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Birmingham 3-0 Middlesbrough

Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa
Derby 1-2 Liverpool Everton 2-0 Bolton
Portsmouth 0-0 Arsenal
Tottenham 5-1 Fulham
Sunderland 0-4 Man Utd West Ham 1-1 ReadingWigan 1-0 Newcastle


To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Jonathan Stevenson

2153: Anyway, I'm going to wrap things up for now. On behalf of Fletch and myself, thanks a million for getting involved this Boxing Day, there has been some tremendous chat all day long. Now go and spend some time with your families and don't forget to join me for more live football on Saturday. Happy Christmas!

2150: Player rater - You lot seem to quite like that young Spanish chap who plays for Arsenal. Cesc Fabregas is currently the highest-rated player from Fratton Park despite the Gunners' inability to break Pompey down, on 7.45. Sub Abou Diaby is on 4.46.

2141: (See 2132) "Curtly Ambrose would never have missed that."
Anonymous, via text


2137: What a chance that was. Nicklas Bendtner has produced a fine cameo and his excellent run into the box is followed by a pinpoint pass to Tomas Rosicky, the Czech midfielder clipping his right-foot shot wide of the post from 10 yards.

2134: Supersub Nicklas Bendtner scampers away down the right and his fiendish cross is dealt with by Sol Campbell. A minute plus stoppages left.

2132: William Gallas misses a great chance. Cesc Fabregas mis-hits a shot from just inside the area and Gallas controls the ball, swivels and shoots six yards out, but the Frenchman can only send the ball flying over the crossbar.

2130: "William Gallas is looking more and more like Curtly Ambrose."
My colleague Pranav Soneji, sat right next to me, via his mouth

Get on with your work, Pranz.

2127: Gael Clichy bends the free-kick high and wide. Not ridiculously high and wide, but enough to mean David James doesn't have to bother with it, if you know what I mean. Blimey this is hard work.

2126: Firstly, Benjani is replaced by fellow speedster John Utaka and Arsenal bring on Nicklas Bendtner for Alex Hleb.

2125: Here might be a chance. Alex Hleb is brought down, 25 yards out...

2122: Matthew Taylor brings down Bacary Sagna. I forgot to tell you he's come on for Nico Kranjcar. Sorry.

2119: Benjani beats the offside trap and is clean through on goal. He knocks the ball to the right of the on-rushing Manuel Almunia and is forced wide and he cannot out-pace Gael Clichy who sprints back to cover, so Arsenal get away with it. Dangerous moments for the Gunners, though.

2112: Benjani gets his head on the end of a looping Hermann Hreidarsson cross from the left, but it's a fairly routine save from Manuel Almunia. The Spaniard also gets down well to save from Nico Kranjcar a few moments later.

2109: Emmanuel Eboue is taken off and Abou Diaby comes on in his place.

2108: Kanu controls the ball expertly on the edge of the Arsenal box, but his finish is miles high and miles wide.

2105: Just like London buses... Emmanuel Eboue follows Lauren into the book for a reckless lunge on Papa Bouba Diop.

2104: All those goals Fletch got earlier, and I'm lumbered with what might be Arsenal's first goalless draw since about 1971. Hopefully, I've just cursed one of these teams...

2101: Lauren is the first man in referee Steve Bennett's notebook, for a cynical tug on Tomas Rosicky.

2057: My mate John keeps feeding me these gems. Arsenal are the only team in the Premier League to have scored in every game so far this season. They have 36 minutes plus stoppage time to keep that run going.

2054: Alex Hleb gets to the byeline down the left, but his cross sails over the bar. At the other end, Papa Bouba Diop tries to improve his Player Rater mark, but a 20-yard shot is comfortably saved by Manuel Almunia.

2053: Player rater: Fabregas is the game's best player according to you lot so far, with an average rating of 7.75. Papa Bouba Diop, on the other hand is struggling on 5.36.

2051: Benjani speeds down the right but his fizzed cross is too near Manuel Almunia and Pompey cannot cash in from a good position. A right-winger this boy ain't.

2049: The second half gets under way at Portsmouth.

2048: "I'm at the game - Arsenal are looking average, but Wenger will get the magic going after half-time. We should open them up in the second half like I opened up my presents yesterday. Arsenal to win by two."
Nick from Fratton Park via text

2044: "I think we have probably seen the destination of the Premier League go to Old Trafford today. It looks like Pompey might well hold out against the Gunners and Man Utd have started their march to the title."
arenguade_gorf on 606

2034: Half-time at Fratton Park. Plenty of industry from both sides, but clear-cut chances are few and far between at the moment. Hopefully we'll get an early goal after the break and then all hell will break loose.

2027: "Jonathan, it's a good thing you aren't Saj C, he probably had the worst time with 606."
dirk-kuyt18 on 606

I know, he told me - he got slaughtered. He loves it really.

2025: It's a fair lively crowd we've got inside Fratton Park tonight. We've had Arsenal fans chanting Pompey assistant Tony Adams' name and backing Manuel Almunia to become England's number one and now the home fans have found their voice. Cracking atmosphere - game needs a goal.

2023: Great moment. Tomas Rosicky bends in a cracker from the edge of the box that is curling towards the top corner, until Superman David James flies across his line and plucks the ball out of the air, holding onto it as he falls to the ground. Super stuff.

