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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 October 2007, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
Premier League as it happened

Arsenal 2-0 Bolton

Aston Villa 1-4 Man Utd
Blackburn 4-2 Reading
Everton 1-2 Liverpool
Fulham 0-0 Derby
Man City 1-0 Birmingham
Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea
Wigan 0-2 Portsmouth


By Paul Fletcher

1915: Another busy afternoon of Premier League action comes to an end. Many thanks to everyone who contributed on 606 or via texting on 81111. I'm off to the pub now to watch England play South Africa in the rugby.

Now, how does that song go...

1911: Not surprisingly given his brace, Wayne Rooney tops the player rater in the Aston Villa-Man Utd match with a very decent 8.96.

1906: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 1-4 Man Utd
Well that, as they say, is that. The flurry of United goals at the end of the first half turned the game on its head. And after Villa went down to nine men it really was a case of how many.

1905: Almost five - and would have been but for a superb double save from Stuart Taylor, who twice denies Cristiano Ronaldo.

1901: Five minutes of normal time left at Villa Park. A certain three points for United here. They will move above Man City in the table, with only Arsenal above them.

1900: Just a word to the wise. After what eventually turned out to be an action-packed afternoon of Premier League action, make sure you don't miss Match of the Day this evening. It starts at 2235 on BBC One.

Don't forget as well that you can keep chatting on the 606 boards and, while you're doing that, listen to live commentary of the Rugby World Cup final on BBC Radio 5live.

1855: "As long as performances are improving and as long as the club can see positive signs, we can ask no more. We are getting better."
Derby manager Billy Davies

1853: Referee Rob Styles is probably going to be in the news on Sunday. He has sent two Villa players off and, from the looks of things, been struck off Martin O'Neill's Christmas card list. A point that Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex made on 606.

1850: As if Villa did not have enough problems, Cristiano Ronaldo comes on, as does John O'Shea. Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes make way.

1848: GOAL Aston Villa 1-4 Man Utd
Martin Laursen is undoubtedly the last player to touch the ball on its way to goal after Ryan Giggs drifts into the Villa penalty area before shooting.

1848: "I think we can score a couple more but we need to take it easy we got a Champions League match midweek."
Manchester_Reds on 606

Perhaps with that in mind Carlos Tevez, who played for Argentina in midweek, is substituted.

1846: Stuart Taylor makes an excellent save from Carlos Tevez from eight yards. United look like they can carve open Villa at will. In truth, Tevez should have scored.

1844: Wayne Rooney, still looking for his hat-trick, crashes a shot against the woodwork from 12 yards.

Wayne Rooney's penalty kick is saved by Stuart Taylor with his first touch of the game. Rooney's penalty lacks power and Taylor saves low to his right. Some good news for Villa, but then again they are down to nine players.

1840: RED CARD
Scott Carson sees red for bringing down Carlos Tevez. Referee Rob Styles instantly awards United a penalty. Villa withdraw Zat Knight with keeper Stuart Taylor coming on.

1840: "We were patient and it was important not to get nervous. At times the game was hectic and I didn't want us to pick up any red cards. We needed to stay calm and keep the tempo high."
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

1837: Isaiah Osbourne forces a decent save from Edwin van der Sar. A promising start from the Villa substitute.

1836: "Feel a bit sorry for Villa, they were undone by Mark Lawrenson predicting them to win, nothing they could do after that. It's the kiss of death."
AlexAlexAlexAlex on 606

1834: RED CARD
Nigel Reo-Coker
is dismissed after picking up his second yellow of the game for a challenge on Anderson. Villa boss Martin O'Neill is fuming and has a head-to-head chat with referee Rob Styles.

1832: "Antti Niemi earned his money today and about time. He's had injuries but he had three games this season and he let seven goals in."
Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez on the performance of his keeper

1831: "We didn't get close to Chelsea until they scored their goal but maybe by then it's too late."
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate

1829: Villa almost score. Edwin van der Sar races off his line but does not get the ball. Gabriel Agbonlahor opts to stay on his feet and eventually shoots at goal from a tight angle but his effort is put out for a corner.

