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Page last updated at 20:41 GMT, Saturday, 8 November 2008

Premier League as it happened

RESULTS
Arsenal 2-1 Man Utd Report
Hull City 0-1 Bolton Report
Liverpool 3-0 West Brom Report
Sunderland 1-2 Portsmouth Report
West Ham 1-3 Everton Report
Wigan 0-0 Stoke City Report

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

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

By Jonathan Stevenson

1935: It's wrap up o'clock. Hope you enjoyed it - let's be honest, the later games were never gonna be as good as Arsenal-Man Utd, were they? I'm back in the seat for tomorrow's four-game extravaganza, so I guess I'll see you then. Have a good night.

1932: If you lot want more chat, Alan Green is on 606 on BBC Radio 5 Live right now, ready and willing to take your calls. If I were you, I'd probably get involved.

1930: Here's the running order for Match of the Day tonight, on BBC One at the slightly later time of 2300 GMT:
Arsenal v Man Utd
Liverpool v West Brom
West Ham v Everton
Sunderland v Portsmouth
Hull v Bolton
Wigan v Stoke

1928: "29 points after 12 games and still people are doubting our credentials... just the way we like it."
NiallSF on 606
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1926: "West Brom must sort out their defence, there is too much of a gap between them and the midfield. But there is still a long way to go. As for Liverpool, it's looking good. When full-backs are scoring, that's a good sign of the confidence of a team."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Jimmy Armfield

1925: Full-time Liverpool 3-0 West Brom

1923: GOAL Liverpool 3-0 West Brom
That is an absolutely splendid finish to wrap things up. Dirk Kuyt plays Alvaro Arbeloa into some space just inside the 18-yard box on the right and the defender curls a quite exquisite shot into the top corner. Cracking finish.

1922: "If United don't win the league it'll definitely be Chelsea - no other team can sustain winning form all year long."
Hustler on 606
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1919: Argentina captain Javier Mascherano is booked for a tackle on Paul Robinson, it probably looks worse than it was because of the conditions.

1918: "Liverpool have had a great start to the season, probably better than they could have hoped for. Chelsea play tomorrow, but they'll be three points clear for now."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Jimmy Armfield

1915: Rafael Benitez just slipped as he made his way back to his seat after shouting some instructions. It's really chucking it down at Anfield, proper rain that.

1913: Ryan Babel gets to the byeline down the left after a cracking pass from Fernando Torres, but the ball cannons off Dirk Kuyt and goes out for a goal-kick.

1910: Fernando Torres shifts the ball inside his man and fires a shot straight at Scott Carson. Steven Gerrard is then taken off by Rafa Benitez, with Xabi Alonso replacing the skipper.

1909: "Stevo, can you ask Danny (the Stat) if he knows how many times Rafael Benitez has deprived his strikers of potential hat-tricks by taking them off when they have two goals to their name?"
Dinheiro Não Pode Comprar Futebol Bonito on 606
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I'll get him on it first thing in the morning.

1906: "Reira looks remarkably like Quagmire from Family Guy."
SkrtelPower on 606
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1903: What a roar that is. Fernando Torres comes on for Liverpool after six games out with an injury, and he replaces goalscoring hero Robbie Keane. Deafening.

1901: Chris Brunt, with his first touch, hits a 25-yard free-kick into the side-netting that had Pepe Reina sprawling across his line.

1901: Chris Brunt comes on for Ishmael Miller in the now bucketing rain at Anfield.

1901: "Albion have had quite a bit of the ball, but frankly they haven't really looked like scoring. And that's the difference between the Championship and the Premier League."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Jimmy Armfield

1900: "Stevo! Trust your team not to lose when it costs me £114.60! Absolutely gutted, still, the mighty Boro will cheer me up tomorrow!"
Pierre, Middlesbrough fan, via text on 81111

Haha. Shame on you. And also, I wouldn't count on it.

1857: Alvaro Arbeloa is booked for a late challenge on Felipe Teixeira. Bit harsh, that.

1857: And incidentally, I was not in the pub. I will be soon, though.

1856: Albert Riera is taken off, with Ryan Babel replacing the winger.

1855: "Keano is up for it tonight. His best game so far for Pool."
Chasney on 606
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1853: We owe you lot a massive apology. For the last hour, updates have been sporadic, a result of big technical problems. We really are very, very sorry. But what's so pleasing it that almost no-one has had a go, or got angry, or called me every name under the su- oh, hang on.

1850: Robbie Keane battles away with Ryan Donk in the Albion box and the ball just gets away from his and he seeks a hat-trick shooting opportunity. Baggies fans will probably just be relieved Donk didn't give away (another) penalty.

1848: What a chance. A long ball over the top finds Ishmael Miller clean through, but his first touch is a shocker and it runs through to Pepe Reina. The striker rightly holds his head in his hands.

1846: West Brom bring on Luke Moore for Roman Bednar and Felipe Teixeira for Do-heon Kim. Teixeira, the Portuguese midfielder, is making his first appearance of the season. He can play, too.

1845: Robert Koren goes shoulder-to-shoulder with Albert Riera and the Spaniard tumbles in the area, but it's no penalty rules referee Peter Walton.

1840: Liverpool are bombing forward at every opportunity, I think they fancy a few goals in the second half. That move breaks down courtesy of a poor pass from Steven Gerrard.

1838: "Nice to see a former Wolves boy do over the Baggies!"
James, from Wolverhampton, via text on 81111

He's getting roundly booed by a small corner of Anfield for his troubles, too. Maybe they've inspired Robbie Keane?

1836: The second half at Anfield starts.

1831: "Stevo, have you tried switching it off and on again?"
Pete, via text on 81111

1830: "West Brom are dead certs to get relegated - they are nice on the eye but they don't have any fighting players in midfield."
Paul Foster on 606
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1827: "Frankly so far West Brom haven't even tested Pepe Reina. But two good goals from Robbie Keane and that will boost his confidence no end." BBC Radio 5 Live's Jimmy Armfield

1825: It's 41 years since West Brom won at Anfield and it ain't happening again today. The Baggies must now try to ensure they do not get a thrashing.

