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Premier League as it happened

Arsenal 1-0 Portsmouth
Blackburn 2-2 Man City
Bolton 0-1 Wigan
Everton 3-0 Sunderland
Fulham 2-2 Chelsea
Newcastle 1-5 Liverpool
West Brom 2-0 Tottenham
West Ham 2-1 Stoke City


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

By Caroline Cheese

1823: Alan Green is already taking the calls on BBC 5 Live's 606. Should be a lively one. I know I say this every week but I really, really mean it this time: don't miss Match of the Day at 2215 GMT on BBC1. See you tomorrow for Man Utd v Middlesbrough? Lovely.

1819: Your Player of a quite brilliant Day in the Premier League is Liverpool's two-goal captain fantastic Steven Gerrard on 8.87. He edges out Newcastle keeper Shay Given, whose 8.76 despite leaking five goals says everything about the one-sided nature of Liverpool's win. Fulham's Clint Dempsey and Everton's Mikel Arteta are also shining - unlike Ricardo Fuller. The Stoke striker, sent off for fighting with his captain, is lagging somewhat on a laughable 2.96.
Pick a game, rate the players

1814: "Hah. Football."
Sir_Blitzo on 606
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1812: It will be of little consolation to Blackburn but the point is enough for them to climb off the bottom above West Brom. Robinho's late, late strike moves City up to 13th.

1809: FULL-TIME Blackburn 2-2 Man City

1808: GOAL Blackburn 2-2 Man City
Unbelievable. Danny Sturridge works the space well, cutting in from the right and spotting an unmarked Robinho at the far post. The Brazilian takes one touch and calmly slots the ball under keeper Paul Robinson.

1807: City piling on the pressure against a fast tiring Blackburn side. Two minutes remaining.

1805: Four minutes of added time at Ewood Park. Kitchen sink time for City. Blackburn defender Ryan Nelsen picks up his fifth yellow card of the season for preventing a free-kick being taken. He'll miss the FA Cup tie against Blyth Spartans.

1804: "Don't worry, City will just win 8-0 next week."
ReeskiMU10 on 606
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1802: GOAL Blackburn 2-1 Man City
Some trickery from Robinho on the edge of the box and he lifts the ball into the area for Danny Sturridge, who rams home an unstoppable shot.

1800: Sam Allardyce's response to the second goal is to send Matt Derbyshire on to replace Benni McCarthy. One more goal and Blackburn will climb out of the bottom three.

1757: GOAL Blackburn 2-0 Man City
Christopher Samba wins the ball in the area after a free-kick from the halfway line and Jason Roberts beats Joe Hart with a looping header.

1755: Manchester City are building the pressure now with a decent spell of possession. Micah Richards hooks the ball across goal - but there is no one to apply the finishing touch.

1753: 11 minutes remaining at Ewood Park. Victory for Blackburn would lift them up to 18th and dump West Brom back on the bottom. City would only be a point ahead of Big Sam's boys.

1751: Shaun Wright-Phillips has plenty of time to weigh up his pass for the overlapping Pablo Zabalata- but still overhits it. Sums up his - and City's - afternoon.

1748: Time for Big Sam to get in on the substitutions act. Tugay's last act of a niggly afternoon in Blackburn's midfield is to spend hours trotting off the pitch, shaking hands with everyone as he goes. Aaron Mokoena is on.

1744: A double change by Mark Hughes. Darius Vassell comes on for Elano, Daniel Sturridge replaces Felipe Caicedo.

1742: Here comes the cavalry... er, Darius Vassell is preparing to come on for City.

1738: The ball finally goes dead, allowing Richards to replace Onuoha.

1735: Mark Hughes will have to think about substitutions because Nedum Onuoha is indicating he cannot continue. Micah Richards will be on in a mo.

1734: Patient build-up play from Blackburn. It ends with Benni McCarthy trying an audacious overhead kick. Mark Hughes must be thinking about substitutions now.

1729: Stephen Ireland looks a bit unlucky to pick up a yellow card after colliding with Stephen Warnock. Didn't look to be much he could do about that. It's his fifth of the season and means he incurs a one-match ban.

1726: City suddenly come to life. Elano's long ball into the box takes a slight touch off Shaun Wright-Phillips and comes back off the post. A moment later, Stephen Ireland shoots narrowly wide.

1723: Nice football from Blackburn. Andre Ooijer begins the move with a neat backheel on the right and then continues his run into the box but shoots too close to Joe Hart. Rovers looking confident.

1720: A chance almost straight away for Blackburn as Brett Emerton rifles a shot from a difficult angle over the bar.

1719: Benni McCarthy, fresh from swapping shirts with Robinho at half-time, is now exchanging pleasantries with City striker Jo. Lovely. On with the football now though.

1715: "That's what I love about Benni McCarthy. He spends 45 minutes looking like he is playing in his slippers then finishes off a chance like that brilliantly. Santa who?"
Bob, Aberdeen, via text on 81111

1710: Harry Redknapp resisted facing the TV cameras after his side's defeat by West Brom, in which Benoit Assou-Ekotto was controversially sent off by ref Steve Tanner, but he's had his say to the press. "I couldn't even put into words what I thought of the referee's performance," he said. OK then Harry, fair enough, we'll leave it at... What's that? There's more? "When I walked into the referees' room before the game and saw who was reffing the game I knew what was coming. I've had him many times before and I know what he is like - he really isn't good enough. He is just a poor referee unfortunately and I've seen him make a mess of so many games before. I never walk in after game and complain about a referee but this guy today is scary."

