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Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Sunday, 20 April 2008 18:06 UK
Live - Premier League



RESULTS
Aston Villa 5-1 Birmingham Match report
Manchester City 3-1 Portsmouth Match report
Newcastle 2-0 Sunderland Match report

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

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

By Jonathan Stevenson

1805: And so it's time for Stevo and his frankly embarrassing attempts at answering questions he doesn't even understand to call it a day for today. I've had a proper good time, I really hope you guys and girls have enjoyed another fine day of Premier League action. Don't forget, Match of the Day 2 is on BBC One tonight at 2220 BST and with 12 goals in three games, it's well worth a look. I don't have to tell you to come back for Tuesday and Wednesday, when Caroline Cheese, who is a much better person than me, will be at the helm for the Champions League. Enjoy and see you soon. Stevo.

1801: Martin Petrov is still the stand-out on player rater from the last game, with a mark of 8.02. Hermann Hreidarsson, fresh from his red card, has 3.95. It's not too late to have your say, you know.
Rate the players

1758: "Good shift by Elano. I'm first in line to eat humble pie. Who on 606 is gonna join me?"
redandblackT1899 on 606
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(See 1157) Well it's got to be better than eating part of my own face, so yeah, I'm in.

1755: FULL-TIME Manchester City 3-1 Portsmouth

1752: Elano, having just picked up a knock for a foul he committed, is taken off and replaced by Felipe Caicedo.

1751: Rangers beat St Johnstone on penalties at Hampden Park and they will now meet Queen of the South in the final in May. That means the Doonhamers are in Europe next season, apparently. Huge.
Match report

1749: Sean Davis, who has recently come on for Nico Kranjcar, hammers in a shot from the edge of the box that Joe Hart tips over the bar.

1748: Elano lashes one over the bar after Geovanni had tried to create some space on the edge of the Pompey area.

1746: "Benjani showed massive respect after scoring that goal. Top lad!"
Remo, texting all the way from Pakistan

1742: Brilliant save from Joe Hart. He races from his line to deny Milan Baros after the former Liverpool striker had done well to control a pass and fire in a shot. Peter Schmeichel level keeping, that, as the young Englishman made himself big.

1741: Incidentally, Benjani did not celebrate the goal with his usual Aussie Rules Football-esque exuberance as a sign of respect to his former employers. I like that. Good work son.

1739: "Hi Stevo, first time texter here. Just to say I like Darius Vassell because I used to play against him in the Birmingham boys league. He was quick but cried quite a lot. We were only young. I'm glad he bagged one today."
Anonymous, via text

1737: Papa Bouba Diop and John Utaka are taken off for Pompey, with Lucien Aubey and Milan Baros coming on. Meanwhile, Geovanni replaces Stephen Ireland for the hosts.

1735: GOAL Manchester City 3-1 Portsmouth
Really good goal from Benjani and he has massively deserved that today. He collects a Stephen Ireland pass, turns inside Sylvain Distin and fires low past David James inside his near post. Top goal.

1735: Sam Williamson dives in front of Jermain Defoe just as the striker is about to pull the trigger 20 yards out. Great defending.

1733: Is Benjani going to score today? He gets inbetween two players and holds them off, before rifling a right-foot shot just wide of David James' left-hand post. He has worked his Zimbabwean socks off today that boy.

1733: "City really should be making the extra man count better than this. I'm getting more and more convinced Portsmouth will score."
TheDisc on 606
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1731: Lauren is booked for a very naughty lunge on Sam Williamson.

1727: "City need a third because Defoe will inevitably get on the scoresheet. I have no idea how he's playing because I cant be bothered to watch the game but he's the kind of player who can play rubbish and still get one in, much like Owen."
royalarsenaltilidie on 606
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That's the spirit.

1726: Young Sam Williamson is cautioned for a poor tackle on Papa Bouba Diop.

1723: Martin Petrov sends over a fine cross from the left that David James punches away at full stretch, with Michael Johnson's thunderous shot from the edge of the box blocked. At the other end, Papa Bouba Diop shoots over.

1722: Darius Vassell misses a gilt-edged chance from 15 yards out on to the right of the Pompey area, but he slices his shot and it flies wide. Had to at least hit the target, so wasteful.

