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Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 11:57 UK

Premier League as it happened

RESULTS
Blackburn 1-1 Hull Match report
Fulham 1-0 Arsenal Match report
Liverpool 2-1 Middlesbrough Match report
Newcastle 1-0 Bolton Match report
Stoke 3-2 Aston Villa Match report
Tottenham 1-2 Sunderland Match report
West Brom 1-2 Everton 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 Paul Fletcher

1939: Now then. That is it for me. You lot have been out of the top drawer. I'm off home to see what damage our spluttering boiler has made to our newly painted ceiling. Add to the mixer the fact that the washing machine would not work when I spoke to the other half before and there is plenty of scope for Saturday to go very wrong.

1938: "Let's hope defeat at Fulham will be a blessing in disguise by convincing Arsene the squad needs strengthening before the transfer deadline."
Anonymous via text on 81111

I love it. Positives out of a defeat. And perhaps you are right. Stick with it.

1933: There are a few contenders for the PLAYER OF THE DAY. Mamady Sidibe with Stoke's late winner, Steven Gerrard likewise for Liverpool. But who would underestimate the performance of Shay Given, who saved a penalty for Newcastle. He has top marks with 8.59. Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue is bottom of the heap with a less than modest 4.44.
Pick a match, rate the players

1930: Now then. The highest rated player at full-time from the match at Craven Cottage is Fulham's Toni Kallio on 8.38. But don't forget there is plenty of time for you to get involved.
Fulham v Arsenal player rater

1929: So let me get this right. Fulham lose to Hull but then beat Arsenal. Crazy.

1927: Full-time Fulham 1-0 Arsenal
Well done Fulham. Arsenal had lots of possession but did not create much. Fulham were quick to the tackle, won the battle in midfield and had chances to score a second.

The Cottagers had to survive some late pressure but duly did so.

1922: An awful dive from Adebayor. We don't need to see that.

1921: For the third time this afternoon Van Persie strikes a free-kick. This one hits the wall and Fulham break. It is four on two but Dempsey dwells on the ball and the chance is gone.

1919: Arsenal win a corner but the ball is floated at a superb height for Schwarzer to claim, which he does.

1918: About five minutes left for Arsenal to score. Or indeed, for Fulham to hang on.

1915: Arsene Wenger is starting to look extraordinarily frustrated. Like someone who did not get the exam results they wanted. I cannot say I blame him.

1913: One final change for Fulham. Andranik Teymourian replaces skipper Murphy.

1911: "I cannot believe my luck today. I left Anfield five minutes early only to miss Steven Gerrard score the winner against Boro. So much for getting a cheeky beef burger before heading home."
Scoopex, on the A41, via text on 81111

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER leave the action early. NEVER. How much was your ticket? And you missed the winner for a dirty burger.

1908: Both teams make a change. Alexandre Song comes on for Kolo Toure for the Gunners. Fulham bring on Clint Dempsey for Ki-Hyeon Seol.

1906: Fulham make a change as Chris Baird replaces Tony Kallio, who has an injury.

1905: Van Persie has a free-kick in a dangerous position. He opts for precision over pace but his strike clips the wall.

1903: Arsenal have in the region of 20 minutes to score or they will lose this game.

Danny Murphy is booked for a challenge on Eboue, who then opts to square up with the Fulham player. No need.

1901: A yard of space opens up for Van Persie on the edge of the box. His strike is crisp and low but just wide of the Fulham goal. The Gunners have no shortage of presence up top with Adebayor and Bendtner on the field.

1859: Zamora lays the ball off to Simon Davies on the edge of the area. A decent opening but the Wales international smashes the ball wide.

1857: A change for Arsenal as Nicklas Bendtner comes on for Walcott, who has drifted in and out of the game. Mainly out.

1854: "If Wenger doesn't make a change to the central midfield now we are in serious danger of losing this match."
Scubar 2K8 on 606
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Agreed.

1851: Bobby Zamora runs on to a low cross from Seol and hooks the ball goalwards at the near post but his effort flies narrowly wide of goal.

1850: Eboue has a chance to shoots but opts against. Arsene Wenger watches from the dug-out and looks frustrated. As well he might.

1847: No real sign of an Arsenal equaliser. Fulham still seem to have their measure in midfield. I wonder if we will see Jack Wilshere at some point?

