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Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Saturday, 19 April 2008 19:22 UK

Premier League as it happened

Arsenal 2-0 Reading Match report
Blackburn 1-1 Manchester United Match report
Fulham 0-2 Liverpool Match report
Middlesbrough 0-1 Bolton Match report
West Ham 2-1 Derby Match report
Wigan 1-1 Tottenham Match report


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

By Jonathan Stevenson

1920: Time to bring to a close another frenetic day of Premier League action. Brilliant day for Bolton fans, bad day for Birmingham you'd have to say, but how important is their game at fierce rivals Aston Villa tomorrow at midday? I'll be here once again so please join me for three more potentially cracking games. And thanks for your company throughout the day, as always, I'm humbled. In a few hours, Stevo.

1914: Roque Santa Cruz is still comfortably leading the player rater on 7.77, but I wouldn't be surprised if Brad Friedel starts to make a move after that second-half display. United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak is still taking a pounding on 5.09.
Thom, Glossop, via text

1911: "Before the Arsenal game, Fergie said if we win the next three games we would be champions. When Chelsea dropped two points against Wigan, that no longer applied, so if we beat Chelsea next week, we win the league. Nothing changes."
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1908: FULL-TIME Blackburn 1-1 Manchester United

1906: "Tevez has done it again, goal against Chelsea, goal against Lyon, goal against Spurs, goal against Rovers! Our saviour!"
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1904: We are into four minutes of injury time.

1903: Wayne Rooney is taken off for Ji-Sung Park.

1901: GOAL Blackburn 1-1 Manchester United
It was coming, it really was. Nani's corner is flicked on by Paul Scholes and Carlos Tevez is on hand to nod the ball in from three yards. That just seconds after one of the great saves in living memory, John O'Shea turning the ball goalwards from two yards and somehow Brad Friedel sticking out his right hand and putting the ball out for a corner.

1859: United win a free-kick for handball against Morten Gamst Pedersen, about 45 yards from goal. Cue ironic whistles.

1858: Wonder save. Nani plays in Wayne Rooney and although he should do better, Brad Friedel gets down to his right to make a fabulous save with his right hand. Absolute crackerjack from the American. Aaron Mokoena comes on for Blackburn in place of Johann Vogel.

1858: "Warnock has played Ronaldo brilliantly today. Anyone else reckon he might make the next England squad?"
Andrew in Birmingham, via text

I've heard worse shouts mate, Warnock has been brilliant today.

1857: Blackburn survive a massive shout for a penalty as Michael Carrick's header towards goal clearly comes off the arm of Brett Emerton. One of those days?

1856: Fergie is tapping his watch on the touchline. Squeaky bums on the Man Utd bench is it?

1854: Cristiano Ronaldo leads the next charge down the left and Carlos Tevez is brilliantly thwarted by some brave defending at the near post. United are all over Blackburn at the moment.

1852: Wow. Wayne Rooney tees up Cristiano Ronaldo and it appears as though the winger is brought down in the box, but play continues and Carlos Tevez spins and smashes in a shot that Brad Friedel does magnificently to save. On the replay, Johann Vogel definitely gets a piece of the ball. Great decision.

1852: Wayne Rooney cuts in from the left and fires in a shot but Brad Friedel gets down well to make the save.

1851: "Is Capello watching this game? Does he really believe Rooney could be a mature England captain in the future? Must be debatable now surely, given that it seems Rooney is a touch of a liability in 'big' games?"
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1847: Morten Gamst Pedersen goes so close to doubling Blackburn's lead, forcing his way into the box on the left-hand side only to lash the ball across the face of the goal and out for a goalkick.

1845: Wayne Rooney is absolutely livid once again after Blackburn are awarded a free-kick following a clash between him and Ryan Nelsen. Rooney was caught high by Nelsen, but the Blackburn defender got the ball, fair challenge. It wasn't a free-kick either way.

1843: "I said this after the Man Utd v Arsenal game last week and I'll say it again, Chelsea will win the league and Man Utd will win the Champions League, leaving us Gooners with peanuts."
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1840: Roque Santa Cruz outmuscles Patrice Evra at the back stick after a long punt into the United box and after doing so well to get his head to the ball, he wastefully plants it over the bar.

1838: Ronaldo v Friedel, Part Three: It's difficult to tell whether Brad Friedel gets a touch one this one but Ronaldo's quite brilliant 25-yard left-foot shot crashes against the post. Best moment of the game by far from United's top scorer.

1835: Nani looks skywards, presumably trying to find the ball after he smacks one miles over from 25 yards with a couple of United players well-placed in the area. Wasteful.

