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Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Saturday, 22 November 2008

Premier League as it happened

RESULTS
Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd REPORT
Chelsea 0-0 Newcastle REPORT
Liverpool 0-0 Fulham REPORT
Man City 3-0 Arsenal REPORT
Middlesbrough 1-3 Bolton REPORT
Portsmouth 2-2 Hull REPORT
Stoke 1-0 West Brom 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 Caroline Cheese

1934: I must hurry away. Take That are on the telly. Thanks for your company today on a bad day for goals, but a good day for intrigue. Don't forget, MOTD at 2200 GMT on BBC1 - even if you only watch it for stunners by Robinho and Glen Johnson.

1931: Today's Player of the Day - according to those of you who voted on Player Rater - is Newcastle keeper Shay Given with a chart-busting 8.62. Big respect to Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland, who is only just behind on 8.44. Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner brings up the rear on a pathetic 3.75 - and he wasn't even sent off. Oh dear.
Pick a match, rate the players

1927: The last time the Big Four failed to score on the same day? Sixteen years ago. I think. Something like that anyway. I'm not John Motson you know. Besides, there wasn't really a Big Four 16 years ago so it's all a bit of a nonsense really.

1926: A point for Aston Villa is enough for them to overtake Arsenal and move up to fourth. United stay eight points behind the leaders, with a game in hand.

1924: "Manchester United had their chance in the first half when they were well on top. Villa came into it in the second half, but with a 4-5-1 formation, Agbonlahor didn't get into the game as much as they might have hoped. They're certainly a team moving forward though."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Jimmy Armfield

1923: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd

1922: Nigel Reo-Coker's ball out of defence looks like a desperate clearance - but Gabby Agbonlahor lays it off to James Milner whose cross almost comes to Ashley Young at the far post but floats out of play instead.

1920: We are into added time and United are doing all the pressing.

1916: Lordy, that was close. James Milner beats John O'Shea and gets to the byeline. He cuts the ball back but the United defence scramble it clear.

1914: Yes, John Carew is Norwegian, not Dutch. Sorry. I'll try to find out the last time the top four failed to score on the same day as some kind of compensation for you.

1912: Boos all round from the home fans as pantomime villain Cristiano Ronaldo limps off, shaking his head as he does so. Anderson is on.

1911: The Villa fans are creating a fantastic atmosphere, urging their team to press for the win. They're very pleased indeed to see John Carew replace Steve Sidwell.

1908: Time for John Carew to start stripping off. It may take some time. The Norwegian striker is well wrapped up.

1906: Cristiano Ronaldo wins yet more fans among the home crowd - but he's got right on his side. The winger pokes the ball past Curtis Davies and is tripped. Yellow card for Davies.

1904: "Booooooooooooooooooooooooo," say the Villa fans as Cristiano Ronaldo rolls about in agony after going in for a 50-50 challenge with Stilyan Petrov.

1900: Carlos Tevez shakes his head as he is hooked on 70 minutes. He can't really complain though: he's been fairly ordinary today. Nani is on.

1857: The Villa physio is on after a clash of heads between Steve Sidwell and Martin Laursen. The pair have a hug on the sideline before coming back on. Aw.

1856: Curtis Davies heads Cristiano Ronaldo's cross behind for a corner. Cliched as it is, this is anyone's game.

1855: "Every other top four team has stuttered. If we don't win I see very little hope for us."
Some_Random_Guy on 606
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1852: With his back to goal, Michael Carrick lifts a fabulous ball into the box for Wayne Rooney but the striker blazes over wastefully.

1851: Ji-Sung Park wins a free-kick 30 yards out. Ryan Giggs hangs around hopefully for a while, but he soon trudges off. Ronaldo smacks it into the wall.

1850: "The tempo hasn't dropped in this half. If anything it's got higher."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Jimmy Armfield

1847: Massive shouts from the home fans for a penalty as Nemanja Vidic grapples with Gabby Agbonlahor. The striker doesn't help his cause by waiting until he gets into the box before going down - but it definitely looked like a free-kick. Much better from Villa in this half.

1846: Ashley Young wins a free-kick out left. He takes it - but Michael Carrick meets it with a vital header.

1844: That Milner is certainly making his presence felt. Patrice Evra needs treatment after taking a kick from the Villa man.