1827: Villa boss Martin O'Neill has seen enough. Luke Moore and Craig Gardner are replaced by Isaiah Osbourne and Shaun Maloney.

1825: Five minutes into the second half and no sign of a Villa comeback. If anything United look more likely to score the game's fifth goal.

1819: The second half has started at Villa Park.

1818: Just 45 minutes of football left. Any predictions for the final score at Villa Park?

1815: "Why is Pique so low on ratings, he set up that third goal?"
piyush05 on 606

Good question. Any answers?

1805: Some player rater chat. Top of the Pops at Craven Cottage so far is Derby striker Kenny Miller with 7.71.

The top man at Ewood Park is Paraguayan Roque Santa Cruz with a very impressive 9.25 but Benni McCarthy with 8.85 is not far behind.

Another three points for Portsmouth at the JJB Stadium - and Pompey striker Benjani is currently the highest rated at 8.35.

Elano might as well be given the Man of the Match every week at Man City and oh, he is top of the charts again with 8.67.

It took Arsenal 68 minutes to score against Bolton but they were worthy of their three points. Cesc Fabregas is out on top with 7.62.

Lots of players in the mid sevens for Chelsea, but just coming out ahead of the pack at the moment is goalscorer Didier Drogba on 7.79.

1802: GOAL Aston Villa 1-3 Man Utd
Craig Gardner slices the ball into his own net. Ashley Young clears Gerald Pique's header off the line. The ball falls to Rio Ferdinand, who shoots at goal. Gardner tries to clear - very badly. It is the last action of the first half.

1759: GOAL Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd

Wayne Rooney collects a precise pass from Carlos Tevez 12 yards from goal and has time to control the ball before slotting it past Scott Carson. He should not have been given so much time on the ball. Where were you Zat Knight?

1752: GOAL Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd
What was that I was saying? Wayne Rooney equalises with a tap-in after Zat Knight inexplicably opts against clearing a low cross from Nani.

1751: Villa have not beaten Man Utd since the opening day of the 1995-96 season (you'll never win anything with kids), but so far, so good for Martin O'Neill's team.

1750: "He's a nice guy and a positive guy and sometimes even nice guys make mistakes but he is always positive on the pitch."
Chelsea boss Avram Grant on Didier Drogba

1746: A brilliant cross eludes both Martin Laursen and Luke Moore. Any sort of connection from either of them and it would have been 2-0 to Villa.

1745: Man Utd miss a golden chance to equalise after some mesmeric interplay carves open Villa but Carlos Tevez's low strike is saved by Scott Carson. The Argentine will feel he should have made a better contact with his shot.

1745: "It's a strength to get three points when you don't play well."
Man City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson

1740: brit_turned_aussie on 606 is desperately hoping for a Man Utd comeback. His hopes of winning 14.24 rest on Sir Alex Ferguson's men producing the goods.

1736: Gabriel Agbonlahor's goal is the 400th for Aston Villa in the Premier League. Dalian Atkinson scored the first.
Agbonlahor's goal ended United's hopes of a seventh successive clean sheet in the league, which would have equalled a club record dating back to 1924.

1735: "Come On Villa. Get Gabby in the England team."
GunnerDoddAFC on 606

1732: "I thought we were good value, with creativity to our play, especially in the first half. I always thought Reading would have opportunities from set plays but overall we were excellent, there's a lot of confidence in the squad."
Blackburn boss Mark Hughes after his team's 4-2 win

1730: Craig Gardner shoots over the Man Utd bar after a surging run. Villa are playing with a real self-belief.

1729: GOAL Aston Villa 1-0 Man Utd
Gabriel Agbonlahor
heads Villa in front at the near post, converting Ashley Young's superb cross from the left.

1727: After an uncertain opening, Villa are enjoying a decent spell of possession. It sounds like a cracking atmosphere inside Villa Park.