1842: "Being a Spurs fan I am dreading the trip to Stamford Bridge next week, all we have to do is not to get too embarrassed. A 2-0 defeat will do."
Sakaria2 on 606
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It never ceases to amaze me how quickly pre-season optimism can be totally and utterly crushed and ground into the dirt with an inexorable and totally irreversible finality. Unless of course you win your next couple of games...

1837: No substitutions and we have the final half of Saturday's Premier League football under way. Can Arsenal crowbar their way back into this contest?

1832: Fulham have not defeated a London club in their last 15 attempts. Fact. Their last victory came in November 2006 - against Arsenal.

1830: "Arsenal will struggle this season. Their midfield is not looking good. Flamini's gone and Arsenal now rely too much on Fabregas. An injured Fabregas equals disaster."
ManUnited2008 on 606 Join the debate on 606

It would be tricky to argue with you at this moment in time, though I feel very confident that thousands would.

1820: Half-time Fulham 1-0 Arsenal
Could you honestly say Fulham don't deserve it? The Cottagers have bossed the midfield battle.

And not a bad few days for Hangeland. He was appointed captain of the Norwegian national football team on 12 August.

1818: Some news just in - the running order for Match of the Day, though bear in mind this is very much subject to change.

Here we go:

Stoke v Aston Villa
Liverpool v Middlesbrough
Tottenham v Sunderland
Fulham v Arsenal
West Brom v Everton
Newcastle v Bolton
Blackburn v Hull

1816: Another crunching challenge, this one on Walcott is somewhat illegal. Van Persie tries his luck from very long range but it is well over.

1812: Not far from half-time at Craven Cottage and I'd have to say that although there have been illuminating moments the game has, by and large, been a touch scrappy. Plenty of poor passing and errant shooting, while Arsenal really look like they are missing Cesc Fabregas.

1809: Emmanuel Adebayor plays a superb ball to Theo Walcott, who runs at the Fulham defence. The young forward shoots from 20 yards but his effort is comfortably over. A disappointing end to a crisp and inventive move.

1806: Manuel Almunia pulls a decent cross out of the air and Arsenal look to break. But not for the first time they quickly surrender possession. The Gunners have not quite been at it while Fulham have looked quite lively, with striker Bobby Zamora heavily involved so far.

1800: Seol Ki-Hyeon goes down under a challenge from Sagna. Arsenal play on and the crowd don't like it. Why? Seol was accidentally injured. A minute later Zoltan Gera catches Sagna on his foot. It looks painful and this game is fast becoming a bit tasty.

1755: Adebayor hits the outside of the post with a brilliant header from a Sagna cross. Schwarzer was well beaten.

1753: GOAL Fulham 1-0 Arsenal
Brede Hangerland puts Fulham in front with his first goal in England, stabbing home a corner from Jimmy Bullard from inside the six-yard box. Not great defending - especially from William Gallas, who was marking the goalscorer.

1753: Arsenal should be leading. Theo Walcott knocks the ball in from the right and Nasri cleverly plays it into the path of Van Persie. The Dutch forward, however, shoots wide from seven yards.

1752: "Nice to see all that money Spurs spent has not gone to waste AGAIN."
Matt, from Blackpool, via text on 81111

Spurs - bit of a hot topic. If Berbatov goes they could have real issues, much bigger than the ones they seem to have already.

1746: A shocking tackle by Fulham's John Pantsil on Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue. Pantsil really does catch him full on the shin and it could have been very nasty. Thankfully Eboue is OK to continue.

1745: Emmanuel Adebayor collects a pass from Robin van Persie and creates space before shooting from long distance. He makes superb contact but the ball flies wide.

1741: Arsenal win a corner. It is knocked to the far post and a looping header lacking pace ends up in Mark Schwarzer's arms.

1738: "Great for Arsenal, that Nasri's back. As I said last week, you don't win the prize as 'Player of the Year' in France and then score in your debut in the Premier League if you're not something special. Just ask Malouda. Oh, wait...."
Johan Mourinho on 606
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Very droll. Like it. Nasri hasn't seen too much of the ball so far.

1735: Still with us? Good. No openings as yet at Craven Cottage.

1732: We are under way in the final Premier League fixture of the day.

1729: "The mark of great teams and title contenders, win when you are playing rubbish! Now lets lets show them what we can do and stay at the top of the league."
Anonymous via text on 8111

"I really dislike Liverpool because just when you think they've lost or drawn they got a huge stroke of luck and get a goal! Grrr."
Anonymous via text on 8111

Both anonymous - and yet so very different.