1841: James Milner bides his time before robbing Cristiano Ronaldo with a perfectly-timed challenge. Ronaldo stays down, before slowly getting to his feet. He's fine though.

1838: O'Neill's team talk seems to have done a job. Edwin van der Sar fumbles a hopeful Ashley Young shot, giving away a corner which is headed behind by the United defence.

1835: Martin O'Neill gets a big cheer from the crowd as he jogs down the touchline in time for the second half - which is now under way. O'Neill is now putting his coat on over said sweatshirt (see 1732), just to keep you up to date with the Villa boss's outfit.

1832: "How close are the positions in the Premier League this year?! Arsenal are as close to the top as they are to the relegation zone."
Lee, Norwich, via text on 81111

1830: "Tony plays his way. I don't like playing it backwards and square, backwards and square, backwards and square."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis hits back

1828: "I don't want to be harsh but I thought it was a pretty dross game of football. You may describe Stoke as a physical side. Sometimes that makes for a less enjoyable football match, less of a spectacle. But there you go, all that matters in the eyes of some is the result."
West Brom boss Tony Mowbray on the 1-0 defeat by Stoke

1827: "I wouldn't have been able to do anything like that..."
Man City boss Mark Hughes on being asked whether he would have been proud to score Robinho's goal

1820: England were royally thumped by South Africa in the rugger by the way. Still, Wales seem to be doing quite well against New Zealand...
Live text - Autumn Tests - I STILL THINK IT'S WINTER

1819: "United should be in front by now with the opportunities they've had. Ashley Young looks dangerous for Villa, but Gabriel Agbonlahor has hardly been in the game so far."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Jimmy Armfield

1818: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd

1814: "PLEASE don't mention the Man U-Villa score, I want to watch it on MOTD later. Thanks for your help."
Julian, Plymouth, via text on 81111
Er...

1812: Free-kick out left for United. This time, Cristiano Ronaldo runs away from it, giving Ryan Giggs a go instead. Nemanja Vidic climbs for the header at the far post but goes wide.

1810: Wayne Rooney provides another delicious pass for Ji-Sung Park but just as the midfielder is about to pull the trigger, Ashley Young comes in with a quite brilliant tackle. Moments later, Rooney's at it again, fizzing a cross over from the right which is just out of Park's reach.

1807: Ji-Sung Park wins a rather soft free-kick after Stilyan Petrov's challenge. It's on the left side this time for Cristiano Ronaldo, but the winger directs that one wide.

1804: "It was a bad day, we did not have enough energy and we did not pass the ball well enough and then when we got back into the dressing room we discovered that Chelsea had drawn and Arsenal had lost. Those results would have been good for us had we won this one."
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez

1802: Cristiano Ronaldo gives away a free-kick by bringing down Gareth Barry. James Milner's daisy-cutter spins well wide.

1801: Martin O'Neill is waving his arms like a windmill on the touchline as the referee is a bit slow to give the free-kick for Rio Ferdinand's handball.

1758: Manchester United are beginning to dominate possession at Villa Park. Villa will go third if they win this game - but that's a very distant dream as things stand.

1755: "Villa can't get Gabby Agbonlahor into the game. He's stranded up there on his own."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Jimmy Armfield

1753: Nigel Reo-Coker rashly challenges Cristiano Ronaldo from behind as the winger tries to turn. Unnecessary. United have a free-kick 30 yards out and I don't need to tell you who'll take it.... straight into the wall.

1752: More from Arsene Wenger on Gallas-gate: "Why should we make statements? We can have a captain, we can change a captain, without having a political issue of it. We have had difficult times. We have always been strong enough to deal with it and we will strong again to deal with it."

1750: Nigel Reo-Coker wins the ball in his own half, and trundles down the right wing. No challenge forthcoming so he comes inside and has a shot - collected by Edwin van der Sar. United go up the other end where Carlos Tevez has a shot which goes out for a throw-in. Enough said.

1747: Wayne Rooney turns on the touchline and delivers a brilliant ball in behind for Carlos Tevez. The striker tugs back Gareth Barry then goes down himself, as the visiting fans scream for a penalty, but the free-kick goes the other way.