1720: David James requires some treatment, but he's OK to carry on. Meanwhile, my boss Dan informs me that Hermann Hreidarsson will be banned for one match because it was a professional foul. So he won't miss the FA Cup final, and I was totally wrong. Told you I was a moron.

1717: Pompey hit both posts within the space of five seconds. First, Sulley Muntari's fierce drive from the left-hand side of the box is tipped onto the post by Joe Hart, before John Utaka side-foots the rebound against the outside of the other post. Pompey are by no means out of this one.

1716: From the sublime to the ridiculous. Benjani controls a ball into the box absolutely fabulously and he has a clear shot on goal from six yards, only to blaze a volley over the crossbar.

1715: Nico Kranjcar takes aim from 25 yards but his shot flies high over the crossbar. Meanwhile, Richard Dunne's hamstring has got the better of him and he is substituted, with Sam Williamson, a 20-year-old defender, coming on.

1714: (See 1706) "Stevo, I'm disapointed in you! Obviously the lamps were to be used by the deceased in order to light the way to the afterlife. What did you do at Cardiff uni, a degree in drinking?"
Stu, via text

Journalism, sunshine. Can't you tell?

1712: Some more chat that Hermann Hreidarsson will only be banned for one or two games. I wish I could clear this up, but I can't. Sorry.

1711: "Stevie, magic 8 ball, will Bristol City somehow manage auto promotion this season? I'm hurting badly after yesterday."
From Ron, via text

Stevie? You twisting my melon, man? You've got two hopes pal, and one of them is Bob.

1709: I'm tired of these incessant questions, though I've brought it on myself. Here's one for you lot: Can Portsmouth's 10 men win this?

1707: Back under way at Eastlands.

1706: "Stevo,as you seem to know it all - why were lamps placed into Romano-British graves? I've got an essay due in tomorrow riding on your answer."
From Grant, via text

Well where else were they going to put them? Honestly.

1704: Martin Petrov is flying on player rater as he does down that left flank, on a superb 7.89 so far. Hermann Hreidarsson is already taking a pummelling, on 4.93. Get involved.
Rate the players

1702: "Stuck at work so relying on your updates. What would I do without you? How is Elano doing?"
Karen (exiled City fan), via text

Ah, bless. He's doing pretty good my dear, doesn't look out of place at all. He did hit a rubbish free-kick though. I know he can play right-back, but I'd just like to see him further up the field. Maybe he'll start bombing forward now Pompey are down to 10 men.

1658: Some chat that Hermann Hreidarsson's red card will rule him out of the FA Cup final against Cardiff. Well, he'll be banned for three games because it was a straight red, but if the ban starts immediately, which it should do, then he'll just miss Pompey's last three league games and be OK to play at Wembley. But will try and get that as a definite before the close of play.

1656: (See 1622) "If David James wants to gift us a goal come the FA Cup final, it would be much appreciated. Stevo, who do you fancy for the FA Cup?"
From Matt the Bluebird, via text

Well, I went to university in Cardiff. So Portsmouth.

1653: "Stevo, seeing as you're acting oracle at the BBC, how am I going to do in my exams?"
SG, via text

You'll pass. Well done, now get the beers in.

1651: HALF-TIME Manchester City 2-1 Portsmouth

1649: Good save from David James again, back-pedalling, arching his body and tipping with his left hand over the bar from a quite brilliant 20-yard Darius Vassell left-foot curler from the right-hand edge of the penalty area.

1648: Poor touch from Darius Vassell, though the ball from Stephen Ireland did sit up horribly for him. If he'd taken it down, he'd have been 15 yards out facing David James.

1647: "Carlo Cudicini should become an English citizen - he could do the job! Stevo who do you want to win the Champions League?"
Joe, via text

I like Kirkland actually, if he can stay fit he's not bad. But Ben Foster is the next England number one, he looks class when he plays. Secondly, I'd like Barca to win it. But there's as much chance of that as there is Forest winning it again.

1644: RED CARD
Hermann Hreidarsson is sent off for a professional foul on Darius Vassell as he tried to run clean through on goal. It's the only decision the referee Andre Marriner could make. Hreidarsson looks absolutely furious as he trudges off.

1639: "Stevo, who do you think will be in the Champions League final?"
Calvin, Manchester, via text

Man Utd v Liverpool.