1706: Benni McCarthy scores his seventh goal of the season to put Sam Allardyce's side ahead at half-time. City will look back on a decent penalty shout and a Robinho miss.

1704: HALF-TIME Blackburn 1-0 Man City

1701: GOAL Blackburn 1-0 Man City
Felipe Caicedo gives the ball away in midfield - and how he pays. Brett Emerton crosses from the right and Jason Roberts turns his man brilliantly in the box, with strike partner Benni McCarthy smashing in the loose ball.

1659: Andre Ooijer directs his throw-in to Benni McCarthy, whose first touch is so heavy, the ball goes straight back out of play. This ain't pretty folks.

1655: This game has gone right off the boil - although just as I say that, Tugay almost boils over. He's already on a yellow and vents his fury at Howard Webb after a decision goes against his side. Final warning for him.

1652: Blackburn defender Stephen Warnock needs a bit of treatment after going in for a challenge. In fact, he needs a lot of treatment and hobbles off with what looks like a knee injury for some more attention.

1649: Tugay goes into the book for a rather over-enthusiastic tackle on Robinho. He did get the ball - but also a large chunk of both the Brazilian's legs. Elano takes an epic run-up and belts the free-kick about 10 yards wide. He looks embarrassed, and so he should.

1646: "I think Big Sam's first job should be to teach Benni McCarthy the offside rule. He spends about 90% of his time on the pitch offside and then looks shocked when he is flagged!"
Anon via text on 81111

1643: Paul Robinson tears out of his area to clear the ball - and takes out Felipe Caicedo as well. That looked painful. Think he'll be OK though.

1641: Blackburn striker Jason Roberts turns the defender beautifully on the edge of the box but his shot is blocked. "It's a tentative game of chess out there," says BBC 5 Live analyst Kevin Gallacher. "It's like watching two Mark Hughes teams playing each other."

1637: After a bright start, this game has gone a touch scrappy. Robinho looks dangerous though...

1634: Spurs boss Harry Redknapp opts not to face the TV cameras after his side's 2-0 defeat by West Brom. He is either giving his players what for, or is worried he might get himself in trouble with his comments on ref Steve Tanner's performance.

1632: "We've got a good group of players who care about things and Ricardo cared too much. We'll deal with it in house, not through the media."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis on Ricardo Fuller's sending-off

1628: "We had six, seven, eight chances to score. They had two from free-kicks and scored twice, from mistakes. It was incredible. But we're still in a good position."
Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari after the 2-2 draw with Fulham

1626: If Robinho could head a ball, he'd be quite a good player. Felipe Caicedo curls in a perfect cross from the left for the Brazilian, who heads wide at the far post. Great chance for City.

1624: Lucky, lucky Andre Ooijer. Robinho tricks his way into the box and is clearly clipped by the Blackburn defender - but Howard Webb waves play on.

1622: Brett Emerton wants a penalty after seeing his free-kick slam into Stephen Ireland's arm - but that would have been harsh I think.

1619: Early chance for City. Vincent Kompany gets his head to a corner and Felipe Caicedo sticks a leg out but volleys over the bar from a few yards out.

1619: "It's been one of the best managerial years of my career, if not the best. I'm immensely satisfied with what we've achieved in 2008."
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson after the 2-2 draw with Chelsea

1617: "That race for fourth. Maybe you could consider the blue half of Merseyside?"
Mike via text on 81111

1616: Away we go in the day's late kick-off.

1615: Mark Hughes gets a warm reception from the home fans as he makes his way to the bench at Ewood Park. The Welshman takes a few minutes to sign some autographs before taking his seat.

1614: "Steve Bruce is having a real good go with Wigan, and has good a good squad and team spirit. Not many managers can say they have got a defender as bad as Bramble playing pretty decently. The real test will come in January/the summer. Palacios, Valencia, Heskey and Zaki. Will they or will they not leave?"
4Liverpool4 on 606
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1611: I know two young Fulham supporters who went to their first ever game at Craven Cottage today - along with their Chelsea-supporting dad. They're from Australia. Should be an interesting flight home….

1609: TEAM NEWS Blackburn v Man City
Blackburn make one change, with Tugay replacing the injured David Dunn. Manchester City manager Mark Hughes drops Micah Richards on his return to his old club. Nedum Onuoha comes in.

1606: "How is this any better than under Grant? I'm getting sick to death of that 'we won't win this' feeling!"
Shaun, unconvinced Chelsea fan, via text on 81111

1600: Chelsea will start 2009 three points behind the leaders after Clint Dempsey's late equaliser for Fulham. Pressure building on Luiz Felipe Scolari. Arsenal's scrappy win over Portsmouth puts them fourth on goals scored, ahead of Aston Villa, who travel to Hull on Tuesday. Wigan up to seventh, while Blackburn are bottom as they prepare to kick off against Manchester City in 15 minutes.