1746: Brad Friedel has definitely touched the ball now. Cristiano Ronaldo darts in from the left and unleashes a ferocious right-foot shot which Friedel has to get down quickly to push round the post.

1745: By the way, Brad Friedel equals the record for consecutive Premier League starts today on 166. A lovely move from Villa ends with the low cross coming over from the left - but Patrice Evra stretches a leg and puts the ball behind with James Milner waiting at the far post.

1743: "We've played 10 minutes and I don't think Villa keeper Brad Friedel has touched the ball yet."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Jimmy Armfield

1741: Hectic start at Villa Park. Classic Premier League stuff. Gabby Agbonlahor has had a half chance, but poked the ball straight at Edwin van der Sar.

1740: "We played 70% of the game in the opponent's half and we tried 10 times to score a goal. They didn't try to make anything against us. Who won today? Newcastle, because they came here to draw with us."
Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari

1736: Just thought you might be interested in the Chelsea-Newcastle match stats... Shots on target: Chelsea 14-0 Newcastle, shots off target: Chelsea 12-2 Newcastle.

1734: "It was a magnificent performance and about the best we've played as a team. Shay Given pulled off some great saves but as a team it was as good as it gets. I don't think Chelsea created a clear-cut chance. We've drawn at Manchester United and Chelsea. It's not bad is it?"
Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear

1732: Martin O'Neill seems to spend hours putting his sweatshirt on. Well, if a job's worth doing... Anyway, sweatshirt in place, we can begin.

1727: Let's get this stat out of the way so the Villa fans can relax. Manchester United have not lost to Villa in the league since the first day of the 1995/6 season. They have won their last 11 games at Villa Park - including two FA Cup semi-finals. Players are out so we're nearly there...

1725: Wenger refuses to comment on the William Gallas situation - and says there will be no comment at all from Arsenal on the situation. Very much a straight bat from the Arsenal boss during the whole of that interview.

1723: "It's a flattering result for Manchester City. The attitude was right because we fought very hard. We lacked a bit of maturity to dominate the game. I don't think Man City created a lot. I think we were quite in control of the game. We have no big issues - just the fact we didn't win the game. We have a good attitude, a good spirit. We'll turn it around."
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

1720: "A couple of surprise results today but that doesn't really matter if we don't do our job. It has all the makings of a marvellous match this evening."
Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson

1718: "How many more opportunities will Lucas Leiva get before Rafa realises that he isn't the great signing he hoped he would be? Once again Rafa thinks he's got enough in the tank to leave quality on the bench and his "masterplan" comes undone." We're lucky to still be level on points with Chelsea but we completely threw away the chance to go 2 points clear today. Disappointing."
DelGazeebo on 606
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1714: Chelsea have dropped nine points dropped at home in the Premier League this season. Hmmm.

1712: "Looks like Reo-Coker will be at right-back for Villa. Last time that happened against Man Utd it was pretty disastrous. Not optimistic."
Seaside_Exile on 606
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1709: TEAM NEWS Aston Villa v Man Utd
Aston Villa make just one, expected, change from their victory over Arsenal with Nigel Reo-Coker replacing the injured Carlos Cuellar. Manchester United welcome back Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney, Ferdinand recovering from a back problem to partner Nemanja Vidic and Rooney overcoming a calf strain to replace Dimitar Berbatov and join Carlos Tevez in attack. Ryan Giggs comes in for Darren Fletcher.

1705: The goals might have been a bit thin on the ground, but what an intriguing afternoon of Premier League action - and it's not over yet. Can Manchester United become the first of the Big Four to actually win today? Or even score?

1702: "Fulham are on a pretty good run. I've always liked Hodgson. Good manager."
Cold War Kid on 606
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1701: "I think we can safely say that the policy of investing in youth for the last three years has failed. Time to invest in maturity and leadership. Dismal display today."
Arsedoctor via text on 81111

1659: Draws for Chelsea and Liverpool mean Manchester United can close the gap to six points with victory over Aston Villa. Newcastle climb to 15th. Manchester City, Bolton and Stoke are all level on 17 points in 11th, 12th and 13th.