1835: "This is looking more and more like just another one of those frustrating games. Also annoying to have lost a goal to some bad defending considering how well we've defended this season."
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1832: Jason Roberts is taken out by Nemanja Vidic - the former Wigan striker has been a real handful up top for Rovers today.

1830: For those of you interested, here's the running order for Match of the Day tonight, at 2230 BST on BBC One, though be warned - it is subject to change: Blackburn v Man Utd, Middlesbrough v Bolton, Fulham v Liverpool, Arsenal v Reading, Wigan v Tottenham, West Ham v Derby.

1827: Cristiano Ronaldo is taken out by Morten Gamst Pedersen and he rolls around in "agony" for a while before getting back up and on with things. To be fair to him it was a naughty challenge, but the rolls still don't do him any favours. Fergie, meanwhile, is naturally apoplectic.

1825: ... but the 38-goal winger's shot is well blocked by the Blackburn wall.

1824: Nani is fouled 25 yards out by Steven Reid. I'm no rocket scientist, but I think we all know who's going to shoot from here...

1824: As United knock the ball around at the back, their fans implore them to "attack!".

1820: Stephen Warnock gets a bash on the side of the head from Carlos Tevez, completely accidental as they went up for a header.

1818: Ryan Giggs has been replaced by Nani at the break. Are you Giggs detractors happy now? We're under way again for a crucial 45 minutes of Man United's season.

1818: "Missed Stoke's second too as I was looking to see if you'd used my earlier text. My mate is threatening to tell the whole Somerset pub I'm a Stoke fan."
Matt, via text

Do it do it do it!

1816: "This is the ultimate question Jonathan, my boy. Salted or dry roasted?"
Owyn, a slightly dryer Wales, via text

Is that really the ultimate question? If so, I'm going for dry roasted. Do I win a medal?

1814: "This is Man United's most important game of the season, forget the other 34 games, this is a must win, then we can go to Stamford Bridge with a bit of comfort. Lose to Blackburn and Chelsea will be fired up to beat and overtake us next Saturday and it will be hard to beat them. For the first time this season, I am nervous as I can see United losing the title to Chelsea."
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1809: Not much joy for United on the old player rater, with Tomasz Kuszczak on a woeful mark of 4.89 so far. Top of the pops is goal machine Roque Santa Cruz with a splendid 7.44.
Rate the players

1806: "I'm in a fantasy commentator league and have Jonathan Stevenson in my side. I'm in clover as I rack up points every time he makes an anti-United comment, belittles a reader or uses the words "fact" or "literally"."
Thom, Glossop, via text

1803: HALF-TIME Blackburn 1-0 Manchester United

1759: Ronaldo v Friedel, Part Two: The Portuguese gets his head to a corner, unmarked, but Friedel reacts well to parry the ball away. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney is protesting about something or other, he is on one of those crusades to get sent off.

1759: "This scoreline suddenly changes the Chelsea-Man Utd game next week from a damp squib to the game of the season."
Chris, via text

1756: Wayne Rooney still has an awful lot to learn. Moments after his penalty appeal was turned down he hacks at Chris Samba and is shown a yellow card by Rob Styles.

1755: Wayne Rooney has a claim for a penalty after tumbling in the box under a challenge from Steven Reid, but even Sir Alex Ferguson's protests are half-hearted and it would have been harsh.

1754: "I'd love to get Hughes - tell him to bring Bentley with him, and put Zola in as his assistant if Clarke goes. I can dream can't I?"
Jamie, Nottingham, via text

A Chelsea fan from Nottingham? I'm officially dismayed.

1752: "Blackburn are just a bogey team. Santa Cruz is an excellent buy for Mark Hughes - Manchester United look unsettled."
Mark Bright on Score

1751: "Could you imagine if Chelsea won the double of the Premier League and Champions League ? Possibly the most undeserved ever."
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1749: "Missed Stoke's goal as we struggled to find a pub showing the game. We're 20 miles from Bristol and everyone's watching Man U!"
Matt, in Bristol, via text

1747: David Bentley runs at the Man United defence and fires in a swerving shot from 30 yards that moves a fair bit in the air, Tomasz Kuszczak tipping the ball over the bar.

1745: Ronaldo v Friedel, Part One: The US keeper gets down comfortably to save Cristiano Ronaldo's 25-yard free-kick from the right-hand side of the penalty area.

1745: Incidentally, in a massive Championship match, Stoke are leading Bristol City 1-0. What a league that is.

1743: "Mark Hughes, manager of Chelsea next season?"
Mike, Bristol, via text

1741: Sir Alex Ferguson does not look too pleased on the touchline, he is masticating even more furiously than usual. United are in a proper game here but that's why the Scot picked such a strong side. They need to respond here.