1638: "Chris Kirkland should be England number one. I don't know how James is ahead of him."
Matt, from Wigan, via text

1636: Benjani lets fly again from the edge of the box after a pass from Martin Petrov, but David James gets down well to save with his body.

1633: Benjani heads straight at David James from Michael Johnson's right-wing cross.

1631: Always said he was top drawer, David James. He races off his line to gather as Darius Vassell prepares to pull the trigger again.

1627: GOAL Manchester City 2-1 Portsmouth
Pompey are right back in this now, thanks to John Utaka and a strange goal. Joe Hart punches a corner back out to the left, the cross comes in, Jermain Defoe heads it goalwards and as the City defence stop because they think Utaka is offside, he clips the ball under the advancing Joe Hart and into the net. Game on.

1627: "Stevo, my girlfriend has returned with some cheddar and red onion walkers sensations, starburst choozers, a six pack of melton mowbary pork pies and some lovely posh looking apple juice. She's done me proud! What do you reckon?"
joebaia on 606
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I think she's completely ignored my advice and got you stuff you really wanted instead. She's clearly a hero.

1625: Benjani gets away down the left and his cross appears to go out for a corner via the arm of Sol Campbell. It would have been a harsh penalty, but not too dissimilar to the one Sunderland conceded up at Newcastle earlier.

1624: "No doubt about it Stevo, Elano's commanding presence at the back has shaken Portsmouth."
Nick, Chelmsford, via text

1622: (See 1614) I know some of you think that's a bit harsh on David James. But seriously, however many great saves he makes, do you ever feel safe that he is not going to gift a goal away? He's a liability and you cannot have that at international level. Brilliant in the Premier League, but not an England keeper. It's been proven time and time again.

1620: Papa Bouba Diop heads over from three yards from Nico Kranjcar's left-wing cross.

1620: "Stevo, Man U for the title, oui or non? This Blues fan says yes. Also, what flavour of yoghurt, strawberry or raspberry?"
Lee, Bristol, via text

Oui. Strawberry. Both no-brainers.

1616: GOAL Manchester City 2-0 Portsmouth
Blimey. Martin Petrov gets the ball just inside the box on the left and toe-pokes the ball towards goal with his right foot, but it takes a cruel deflection off Sol Campbell and wrong-foots David James.

1614: GOAL Manchester City 1-0 Portsmouth
That is why David James should never be the England number one. He races from his line when he has no need to to deal with Benjani,when Sol Campbell looks in control of the situation. James fails to clear, Benjani pass to Stephen Ireland, he crosses to the back post and Darius Vassell slides the ball home. Ridiculous goal to give away.

1611: "Elano's display will be reminiscient of Cafu in his pomp, mark my words. He has it all, it could be his best position and he'll get two assists at least, I'm sure of it."
Henry, Manchester, via text

1609: "Do you ever get bored of idiots texting you Stevo?"
Adam, Canterbury, via text

No. I love it. Love it love it love it.

1606: Free header. Sylvain Distin gets his head on a corner from the right but can only nod it into the ground and wide. Good chance.

1605: Papa Bouba Diop gets his considerable frame behind a good old-fashioned piledriver from 40 yards and Joe Hart has to be alert to dive to his left and parry the ball away.

1604: We are under way in the last of the weekend's Premier League games.

1604: Elano has played at right-back before, at club level and for Brazil. But that doesn't make it right, does it? I mean Rio Ferdinand's filled in in goal before for crying out loud.

1602: "18-0 to City, hat-trick for Joe Hart, Mike Summerbee to come on as a sub and Old Trafford to explode after a giant pig from space fires laserbeams out of its eyes."
Pete, London, via text

Er...

1600: "I think Sven is deliberately trying to get fired! Probably has some job lined up in Italy or Spain as speak. Elano at right-back???"
guidos_4_reds on 606
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1557: Not many texts coming in. It's 81111 in case you've forgotten. Tell me what you think about Elanogate.

1556: So, Elano at right-back. Oh, hello former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. The coach who learned his trade in the defensive world of Serie A is up to his old tricks again. What a waste of the talented Brazilian.