1657: "Argh, 23 shots, and not one goal! Newcastle have parked their city centre in front of goal."
Anon via text on 81111

1656: "Well... I think Blue Moon has never felt more appropriate! Bring on the derby!!"
James, sat in work, via text on 81111

1655: FULL-TIME Portsmouth 2-2 Hull

1655: FULL-TIME Chelsea 0-0 Newcastle

1655: FULL-TIME Liverpool 0-0 Fulham

1654: FULL-TIME Man City 3-0 Arsenal

1654: FULL-TIME Stoke 1-0 West Brom

1653: "Not sure who we missed most - Fabregas or Gallas, either way, our worst performance of the season. We needed real battlers today, not Arsene's toy soldiers."
Forever-a-gooner via text on 81111

1653: Into added time at Anfield and Stamford Bridge...

1652: FULL-TIME Middlesbrough 1-3 Bolton

1651: GOAL Man City 3-0 Arsenal
Daniel Sturridge is going nowhere in particular on the right byeline when Johan Djourou clumsily collides with him. The youngster tells Elano he will be taking the penalty - and calmly sends Manuel Almunia the wrong way.

1650: PENALTY TO MAN CITY

1649: Robin van Persie puts the ball in the net for Arsenal - but only after kicking it out of Joe Hart's hands. Desperate from the Gunners.

1647: GOAL Portsmouth 2-2 Hull
Wouldn't you know it? A scramble from a corner and Dean Windass and Pompey defender Noe Pamarot both go for it - with the ball bobbling in from close range. The veteran striker is claiming it of course, but it goes down as an own goal.

1643: Robinho limps off at the City of Manchester Stadium, injured as he tried to put away that chance a couple of minutes ago.

1642: GOAL Stoke 1-0 West Brom
Well-worked goal from the hosts. Neat one-two on the left before the cross comes over and Mamady Sidibe climbs above Paul Robinson to direct an excellent header into the opposite corner.

1640: Liverpool replace Dirk Kuyt with Nabil El Zhar, with less than 10 minutes remaining. Chelsea are hogging the ball at Stamford Bridge but the frustration is growing for the league leaders.

1638: Denilson loses the ball in midfield and Robinho races half the length of the pitch before rounding the keeper - but the angle is tight and Johan Djourou clears off the line.

1636: GOAL Middlesbrough 1-3 Bolton
That ends that fightback then. Bolton go straight up the other end and Johan Elmander beats the defender before firing into the corner. Classy goal that, worthy of an £8.2m striker. 63 seconds between the goals.

1635: GOAL Middlesbrough 1-2 Bolton
A goalmouth scramble ends with Emanuel Pogatetz smashing the loose ball home.

1634: Arsenal are at sixes and sevens, giving the ball away all over the shop. A Gunners fan behind me is near to explosion. Meanwhile at Fratton Park, John Utaka somehow misses the target from four yards.

1633: Hull boss Phil Brown makes a double change, with Marlon King and George Boateng making way for veteran Dean Windass and Peter Halmosi. It is Windass' third appearance of the season.

1631: "That Johnson goal was so good I went blind for several minutes!"
Andy at Fratton Park, via text on 81111

1629: Mark Schwarzer keeps the scoreline blank at Anfield with a terrific save from Dirk Kuyt. Xabi Alonso is now on - but Rafa's decision to take off Javier Mascherano didn't meet with widespread approval among the home fans.

1628: Still goalless at Stamford Bridge where the home fans think Shay Given might have carried a Frank Lampard free-kick over the line. Replays inconclusive.

1625: Manuel Almunia somehow allows Stephen Ireland's shot through his hands, with Robinho slotting in the rebound. The Brazilian's celebrations are cut short by the offside flag. Very marginal decision spares the new Gunners captain's blushes.

1623: GOAL Portsmouth 2-1 Hull
That's the goal of the century surely. Glen Johnson takes a headed clearance on his chest and hammers a stunning, dipping volley into the top corner. Certainly the goal of the day anyway.

1621: A huge cheer at Anfield as Xabi Alonso begins warming up. The home fans haven't been too impressed with his absence from the line-up.

Snow
1620: It's snowing at the Riverside! I've been waiting to use that graphic...

1615: The ball is in the net at Stamford Bridge with Joe Cole bundling home after Florent Malouda was denied by another good save from Shay Given, but as the home side celebrate it is disallowed by the linesman. It appears Cole may have been offside when the shot was taken.