1727: "I fiddled around with the team and the consequences were all too evident. At half-time we went for a more familiar shape and did a lot better."
Reading boss Steve Coppell

1725: "A terrible, woeful decision by the linesman."
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce is not happy about Man City's goal

1720: Man Utd win a free-kick inside the Villa area after the home team are penalised for a deliberate backpass. Wayne Rooney flicks the ball up for Ryan Giggs to shoot but the wall does its job.

1716: The final Premier League fixture of the day is under way at Villa Park.

1715: "Glen Johnson is a thoroughbred - he has got everything. He could be the England right-back with Micah Richards playing in the centre."
Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp after Johnson impressed in the win over Wigan

1713: Right, one game left today and as things stand Arsenal are five points clear of Man Utd at the top of the table. United will have serious designs on reducing that to two points at Villa Park.

1705: "Manchester City's worst performance of the season and we still win."
Ntini77 on 606

1701: "Having looked at the Man Utd v Villa line-ups - Villa should have a chance of getting a result in this one. Although history suggests that Man U will walk it."
RasDam on 606

1700: Television images hint at some unsavoury scenes at the end of the Man City-Birmingham match. I am not talking on the pitch but in the stands. Several supporters and policemen engage in extremely heated debate.

1655: The final whistle sounds at Eastlands and Craven Cottage - just Manchester United versus Aston Villa left today.

1653: Full-time everywhere, apart from Fulham and Manchester City.

1651: GOAL Blackburn 4-2 Reading
Kevin Doyle, not for the first time this afternoon, scores with a near-post header.

Aston Villa: Carson, Mellberg, Knight, Laursen, Bouma, Gardner, Reo-Coker, Barry, Young, Agbonlahor, Moore. Subs: Taylor, Davies, Petrov, Osbourne, Maloney.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Pique, Brown, Ferdinand, Evra, Giggs, Anderson, Scholes, Nani, Tevez, Rooney. Subs: Kuszczak, Ronaldo, O'Shea, Fletcher, Simpson.
Referee: Rob Styles (Hampshire)

1646: Didier Drogba is substituted by Chelsea and given a very generous hand by his team's supporters.

1645: GOAL Wigan 0-2 Portsmouth Glen Johnson is given the freedom of the park, cutting in from the right and shooting low into the bottom corner. Not a hint of a challenge during his entire mazy run.

1641: GOAL Blackburn 4-1 Reading Ibrahima Sonko fouls substitute Matt Derbyshire and Benni McCarthy drills in the spot-kick low to the keeper's right.

1641: GOAL Wigan 0-1 Portsmouth Sulley Muntari crosses from the left and Benjani scores with a side-foot volley from six yards.

1641: GOAL Arsenal 2-0 Bolton Excellent wing trickery from Theo Walcott, who delivers a precise centre to Tomas Rosicky and the Czech international taps in from close range.

1640: GOAL Blackburn 3-1 Reading
Kevin Doyle
scores for Reading with a near-post header.

1639: Fulham's turn to threaten. Stephen 'I'll choose my words carefully' Bywater saving from Diomansy Kamara.

1637: Kenny Miller has a chance to score a precious goal for Derby, trying to slip the ball low past Antti Niemi but the Rams are thwarted by another save from the in-form Fulham keeper.

1636: Chelsea firmly in control at the Riverside. I am predicting, here and now, a long and difficult season for Middlesbrough.

1635: Man City keeper Joe Hart makes an excellent save, showing great reflexes to keep Birmingham at bay.

1633: It has been pointed out to me that I earlier miss-spelt Bolton as Boloton. I actually think the second version is better. Any thoughts? Boloton - got a good ring to it.

1630: Michael Duberry hits the post for Reading with a looping header at the far post.

1629: GOAL Arsenal 1-0 Bolton
What was that about chances at the Emirates? Kolo Toure puts the home team in front with a low free-kick that eluded both the Bolton wall and keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. Arsenal look set to extend their lead at the top of the table to five points.

1626: It is all Arsenal at the Emirates, though in terms of clear-cut openings there is not much to report.

1624: Antti Niemi continues to keep Derby at bay, saving from Giles Barnes once again. Will the Rams ever translate their superiority into a goal?