1558: FULL-TIME Bolton 0-1 Wigan

1557: Danny Shittu hits the bar with a header as Bolton pepper the Wigan goal in search of an equaliser.

1557: FULL-TIME West Ham 2-1 Stoke City

1557: FULL-TIME West Brom 2-0 Tottenham

1555: FULL-TIME Arsenal 1-0 Portsmouth

1555: GOAL West Brom 2-0 Tottenham
Marek Cech's ball sends through James Morrison who squares for Craig Beattie to wrap up a valuable win for the Baggies.

1553: FULL-TIME Fulham 2-2 Chelsea

1552: FULL-TIME Everton 3-0 Sunderland

1550: Chelsea go straight up the other end and Ashley Cole's shot is saved before Frank Lampard's follow-up is cleared off the line.

1548: GOAL Fulham 2-2 Chelsea
Simon Davies' corner is headed into the top corner by Clint Dempsey. Incredible late drama at Craven Cottage.

1548: GOAL West Ham 2-1 Stoke
Neat passing move from West Ham and Carlton Cole's shot is diverted in by substitute Diego Tristan.

1544: GOAL West Brom 1-0 Tottenham
Jonathan Greening pumps the ball into the box and Roman Bednar rises to head home - in much the same way he did against Manchester City the other week. Tottenham complain that Bednar pushed Michael Dawson to make the space, but the ref sees nothing.

1543: GOAL Everton 3-0 Sunderland
Mikel Arteta creates some room on the left with some fancy footwork before passing to Joleon Lescott, whose cross is converted by 18-year-old wonderkid Dan Gosling.

1540: GOAL Arsenal 1-0 Portsmouth
Deadlock broken. David James gets nowhere near Denilson's dangerous delivery from the left and William Gallas heads home. James is having one of those afternoons.

1538: West Ham continue to batter the Stoke goal. Scott Parker has half a shout for a penalty but it's a tad optimistic.

1536: TEAMS Blackburn v Man City
Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Emerton, Kerimoglu, Andrews, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts. Subs: Brown, Khizanishvili, Vogel, Mokoena, Treacy, Derbyshire, Olsson.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Onuoha, Dunne, Ball, Ireland, Kompany, Elano, Wright-Phillips, Caicedo, Robinho. Subs: Schmeichel, Richards, Vassell, Jo, Garrido, Fernandes, Sturridge.

1534: Arsenal still struggling to break down Pompey at the Emirates. Carlos Vela and Aaron Ramsay are now on.

1531: GOAL Fulham 1-2 Chelsea
Mark Schwarzer is wrong-footed by Frank Lampard's free-kick, the Fulham keeper moving one way and seeing the ball fly past him the other side. Bit of a hole in the Fulham wall too, just to add insult to injury. The goal was probably coming though.

1530: Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen half-blocks Luis Boa Morte's shot and Danny Higginbotham produces the goal-line clearance. Desperate times for the visitors.

1529: Take That singer Gary Barlow is at the Reebok Stadium today. I shall resist the temptation to throw in a pun - don't want to go testing your patience or anything.

1527: Wigan keeper Mike Pollitt saves from Johan Elmander and Kevin Davies hits the post with the follow-up as Bolton look for an equaliser.

1525: Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer makes a great stop to deny Joe Cole and then recovers to push the ball away from the onrushing Nicolas Anelka. Moments later, John Pantsil sends a fizzing shot just past the post for Fulham.

1523: Stoke boss Tony Pulis opts to take off Andy Griffin - which should make for an interesting dressing-room conversation, with Ricardo Fuller already in there. Andrew Davies comes off.

1519: Pompey keeper David James misses his punch from Denilson's cross, but Emmanuel Adebayor can only volley into the side netting.

1517: Wigan's Wilson Palacios heads the ball off his line and into the arms of goalkeeper Mike Pollitt. Bolton appeal for a goal, claiming the ball had crossed the line but referee Phil Dowd is not interested.

1517: "I don't know what the ... happened," Stoke boss Tony Pulis appears to be saying as his team fall apart on the pitch. Not the behaviour of a team hoping to stay in the Premier League, you have to say. As Stoke waited to kick off after the goal, Fuller had some strong words with Griffin and then had to be restrained by a team-mate after shoving him.

1514: Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes pulls off a quite brilliant save, diving to his left to tip over Chris Brunt's curling left-footed free-kick from the edge of the box. However, it's the sublime to the just plain silly as the Brazilian decides to go walkabout to claim the resulting corner, getting absolutely nowhere near the ball.

1514: RED CARD Stoke
Extraordinary. Ricardo Fuller is sent off for attempting to hit team-mate and captain Andy Griffin, who was turned by Cole for the equaliser.

1512: GOAL West Ham 1-1 Stoke
Carlton Cole appears to have lost control of Scott Parker's long ball into the box but he chases back and lashes the ball into the roof of the net.

1511: "Gotta love Stoke. It takes a special team to be time-wasting after 25 minutes. We're missing a striker badly."
Coop at the West Ham/Stoke game, via text on 81111

1509: GOAL Fulham 1-1 Chelsea
All a bit of a shambles for Fulham. Mark Schwarzer collides with Aaron Hughes as Didier Drogba tries to latch onto Deco's long ball and the ball breaks to Frank Lampard, who guides it home.

