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Blackburn 1-0 Fulham Match report
Bolton 1-3 Arsenal Match report
Liverpool 0-0 Stoke Match report
West Ham 3-1 Newcastle Match report
Sunderland 2-0 Middlesbrough Match report


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

By Paul Fletcher

1941: Well, that is it from me for today. I hope that you have enjoyed the live text. I got my cup of tea in the end and very nice it was too. I'll be back on Sunday and we can have hours and hours of fun all over again. Just in case you somehow haven't heard Chelsea v Man Utd is one of the five fixtures. Exciting or what?

1938: Some Player Rater chat to end the day. The highest rated footballer from the match between Bolton and Arsenal is currently Cesc Fabregas with 7.56. However, don't forget that you can still get involved on both the late fixture and the other four Premier League games.
Pick a game - rate the players

1934: "That was a great birthday present for me today!! Go Gunners - win pretty! Awesome display!"
darkanddom on 606
Join the debate on 606

1931: "Walcott is absolutely majestic. On the pitch for five minutes and the catalyst for a goal. His pace is frightening."
Sean, London, via text on 81111

Walcott definitely looks the real deal this season.

1927: Full-time Bolton 1-3 Arsenal
The final whistle sounds at the Reebok. Arsenal made heavy weather of it at times in the second-half but with four wins so far this season and juts one defeat they are top of the league, say they are top of the league. Chelsea might have something to say about that on Sunday.

1925: "Denilson looked like a fish out of water at the start of the season but he's slowly building a decent partnership with the other members of midfield."
tef_afc on 606
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1923: Into injury-time and the stands starting to slowly empty. I have to say, though, that Bolton had a good go at Arsenal after the break and the result was far from sure until Denilson struck.

1921: Another burst of speed from Theo, who forces a good save from Jaaskelainen with a shot from the edge of the box.

1919: GOAL Bolton 1-3 Arsenal
Arsenal will be top of the Premier League tonight. Walcott bursts through midfield before slipping the ball to Adebayor, who in turn plays a square pass across goal that Denilson guides into the net. Game over.

1916: Almunia at full stretch for a cross that he can only palm out into the path of Vaz Te 12 yards from goal. Hit it! OK, sidefoot it straight to the keeper, who has yet to get up off the deck.

1915: A decent chance for Steinsson, who is unmarked six yards from goal as a corner comes in but he cannot keep his header on target.

1913: Time ticking down on the final Premier League fixture of the day. Bolton have 10 minutes to produce an equaliser from somewhere. Megson throws Ricardo Vaz Te for Fabrice Muamba.

1911: No Zagreb reprise from Walcott, who shoots low and across goal but this time his effort misses the target.

1906: More optimism from Arsenal as Adebayor tries to beat Jaaskelainen with a looping header from 16 yards. The incisive, devastating attacking play that we saw in the first half has been largely absent from their play since the restart.

1905: Time for our brave new England hero to enter the fray as fabulously fast Theo replaces Bendtner.

1903: Nolan connects with a cross from Davies but cannot keep his header on target. I have to say the fans at Bolton really are making plenty of noise. Unusual.

1900: Hollywood time from Bacary Sagna - 30 yards from goal, his shot almost as wide.

1858: Famous last words but are Bolton looking like a side close to an equaliser?

1855: Riga breaks down the left and shoots across goal. Almunia makes a decent save diving to his left. Riga has looked impressive and energetic since his introduction.

1853: Gavin McCann on for O'Brien. McCann has the slightest sliver of a dyed blonde mohican running down the top of his head. Perhaps it is to give directional guidance when he is looking to head the ball.

1850: Adebayor jumps above Shittu. But his header is weak and wide. Otherwise a pretty good effort. Bolton's supporters are making a pretty decent effort of trying to lift their team. O'Brien tries to given them something to get really excited about but misses the target.

1849: Ebi Smolarek makes way for Dutch Under-21 international Mustapha Riga. Bolton's first change of the match with 55 minutes gone.

1846: Joey O'Brien takes out....Gretar Rafn Steinsson. A complete accident.

1844: Almunia shows safe hands under a couple of high balls into the box from Bolton. Apart from the early chance, there has not been all that much to report since the game resumed.

