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Live - Premier League



SUNDAY RESULTS:

Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool

Man Utd 1-2 Man City

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

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

By Sam Lyon

1811: Well that's it from me, folks. Thanks for all your messages via text and 606 and hope to have you all back next time!

1810: Rafael Benitez cuts a relaxed figure after the game, but he insists his side were disappointed not to win, adding: "We controlled the first half and countered well in the second. But a point is ok."

Chelsea boss Avram Grant, meanwhile, is also an unhappy man: "Every game you don't win is disappointing - especially at home and especially when you have a chance to close the gap at the top. It wasn't the best game - Liverpool know how to defend."

"Grant needs to beat the teams around him - the supposed "big four" - or else it's useless."
bioChelseaW on 606

"Mark it down - February 10th 2008, the day the title was offered to Arsenal. Now it depends on if we've got the guts to take it."
Stevie357 on 606

"I wouldn't mind those boring games being shifted abroad."
RedDevil16 (City United In Mourning) on 606

1800: PLAYER RATER
Steven Gerrard is your top man on player rater on 7.40, but fives and sixes are the order of the day after a turgid affair. Frank Lampard's score of 5.19 is, in my very humble opinion, a little generous.

"It says a lot about our perceived superiority of the Premier League when the highlight of Chelsea v Liverpool is the referee falling over!"
Bauc via text

"The UN should step in to stop that being inflicted on other countries."
neillydun on 606

1751: And that's it. Liverpool edged it, but it was a terrible game in all honesty and Arsenal are the big winners of the day without even having kicked a ball.

1749: Three minutes of stoppage time to be played.

1748: Dirk Kuyt turns on Steven Gerrard's pass in the box, but Ashley Cole does enough to force the error and Cech saves comfortably.

1745: Cool or lucky from John Arne Riise? The Norwegian's diving header at full stretch from Malouda's cross is collected by his own keeper when it looked for a moment like it might be going in.

"Liverpool are the draw specialists. They should be re-named Ann Summers."
xIamTHEeggMAN on 606

1742: It's Liverpool's turn to fashion a chance, Kuyt crossing for - of all people - Jermaine Pennant to head wide under pressure from Belletti. I'd love to think those two chances will kickstart a barnstorming finish to this turgid affair, but I'm not holding my breath...

1740: That was almost the breakthrough for Chelsea, Ashley Cole setting up Michael Ballack but the German's sidefoot volley drifts narrowly wide. So close for the Blues.

1738: One can only wonder why these two teams have failed to spark today - Manchester United boss seems to think his side's defeat to City was down to international call-ups... *cough*.

1735: A rare moment of decent play as Joe Cole skips down the right, bamboozles John Arne Riise and looks to be in a good position to pick out a team-mate in the box, only to instead find Jose Reina with a tame cross.

1729: A change for each side - Frank Lampard coming off after 70 minutes of his comeback game after injury to be replaced by Jon Obi Mikel, and Jermaine Pennant replacing Ryan Babel for Liverpool.

"Daniel Agger has just been in my local shop getting some provisions. If he can't be bothered to watch it, it seems I'm not alone!"
Johnny via text

"How come neither team can string more than one or two passes together?"
RebelSpurs on 606

1726: ...and it comes to nothing.

1725: A decent Liverpool break ends with a corner as Ryan Babel twice fails to clear the first defender with Peter Crouch in the middle. Lucas will take it...

1721: Malouda is on for Chelsea in place of Wright-Phillips. The rather annonymous Frank Lampard stays on - surprising.

"Surprised Mike Riley didn't award himself a free-kick."
Arnie_Aardvark on 606

"Mike Riley... diver."
tom_hayward91 on 606

1720: Wahey! Referee Mike Riley brings almost the biggest cheer of the day when he stacks it in the centre of the pitch. The man went down in stages there - pure comedy.

1718: Doesn't look like Harry Kewell is too far away from an introduction off the Liverpool bench, while Florent Malouda is also stripped and ready. Can either have an impact for their side?

"Chelsea will win this by one goal but it may not come until late on."
Big Blue Sam at the Bridge via text

An indication of how gripping this match isn't people - even the supporters that are there like Sam are finding better things to do than watch the match. Still, I can't think of any better way to alleviate your boredom than texting me so get involved on 81111 peeps!