1615: It's all going off! Hull almost take the lead at Portsmouth but David James makes a brilliant low stop to deny Dean Marney.

1615: GOAL Man City 2-0 Arsenal
What a goal that is. Shaun Wright-Phillips slides the ball through for Robinho, who impudently puts his toe under the ball and lifts it over keeper Manuel Almunia.

1613: GOAL Portsmouth 1-1 Hull
The corner is flicked on by Kamil Zayette for Michael Turner to head in at the far post.

1611: Boro have half a chance to get back into the game with a free-kick on the edge of the box, but Afonso Alves can only boot the ball into the crowd and smash the face of one of his own fans. Bolton still in control at 2-0.

1610: Fernando Torres cuts in from the left again but his shot is parried behind by Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer. Liverpool looking a lot brighter now.

1610: A CHANCE AT STOKE! Richard Cresswell's persistence sets up Tom Soares, but his shot is saved by Scott Carson... AND ANOTHER! Tom Soares heads straight at Carson.

1609: "Re 1603: With no Gallas in the dressing room, who's going to start any fights?"
Ben via text on 81111

1608: Fernando Torres flashes a shot wide after cutting in from the left as Liverpool start in a hurry.

1606: We're back up and running around the grounds, Stamford Bridge bringing up the rear.

1603: "With no Gallas in the Arsenal dressing room, who's going to separate any fights?"
Waseem, London, via text on 81111

1602: "Stephen Ireland is the best midfielder in the Premier League on current form. He's completely run the show so far."
Nteeny on 606
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1600: And let me remind you of some stats: Chelsea have won their last six home league games against Newcastle, Fulham have never won at Anfield and have the top-flight's worst away record.

1557: May not be many goals about, but let's give some credit to Fulham and Newcastle for keeping their games scoreless. Fulham, indeed, slightly edged the first half against Liverpool, who look out of sorts.

1556: "I said it earlier and ill say it again... Forget G Barry!.. Stephen Ireland for Arsenal!!"
DiscoDave0307 on 606
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1553: I'd give a Wheat Crunchie to be a fly on the wall in the Arsenal dressing room right now. Only one though. Horrible mix-up between Silvestre and Clichy led to City's goal - but still a delicious finish from Ireland, who scored both goals in the 2-2 draw with Hull last time out.

1550: HALF-TIME Chelsea 0-0 Newcastle

1549: HALF-TIME Man City 1-0 Arsenal

1548: HALF-TIME Liverpool 0-0 Fulham

1548: HALF-TIME Portsmouth 1-0 Hull

1548: GOAL Man City 1-0 Arsenal
Mikael Silvestre and Gael Clichy go for the same ball, with Silvestre slicing his clearance straight into Stephen Ireland's path. The midfielder does the rest with a neat finish into the top corner.

1548: HALF-TIME Stoke 0-0 West Brom

1547: HALF-TIME Middlesbrough 0-2 Bolton

1546: That man Geovanni sniffs another goal, the Hull man sending a swerving shot onto the bar - which does well to survive that attack.

1546: I might crack open my Wheat Crunchies. Nothing much doing here is there?

1544: Liverpool striker Fernando Torres lets fly from 25 yards but it's a comfortable save for Mark Schwarzer.

1542: "Rather dull afternoon. And certainly you couldn't have predicted that Bolton would be on top of the entertainment pile before half-time."
Toffee In Exile on 606
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1539: Fulham striker Bobby Zamora bursts clear and cuts the ball back to Jimmy Bullard, but his shot from the edge of the area is brilliantly saved by Pepe Reina.

1538: Chelsea threaten again. Branislav Ivanovic heads Frank Lampard's free-kick just past the post with Shay Given beaten.

1537: "Re 1526: Wide from six yards? Surely that's 2-0 to Pompey with Stuart Attwell in charge."
Anon via text on 81111

1536: Best chance of the game at Eastlands. Samir Nasri's ambitious free-kick is fumbled by keeper Joe Hart, Nicklas Bendtner lays the ball back for Alex Song - who goes wide.