1840: Jussi Jaaskelainen pulls off a sensational one-handed save to deny Alexandre Song. That could have been curtains.

1838: We are back under way at t'Reebok.

1836: Gael Clichy has gone to hospital for an X-ray following the tackle by Kevin Davies. Johan Djourou has replaced him.

I'm hearing that the referee did not book Davies for a two-footed tackle but for taking out the man during the follow through.

1834: "I think Liverpool's drop in form today may correspond to the Hadron Collider being shut down. Things are going to be rough for the next few moths I'm afraid."
guidos_4_reds via text on 606
Join the debate on 606

Very topical. Magnet failure of all things.
Hadron Collider halted for months

1830: The provisional running order for Match of the Day, subject to change of course, is West Ham v Newcastle, Bolton v Arsenal, Liverpool v Stoke, Sunderland v Middlesbrough and Blackburn v Fulham.

1821: Half-time Bolton 1-2 Arsenal
Everyone has a chance to calm down a little after an extremely entertaining half that ended on a rather sour note.

Cesc Fabregas could be seen waving an imaginary card at the ref in the aftermath of Davies' tackle. I don't like to see that. And what about the new hairdo from the Spanish maestro? Has he joined the head band set?

1819: Davies is booked for a challenge on Gael Clichy. Arsenal are incensed by the tackle. The striker does get a lot of the ball if a fair chunk of the player as well. A possible red card offence?

1816: Bolton go close again through Nolan, who smashes a crisp strike narrowly wide. The home team were totally blown away for a spell but have now come close to an equaliser on a couple of occasions. You really have to batten down the hatches and see out the storm against Arsenal sometimes and Bolton have done that - for now.

1811: A scintillating run from Ricardo Gardner looks like it might result in a goal but Kolo Toure makes a great saving tackle. The ball breaks to Nolan, whose precise strike is brilliantly palmed away by Almunia.

1807: Denilson plays in Eboue, who weaves his way across the Bolton box before shooting. His effort is blocked but it really is all to easy at the moment for the Gunners. They are carving Bolton to shreds with precision.

1806: It must be getting serious at t'Reebok as Bolton boss Gary Megson has just put a new stick of chewy in his mouth, in a not particularly elegant manner I might add.

1801: "Bolton really should take some lessons off Stoke."
Anonymous via text on 606
Join the debate on 606

Or could Liverpool take some lessons off Arsenal?

BTW, I love that melon-twisting, mind bending 606 name.

1758: GOAL Bolton 1-2 Arsenal
A brilliant phase of play and Arsenal take the lead through Nicklas Bendtner. The Arsenal striker taps home from close range following Denilson's fine cross from the left.

1757: GOAL Bolton 1-1 Arsenal
Emmanuel Eboue latches on to a deft through ball from Bendtner and slots home the equaliser. It is Eboue's first Premier League but replays suggest he was offside when the ball was played.

1754: Arsenal's Alexandre Song heads against the post from a corner. The corner was a consequence of Danny Shittu blocking Bendtner's goal-bound shot.

1753: Emmanuel Adebayor latches on to a through ball from Nicklas Bendtner and closes in on goal. He should score but hits the post. Does he miss too many chances.?

1751: Chance for Arsenal but Kolo Toure drags his side wide after initially controlling the bal with his chest.

Kiev and back? 2,680 miles.

1748: A quick word on the Premier League table. The relevant people are aware of the problem and are sorting it. I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank for for your patience and understanding.

1745: GOAL Bolton 1-0 Arsenal
Kevin Davies leaps above Kolo Toure and heads his team in front from 10 yards. A cracking header from Joey O'Brien's corner. A somewhat displeased Arsene Wenger has his arms crossed as he looks on from the sidelines.

1743: Lots and lots of talk on 606 about Liverpool, plenty of strong knee-jerk reaction to their draw with Stoke. OK, it is far from a great result but it is not a disaster. To conclude that the result means Liverpool's Premier League title campaign is over surely must be folly.

1740: Still wondering why Steven Gerrard's early goal was disallowed for Liverpool?