1553: "Elano at right-back? Has Sven taken his crazy pills this morning? He tackles like a forward and a Brazillian, which all in all is not a good sign! I'm a worried Man City fan."
mattbelly77 on 606
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1548: "Re 1537: Stevo, predicting 0-0s and boring games won't keep people on here you know."
Kaka on 606
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No, but maybe your love of football and banter will. Look mate, I've got an increasingly-ridiculous reputation to keep up here.

1541: "I never thought I'd be happy to see Newcastle hit some form, but with their current run and Owen finding his feet again, they could prove to be a banana skin for Chelsea in a few weeks' time."
joebaia on 606
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1537: So have we had the best of Sunday's action already, or is Man City v Pompey going to catch fire? I reckon it might end up 0-0. But then my predictions this weekend have gone from the sublime to the crazily ridiculous.

1535: Benjani meets Harry Redknapp in the tunnel at the City of Manchester Stadium and they give each other a lovely little hug. But will the ex-Pompey striker come back to haunt his former gaffer today?

1533: Player rater update: Michael Owen is flying with a pretty impressive rating of 9.07 right now. Paul McShane, bless him, has moved up a fraction to 2.70. You can still get involved don't forget.
Rate the players

1527: FULL-TIME Newcastle 2-0 Sunderland

1525: Roy Keane is sat on the Sunderland bench, silently seething. Expect them to play better next time around after a proper rollocking from the manager.

1522: Breaking news from Holland: PSV have just won the Dutch league for the fourth season in succession. Well done boys. Good day for Sir Bobby Robson too.

1521: TEAM NEWS Manchester City v Portsmouth
News in from Eastlands - Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson indulges in a minor reshuffle from the side which beat Sunderland 2-1, with Darius Vassell coming in for Sun Jihai, which means Elano will start the match in the unfamiliar - and slightly bizarre - position at right-back. Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has been a little more liberal with his tweaks, bringing in right-back Lauren for the ill Glen Johnson, while John Utaka and Lassana Diarra replace Sean Davis and Kanu.

1520: Paul McShane is replaced by Ian Harte for Sunderland and David Edgar comes on for Jose Enrique for Newcastle. Just a few minutes remaining.

1519: "If it stays 2-0 with Owen scoring first I've won my bet. C'mon boys wind down the clock... I'm a student who is in desperate need of a few extra pounds."
Andy, via text

Tax-dodger.

1518: From a great position down the right, Paul McShane's cross goes behind for a goalkick. He really has had a miserable afternoon.

1517: "Am I right in saying that if it wasn't for Craig Gordon, Sunderland would be down by now. A great buy, even if he was the most expensive goalkeeper."
true-blue on 606
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1514: Michael Owen's clever ball in from the left is headed over his own crossbar under pressure by Danny Collins.

1513: Sunderland give the ball away carelessly and Nicky Butt curls the ball over from 25 yards. Darly Murphy is taken off and, to a chorus of boos, ex-Magpie Michael Chopra comes on for the visitors.

1509: Young striker Andy Carroll is on for Newcastle with 15 minutes to make an impression, with Mark Viduka making way.

1507: Kieran Richardson, who has just come on for Carlos Edwards, curls a free-kick straight into the Newcastle wall from 20 yards. What a waste. I'm biased clearly, but why didn't Andy Reid take that?

1505: Andy Reid is booked for a foul on Michael Owen. Clumsy, nothing more. It comes just after Kenwyne Jones had headed a cross back to Daryl Murphy, who hit a left-foot drive that Abdoulaye Faye blocks.

1503: Sleepy Damien Duff comes on for Obafemi Martins.

1501: Brilliant save from Craig Gordon. He stands tall to deny Obafemi Martins after Michael Owen's clever pass. At the other end, Steve Harper makes an even better save, relying on stunning reflexes to keep out Kenwyne Jones's header from six yards. Superb stuff.

1458: Abdoulaye Faye gets on the end of a Geremi free-kick from the right but it's just a touch too high and he cannot direct it on target.

1457: Michael Owen is still flying on player rater. He's on 9.11. The McShane family, look away now - your Paul has slipped to 2.39. Oh dear oh dear.
Rate the players

1454: Andy Reid tries to bend one into the top corner from 30 yards, but he hits it too straight and too high as the ball flies over the bar. Again, Sunderland need to get closer to goal.