1714: Deary me this is scrappy at the moment.

"What a day this could be for Arsenal, and they're not even playing!"
Anon via text

1709: Claude Makelele - who last scored for Chelsea when Tottenham beat them 2-1 last season - tries his luck with a 40-yard volley but, unsurprisingly, it flies harmlessly wide.

1707: Ryan Babel dashes at Belletti, forcing the right-back into his own area, but just as he looks to have got the better of him with a neat turn, his foot slips from under him and Petr Cech can clear.

1705: Skrtel leaves the pitch to receive some treatment - looks like he may have dislocated a finger there. If the Liverpool medical staff are anything like my old man, they'll cake it in Vicks - his cure for any ill in the world, ever - and be done with it. By the look of things, they're taking a more scientific approach, though.

1704: Mike Riley gets the second half started...

"Scarlett Johansson is American - though born to a Polish mother and Danish father. Lovely girl..."
Rick, Berks via text

1659: Don't forget, you can also keep tabs on the Africa Cup of Nations final - my esteemed colleague Mr Paul Fletcher will keep you abreast of all the action between Cameroon and Egypt at the Ohene Djan Stadium.

1655: PLAYER-RATER
Stevie G - as Steve McClaren so affectionately called him - leads the way on player rate alongside Joe Cole, with Belletti bringing up the rear for Chelsea on 5.58. Plenty of time for you to get voting, though, so get involved.

"Maybe I have been in Brazil too long but... who is Scarlett Johansson???"
lostinbrasil on 606

"Though I'm a big fan of Lamps, I really think we should take him off. He hasn't played since Boxing Day and looks miles off the pace."
Chels' - in the blood on 606

"Family duties over, I'm off to the pub to watch the second half. At least I haven't missed much by all accounts!!"
TouchlineDad on 606

1648 - HALF-TIME: Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool
Sound defensive display from Liverpool so far, who will point to two missed chances from Crouch as a sign that they may just have edged that half. Chelsea will rue the decision not to award Joe Cole an early penalty, but it is still all to play for at the Bridge.

1647: A fine Belletti free-kick heads towards Alex, but Dirk Kuyt does well to get the ball away under pressure.

"Re 1638 Ashton_Gate... It's just you"
jashana on 606

1643: As the chat on 606 descends into a debate over Scarlett Johansson's nationality (I don't know, I really don't), Ryan Babel goes into the book at the Bridge as a Liverpool foray comes to nothing.

1641: Good work from Nicolas Anelka, the Frenchman driving across the Liverpool box, but his shot is deflected behind for a corner.

1638: A real snap-shot of the half so far as a promising Chelsea attack breaks down with seven Liverpool defenders behind the ball, the visitors then launching a swift counter-attack that finished with Crouch heading Dirk Kuyt's fine cross wide on the stretch.

"Is it me or is Wright-Phillips better in the air than Crouch?"
Ashton_Gate on 606

1633: Joe Cole swings in a corner and Jose Reina looks to be in all sorts of trouble coming for the ball - the reason being, so TV replays prove, that Anelka has taken him out with an outstretched leg. Not subtle enough to fool referee Riley.

1631: Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka combine well to feed Frank Lampard but no less than six Liverpool players swarm round him and prevent the midfielder's shot reaching the target.

1626: Chelsea string together their best move of the match so far, with Ballack and Ashley Cole heavily involved, and Joe Cole dances into the box only to be halted by a very clumsy tackle by Javier Mascherano. Big penalty shout, that, and I reckon the Argentine was very lucky to get away with it...

"Torres would have scored both of those chances. Those darn friendlies!"
NiallSF on 606

1621: Good work from Gerrard as the midfielder beats Ricardo Carvalho to the ball and crosses for Peter Crouch, whose header is easily held by Cech.

"How didn't Crouch score there?!"
AYBGerrardo on 606

1619: Ooh a chance! Peter Crouch latches on to Kuyt's lay-off and swings a left-footed shot narrowly wide of Cech's left-hand post. Close.

1616: Not much going on at either end as the two midfields battle it out at the Bridge. I say that, Petr Cech is adjusting his skull cap and Jose Reina is spitting in his gloves, but you know what I mean.