"For me and all the fans it was a surprise. The referee told Carra (Jamie Carragher) he disallowed the goal, but from his position it was impossible to tell. But we can't use this as an excuse, we tried everything to score, it was a one-way game."
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez

1738: The Trotters are making the early running, so to speak. Arsenal not really into their stride.

1734: Bolton could probably do with a morale-boosting three points today having not won since the opening day of the season. Kevin Nolan almost scores with a dipping strike from 30 yards that Manuel Almunia saves.

1731: "In one week I'd like to say we did something to these guys but to be fair to them it's down to them and what Alan Curbishley did so far."
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola after his team's 3-1 win

1730: The final match of the day starts at t'Reebok.

1727: "Danny the Stat probably does something important at the BBC but becomes the Statman when it becomes dark!"
Van Persie's Shoelace on 606
Join the debate on 606

To all of those on 606, Danny the Stat is a real person but sorting out the Player Rater is just one of many very important jobs he has, all of which help to improve your user experience. Of course, he cannot be responsible for the damage that I do.

1723: Arsenal's last Premier League game was just down the road from Bolton in Blackburn. Of course, in the intervening week they did make a slight detour to Kiev for a Champions League fixture. It will be interesting to see how they respond.

1719: TEAMS
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Shittu, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Joey O'Brien, Smolarek, Muamba, Nolan, Gardner, Davies. Subs: Al Habsi, Hunt, Riga, Helguson, McCann, Vaz Te, Cohen.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue, Fabregas, Song Billong, Denilson, Adebayor, Bendtner. Subs: Fabianski, Van Persie, Vela, Walcott, Ramsey, Djourou, Gibbs.

Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent)

1704: Danny the Stat is on holiday - and well deserved too. But Player Rater stops for no man. You might not be entirely surprised to note that the top performer so far is West Ham's David di Michele on 8.68. To borrow some Danny the Stat parlance, he has broken the seven and some. Smashed through it. Poor old Danny the Stat, he'd love to be here to break that news. But don't stop there - get involved.
Pick a match - rate the players

Bolton striker Johan Elmander fails a late fitness test so Ricardo Gardner starts up front with Kevin Davies.

After their exertions in Kiev in midweek, Arsenal leave Theo Walcott and Robin Van Persie on the bench with Nicklas Bendtner partnering Emmanuel Adebayor up front.

1658: "About time Liverpool's luck ran out. The United game was the only game of the season which they played half well in. Rafa cannot keep changing his formation week in week out. It just will not work. And that's the reason why pool won't come close to winning the league. FACT."
Manchesta_G on 606
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Literally amazing misuse of the word fact. I also loved the way it is in capital letters. Adds gravitas to the point. Not that I'm necessarily disagreeing.

1653: Full-time Blackburn 1-0 Fulham
Paul Ince will be delighted that his side are back on track after their 4-0 defeat to, ahem, Arsenal last week.

1652: Full-time West Ham 3-1 Newcastle
A superb start to the Zola era, though I suspect they will face much sterner examinations than a Newcastle outfit that are in disarray.

1652: Full-time Liverpool 0-0 Stoke
What a result for Stoke, a magnificent point. What does this mean for Liverpool? They can beat Man Utd at home but not Stoke.

1650: Luis Boa Morte wastes a good chance for West Ham, shooting well over from the edge of the box. Seconds later he misses the target with only the keeper to beat. Zola has his head in his hands. Quite rightly.

Gerrard shoots over for Liverpool.

1648: Time ticking down at Upton Park, West Ham appear to have weathered the Newcastle storm.

Three minutes of added time at Liverpool.

1647: A cracking defensive header from Andy Griffin. Stoke manage to clear the resultant corner.

1643: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Fulham
Roque Santa Cruz deftly heads a cross from Carlos Villanueva into the path of Matt Derbyshire, who shoots first time past Schwarzer.

1642: Three games kicked off at 1500 BST. Goals in just one of them. And they say the Premier League is the most exciting in the world.

1641: Torres. Edge of the box. Crisp strike. Into the Kop.

1640: The free-kick hits the wall and comes to nothing. A collective sigh of relief follows.

1639: Stoke enjoy a rare attack and win a free-kick in a dangerous area. Nine minutes left.