1508: More dithering at the Reebok Stadium but we're back under way everywhere now.

1505: Portsmouth keeper David James drops a corner - but his defence clear up the ensuing mess for him.

1505: Sunderland make a half-time change as Carlos Edwards replaces Steed Malbranque, who was booked in the first-half and given a long talking-to by the ref.

1501: "Can people stop with the Scolari bashing and actually give Fulham some praise? Roy Hodgson has a top top side, and it's no surprise to me that they lead at the moment. If Fulham win, then whisper it quietly, but European football could be at the Cottage next season."
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1457: Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari is taking plenty of stick over on 606. If the Blues lose today, he could even creep ahead in the sack race. Plenty of unhappy Arsenal fans too after a poor first half at the Emirates.
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1454: Marouane Fellaini wigs are apparently doing a roaring trade at Goodison Park today - but the Belgian midfielder was definitely being out-barnetted by Benoit Assou-Ekotto until the Tottenham man's early departure. Assou-Ekotto now has plenty of time to look after his bouncy locks, replete with blond streaks.

1452: HALF-TIME Bolton 0-1 Wigan

1451: "Re 1435: Never a red for BAE... I think the ref was clearly jealous of his hair!"
Slough Spurs fan via text on 81111

1450: HALF-TIME West Ham 0-1 Stoke City

1449: HALF-TIME West Brom 0-0 Tottenham

1449: HALF-TIME Fulham 1-0 Chelsea

1448: HALF-TIME Everton 2-0 Sunderland

1447: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Portsmouth

1447: GOAL Bolton 0-1 Wigan
And after all their injury woes, Wigan take an improbable lead. Andy O'Brien is penalised for pushing Henri Camara as the cross comes over Amr Zaki tucks away the penalty.


1445: Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer beats away a fierce Frank Lampard shot from the edge of the area.

1442: Wigan, who lost Emile Heskey a few minutes ago, now see Amr Zaki suffer an injury. The Egyptian striker has a big lump on the side of his head but he's battling on for now.

1440: "Everton shouldn't bother playing with an orthodox striker - they been absolutely flying since they all got injured!"
Sonoftherock, Nottingham, via text on 81111

1438: Chelsea suffer their second injury of the half as Alex now has to be replaced. Fit-again Ricardo Carvalho is on for his first appearance since October - so it's not all bad news.

1436: Emile Heskey limps off for Wigan to be replaced by Henri Camara. Could that scupper a January move? Camara almost gives the Latics the lead but his 20-yard shot is well saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

1435: RED CARD Tottenham
Tottenham lose Benoit Assou-Ekotto as he is penalised for stamping on Gianni Zuiverloom. Little bit unfortunate perhaps as it didn't look deliberate but definitely caught him.

1433: Arsenal should be ahead. Emmanuel Adebayor is clean through and takes the ball past David James but first Sol Campbell slides in with a tackle to divert the ball away from the striker and Sylvain Distin finishes the job.

1432: Chelsea play with 10 men briefly as Florent Malouda limps off down the tunnel. Nicolas Anelka is on - and almost immediately stings the hands of Mark Schwarzer with a deflected shot.

1429: GOAL Everton 2-0 Sunderland
A gift for Everton. Mikel Arteta's free-kick hits the wall and comes straight back to him. His second shot takes a big deflection to beat Sunderland Marton Fulop. Shortly before that, a breakdown in communication between Danny Collins and Fulop almost lets in Everton's Marouane Fellaini, but Kieran Richardson appears from nowhere to save the day.

1427: Not much to tell you about from the Hawthorns, but it's West Brom with the better of the game so far against a sluggish Tottenham.

1426: Happy days for Marc (see 1422), unless he's an Arsenal fan. Peter Crouch beats William Gallas in the air and heads Niko Kranjcar's cross against the post.

1422: "20 mins of the Arsenal game, no goalmouth action AT ALL. Not surprising from two teams shockingly out of form. Still, we've had a nice sing-song for Tony Adams."
Marc via text on 81111

1421: Paul Scharner misses his defensive header, letting in Kevin Davies, but the Wigan defender recovers to make a tremendous goal-saving tackle.

1420: Didier Drogba turns the defender brilliantly and drives into the space, but shoots across goal. Classic Drogba - except the finish.

1418: A close-run thing for Stoke. Valon Behrami's pass slices through the defence to Carlton Cole, on the edge of the box, but the West Ham striker is millimetres offside.

1415: John Pantsil drives in a cross which is inches behind Clint Dempsey as Chelsea live dangerously again.

1412: GOAL Everton 1-0 Sunderland
Mikel Arteta scores with a swerving 25-yard free-kick past Marton Fulop. A blow for Sunderland after a bright start.

1412: GOAL Fulham 1-0 Chelsea
Simon Davies's free-kick from the left eludes everyone in the box, and Clint Dempsey has time at the far post to control and finish. Dreamland for Roy Hodgson's side. Set-piece? Poor defending? You betcha.

1411: Didier Drogba drills wide for Chelsea, when he should at least have hit the target. Meanwhile, Tottenham defender Jonathan Woodgate clears the ball right out of the Hawthorns ground. Off you go, ball boy.