1737: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Manchester United
Roque Santa Cruz hammers home his 20th goal of the season and Blackburn and Chelsea fans go wild. Morten Gamst Pedersen launches a long throw from the left and Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic fail to clear, the ball hitting Ferdinand's heel and falling into the Paraguayan's path. Oh my.

1736: "As a Liverpool fan I think Rafa got it wrong as we should be giving players games to keep them sharp. Torres and Carragher will be rusty now and I don't think we are good enough to prevent Chelsea from scoring."
Pete in Southport, via text

1733: For those of you who think this is a dead cert, United have won just one of their last seven league games at Ewood Park.

1730: "You've said "fact" about 10 times in two days Stevo. Are you trying your best to be David Brent from The Office or are you genuinely cringe-worthy?"
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Good point, man with remarkably uncringeworthy name. No but I am, I really am. Fact.

1727: Carlos Tevez spurns a golden chance to put United ahead, missing the ball from four yards after brilliant work from Wayne Rooney down the right.

1723: Big appeals for a penalty, mostly from the Blackburn fans in fairness. Jason Roberts is flicked through by Roque Santa Cruz after a poor clearance from Paul Scholes and he is bundled over by Tomasz Kuszczak, but the Polish keeper gets a slight touch to the ball, good decision.

1719: "I'd like three goals from Bentley and a goal from Ronaldo please. It's tight at the top of my fantasy league."
BermudaPool on 606
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Oh for crying out loud, I thought I'd made myself clear on Thursday. Fantasy football is rubbish - fact. I'd like three goals from Bentley because it would make the game and title much more interesting. Unless United won 4-3, which clearly would still be awesome as a neutral. Am I making myself clear?

1717: Manchester United, with their fans in vocal mood, get us under way.

1715: "It's a shame Boro don't get to play Man U every week, it's the only team they bother turning up for!"
Colin, via text

1712: "One thing in the way of Man Utd and title: Brad Friedel."
"Name On The Trophy" on 606
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How many times is he going to thwart Cristiano Ronaldo today? Incidentally, I reckon United will win 3-0. But don't hold me to it, my powers are clearly waning.

1709: "Owen Hargreaves, Anderson and Edwin van der Sar have injuries, that's why they're not playing. But we were always going to play Carlos Tevez."
Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson

1707: All eyes now on Ewood Park as Manchester United seek to put daylight between themselves and Chelsea in second.

1704: "Is anyone else irritated by Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce's constant 'admiration' of Utd? I'd respectively suggest those two concentrate on their own teams. As KK would say, that job will "come for them in time"."
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1702: "Southgate hates the phrase but yet again it's 'typical Boro'! Awful."
Tom, Middlesbrough, via text

1657: FULL-TIME Middlesbrough 0-1 Bolton

1654: Boro trying to get back on level terms against Bolton, but the Trotters fans are in great voice in the away end. If they can hang on, they will be out of the bottom three.

1653: FULL-TIME West Ham 2-1 Derby

1651: FULL-TIME Fulham 0-2 Liverpool

1651: FULL-TIME Wigan 1-1 Tottenham

1650: TEAM NEWS Blackburn v Manchester United
Manchester United make four changes from the side that beat Arsenal last Sunday, with Tomasz Kuszczak coming for Edwin Van der Sar in goal. Defender Nemanja Vidic is recalled following a three-match absence with a knee injury and Ryan Giggs and Carlos Tevez also return. Blackburn boss Mark Hughes sticks with the side that lost 3-1 at Liverpool.

1649: "It's been a stroll in the park for Liverpool."
Les Ferdinand on Score

1646: "Will Neil Warnock and Gary Megson be buying Rafa Benitez a drink this evening for picking a strong Liverpool team against Fulham?"
Scoopex, Birmingham, via text

Megson maybe, but why would Warnock want to?

1644: It's all gone a bit quiet. Don't these teams know what's at stake?

1638: (See 1627) Lots of chat on this one. Sean Dundee, Paul Stewart, Dirk Kuyt (!), Erik Meijer and Titi Camara all getting dishonourable mentions.

1638: "In the first half it was all Middlesbrough, but in the second half it's all Bolton. They deserve the lead."
Les Ferdinand on Score

1635: GOAL West Ham 2-1 Derby
Ahem, normal service is resumed at Upton Park as Mark Noble slots Freddie Ljungberg in down the left and his cross is cushioned into the net by Carlton Cole.

1634: "Didn't someone predict Derby sneaking a point today and got laughed at Stevo?"
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As if I'd laugh at someone else's prediction? Come on, I'd like to think we're all a bit more grown up than that...