1636: "I find Liverpool boring to watch and I watch Test Cricket."
football-not-soccer on 606
Join the debate on 606

Very droll, but undoubtedly harsh. Nobody can say Liverpool aren't pushing plenty of men forward.

Tony Pulis looks very street in his baseball cap and shades.

1634: It is all Liverpool, wave after wave of red. West Ham seem to have switched off at Upton Park, with Newcastle at least showing plenty of passion and determination at the moment. Blackburn have made three substitutions so no debut for Robbie Fowler.

1632: Jamie Carragher hits a sweet 25-yard right-foot strike - only to see it curl past Sorensen's right-hand post. Frustrating times for anyone wearing red at Anfield.

1628: A Gerrard free-kick appears to be heading towards goal but, we've heard this before, Liverpool are thwarted by a Sorensen save.

1627: It's all going one way at Liverpool - but unfortunately for the Reds faithful, the ball refuses to go into the Stoke net. Dirk Kuyt sees one shot saved by Sorensen before a second effort sails past the left-hand post.

1626: GOAL West Ham 3-1 Newcastle
Some crumb of comfort for the beleaguered Toon faithful. Michael Owen jinks one way, making a yard of space, and neatly slots the ball home from the edge of the box.

1624: Cries of "England's number one" ring out around Ewood Park after Paul Robinson makes a superb low save to push away Andy Johnson's powerful right-footed drive.

1622: The ball breaks to Fernando Torres, who is 12 yards from goal. He seems nailed on to score but his shot skims off Leon Cort's face and flies over the crossbar. Ryan Babel comes on for Albert Riera. Will Liverpool ever find the net (legitimately).

Richard Cresswell, 31 today, comes on for Liam Lawrence. Happy birthday.

1621: The travelling Stoke contingent - bedecked in a luminous yellow - go bananas every time Rory Delap goes near the touchline, chanting about his humungous throw-ins.

1620: Michael Owen shoots at goal but his shot is blocked by Scott Parker, who seems to be winded. The Newcastle fans are out in number and look thoroughly miserable. Their club is a shambles.

1617: Not much in the way of chances at Blackburn at the moment.

Di Michele should have his hat-trick for West Ham but shoots wide from 14 yards.

1612: Fernando Torres nods Arbeloa's cross just wide of Thomas Sorensen's left-hand post from eight yards out. Liverpool are getting closer, Stoke are getting nervier.

1612: GOAL West Ham 3-0 Newcastle
Straight after Michael Owen had Newcastle's first chance on target with a weak header, West Ham go up the other end to make it 3-0 to the Hammers.

Di Michele cuts in from the right and could easily try to secure his hat-trick but instead passes across the box to the unmarked Matthew Etherington, who slips the ball in the net. Zola looks absolutely thrilled and, to be fair, why wouldn't he?

1612: A long throw from Stoke's Delap causes problems and leads to a corner but Liverpool clear the danger.

1609: Cracking chance for Robbie Keane. He connects with a cross from Alvaro Arbeloa six yards from goal. Keane makes decent if not great contact and Thomas Sorensen saves. The wait goes on.

1606: "You don't deserve a cup of tea."
Rob via text on 81111

Rob, the very essence of human kindness and compassion. At least my mum loves me.

1605: Play resumes at Ewood Park.

1604: The ball falls invitingly to Stoke's Liam Lawrence at the far post but he scuffs his shot and is offside. Apart from that a great effort.

1603: Play resumes at Anfield and Upton Park.

1602: Liverpool out nice and early. Animated discussion between Gerrard and various others. Subject matter? All we are saying is give us a goal.

1601: "At Love Street right now. Would give my left arm for a goal right now. C'mon the Saints."
Andrew Hood via text on 81111

Love Street? Saints? The home of St Mirren. We have gone very off script here.

1600: "Typical Toon. I'm sick. Come on Blyth Spartans."
Jack via text on 81111

1555: A few quick updates:

1 - The Stoke fans have been chanting "It is just like Brazil." At what?

2 - David Niven was sent off for Elgin City. He shares his name with a famous actooor who I really rather liked.