"I hope this game settles down soon. This has been torture for my eyes."
Fry on 606

"Would Cole and Lampard not miss the FA cup game next week if they were booked today?"
Dan, a hopeful Spurs fan, calculating chances of some silverware via text

That might be an excellent point Dan, I'll get that looked into.

1613: Well, I suppose that was to be expected. After an early flurry we've settled into a bit of a battling, tight, tactical affair at Stamford Bridge.

1608: Decent pressure at the Liverpool end, with Carragher doing well to block Nicolas Anelka's shot, while Peter Crouch causes a problem or two at the other end before the Chelsea backline clear. Good, open start here.

1605: Well that didn't take long - Mike Riley gets his card out early doors for Belletti's handball. For the record, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard are a booking away from missing the Carling Cup final against Tottenham.

1602: We're under way, Chelsea lining up 4-3-3, with Liverpool looking as if they are starting in a similar 4-5-1 formation with Gerrard central and Kuyt on the right.

1559: The players are out and we are seconds away from kick-off.

"Gooner, here... Obviously the United loss was a bonus from my point of view, but plenty of points to be dropped so I shall refrain from getting too excited. Could do with Liverpool winning, but I highly doubt it."
quiteManners on 606

1552: Rafael Benitez takes the opportunity before the match to set the record straight after a newspaper report that he is blaming Liverpool's American owners for their poor season so far. He tells Sky: "Everyone in Liverpool knows there are two newspapers in England you cannot trust. I never spoke to the reporter, he is twisting my words from an interview I gave to a Spanish paper."

"I heard an interview with Avram Grant earlier and he gave three answers to one question, covering every opinion - yes no and maybe - quite odd..."
theothefuture on 606

1542: Chelsea manager Avram Grant admits United's derby defeat is a "big lift" for his side, but that it "doesn't mean anything if we don't beat Liverpool". Cliche-tastic from the big Israeli there.

"I must say, I fancy Anelka to trouble the likes of Skrtel and Carragher today."
JT_BlueForever on 606

"Three wingers on the bench - Does Benitez have any idea what he is doing??"
the voice of reason on 606

1537: Of course, that defeat for United means Chelsea can close to within one point of their title rivals and three behind leaders Arsenal with victory over Liverpool. Who knows - maybe the derby defeat has even re-opened the door for the Reds to push on for the title? No, you're right, that's over-stating it a touch...

"If Liverpool manage to win today, I'm driving to the BBC and giving Sam a big hug!"
Liverpool Gas on 606

1530: TEAM NEWS
Frank Lampard is back for Chelsea as captain and plays in midfield alongside Claude Makelele and Michael Ballack. Ricardo Carvalho starts in defence after suspension but Jon Mikel Obi, back from Africa, is only on the bench. Liverpool select Peter Crouch and Dirk Kuyt in attack, while Ryan Babel has recovered from injury to play wide on the left. Steven Gerrard is expected to play on the right.

1528: PLAYER RATER
Martin Petrov's 7.81 is the highest in a number of seven-plus scores for man City's players, while Man Utd's left-back John O'Shea's 4.47 is the lowest score overall, though Wes Brown is just 0.01 ahead of him. Ouch.

"Well done to United and City for a lovely game of football, on such an occasion, superb for every neutral. Fantastic stuff."
Return to the Shed - 75 on 606

"Ronaldo has one big weakness - he is not a big game player. He plays unbelievably well against other teams but against City, Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal he fails miserably."
Manufan87 - RonaldoTheGod on 606

1523 - FULL-TIME: Man Utd 1-2 Man City
What was the worry about City fans? Carrick's strike is little more than a consolation and City win a league game at Old Trafford for the first time since Dennis Law's backheeled goal won them the derby in 1974. Not how United wanted to mark the Munich air crash anniversary, but a fantastic result for their neighbours nonetheless.

1522 - GOAL: Man Utd 1-2 Man City
Erm, sorry about that City fans. Michael Carrick sets up a bandstand last couple of minutes with a fine right-footed finish into the corner from 18 yards out. One, unnamed, member of the office is sending me daggers as we speak...

1519: Much to the chagrin of any City fan out there who believes in the commentator's curse - I'm saying this is done and dusted. United look bereft of ideas and City have to hold out for just three minutes of injury time...