1453: Sunderland are coming into this a little more. They need something to happen though, they need to commit a couple more players forward - Kenwyne Jones is too isolated at the moment.

1451: "Stevo, seeing as you are in a decision-making mood today, I'm bed ridden with man flu and my girlfriend is going into town so I've told her to pick me up some treats from Tesco. What should I ask her to get me? I can't decide between sweet or savoury snack foods."
joebaia on 606
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Pringles, wine gums and lucozade - the orange sort, not the standard stuff. Or tell her to surprise you - then you'll find out how awesome she really is.

1448: "Could anyone else see Owen fitting in at Old Trafford next season?"
lolthebraps on 606
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Good grenade. You've out-done me there chief.

1446: If this Premier League chat isn't enough for you, maybe have a little look at what's going on in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park between Rangers and St Johnstone. David "Sharpy" Sharp is mixing it up as I type and the Doonhamers of Queen of the South await the winner in the final.
Live - Scottish Cup semi-final

1443: Danny Collins powers a header goalwards from a corner but it hits the chest of Steven Taylor and bounces away to safety.

1442: (See 1437) "Don't get too cocky Jonno (it's Stevo, again), three teams are still to even play, and realistically Ramps is worth about 30 points to any team!"
Alex in Woking, via text

1439: "Stevo, your dad's probably waiting for you to get a proper job."
etienne123 on 606
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He'll be waiting a really long time mate. Who else would employ me?

1438: Sunderland kick us off in the second half.

1437: Anyone bothered about the Friends Provident Trophy goings-on today? I am. Although as a Notts fan, I'm far more concerned with how we are already 11 points clear in the County Championship. Awesome.
Friends Provident Trophy scores

1433: "How many more times will Owen be written off, only to come make an immense 'comeback'? Will people ever just accept that he is a first-rate player?"
abrighterview on 606
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True. He looks back to his very best today, he's tormenting Sunderland. What a fabulous day to be Fabio.

1430: Michael Owen is still bossing player rater. He's on 8.75. Paul McShane is on 2.93 Could we be heading for an all-time low mark?
Rate the players

1428: I just spoke to dad on the phone. Well it is his birthday, after all. I told him about my 1157 comment. His reply: "You've got to be more careful than that. You really should learn to delegate better." Brilliant advice. Er, work colleague, would you mind eating part of your own face if Villa beat Birmingham 6-0? I can't see it happening. 61 years old and that's his best tip.

1421: HALF-TIME Newcastle 2-0 Sunderland

1420: Daryl Murphy is booked for taking Michael Owen out down the Newcastle right. Owen is flying, Sunderland are up against it here.

1419: GOAL Newcastle 2-0 Sunderland
Michael Owen gets his second of the game but he is remarkably lucky, hitting it low slightly to Craig Gordon's right and the keeper getting something on it, but only directing it into the corner of the net.

1418: Danny Higginbotham is penalised for handball in the Sunderland box after a lovely little one-two between Michael Owen and Mark Viduka. It looks a harsh decision, but it has hit his hand. Penalty kick.

1416: "I'd just like to stick up for Steve Sidwell. Our reserves were going nowhere til he arrived."
Chels fan, via text

1415: "Appalling. The most wretched, abysmal, disgraceful 90 minutes Blues have ever mustered. Don't care if we go down if we fight against it, but that haphazard display of pusillanimous defending and anonymous attacking is enough to make the standard bluenose chew off their own foot with rage!"
Foxy, Stoke, via text

Brilliant rage. Lots of words I've never heard of today, good job I'm not a journal- oh.

1412: Paul McShane is on 3.30 in player rater at the moment. Michael Owen is top on 8.86.
Rate the players

1409: Paul McShane tangles with Obafemi Martins in the Sunderland box and the Nigerian takes a tumble, but it would have been a harsh penalty. Meanwhile, the ever-increasing Andy Reid wastes a good chance to cross up the other end.

1407: "Gareth Barry is a good player, but would he realy displace any midfielder in the top four to get his chance? I think it would be a Steve Sidwell all over."
Gooners fan, via text

1403: Dean Whitehead is booked for handball for Sunderland, while Obafemi Martins cuts in from the Newcastle left and selfishly shoots at Craig Gordon with Michael Owen well placed. Up the other end and Whitehead blazes over, on the stretch. Plenty going on.