1633: Jose Reina denies Danny Murphy with his right leg and that was Fulham's best chance of the game after a lovely pass from David Healy.

1632: "Derby scoring was the best thing to happen to this game. OK I'm not a West Ham fan, but the game's been shocking until now."
TS, via text

1630: "Come on Derby - in my opinion their effort alone means they don't deserve to go down as the worst team in Premier League history."
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In my opinion, they are. Good to see them finally pulling a performance out of the bag though - their fans at least deserve that much.

1627: GOAL Fulham 0-2 Liverpool
Game over. The on-fire Jermaine Pennant slips Peter Crouch into the area and the big striker takes a touch before firing under Kasey Keller from 12 yards.

1627: "Is Voronin the worst striker in LFC history? The holy ponytail he isn't."
Liam, London, via text

1626: As things stand, Birmingham are in the Premier League's relgation zone.

1623: West Ham 1-1 Derby
Cracking goal from Derby, I don't believe what I'm saying. Hossam Ghaly slides Tyrone Mears through and he keeps his cool expertly to slot the ball past Robert Green. Fabulous moment for the travelling Rams and manager Paul Jewell.

1622: Middlesbrough 0-1 Bolton
Massive, massive goal for the visitors. Gary Cahill powers in a header from a corner and after Ross Turnbull makes a stunning save with his left hand, Gavin McCann is on hand to slam in the rebound.

1621: Matt Taylor hits the post for Bolton while Clint Dempsey flashes a header wide for Fulham.

1618: Marcus Bent crashes a shot against the underside of the crossbar for Wigan against Tottenham. The striker latches on to a fine pass from Wilson Palacios and is desperately unlucky not to score.

1617: Stewart Downing's cross from the left takes a deflection and crashes against the left arm of Gavin McCann, but referee Alan Wiley does not give a penalty.

1616: Grzegorz Rasiak is receiving treatment for a cut to his head at Boro - he's the third such Bolton player who has needed patching together along with Tamir Cohen, who has been taken off and Gary Cahill too.

1614: Bolton go perilously close to an opener at the Riverside as Grzegorz Rasiak heads a corner against the Boro crossbar.

1612: Andriy Voronin attempts an audacious overhead kick as Fulham fail to clear a corner but he cannot quite direct it and it flies over the crossbar.

1607: Under way at Middlesbrough now too.

1606: Haha. First for me - I've been asked if I'm a Wigan fan!

1605: Javier Mascherano has gone down with an injury at Fulham after a clash with team-mate Lucas and he needs some treatment before coming back on.

1604: Under way at Fulham, West Ham and Wigan. Boro might be a little bit late.

1602: Jamie Carragher is coming on for Liverpool at Fulham and takes the captain's armband. Sami Hyypia has gone off, apparently suffering from a head injury.

1600: "What's your view on the new IPL mate? Off topic, but it's half-time, thought I'd entertain you."
Kush, London, via text

I think it's phenomenal already. I was certainly entertained by Brendan McCullum yesterday, that's for sure.

1556: Some chat on a possible penalty for Spurs at Wigan during that first half. "Can I just say that it was an assault earlier from Mario Melchiot at Tottenham - he grabbed Dimitar Berbatov and pulled him down. It was a blatant penalty - one of the worst decisions I've seen." Now far be it from me to disagree with Garth, but it possibly wasn't quite as clear-cut as that. Berbatov has a case, for sure, but he does go down a little easily too.

1552: HALF-TIME Middlesbrough 0-0 Bolton

1550: Still going at the Riverside and Middlesbrough have a late appeal for a penalty turned down.

1548: HALF-TIME West Ham 1-0 Derby

1547: HALF-TIME Wigan 1-1 Tottenham

1547: HALF-TIME Fulham 0-1 Liverpool

1545: (See 1455) For those of you hammering me for suggesting I've called Kevin Keegan the England manager at the 1998 World Cup, you need to have a very serious look at yourselves. I can't say I'm not disappointed.

1542: Andriy Voronin tries an impression of the great Matthew Le Tissier, flicking the ball up and volleying goalwards from 35 yards. Only the ball flies about 40 yards over Kasey Keller's crossbar.

1540: Robbie Savage nearly levels for the Rams but his diving header is tipped over the crossbar by Robert Green.

1538: Bobby Zamora has a goal ruled out at West Ham. Striker partner Freddie Sears, 18, is causing the Derby defence all sorts of problems. Looks a good 'un, young Sears.

1537: Brian McBride has a great chance to level, but he mis-kicks his volley from the right-hand side of the Liverpool six-yard box. Fulham are more in the game now.

1531: I believe they call this a lull. Anyone got anything they'd like to share?