1535: "Another poor miss by Robbie Keane. Torres the only one who is looking sharp for Liverpool. Fulham looking good."
Ashy07 on 606
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1533: Jose Bosingwa delivers a fabulous cross from the right, finding Ashley Cole running in at the far post - but the left-back doesn't really connect with the header and Newcastle survive.

1530: But wait... Liverpool midfielder Lucas hammers a cross into the box which takes a couple of deflections before finding Robbie Keane all on his own. The keeper is out quickly to smother the shot. Keane still stuck on two Premier League goals.

1528: Liverpool are living a touch dangerously. Andy Johnson went very close moments ago - and he's through on goal again, but marginally offside.

1526: Miss of the day... so far. Peter Crouch heads John Utaka's cross to Papa Bouba Diop right in front of goal, but he sidefoots wide from six yards.

1524: "Flick-ons, tackles... it's been absorbing," says a morose colleague as he watches Stoke v West Brom. Football snobbery. It's ugly.

1521: GOAL Portsmouth 1-0 Hull
Glen Johnson's shot takes a wicked deflection and comes to Younes Kaboul, who makes space on the left before crossing for Peter Crouch to head home from close range.

1521: Deco threads the ball through for Florent Malouda, who shows some nice skill by bypassing two defenders and getting his shot away - and then ruins it a bit by appealing for a non-existent penalty. Oh well, you can't have it all.

1520: "Re 1456: Expensive goals - Jo for Man City. £19m for one Premier League goal surely can't be beaten."
dave-man on 606
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1520: Scrappy-do at the City of Manchester Stadium, neither side holding onto the ball for long. Nothing yet for new skipper Manuel Almunia to worry about anyway.

1517: Papa Bouba Diop shoots wide and Peter Crouch heads over the crossbar as Portsmouth make a good start against Hull, who have only had a weak Geovanni shot to show for their efforts.

1515: Dave Kitson's barren run will continue. The striker, who hasn't scored in 14 appearances for Stoke, limps off to be replaced by Richard Cresswell.

1514: "I'm at the City game. Not many short sleeves on the players today. The wimps, it's still autumn (see 1423)!
Dave, Stockport, via text on 81111

1512: Amid the flurry of action at the Riverside, Frank Lampard has a free header but puts his effort a bit too close to keeper Shay Given - who sticks out an arm to push the ball away.

1510: GOAL Middlesbrough 0-2 Bolton
It's a goalfest! Brilliant goal from Matt Taylor, taking one touch to beat the defender and smashing home. Moments later, Gary O'Neill's shot is cleared off the line at the other end.

1508: GOAL Middlesbrough 0-1 Bolton
Matt Taylor delivers the free-kick to the far post where Gretar Steinsson cleverly directs his header onto Kevin Davies' back and into the net. Davies might try to claim that, even though he knew nothing about it. That's the first of those predicted seven goals then (see 1433).

1505: Fabio Aurelio delivers a wonderful crossfield ball for Alvaro Arbeloa who lays the ball off for Dirk Kuyt. Shot dragged wide.

1503: Drama already at Fratton Park where Glen Johnson's lovely cross from the right is met by a thumping header from Papa Bouba Diop. The ball is touched onto the bar by Hull keeper Boaz Myhill and bounces down onto the line.

1502: Off we go then.

1459: Missed this earlier - but Joe Hart keeps his place in the Man City line-up even though he was expected to be out for three weeks with an ankle injury. A Lazarus-style recovery.

1458: Time for some predictions, this week provided by ITFCFully on 606: "Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle, Liverpool 2-0 Fulham, Man City 1-1 Arsenal, Middlesbrough 2-1 Bolton, Portsmouth 2-2 Hull, Stoke 2-1 West Brom, Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd."
Join the debate on 606

1456: "I was wondering if any striker's goal to price tag is any greater than Elmander. With one goal at a price of £11m so far."
Andy, Bolton, via text on 81111

1453: A Liverpool fan with little else to occupy his mind tells me: it's 45 years to the day since You'll Never Walk Alone was number one in the charts. Not much else to say to that is there?

1450: "Ahhh perfect, waking up just in time for the football. Fell down some stairs in a busy pub last night, don't know which is worse: my bruised back or my bruised ego. Speaking of bruised ego, Gallas is looking for a transfer in January, he's a terrible captain! Looking forward to Villa-Utd later!"
Chintan, Southampton, via text on 81111
A real pick 'n' mix of topics there. Like it.