2021: Benjani looks a touch frustrated tucked away on the right-hand side. He cuts in, wanders around aimlessly for a bit and then shoots, woefully and tamely about 10 yards wide from outside the box. Not the best from the Zimbabwean.

2014: Nico Kranjcar, who has got a proper shot on him, twists and turns on the edge of the Arsenal box and fires in a left-foot effort that flies just wide of Manuel Almunia's left-hand post.

2012: "Jason McAteer stumbles out of a zoo covered in blood. As he leaves he is heard to mumble 'that's the last time I am going lion dancing'."
redandblackT(Seedorf has four and refuses to share) on 606

2010: Please, if you can, click on the 606 link to see the longest "joke" ever. There's more chance of England winning Euro 2008 than there is of me writing that out.

2007: Portsmouth go close, but it would have been ruled out for a foul anyway. Papa Bouba Diop shoots after the whistle is blown from eight yards and Manuel Almunia, everyone's favourite English Spaniard, makes a stunning reflex save to push the ball around the post. Capello's number one, anyone?

2005: A Mackem walks into a Geordie pub. "Who wants to hear a joke about Alan Shearer?" A tall man rises and says: "Listen, man, I'm 6ft 3in, weighing in at 90 kilos." Then he points at the man in the Newcastle shirt to his left. "And my mate Tommy here is even 6ft 6 and weighs more than 100 kilos." And, pointing at another tall man in full Newcastle United outfit, he adds: "That bloke over there named Stevie is a former youth boxing champion. See, you're outnumbered, three against one. So, do you still want to tell your joke?" The Mackem replies: "Well, no. Because I don't like to explain the same joke three times..."
ManU9TimesChamps on 606

2003: "Good news for Portsmouth is that at least it won't be a 0-0 draw for once, Arsenal are bound to score at one point during the game."
Scubar2k8 on 606

1957: They have had four 0-0 draws at home. I'll stop going on about it.

1955: I'm informed by my colleague John Sinnott that Portsmouth have scored 11 goals at home this season and seven of them were in one game, the extraordinary 7-4 win over Reading earlier on in the campaign.

1952: First sign of what this Arsenal team is always about. Emmanuel Eboue drives down the right, cuts inside, plays a lovely one-two with Emmanuel Adebayor and lashes over from 12 yards.

1949: Pompey have made a good start. This one could be interesting.

1947: We are go.

1943: The teams are in the tunnel and we are not far off getting under way.

1938: "This'll blow the Christmas cobwebs away - A man says something in a forest and there is no woman there to hear him. Is he still wrong?"
Anonymous, via text

1933: "Sir Alex Ferguson goes to the Emirates because he wants to see how Arsenal's young guns play so well. Arsene Wenger tells him that he asks the players hard questions to keep them sharp. Wenger calls over Theo Walcott and says "Theo, he is not your brother, but he is your father's son. Who is he?" Theo says, "that's easy boss, it's me!" So Fergie goes back to Old Trafford and asks Rio Ferdinand the same question. Rio says, "Uhhhh boss, can I answer that tomorrow?" Sir Alex agrees and Rio phones up David Beckham in the US and asks him the question. He replies, "that's easy, it's me!" So Rio goes back to OT and Fergie says "have you figured it out now?" Rio replies "yeah, that's easy, it's David Beckham!" and Ferguson says "no you idiot, it's Theo Walcott!"
Spurs WHL 2210 on 606

1929: "Q: Why did Gary Speed? A: Because he saw Ian Rush."
Dhaval10 on 606

1925: What a stat this is: Portsmouth are chasing their first league victory over Arsenal since a 5-4 triumph at Fratton Park on 29 March 1958. Whoever wins, I'd settle for that level of entertainment this evening. You lot need some work on your gags, that's for sure. How about some good non-football-related ones? I'll take anything.

1916: "Richard Hughes is starting? I love the guy, but we're playing Arsenal! Bit of a risk..."
dangermouse852 on 606

1911: "Q: How many Newcastle fans does it take to change a lightbulb? A: None - they're quite happy living in the shadows."
magnaSafcforever on 606

Lots of Newcastle jokes, which is maybe no great surprise today.

1908: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger keeps the same side that struggled to beat Tottenham at the Emirates on Saturday. Pompey make three changes after losing 4-1 at Liverpool, with ex-Arsenal players Lauren and Kanu getting starts alongside Richard Hughes.

1906: Will that do? Keep voting guys and girls. Team news from Fratton Park in moments...

1906: Wigan 1-0 Newcastle.
Top - Ryan Taylor 7.41. Bottom - Geremi 4.65.

1904: Sunderland 0-4 Manchester United.
Top - Cristiano Ronaldo 8.70. Bottom - Roy O'Donovan 4.42.

1901: Everton 2-0 Bolton.
Top - Tim Cahill 7.46. Bottom - Joey O'Brien 4.64.

1900: Derby 1-2 Liverpool.
Top - Fernando Torres 8.28. Bottom - Robert Earnshaw 3.91.

1857: Birmingham 3-0 Middlesbrough.
Top - Mikael Forssell 7.78. Bottom - Lee Dong-Gook 4.74.

1855: West Ham 1-1 Reading.
Top - Dave Kitson 8.34. Bottom - Brynjar Gunnarsson 4.61.

1853: Tottenham 5-1 Fulham.
Top - Robbie Keane 8.31. Bottom - Moriz Volz 3.41.