"United have no answer to City's tight defence, and when it comes to the big games, their big "attacking players", don't perform!"
Sepo_efc on 606

1515: ...and it comes to absolutely zip.

1514: Some United fans have seen enough and are streaming out. The clock is ticking down - less than 10 minutes to go now, I'd say - but United do have a corner...

"Owyn (see below)... Call me naive, but i think that is stating the obvious."
Aaron via text

1509: Ryan Giggs zips a belting left-footed shot across goal and past the far post. Decent effort, but I'll be honest the game has gone a touch quiet. That'll suit City down to the ground but surely United can launch some sort of late rally?

"Maybe they'll get the 'Ferguson Special' - eight minutes injury time."
MrChriss on 606

1506: Benjani goes off to a hero's reception from the City fans and 19-year-old Ecuadorian Felipe Caicido comes on for his senior debut.

1504: Last throw of the dice from United - Hargreaves and Carrick on for Anderson and O'Shea. Fergie, without a striker on the bench, may be regretting his decision not to have selected young Danny Welbeck as substitute now.

1500: Loving that stat - Sven-Goran Eriksson's record as manager at Old Trafford? Won seven, drawn two, lost one. And remember, City won the reverse fixture at Eastlands too - this would be their first 'double' over United since the 1969-70 season.

"If United don't get on the scoreboard sharpish, the game is lost."
Owyn via text

1456: Great tackle from Richard Dunne, the defender getting an all-important toe on the ball with Tevez set to strike 16 yards out.

1455: Fergie decides the time has come to change it and Ji-Sung Park comes on for Nani.

1452: Anderson's 20-yarder is comfortably held by City keeper Joe Hart. By the by, footyneutral (see below) is receiving something like a dressing down on 606. Sack Fergie? Behave, please.

1451: United will have to watch those counter-attacks - the hosts get away with it as Stephen Ireland and Benjani fail to make the most of a two-on-one and Nemanja Vidic scrambles clear.

1448: John O'Shea is the first player into the book after he clatters Darius Vassell on the right-hand touchline. One booking? Not very derby-like I hear you cry... nope, referee Howard Webb is doing a fine job so far.

1447: United think they've scored - but Tevez is about three yards offside when Paul Scholes's shot comes in and so the Argentine's tap-in from the rebound is rightly ruled out.

1446: Ronaldo gets the better of Micah Richards on the right-hand side but then spoons a rubbish cross over and away from everyone in the box. He looks down at the pitch - what's that saying about a bad workman?

"I think it's time for Fergie to retire - he has lost the plot. He only plays his favourites who are past it e.g. Scholes, Giggs. Get Marcello Lippi NOW."
footyneutral on 606

1443: A delightful ball from Scholes finds Ronaldo running through. Micah Richards looks to have lost him but then sticks out a right leg to provide a timely intervention.

1441: No United backlash just yet - City are controlling possession well at the moment.

1437: Ber-limey - Dietmar Hamann kerplunks an effort at goal from fully 30 yards and it stings Edwin van der Sar's palms as the Dutchman keeps it out.

1436: We're back under way at OT...

1430: PLAYER RATER
Martin Petrov leads the way on your player rater votes, though Benjani and Richard Dunne are not far behind. Poor old Wes Brown is languishing on 4.94 at the moment. Harsh but fair, that, I'd say.

"No Elano as well - fantastic City!"
Stumped on 606

"If United get an early goal in the second half I can see them coming back."
Chasney on 606

1425: A quick note for all you egg-chasing fans out there - for Ben Dirs's inimitable commentary on England's Six Nations match in Italy, web users can click on the link below. He's already used the word "shellacking", whatever that means, so check him out - but come right back for the second half of this intriguing derby won't you.

"I can't believe it...City two up! I'd dance in the street of Reno, Nevada if it wasn't minus 15 and me in my Pyjamas..."
Smithers via text

"The great SAF pays for bringing in a midfield full of attackers and fullbacks who should be playing in the second-tier."
kalismith on 606

1419 - HALF-TIME: Man Utd 0-2 Man City
A couple of minutes of stoppage time before the half-time whistle goes and it's the blue half of Manchester that is dancing at the moment. Well, well, well... deep breaths everyone.

