 1-0 Portsmouth
It is a good day for the top-flight new boys so far. Steve Howard flicks on a long punt and skipper Matt Oakley surges through from midfield to score. Where was the Pompey defence?

1501: Derby and Portsmouth are the first to get going. The rest soon follow.

1500: Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce takes his seat in the directors' box at Bolton. Not exactly "his" seat anymore, but you get the point. The PA fella makes a big play of welcoming "Sammy Leeeeeee" on to the pitch.

1459: Chairmen Eggert Magnusson and Thaksin Shinawatra are in attendence in the VIP seats at Upton Park where West Ham host Manchester City.

1458: Here they come.

1456: The PA announcers are dusting down some bloc-rocking beats. The volume's up. We are all set. Where are the players?

1454: Last but by no means least is Bolton v Newcastle, where Sam Allardyce returns to his former club. Earlier in the day Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside played down the significance of that. "It's only as important as the other 37 games," he told BBC Radio 5live. He also added that scandal surrounding Allardyce in the transfer market was "causing damage" and said the club had "got stale". Welcome back Sam.

1453: Wigan have lost each of their two first games of the season in the Premier League. Will it be third time lucky at Everton?

1450: Perry Groves was tipping Middlesbrough to go down on BBC Radio 5live last night. They host Blackburn, who they have not beaten in five attempts.

1448: Sven-Goran Eriksson is sporting a lovely Sky Blue tie. Nice touch. And despite speculation and gossip that he will get a hard time from away fans, the former England boss has a hoard of Claret and Blue clad fans pushing pens and programmes to him for an autograph.

1446: Bright sunshine welcomes Derby into the Premier League at Pride Park where they host Portsmouth. County are favourites to go down, but they share one thing in common with every other club today. Blind hope. Well, every club but Tottenham.


TEAM NEWS FOR 1500 BST GAMES

Middlesbrough are without Jonathan Woodgate and give Jeremie Aliadiere a debut after his move from Arsenal. Blackburn leave Roque Santa Cruz on the bench, preferring Jason Roberts in attack with Benni McCarthy.

Bolton start with former Aston Villa pair Gavin McCann and Jlloyd Samuel in the side, while Gerald Cid plays in defence with Abdoulaye Meite injured. Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce hands debuts to David Rozenhal, Alan Smith and Mark Viduka for his first game in charge, while Obafemi Martins is also included in an attacking looking line-up.

Derby hand debuts to record signing Rob Earnshaw, Andy Todd, Claude Davis, Tyrone Mears and former Pompey defender Andy Griffin. Portsmouth unveil a new 13m strike pairing in John Utaka and David Nugent, and also include new faces Sulley Muntari, Hermann Hreidarsson and Sylvain Distin.

Everton leave new boys Phil Jagielka and Steven Pienaar on the bench, while another new addition Leighton Baines misses out against his old club with a hamstring injury. Wigan give four of their summer acquisitions acquisitions - Mario Melchiot, Jason Koumas Titus Bramble and Andreas Granqvist - first starts.

West Ham striker Dean Ashton has to settle for a place on the bench but Freddie Ljungberg and Craig Bellamy both start, with the Swede named captain. Six players make their Manchester City debut with teenage goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel joined by five new signings - Vedran Corluka, Javier Garrido, Elano, Martin Petrov and Rolando Bianchi - with three other new arrivals - Geovanni, Gelson Fernandes and Valeri Bojinov - on the bench.


"Spurs, for all the money they've spent trying to get up there with the top four, still look distinctly average, error prone and lacking in ideas. They'll be lucky to qualify for the UEFA cup this season."
Pikiesurfer on 606

"This game is not an indication of anything other than Spurs not playing as strong as they should have given their line-up. But there is still 37 league games to go and anythig can change, can happen during those games."
LiverBirdMate on 606

1439: FULL-TIME Sunderland 1-0 Tottenham
What a start for Sunderland. They top the Premier League and the Stadium of Light has gone stark, raving nuts. Tottenham for the top four? Not on that showing.

1438: GOAL Sunderland 1-0 Tottenham
Ross Wallace dinks a cross over from the right and picks out Michael Chopra. The former Newcastle man takes his time and passes the ball into the back of the net.

1437: Free-kick for the Black Cats. Liam Miller's hovering over this one. The wall does its job, but it was never the full 10 yards. Lack of experience there from Sunderland. They should have pointed that out and had a word with the ref.

1436: Two more minutes to play and Sunderland are being roared on by their home support. Michael Chopra goes for an audacious overhead kick. In golfing parlance, it is an airshot.

1435: Excellent save from Paul Robinson, who also looks handy. Dickson Etuhu knees an effort on goal which almost catches the Spurs man flat-footed. Almost.