1410: "After today's performance, I wonder if Ashley will change his mind and put the Toon back up for sale?"
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1408: A quick word from Danny the Stat... "A rare day indeed over on Player Rater - one that I may note in my Danny the Stat Christmas Player Rater Stat diary. Shay Given lets in five goals - at home - and still tops the rater with a whopping 8.89. Surely unprecedented? Although the lad did make several top-drawer stops, to be fair. Get involved for what may be the final time in '08."
Newcastle v Liverpool Player Rater

1404: GOAL West Ham 0-1 Stoke City
Abdoulaye Faye is all on his own at the far post to head in Danny Pugh's corner for Stoke. If Uefa boss Michel Platini did decide to ban marking from set-pieces, he must be delighted with how his new plan is panning out.

1403: The game at the Reebok Stadium brings up the rear as all six 1400 GMT games get under way.

1355: Chelsea can do what they like against Fulham, they will still be second at New Year. An excellent performance by Liverpool today against a poor - albeit injury-ravaged - Newcastle. And yes, I meant Kazenga LuaLua, not Lomano. Went a bit 2004 on you there.

1355: FULL-TIME Newcastle 1-5 Liverpool

1352: Still time for Shay Given to make another miraculous save, palming Lucas's header off the line. David Ngog heads the rebound wastefully wide - but the ref awards a corner. Poor old Shay kicks the ball into the crowd in frustration and is booked.

1351: Warm-up injuries seem very popular at the moment no? Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland is the latest to fall foul, picking up a groin injury. Mike Pollitt comes in.

1349: TEAM NEWS West Ham v Stoke
West Ham are without Craig Bellamy, who serves a one-match ban, and the injured Calum Davenport, Lucas Neill and Mark Noble. Luis Boa Morte, Julien Faubert, David di Michele and James Collins are called in to replace them. Stoke are without the suspended Andy Wilkinson, whose place goes to Andy Griffin. Seyi Olofinjana is promoted from the subs bench in place of Amdy Faye, with Tom Soares filling the gap on the bench.

1348: Kazenga LuaLua digs out a cross from the left and Pepe Reina does well to keep out Steven Taylor's header. Still plenty of Newcastle fans in the ground, which is impressive considering their side's capitulation today. Five minutes remaining.

1345: TEAM NEWS Tottenham v West Brom
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp makes two tweaks to the starting XI that drew 0-0 with Fulham, with Jonathan Woodgate back in the centre of defence at the expense of Ledley King, while Tom Huddlestone makes way for Jermaine Jenas in midfield. Interestingly, Roman Pavlyuchenko is not even named on the bench, although BBC 5 Live's Conor McNamara suggests it's because of injury. West Brom boss Tony Mowbray goes three better than 'arry with five changes. Defender Abdoulaye Meite is out so Leon Barnett starts in defence, while Paul Robinson is suspended and Robert Koren is injured. Kim Do-heon and Craig Beattie are dropped to the bench while Marek Cech makes his first Premier League appearance in three months. And Spaniard Iglesias Borja Valero is back too. Phew.

1344: "This is an absolutely appalling performance by Newcastle. Caroline are you sure this is the Premier League? Looks more like a league two side is playing a Premier League team in the FA Cup. Maybe they've put it forward a week..."
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1342: Lucas is well onside as he collects Xabi Alonso's raking pass - but not according to the linesman. Michael Owen is replaced by Kazenga LuaLua. Not one of Owen's finest moments, I wouldn't have thought.

1338: GOAL Newcastle 1-5 Liverpool
Magpies goalscorer David Edgar trips David Ngog and that's a clear penalty. In Steven Gerrard's absence, Xabi Alonso converts the spot-kick.

1338: Drama here. The superhuman Shay Given comes almost to the halfway line to hoof a clearance into the path of Steven Taylor. The Newcastle defender's first touch is awful, and he then barges into Pepe Reina and is a touch lucky to avoid a red for that.

1336: Geremi overhits his free-kick from the just outside the centre circle - and almost makes a fool of Pepe Reina. The Liverpool keeper drops the ball but Liverpool survive.

1335: TEAM NEWS Everton v Sunderland
Leon Osman comes in for Dan Gosling as Everton make one change from the team that won at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day. Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia - now in charge on a permanent basis - brings in Dean Whitehead and Daryl Murphy for Anton Ferdinand and Andy Reid.

1333: Steven Gerrard will not be getting his hat-trick. He hands the captain's armband to Jamie Carragher as he is replaced by David Ngog.

1332: TEAM NEWS Arsenal v Portsmouth
Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor returns after suspension and lines up alongside Nicklas Bendtner, while Robin van Persie is among the substitutes. Portsmouth drop Jermain Defoe to the bench and bring in David Nugent to partner Peter Crouch up front.

1332: TEAM NEWS Bolton v Wigan
Bolton boss Gary Megson starts with Kevin Davies, so Fabrice Muamba drops to the bench, while Gary Cahill is injured so Danny Shittu comes in for him. Wigan are unchanged from the team that defeated Newcastle 2-1 on Boxing Day.