1726: The teams are about to come out at Craven Cottage.

1721: "Newcastle the only clean sheet?! There's something fishy going on."
Gerth via text on 81111

1718: TEAM NEWS
Fulham bring in summer signing Toni Kallio for Paul Konchesky, but £10.2m striker Andrew Johnson is still sidelined with a thigh injury.

Samir Nasri is fit for Arsenal after a thigh injury that kept him out of international action with France in midweek, while Kolo Toure returns after illness. Robin van Persie also starts in place of Nicklas Bendtner.

1715: "Ultimately the PL's GPS kicked-in and provided the directions to Goalsville."
Anonymous via text on 81111

A touch corny but I like it.

1708: "Have that! A nice big egg for all the hacks who'd written Stoke off."
Anonymous via text on 81111

Marathon, not a sprint. Cliche, cliche.

1704: "No!!!! I am sickened to see Liverpool get an undeserved win top of the table? You have got to be kidding."
DP1992 on 606
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Well all know that you have to play until the final whistle.

1701: "What a difference 20 minutes or so makes!? Goal-a-rific!"
Cen, via text, on 81111

1656: It is all happening.

1655: Full-time Newcastle 1-0 Bolton

1655: Full-time Liverpool 2-1 Middlesbrough

1655: Full-time Stoke 3-2 Aston Villa
Stoke claim a dramatic late victory as Rory Delap flings a long throw into the box which seems to come off the shoulder of Mamady Sidibe before beating Villa keeper Brad Friedel.

1654: GOAL Stoke 3-2 Aston Villa

1654: GOAL Liverpool 2-1 Middlesbrough
Steven Gerrard steals victory for Liverpool. The ball breaks to him on the edge of the box and he smashes it into the top corner.

1654: Full-time Blackburn 1-1 Hull

1653: Full-time West Brom 1-2 Everton

1652: Full-time Tottenham 1-2 Sunderland
Not a great time to be a Tottenham fan, hence the team is booed from the field.

1650: GOAL CORRECTION
Apparently Liverpool's equaliser has been credited to Emmanuel Pogatetz.

1649: GOAL West Brom 1-2 Everton
Is it too late? Roman Bednar strokes the ball into the bottom corner for the Baggies first league goal of the season. Just over a minute left.

1648: PENALTY
For West Brom after a handball by Phil Neville.

1644: GOAL Liverpool 1-1 Middlesbrough
Jamie Carragher snatches a late equaliser for Liverpool as his speculative drive from outside the box is deflected in off Boro defender Emmanuel Pogatetz.

1643: GOAL Stoke 2-2 Aston Villa
Stoke's lead lasts two minutes, as Martin Laursen takes advantage of some sloppy defending. Ashley Young's low free-kick was is poor but Laursen reacts sharply to steal in and finish from three yards.

1641: GOAL Stoke 2-1 Aston Villa
Ricardo Fuller puts Stoke ahead. Liam Lawrence finds Fuller down the inside right channel and his flick takes him past Martin Laursen. Fuller then runs at goal before beating Brad Friedel from an acute angle.

1640: GOAL Tottenham 1-2 Sunderland
Djibril Cisse, making his debut for Sunderland after coming on as a substitute, heads his new team in front, converting a precise cross from the left.

1639: Boro winning at Anfield. Just have a look at the entry at 1229...

1636: GOAL West Brom 0-2 Everton
Everton might not have played that well but they are heading for three points. A long ball up field seems harmless enough but Yakubu steals in to head past Scott Carson from just inside the area.

1635: David Bentley tries his luck with a 25-yard curler but Sunderland keeper Gordon leaps high to his left to tip it over the bar.

1632: GOAL Newcastle 1-0 Bolton
Michael Owen puts Newcastle ahead. He missed a good chance earlier but makes no mistake this time as he heads in a Geremi cross.

1630: GOAL Tottenham 1-1 Sunderland
Luka Modric has one effort blocked and another saved as he gradually closes in on goal. The ball breaks to Jermaine Jenas, who strokes it home from eight yards with the Sunderland keeper stranded on the deck.

1628: GOAL Liverpool 0-1 Middlesbrough
Don't need to do much work to describe this one. Mido picks up the ball about 22 yards from goal and smashes it into the bottom corner. Gareth Southgate applauds, as well he might.