1434: Corner to Spurs. The ball breaks out of the box and Tom Huddlestone latches on to it with a tumping drive. Craig Gordon saves comfortably. It was at a good height for the Scot, but he looks handy.

1433: Tom Huddlestone replaces Didier Zokora as Tottenham give it one last go.

1432: Sunderland push but, as has been the case pretty much all afternoon, there is no killer ball in the final third.

1431: Sunderland decide against floating a free-kick into the box - AKA The Mixer - and play it across the park. Bad choice. When the ball eventually goes forward it is easily cleared.

1430: Maybe they thought we were still working our way through the pre-season programme.

1428: Three shots on target. That pretty much sums up the day's opening Premier League game. Poor.

1427: Tottenham are keeping possession but going nowhere.

1424: A fearful baying response from Sunderland fans after a poor decision from referee Alan Wiley. Throw-in to Spurs? Don't think so. The sun nose out from behind the cloud.

"I'm just wondering what planet Alan Wiley's from? He's given so many dubious decisions their way."
Andrew, Peterborough, via text on 81111

1423: Just 15 minutes to go and Tottenham drag off Dimitar Berbatov. He doesn't look too chuffed as Jermain Defoe comes on. Sunderland face a test of pace in defence.

1422: Penalty shout. Didier Zokora goes down with Dean Whitehead in attendance. No spot-kick, but no booking for a dive.

"Spurs are just the better side, but Sunderland are still in this game."
Steve Stone, BBC Radio 5live pundit

1420: Sunderland have a terrible top-flight record having won just eight of their last 85 games in the division. With that record in mind a draw would be a good result.

1417: Roy Keane is making more changes. It's a debut for Michael Chopra and Danny Collins also comes on. Anthony Stokes and Kieran Richardson trot off. Collins goes to left-back and Ross Wallace moves into midfield.

"Sunderland have loads of spirit within the team, great fans but simply lack class and composure required in the Prem. Just like Sheffield United."
Dave, Spalding , via text on 81111

1409: Younes Kaboul is on the charge. A powerful break from the big Spurs defender, but his pounding run comes to nothing... and now for the trek back.

1408: Give us your shouts for the player with the best summer tan as well on 81111 if you're at any games. Match of the Day host Gary Lineker was sporting a bronze hue in the canteen that could well better any present-day player.

1407: We're going to crown our player of the day at the end of the day and Dimitar Berbatov is setting the early pace on 7.59. Beatable.

"Darren Bent is going to make this game special."
Danny_Iz_A_Gunner on 606

1404: Darren Bent, wearing number 23, is on for Spurs. Teemu Tainio makes way.

1403: A first change. Liam Miller replaces Dwight Yorke in the Sunderland midfield. A second change will follow. Darren Bent is ready to come on.

1400: Free-kick to Tottenham on the edge of the area after Nyron Nosworthy catches Pascal Chimbonda. Jermaine Jenas, Younes Kaboul and Dimitar Berbatov stand over the ball, each spits out some phlegm and then the later curls an effort over.

1355: Nice play from Sunderland on the left. Pascal Chimbonda puts in a blocking challenge on Daryl Murphy to ease the pressure. The Spurs man writhes in agony for all of 10 seconds before getting up.

1350: The match resumes at the Stadium of Light. No substitutions, meaning that Michael Chopra remains on the bench.

1345: Roy Keane is back in his dugout for the start of the second half. The Irishman had a face like thunder as he walked down the tunnel. Wonder what he said for his first half-time team talk?

"What a dreadful game. For all Sunderland's efforts, their passing looks less slick, their touch and movement not that much better, but they look a goal threat. Says a lot about Spuds!"
=Snoop= on 606

1334: HALF-TIME Sunderland 0-0 Tottenham
Spurs end the half on top, but if it stays this way Sunderland will go top thanks to the alphabet.

1330: Bit of a mess at the back for the Black Cats. Craig Gordon goes walkabout and Dimitar Berbatov is ready to pounce after latching on to a ball over the top and rounding the keeper. He sprawls to the ground under a challenge. No penalty. Play goes on and up the other end where Dickson Etuhu shoots wide.

1327: Sunderland open up Tottenham, but Daryl Murphy can't put the chance away. His first touch on the right makes the angle harder and Spurs stopper Paul Robinson does just that with a smothering save.

1325: Sunderland's Dickson Etuhu fails to get enough on a cross from the left. Poor header, but that could be a good point of attack for the Black Cats. The last five goals Spurs have conceded in league football have been headers.

1324: You can have your verdict on Marlon Harewood, Titus Bramble et al on the BBC Sport Player Rater. Dimitar Berbatov's leading the way in the Sunderland v Tottenham game, with Dean Whitehead down at the other end.

1321: Andy in Hull has sent in a text on 81111 proposing Marlon Harewood as the summer's worst recruit. "Four million for a failed striker. Not good."