3 - There is still confusion as to why the Liverpool goal was ruled out, but the consensus of opinion is that it was Kuyt who was penalised for offside.

4 - Will someone please, please make me a cup of tea?

1550: Half-time
At Ewood Park.

1549: Keith Treacy, on his Blackburn debut, goes close with a deflected shot. Treacy has just turned 20, for those of you who don't know.

1547: Half-time
At both Anfield and Upton Park

1546: "Same old me grief on a Saturday."
Jack via text on 81111

Oh mate. She really is a cruel mistress. I get grief every day though.

1545: Rory Delap into the action. Boom, his throw-in flies out of Anfield and into Stanley Park. Not really, Pepe Reina collects in the Liverpool goal.

1544: Elgin's David Niven sent off. Jokes to follow.

1541: Brett Emerton wins possession in the centre circle and evades the challenge of Danny Murphy before curling a shot against the woodwork with Mark Schwarzer well beaten.

1537: GOAL West Ham 2-0 Newcastle
David di Michele sees his initial shot blocked by Shay Given. The Italian collects the rebound, dinks it ever so impudently over the head of Steven Taylor and smashes the ball home. It was like something you see in an exhibition game. The Zola effect, possibly.

1534: Jimmy Bullard has been the victim of two very heavy tackles at Ewood Park. Poor old Jimmy, soldiering on and still smiling.

1532: "Can we get rid of this Fletcher he's as bad as that Stevenson fella. I lost count of the amount of times he got the keepers muddled up in the Sun vs. Mid game."
Walter_Kovacs on 606
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Taking two of us out in one go, excellent insulting skills. I fully admit I've been a touch more League One than Champions League so far today but panic not, there's time for some magic yet.

Brilliant wolf whistling from Stoke boss Tony Pulis on the sidelines as he tries to get the attention of one of his players.

1530: Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen palms away a stinging Xabi Alonso curling 20-yard drive, which looked destined for the top-right corner of the net. Good save, cue hands on heads from the men in red.

1525: Plenty of attractive passing from Liverpool. No killer pass as yet. Robbie Keane did have a chance but drilled the ball straight at the keeper from 10 yards.

1523: Damien Duff swings in a cross that appears to hit Scott Parker on the hand. Newcastle appeal for a penalty but the ref is simply not interested.

1522: A change at Anfield - and not to the scoreboard. Stoke's Ibrahima Sonko makes way for Leon Cort.

1520: (See 1515) "Surely every team has 11 players behind the ball any time the opposing team has a goal-kick?"
el_don on 606
Join the debate on 606

Come on mate, raise it. No need for that sort of chat. I think you know what I'm trying to say.

1517: Morten Gamst Pedersen delivers a free-kick dangerously into the Fulham box but nobody manages to make the decisive connection.

At Upton Park, Mark Noble is inches from a second for the Hammers with a floated free-kick.

1515: Liverpool might have had the early effort by Gerrard ruled out - presumably for Dirk Kuyt being regarded as active - but they have hardly been knocked out of their stride. They are all over Stoke, who at one stage had 11 players behind the ball.

1508: GOAL West Ham 1-0 Newcastle
The Zola era gets off to a cracking start as a shot from 20 yards by David di Michele deflects off Steven Taylor and loops over Shay Given.

1507: Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson makes a brilliant save to deny Fulham's Andy Johnson.

Confusion at Anfield. Steven Gerrard thinks he has scored his 100th goal with a direct free-kick that eluded everybody but the goal is ruled out for offside.

1502: GOAL Liverpool 1-0 Stoke

1500: The three 1500 BST games are under way.

1459: Steve Clarke - does he look strange in a West Ham club shirt or what?

1457: West Ham, in the absence of a shirt sponsor, are now wearing their numbers on the front and the back. Crazy scenes.

Blackburn boss Paul Ince has made one change to the side which lost 0-4 last time out, with 20-year-old Keith Treacy starting in midfield in place of Stephen Reid.

Fulham are unchanged from the side that beat Bolton 2-1.

1451: "We rode out luck a little bit today."
An honest assessment from Sunderland boss Roy Keane. Still not smiling though.