1416 - GOAL: Man Utd 0-2 Man City
Would you Adam it! Yet another superb cross from Petrov is glanced home by Benjani for a debut goal. Where are the scriptwriters now?

1414: One such counter from City brings more strife for the hosts, Martin Petrov's whipped cross causing problems and Van der Sar has to palm it behind with Gelson Fernandes lurking.

1412: He may have taken a bit of stick as England boss, but there's no doubting Sven-Goran Eriksson's tactical nous here - City are defending well, repelling wave after wave of United attacks, and they are still posing problems on the counter at the other end, with Benjani, Martin Petrov and Darius Vassell happy to break. Nicely set up, this.

"unitedwestand1878 (see below) what about Arsenal?"
GunnersAreTop on 606

1407: Bit of a United onslaught at the moment but the City rearguard is holding up well. Firstly Cristiano Ronaldo's drive is deflected wide by Richard Dunne - it may have been off-target anyway - and then the City defence does well to block a Rio Ferdinand shot from the resulting corner.

1405: City fans hold their breath as Cristiano Ronaldo lines up a free-kick 25 yards from goal - but his trademark toe-poke effort flies over the bar.

"We may as well give chelsea the title now if we lose today."
unitedwestand1878 on 606

1359: Take a bow Joe Hart - a fine stop from the City keeper after Carlos Tevez turns on the edge of the area and drills a fine volley goalwards keeps the visitors ahead. A good response from United, though.

1355 - GOAL: Man Utd 0-1 Man City
City take the lead to stun the home masses, but it takes two bites of the cherry for Darius Vassell to finish. Martin Petrov's superb through-ball puts in Stephen Ireland and even though his shot is saved by Edwin van der Sar, it falls to Vassell, who fires home at the second attempt. The United defence was nowhere to be seen.

1352: City appear to have settled after that nervy opening and Rio Ferdinand has to get a vital touch on Nedum Onuoha's cross to take it away from Benjani's head in front of goal.

1348: Cristiano Ronaldo goes down under Dietmar Hamann's challenge from behind in the box, but Howard Webb waves away the appeals. At best there was minimal contact.

1345: Stunning tackle from Richard Dunne - the Irishman sliding in to deny Carlos Tevez a clear shot on goal after he had been set through by Ronaldo. Best attack of the half so far, that. For those asking on 606 - the Man Utd players are indeed numbered 1-11 as opposed to their squad numbers today.

1344: First shot in anger from City - Martin Petrov stinging a shot well over from 25 yards.

1343: A rare foray forward from City, but Gelson Fernandes can't quite get on the end of Martin Petrov's cross.

1339: First clear-cut chance of the match and it falls to Ryan Giggs, the Welshman controlling well inside the box, left of goal, and he brings a decent save from Joe Hart, who tips his rising effort over the bar.

1337: A predictable early pattern to the match is established - City defending deep and happy to let United have the ball in their own half, with the hosts pressing at every opportunity. Paul Scholes appears to be anchoring the midfield at the moment, with Anderson pressing on.

1333: United enjoy the early possession and twice City rely on last-gasp clearances, firstly from Micah Richards and then Richard Dunne, as Carlos Tevez lurks in the box. Wes Brown clatters into Martin Petrov deep in the City half - welcome to the Manchester derby, sir.

"It was never in doubt. Even though there there is a great rivalry between the two clubs, City fans are football fans and their respect shown was truly honourable. Well done."
unitedandproud on 606

1330: The atmosphere is fantastic - as you would expect - as the 149th Manchester derby gets under way, with United dressed in logo-less 1958-style kits.

"A city, united..."
notirishjason on 606

1329: Stunning. A perfectly observed silence and any fears about how such a gesture will be received are utterly unfounded. Brilliant. What sounded like fireworks exploding outside the ground could be heard.

1325: The Manchester United mascots are sporting shirts adorned with the names of the United players who died 50 years ago in the Munich air crash - Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards (survived the crash but died in hospital 15 days later), Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor, Liam 'Billy' Whelan. Managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Sven-Goran Eriksson lay wreaths in the centre circle in tribute to those players and the others that passed - including legendary former City keeper Frank Swift - and the gesture is warmly applauded.

1322: The atmosphere is building and Terry Carr, the lone piper, leads the teams out on to the Old Trafford pitch, through a guard of honour, to what can only be described as a respectful, reverent welcome. Both sets of fans were handed old-school style club scarves before the match and it makes for a stunning spectacle I tell you.