1822: "Finally Keane has his first Premier League goal for Liverpool, he will score a hat-trick today, mark my words!"
Josh in his cold, cold flat, via text on 81111

1819: Half-time Liverpool 2-0 West Brom

1818: "Stay at home unless you're going somewhere. If you rush that far out of your goal, Carson must have ended up five yards outside his area, you've got to be 99% sure of getting the ball."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Jimmy Armfield

1816: GOAL Liverpool 2-0 West Brom
Poor Scott Carson, that was pretty rubbish goalkeeping. Liverpool counter-attack with real pace and Robbie Keane races through, Carson gets nowhere near him after rushing from his line and Keane gleefully slots into an empty net.

1814: "The relegation fight this year should be really good - mainly because it could involve so many teams. Right now if you're mid-table, a couple of wins and you're top six, a couple of defeats and you're in the relegation zone. Come next April, there could be 10 teams involved in the relegation battle - maybe some of the bigger names will go down?"
kinsang on 606
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1811: Liverpool are starting to dominate this game now. West Brom are uncharacteristically giving the ball away too much and they are being pinned inside their own half. Javier Mascherano shoots at Scott Carson from 30 yards.

1807: GOAL Liverpool 1-0 West Brom
Robbie Keane finally gets his first Premier League goal for Liverpool and it's a classically Keane finish, clipping the ball beautifully over the advancing Scott Carson having run away from his man on to Steven Gerrard's pass.

1805: "Handball. Benayoun should have scored. The penalty would have been harsh but it touched his hand."
barca4ever on 606
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1802: Steven Gerrard plays in Yossi Benayoun and his shot is saved by Scott Carson, with the ball appearing to hit Jonas Olsson's arm on the rebound. Nothing given, though.

1801: West Brom are good, right up until the final third. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a colleague at the start of the season when we were talking about who would go down. He was amazed I didn't have West Brom to be in trouble. "Where will their goals comes from?" he said. I didn't have much of an answer.

1757: Great defending from Jonas Olsson, who clears with Dirk Kuyt all set to pull the trigger after great work down the left from Robbie Keane and Fabio Aurelio.

1755: Fabio Aurelio sends over a cross from the left and Scott Carson just gets to it before Yossi Benayoun.

1753: "Wow, 14 teams with negative goal differences. That's shocking!"
Will, via text on 81111

1750: Great move from West Brom, with Borja Valero making a great run into the box, but Daniel Agger gets across to clear the danger.

1750: "Isn't the Liverpool bench worth more than the WBA squad?"
singhey2007 on 606
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Well, possibly, but that doesn't win you games, does it?

1746: Robbie Keane swivels and shoots from 15 yards, but it is once again straight at Scott Carson.

1745: It's all gone a bit quiet. Some chat flying around on 606 about the merits of Steven Gerrard's penalty-winning contribution in the Champions League on Tuesday. For me, it wasn't a penalty and was a bit of a naughty dive. But then, what's wrong with that? No-one complained when Michael Owen dived in the 1998 World Cup, did they? If we were Argentines, we'd be praising Gerro to high heaven.

1743: Steven Gerrard scuffs a shot straight at Scott Carson from 25 yards out as Liverpool begin to enjoy more sustained possession.

1742: Javier Mascherano, fresh from his meeting with new Argentina coach Diego Maradona yesterday, curls a cross straight into the arms of Scott Carson. Mascherano will replace Javier Zanetti as Argie captain, incidentally.

1740: "Toffees on the up! We've been in the lead for 15 minutes in the last three games... and it has got us nine points. Just wait until we start playing!"
hopper7 on 606
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1737: Surprisingly, West Brom have settled much the quicker of the two teams, playing the ball around with ease against their more illustrious opponents.

1735: "I have been to 19 West Brom games at Anfield, I collect programmes and have all 19 in my cabinet."
Reetnid, via text on 81111

Any good stories from your years of misery, then?

1733: In the final game of another belting day of the Premier League, West Brom get us under way at Liverpool.

1732: As per usual at Anfield, the minute's silence is impeccably observed.

1730: 'So Stevo, who was the last West Brom player to score at Anfield', I hear you cry as one. Well readers, it was none other than the BBC's very own football expert and team of the week legend Garth Crooks, during a comprehensive 4-1 defeat in November 1985.

1728: Blimey, West Brom's record against Liverpool really is rubbish, as the teams come out at Anfield. Liverpool have won their last nine league games against the Baggies, scoring 32 goals and conceding just two in the process.

1725: "I love Robbie Keane but he does have to start getting the goals now against these kind of teams (no disrespect). It took Crouchie a while to score but we saw that Benitez just lost interest in him after a while. How long before Keane goes down the same line...?"
LfC-bOi-92 on 606
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1721: "It's a fair cop guv, that was absolute robbery. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask. Not that I'm complaining."
Jamie, a happy Toffee, via text on 81111

1718: Liverpool have Fernando Torres on the bench after the striker's six-game absence with a hamstring injury, and he is joined by Xabi Alonso, the Spaniard's starting place given to Yossi Benayoun. West Brom are without James Morrison from the side that drew with Blackburn last time out, with Do-heon Kim his replacement.

1716: Oh by the way, since 1967, West Brom have been to Anfield without success 22 times, in both league and cup. Anyone there today been to all 22?

1714: LIVERPOOL v WEST BROM LINE-UPS
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Agger, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun, Mascherano, Gerrard, Riera, Keane, Kuyt. Subs: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Torres, Alonso, Babel, Insua, El Zhar.
West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon, Olsson, Donk, Robinson, Koren, Borja Valero, Greening, Kim, Bednar, Miller. Subs: Kiely, Hoefkens, Brunt, Moore, Dorrans, Pele, Filipe Teixeira.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

1710: So, onwards and upwards to Liverpool v West Brom. It's second v 19th and the Reds can go three points clear at the top of the league, with Chelsea not playing until tomorrow. The Baggies haven't won at Anfield since 1967, with the legendary Jeff Astle scoring in a 1-0 win.

1707: "The turnaround at West Ham is the sort of thing that can break a team and send them on a slow spiral to the Championship, like an autumnal leaf relinquishing its grip on the mighty oak of the Premier League."
Ben, Bracknell, via text on 81111

Yeah, whatever. Daylight robbery, that's what it was today. Simple as.