Keane also said Chopra had the "eye of the tiger about him" and that "we all know Chops is the fox in the box". Even Keano had to smirk after those two quips.

1439: Full-time Sunderland 2-0 Middlesbrough
Stewart Downing probably wants to sit down in a dark and very quiet room after missing a penalty with the match goalless. Michael Chopra must be delighted after his first outing of the season ends with two goals.

1437: GOAL Sunderland 2-0 Middlesbrough
Boro are caught short at the back and Steed Malbranque plays a square pass to Michael Chopra, who rolls the ball into an empty net.

1436: TEAM NEWS West Ham v Newcastle
West Ham striker Craig Bellamy (hamstring) fails to recover in time to face his former side so Carlton Cole and David di Michele start up front for Gianfranco Zola's first game in charge. With Dean Ashton also injured, Freddie Sears is the striker on the bench.

Newcastle are without suspended duo Joey Barton and Danny Guthrie. Cacapa replaces Guthrie, with Damien Duff in for Shola Ameobi, who drops to the bench.

1435: Three minutes of added time at Sunderland.

1432: Predictably, there is a real desperation to Boro's play. Downing swings a cross in but Alves just cannot quite get the killer touch.

1431: TEAM NEWS Liverpool v Stoke
Fernando Torres returns for Liverpool after recovering from injury while Steven Gerrard also starts. Manager Rafael Benitez has also brought Andrea Dossena in for Fabio Aurelio at left-back while Yossi Benayoun, who started in the win over Manchester United, drops to the bench.

Former Liverpool midfielder Salif Diao starts for Stoke with Amdy Faye suspended. Mamady Sidibe and Abdoulaye Faye return from the side that lost to Everton.

1430: Boro almost equalise. Aliadiere heads the ball into the path of Taylor, who sees his shot blocked.

1430: Was Chopra happy about scoring? He celebrated so hard he was booked for his trouble. Chopra almost scores again with another good effort - a header this time - that is well saved.

1428: GOAL Sunderland 1-0 Middlesbrough
Michael Chopra, making his first appearance of the season, shows great composure to slot the ball home from 16 yards. A well-taken finish.

1421: Sunderland put the ball in the Boro net but the flag has already gone up for offside.

Another miss from 12 yards by Downing, who smashes his spot kick over the crossbar. Sunderland fans celebrate but Keane is still looking very angry.

Nosworthy and Aliadiere tangle. Boro are awarded a penalty. A touch harsh perhaps.

1416: Turnbull makes a brilliant, brilliant one-handed save in the Boro goal to deny Kieron Richardson. The nearest Sunderland have come to a goal.

1412: Both teams make a double change. Mohamed Shawky and Justin Hoyte come on for Boro (Digard and Johnson off), while Andy Reid and Daryl Murphy are on for Sunderland (Diouf and Cisse off).

1410: Cisse should play Diouf in, the Senegal player would be through on goal if he does, but the Frenchman takes the wrong option and the frustration of the crowd is obvious.

1406: Turnbull drops the ball as he is about to roll it out to a Boro player and Diouf intercepts and kicks it towards Cisse. Turnbull charges outside his box to try to smother the shot but cannot stop Cisse from shooting powerfully at goal. Much to the keeper's relief the strike is cleared off the line by Huth. Comedy capers worthy of wacky races.

1403: I'm really trying to feel the magic of this game but the two teams aren't conjuring up all that much. Lots of intent and endeavour but, as a neutral, the game is hanging out for a goal.

1358: Alves shoots from distance. The ball takes a slight deflection and Gordon has to get down quickly to make another very decent save. The Sunderland keeper has really impressed.

1355: Turnbull collects a cross from out wide but the crowd nonetheless take encouragement from some attacking intent from the home team. A minute later Pascal Chimbonda puts another cross in and the volume goes up again. Nobody could say the Sunderland fans aren't trying to lift their team.

1353: Boro push forward and win a corner that demands a couple of urgent defensive headers.

1350: The match resumes at Sunderland. Have you ever heard of the word tintinnabulation? A ringing sounds, as of bells, apparently. I cannot help but think a few Sunderland players might be experiencing it at the moment.