1444: Away with you, rumour-mongers. Apparently Emmanuel Adebayor picked up an injury while playing for Togo against Rwanda in midweek.

1441: TEAM NEWS Man City v Arsenal
Deep breath now... Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger leaves skipper William Gallas out of the squad after the player made derogatory comments about his team-mates this week - and Emmanuel Adebayor is also excluded. Keeper Manuel Almunia is handed the captain's armband. The exclusion of Gallas is one of four changes (Adebayor was on the bench last time out), with Cesc Fabregas (suspension), Theo Walcott (shoulder) and Bacary Sagna (ankle) out. In come Gavin Hoyte, Johan Djourou, Alex Song and Robin van Persie. Manchester City make just the one change with Richard Dunne replacing Tal Ben-Haim..

1439: TEAM NEWS Stoke v West Brom
Non-scoring striker Dave Kitson returns to the Stoke side in place of the suspended Ricardo Fuller. Kitson, who hasn't notched in 14 appearances, partners Mamady Sidibe up front while Tom Soares starts in midfield. Birthday boy Tony Mowbray also makes two changes to the West Brom line-up, with Chris Brunt and Do-Heon Kim replacing Roman Bednar and the injured James Morrison.

1436: Oh, and by the way, Emmanuel Adebayor is not in the Arsenal squad either. No word on any injury.

1433: TEAM NEWS Middlesbrough v Bolton
David Wheater gets the nod for Boro who are five games unbeaten, while Gretar Steinsson gets in the starting line-up for Bolton. And here's a word from your lucky match reporter on this one: "I've had a word with the man above and he's promised me a bare minimum of seven goals."

1432: "Fabregas deserves to be captain no matter how old he is. Gutted he can't play today as I think City could knick it. Hopefully I'm wrong."
simo_gooner ob 606
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1428: TEAM NEWS Chelsea v Newcastle
Chelsea are able to call upon Ashley Cole, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard - who missed England's game in midweek through injury - while Petr Cech returns in place of Carlo Cudicini in goal. Newcastle hand a start to England misfit Michael Owen in place of Shola Ameobi and Danny Guthrie comes in for the injured Joey Barton.

1425: TEAM NEWS Portsmouth v Hull
Portsmouth manager Tony Adams makes two changes to the side that drew at West Ham last time out, the injured Jermain Defoe replaced by John Utaka while midfielder Richard Hughes comes in for the injured Lassana Diarra. Hull are unchanged from their draw with Manchester City, boss Phil Brown sticking with the forward pairing of Marlon King and Daniel Cousin.

1423: "Re 1358: It is actually autumn now. Winter starts on 21 December."
Billy, Warrington, via text on 81111
I thought winter started when I said so. No? Oh.

1420:Chelsea have Ashley Cole, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard in their starting line-up. Imagine that.

1418: TEAM NEWS Liverpool v Fulham
Fernando Torres starts for Liverpool, while Xabi Alonso is replaced in the starting XI by Brazilian Lucas Leiva. Alvaro Arbeloa returns after suspension so Jamie Carragher moves back into the centre, with Sami Hyypia dropping to the bench. Fulham manager Roy Hodgson sticks with the same 11 that beat Tottenham 2-1 last weekend as they search for their first away win of the season.

1414: "My wife just gave birth to our gorgeous baby girl at 2 o clock this morning. Come on Newcastle, welcome your newest fan with a win today!"
Toon4Europe on 606
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1412: MANUEL ALMUNIA CAPTAINS ARSENAL, GALLAS DROPPED

1409: Bit of early doors team news: Fernando Torres starts for Liverpool for the first time in the league since the beginning of October - but Xabi Alonso only makes the bench as Lucas comes into the team.