1704: "Not in a million years did Everton ever deserve a win let alone a draw. Absolutely demoralising - West Ham's season is for sure crumbling on and off the pitch."
YeOldHamme on 606
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1701: Just when I was starting to think that this afternoon's games were a bit of a letdown...

1658: There were a few boos at Upton Park, but only out of frustration - West Ham were very, very unlucky to lose that game, courtesy of three Everton goals in four minutes. An incredible end to the contest.

1657: Full-time West Ham 1-3 Everton

1656: To a man at the whistle, the Bolton players all rushed to Jussi Jaaskelainen to congratulate the keeper for his stunning performance. Without him, Bolton would have lost today. A monumental display and some astounding saves.

1655: Full-time Hull 0-1 Bolton

1654: "Exodus Geohaghan just scored for Kettering. The best name ever?"
William, via text on 81111

It's up there, it's definitely up there.

1652: Full-time Sunderland 1-2 Portsmouth

1650: GOAL West Ham 1-3 Everton
Is this some sort of joke? Julien Faubert gives the ball away cheaply and the ball ends up at the feet of that man Louis Saha, who takes a touch and slams the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards. Never has such a one-sided game been turned around so quickly.

1650: GOAL Sunderland 1-2 Portsmouth
Talking of goals out of nowhere… Glen Johnson breaks down the right for Portsmouth, drives into the box and is brought down by El-Hadji Diouf in the box. Jermain Defoe steps up and crashes the penalty into the corner and that is a real sucker-punch for Sunderland in stoppage time.

1648: GOAL West Ham 1-2 Everton
Heartbreak for the hosts. Victor Anichebe gets in a cross from the right and the ball falls to Louis Saha, who hits a shot that is deflected twice before bobbling into the West Ham net.

1647: Jussi Jaaskelainen has just made one of the saves of the season, no question. Marlon King's ferocious 20-yard shot takes a wicked deflection and the 33-year-old shoots out his right hand to parry, getting up bravely to push the ball away with two Hull players ready to put the ball in.

1646: GOAL West Ham 1-1 Everton
Woeful defending and Everton get a very undeserved equaliser. Louis Saha is played into space down the right, no West Ham player goes nears him, and his flighted cross is nodded into the net by Joleon Lescott.

1645: Geovanni cuts in field from the left and has only one thing on his mind as he shoots straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen.

1644: Ebi Smolarek, who came on for Johan Elmander, runs half the length of the pitch before firing over from 15 yards out.

1642: "Tactically, Gary Megson has done a great job today. They started with 4-4-2 instead of 4-5-1, but since they got the goal they've gone back to 4-5-1 and they're doing very well holding on to this lead."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Kevin Gallagher

1641: "Collison has got some lovely touches. Looks like a real prospect."
Steve, Hammer, via text on 81111

1638: Getting news that Fernando Torres is on the bench for Liverpool, the Spanish striker has missed the last few games through injury. Full teams in soon.

1637: "How many youngsters are we going to produce from the REAL academy of dreams?! Just hope the Hammers can hang on to this bunch."
irons_til_i_die on 606
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1635: Hull are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Bolton at the KC Stadium, it is astonishing that they have not found an equaliser.

1633: Glen Johnson typifies the last 10 minutes at Sunderland. He has acres of space down the right, but takes an age to bother doing anything, and then hits his cross miles too high for anyone, the ball rolling away for a throw. Hopeless.

1630: Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen produces heroics again, this time to deny Geovanni's header from point-blank range, and then from the rebound he somehow manages to clear with three Hull players waiting to pounce. Terrific goalkeeping.

1630: "Are Bolton on their way from 18th to 8th?"
Pete the Hawker, via text on 81111

1626: GOAL West Ham 1-0 Everton
Remember the name. Jack Collison, just 20 years old, collects the ball just inside the box after great work down the left from Craig Bellamy and he keeps his cool to bend it past Tim Howard into the top corner. Great hit.

1625: "Another last-gasp winner for Everton on the way?"
bochum17 on 606
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1622: Jussi Jaaskelainen pulls off a stunning save at the KC Stadium to deny Geovanni, the Brazilian hammering in a free-kick from outside the box.

1621: Good decision by the assistant referee. Andy Reid floats over a cross from the left and that man Djibril Cisse heads home, but he is correctly adjudged to have been in an offside position.

1620: Djibril Cisse has another decent chance for Sunderland, on the right-hand side of the area, but his shot is saved by David James. Good battle between those two boys today.

1619: From a rare Everton attack, a Mikel Arteta corner reaches Jack Rodwell six yards out, but the young defender can only head wide.

1618: "Looks like relegation fight for everyone from 7-20 in the Premier League table at the moment."
Thanks A lot BBC7 on 606
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1615: Daniel Cousin is taken off and replaced by Bernard Mendy at Hull. Hang on, you go 1-0 down and replace a striker with a midfielder? I'm confused.

1614: "There's a worrying rumour kicking about in the stands here that Roy Keane is set to take the Geordies job!"
Dave at the Stadium of Light, via text on 81111

1612: Shocking start to the half from Sunderland and Jermain Defoe turns neatly before smashing a shot just wide.

1611: GOAL Hull 0-1 Bolton
Didn't see that coming. Bolton swing over a corner from the right and after Hull half-clear it, Matty Taylor volleys goalwards and the ball somehow sneaks in at Boaz Myhill's right-hand corner of the net. It wasn't vintage Taylor by any means, but they all count one.

1610: Meanwhile, we're back in the mixer at Upton Park too.

1608: GOAL Sunderland 1-1 Portsmouth
Niko Kranjcar sets up Nadir Belhadj 35 yards out and the left-back takes a touch before spanking a left-foot shot low and into the bottom right-hand corner of Marton Fulop's net. Cracking hit, son.

1606: Hull and Bolton are back in action, too.

1606: "Not a great display of football by either team at the KC. The points are there for the taking but City seem to think they can beat Bolton in the air..."
Adam, Hull City supporter, via text on 81111

1604: Back under way at Sunderland.

1603: El Hadji Diouf comes on for Daryl Murphy at Sunderland. Meanwhile, sorry for saying it was full-time, West Ham v Everton. It isn't, of course, it's half-time. What a clown I turned out to be.