1851: Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa.
Top - Shaun Maloney 8.16. Bottom - Petr Cech 4.51.

1848: "Jonathan, what are the player ratings at the moment?"
dirk-kuyt18 on 606

I'm on it, give us a sec matey.


1841: "I'd rather watch Bargain Hunt than Chelsea. That is the extent of their mind-numbing lack of entertainment."
Nuclear Spur on 606

After today's events, that is a truly astonishing remark.

1832: "Eastenders was powerful last night though to be fair."
richie_lfc _In Rafa We Trust on 606

1830: Now Woody's brought up Match of the Day, might as well let you good folk know when you can see it. BBC One, 2220 GMT, is just about all you need to know. 28 goals from eight games so far and the Gunners still to come. Boxing Day at its very best.

1827: "Come on Adebayor & Helb for fantasy league points. What a game at the Bridge today, can't wait for MOTD later. Ronaldo is on fire, Man Utd will struggle if he gets injured."
Woody - Harrogate, Leeds fan, via text

Lovely stuff that Woody. Don't think I didn't notice your boys got yet another last-gasp goal today. Have you scored before injury time yet this season? Remarkable stuff.

1823: Don't forget, as well as via 606, you can send me your thoughts/moans/hilarious gags via the power of your mobile, simply by texting the magic number - 81111. Look, it has to be better than watching Eastenders again.

1821: "Portsmouth will win, so expect Arsenal to be surrounded by dark clouds. But don't worry Gooners, Eduardo will provide Da Silva lining. I'll get me coat."
Turn The Page, via 606

1819: The late game could be an absolute belter. Portsmouth, fresh from two defeats in a row, host Arsenal, who need to claim all three points to move back to the top of the Premier League after Manchester United battered Sunderland earlier.

1815: "Is it goodbye Allardyce?"
Chris, Sheffield, via text

Chris, I watched the Newcastle game today and they were utterly woeful, I can tell you. They got exactly what they deserved.

1812: My Christmas Cracker joke: It was Boxing Day and Liverpool were playing Derby. The scores were tied 1-1 when that mischievous little elf Steven Gerrard managed to scrap a goal off the line because one of the Derby players panicked. That's my Christmas cracker, and I'm still laughing."
CycloneArmageddon on 606

1809: "Jonathan you need to decide which red northern team you prefer, it's turning tribal."
red (gothic) devil on 606

No chance on earth pal. You can settle this one on your own. I've got my own team to worry about.

1809: Cheers Fletch. Top, top drawer effort that from the big man. Especially as he's had to contend with his team (Preston) losing to a team that was once most famous for appearing in a Christmas cracker joke. What I want from you lot tonight, is your best football-related cracker gags. But we need to keep it clean, yeah? Can you promise me you'll do that?

By Paul Fletcher

1800: Well, I'd just like to thank you all for making Boxing Day such a pleasure, maintaining such a vigilant watch over my speelins and gramma (deliberate) and ensuring that the message board thread degenerated into a massive face-off between Liverpool and Man Utd fans.

It is very much a case of over to Jonathan Stevenson for today's late-night action.

1755: "Steven Gerrard - will you marry me"
A very relieved Liverpool fan via text on 81111

1745: The day's action so far has seen Man Utd take top spot and Liverpool move up to fourth. However, Arsenal can reclaim first place if they win at Fratton Park in the late game (which kicks-off at 1945 GMT). And Liverpool's grasp on fourth is hardly secure, with Man City able to leapfrog them if they beat Blackburn on Thursday.

However, Derby's agonising defeat to Liverpool combined with Wigan's win over Newcastle means the Rams are cast even further adrift from the rest of the division, with seven points between Paul Jewell's team and second-bottom Sunderland.

1739: "We are disappointed but Man Utd's class told in the end. Give credit to United but we gave soft goals away - especially the first two."
Sunderland manager Roy Keane

1735: "Pompey will win today, Sol Campbell header in the 90th minute."
dangermouse852 on 606

That's better. Now, if we could somehow link tonight's late game with your favourite Christmas presents then we will really be cooking on gas.

By the way, at 1800 GMT I'm giving way to Jonathan Stevenson for the last match of the day. I think I will go home and then spend several hours looking in the mirror debating with myself as to how exactly good/bad Liverpool actually are.

1731: "I was poorly all night and I nearly didn't make it here. I've got the whole family here today and they are all black-and-whites, but I'm delighted with our performance and the win."
Wigan boss Steve Bruce on a potentially messy Christmas

1727: "It's a cruel way to lose the game as we had given so much and it looked like we might hang on."
Derby manager Paul Jewell

1725: Enough about Liverpool! Will Arsenal beat Portsmouth at Fratton Park tonight to reclaim first place in the Premier League?

1721: Lots and lots of talk about Liverpool on the message boards. Liverpool fans defending their corner while supporters of various other clubs are suggesting that perhaps Rafael Benitez's team aren't all that. Not very festive. Surely we should all be friends at this time of year?

1713: Man Utd's Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the top rated player from the 1500 GMT kick-offs, registering 8.75. Derby striker Steve Howard is the lowest with 4.65. But remember kids, you can change all that.