1531: Matt Taylor almost puts Bolton ahead at Middlesbrough, but keeper Ross Turnbull makes a fine save with his legs.

1529: "Any United fans sat right now on their increasingly squeaky bums? Willing to take a win of any kind and get out unscathed at the minute. Please don't rest anyone Fergie."
Ant, via text

1529: Brede Hangeland heads wide from eight yards after Lucas' clearance from a David Healy cross fell sraight at him.

1527: Paul Stalteri heads a John Arne Riise cross away from danger almost on the Fulham goal-line after the Norwegian was picked out down the left by Jermaine Pennant. Liverpool still dominating this one.

1525: "West Ham have invested an awful lot of money - it would be beyond the pale if they were to lose against Derby."
Garth Crooks on Score

1523: The Liverpool fans are in fine voice at Craven Cottage, singing their version of 'La Bamba' having adapted the lyrics for Spanish manager Rafa Benitez. Very tuneful, he said with surprise.

1521: GOAL West Ham 1-0 Derby
Bobby Zamora puts the Hammers ahead with a header from close range - but he was given so much space by Dean Leacock. Typical Derby defending, in fairness.

1520: "A win for Bolton today puts Birmingham in the bottom three and would make the second city derby spicier than a vindaloo balti!"
Dave, Birmingham, via text

1517: GOAL Fulham 0-1 Liverpool
Jermaine Pennant puts the visitors ahead despite their much-changed team, latching on to a pass from Lucas and hammering a superb shot into the top corner of Kasey Keller's goal.

1516: "Maybe Arsenal should buy Heskey - at least he can score."
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1515: First decent attempt on goal comes at Fulham but it is against the run of play as Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant's cross picks out Peter Crouch at the back post only for him to head narrowly wide.

1511: GOAL Wigan 1-1 Tottenham
Terrible defending from Spurs. A cross comes in from the left and Emile Heskey has time to take a touch (not the best, either), turn and fire past Radek Cerny from 15 yards.

1511: No chances at Craven Cottage as yet but Fulham have come out fired up and are firmly in control.

1511: "Stevo, you never gave your prediction for Blackburn-Man Utd, or is there only one outcome for that?"
An_Der_Son_Son_Son on 606
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Plenty of time for that, son, son, son.

1507: Bolton keeper Ali Al Habsi pulls off another superb save, this time tipping Tuncay Sanli's strike over the bar.

1507: Aaron Lennon goes on a mazy run at the Wigan defence and he tees up Robbie Keane, but his shot is wonderfully saved by Chris Kirkland.

1505: GOAL Wigan 0-1 Tottenham
Brilliant pass from left to right from Tom Huddlestone, Aaron Lennon picks out his cross and after the ball skims off the head of Paul Scharner, Dimitar Berbatov rifles into the Wigan net from close range.

1504: "Stevo, please explain how Bolton are going to score two goals without Kevin Davies? Especially away from home."
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How would they score two with Kevin Davies? Yeah, maybe I haven't thought it through properly. It is the end of the season though - funny things can happen.

1502: Stunning save at the Riverside as David Wheater helps a corner goalwards and Ali Al Habsi sticks out a hand and tips the ball over.

1502: We are now under way in this afternoon's four Premier League matches.

1500: Stevo's predictions: Fulham 1-1 Liverpool, Middlesbrough 1-2 Bolton, West Ham 4-0 Derby and Wigan 2-1 Tottenham. Shocking, I know.

1458: TEAM NEWS Middlesbrough v Bolton
Striker Grzegorz Rasiak comes in for the suspended and injured Kevin Davies for Bolton while Ross Turnball replaces Mark Schwarzer in the Middlesbrough goal.

1455: "I reckon Derby are going to sneak a point today."
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Hahahaha. Now I've heard everything! That's the worst prediction since Kevin Keegan tipped David Batty to slot that penalty home in the 1998 World Cup shoot-out.

1453: "I like Voronin but when I heard him described as 'a fat Paris Hilton' it did make me chuckle!"
Dave, Portsmouth, via text

1452: "I quite fancy Bolton to finish the day out of the relegation zone. I'm certain they'll get a point at Middlesborough at least but I've got a feeling all three will be heading to the Reebok. Its not going to be a pretty game mind. Blood, guts and long balls. Mark my words!"
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Mark your words? Six out of 10.

1448: "I really hope my future belongs to Arsenal," says Cesc Fabregas after the Gunners win at home to Reading.

1448: TEAM NEWS West Ham v Derby County
West Ham make seven changes with boss Alan Curbishley handing young striker Freddie Sears his first start and James Tomkins a home debut. Lucas Neill, John Pantsil, Mark Noble, Julien Faubert, and Freddie Ljungberg all start too. Derby bring in Dean Leacock for Darren Moore in defence, while Mile Sterjovski is preferred to Emanuel Villa.