1600: By the way, there are some good shocks in the first round of the FA Cup today. If you want to keep up to date with the games, just click on the link below. If you don't, sorry to have troubled you.
Live - FA Cup first round scores

1557: "Portsmouth have been terrible, Redknapp leaving looks like it really has affected the team. Outside bet for relegation?"
Jordan, at the Stadium of Light, via text on 81111

I love texts from stadiums. More of them, please.

1554: "Arsenal did deserve to win. It was a fantastic match played by the two best footballing sides in the league. It could have gone either way, but that's football. Arsenal's lack of a final ball in the second half contributed to the fact United were still in with a chance. Remember we did without our main strikers too."
deanodoes on 606
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1551: Half-time West Ham 0-0 Everton

1549: Half-time Hull 0-0 Bolton

1547: Half-time Sunderland 1-0 Portsmouth

1545: Very, very quiet at Sunderland and West Ham at the moment. He writes, before Freddie Sears forces another good save from Tim Howard, this time at the near post.

1544: Confusion in the Hull defence allows Ricardo Gardner to nip between keeper and defender and knock the ball into the Tigers six-yard box. However, there are no Bolton players on hand to knock the ball into the empty net and Hull clear the danger.

1542: "A team only deserves to win if they score more than the opposition, surely? That's why points aren't awarded for playing well."
Matt, Durham, via text on 81111

Imagine if they were, though. I mean, how would that even begin to work?

1538: Meanwhile, the debate continues to rage over on 606 over who really deserved to win the Arsenal v Manchester United game. Opinions, that's what football is all about, isn't it? Though clearly those suggesting United deserved to win are wrong. Only in my opinion, mind. Get involved, it'll last a few hours yet...
Join the debate on 606

1536: "Thank God that West Ham's passing and crossing is rubbish so far. There is only one possible winner today and it is not away team."
Toffee In Exile on 606
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1534: Hull's Daniel Cousin flashes a header wide from George Boateng's left-wing cross. Meanwhile at West Ham, Freddie Sears' fierce left-foot drive is magnificently tipped on to the bar and over by Tim Howard. Top save.

1533: Our Hull v Bolton match reporter informs me of Gary Megson's latest bellowing from the Trotters bench, to Swedish striker Elmander: "Johan, Johan, you need to get your work-rate up." Nuff said.

1531: Apart from James Collins' magnificent ginger beard and Craig Bellamy's tattoos, there's not much to look at at Upton Park. Bellamy blazes over from 18 yards.

1529: Djibril Cisse latches on to another fine Andy Reid pass and his low shot is pushed behind for a corner by Portsmouth's busy goalkeeper David James.

1528: Hull's Andy Dawson is shown a yellow card for a cynical trip on Ricardo Gardner.

1526: Sammy the Stat has done the biz again. He reliably informs me that there are eight former Tottenham players on the pitch in the Sunderland v Portsmouth game, with a further two on the bench. Sammy's earned his Spurs today, that's for sure.

1524: "This is so far the best start to a Premier League season so far. No obvious runaway champions or obvious relegations. This may be the first time that the three that came up may stay up."
looney317 on 606
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1521: Sensational effort from Marlon King, flicking the ball with the outside of his right foot behind him from Geovanni's left-wing cross and seeing the ball loop up and hit the crossbar. So, so unlucky.

1520: Matthew Upson's afternoon is over, the centre-half stretchered off at Upton Park. Jack Collison, donning a very tight blue vest under his shirt, comes on.

1519: "I honestly cannot believe that people think Arsenal deserved to win, they didn't, trust me."
Dan, Blackpool fan, via text on 81111

I hear you, son, I hear you. You couldn't be any more wrong, mind.

1517: Geovanni has the first shot of the game at Hull, testing Jussi Jaaskelainen with a left-foot drive from outside the box. Meanwhile at Sunderland, David James has to be alert to tip over a Djibril Cisse header. Cracking start from an impassive Roy Keane's side.

1515: Kieran Richardson fires in a low left-foot drive from 30 yards that cannons against David James' left-hand post with the big keeper stood motionless.

1514: Not much happening at West Ham, either. The home team have been the better of the two so far, but not much in the way of clear-cut opportunities. I fear Arsenal-Man Utd has spoiled us today.

1513: Not even the sniff of a chance from the KC Stadium so far, with Hull and Bolton embroiled in a "stodgy midfield affair", my colleague informs me.

1510: Niko Kranjcar slices a shot on the volley wide from 20 yards out as Portsmouth seek a way back in against Sunderland.

1508: "What a brilliant performance from a brilliant team. I've been saying all week that our young guns will come out blazing, they've been hurt by recent events and it was inevitable that Man Utd were going to be victims of a backlash."
It's Freddie Ljungberg again, pushed out by Barthez, Wiltooooooooooooord on 606
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1506: "Stevo, just got up after a heavy night on the town... have I missed anything?"
Woodsy, Lancaster, via text on 81111

Not really pal, no. Can't think of anything.

1503: GOAL Sunderland 1-0 Portsmouth
Andy Reid plays the pass of the day, a searching, stunning 60-yard effort into the path of Djibril Cisse, who expertly holds off the challenge of Sol Campbell and fires under David James from just inside the area. What a start.

1503: Better late than never, I guess. Hull-Bolton and West Ham-Everton get under way.

1500: Sunderland v Portsmouth gets under way.

1500: Latest on Player Rater: Samir Nasri is understandably bossing things so far, his two goals propelling him up to 8.49. Gary Neville (3.92) has had better days, it's fair to say. Keep on voting.
Rate the players

1458: "This will probably be the last game on Match of the Day tonight!"
Wigan manager Steve Bruce

1457: I think it's probably time to focus on this afternoon's games, but feel free to keep those thought coming in on Arsenal-Man Utd, I'm certainly not going to stop you. What a game. Anyway, on to Hull-Bolton, Sunderland-Portsmouth and West Ham-Everton.

1453: "I have to be permanently happy until Friday now. My mates sponsored me for Children in Need, and I said I'd only do it if Arsenal won. So, starting from today I will admire the wonderful world we live in, including the gorgeous God that is Cesc Fabregas."
Hanna, cheerful Man Utd hater, Bath, via text on 81111

Permanently happy? The very thought sends a shiver down my spine.

1449: "Words cannot describe how I feel at the moment. Thank you Arsenal, and thank you Arsene Wenger."
SheepskinMotson on 606
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1447: I love football. It's brilliant, isn't it?