1623: Sulley Muntari does his best to try to boost the day's disappointing goal tally. He hits the post from 30 yards with a low but thunderous strike for Portsmouth.

1620: Reading substitute Leroy Lita is denied from 20 yards by Brad Friedel. Down in London, Fulham keeper Antti Niemi saves from Derby sub Giles Barnes.

1618: GOAL Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea
Alex extends Chelsea's lead with a stunning strike, belting a free-kick into the top corner from more than 30 yards.

1617: Martin Petrov goes close for Man City.

1616: GOAL - please, now.

1615: Fulham keeper Antti Niemi makes a good save from Derby's Matt Oakley. You cannot help but think that the Rams must win this game if they are to start moving in the right direction.

1613: Emmanuel Eboue wasted a good chance for Arsenal early in the second half, while Cesc Fabregas has just had a shot easily saved.

1612: Wigan's Julius Agahowa is booked after being on the pitch for six seconds. He has not even touched the ball. Takes some doing. Well done Julius.

1611: "Derby will never have a better chance of an away win in the Premier League than at 10-man Fulham."
BBC Sport Interactive chief football writer Phil McNulty

1609: "The sun is shining in Manchester for a change and Elano is running the game and scoring as usual. Life is beautiful."
DiegoMoran on 606

1606: Just five goals across the six games starting at 1500 BST. Three of those came at Blackburn. Come on Premier League, prove you are the best.

1605: Thrilling, all six games are once more in action. What second-half delights lie in store?

1600: Elano is having a great game for Man City, reflected by his whopping rating of 9.75.

A largely forgettable first-half at the Emirates. Bolton's El-Hadji Diouf comes out on top with 7.25. Correction, Cesc Fabregas is up to 7.28.

All the starts performers at the Riverside are dressed in blue but Joe Cole is top of the pile with 8.38.

1558: "Blackburn are a good team but there just seems to be something seriously amiss at Reading."
AC via text on 81111

1555: Some player rater chat. Top of the Pops at Craven Cottage are Diomansy Kamara and Hameur Bouazza with 7.50.

Not surprisingly, the top man at Ewood Park is Benni McCarthy with 8.50. Dave Kitson tops Reading's stats with 7.50.

There has not been too much to talk about at the JJB Stadium but Pompey's Benjani comes out highest with 9.

Cups of tea and words of inspiration, or something, at all six games that kicked off at 1500 BST.

1548: RED CARD
Fulham defender Paul Konchesky sees red after appearing to elbow Craig Fagan in the face. The home fans are not happy, though it is difficult to work out whether they are fuming at the decision or the general fare.

1546: Still goalless at Craven Cottage. Fulham have won just two of their last 21 Premier League games. Derby have the poorest attack and the weakest defence in the division.

1545: "I would love to be a Man City fan at the moment - it must be great."
villa4life89 on 606

1541: "Seems as though Bolton are parking the bus - it's all they could do in the predicament they're in."
Steveweiser on 606

1540: Antti Niemi makes a save on his line after Aaron Hughes diverts a cross towards his own goal. Fulham have been awful so far.

1536: GOAL Manchester City 1-0 Birmingham
Back from Rio and back to goal-scoring form, Elano precisely slots the ball past Maik Taylor. Birmingham almost equalise but Joe Hart saves low down from Olivier Kapo.

1536: Lovers of the beautiful game might not be too thrilled by the fare on offer at Arsenal. A scrappy, niggly game so far.

1532: GOAL Blackburn 3-0 Reading
brilliantly extends Blackburn's lead with one of his long-range spectacular strikes, though Marcus Hahnemann might have done better. Flashbacks to Fratton Park anyone?

1531: Nothing to report from the JJB Stadium since Paul Scharner hit the woodwork. Errant passing seems to be the order of the day.

1530: Elano is enjoying a fine game for Manchester City as Sven-Goran Eriksson's team are looking to continue their 100% home record this season.