1445: "I think that Fulham have a great chance today. I'm going to go with Fulham - I have a strange feeling."
Mark Bright on Score

1444: TEAM NEWS Wigan v Tottenham
Jonathan Woodgate (ankle) and Pascal Chimbonda (calf strain) are the only two changes to the Tottenham side which drew 1-1 against Middlesbrough last weekend. Tom Huddlestone and Jamie O'Hara step in for the defensive duo. Wigan boss Steve Bruce makes one change after Monday's 1-1 draw at Chelsea, with Michael Brown replacing Josip Skoko in midfield.

1442: Cesc Fabregas is the clear winner on player rater on 8.23 and few would argue with that mark for the ridiculously talented young Spaniard.
Rate the players

1438: FULL-TIME Arsenal 2-0 Reading

1436: "I think most of you are wrong about Voronin. He'll score again today and come good next season."
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1434: TEAM NEWS Fulham v Liverpool
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez leaves club captain Steven Gerrard and Ryan Babel out of squad, while top scorer Fernando Torres is on the bench along with Jamie Carragher. In come the likes of John Arne Riise and Jermaine Pennant, while Andriy Voronin and Peter Crouch start together in attack. Sami Hyypia is named skipper on his 300th appearance for the club. Fulham boss Roy Hodgson names an unchanged XI from the team which beat Reading last weekend, keeping faith in goalkeeper Kasey Keller despite the return to fitness of Anti Niemi. David Healy and Brian McBride start in attack.

1432: More good passing from Arsenal who get the ball from left to right quick-sharp and Gilberto Silva's shot is - yep, you guessed it - blocked by a Reading defender.

1429: Arsenal finally put the ball in the net but Robin van Persie, who put the cross in, was adjudged to be in an offside position.

1428: Cesc Fabregas has a shot cleared off the line by Michael Duberry. Arsenal just cannot get this third goal - they could easily have had six or seven in truth.

1425: Another great run from Theo Walcott, but he just slips just a touch in the penalty area before having a shot blocked by the Reading defence.

1423: Reading have a golden chance to get back in it but Michael Duberry's shot from a couple of yards out from a corner is deflected over the bar.

1422: Boby Convey tricks his way into the Arsenal box and his sweet left-foot strike is tipped over the bar by Jens Lehmann.

1421: Some early chat that Liverpool are fielding a severely under-strength team at Fulham today. Full details to follow.

1418: Michael Duberry and Emerse Fae come on for Reading for Ibrahima Sonko and James Harper. Meanwhile Emmanuel Adebayor and Alex Hleb are off for Arsenal, with Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson on.

1417: Theo Walcott has deserved a goal for his display today and he goes agonisingly close too, clipping a left-foot curler on to the top of the crossbar.

1416: ...And hits the crossbar and the post with a stunning hit. I don't remember seeing anyone hit a free-kick quite as hard as this boy on such a regular basis since Stuart Pearce.

1415: Ibrahima Sonko is booked for a foul on the edge of the box on Theo Walcott. Up steps Robin van Persie...

1413: Cesc Fabregas beautifully sets up Theo Walcott and when the cross comes in from the right, the Spaniard is in the right place, but he can only direct his header over the bar. Fabregas has had another impressive game today.

1412: So what about Reading then people? They play Derby on the last day of the season, so will they be safe? Or are they sinking?

1409: More glorious play from Arsenal but the flag goes up for offside against Robin van Persie. Alex Hleb hammers in a shot anyway, which hits Ibrahima Sonko in a rather tender region! Ouch.

1407: Theo Walcott has a shot blocked by Liam Rosenior as his pace threatened to open up the Reading defence.

1407: "Stevo mate - how can you be so sure of a Calzaghe victory? He is a legend and would destroy Hopkins in Wales, but the boy is fighting away from home for the first time aged 36 - who knows how he will react? Hopkins loves being the underdog and will be dangerous."
Chris, bored at work, via text

I don't know how I know. I just do. Sorry.

1404: Graeme Murty is absolutely furious, suggesting he was clipped in the face by Alex Hleb as they tussled for possession. Meanwhile, everyone's favourite Emmanuel Eboue comes on for Kolo Toure.

1402: Theo Walcott is nailed by Andre Bikey, who was so late he'd have missed the next bus and it booked for his troubles. Walcott has only just recovered from being trampled all over on the edge of the Arsenal box after Cesc Fabregas had turned down a gaping opportunity to shoot.

1359: Robin van Persie has a shot blocked and a cross deflected away by the Reading defence as they struggle with the relentless Arsenal attacking. The Royals really have offered very, very little today.