1331: TEAM NEWS Fulham v Chelsea
Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard misses out with a dead leg, but defender Brede Hangeland is fit to start and that is their only change. Chelsea recall Deco and Florent Malouda, as Michael Ballack and Nicolas Anelka drop to the bench - where they will find defender Ricardo Carvalho, who has recovered from a knee problem.

1330: TEAMS West Ham v Stoke
West Ham: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Collison, Boa Morte, Di Michele, Cole. Subs: Lastuvka, Mullins, Spector, Tristan, Bowyer, Sears, Ngala.
Stoke: Sorensen, Griffin, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Delap, Olofinjana, Whelan, Pugh, Cresswell, Fuller. Subs: Simonsen, Lawrence, Soares, Pericard, Davies, Tonge, Sonko.

1328: GOAL Newcastle 1-4 Liverpool
Lucas delivers an outstanding pass for Steven Gerrard, who runs in from the right before clipping the ball over Shay Given. Still 25 minutes to go, but Liverpool will surely be top of the league as 2009 begins.

1328: "Bendtner starts. Too much eggnog Arsene?"
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1326: TEAMS West Brom v Tottenham
West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon, Olsson, Barnett, Cech, Morrison, Greening, Brunt, Borja Valero, Bednar, Moore. Subs: Kiely, Hoefkens, Beattie, Kim, MacDonald, Dorrans, Donk.
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Zokora, Jenas, Bentley, Modric, Bent. Subs: Cesar, Bale, Gunter, Campbell, Taarabt, O'Hara, Obika.

1326: TEAMS Bolton v Wigan
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Shittu, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Taylor, Nolan, McCann, Gardner, Elmander, Davies. Subs: Al Habsi, Muamba, Smolarek, Riga, Fogut, Basham, Obadeyi.
Wigan: Pollitt, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole, Palacios, Taylor, Heskey, Zaki. Subs: Kingson, Kilbane, Koumas, Brown, Boyce, De Ridder, Camara.

1325: "Re 1318: Finally Nugent gets his chance. Defoe has been playing like a want-away for too many games and this could be Nugent's big opportunity..."
Dan in Pompey, via text on 81111

1322: Geremi's free-kick from about 25 yards slaps the top of the bar. Unlucky. Xabi Alonso replaces Yossi Benayoun for Liverpool.

1321: Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano is the first man into the book as he slides in to send Michael Owen hurtling to the ground. And by the way, Jermain Defoe drops to the bench for Portsmouth if you hadn't spotted that. David Nugent starts.

1319: And more complaints from the Newcastle fans as Pepe Reina fumbles the free-kick, the ball comes off a defender and he picks it up. Not a back-pass, says the referee.

1318: Boos from the Newcastle fans as Daniel Agger is penalised - but not booked - for dragging back Shola Ameobi. Geremi comes on for Nicky Butt.

1318: TEAMS Arsenal v Portsmouth
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Eboue, Denilson, Diaby, Nasri, Adebayor, Bendtner. Subs: Fabianski, Toure, Van Persie, Vela, Ramsey, Wilshere, Gibbs.
Portsmouth: James, Wilson, Campbell, Distin, Belhadj, Nugent, Diop, Davis, Hughes, Kranjcar, Crouch. Subs: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Defoe, Pamarot, Mvuemba, Little, Kanu.

1317: TEAMS Everton v Sunderland
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Arteta, Osman, Neville, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill. Subs: Nash, Van der Meyde, Rodwell, Jutkiewicz, Anichebe, Gosling, Kissock.
Sunderland: Fulop, Whitehead, Nosworthy, Collins, Bardsley, Malbranque, Tainio, Richardson, Murphy, Cisse, Jones. Subs: Colgan, Edwards, Yorke, Healy, Colback, Henderson, Prica.

1317: TEAMS Fulham v Chelsea
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora. Subs: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Gray, Stoor, Andreasen, Kallio, Baird.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Alex, Ashley Cole, Deco, Mikel, Lampard, Joe Cole, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Cudicini, Carvalho, Ballack, Ferreira, Kalou, Belletti, Anelka.

1316: Some early Chelsea team news for you: Nicolas Anelka drops to the bench, Florent Malouda is in. Jimmy Bullard is not fit for Fulham, Brede Hangeland is.

1315: Rafa Benitez takes time out from barking instructions at Sammy Lee to have his picture taken with a fan. I think he might be feeling quite relaxed...

1312: GOAL Newcastle 1-3 Liverpool
Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. From a corner, Ryan Babel's backheel is stopped on the line by Shay Given and though there are four Newcastle defenders around the ball, it's Babel who is quickest to it, stabbing it home.

1310: Shola Ameobi is into the action straight away, chasing down the right-hand channel and crossing towards Michael Owen but though the striker throws himself at the header, the ball is inches too high. Good, positive start by the hosts.

1308: Off we go again. Shola Ameobi replaces Jose Enrique for Newcastle.

1307: Newcastle's fans unfurl an enormous banner reading: "Sir Bobby Robson - Gentleman and Geordie'. Sir Bob - wearing his familiar black and white scarf and trilby hat - takes his seat for the second half and we'll be under way in a sec.

1305: Shay Given is out on the pitch at half-time practising. Well, he did look a bit shaky in that first half no?