1528: "Frank Lampard is class, just shows how much England miss this player."
Colin via text on 81111

1525: Mikel Arteta tops the player rater for Everton's match with Liverpool, the Spaniard clocking 7.45. Own goal genius Sami Hyypia brings up the rear with 4.81.

1523: GOAL Blackburn 2-0 Reading
Roque Santa Cruz
slips the ball past Marcus Hahnemann from eight yards to double Blackburn's lead with a precise right-foot finish.

1522: "Blackburn look really good this season, contenders for fifth place I reckon."
Sebwinder on 606

1519: Middlesbrough almost equalise. Gary O'Neil skips past Paulo Ferriera on the right flank and crosses to Mido, but the Egyptian's firm header is saved at point-blank range by Petr Cech.

1518: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Reading
Benni McCarthy
volleys home after a cushioned far-post header from Roque Santa Cruz. A well constructed goal by Rovers. Reading have never won at Ewood Park.

1515: Bolton have pretty much held their own at Arsenal so far as the post-Sammy Lee era begins.

"It is certainly safety-first on Bolton's part."
Steve Claridge on BBC Radio 5live

1514: Kenny Miller almost scores for Derby but is denied by a decent save from Antti Niemi. Derby have lost all five of their away games in the Premier League this season. It is, as Billy Davies likes to say, a learning curve.

1511: Nothing to report from Fulham-Derby as two teams in the bottom three lock horns. They are singing 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' at Craven Cottage.

1509: GOAL Middlesbrough 0-1 Chelsea
Frank Lampard slips the ball through to Didier Drogba, who coolly slots it home with his left foot. How Chelsea would miss Drogba if he left! Chelsea have lost at Boro in the last two seasons.

1503: Man City keeper Joe Hart picks the ball up from a backpass. Oops. A free-kick inside the area follows but Cameron Jerome's subsequent strike is deflected wide.

1502: Wigan's Paul Scharner almost scores but his header hits the woodwork. He then misses from five yards. Sloppy. The Latics have not picked up a point since Emile Heskey broke a bone in his foot last month.

1500: The six Premier League games starting at 1500 BST are all under way. Will we have the sort of late drama we had at Goodison Park? What did you make of Liverpool's late win and how significant will it be?

Wigan playmaker Jason Koumas returns from hip and groin problems.
Portsmouth are at full strength after captain Sol Campbell wins his battle to recover in time and Hermann Hreidarsson passes a late fitness test.

1453: "We were trying to pass the ball. We were trying to go forward with the ball on the ground and they were trying to go direct and high."
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez

1450: "The only consolation so far from today is the fact I have some Indian food left over from last night."
gunner-rossmcd on 606

Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson names an unchanged side for the third game running. That means City talisman Elano plays despite playing for his country in the midweek win over Ecuador in Rio de Janeiro.
There are two changes for Birmingham with Wilson Palacios and Rafael Schmitz replacing Sebastian Larsson and Johan Djourou.

Arsenal welcome back skipper William Gallas, while keeper Jens Lehmann does not even make the squad despite retuning to fitness. Eduardo da Silva comes in for the injured Robin van Persie.
Bolton striker Nicolas Anelka is injured, so El-Hadji Diouf and Kevin Davis lead the attack. Archie Knox is in temporary charge of the team following the departure of boss Sammy Lee.

1442: FULL-TIME Everton 1-2 Liverpool
Everton might have been awarded a penalty for a foul on Jolean Lescott by Jamie Carragher but Mark Clattenburg is not interested. The final whistle sounds and Jamie Carragher charges to the away end to celebrate. True drama

1439: GOAL Everton 1-2 Liverpool
Dirk Kuyt
scores his second penalty of the game, taking the Reds towards their sixth victory at Goodison in eight years. Howard dived the right way and almost saved Kuyt's shot. You have to feel sorry for Everton and Howard, who made a brilliant save from Kuyt in the passage of play that led to the penalty.

The last minute of stoppage time and another penalty for Liverpool after Phil Neville handles the ball on the line with what was a brilliant save from Lucas' shot. Alas, Neville is not a keeper and sees red.