1401: Ashley Young is leading the player rater so far and that's no surprise. He's on a majestic 8.62 and that might even go up after a stunning display. James McFadden apart, every Birmingham player who started the game has a rating of less than 5. Dismal.
Rate the players

1359: "If Villa don't get in to Europe surely Gareth Barry will go to one of Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea? Even then, he must want to play in the Champions League. Although Martin O'Neill does command massive loyalty in his players, but like any job in the world why turn down the chance of a promotion in your career?"
TheRodentHansen on 606
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1354: One of the most one-sided derbies you will ever witness. Villa are now sixth, just three points behind Everton in fifth. As for Birmingham, they are a point adrift of safety but on this showing they might as well start preparing for life in the Championship.

1352: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 5-1 Birmingham City

1352: "I never dreamed we would beat Birmingham so easily, I honestly can't believe it."
Carl1982 on 606
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1349: "Birmingham have been absolutely pathetic. We'd have been better off playing 11 fans."
Adamski, Devon, via text

1347: Habib Beye fires in a shot from long-range that looks like it is going wide, but Craig Gordon tips it round the post just to make sure.

1346: Villa cult hero Marlon Harewood gets a late piece of the action, on for Olof Mellberg, who slautes the Villa fans and pumps his arms in joy at the scoreline. It's like a carnival.

1343: Fabio Capello takes his leave at Villa. Meanwhile, Paul McShane puts the ball into his own net at Newcastle, but the whistle had gone for a foul. He's had a nightmare so far.

1341: Alex McLeish looks utterly embarrassed. He should be. Rarely have I seen a team lie down and die so abysmally with so much riding on a game. Villa have been good, but they've not been tested at all. Birmingham are heading for the Championship on this showing.

1338: GOAL Aston Villa 5-1 Birmingham
Oh dear me. Liam Ridgewell heads the ball straight to Gabriel Agbonlahor, who runs at the Birmingham defence and fires into the net from the edge of the box. The ball looked as though it went in the centre of the goal, but Maik Taylor still could not prevent it going in. Just woeful from the visitors. Good day for Martin O'Neill though, and not a bad one for Fabio Capello either.

1337:GOAL Newcastle 1-0 Sunderland
Michael Owen just cannot stop scoring. He latches on to a Geremi cross from the right, gets across Paul McShane and heads into the corner, giving Craig Gordon no chance.

1334: We are under way at St James' Park. I reckon 2-1 Newcastle. No face eating though.

1333: The disappointing James McFadden curls a free-kick over the bar from 25 yards.

1332: "Stevo, if it's 4-4 I'll eat my legs."
Luke in Cambridge, via text

Yeah, now it's cool everyone wants to eat part of their body.

1330: "He may not have saved Birmingham's face, but he's saved part of yours son."
My gaffer Dan, via saying words

1328: GOAL Aston Villa 4-1 Birmingham
Hahahahaha. Mikael Forssell gets Birmingham on the scoresheet and prevents Stevo from having to eat part of his own face in the process. He collects a pass from James McFadden and fires low into the net. 4-4 anyone?

1326: (See 1157) It might be 7-0, of course...

1324: GOAL Aston Villa 4-0 Birmingham
Unbelievable. Ashley Young gets the ball on the left wing, drifts past two pathetic attempts at a challenge, gets into the box, has his first shot saved by the legs of Maik Taylor and then has time to slot the rebound home. Birmingham have been an embarrassment and their fans are starting to leave the ground. I don't blame them.

1319: Cameron Jerome and Mauro Zarate are replaced by Mikael Forssell and Olivier Kapo. Zarate is furious and appears to kick something as he is led towards the bench. First decent contact he's made all day.

1319: "Birmingham deserve to be relegated, if you can't get yourself up for a local derby, there is no hope."
Lee in Herts, via text

I agree. My face isn't best pleased either.

1316: (Re: 1157) "Do you want your face boiled or fried Stevo?"
Nick, Cannock, via text

1314: GOAL Aston Villa 3-0 Birmingham
Easy. Gareth Barry brushes aside Liam Ridgewell just inside the Birmingham box and tees up John Carew to slot into an empty net. This really could be a big score, the Blues just have not turned up today.