1708: "Liverpool fans getting excited about scoring a last-minute winner against bottom-of-the-table Derby - it says a lot about them."
pulpgrape on 606

1658: Full-time Birmingham 3-0 Middlesbrough

1657: GOAL Birmingham 3-0 Middlesbrough
Gary McSheffrey
picks himself up, dusts himself down and strokes the ball into the net for his second of the match.

Robert Huth
is adjudged to have brought down Birmingham's Gary McSheffrey.

1655: Full-time Wigan 1-0 Newcastle

1655: Full-time Everton 2-0 Bolton

1655: Full-time Sunderland 0-4 Man Utd

1654: Full-time Derby 1-2 Liverpool
Crushing disappointment for the Rams after playing a full part in the match but you would have to say a badly-needed three points for Rafa Benitez's team.

1649: GOAL Derby 1-2 Liverpool
Steven Gerrard bundles the ball home for Liverpool. He should never have had the chance but Jay McEveley tries to clear the ball when he should have let keeper Lewis Price collect it after the young stopper parries a shot from Fernando Torres.

1646: Steven Gerrard hits the bar for Liverpool with a 20-yard strike. Mind you a couple of minutes previously Derby's Giles Barnes managed to head over with a diving header from six yards.

1645: GOAL Sunderland 0-4 Man Utd
Louis Saha
confidently strokes home the penalty to extend his team's lead. A comfortable afternoon for United. Many Sunderland fans have left already.

Nani is brought down, Man Utd have a penalty.

1644: Newcastle keeper Shay Given tries to clear the ball under pressure from Marcus Bent and slices the ball - almost into his own net.

1642: Derby keeper Lewis Price makes another brilliant save - this time a one-handed effort to prevent Xavi Alonso from scoring with a 25-yard strike.
Fernando Torres is then guilty of a poor miss.

1640: "We keep setting our fans up by winning away and then coming back here and not doing it but it is not for the want of trying."
West Ham boss Alan Curbishley after his team's 1-1 draw

1638: Derby keeper Lewis Price makes an excellent save to deny Fabio Aurelio. The Rams have used all three substitutes and Rob Earnshaw appears to have picked up an injury.

1636: "Tim Cahill is a great player. He and Mikel Arteta could walk into almost every team."
U7400594 on 606

1635: As it stands Man Utd are heading to the top of the Premier League, but that may not last too long as Arsenal are in action at Portsmouth in a 1945 GMT kick-off.

1633: GOAL Everton 2-0 Bolton
Tim Cahill
converts from 10 yards after the ball is played to him from close to the byeline by Joleon Lescott. The passage of play comes after the referee allows an advantage following a foul on Thomas Gravesen.

1630: It is all-action now and Joleon Lescott clears off the line from Bolton substitute Gavin McCann, while Birmingham keeper Maik Taylor denies Tuncay Sanli.

1626: GOAL Derby 1-1 Liverpool
What joy for Derby, who after a strong start to the second half grab an equaliser. Eddie Lewis' free-kick causes pandemonium in the Liverpool penalty area and Jay McEveley is on hand to crash the ball past Pepe Reina from six yards.

1625: GOAL Wigan 1-0 Newcastle
Ryan Taylor puts Wigan ahead with a superbly struck free-kick. It is a rare moment of real quality.

1622: Sebastian Larsson comes within inches of extending Birmingham's lead with a 20-yard strike that narrowly misses the Boro goal. Things are looking a bit grim for Gareth Southgate's team.

1618: Yossi Benayoun is on for Liverpool after Sami Hyypia limps off. John Aarne Riise slides into the middle of defence.

1616: Apparently Phil Neville now has nine career goals and nine major trophies.

1614: Newcastle's Mark Viduka hooks the ball goalwards from 22 yards and Toon old boy Titus Bramble heads off the line. It is the high-water mark of the match by far.

1612: GOAL Everton 1-0 Bolton Free-scoring Phil Neville puts Everton ahead with a floated curling cross that eludes everywhere. Jussi Jaaskelainen and Tim Cahill had both gone for the cross and both missed. Cahill initially tried to claim the goal but it was Neville who had struck it lucky.

1608: The game at Birmingham has just resumed - meaning all five matches kicking off at 1500 GMT are now in the second half.

1607: Everton striker Yakubu plays a square ball to Tim Cahill, who really should score but he does not make a great contact and Jussi Jaaskelainen saves. From the subsequent corner the ball falls to Joleon Lescott three yards from goal but he scuffs it wide.

1605: "The penalty was really dubious and it is a major point in the game. Suddenly it's 2-1, we've got a man sent off and play the whole of the second half with 10 men. There wasn't one decision we got. If we get the next 15 in our favour for the next three games it will only semi-make up for it."
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill after his team's 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge

1604: Hold the front page - Michael Barrymore spotted at Everton. But will Everton or Bolton strike it lucky at the hotspot of football that is Goodison Park?

1557: Time for some player rater updates. Of the games that started at 1500 GMT the highest rated so far is Yakubu at 9.67. Hmmmm. Not sure he has been that impressive. The lowest is Derby's Stephen Pearson with 3.70. That is all he needs after dislocating his shoulder in the opening half. Perhaps you lot should get voting and sort out these anomalies.

1553: "These late games are disappointing aren't they Paul? Are you any relation of Darren?"
dirk-kuyt18 on 606

No relation to either the BBC commentator or the Man Utd footballer.