1342: (See 1332) I'll just correct myself. Teemu walks off holding his shoulder. No real need for him to limp. And while I'm at it, it is obviously Chopra's first appearance and not start of the season. Forgive me my sentence of madness.

1333: Half-time Sunderland 0-0 Boro
Boro might be more than a touch disappointed not to be leading. They have created the better chances and looked the better team.

1332: Teemu Tainio limps off with a shoulder injury, to be replaced by Michael Chopra, who comes on for his first start of the season. An attacking change from Keane.

1329: To be fair to Cisse he has been more involved in this game than any other Black Cat. He shoots on the turn but it lacks power and is saved.

Up the other end a sharp turn and shot by Aliadiere but Gordon is equal to the task.

1324: Boro hit Sunderland on the counter attack - Adam Johnson eventually plays in Afonso Alves, whose strike is well saved by Gordon. Keane - fuming. Totally fuming. Motionless, brooding, eyes that could pierce all the way to your soul, a touchline inferno waiting to erupt.

1322: "My husband and I watched Mido warm up live at the Riverside a couple of weeks ago. He only did half of everything... lazy so-and-so. I find it really hard to believe he could injure himself during a warm up. Still, I have to admit he has obviously cut down on the pies this year... looking a lot fitter!"
swebbing on 606
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He looks well fit. Shame he is injured really.

1320: Huth heads away from a corner. The fixture is pretty even-steven at the moment.

1313: A brilliant teasing cross from Downing eludes Anton Ferdinand but Jeremie Aliadiere cannot keep his effort on target.

A touch more info on Mido - a pulled groin muscle by all accounts.

1311: Cracking save by Ross Turnbull from a Cisse header. An offside flag reduces the sense of drama.

1310: Could all nonsensical Robbie Keane chat on the 606 thread come to a close relatively soon? Possibly.

1307: Cisse surges forward, showing incredible pace, and suddenly the home team have a corner. The ball breaks to Cisse on the edge of the box and Robert Huth makes a decent block. This game is hotting up.

1306: A free-kick hits the Sunderland wall but breaks to Stewart Downing, who hooks the ball powerfully goalwards. Craig Gordon makes a very decent save.

1304: Boro are knocking it around sweetly. Sunderland struggling to retain possession. Cisse and El-Hadji Diouf look like strangers at the moment.

1300: All sorts going on today.

Ryder Cup for starters. Our brave boys battling against the odds over on the other side of the big pond. And I'm not talking the duck pond in Haslam Park, Preston.
Live text - Ryder Cup

And then there is some Davis Cup chat. Our brave boys battling to reach the elite world group.
Live text - Davis Cup doubles

1300: "How many injuries are picked up in pre-match warm ups? Surely it would be more efficient not to have them? Alves hat-trick today, c'mon Boro."
Simon, London, via text on 81111

Hmm. How many injuries would you then have in the first 10 minutes of the match? You'd hearing hamstrings straining all over the park.

1254: Boro win a corner and the ball is allowed to bounce. David Wheater beats Nyron Nosworthy to the ball but cannot keep his shot on target.

Cisse shoots wide. Closer though.

1252: A shooting chance for Cisse out wide. He smashes the ball hard and true and miles wide of goal. Good blonde beard though.

1251: The Black Cats work the ball nicely out wide and Djibril Cisse promptly smashes the ball out of play. Oops. Fast and strong and sometimes clumsy.

1250: Boro harass and harry and win an early corner. Keane not looking to thrilled with his team's start.

1247: We are underway in the Wear-Tees derby.

1246: Roy Keane beard watch - disappointing. He is clean shaven today.

1242: Sergei Prokofiev's Montagues and Capulets from the ballet Romeo and Juliet plays as the teams come out at Sunderland. Right, enough culture for one day.

Mido has picked up an injury in the warm up and so Alves takes the lone striker role for Boro.

Those stands have filled pretty quickly as well.

1239: "Spare a thought for me sailing around the North Sea on HMS Gloucester with only live text for company. Ha'way Sunderland."
Diggler The Legend on 606
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I very much see what you're saying, though that could sound a little insulting. The atmosphere is building nicely at the Stadium of Light, though there are quite a few empty seats. Stuart Pearce, on the England coaching staff, is in the stands.