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate welcomes back striker Mido as he and Tuncay Sanli replace Tom Craddock and Lee Cattermole.
Chelsea make five changes from the side that beat Bolton nearly two weeks ago. Didier Drogba and Mikel Jon Obi return after suspension while Alex and Paulo Ferreira replace injured England duo Ashley Cole and John Terry in defence. Michael Essien also returns after injury.

Roque Santa Cruz retains his place in the Blackburn team after shaking off a bout of tendonitis but skipper Ryan Nelson failed to recover from a hamstring injury.
Ibrahima Sonko makes his first start since January for Reading.

1433: Alan Stubbs goes all Hollywood on us, trying to score with a free-kick from the long side of 30 yards. He misses.

1432: "It was a mind-blowing decision to take Steven Gerrard off."
Alan Green, still fuming, on BBC Radio 5live

1426: Dirk Kuyt plays Mohamed Sissoko clean through. The midfielder controls the ball well with his first touch but, shooting from a slight angle, misses the target by some distance. More poor finishing by the Reds.

1423: Liverpool break superbly, with Andriy Voronin played in down the left. The Ukraine forward checks and steadies himself but scuffs his shot wide. A terrible waste.

1421: "The game is now officially a farce."
guesstimator on 606

Lots and lots of anger over the penalty awarded to Liverpool after Steven Gerrard was fouled by Tony Hibbert.

1418: Just 20 minutes left at Goodison. Liverpool have replaced Yossi Benayoun with Ryan Babel, while young Brazilian Lucas is about to come on, replacing Steven Gerrard. The Reds fans do not look very happy with the decision to sub Gerrard.

Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez makes five changes from the team that lost 2-0 to Portsmouth. Derby manager Billy Davies makes three changes after his team lost 1-0 at Reading last time out.

1414: Yakubu, having done nothing all afternoon other than lose possession, almost scores with a thunderous low strike from 30 yards that just misses the target.

1410: Dirk Kuyt launches a two-footed aerial challenge that Peter Reid and Graeme Souness would have been proud to call their own. He escapes with a yellow card.

1409: Lots and lots of suggestions on 606 that Steven Gerrard dived to win Liverpool a penalty.

1407: Liverpool almost take the lead by Tim Howard saves Andriy Voronin's shot. Everton are looking a but unsteady at the back. Recent events have serve to crank up the atmosphere.

1404: Liverpool break and the ball is pulled back to an unmarked John Arne Riise 14 yards from goal but the Norway international drills his strike over the crossbar.

1403: Everton, down to 10 men, win a corner. The ball is cleared but comes back in and Steve Finnan appears to pull Jolean Lescott's shirt but Mark Clattenburg does not give the Blues a penalty. It did look like a foul. David Moyes is one very angry ant. He is in full psycho eyes mood now.

1401: GOAL Everton 1-1 Liverpool
Dirk Kuyt
places the penalty into the bottom right-hand corner with a precise right-foot finish for his first Premier League goal of the season

Tony Hibbert brings down Steven Gerrard after a break by Liverpool. Hibbert sees red for a professional foul.

"If anything Hibbert has been unfortunate."
Chris Waddle on BBC Radio 5live

1357: I have just heard some wag in the office ask whether referee Mark Clattenburg likes battenburg cake. Almost bad enough to make the list of lame jokes on 606.

1355: Honestly, I'm starting to wonder whether Yakubu will do anything other than lose the ball.

1355: "My idea is that Liverpool will win 3-1 ! It's possible, no?"
Lokaka90 on 606

1352: No changes at the break at Goodison and the second half is under way. When Everton have gone ahead in the Premier League this season they have won every time. It has happened four times prior to this match.

1350: "Who ever said Rafa is a competent tactician? Seems as though now Pako has left he is out of ideas. I think the wrong man has walked and it will prove to be Rafa's downfall."
dannymc22 on 606

1346: "Come on Everton, beat the media darlings! Probably end 1-1 but any time one of the big four don't get things their own way is good news for the rest of the league."
NatureBoy AVFC on 606

1344: Would love to be a fly on the wall in the Liverpool dressing room, if only to count how often Rafa says "my idea...".