Man Utd seem to be serving up some tasty stuff at Sunderland though I am not hearing good things in any way, shape or form about Wigan's game with Newcastle.

As for Everton and Bolton. You might choose to describe that as a niggly encounter.

1551: Half-time
In all of the five 1500 GMT kick-offs.

1549: Birmingham 2-0 Middlesbrough
Cameron Jerome flicks on a corner and Mikael Forssell is on hand in the six-yard box to prod home.

1548: GOAL Sunderland 0-3 Man Utd
Cristiano Ronaldo, that's Cristiano Ronaldo, scores a brilliant free-kick to extend rampant United's lead. He smashes the ball with his right foot and leaves Craig Gordon motionless.

1547: No clear openings of any note to tell you about at Wigan. At Goodison Park, Yakubu puts the ball in the net for Everton but the goal is ruled out for offside.

1546: "Our next game against Birmingham is now a cup final. If we can't bounce back from the humiliation of today, and I include myself in that, there's something wrong with us."
Fulham manager Ray Lewington reflects on his team's 5-1 defeat at Tottenham

1543: Tuncay Sanli should equalise for Middlesbrough after climbing above the Birmingham defence and making clean contact with a header but he directs the ball too close to Maik Taylor, who makes a decent save.

1540: Stephen Kelly clears off the line to prevent Middlesbrough from equalising after a mistake by Maik Taylor. Boro are very much in the game but lack a cutting edge.

1538: "Louis Saha needed that and he will probably now score more goals in this game. He is a confidence player."
Lorcan's Manchester Reds on 606

1534: Lots of Santa hats at Sunderland. The problem is that most of the people wearing them aren't looking particularly festive.

1529: GOAL Sunderland 0-2 Man Utd
Louis Saha
extends United's lead with a near-post volley, steering Wayne Rooney's cross into the net. Comfortable. Roy Keane has a steely, not altogether super festive look on his face.

1526: Derby's Stephen Pearson is withdrawn. It looks as though he might have broken his arm. How did this misfortune befall him? He collided with team-mate Darren Moore. A schoolboy error. You don't bump into big Darren and not feel the force.

Update - suspected dislocated shoulder.

1524: GOAL Birmingham 1-0 Middlesbrough
Gary McSheffrey drills a free-kick into the box from out wide and Stewart Downing skilfully diverts the ball past his own keeper with the top of his shin.

1521: GOAL Sunderland 0-1 Man Utd
Wayne Rooney puts the champions ahead with a cool, precise finish from 18 yards, slotting the ball past Craig Gordon.

1520: "Avram Grant must drop that nice guy act and get tough and nasty with these referees."
The truth about footy on 606

1518: Not too much to report from the Stadium of Light, Goodison Park, the JJB Stadium and St Andrews.

1511: GOAL Derby 0-1 Liverpool
Fernando Torres
opens the scoring for Liverpool with a superb individual goal. He manages to persuade Darren Moore to fall on his backside with a swivel of his Spanish hips and then closes in on goal before slotting home with style.

1508: Lots and lots of early drama but the player rater top of the pops after the three early games is Aston Villa's double goalscorer Shaun Maloney with 8.36. Bottom is Reading's Brynjar Gunnarsson with 3.40. Mind you, he was not alone if seeing red - five players did in the opening three games.

1508: Yakubu hits the deck at Goodison Park. Hold on to your hats.

1503: All of the 1500 GMT kick-offs have now started.

1501: A minute's applause at Everton for former goalkeeper Jimmy O'Neill, who died recently. Under way at Derby, Sunderland and Wigan.

Derby goalkeeper Stephen Bywater aggravates a shoulder injury in the warm-up. Bywater's misfortune means opportunity knocks for Wales international Lewis Price who gets to make his Derby debut.
How many changes for Liverpool? Just the five as Steve Finnan, Andriy Voronin, Fabio Aurelio, Ryan Babel and Xabi Alonso get the nod in Rafa Benitez's festive rotation plan.

1456:Full-time Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa
Eight goals, three reds, Magic stuff. A true Christmas cracker.

1455: Full-time West Ham 1-1 Reading

1455: Full-time Tottenham 5-1 Fulham

1453: GOAL Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa
DRAMA! Gareth Barry earns Villa a fully deserved point with a superbly taken penalty, sending Petr Cech the wrong way. Superb composure. This could well be game of the season.

Ashley Cole sees red for a handball on the line. It is injury time. It is drama time.

1451: GOAL Tottenham 5-1 Fulham
Jermain Defoe scores.

1449: GOAL Chelsea 4-3 Aston Villa
Heartbreak hotel for Villa, who have played a full part in this game but find themselves behind after Michael Ballack scores a brilliant free-kick, almost passing the ball into the bottom corner.

1447: RED CARD
Fulham substitute Moritz Volz is dismissed after picking up a second caution for a foul on Steed Malbranque. A red in every match so far.

Birmingham striker Mikael Forsell comes in to partner Cameron Jerome in attack, while for Middlesbrough Jonathan Woodgate is fit after suffering from cramp, although Gary O'Neill misses out because of a hamstring injury.

Sunderland hand 17-year-old Martyn Waghorn a first ever senior appearance. Dickson Etuhu and Ross Wallace are also drafted in with Daryl Murphy, Grant Leadbitter and Man Utd old boy Andy Cole missing out.
Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand returns from injury, while John O'Shea, Darren Fletcher, Nani and Louis Saha also got the nod. But Ryan Giggs, Anderson and Danny Simpson are rested, while Carlos Tevez and Patrice Evra are on the bench, alongside fit-again Park Ji-Sung .