1625: GOAL West Brom 0-1 Everton
Leon Osman collects a pass from Mikel Arteta, deftly controls the ball and shoots into the bottom corner with a precise strike. A rare moment of quality. WBA might feel a touch unlucky to be losing.

1624: That Tottenham miss from a couple of minutes ago.......David Bentley whipped in a fine free-kick which Craig Gordon could only parry but Jonathan Woodgate put the rebound wide from three yards.

1623: GOAL Stoke 1-1 Aston Villa
John Carew equalises with a low shot across goal after latching on to a deft pass from Ashley Young. Classy move.

1620: Boro striker Tuncay hits the ball straight at Reina from 10 yards. Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen makes a decent save from a Michael Owen header.

1620: PENALTY MISS
Bolton are given a penalty after Steven Taylor is found guilty of handballing a cross. Trotters skipper Kevin Nolan steps up and hits the target but Given makes a decent low save and has the presence of mind to kick the ball clear before anyone can pounce on a rebound.

1620: PENALTY
For Bolton.

1619: What a miss by Tottenham.

1617: "It is depressing enough sitting on a coach for four hours having to check the BBC site on my phone - and with the scores the way they are I'm starting to feel suicidal. Come on Torres, give me something to smile about."
Simon Griffiths, bored on a coach, via text on 81111

Not great chat. I mean, great banter but not the best situation for your good self.

1615: Michael Owen comes on for Newcastle as an injured Martins is replaced.

1613: GOAL Tottenham 0-1 Sunderland
An absolutely cracking finish from Kieran Richardson, who smashes the ball past Gomes from 20 yards. There is a suspicion of handball in the build up but it looks accidental.

1611: Still only three goals. WHAT IS GOING ON? Obafemi Martins does go close, narrowly missing with a header after getting in front of his marker.

1609: Fernando Torres attempts to volley a cross but only succeeds in making contact with Boro defender Robert Huth, who is able to continue after treatment.

1608: Newcastle have made a change, with Geremi on for the injured Damien Duff.

1606: All the games back under way - and Tottenham really should be ahead. Gareth Bale has a free header from a corner and makes decent contact but the ball flies over the crossbar.

1604: Brett Emerton replaces David Dunn for Blackburn. Dunn has picked up an injury.

1601: "Saturday afternoons on the BBC website waiting for Liverpool to score. Doesn't get much better than this."
LFCPete92 on 606
Join the debate on 606

I'm not sure you are living life to the max. But it is jolly nice of you to say so.

1559: Hold the back page - and scrap what has been said at 1551. Bolton are apparently top of the league.

1558: "Fletch, I watched every minute of Spurs v Sunderland first half. One word to summarise:- yawnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn."
andrepeter on 606
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1551: "Blackburn top of the league at the moment. I bet that is the last time we say that this year."
Andy H, at work,, via text on 81111

1549: Half-time
Everywhere in the Premier League. Six halves of football, three goals. Not great.

1548: Scoreless at White Hart Lane, although former Spurs man Steed Malbranque rattled the post for Sunderland just before the break in a low-key affair in North London.

1546: A cross comes in and Ishmael Miller finds himself completely unmarked six yards from goal but the ball skims harmlessly off the top of his head. A wasted chance for West Brom.

1545: No goals at Anfield but Fernando Torres should have scored a few minutes ago after Robbie Keane played him in but the Spain forward made poor contact and his strike was blocked.

1540: GOAL Blackburn 1-1 Hull
Richard Garcia equalises for Hull with a superb looping header beyond the far post, converting Craig Fagan's cross.

1539: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Hull
A decent finish from Jason Roberts as he diverts the ball past Boaz Myhill but Tigers boss Phil Brown won't be thrilled with the defending. The Hull defence are completely caught out by a ball from Steven Reid that puts Roberts clean through.

1538: "Who'd have thought it?? Stoke scoring the FIRST goal in the Premier League today after 30 minutes?!? Boy, is MOTD tonight going to be a cracker."
FoxForever on 606
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Football is taking a bit of a battering this week on the entertainment front. First England, now the Premier League...

1535: Chris Brunt is just wide for West Brom with a cracking dipping effort from 30 yards.

1531: GOAL Stoke 1-0 Aston Villa
Liam Lawrence looks fairly relaxed as he steps up to take the penno. He strokes the ball low and just, only just, eludes the dive of Villa keeper Brad Friedel. Cue big celebrations.