1446: "Deafening noise and mass celebrations at the Emirates. Arsenal have deservedly held on and the soul-searching that followed the draw against Spurs and the loss at Stoke seems an age away. What an enthralling afternoon - an outstanding game."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1445: Sunderland boss Roy Keane makes a host of changes to his side as he looks to halt a run of two league defeats, with Phil Bardsley, Danny Collins, Andy Reid, Daryl Murphy and Djibril Cisse brought back in, George McCartney and Martyn Waghorn injured and Pascal Chimbonda, Teemu Tainio and Kenwyne Jones dropped. Portsmouth manager Tony Adams hands Niko Kranjcar a return following his ankle injury, while Noe Pamarot also returns with Papa Bouba Diop and Armand Traore relegated to the bench.

1444: That was a truly sensational advert for Premier League football and the Arsenal players and supporters are lapping up a famous - and unexpected - victory. Both teams played some cracking stuff and the better team on the day won, you can't ask for more than that, can you?

1442:Hull skipper Ian Ashbee returns after suspension, with Bryan Hughes missing out, as the Tigers look to bounce back after defeats to Chelsea and Man Utd. Bolton captain Kevin Nolan is suspended while Mustapha Riga has not recovered from an ankle injury. Johan Elmander has recovered from a groin strain, while Ricardo Gardner - who replaced Riga against Man City - also starts.

1441: Full-time Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United

1440: Samir Nasri plays a stunning outside of the right foot pass to Nicklas Bendtner, but the big Dane can only screw his shot over and wide.

1440: Full-time Wigan 0-0 Stoke

1438: "Nerves are jangling horribly here now and suddenly United's fans are noisy after Rafael's goal and the announcement of six minutes of stoppage time. A draw will seem like a defeat after this performance, and all around us the spectre of that late comeback by Spurs is starting to haunt Arsenal's fans."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1437:West Ham's Scott Parker gets the nod after recovering from a calf injury. Everton have Victor Anichebe and Louis Saha up front with Yakubu still struggling with a heel problem.

1436: There will be six minutes of injury time at the Emirates. I almost cannot look (don't worry, I'll make myself).

1435: GOAL Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United
It's squeaky bum time for Arsenal again. A cross from the left is half-headed away by William Gallas to Rafael, the Brazilian chesting the ball down and majestically volleying into the corner from 18 yards with his left foot. Hang on, isn't he a right-back?

1434: Remember, United have scored in each of their last 34 league games.

1433: "Man Utd have always looked sharper with Rooney, Tevez and Ronaldo. Why does Fergie always take off Rooney for Tevez. Should be Berbatov for Tevez."
Stuart, via text on 81111

1431: Abou Diaby is taken off after a solid shift in the Arsenal midfield, and the ever popular Kolo Toure comes on.

1430: "Does Wenger not remember what happened against Spurs when he brought on all these defensive-minded players? Have a feeling of deja-vu here."
tef_afc_08 on 606
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1429: HULL v BOLTON LINE-UPS
Hull: Myhill, McShane, Turner, Zayatte, Dawson, Boateng, Ashbee, Marney, Geovanni, King, Cousin. Subs: Duke, Barmby, Garcia, Mendy, Halmosi, Folan, Ricketts.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Muamba, Gardner, McCann, Taylor, Elmander, Davies. Subs: Al Habsi, Smolarek, Helguson, Shittu, Basham, Obadeyi, Sissons.
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).

1427: Nicklas Bendtner runs Rio Ferdinand in the United box and fashion a clear shooting chance 10 yards out, but his low effort is straight at Edwin van der Sar. How many chances have been spurned today?

1426: "Stevo, I think we already know which games are going to be first and last on MOTD tonight."
Chris, via text on 81111

1425: SUNDERLAND v PORTSMOUTH LINE-UPS
Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Nosworthy, Collins, Malbranque, Whitehead, Reid, Richardson, Cisse, Murphy. Subs: Colgan, Tainio, Diouf, Miller, Leadbitter, Healy, Henderson.
Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Belhadj, Pamarot, Davis, Diarra, Kranjcar, Defoe, Crouch. Subs: Ashdown, Kaboul, Diop, Utaka, Hughes, Kanu, Armand Traore.
Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent).

1424: Thomas Sorensen makes a double save to keep it at 0-0 at Wigan, first from Wilson Palacios and then to deny Titus Bramble.

1423: Manuel Almunia is too injured to continue and Lukasz Fabianski, who played in the 0-0 draw with Fenerbahce in midweek, replaces the Spanish stopper.

1423: Theo Walcott is replaced and he gets a tidy round of applause, with Alex Song coming on.

1422: Finally, Sir Alex Ferguson brings on Carlos Tevez and it is Wayne Rooney who is taken off.

1422: "Arsenal need to play like this for the remainder of the match. Try to get the ball forward quickly and hit United on the break. Holding on to the ball in our own half will cost us."
RasDam on 606
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1420: "Cries of "Argentina" from the United fans tucked in a corner of the Emirates - and who can blame them when they look a side in need of some Carlos Tevez energy and inspiration?"
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1419: Howard Webb rules that Samir Nasri is not fouled in the penalty area by Nemanja Vidic, and it's a good decision - but the Serbian did have a bit of the Frenchman's shirt.

1417: Ryan Giggs comes on for Anderson. United have 18 minutes plus injury time to salvage something here.

1417: WEST HAM v EVERTON LINE-UPS
West Ham: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Faubert, Parker, Bowyer, Sears, Bellamy, Boa Morte. Subs: Lastuvka, Lopez, Etherington, Mullins, Reid, Collison, Di Michele.
Everton: Howard, Neville, Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott, Arteta, Cahill, Rodwell, Osman, Saha, Anichebe. Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Baines, Castillo, Vaughan, Jutkiewicz, Gosling.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

1415: Amr Zaki gets on the end of a cross from the Wigan right, but he is off balance and can only head high over the bar. What a terrible game.

1414: "You predicted 2-2, and I really, really hope you are wrong."
Tim, Cardiff, via text on 81111

1411: More rubbish refereeing - I though Howard Webb was the best in England? He books Michael Carrick for challenging Manuel Almunia as the keeper tries to claim a cross. He had every right to go for the ball, but the Spaniard does require some treatment.