1313: James McFadden is booked for a foul on Gareth Barry. Birmingham's frustration is growing by the minute as they struggle to get back in the game.

1311: "I bought a cheese and onion sandwich today for 25p, the most satisfying sandwich I've had in a long time."
Adeweloveyou on 606
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Only 25p? Where did you buy it, 1987?

1309: (Re: 1157) "Dare I ask which part of your face you intend to devour?"
Drew, Notts, via text

I'm mulling it over. I'll get back to you.

1307: Under way in the second half at Villa after the late arrival of Birmingham defender David Murphy.

1306: TEAM NEWS Newcastle v Sunderland
Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan is able to name the same side that has started four out of the last five games, with Nicky Butt and Abdoulaye Faye shaking off knocks. Sunderland were dealt a blow with Jonny Evans and Phil Bardsley ruled out through injury, with Danny Higginbotham and Paul McShane coming in, while Carlos Edwards and Liam Miller start in place of ex-Newcastle striker Michael Chopra and Kieran Richardson.

1304: "What sandwich did you get? Can I have a bit?"
Jack in Reading, via text

Chicken mayo baguette. And yep, if you get here in the next four minutes.

1301: "Stevo, do you reckon Young deserves to start for England? His performances for Villa this season have been better than Al Pacino's in the Godfather trilogy... discuss?"
Trev Benjamin, Hereford, via text

Wow, lots to take in there. On this performance, I'd start Young, yeah. He's been very, very good. But Pacino was astonishing in the Godfather, at least parts one and two, so I don't think Young's at that level yet. Also, are you really THE Trevor Banjamin?

1258: I just went to get a sandwich. Sorry.

1248: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 2-0 Birmingham City

1247: "Two down, four more to go. Europe here we come. Come on Villa."
Paul in Manchester, via text

See 1157. Am I allowed to be a touch nervous?

1245: "If Flamini leaves Arsenal, Barry could definitely do a job in the middle with Fabregas. And he'd be a great captain to boot..."
Anonymous, via text

1243: GOAL Aston Villa 2-0 Birmingham
Real problems now for Alex McLeish. Ashley Young curls in a free-kick from about 40 yards out and the giant John Carew climbs imperiously to head past Maik Taylor from close range.

1239: Brilliant football. Gareth Barry cuts in from the left and curls a right-foot shot (how many times do you say that?) that is going into the far corner, before Maik Taylor dives across and tips the ball behind.

1235: Medhi Nafti, who has not scored for Birmingham, tricks his way into the penalty area and in a crowded box hammers a left-foot shot inches over the crossbar.

1232: Funny goal, that. Referee Mark Clattenburg had just a few seconds earlier separated Medhi Nafti from a confrontation with a Villa player by pushing the Blues player away. Interesting refereeing.

1229: GOAL Aston Villa 1-0 Birmingham
Something for Fabio Capello to get stuck into. Ashley Young smacks the ball into the corner of the net on the half-volley from about 18 yards from a mis-hit Olof Mellberg pass.

1229: Stiliyan Petrov lets fly again from 20 yards and Maik Taylor gets behind the swerving ball and stops it going in with his left shoulder. By any means necessary for Birmingham right now.

1229: "Re: 1216, what about haemorrhage causing hypovolemic shock and initiating responses by the arterial baroreceptors to stimulate the sympathetic vasoconstr ictor system and increase the total peripheral resistance?"
Sam from Manchester, via text

Hello. I'm a moron.

1227: "Stevo, the decision-making man. Should I buy Mario Kart for the Wii today? Can't decide!"
pip4490 on 606
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Join the debate on 606

Let me ask you a question: Is there a good reason not to?

1224: Fabrice Muamba is given a long talking to by referee Mark Clattenburg after a slightly reckless tackle on Gareth Barry. No booking - good refereeing, though he's now getting a pasting from the Holte End.

1223: Wilfred Bouma hammers a left-foot shot about 20 yards wide from outside the box. Villa are on top here, Birmingham are losing the midfield battle.

1220: Gareth Barry curls a left-foot free-kick towards the top corner and Maik Taylor pushes it away for a corner.