1530: PENALTY
For Stoke. It is given for a foul by Martin Laursen on Rory Delap. Not sure about that one.

1530: Gareth Bale is yellow carded for diving in the area after 27 minutes - clearly going down before the Sunderland defender arrived on the scene and ref Mike Dean was spot on with the decision.

1528: Don't worry there will be a glut of goals very soon.

1527: "This is a far cry from last week eh, when things were exciting from the get-go. Normal service has resumed perhaps?"
toffees1888 on 606 Join the debate on 606

1525: Hull's Dean Marney is played through at a slight angle. However, he looks slightly hesitant and weakly pulls his strike across the face of goal and well wide.

1524: Sunderland's Nyron Nosworthy accidentally kicks Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes in the head. Thankfully the Spurs stopper is able to continue after receiving some treatment.

1522: Morten Gamst Pedersen shoots narrowly wide of the Hull goal from 20 yards with keeper Boaz Myhill well beaten.

1520: (See 1420) "I've been watching Diff'rent Strokes on cable too. I was chuffed on Thursday to find an episode I never saw first time round."
Mark via text on 81111

Interesting as this is - and I think it is - I wish I could give you some top draw match action chat instead.

1517: "Paul - do you have a bank of TV monitors in front of you, with all the action? What is it like to be the only man in the world to be able to watch all Saturday 3pm kick-offs LIVE?!"
RetroGirl on 606
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Yeh, pretty good. Though I'm not in a club of one. And choice is very much over-rated. Try to watch six and you don't really watch any.

1515: Bolton striker Johan Elmander limps off and Gavin McCann comes on in his place. Not good news for Bolton, who shelled out a lot of money on the Swedish forward.

1515: Poor this - fully 15 minutes gone and not a goal anywhere in the Premier League.

1513: Andrew Taylor goes close for Boro with a cracking left-foot strike from 20 yards that forces a decent save from Pepe Reina.

1512: West Brom win a corner. Then smash it directly out of play for a throw-in.

1511: Stoke have made a committed start to their game with Villa. Their direct style is very much in evidence.

1510: "The first home game of the season! The pre-match pie, the pre-match pint. The buzz of the crowd before kick off. God I love football so much. It is fantastic."
LJ, Newcastle fan, via text on 81111

It is always great for Toon fans before the match starts. I jest, of course.

1508: A glancing header from Fernando Torres but he doesn't get enough on it and the ball flies wide of the Boro goal.

1506: Just waiting for some top level drama to tell you about but no major openings/chances/near misses so far.

1502: Dirk Kuyt has a pop from 20 yards. Ross Turnbull saves in the Boro goal. Brad Jones picked up a finger injury in the warm-up for Boro, hence Turnbull starts.

1500: And we're off. Brian Barwick sat next to Rick Parry at Liverpool. All smiles - for now.

1453: TEAM NEWS
In their first Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke hand a debut to £2.5m signing from Newcastle Abdoulaye Faye after he received international clearance to play. Liam Lawrence and Ricardo Fuller come into the starting line-up in place of Glen Whelan and Mamady Sidibe.

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill names the same starting line-up which beat Manchester City 4-2 in their opener, with hat-trick hero Gabriel Agbonlahor shrugging off a slight hamstring strain picked up with England Under-21s.

1447: TEAM NEWS
West Brom's new record signing Borja Valero did not complete his move from Real Mallorca in time to feature but right-back Gianni Zuiverloon makes his debut after returning from Olympic duty for the Netherlands and fit-again Robert Koren returns in midfield.

Everton make one change with Nuno Valente replaced by teenage striker Jose Baxter, who at the age of 16 years and 198 days becomes the youngest player to start a competitive match for the Toffees.

1445: TEAM NEWS
As you will have already heard Dimitar Berbatov is not playing for Spurs because Juande Ramos does not think he is fully focused, while Gareth Bale and Ledley King come into the side.

Sunderland make three changes from the team which started in the 1-0 defeat at home to Liverpool, with Phil Bardsley, Danny Higginbotham and Dean Whitehead all starting. New signing Djibril Cisse is on the bench, as is David Healy.

1444: TEAM NEWS
Liverpool make two changes, bringing in Martin Skrtel for Sami Hyypia in the centre of defence, while in the midfield Damien Plessis makes way for Xabi Alonso. Robbie Keane and Andrea Dossena make their home league debuts.
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate names the same side that beat Tottenham on the opening day, with new signing Justin Hoyte on the bench.