1411: "United need one back quickly if they are to seriously unsettle Arsenal here, but any chances they do get are being wasted.

"Gary Neville is finally put out of his misery after a harrowing afternoon and replaced by youngster Rafael, This will not be one the old-timer will be regaling the grand-children with."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1410: "Neville gets my vote of worst performance of the season."
ronaldoforthewin on 606
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1408: Several of you United fans get your wish as Rafael comes on for, let's be honest, the shockingly bad Gary Neville.

1407: Dimitar Berbatov crosses from the left and Wayne Rooney heads straight at Manuel Almunia. I cannot remember a game between the so-called 'big four' when there has been so many chances. It's a cracking game, this one.

1406: Wigan have their first corner of the game (in the 60th minute, for crying out loud) and as Stoke struggle to clear it, Wilson Palacios forces Thomas Sorensen to save at his near post.

1405: Cristiano Ronaldo commits a deliberate handball in the middle of the pitch and is not booked? I might need to read the rules again.

1405: "Arsenal are on fire today! Police suspect it's Arsene."
Anonymous, via text on 81111

1403: Emile Heskey heads wide for Wigan from an Antonio Valencia cross, before the big man is taken off with a hamstring problem and Henri Camara replaces him. It's still pretty tedious.

1402: Cristiano Ronaldo brilliantly turns a throw-in towards goal with a stunningly quick swivel and cross, but Wayne Rooney cannot quite get his head on to the ball. Would you dare write them off?

1401: "The Emirates echoes to the name of Arsene Wenger as Arsenal claim the crucial second goal that so often eludes them. No doubting their manager now after Nasri takes advantage of a complete lack of marking by United to score.

"All uphill for United now, and the superstar trio of Ronaldo, Rooney and Berbatov will need to show a lot more than they have so far to give them any chance of a comeback.

"Arsenal, in contrast, looked inspired and no-one can complain about the backing they have received from their supporters today."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1359: Manuel Almunia rushes from the line to deny Park. Moments earlier, Edwin van der Sar got nowhere near a corner and Abou Diaby headed it wide.

1358: "All great managers make mistakes, like Ferguson playing Neville in this game! Starting to look like we sold the wrong brother!"
Weirdsville on 606
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1356: Gael Clichy is booked for a horrible-looking lunging, late tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo. Fergie is fuming, maybe he'll accuse Arsenal of over-aggressive tactics?

1354: What a chance. Park floats over a cross from the left to the back stick and Cristiano Ronaldo of all people volleys wide from close range.

1353: GOAL Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United
United are carved open and it's a fabulous goal by Arsenal. A series of quick passes gives Cesc Fabregas possession and with Theo Walcott making a great run to the left, Fabregas picks out Samir Nasri on the edge of the box, the Frenchman rifling a right-foot shot right into the corner.

1351: It's back under way at Wigan v Stoke.

1351: Samir Nasri makes a fool of Gary Neville with a quick turn on the edge of the box, but United eventually clear the danger.

1350: Back under way at the Emirates. I'm officially excited.

1350: "(See 1324) Al you're blind mate, Nasri has been great when fit!"
Jez at the Emirates, via text on 81111

1348: "End-to-end stuff. Lots of chances. Lots of big tackles. Typical Arsenal v United match. Missing one thing - a fight in the tunnel and a red card."
YouWatchinMerseyside on 606
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There's plenty of time yet, son.

1344: "Great first half and Arsenal fully deserve that lead. No problem with hearts and minds here, although United are inevitably providing some anxious moments at the back.

"Gary Neville has had an unhappy time of it as Arsenal buzz around him, and the only current frustration for home fans appears to be the performance of referee Webb, who they feel is too willing to give free-kicks to United and too reluctant to punish them for their own offences - with Carrick's challenge on the rampaging Diaby a particular bone of contention.

"It is a very small blot on a hugely enjoyable landscape."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1340: In the absence of Danny the Stat (lazy, but he'll be here tomorrow, fret not), will Sammy the Stat do for your latest Player Rater chat? "Arsenal string-puller-in-chief Cesc Fabregas leads the way on the only rater that counts with a half-time mark of 7.33, but United pair Edwin van der Sar and Gary Neville will have to pull their socks up in the second 45 to improve on their sub-five ratings. Get involved."
Rate the players

1337: You could not see two more different games. Arsenal-Man Utd has been full of attacking vigour, some lovely play from both teams and a host of clear-cut chances. Wigan-Stoke has been devoid of any sort of life whatsoever.

1335: Half-time Wigan 0-0 Stoke

1334: Half-time Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United

1334: Wayne Rooney is furious (how many times have I written that sentence?) as the assistant referee refuses to give a penalty for what he thinks is a penalty after his cross hit Gael Clichy's arm. He might just have a case, too. Anderson then meanders his way into the box and shoots at Manuel Almunia from a tight angle on the left.

1331: "Getting very tasty now - especially as Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson are going through their full range of theatrics in their technical areas.

"United need to restore a bit of order here because Arsenal are flying at them and they are looking vulnerable.

"Referee Howard Webb is currently the villain on the piece inside the Emirates, but both managers appear united in their opinion - neither are happy with him. You can't take your eyes off this."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1329: Arsenal are attacking with real verve and Theo Walcott volleys a cross from the left into the ground and over the bar.

1328: Bacary Sagna is cautioned for a coming together with Park just inside the Arsenal half. It's competitive, that's for sure.

1328: "Rafael on for Neville at half-time please, and he stays there all season."
yorker_129-7 on 606
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1325: Shocking decision from Howard Webb, he doesn't give a foul for a Michael Carrick foul on Abou Diaby 25 yards out - if it's not a foul, you have to book Diaby for diving. Poor. Patrice Evra then gets a yellow rightly for a late challenge on Theo Walcott.

1324: "Let's be serious for a minute - one mis-hit shot won't make Nasri a hero, he has been shocking up until now. I have a feeling that scoring first was the worst possible thing we could have done!"
Al the Gooner, Cambridge, via text on 81111

My, some people are just never happy are they?

1322: Park surges into the Arsenal half and with defenders backing off him left, right and centre, he hits a low left-foot shot from 22 yards that Manuel Almunia gets down really well to, tipping the ball away.