"Man City are absolute rubbish and their league position will never last. How they are above teams like Spurs I have NO idea. Come the end of the season I expect City to be 13th or 14th."
designbyvinny on 606

"Okay, the omens aren't good for City, I know, but think of this. City have only won twice away in the league this season - both against Uniteds (Newcastle and West Ham) and the last time they won at Old Trafford they bore no sponsor on their shirts. Or am I clutching at straws?"
skybluebezza on 606

1308: FULL TEAM NEWS:
Manchester United bring in forward Nani, midfielder Anderson and left-back John O'Shea for suspended duo Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra as Owen Hargreaves drops to the bench. Striker Benjani Mwaruwari makes his Manchester City debut, with right-back Nedum Onuoha also starting as Vedran Corluka and Elano sit this one out through suspension.

"With that line-up, anything below 5-0 for Utd will be a really medicore result haha. Who knows perhaps even Van der Sar will score today?"
ypsylon [1878 is the only year what matters] on 606

1300: TEAM NEWS SNIPPET:
No Danny Welbeck for United, but Nani, Scholes, Anderson, Giggs, Ronaldo and Tevez all start. Now THAT'S an attacking line-up. Meanwhile, Benjani makes his full debut for City.

"I think Man Utd will win 2-0."
MeanMugg on 606

"I just have a slight feeling City will nick this game..."
RedDevil16 (AKA RD16) on 606

"I wonder how many times Sven-Goran Eriksson has said the words 'good' or 'nice' in his life. Somebody should buy him a thesaurus."
Anon via text

A little harsh Anon, given the man speaks approximately 367 different languages. Give or take...

1248: Still waiting for the official teams... some chat on 606 that 17-year-old Welbeck may just have earned that shock United debut, but I'll keep you posted...

"There IS a local TV station in Armenia that's showing the match - TV5! But if you can't find it, come join us in Cafe Tifosi on 52 Teryan Street!"
NarekAlaverdyan on 606

"Sven should be a shoe in for the best looking baby competition!"
Jonathan, Belfast via text

"You want us to crank up the derby talk? Ok - I reckon Derby will be relegated. Is that better Sam?"
Return to the Shed - 75 on 606

Ooh, you cheeky scamp you...

"I fancy Giggs, Carrick, Tevez and Ronaldo to score in a 4-1 demolition. Benjani to trouble the defence and gain a consolation."
jpalongo - Do you feel the power of the Gladiators on 606

"I'm backing Ronaldo to score a hat-trick, but City to win."
Kanetsugu, So'ton via text

What a game that would be...

1234: Right, with less than an hour to go until kick-off I want us all to focus on United-City for the time being. We will, of course, get back to Chelsea, Liverpool, Benitez - and maybe even the Spaniard's soppy goatee - later, but let's crank up the derby talk peeps!

Did you know - City have yet to be awarded a penalty in the league this season? Who would bet against one today at the Stretford end?

"You could fuse the two concepts and have a 'Which derby has the best looking baby competition?'. Think players/managers with a baby-like appearance?"
Cen via text

If only Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was playing today, huh Cen?

1223: It's a beautiful day in Manchester by the look of things, with a few hardened fans having already abandoned their Sunday morning pint to enjoy the glorious sunshine covering one half of Old Trafford. Outside the ground, thousands of people are laying flowers, shirts and tributes to mark the anniversary of the Munich air crash. It really is an emotive scene.

"I hope the boss doesn't catch me pressing F5 every minute, otherwise my shift will go very slowly today! Good luck Master Wellbeck!"
Chris, Belfast via text

Thought I'd help you remain deep under-cover Chris, by posting your comment on the live commentary that your boss is blatantly reading as well. You're welcome!

"I would think all derby games are special. Let's end the "which derby is best" debate - it's on a par with 'Whos got the best looking baby?'"
20ledge on 606

In my humble opinion, all babies, whatever nationality, look like Winston Churchill. Erm, FACT! Sort of...