Wigan make two changes, with Mario Melchiot in for Emmerson Boyce and Antoine Sibierski replacing Julius Aghahowa.
Newcastle bring in five players after their poor showing against Derby, with Steven Taylor, Abdoulaye Faye, Geremi, Emre and Damien Duff all getting a chance to impress.

1441: RED CARD
Ricardo Carvalho is dismissed for a horrid two-footed lunge on Gabriel Agbonlahor. It just looks worse and worse on replay. A true horror story.

have Mikel Arteta back in their line-up after he missed the defeat at Manchester United through illness. Thomas Gravesen makes his first Premier League start since returning to the club on loan from Celtic. Tony Hibbert and Andrew Johnson drop down to the bench.
Bolton manager Gary Megson names an unchanged side following the 3-0 victory against Birmingham.

1436: West Ham's Dean Ashton has a shot at goal and smashes the ball straight into Ivar Ingimarsson's face. No festive spirit there.

1434: GOAL Chelsea 3-3 Aston Villa
Unbelievable! Martin Laursen equalises with a volley from Ashley young's floated free-kick. Where was the Chelsea defence? The ball is played into the space between the backline and the goal and Laursen reacts, jumping high and steering the ball past Cech. Well I never!

1431: GOAL Tottenham 4-1 Fulham
Tom Huddlestone scores his second of the match with a low strike from 20 yards. A precise finish from the huge midfielder. I'm not sure Ray Lewington is going to land the Fulham job on a permanent basis.

1428: A change of coat and a change of fortune at Stamford Bridge. Avram Grant's snazzy black number gives way to an official piece of club merchandise and hey presto - the goals flow for his team.

1427: GOAL Chelsea 3-2 Aston Villa
A real striker's finish from, of all people, Alex, who collects a pass from the brilliant Andriy Shevchenko and takes the ball past a last-ditch challenge before drilling it home from 16 yards.

1426: It is all going on. A real Christmas feast with action all over the shop. Robbie Keane should have his hat-trick for Spurs but blazes over. West Ham twice almost regain their lead as Jonathan Spector heads against the angle of post and bar and Marcus Hahnemann majestically palms away Freddie Ljungberg's strike after Scott Parker picks him out.

1423: GOAL Tottenham 3-1 Fulham
Robbie Keane scores his 100th Premier League goal to restore his team's two-goal margin. He taps in from all of a yard after Dimitar Berbatov's header.

1422: GOAL West Ham 1-1 Reading
Reading, having been battered at the start of the second half, refuse to buckle and stun the home crowd with an equaliser. Dave Kitson brilliantly latches on to Nicky Shorey's deft pass. Alan Curbishley's look could slaughter thousands.

1421: GOAL Tottenham 2-1 Fulham
Clint Dempsey gives his team a lifeline, sliding in from six yards and scoring at the second attempt after his first effort rebounds off Paul Robinson.

1420: "It is going to be a very tough ask for Villa to get back into this game and win it, especially with the way Chelsea are playing at the moment."
Stan Collymore on BBC Radio 5 Live

1418: Robbie Keane shoots from the edge of the area. Antti Niemi saves. Michael Ballack shoots for Chelsea. Scott Carson saves.

1415: West Ham are denied by a point-blank save from Marcus Hahnemann, who denies Scott Parker. The USA keeper uses his sizeable chest to stop the ball. All West Ham at the moment.

1414: Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill looks slightly confused as he stands in the technical area surveying the field of play. It is all Chelsea now.

1410: GOAL Chelsea 2-2 Aston Villa
The superb Andriy Shevchenko equalises for Chelsea with an unstoppable strike from just over 20 yards. His ability has never been in doubt. What a finish.

1408: Petr Cech throws the ball out. His mistake in the first half was a total howler. He is a Christmas turkey, what a Christmas present for Villa etc. Andriy Shevchenko should do better from 20 yards but the striker hits the ball with just enough power to ensure it reaches the keeper. Not great.

1405: Harsh on Shaun Maloney. No hat-trick for him today. He is sacrificed for 10-man Aston Villa, with Curtis Davies coming on to boost the defensive ranks. The second half has started at Upton Park, White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge.

1402: "We all know what is going to happen now - two late goals from Chelsea. Probably."
Lorcan's Manchester Reds on 606

1400: Some player rater chat. The highest at the moment, across all three games, is Aston Villa's Shaun Maloney with 8.19. The lowest? Reading's Brynjar Gunnarsson with 3. That red card has not done much for his rating.

1358: Wow, a breathless end to the opening 45 minutes. Can Chelsea now salvage their unbeaten home record that, I think, currently stands at 71 Premier League games?

1351: Half-time
The interval arrives at the three 1300 GMT fixtures.

1350: GOAL Chelsea 1-2 Aston Villa
Andriy Shevchenko sends the keeper the wrong way to score from the penalty spot.

1349: GOAL Tottenham 2-0 Fulham
Tom Huddlestone doubles Tottenham's lead two days before his 21st birthday. The big midfielder latches on to Dimitar Berbatov's lay-off to drill home left-footed from 20 yards with Antti Niemi unmoved.