1318: Jermaine Jenas is urging for movement from his team-mates. Maybe he just wants someone to show so he can get rid of the ball quickly because of the chorus of boos that great his every touch? That's what being a former Newcastle player gets you round these parts.

1317: A first save for Craig Gordon after lovely link up play from Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane. The Bulgarian lays the ball off on the edge of the area and the Irish striker lines up a shot but fails to catch it cleanly. Darren Bent could struggle to break up these two in attack.

1314: Bang on cue, Sunderland ping a few passes together and that is the best football they have played this afternoon. Ross Wallace's low shot is deflected wide. A Paul McShane foul on Anthony Gardner under a high ball also helps get things going.

1313: It's all a bit rusty between Sunderland and Tottenham and the hosts are struggling to retain possession, particularly in the attacking third.

1310: Back to footballing matters and the worst signing of the season. "One name says it all... Titus Bramble!" They are hiding behind anonymity, but are they right?

1304: The fall out from Mark Lawrenson's shirt is more entertaining than the football at the moment. The text line's gone into overdrive. "Tell Lawro Harry Hill wants his shirt back," says Louis, while an anonymous texter on 81111 complains: "I have a terrible hangover and Lawro's shirt is killing me."

1300: Sunderland have started pretty well and Craig Gordon, Britain's most expensive goalkeeper, is having a nice time of it in goal at the moment.

1256: "Spurs have only done well in the last couple of years because the level of expectancy at Tottenham was not too great; now that they are expected to finish top four I predict thay they will fold under the pressure. Sunderland will do well. Winners Man Utd, Chelsea second, Arsenal third, Liverpool fourth and who cares about fifth?"
justfootballsense on 606

1253: The first corner of the season is a contender for the worst corner of the season. Kieran Richardson balloons a left-footed effort high over the area and out at the opposite flag. An apposite time to ask who is the worst signing of the season? Text your views or get tapping on 606.

1252: BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has got Sunderland v Tottenham down as a 1-1 draw. His sartorial elegance on Football Focus has drawn your attention. "Is his collar keeping his head up?" asks Chris, a Liverpool fan, while Tony has complained the "barcode" shirt "makes my TV screen distorted".

1249: The Premier League season starts after Sunderland emerge from a pre-match huddle. A little late, but we've been waiting 90 days so who cares.

1246: Cracking atmosphere at the Stadium of Light, and here comes the main man Roy Keane, the day after his 36th birthday. He gingerly waits a while in the tunnel before emerging, suited and chewing gum, to shake hands with opposite number Martin Jol.

"The expectations are massive, particularly after what Roy Keane did last year. Whether he's got enough to stay in this division time will tell. It's a massive step up."
Steve Stone, BBC Radio 5live pundit

Here come the two teams at the Stadium of Light. All 22 are sporting 'Don't You Forget About Me' T-Shirts with a picture of Madeleine McCann. She has been missing for 100 days.

1238: Random fact for Tottenham now. Darren Bent scored twice when he last played at the Stadium of Light. It was his Charlton debut. Maybe Martin Jol should have given him a start after all.

1236: Sunderland boss Roy Keane - or should that be SundIreland boss Roy Keane? - travels to work every day by plane. That's a sizeable carbon footprint then, with an estimated 25 tonnes of emissions a year.

1233: "The Mighty Quinn" is being played at the Stadium of Light, a song that has also been adopted by Harlequins. That's probably the only similarity between the hard-nosed Wearsiders and the jester-motifed London rugby club.

1230: Chelsea's Steve Sidwell tells Football Focus that Manchester United's Owen Hargreaves is the best summer signing in the Premier League, before adding "I'm not sure the gaffer will be happy!"

1227: A nice little full stop to the whole Carlos Tevez summer saga. The Hammers will donate 500,000 of the settlement fee to charity. The money has been earmarked for mini football pitches in Newham.

"Neil Warnock should take blame for Sheff Utd going down and stop looking for excuses."
Anonymous via text on 81111

1213: The Carlos Tevez transfer saga might at last be over, but it is still rumbling on in Neil Warnock's head. "Everyone in football, even West Ham fans, know Sheffield United were stitched up," says the former Blades boss on Football Focus.

1221: West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson is looking for a strong showing this season. "We as a club want to move forward, we would love to finish in the top 10. I'm quite optimistic. I think to have a healthy Premier League, to have a healthy football scene in England, you need to have teams that have aspirations and ambition to break into the top four. We have that and we are going to do that. It will take time, but we will get there."

1215: Just 30 minutes to the first game and the players are warming up at an overcast Stadium of Light. The flak is flying Tottenham's way...