1301: If this game is a sign of things to come, we're in for an 'in-between Christmas and New Year' cracker of a day. Highlights coming up at 1400 GMT: Tony Adams' return to Arsenal with Portsmouth, Chelsea at neighbours Fulham and Everton against Ricky S's revitalised Sunderland. Then Mark Hughes is back on his old stomping ground as Blackburn host Man City. Oh football, have I told you lately that I love you?

1259: Ah, happy days, it's Danny the Christmas Stat... "It would seem that having the initials "SG" are a big help to your chances over on our Player Rater. Steven Gerrard? Yup, take an eight-busting 8.20. Shay Given? Help yourself to a nine-bothering 8.76. If only Sally Gunnell were playing. Now, get involved you people."
Newcastle v Liverpool Player Rater

1256: "Poor that. We have a chance to make a statement with a flood of goals and concede such a soft one."
topcornertorres on 606
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1252: As I said, a ridiculous half of football really. I can't remember seeing a Premier League team so thoroughly outplayed as Newcastle were in that half but, thanks to a quite phenomenal performance from Shay Given and that David Edgar goal, they're still in this. Only if Joe Kinnear can sort out his defence though...

1250: HALF-TIME Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool

1249: GOAL Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool
Apparently there has been some sort of new ruling about marking from set-pieces, ie don't bother. David Edgar comes to the near post to head in Danny Guthrie's corner. What a ridiculous half of football.

1248: "Has Platini banned marking?!!"
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1246: Yossi Benayoun stabs the ball behind to give Newcastle a corner. Danny Guthrie's dangerous delivery is met by Steven Taylor, but his effort goes wide. A real chance for Newcastle to get a goal they hardly deserve.

1245: Uh-oh, corner for Liverpool. It's flicked on towards Sami Hyypia - who is, naturally, completely unmarked as he heads towards goal. Shay Given to the rescue again. Dirk Kuyt is given the freedom of the box from the next corner but Newcastle somehow survive. Still a few minutes until half-time.

1242: Worth a look at the stats for this game. Liverpool = 11 shots. Newcastle = 1.
Newcastle v Liverpool match stats

1239: GOAL Newcastle 0-2 Liverpool
Just as the BBC 5 Live commentator is lamenting Newcastle's inability to defend set-pieces, Steven Gerrard swings over a corner and Sami Hyypia easily holds off the defender to head home. Pathetic defending.

1237: Damien Duff is flagged offside as he races onto Jonas Gutierrez's pass but he sets up Michael Owen anyway and the striker taps in. Replays show Duff was just onside, but to be fair Pepe Reina had stopped playing.

1234: GOAL Newcastle 0-1 Liverpool
Finally. Yossi Benayoun times his run to perfection, running onto Javier Mascherano's pass and squaring for Steven Gerrard to smash in a shot off the right-hand post. Will Newcastle think about marking Gerrard now? Perhaps?

1233: "All this talk about Owen leaving, it would surely be more worrying if there was an offer for Shay Given? They could be six down by now without him."
Simon, Dorset, via text on 81111

1231: Steven Gerrard volleys from distance - but slices it well wide and for once, Shay Given can rest easy. A truly remarkable opening half-hour from the Newcastle keeper.

1230: "My stream keeps breaking up each time the ball is about to cross the line. I assume Liverpool are 6-0 up?"
Yermum's Athletic on 606
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1228: Newcastle have the ball! In the Liverpool half!! Not much else to shout about for Magpies fans though.

1227: "Joe Kinnear and Chris Hughton have been talking things over for some time now - and still they haven't made any tactical changes."
BBC 5 Live commentator Darren Fletcher

1226: "I can't remember the last time I've seen a team create so many chances in the opening 20 minutes of a game. If this was a boxing match, the ref would have stopped by now."
Fortress_Arena on 606
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1224: Give the man a knighthood - or something. Shay Given leaps to his right to palm away Lucas's header. From the corner, Sami Hyypia's flicked header is cleared off the line by Charles N'Zogbia.

1222: Unbelievable. There seems to be some sort of ball repellent in Shay Given's goal. Dirk Kuyt delivers the ball to Lucas, who is about two yards out - but Shay Given still gets a hand to it. Newcastle are a one-man team.

1221: "Liverpool all over us. Thank goodness for Shay Given. Best keeper in the Premier League."
IrishGeordie on 606
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1220: Jonas Gutierrez is on his final warning after a flying tackle on Liverpool left-back Emiliano Insua. Three players are left free in the box to head in the free-kick - Sami Hyypia nods it wide. Another golden opportunity for Liverpool goes begging.

1217: Ryan Babel crosses to Dirk Kuyt, who sets up Steven Gerrard inside the box but Shay Given denies the skipper with a flying save. Liverpool should be in front, Gerrard is being given the run of St James' Park at the moment.

1214: Steven Gerrard plays a smart one-two with Dirk Kuyt and looks certain to score. He delays and delays before trying to flick the ball right-footed past Shay Given - who is able to block. Newcastle counter-attack through Michael Owen, who is upended by a 'firm' Jamie Carragher tackle. The Magpies can't profit from the free-kick.

1213: This is much more like it. Steven Gerrard sets up Dirk Kuyt and Shay Given does well to push away the fierce shot.