Zat Knight sees red for a clumsy challenge on Chelsea's Michael Ballack. Not much contact but Ballack was clean through.

1345: GOAL Chelsea 0-2 Aston Villa
Shaun Maloney puts Villa even further ahead but this goal is all about Petr Cech, who gifts the visiting team a late Christmas present by failing to stop a firm but hardly thunderous shot. The ball bounces in front of the Czech Republic keeper, who makes a horrible mess of what should be a simple save.

1344: GOAL West Ham 1-0 Reading
Nolberto Solano puts West Ham ahead against 10-man Reading. The ball breaks to the Peruvian on the edge of the box, Solano closes in on goal and finishes neatly on the angle with a clipped shot.

1341: A decent opening for Joe Cole but he smashes the ball straight at Scott Carson. Alex heads wide from a corner. Chelsea have come back into this game over the last five minutes. They very much needed to as well.

1339: "It's about time we saw a red card for the two-footed tackle. Nice one from the referee in charge of the Reading game."
chizzleface on 606

Brynjar Gunnarsson, of course, the player no longer on the field at Upton Park.

1336: Lots of hand clapping from Fulham boss Ray Lewington. Lots.

1335: The lively Gabriel Agbonlahor forces a good save from Chelsea keeper Petr Cech. The shot takes a slight deflection on its way to goal and Cech adjusts superbly.

1333: West Ham striker Dean Ashton shoots on the turn but he puts slightly too much purchase on the ball and it comes to rest on the roof of the net.

1331: RED CARD
Reading, who have been the better team, are reduced to 10 men when Brynjar Gunnarsson is shown a straight red for a two-footed lunge on West Ham midfielder Hayden Mullins.

1330: GOAL Tottenham 1-0 Fulham
Robbie Keane strokes the ball home from 10 yards after a powerful strike from Steed Malbranque crashes against the post and runs into the striker's path. It has been a game of few chances so far but Keane made no mistake when faced with an empty net.

1327: Dimitar Berbatov finally threatens for Tottenham, but his header is comfortably saved by Antti Niemi.

1326: No 100th goal for Frank Lampard today as he limps out of the action at Chelsea, to be replaced by Michael Ballack.

1324: Chelsea are being thoroughly outplayed by Villa, who look sharp and determined. Avram Grant's team really need to raise their game. Avram, by the way, seems to have got a new coat for Christmas, a snazzy three-quarter length black number.

1320: A chance for Gabriel Agbonlahor to put Villa 2-0 up but he cannot keep his effort on target. In truth, it is from a tight angle and the striker would have done very well to beat Petr Cech from there.

1319: Bobby Convey connects with a neat pass into this path but West Ham keeper Robert Green has come off his line quickly and smothers the American's shot.

1318: Just one shot at goal so far at Tottenham and Clint Dempsey's effort for Fulham was high and wide.

1314: GOAL Chelsea 0-1 Aston Villa
Shaun Maloney gives Villa the lead with a close-range volley after a header back across goal from John Carew.

"You have to say that it is a well-deserved goal for Aston Villa. At the minute Chelsea aren't keeping enough of the ball."
Stan Collymore on BBC Radio 5 Live

1313: Both keepers have been called into action at Upton Park. Kevin Doyle heads straight at Robert Green and then shoots wide. The Reading striker looks lively.

1310: John Carew misses a decent chance for Villa, heading over Petr Cech's crossbar. The Norwegian striker really should have done better from six yards.

1308: Tottenham on top against Fulham, while Villa look sharp at Stamford Bridge and very much even steven at Upton Park.

1306: "I bought my wife an arc welder for Christmas and I'm still here."
StormWarden on 606

Shrewd thinking. Excellent tactical present manoeuvre.

1303: Early shots for West Ham's Hayden Mullins, who shoots straight at Reading's keeper, and Aston Villa duo Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young. Play starts at Tottenham.

1300: Under way at Chelsea and West Ham. A minute's applause is taking place at Tottenham for Tommy Harmer, who died on Christmas Day aged 79.

1258: A huge reception for Ledley King at White Hart Lane when his name is read out over the tannoy.

1257: "I told my family I had started playing baseball, and got four jock straps."
Matt from Poole via text on 81111

You can't win 'em all.

"I've got Sam Waller beat. I got 16 pairs of socks. All black."
Tom Turner from Norwich via text on 81111

"I would say it is wrong that your wife watched the DVD she gave you first. It is used goods now."
Paul Wickford via text on 8111

1255: Approaching kick-off in the three 1300 GMT fixtures. All of them in London as well. It is a sunny day in the capital and the three stadiums are pretty much full.

1250: Question - I got a DVD for Christmas that my wife revealed she had already watched (the actual copy she gave to me). Is this wrong?

1248: "Boxing Day as St Stephens Day. Stephen was chosen to attend to the distribution of aid within the church community. It was traditional to open the church's donation box on Christmas Day, and the money in the donation box was to be distributed to the poorer or lower-class citizens the next day. In this case, the 'box' in Boxing Day comes from that lockbox in which the donations were left. Stephen was also recognized for his gifts as an evangelist, comment create debate from a soap 'box'."
Astrologer on 606

Hmmm, a good explanation at 1120. And now another possible, plausible-sounding explanation. Someone must be wrong?