1354: What in the world is Marcus Hahnemann doing? He races 45 yards off his line to try to deal with Theo Walcott and is lucky as Cesc Fabregas mis-hits his shot with the Reading goal unguarded.

1352: "Stevo- quickfire banter time: Calzaghe or Hopkins? In exchange for giving you a chance to plug Dirsy's coverage, I need a man-flu cure, ASAP!"
Tom, Aberystwyth, via text

Calzaghe, all the way. Put your house on that boy, I'm telling you. As for man-flu - I am the cure, sunshine!

1350: Reading get things under way in the second half.

1349: "On the Henry issue... last week he said he would love to come back to Arsenal. He's not having the greatest time at Barca so you never know Stevo!"
GunnersAreTop on 606
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1345: On Henry - do you think he might be interested in Liverpool? Attractive for him, maybe."
crak2007 on 606
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Interesting. He might well want to come back to England, he's settled about as well in Spain as he did in Italy all those years ago. Read the BBC Sport website on Tuesday for a full examination of Thierry Henry's time at Barcelona. It's well worth a read.

1342: The usual suspects are bossing player rater so far today. Cesc Fabregas is miles out in front on 7.80, while Reading's Ivar Ingimarsson is struggling on 4.64.
Rate the players

1337: "Reading are clueless. They've given up already. You can't play long ball against Arsenal. If you give them possession they'll pick you apart all day! Try to keep the ball lads."
DontKnowTheHalfOfIt on 606
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1334: HALF-TIME Arsenal 2-0 Reading

1334: Robin van Persie tees up Gilberto Silva and his neat side-footed effort is saved by a sprawling Marcus Hahnemann.

1333: "My mate has a new theory: Steve Coppell knew Reading were going to lose this game so he dropped players hoping they would bounce back for the next game which they might actually win. Any thoughts?"
FulFan on 606
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Dunno. Sounds plausible, I guess.

1331: Kolo Toure stings the palms of Marcus Hahnemann with a drive from the right-hand edge of the area.

1329: This could end up as anything. Emmanuel Adebayor crosses from the right and his pull-back is weakly sent goalwards by Robin van Persie, who sees his shot saved by Marcus Hahnemann. Should have scored, the Dutchman.

1328: "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Ingimarsson family for inviting me to try the Icelandic 'delicacy' of rotten shark meat when I was on holiday there last year (despite the fact that I'm a Spurs fan)."
Matt, south Glos, via text

Do you think Reading can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?

1325: GOAL Arsenal 2-0 Reading
Unlucky for Reading, but boy are Steve Coppell's side in trouble now. Cesc Fabregas creates some space down the left and finds Gilberto Silva 25 yards out, the Brazilian taking aim and firing in a shot that heavily deflects off Andre Bikey and flies into the top corner.

1324: "In: Alan McGregor, David Villa, Metzelder, Steven Fletcher. Out: Eboue, Hoyte, Bendtnar, Almunia."
David Love, Sunderland, via text

1322: Anyone reckon Arsene Wenger would take Thierry Henry back from Barca in a cut-price deal?

1319: Rampant Arsenal. Kolo Toure bursts down the right but his pass into the area just evades three Gunners players marauding into the box.

1317: GOAL Arsenal 1-0 Reading
Stevo gets off the mark on what they're already calling 'Prediction Saturday'. Emmanuel Adebayor scores his 27th goal of the season, brilliantly controlling a Kolo Toure pass on the edge of the box to create space for himself and slotting past Marcus Hahnemann from 15 yards.

1316: Robin van Persie rifles a free-kick inches wide of Marcus Hahnemann's left-hand post from 25 yards. From the resulting corner, Alex Song heads woefully wide.

1313: "I'd sign Boswinga from FC Porto to replace Eboue, similar player except he's a brilliant passer, gets lots of assists and a few goals every season as well so he'd fit in well, which is more than can be said for Eboue. Probably wouldn't cost any more than £8m either."
royalarsenaltilidie on 606
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So a completely different player to Eboue then?

1310: "I would sign Joe Hart, Micah Richards and Samuel Eto'o, probably at a cost of £30m. I'd sell Lehmann, Eboue and Senderos."
Erol, via text

1308: "I'm an Everton fan in utter dismay at how our season is turning sour, and now I'm in the library battling to finish my dissertation. The only thing that'll cheer me up is if EVERYBODY loses this weekend. Here's hoping."
Ben, via text

That's the spirit, son.

1306: A horrible moment for Ivar Ingimarsson, who tries to clear down the left but only ends up slicing the ball behind him and over the advancing Marcus Hahnemann, who fortunately gets back in time to gather.