"Will be good to see Spurs trip up this afternoon after all their mouthiness over the last few weeks. No way they can challenge Arsenal or anyone else in the top four... and I'm not even a Gunners fan!
BraggyFan on 606

"How many games/titles will Spurs "nearly" win this season? They're like a box of chocolates: a continental selection with soft centres."
Drogbite, Teignmouth, via text on 81111

1211: For any musos out there, I'm reliably informed the new Football Focus music is called Kill The Director, by The Wombats.

1210: The opening credits roll for the first Football Focus of the season. Neil Warnock, Lee Dixon and Mark Lawrenson are the guests and you can watch it on the BBC Sport website if you're logging on in the UK. Sorry for those of you elsewhere.

1207: And now some Sunderland team news. Goalkeeper Craig Gordon starts while Paul McShane, Kieran Richardson and Dickson Etuhu also make their debuts.

"Harry Kewell's penalty was absolutely gutting as Robbie Fowler had just come off"
From Daniel via text on 81111

1204: The last goal of last season was scored by Harry Kewell. Congratulations to fluffyskg and that man LFCBenitez on 606. "Beat you to it LFC..." is fluffyskg's sporting response to getting in there first.

1200: BBC Radio 5live Sport is up and running for the afternoon and what a start. John Murray's impression of Sven-Goran Eriksson. They have reporters at every Premier League game and will be broadcasting an amazing 192 live this season. Tune in on 693 & 909 MW.

1154: For the uninitiated, Jamey's 'Daggers' are Dagenham & Redbridge who are at Stockport today. Good luck to them and all those criss-crossing the country for 1500 BST kick-offs in the Football League.

"Always think it's disappointing that all clubs don't play the first day of the season as they do the last! Man U for the Prem. Any newcastle player for first red card. The mighty Daggers are most important today. It's their first game in league football!
Jamey, Liverpool, via text on 81111.

1150: Some early Tottenham team news. Defender Michael Dawson is out with an ankle injury, while Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane start in attack so no place for new signing Darren Bent. The department's best newshounds are searching for details on Sunderland's XI.

1147: Want another teaser? Who scored the final goal of the last season? Keep it schtum this time LFCBenitez.

1144: For those of you still mulling over who scored the opening goal of the top-flight season last year, LFCBenitez has just given the game away on 606 in a show of knowledge. It was Sheffield United's Rob Hulse.

1141: Sam Allardyce, fresh from reading 'How To Win Friends & Influence People' added: "Do I trust my Newcastle players? No."

1138: ...nobody in the 1500 BST starts. The bookies have Newcastle next on the betting at 50/1 to win the title. The Magpies face a tasty trip to Bolton today. "I'll be watching two teams playing each other that are mine," says modest Magpies boss and former Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce. Present Bolton boss Sammy Lee might have something to say about that.

1134: The TV boys have stiffed us a bit today as neither of the big two are in action - Chelsea are playing Birmingham and Manchester United host Reading tomorrow. In terms of clubs chasing the top four that leaves Tottenham (early game), Liverpool (late game) and...

"As a lifelong Chelsea fan I'm obviously hoping we'll win. But I can't see us getting a good enough start with the amount of injuries we have at the moment."
stuberto90 on 606

1129: BBC pundits Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson are both tipping Chelsea for the title.

1125: And here's a quick reminder that you'll be looking a right fool if you refer to the Premiership anymore. A massive summer re-branding means it is now the Premier League. What do you mean you weren't aware of that?

1123: Here's a teaser to help get your footballing head on before the action starts. Who scored the opening goal of the last top-flight campaign?

1119: As well as staying across the action on the BBC Sport website, you can tune in on Five Live and watch Football Focus and Score on BBC One before a new-look Match of the Day hits your screen tonight.

1114: Danny Mills was giving Elano the thumbs up on Five Live last night, highlighting some "outstanding touches" in training. But the City new boy Mills reckons will fit right into the Premier League is Martin Petrov.

"Nani just gets better and better in pre-season. He's scoring loads of goals and I can't wait too see him."
manu4ever62 on 606

1110: On the new faces front - no, not the one that made Marti Caine famous - Nani's a dream in terms of being short and simple to type. Elano also, although not so sure about some of his new Manchester City team-mates. At least Sven-Goran Eriksson will have a chance to see them in the flesh today at West Ham.

1106: How are your team going to get on? Which new players are you most looking forward to seeing? Who's going to be the top goalscorer? Who's going to get the first red card? When will Sir Alex Ferguson do his first wild, red-faced touchline jig of delight? You know the score. Get in touch.

1104: There are seven games today, starting with Premier League new boys Sunderland at home to Tottenham at 1245 BST. And throughout the afternoon we want to hear your views on the day. Contact us via text on 81111 or by using 606.

1100: What have you been doing since the last top-flight campaign? Waiting for the next edition of the self-styled World's Greatest League? If so, that wait is almost over.



Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

SEE ALSO
Saturday's football photos
11 Aug 07 |  Premier League


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