1245: "Christmas presents? A nice shiny set of golf clubs to beat my dad!"
aussie_cricket on 606

I trust that means at golf.

1240: "I received an astonishing 10 pairs of socks yesterday, surely some kind of record?"
Sam Waller in Newcastle via text on 81111 (wearing a nice pair of purple socks)

Petr Cech keeps his place in goal for Chelsea despite limping off in the win over Blackburn and boss Avram Grant selects Claudio Pizarro up front, meaning there is no place in midfield for John Obi Mikel.
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill keeps faith with the side that drew with Manchester City.

1230: "I got some smelly new aftershave, some smelly new shower gel and some smelly new deodorant - do you think someone is trying to tell me something?"
waikato_fc on 606

Probably. Hai Karate I take it?

1225: Jermain Defoe and Kevin-Prince Boateng warm-up for Tottenham's game against Fulham by boxing as they jog up and down the pitch at White Hart Lane. Don't think they'll be heading to Vegas in the near future.

Carlton Cole replaces Henri Camara up front for West Ham after returning from suspension, while James Collins (groin) and Luis Boa Morte (thigh) miss out.
Reading are unchanged, with midfielder Brynjar Gunnarsson playing despite suffering a gashed knee against Sunderland.

Ledley King is in the Tottenham line-up for the first time this season, while Kevin-Prince Boateng drops to the bench with Tom Huddlestone and Jamie O'Hara starting in midfield. Robbie Keane partners Dimitar Berbatov up front again.
Caretaker Fulham boss Ray Lewington makes three changes to the side that drew with Wigan last time out, with Chris Baird, Seol Ki-Hyeon and Alexei Smertin drafted in.

1220: "I managed six sausages in bacon, my mate managed 10. But they were no ordinary mini-sausages in bacon, they were a normal sized sausage wrapped in a full rasher of bacon!"
evosanimal on 606! (And so is your mate).

Ledley King starts for Tottenham. More to follow.

1203: "Sorry, but no true Man Utd fan would cheer on Liverpool players. If you are a United fan a Liverpool player should not even be in your fantasy team!"
evosanimal on 606

Is this true? Or should fantasy football requirements take precedence over team loyalties?

1200: I was in terrible form on the mini-sausage wrapped in bacon front yesterday, managing a disappointing six. Way below the double figures I normally manage. Any record totals from you lot?

1145: "I got two jumpers, a scarf and of course some socks. And to make it worse I have to spend today with the family up in Leeds! This means I will miss only my third Villa game of the season. Here's to the double over Chelsea!"
Anonymous via text on 81111

For the record, Villa beat Chelsea 2-0 at Villa Park on 2 September.

And what is wrong with Leeds? A modern, forward-thinking city with a variety of shops from which to snare some Boxing Day bargains. Or you could always pop down to Headingley Carnegie to watch Leeds Rhinos play Wakefield in that beautiful game known as rugby league.

1139: "Fan from America - a convert to the one true football. Been up all night waiting for the Chelsea versus Aston Villa match. Cannot wait!! Good luck Frank, go for the century!"
emaiwald on 606

Yep, if Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard scores today it will be his 100th goal for the Blues.

And check this for a stat - the match at Stamford Bridge is Chelsea's 300th home fixture in the Premier League and Aston Villa's 300th away from Villa Park. Crazy.

Chelsea are hoping for a 72nd home game in the Premier League without defeat.

1130: West Ham supporters are desperate for some Christmas cheer at Upton Park when their team play Reading. The Hammers have not won at home since their 3-1 victory over Sunderland on 21 October.

1128: "I got a "brainiac science abuse" bottle rocket and a tub of baking powder. Someone thinks I'm a geek.
However many big hangovers there are among the big four sides, there is no chance for any of their opponents."
bristchemlad on 606

1120: "Boxing Day is a traditional celebration, dating back to the Middle Ages, and consisted of the practice of giving out gifts to employees, the poor, or to people in a lower social class. The Oxford English Dictionary attributes it to the Christmas box; the verb box meaning: "To give a Christmas-box (colloq.); whence boxing-day."
The President on 606


1110: Tottenham are in action at 1300, hosting Fulham, and a few people I know are anxiously waiting to see whether or not Ledley King will make his first appearance of the season.
Spurs, of course, lost to Arsenal on Saturday and are looking to return to winning ways against a team that have picked up two points from the last 18 possible.

1105: "I got chocolate and money for Christmas. By the end of the day I was richer than the day before and probably a whole stone heavier. Luckily supporting West Ham is a tough exercise, what with the jumping up and down and the last-minute penalties we tend to give away, so I'll lose all the extra weight by 3 o'clock."
Mark Noble is the future on 606

1100 GMT: Boxing Day. Strange name but great for football, with nine top-flight fixtures through the day.

Once again, I'm not exactly feeling tip top. Started to take it easy fairly early yesterday with today's activities in mind but then my father-in-law berated me, with something along the lines of "oh come on, keep the liquor flowing and the cards turning".

As a Lancastrian, that was pretty hard to take from a Yorkshireman nearly twice my age. Couldn't step down after that sort of challenge.

Thankfully, the game of cards didn't last all that long because my wife was losing and decided the game was boring. Funny that.

Still, I ended Christmas Day two series of Peep Show, a black cardigan and a mobile listening device better off than I started it.

Any good - or even better, really, really bad - presents come your way yesterday?

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

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