1231: "If results go incredibly pear-shaped today, Man Utd will end the day in the bottom three oddly enough."
Arrian2005 on 606
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Pear-shaped is a question of perspective.

Sunderland boss Roy Keane keeps faith with the side that drew with Wigan last week so former West Ham defenders Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney make their home debuts.

Middlesbrough counterpart Gareth Southgate makes three changes from the team beaten by Portsmouth, dropping Afonso Alves, Justin Hoyte and Chris Riggott to the bench and bringing in Adam Johnson, David Wheater and Andrew Taylor.

1218: "Just when will Robbie Keane score for Liverpool?

"It is worth noting that Carlos Tevez (who could cost approximately 30-35 million) scored his first goal for Man United on the 23rd of September last year, on his seventh appearance."
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Good point well made. I think part of the Robbie Keane issue is not just that he is yet to score but potentially more serious concerns about where he has been played so far. When Tevez clicked, he clicked, playing in a position he is familiar with and comfortable in. Keane playing out wide - will you get the best out of him there?

Perhaps we'll get some interesting post-match reaction from Rafa Benitez about that.

1212: TEAMS
Sunderland: Gordon, Chimbonda, Ferdinand, Nosworthy, McCartney, Malbranque, Whitehead, Tainio, Richardson, Cisse, Diouf. Subs: Fulop, Bardsley, Murphy, Collins, Chopra, Leadbitter, Reid.

Middlesbrough: Turnbull, Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, Taylor, Aliadiere, O'Neil, Digard, Downing, Adam Johnson, Mido. Subs: Jones, Hoyte, Riggott, Alves, Shawky, Arca, Walker.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

1209: "Workin today and prayin the mighty Boro can dish one out on the Mackems. Gonna be tough game like."
Smigga via text on 81111

I used to work with a Boro fan called Smigga. Must be the same. He took defeat very personally. Smigga told me once that as Arsenal dished out a 6-0 thrashing at the Riverside he and his brother skulked off early. Outside there were several promotional girls handing out chocolate bars. Their stocks went down considerably in a very short space of time.

1203: "I dreamt that Robbie Keane scored a hat-trick against Stoke."
Waseem, London, via text on 81111

Dreams are great aren't they? Everything is possible. I'm rich, I've written a better seller, scored a 100 against the Aussies, smashed the winner in the League One play-off final, fallen time and again off a skyscraper, waking just before I've crashed into the pavement and shattered into a million pieces. Hold on, scrap that last one.

Just when will Robbie Keane score for Liverpool?

1201: "Are you gonna do some fledos predos?"
Liam, Liverpool, via text on 81111

You are 'avin a laugh. Fledos Predos. That is pushing it. I cannot do predictions, at least not correctly. Though I tell you what, it would take a brave man to bet against St Helens at the moment.

1200: "Come on Liverpool - think 5-0 is in order today."
smart on 606
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I dunno, a couple of decent wins and all of a sudden Liverpool fans think they can dish out a thrashing to a club like Stoke.

1150: Sunderland have lost three of their last four games against Boro at the Stadium of Light. On the positive side, they did beat Boro 3-2 at home to guarantee their Premier League survival in April. Then again, they have lost three in a row at home since then. Mixed messages all over the shop.

1145 BST: As I left the house this morning I noticed that a mailshot had dropped through the letter box with "Countdown to Christmas" written all over it. I ask you - Christmas? It is the middle of September.

Having been woken in the middle of the night by noisy neighbours and while battling against a cold - though I don't like to talk about it - Yuletide messages did little to lift the spirits.

However, I imagine that quite few Premier League managers wouldn't mind Christmas coming early. Stoke boss Tony Pulis perhaps, as he contemplates his team's trip to Liverpool today.

What's more, I imagine Gianfranco Zola is pretty keen to kick off his West Ham career with three points, while opponents Newcastle will take anything they can get at the moment.

Sunderland and Middlesbrough fans will feel like it's Christmas if their team triumph in the Wear-Tees derby.

Blackburn v Fulham and Bolton v Arsenal (plenty of previous there) complete today's fixtures.

There might only be five of them but there is plenty to keep us going.

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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