1335: HALF TIME Everton 1-0 Liverpool
So far, so good for the Toffees.

There is no doubt who your Man of the Match is so far - Mikel Arteta a definite top of the pops with 8.50. Goalscorer Sami Hyypia rates a more modest 5.44. Surprising after such an accomplished finish, though it was into his own net.

1335: "Rafa said this is make or break. What are the odds on him leaving tomorrow?"
United Since Birth on 606

1331: A fact for you. Hyypia's tidy finish is the first goal Liverpool have conceded away from home in the Premier League in open play this season. Must make the Finn feel just great.

1325: GOAL Everton 1-0 Liverpool
Liverpool, not for the first time, fail to deal with a ball into the box. Sami Hyypia does his bit to leave his mark on the Merseyside derby by drilling the ball into his own net with a right-foot finish on the turn that many a striker would be proud to call their own.

1322: Liverpool win a free-kick 25 yards from goal. John Aarne Riise strikes the ball low and hard, his effort narrowly missing Tim Howard's goal.

1320: Everton go close, Victor Anichebe heading narrowly over the crossbar from a free-kick. Everton have had the better of the last five minutes.

1319: Everton launch the ball into the Liverpool penalty box to momentarily cause the visiting team problems. Chances are at a premium here, as indeed are moments of excitement.

1317: "I hope that this McLaren manages to win."
Chris Waddle cracks a topical football/Formula One Lewis Hamilton joke on BBC Radio 5live

1313: "I have been watching Merseyside derby games for 25 years and I can rarely remember a flatter atmosphere."
Alan Green on BBC Radio 5live

1311: Liverpool look much more comfortable in possession but Everton threaten, with Pepe Reina managing to palm a teasing Leon Osman ball over the crossbar. Everton then deliver a good corner. A set-piece does appear to be Everton's best chance of scoring.

1308: A quick word on Everton boss David Moyes. Unusually he is wearing a suit. He has changed since Everton qualified for European competition.

1305: "This sucks! I have stayed up until 10:00 in the evening (I am in Australia) to watch the game and I can't because my Dad is watching the boxing and then Torres and Arbeloa don't play for Liverpool. MY DREAM TEAM IS GONE!!!"
aussie_cricket on 606

Cheer up mate, only a few hours until you can cheer on your boys in the Rugby World Cup final. Oh, sorry, our brave boys have already sent you home.

1300: Everton win a corner after their first meaningful phase of possession in the game. They then win another one but it all comes to nothing.

1258: "Steven Gerrard is wandering all over the park and causing Everton all sorts of problems."
Chris Waddle on BBC Radio 5live

1255: No question, Liverpool have started this game much better than Everton, who look sluggish and are second to every 50-50.

1252: The first chance of the afternoon falls to Liverpool's Andriy Voronin after hesitant Everton defending gives Yossi Benayoun the chance to burst forward. Voronin's shot is saved by Tim Howard.

1251: "Can I tell you the joke about the butter? Shouldn't really, you might spread it."
MrDebatable on 606

It could be a long afternoon.

"I think that we will see a game of contrasting styles."
Chris Waddle on BBC Radio 5live

1247: The 177th Merseyside league derby is under way. If history tells us anything then referee Mark Clattenburg might have to deal with a few clattering tackles in the opening stages.

1242: Plenty of talk on 606 about a lame joke competition. This could be extremely bad news. To prove my point I will post an example.

"What did the Pacific Ocean say to the Atlantic Ocean? Long time no sea."
roman's accountant on 606

1240: "I hoping for a treble this weekend. Villa, England and Lewis Hamilton all to win!"
Via text on 81111

Yep, in addition to the footy and the rugger, there is plenty for all the petrol heads out there with Lewis Hamilton looking to win the Formula One driver's title at the first attempt. We are keeping across qualifying on the website.

1238: Just looked out of the window. John Barnes is not there anymore. Wonder if the great man has gone to find a television.