And yes, the Liverpool line up some entries below is correct. Many thanks for everyone who pointed that out.

1443: WBA chairman Jeremy Peace has just told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pat Murphy that the club are looking to sign three more players before the transfer window closes.

1439: TEAM NEWS
Blackburn are unchanged from the opening day win over Everton so fit-again Brett Emerton has to settle for a place on the bench.

George Boateng is out with a thigh injury so Dean Marney starts for Hull, who also include Craig Fagan in place of Nick Barmby.

1437: A quick word on Jose Baxter. He becomes the youngest player in Everton's history to play a competitive fixture at the club. He is 16 years and 198 days old.

1431: As plenty of people are pointing out, it looks as though Berbatov is off. Left out of the Tottenham squad. I would think that Man Utd supporters are just counting down until he arrives.

1430: TEAM NEWS
Newcastle striker Michael Owen is on the bench after recovering from a calf injury as boss Kevin Keegan names the same side which drew with Manchester United on the opening day of the season.

Bolton manager Gary Megson sticks with a winning side as he keeps faith with the team that beat Stoke last week.

1425: "I really feel I have to comment. I've missed one England match since I was 10, and I can honestly say I love watching our nation play, good bad or other. Realistically, can we say we are good enough to be taking on nations like the Czech Republic? David James IS the best goalkeeper we've got. Mistakes and all he is the most consistent. Our problem is midfield and attack. Lamps doesn't do it at club level anymore, let alone national. The bottom line is we cannot keep the ball. We need a midfield of Gareth Barry's and we have too many creative players looking to play the million dollar ball. Worse still, we haven't got a centre forward who actually plays for England. If you play with wingers you have to have a Crouch or an Ashton. You cannot cross to Rooney, who isn't there, or Defoe, who isn't tall enough. Not only is it bread and butter to centre halves, it makes the Coles, Bentleys and Beckhams entirely redundant. Fabio will make us defend, but even his experience will not score us goals with the personnel we use. Time for a major rethink, I reckon!"
RobertoKerrlos on 606
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This is the last word on England for today as we are nearing some actual action. I just hope Roberto isn't 11. That would rather undermine his case.

1422: If you're out and about later, you can still follow this text commentary and get all the scores on your mobile. From a UK phone, just text FOOTBALL to 81010, it will cost you 10 to 15p and you will receive in return a link to our mobile site. Click on that, and you'll be straight through (then bookmark it so you never need to text that number again). The cost of being online on your phone will vary according to network and your own contract.

1421: Some more early team news. Jose Baxter starts for Everton. Get in Jose.

1420: (See 1410) "Heroes. Get with the programme."
Jon, Leeds, via text on 81111

Ah, I don't feel quite so bad. I mean Heroes. Never seen it. Do I need it in my life? Especially when I'm getting quite into reruns of Different Strokes on some obscure cable channel.

1417: Several people on 606 are reporting that Liverpool line-up like this: Reina, Arbeloa, Dossena, Carragher, Skrtel, Gerrard, Alonso, Kuyt, Benayoun, Torres, Keane.

It is not official and I'll let you know when definitive word comes through.

1415: "Everton will need to improve from last week if they are to get anything from the game. I'm hoping the new wonderkid, Jose Baxter, sets the game alight."
Pete, Crewe, via text on 81111

Jose Baxter. Quite possibly the best name in football.

1410: "If Torres scores a hat-trick today, Liverpool will win the Premier League. I had a dream, like Peter Petrelli."
Capital(RED) on 606
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I am struggling with my cultural reference points today. Peter Petrelli?

1408: Some early team news. Juande Ramos has left Dimitar Berbatov out of the Tottenham squad.

"I have not selected him as I do not think that he is focused enough and I do not feel that he will be good for the dressing room and the team effort," said Ramos.

1407: "I have 200-1 for Chelsea to do the quadruple. Good bet or not? They came so close last year and now they have a top manager and more players. They drew five or six of their Premier League games after conceding in the last minute or so. Will anyone beat Chelsea this year? They've also got last years disappointment to make up for and I believe their egos will make them want to win all four trophies to take something away from Man Utd."
Anonymous via text on 81111

Some interesting questions raised. Though what strikes me is the length of the text message. I never send anything remotely that long in text form. I need to get down with the kids.