1212: There's a proper chance. Daniel Agger's weak headed clearance comes to Fabricio Coloccini who wallops a right-foot volley marginally over the bar.

1209: Not much to tell you about to be honest. Steven Gerrard has the game's first shot but it's harmless. Newcastle are defending quite high up, so there's plenty of space for Liverpool if they can find it.

1205: Rafa Benitez is already firing instructions down to Sammy Lee on the Liverpool bench. His side look like they might have some fun down the wings today.

1203: Michael Owen and Damien Duff kick off the game. This is the first time Owen has played against his old club at St James' Park.

1202: "Liverpool are bang-on favourites. Newcastle are very patchy - they were awful against Wigan the other day."
BBC 5 Live analyst Chris Waddle

1157: Stand by your beds, the teams are on their way onto the pitch. As he did on Boxing Day, Rafa Benitez will watch the game from the stands as he continues his recovery from those pesky kidney stones.

1154: Newcastle's supporters' groups have organised a Sir Bobby Robson day today. They'll be collecting money for his cancer research foundation and generally celebrating the great man. Sir Bob will be at St James' Park to witness it all.

1151: "Although Fergie has moaned about our fixture list so far this season, he has to admit it's been kind to us this weekend. Early game Friday and an extra day's recovery for the next game. Here's hoping Fulham and Newcastle do us a favour."
for-evra-and-evra-amen on 606
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1147: Michael Owen up against his old club today. Tony Adams back at Arsenal later, Mark Hughes at Blackburn. Spotting a theme here? No, me neither.

1142: "Dear Santa, I realise that you have probably gone back to Greenland, but if you are still about I would like a Kuyt hat-trick and an Owen hat-trick just to help out my fantasy football team. PS I think you do a sterling job Santa."
Kenny via text on 81111
Has Santa moved?

1140: "If we can't beat this patched-up Newcastle side we should forget about any title aspirations today."
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1136: That team news in full from our early game: Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez springs a surprise by dropping Robbie Keane - two-goal hero against Bolton - and Xabi Alonso down to the bench. Ryan Babel comes in, with Javier Mascherano recalled in midfield. Defender Martin Skrtel is back on the bench and in contention for the first time since sustaining a knee injury at Manchester City in early October. Striker Fernando Torres is still ruled out with a hamstring problem. Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear is forced to make three changes from the side that lost at Wigan on Boxing Day. Habib Beye (leg), Mark Viduka (groin) and the suspended Sebastien Bassong are out, while David Edgar, Steven Taylor and Jose Enrique come in.

1134: "Re 1123: Keane played the full 90 on Friday and looked knackered - he should have been rested after his second goal."
Chris via text on 81111

1132: By the way, if you are a fan of cricket and, in particular, Australians looking slightly foolish while playing it, I recommend you head for a video-sharing website and type in "Michael Hussey South Africa". Basically, he's waiting under a catch but is blinded by the sun and the ball lands about a foot from him. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Duminy fightback stuns Australia

1127: "As my old grandad used to say why fix what isn't broken? We're playing a tough game against Newcastle so why are we starting with no out and out striker when Robbie is doing so well at the minute???"
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1123: TEAMS Newcastle v Liverpool
Newcastle: Given, Edgar, Taylor, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Gutierrez, Guthrie, Butt, N'Zogbia, Duff, Owen. Subs: Harper, Xisco, Geremi, Ameobi, Kadar, LuaLua, Carroll.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Insua, Benayoun, Mascherano, Leiva Lucas, Babel, Gerrard, Kuyt. Subs: Cavalieri, Keane, Riera, Alonso, Ngog, El Zhar, Skrtel.

1121: Crikey. Curveball from Rafa Benitez as both Robbie Keane and Xabi Alonso drop to the bench for Liverpool today. He just can't resist a rotation can he?

1120: "I'm having Liverpool 2-0 and Kuyt for the first goal. Got to nip out of work to the bookies. Sure my patients will be fine."
Simon the nurse, via text on 81111

1117: Victory would put Liverpool four points clear - at least until 4pm. But Newcastle are on a six-match unbeaten run at home. To stop me spouting these stats, why not send me a text on 81111 or get involved on 606 - although I must warn the heated competition to get the the first comment in has already been won by the snappily-named Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!!. So well done to Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!!
Join the debate on 606

1110: First up today, we'll enjoy leaders Liverpool's trip to Newcastle. Mike Ashley has chosen this morning to announce that he has taken the Magpies off the market. He tells the fans: "For me 2009 will be the year in which we drive the club forward together." A spokesman for the Newcastle United Supporters' Club responds: "It's the most unwelcome late Christmas present Newcastle supporters could have."
Ashley calls off Newcastle sale

1105: Bored of your presents yet? Sick of turkey? Ready to throttle the in-laws? Thank goodness for football. Lovely, lovely football.

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
Arsenal 1-0 Portsmouth
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Blackburn 2-2 Man City
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Bolton 0-1 Wigan
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Everton 3-0 Sunderland
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Fulham 2-2 Chelsea
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Newcastle 1-5 Liverpool
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League
West Brom 2-0 Tottenham
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League
West Ham 2-1 Stoke
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League

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