1404: "Re 1353: Sounds like her husband has her well trained. 'While you're in there, get me a lager, luv'."
ElSquirrel on 606
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1403: "Re 1346: Never mind Scott Carson, Terry will be looking to recover too. Word has it that he has had nightmares about coming up against Shola and his terrifying Bruce Forsyth hips."
Paul, depressed Geordie, Stirling, via text on 81111

1358: It pains me to say it, but there is... OTHER SPORT HAPPENING. I know, I didn't know other sport existed either, so we've all learnt something. Follow the rugger with your friend and mine, Rob Hodgetts:
Live text - Autumn Tests (EVEN THOUGH IT'S ACTUALLY WINTER)

1353: On an entirely unrelated matter, I saw a friend last night who is currently five days away from giving birth to her first baby. Aah. She spent yesterday trimming the hedge and the day before grouting the bathroom. Is this appropriate behaviour for a heavily pregnant woman? I don't think so. Anyway, if you live in the west London area and have any odd jobs that need doing, give me a shout and I'll give you her number. Not before she's re-tiled my roof though...

1348: And look who's back! It's only calamity ref Stuart Attwell! Atters is at Portsmouth today to take charge of his first Premier League game since awarding Reading that ghost goal in the 2-2 draw with Watford. No pressure, Stu, no pressure.

1346: Stoke host West Brom today with Baggies keeper Scott Carson looking to recover from that unfortunate misunderstanding with John Terry which led to Germany's goal against England in midweek. An afternoon dealing with Rory Delap's long throw should be just the ticket....

1343: While we're waiting for the action to get under way, here's a word from our sponsors: "If you're out and about later, you can still follow this text commentary and get all the scores on your mobile. From a UK phone, just text FOOTBALL to 81010, it will cost you 10 to 15p and you will receive in return a link to our mobile site. Click on that, and you'll be straight through (then bookmark it so you never need to text that number again). The cost of being online on your phone will vary according to network and your own contract."

1339: "Arctic blast? You guys should count yourself lucky! I'm living in Fort McMurray, Canada and had the pleasure of waiting out for my bus to work in -25 with wind chill this week. Anything above zero and I'd be tempted to break out my shorts and start sunbathing."
Lumlums on 606
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1335: Here's a new feature which may or may not appear again, depending on how it goes down with you folk. It's Stat of the Day (sponsored by Danny): "The only Fulham player to score a hat-trick against Liverpool is Elton John's uncle - Roy Dwight in 1956."

1331: Not only that, but the evil genius of Premier League 08/09 means that if you're not in the top six and you're not playing a side in the top six, you're probably playing a relegation six-pointer. Everyone's a winner! Imagine this: should bottom side West Brom beat Stoke, they'll be level on points with Manchester City - who are currently 12th - if Mark Hughes' side lose to Arsenal.

1327: Like the Ambassador and his silver platter piled high with foil-wrapped chocolates, the Premier League is really spoiling us today. The Gunners are up against Manchester City in what might be considered the pick of today's 3pm games - but the other Big Four teams are also in action, and you don't often get that on a Saturday now do you? Liverpool host Fulham, Chelsea are at home to Newcastle while Manchester United are off at Aston Villa later. Lovely.

1324: "Come back to the Bridge, agent Gallas. Your mission is complete."
Mike Martin on 606
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1321: "Gallas was right... stupid to say it out loud, but he was right. He is a bad captain and role model, but the truth behind his thoughts is more worrying to me than the fact he made the comment to the press."
digitalDonSergio on 606
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1316: "I think Billy No Mates was right. Summit ain't right in Arsenal's dressing room and Wenger hasn't been able to sort it."
Det66, Ballymena, via text on 81111

1314: I wouldn't be surprised if Billy is so upset with his treatment, he demands a move to Chelsea... oh, hang on.

1310: Two - yes two - good people of 606 have asked for my opinion on Gallas-gate. No one has ever asked for my opinion before, so I'm not going to wait for a third invitation. Here goes: I can't believe he remained captain after that ridiculous sulk at Birmingham last season. I'd give it to Fabregas. However, let's be honest, how often do you hear footballers say what they actually think? From that point of view, Billy deserves a pat on the back (even if he was promoting his autobiography at the time).
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1307: As Britain shivers, William Gallas is experiencing his own special Big Freeze right now. With the rest of his Arsenal team-mates up in Manchester, Bad Boy Billy has been left behind in London to think about what he's done… Is there anyone out there prepared to defend the whinging Frenchman?
Gallas 'stripped' of captain role

1300: Brrrrrrr... put the kettle on would you? Bit nippy 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

see also
Saturday's football photos
22 Nov 08 |  Football


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