1356: "I think Tottenham will need at least another two quality strikers and a quality centre back before they will be close to the top four! Arshavin, Corluka and Milito?"
Anonymous via text on 81111

"I think Tottenham will steadily improve this season. Last season was always going to be a tough when you don't have a goalkeeper."
rickyk10 on 606
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1353: "You lot are way too quick to dismiss the England side. Obviously, in a friendly the new manager will try different formulae in his quest for the right balance, and results may not be resounding. I'll give you this, David James is shockingly calamitous, and without the ball our midfield lacks zest, but the team showed good promise - glimpses of cohesion, good passing range, plenty of options on the bench, and above all a fighting spirit to contend each match to the last minute."
sdpasi02 on 606
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Good optimism. I must have missed the cohesion and as for the shape of the team when England lost the ball....

1350: Some talk on 606 about Tottenham. How will they do this season? To what extent are they in a rebuilding phase? Can they finish in the top four?

They could probably do with taking it one step at a time and, following their defeat at Boro, focus on taking something from their match with super signing Sunderland.

The Black Cats have lost their last three league games, Tottenham haven't won at home in their last four.

1345: "The move back to Wembley hasn't worked well and its sums were done when the economy was booming. But even if the seats are sold, it does nobody any good when a big block of seats directly opposite the cameras are empty for 10 minutes after half-time because the prawn sandwich brigade are still enjoying hospitality."
grahambrack on 606
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How often do you reckon they eat prawn sandwiches at Wembley? I'd love to do an investigation into that as I'd have to scoff my way through loads of hospitality before I could draw any solid conclusions.

1336: Don't forget there is plenty of Olympics that you can follow before the footy starts.
Live - Olympics

1333: (See 1310) "I agreed a bet with my friend that in the BBC's 10 live Championship games next season that the BBC would *not* show all the teams.

Can't wait to break the news to him that there are 24 teams in the Championship."
SaintFed on 606
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Genius. Will you ask him if I can buy into that bet as well?

By the way, PM Gordon Brown has said that he is hopeful there will be a UK football team at the 2012 Olympics. UK eh? Not sure he'll need to worry too much about 2012.

1325: Stoke play their first home match in the Premier League this afternoon. I've been reading all week about how it will be packed to the gills, 28,000 fans and buzzing. I've been there a few times and could certainly tell you about "atmosphere", though I'm not sure they were feeling the Christmas spirit on one particular Boxing Day I was there. Having said that, Stoke did brilliantly last year and showed what can be done with the right manager backed by the right chairman and not to mention signing the right players.

1318: (See 1310) "I had a bet with my ex-boss that Chelsea would beat Liverpool in Europe last season. The price was the cost of the flight to Moscow. I got "let go" before he paid up though. Hmm."
boringoldblue on 606
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Very harsh. On second thoughts, probably just as well.

1315: "I think that maybe the fans should take some responsibility for the poor performances of the England team.

"England supporters are the only ones who boo their own team, through thick and thin we should be supporting the players and encouraging them not putting extra pressure on their shoulders.

"The constant booing of Frank Lampard is despicable and in the eyes of the rest of the world it's the supporters that look stupid for it, not the players."
rickyk10 on 606
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Now this is interesting. We are always reading about how England are the best supported team in the world. Yet the number of England members is falling and there was plenty of room at Wembley the other day. The credit crunch is kicking in and something has to go and I do wonder what sort of case England are making for people to keep spending large sums of their hard-earned cash on watching the national team.

1310: "I've just bet a Chelsea fan in work that they won't be top of the table tonight. The Muppet took the bet even though Liverpool v Boro & Blackburn v Hull all feature teams that all have three points."
Joe, via text on 81111

How much? Last year I had a bet with a bloke at work. He had Liverpool and I had the rest of the Premier League with £10 going to the person who had the championship winning team. That is what I call free money.

1301: (See 1237) "I agree with Ben from Woking. We need players who actually care about the team, most of the England players are lacklustre to say the least, Joe Cole being an exception. We may not be one of the best teams in the world, but we are better this."
Dominic, London, via text on 81111

"England stars? The only ones I know are at the Olympics doing the nation proud. The footballers should be given Pluto status."
redandblackT1899 on 606
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1253: (See 1240) "The turn left at Greenland quip was from the Beatles when asked how they found America. Cisse will be a great signing if he says clear of injury."
The great el barro via text on 81111

OK, I now feel a little bit stupid. Not an unusual feeling. I'm feeling a touch stressed. The washing machine has been moved as part of our kitchen refit. It won't work and has somehow caused dirty water (at least it isn't heavy) to fly out of the top of the boiler and on to the freshly-painted ceiling.