"Sam - who cares about United, Liverpool and Chelsea when Southend overcame Hartlepool yesterday?!"
wooden-brick on 606

"Benitez will NOT be sacked, and will win the FA Cup and/or CL this season. He will also win us the Premier League in the future."
Ben, Swansea via text

"It's the waiting in anticipation for games like these that makes you want a toilet break every few minutes!"
unitedforevernever on 606

1201: Talking of Liverpool, they face a pretty tall task today as well as City. Chelsea, for example, are unbeaten in 13 league and cup games, winning 11, while Liverpool won their first league match since Boxing Day only last weekend - and that was at home to Sunderland who have yet to win away this season. Oh, and the Blues are unbeaten at home in 75 - yes, 75 - matches. Again... gulp!

1156: Have your say on the Benitez job situation on 606 or via text people!

"Benitez will be sacked Monday morning - FACT."
stfc4evr on 606

"...nah, end of the season I reckon."
redchunt on 606 in response

"Benitez will be sacked Sunday evening - FACT!"
Ballanardo on 606

1145: Just, erm, 105 minutes until kick-off at Old Trafford people. It might just be a nervy ol' time in the Welbeck household at the moment - 17-year-old striker Danny Welbeck is reportedly being considered for a bit of action with Wayne Rooney suspended and Louis Saha (knee) still a doubt. Not a bad match to debut in I suppose.

"Perhaps the Premier League would like to help MarvellousRedmeister with a last minute move of fixture to Armenia to trial their new proposals?!"
shortyshorty89 on 606

"I thought the Premier League's global appeal meant it was broadcast to 202 countries. Come on Armenia, get involved in this wonderful soccer franchise!"
Anon via text

1133: I've been mulling over my stats for the game this morning - that's the crazy kinda guy I am, like - and it doesn't bode all too well for City.

For example, United are defending an unbeaten home Premier League record against them, although the hosts have only won one of the last three meetings at Old Trafford, while in total City have won 14 times there, with 29 home wins and 25 draws.

Add to that the fact that Sven-Goran Eriksson's side have won only two away matches in the league this season, have won once in their last eight games, and face a United side that has picked up 31 points from the last 36 available and it's a bit... gulp!

"Manchester derby - let's show the world what football is really about whatever colour shirt."
Elizabeth May Pink via text

"Liverpool are the new Newcastle! Weighed down by fans' expectations, just like England."
Tom from Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire via text

That's Tom from Yorkshire in case you missed it.

"Oi Sam! I am residents of Glasgow, London, Madrid etc and I hotly dispute that moniker!"
acoughlan on 606

"The winter wind has taken me to... Armenia. And there's no local channel that shows the derby!!! I'm tryin' to find a satellite! I ain't gonna miss that! No way!"
MarvellousRedmeister on 606

Exclamation mark-tastic from MarvellousRedmeister there...

1115: For anyone that has read Sir Alex Ferguson's criticism of the timing of today's Manchester derby - coinciding as it does with the 50th anniversary of the Munich air crash - you may be interested to know that the Premier League have issued a response...

"We weren't approached by either club to move the fixture," said Premier League Dan Johnson, "If they had felt the match was insensitively or impracticably placed, they have the opportunity to ask for it to be moved."

So now you know.

"Woo, first comment! Should be two great matches today, hoping for a City and Liverpool win!"
gunnerjustin12 on 606

1105: To quote Uma Thurman from that distressingly annoying TV advert, hot-diggity-jam! we are in for a massive day of Premier League action today folks.

First up we have the mother* of all derbies at Old Trafford, with United desperate to regain top spot in the table and mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich air crash in appropriate fashion, while City have the chance to jump right back into the Uefa Cup qualifying spots.

And later this afternoon, Chelsea host Liverpool, knowing anything less than a victory will seriously damage the Londoners' title chances.

Liverpool, on the other hand, might have slipped out of the top six by that stage - adding yet more fuel to the fire that is slowly loosening Rafael Benitez's grip at Anfield you would think.

As always, I want you to get involved in as big - and as early - a way as possible. I want your missives via text on 81111 and on 606 - let me know your predictions, where you're watching the game, your outlook on life in general - whatever. Just make it interesting and, if at all possible, football-related.

Bosh. Lovely.

* - If you're from the Manchester area. Residents of Glasgow, London, Madrid etc will hotly dispute this moniker and I take no responsibility for any farcical arguments that result from said statement. Ey fank yaow...



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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