1236: Football Focus have been to South Africa to investigate their preparations for hosting the 2010 World Cup - watch the full version here.

1232: Everton beat Liverpool 3-0 at Goodison last season - their biggest Merseyside derby win in 42 years. Liverpool failed to score against Everton last season. Let's just say that there is a bit of banter flying around the office.

1225: TEAM NEWS Everton v Liverpool
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Lescott, Arteta, Jagielka, Neville, Osman, Yakubu, Anichebe. Subs: Wessels, Baines, McFadden, Pienaar, Carsley.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Gerrard, Mascherano, Sissoko, Benayoun, Voronin, Kuyt. Subs: Itandje, Crouch, Pennant, Babel, Lucas.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

1222: Football Focus have got Blackburn's players into the spirit of the Rugby World Cup final by setting England's David Bentley and South Africa's Benni McCarthy a penalty shootout challenge - with a difference!

1220: "Drogba should make his mind up if he doesn't want to stay at Chelsea he should just go! I reckon Everton will win the Derby and Arsenal beat Bolton."
A Chelsea fan via text on 81111

Didier Drogba has engaged in serious back-tracking - but curiously hinted that come the end of the season he will want to talk about his future.

1215: "Come on Everton, let us beat those pesky red neighbours and go into Thursday's game against Larissa with heads high."
richie4eva1 on 606

1212: TEAM NEWS Everton v Liverpool
There is no Fernando Torres in the Liverpool team, while there is no place for James McFadden in the Everton side. Apparently Steven Gerrard will be playing on the right of midfield for Liverpool.

1200: "I can see a few slip ups in this weekend's fixtures. Everton could spring a surprise on Liverpool, who have played poorly in their last few matches. I also think ManU will have a hard game against Villa but I'm hoping United can get the win!"
amazing_dar on 606

1145: One hour until kick-off at Goodison Park. Apparently Everton taking on Liverpool has yielded 14 red cards since the formation of the Premier League. Eight for Everton and six for Liverpool, with Steven Gerrard dismissed twice. That makes it the dirtiest match-up in the league.

1140: "You do feel Bolton could be in for a bit of a hammering. I reckon United are coming together and should register their annual three points at Villa. Liverpool to draw with Everton and Chelsea to pick up the required win."
Sebwinder on 606

1136: I have just looked out of the window and who should be there but Liverpool legend John Barnes! One of the joys of working for the BBC I suppose. The former winger will be appearing on Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night and let me tell you, there was some serious hip wiggling going on as the great man went through a few moves. Remember John, you've got to hold and give but do it at the right time.
Wonder who he thinks will win the Merseyside derby?

1135: There has been such a lot going on this week that everyone seems to have forgotten about poor old Sammy Lee and his parting of the ways with Bolton by, apparently, "mutual consent".

It really has been a great week to bury bad news - but do Bolton have any chance at leaders Arsenal today?

1130: "I can see Everton walking away with this one, it will be close but they've got home advantage and Liverpool haven't been playing well of late."
United since Birth on 606

Something, perhaps, about the form book going out of the window...

1120: According to one of today's newspapers Manchester United are lining up a bid for Barca's brilliant Brazilian Ronaldinho. Wouldn't he light up the Premier League with his toothy grin!

1110: It has been mentioned to me that there are a few other bits and pieces going on in the world of sport this weekend. One of them has something to do with a deformed football. If you want to check out the build-up to this evening's Rugby World Cup final in Paris then we have a full, day-long countdown on the website.

1100: Morning - and what a morning. The sun is shining, at least in this little pocket of west London, and there is a mammoth day of Premier League action to look forward to.

I'm trying to look at today as something of a pick-me-up following the misery of Wednesday's not-so plastic fantastic outing in Moscow. Talking of which, I have still got scars from trying to get to grips with Preston's plastic pitch back in the day. Any of you remember the era when a game of football equated to shredded knees?

Eight Premier League games today, starting with the 177th Merseyside league derby between Everton and Liverpool, which kicks off at 1245.

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

Saturday's football photos
20 Oct 07 |  Football


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