1250: (See 1237) "Without the top four players there would be no Ferdinand, Terry, Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Brown, and more. What Ben says is true but I'd rather have good footballers playing."
Jason, Rotherham, via text on 81111

Would you rather win an Olympic gold in a high-profile event or an FA Cup winners medal?

1247: If you're out and about later, you can still follow this text commentary and get all the scores on your mobile.

From a UK phone, just text FOOTBALL to 81010, it will cost you 10 to 15p and you will receive in return a link to our mobile site.

Click on that, and you'll be straight through (then bookmark it so you never need to text that number again). The cost of being online on your phone will vary according to network and your own contract.

1240: (See 1216) "In answer to Mr Fletcher's question, I believe Cisse will find Sunderland either by using a map or probably a state-of-the-art GPS. I would've said "By turning left at Greenland" if he had been signed by Liverpool (get it?). Sorry, it's obviously too early in the day for such nonsense."
Johan Mourinho on 606
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No, sorry, I've thought about it and I don't really know what you're on about. I just hope it isn't cheeky or offensive, something to make me seriously regret posting the comment.

1237: (See 1223) "England should avoid picking players from the big four. We need players with something to prove, something worth playing for, the recognition and the glory.

"Players from the big four are now more obsessed with winning the Premier League or Champions League. Don't qualify for an international tournament? No problem , they just have another summer to relax and spend their millions."
Ben, in Woking, via a very long text on 81111

1229: "I've just put a tenner on Boro to win at Anfield. Am I stupid or can you see where I'm coming from?"
James, Sheffield, via text on 81111

Remember Terry Cooper and John Hickton? They scored the last time Boro won at Anfield, 2-0 in March 1976.

1223: "England stars? Overpaid and overrated I reckon!"
Jon Mac, Ipswich, via text on 81111

Funny you should say that Jon. I've detected a definite feeling over the last few days that the nation is turning against our brave footballing heroes. They go out there and try their best and it isn't their fault that they aren't quite good enough. Or rubbish. And OK, it doesn't look great when Great Britain's Olympians have picking up medals all over the shop. Olympians who are modestly paid, incredibly dedicated and gloriously exceeding expectations. But we'll always love our footy boys won't we even if they now exist is another world from us, one more or less solely occupied by the rich and famous?

1216: "I cannot wait to see how Cissť does for us, one of the most exciting signings for our club in a long time."
SAFCjim Cisse is faster than Usain Bolt on 606
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The arrival of Djibril is massively exciting. I think it is good for the Premier League too. The thing is, you never quite know what is going to happen with the big fella and in an age of footballing automatons that has to be a good thing. How do you think he will find Sunderland?
Cisse completes Sunderland switch

1211: "Morning Paul. Can Hull continue their winning start? I don't think so. They are facing tougher opposition in Blackburn and Ince seems to have sorted out any problems.

"All I want is goals!!! Goals make for a good Saturday stuck at work!

"And I'm hoping for a Leicester City win against Tranmere in League One too!"
FoxForever on 606
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I like that. Some good League One chat nice and early. Leicester - is it straight back up or a season of torture and frustration?

1200 BST: Now then. Saturday, seven Premier League fixtures and action surely guaranteed - though whether it can reach the heady dramatic heights of this morning's Taekwondo remains to be seen.

Brave Brit Sarah Stevenson rightly reinstated after not being awarded two points for kicking someone in the head. Upset and confused Chinese supporters left, right and centre after their hero is booted out. Then Stevo crashing out to the Mexican in the next round. Well I never.
Stevenson defeated after reprieve

Good job I'm at work really as the kitchen is being refitted and the front room is full of so many plumbing bits and pieces, part-assembled cupboards, drawers and other nameless kitchen stuff that I cannot see the telly. And what good is that?

Plenty to get our teeth into today. Key issues such as how will new boys Hull, Stoke and West Brom fare on their second weekend of Premier League action? Will Newcastle follow up their good start with victory over Bolton? And how will the under-performing England 'stars' do now they are back at their clubs?

Get involved.




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

see also
Saturday's football photos
23 Aug 08 |  Football


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