1320: "What is it with United and their leaking of goals? Last season we were so strong at the back, but now I am a bit nervous going into each game. I'd be happy with a point at the Emirates."
andrewt15381 on 606
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1318: Antonio Valencia tries his luck from 25 yards for Wigan, but Thomas Sorensen gets down well to gather.

1317: "Arsenal have really come out fighting - in exactly the sense Arsene Wenger would have wanted - and the home crowd have loved this.

"They have just about deserved that goal and United look unsteady at the back, especially down their right flank, where Arsenal appear to be targeting Gary Neville.

"But United are threatening up front themselves and you have the feeling that is not the last of the goals. Electric atmosphere inside the Emirates."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1316: Stoke's Mamady Sidibe forces a save from Chris Kirkland, but he's ruled to have pushed his defender anyway.

1315: William Gallas is the first name in the book and it's a deserved yellow for a late tackle on Patrice Evra that sends his fellow Frenchman flying.

1314: You know what, Arsenal fully deserve their lead right now. Their defence is very open to United breaks, but they look great going forward and their delivery from wide areas has been fantastic.

1312: Jason Koumas hits a shocker of a free-kick from 30 yards at the JJB, it's about 40 yards over. Woeful.

1310: GOAL Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United
Well, well, well. Have Arsenal found a new hero? A Cesc Fabregas ball into the box is half-cleared to Samir Nasri, who takes a touch and then hammers in a left-foot half-volley that deflects off Gary Neville and flies past a wrong-footed Edwin van der Sar.

1309: "All the text commentary for Wigan v Stoke seems to be Stoke fouls. With Zaki already needing treatment, was Wenger right about the Potters' tackling?"
Honey Monster, via text on 81111

1307: Well I cannot believe he's done that. Some lovely build-up from Anderson, Dimitar Berbatov and Cristiano Ronaldo ends with a chance for Wayne Rooney, 10 yards out unchallenged, but he skies his shot miles over the bar, very uncharacteristically.

1305: "How much space did Bendtner have?! Any United fans worried about Vidic and Rio? They don't look that solid at the moment."
Cold War Kid on 606
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1304: By the way, it's very, very quiet in the Wigan game. Stoke look like Watford, such is the kit they're playing in. That's all I've got. Sorry.

1302: Wayne Rooney is given a warning by referee Howard Webb for kicking the ankles of Theo Walcott. Lucky to escape a yellow, perhaps.

1301: He won't get two better chances. Samir Nasri bends over a great cross from the left and Nicklas Bendtner cannot get a proper contact on this header as it drifts wide. He may have been put off by Abou Diaby, but even so, bad miss.

1300: Wayne Rooney is absolutely livid with himself after slicing a volley wide from 20 yards after Arsenal half-clear a corner. A man of his technique and skill should be hitting the target from there.

1259: Gael Clichy sends over a magnificent cross from the left and it's perfect for Nicklas Bendtner, but the young Dane can only glance it over the bar from eight yards. Golden opportunity, that one.

1258: Cristiano Ronaldo almost side-foots a free-kick from 30 yards out but it flies a few yards wide.

1256: United put the ball in the net, but Dimitar Berbatov is ruled offside. Park brilliantly dummies a Cristiano Ronaldo cross, Wayne Rooney's shot is saved and Berbatov scores from the rebound - but he was definitely offside.

1255: Wigan's in-form striker Amr Zaki needs a bit of early treatment at the JJB, but he's back on the pitch now.

1255: "United will miss Fletcher today. The boy is unbelievable. The new Scholes? Understatement."
Joss, Perth, via text on 81111

1253: "I just can't see Bendtner causing any problems to any of Man United's backline today, I'm worried to say the least."
Clichysleftfoot on 606
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1250: Wayne Rooney taps the ball to Anderson and his shot is blocked, it falls for Michael Carrick to lash a left-foot shot wide from 16 yards. Very, very nervy start from the Gunners.

1250: Mikael Silvestre's back-pass is a touch short for Manuel Almunia, but the Spanish keeper momentarily forgets the rules and picks the ball up. United have an indirect free-kick, 12 yards out.

1249: "Arsenal's fans are clearly in the mood to get behind their side after a troubled 10 days - although some are still expressing concerning here that the side has a lightweight appearance when set alongside Manchester United, who have predictably returned Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov to their ranks."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1248: And the first game of the day to kick off is... Wigan v Stoke, a fraction ahead of Arsenal v Manchester United. Are you ready for this?

1246: There is a minute's silence at both venues to remember those who lost their lives while serving their country.

1244: "We might have a few players missing but with a squad like ours we could have rested them anyways. Two-one to the Arsenal!"
Shane from Wales, via text on 81111

1242: OK, enough of Maradona for now. Let's focus on the Battle of North London, as I've just dubbed it (it'll never catch on). And don't forget, we're minutes away from kick-off at Wigan-Stoke, too. As if you would.

1240: "C'mon Stevo, we all love the great Maradona, but there is such a thing as loving someone too much."
Ricko! on 606
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Don't tell me that, just don't.

1237: Take That 'legends' Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow, almost unbelievably (I'm told), are stood side-by-side, arm-in-arm, talking about the game live from the Emirates. Remarkable times (apparently).

1235: As for the Wenger v Ferguson battle, their head-to-head so far stands at 13 wins each and 10 draws in their 36 encounters. You can't say fairer that that.

1232: "There's too much in the press about Arsenal missing players, it's an Arsenal v Manchester United game after all."
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson

1230: Stevo's Predos, anyone? Oh here you go, then...
Arsenal 2-2 Man Utd
Wigan 2-1 Stoke City
Hull City 1-1 Bolton
Sunderland 2-1 Portsmouth
West Ham 1-2 Everton
Liverpool 3-1 West Brom
Lawro's predictions

1227: "Diego Maradona won't be at the Emirates this afternoon - he flew to Madrid last night - my girlfriend's gone for the weekend and he was on her flight."
Rob in Liverpool, via text on 81111

That's the best thing I've heard today. Can you text your girlfriend and ask her what El Diego got up to on the flight?

1224: There are landmarks to be reached at the Emirates, today. Michael Carrick is making his 350th club appearance and Patrice Evra his 100th start for Manchester United. Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, is one short of 100 club career goals, while Cristiano Ronaldo is one shy of 100 goals for United. Did you get all that?