1220: "Barry would be an excellent signing for any top four club, I'd have him at United tomorrow."
James, bored at work in Warrington, via text

1218: I'm not sure where Gareth Barry will go, but I think his recent comment that: "I have to look at myself now and be selfish in what I want to do," is a sign he's seriously considering it. I think Fabio Capello could do worse than make him England captain, he's a fine role model in a sport that has precious few. Meanwhile, Barry slams a left-foot shot wide from 12 yards.

1216: "Re: 1205, oh yes there is - you could be solving the Schrodinger equation for an hydrogen atom using matrix operators and finding its eigenfunctions."
Some12bMark2 on 606
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Has the world gone mad or am I just some sort of moron?

1213: "Stevo - chicken and bacon sarnie on wholemeal bread or honey and mustard chicken pasta for lunch? You make the choice, I simply can't."
nowthennathan on 606
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The first one. Every time.

1210: Is this Gareth Barry's last Birmingham derby Stevo?"
redandblackT1899 on 606
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What an interesting question. I'm saying yes. Thoughts?

1206: David Murphy rifles in a sweet left-foot drive from 18 yards that goes just over Scott Carson's goal.

1205: "Hopefully there are goals goals today as there is nothing worse than learning about the targeting of proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum and having no decent matches to distract me with."
adrianaar86 on 606
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Is that even in English?

1203: Stiliyan Petrov, fresh from his wonder goal against Derby last weekend, tries an ambitious 30-yard drive but it flies wide of Maik Taylor's left-hand post.

1201: The second city derby starts, under the watchful gaze of England coach Fabio Capello.

1159: "That's a damn fine prediction you've made for the Mighty Blues. There's definitely a pint in it for you if it turns out you're right. If you're not I'll be forced to drink them all to drown my sorrows."
Carleen (Token Aussie Blues Supporter), via text

1157: "If Birmingham beat Villa today I'll eat my socks. Another 6-0 victory for Villa today Stevo."
Paul in Manchester, via text

If it's 6-0, I'll eat part of my own face.

1155: "We're not down untill it's mathmatically impossible! Come on the Villa!"
Farrell, Fulham fan, via text

1153: "I'm glad we now have a fighting chance with Zarate starting - Villa 1-2 Blues. Keep right on."
ZooLous on 606
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1148: Lots of Newcastle-Sunderland banter already. Anyone got any thoughts on Villa-Blues? England batsman Ian Bell, who is slowly morphing into a mini-Fernando Torres with his hilarious "do", is in the stands.

1146: "Morning Jonno (it's Stevo), is auto promo in the bag now for the once-mighty Forest?"
Andy in Nottingham, via text

Mate, I don't want to be negative. I really don't. But it sounded like we were pretty average yesterday and do you really think we will beat Hartlepool next week now the players are back under some pressure? I don't know. I know one thing though - my dad will be as confident as you. He's an eternal optimist, you see. It's his 61st birthday today - happy birthday dad, you absolute legend. I wish I could buy you automatic promotion for your birthday, I really do.

1142: As per usual, my predictions will be made on a match-by-match basis. This is a tricky one to call and it looks like Birmingham are going for it. They need to, after Bolton's heroics yesterday. I'm gonna tip the Blues to sneak it 2-1 and the brilliant Mauro Zarate to notch. I'm going out on a limb here people...

1139: TEAM NEWS Aston Villa v Birmingham
Aston Villa are unchanged, unsurprisingly given that their last outing was a 6-0 thrashing of Derby. Birmingham bring in-form striker Mauro Zarate into the starting line-up in place of Mikael Forssell, while Sebastian Larsson is out after a knee injury with Cameron Jerome coming into the team.

1137: Only kidding. As if I'd leave you on a day like today. The-Football-Neutral - why don't you do one and let the rest of us enjoy what promises to be an absolute belter. It's Aston Villa v Birmingham, then Newcastle v Sunderland, then Man City v Portsmouth. If you're not feeling it, there really is something wrong with you. If you are feeling it (or you want to tell us what's wrong with you), text me on 81111 or get involved on 606. It's what Roy Keane would want you to do. Honest.
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1134: You might as well go home! It's gonna be a boring day!"
The-Football-Neutral on 606
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Oh, OK. See you all later then. Bye.

1130: Anything happening today?




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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