1304: So Arsenal fans - who would you sign, how much would you spend and who would you dump?

1302: "Arsenal's lack of depth in top-flight players is a weakness, successful teams these days can play at least three variations on thier best team and still be effective."
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1258: Robin van Persie curls in a cross from the right and Emmanuel Adebayor has a free header six yards out. His effort would probably have missed another set of goalposts - shocking.

1256: Passing of the very highest order, once again from Alex Hleb. He sends Cesc Fabregas through but the Arsenal midfielder is well shackled by Ivar Ingimarsson and Marcus Hahnemann races from his line to gather the ball.

1255: Lovely pass from the brilliant Alex Hleb to Gael Clichy and he is fouled by Jimmy Kebe. Arsenal have a free-kick on the left, which Cesc Fabregas clips to Robin van Persie and the Dutchman blazes miles over the crossbar.

1252: "I'm relying on good banter today, as a Bolton fan stuck in London wishing I was in Middlesbrough. And it's not often anyone of sound mind wishes for that."
Andy, via text

1250: Nice early touch from Jimmy Kebe, trying to cut in from the Reading left, but it comes to nothing.

1250: "Think Arsenal will hit Reading for six today. Remember the thrashings dished out to Everton and Middlesbrough in meaningless games?!"
Dave, Portsmouth, via text

1247: The game gets under way at the Emirates, with Arsenal kicking us off.

1243: "The problem with Adebayor is not that he doesn't score so much as that he needs about eight chances to finally score. Fortunately he gets the service, but a better striker would be scoring three-a-game with the kind of service Adebayor gets."
abrighterview on 606
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So is Emmanuel Adebayor the new Andrew Cole??

1241: Some good chat about David Villa so far today. Would Arsene Wenger be willing to spend between £20m-30m on one player, no matter how good he thought the player was? Or after the Jose Antonio Reyes signing will he stick to his guns and continue to buy young, relatively unproven footballers?

1238: "There are four games to go and each one presents a different challenge. Arsenal are an exceptional side and we have tried to cater a little bit for that."
Reading manager Steve Coppell

1236: "I can't belive in the paper this morning Wenger saying it was nice to hear David Villa's comments about Arsenal, but feels Nicklas Bendtner deserves time to prove himself! A whole season not enough?"
Matt, London, via text

I'm sorely tempted to say I agree with you, I think Bendtner's been disappointing this season and Villa is a brilliant footballer. But how often is Wenger wrong about players?

1233: After almost unprecedented clamour for a world-renowned Stevo prediction (two people), I'm going to indulge you. I was, after all right about Chelsea beating Everton, clearly a difficult prediction to make. Arsenal will win 3-1 today and I reckon the recently much-maligned Emmanuel Adebayor will get on the scoresheet.

1229: TEAM NEWS Arsenal v Reading
Arsenal give Theo Walcott a rare start ahead of Emmanuel Eboue after the former impressed as a substitute and Jens Lehmann continues in goal as Manuel Almunia struggles with a wrist injury. Reading make six changes from the side that lost at home to fellow strugglers Fulham, with Graeme Murty back after a knee problem.

1226: "Eboue is a clown, getting rid of him would be as good as signing David Villa, Ronaldo and Torres in the summer."
Tom, a frustrated Arsenal fan in Dover via text

Interview: Man Utd's Rio Ferdinand

1222: Some chat from Rio Ferdinand, fresh from signing a new contract at Manchester United: "We respect Blackburn as opposition and we've got to make sure we get the right result when we go there, because if we don't approach the game in the right manner, they will beat us."

1219: Some early team news from the Emirates, with Emmanuel Eboue finally dropped for Theo Walcott (is it too little too late?) and Robin van Persie starting too for Arsenal. Reading make six changes in total. Full team news to follow shortly.

1217: "Arsenal have to finish above Chelsea this season or else there is in no justice in English football. I hope they take Reading to the cleaners and show the teams above them how football should be played!"
Danny B, London, via text

1213: This is Arsenal's chance to put pressure on Manchester United and Chelsea. If Arsenal win and Manchester United lose or draw, Ferguson and the Chelsea manager will be feeling it."
bengalibengali on 606
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You're kidding? It's over pal, accept it.

1207: This is how you discuss it: text me on 81111 and get involved via 606. There was some top-drawer chat for the Everton-Chelsea game on Thursday, I'm expecting the same today.
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1204: It is Arsenal v Reading first up today. Are the Gunners really playing their first meaningless game of the season? Discuss.

1200: Welcome to another weekend of Premier League action. There are only three more this season, so don't waste them. I'm Stevo, and I'm a massive fan of banter. Oh, and also football.

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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