1221: "Spurs fan here... looking at the Arsenal squad today, they could use of a few of their ladies team, they aren't bad - just ask Fabregas. United 3-0 with a Spurs win at Man City on Sunday and then we will only be eight points behind Arsenal!"
biglondon12 on 606
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1217:Wigan boss Steve Bruce keeps faith with the side which beat Portsmouth last weekend, with strikers Emile Heskey and Amr Zaki hoping to cause Stoke's defence more problems than Arsenal did last weekend. It is no surprise that Stoke are unchanged after that memorable victory over the Gunners.

1214: "The Emirates surface will be slick as the pitch gets a heavy coating of pre-match drizzle. And Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar is out early to test the surface.

"There is a real pre-match sense of anticipation here, heightened by the questions about Arsenal's stomach for the battle and the defiant response of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. He will stick to his principles, but if there is a team that will want to ask every question of the Gunners, it is Manchester United."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at the Emirates

1211: "I'm a Man United fan, but I find it absolutely despicable that some Gooners are calling for Wenger's head after all he's done for them and English football. Absolutely despicable."
Adnan from London, via text on 81111

1207: Arsene Wenger rings the changes to his injury-ravaged Arsenal side for the visit of United, with Manuel Almunia, William Gallas and Abou Diaby returning to the starting line-up, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie absent and Kolo Toure left on the bench. Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson makes just one change from the side that beat Hull last time out in the league, Ji-Sung Park coming in to replace Nani on the left of midfield.

1206: WIGAN ATHLETIC v STOKE CITY LINE-UPS
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Palacios, Cattermole, Koumas, Heskey, Zaki. Subs: Pollitt, Kingson, Scharner, Kilbane, Brown, Camara, De Ridder.
Stoke: Sorensen, Griffin, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Diao, Olofinjana, Amdy Faye, Delap, Fuller, Sidibe. Subs: Simonsen, Cort, Whelan, Cresswell, Kitson, Tonge, Wilkinson.
Referee: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).

1204: "I can only see one result today - a United win (no, I'm not a fan of either). Arsenal have been playing rubbish and have no confidence at all. Plus they have many first-team players missing. Arsenal will be lucky to get a draw."
Wasted77 on 606
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1200: ARSENAL v MANCHESTER UNITED LINE-UPS
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, Diaby, Bendtner. Subs: Fabianski, Toure, Vela, Ramsey, Song Billong, Wilshere, Djourou.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Anderson, Carrick, Park, Rooney, Berbatov. Subs: Kuszczak, Giggs, Nani, Rafael Da Silva, O'Shea, Evans, Tevez.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

1159: Is it wrong that I'm desperately hoping Diego Maradona graces the Emirates with his presence this afternoon? Great to see the little legend in England yesterday, visiting Man Utd and Liverpool. Rio Ferdinand must have thought it was his birthday (it was, he was 30): "We were like school kids around a star coming to school. In my eyes, he is the best footballer ever. He was my idol and part of the reason why I started to play football. I can't hold him in higher esteem than that. To be able to shake his hand, get a cuddle off him and a picture, it made my day," said Ferdinand. Ahhhhhhhhhh.
Maradona meets players in EnglandMaradona in Manchester

1155: The omens are not great for Arsenal, I can tell you. They have won only one of their last six home games against Manchester United, drawing four and losing one. United, 10 games unbeaten in all competitions, have scored a goal in each of their last 34 league matches. Do they have anyone who can throw the ball 40 yards, though?

1152: "On my way to a game that will define our season. In the last two years this fixture has been a cracker. Late Gallas equaliser last year felt like a win, and a Henry header on 90 the year before snatched us victory. Glory and promise beckon, or depression and time to get rid of our munchkin centre-backs. What a day to be a Gooner."
Al, via text on 81111

1147: "I think that Wigan v Stoke is going to be a classic lost in the background today."
MikeMcKenzie1875 on 606
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It won't be lost on here, son, I'll be keeping you right up to date with proceedings from the JJB Stadium. That's a promise.

1144: I only need to remind you of your duties on this special day. Any text you send to 81111 will be read, mulled over and possibly used on this very page. Likewise with your 606 chat, but do get stuck into the debate, I've a feeling it might get a touch lively today. Can I just clarify right from the start, I'm neither an Arsenal nor a Manchester United supporter? Marvellous.
Join the debate on 606

1140: Oh, and lest we forget, we've got the added bonus of Wigan v Stoke kicking off at the same time, 1245 GMT. It's The Gladiator (Amr Zaki) v The Delapidator (Rory Delap), as the Premier League's worst home team plays host to the division's weakest away side. Expect Wigan to give as good as they get on the physical front, especially with the brutal pairing of Zaki and Emile Heskey up front.

1136: The Premier League has been in scintillating form of late, but they do not come much bigger than this to kick the weekend off. It's Arsenal v Manchester United, two giants of English football going head to head in a match that will be screened across the globe. I was in Rio for this fixture last season, and let me tell you there weren't many Brazilians watching anything else that day.

1130: Twelve years ago, a bespectacled Frenchman strode into Arsenal and changed the face of the club forever. Gone were the days of 'boring' 1-0 wins and players abusing their bodies. In came strict diets, careful planning and some of the most glorious football ever seen on these shores.

But today, the great Arsene Wenger is under pressure. In the space of a week, his team threw away a two-goal lead against bottom club and rivals Spurs in injury time to draw 4-4, lost 2-1 at Stoke and were held 0-0 at home by Fenerbahce in the Champions League.

Already six points off the pace in the Premier League after dropping points against the likes of Fulham, Sunderland and Hull, the Gunners are also ravaged by injuries as their season threatens to reach crisis point.

Wenger has even been asked whether he remains committed to the club. "I am not considering my future. I cannot influence what the media say, but I do not question my commitment to Arsenal. Every decision I make, I do it for this football club," he said on Friday.

At 1245 GMT at the Emirates in north London, Arsenal entertain back-to-back Premier League champions Manchester United and Wenger's long-time foe Sir Alex Ferguson.

Can Arsenal get their season back on track and silence the growing number of critics? Or will Ferguson pile yet more pressure on his favourite adversary?

We are about to find out.

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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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