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Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Sunday, 11 January 2009

Premier League as it happened

RESULTS
Man Utd 3-0 Chelsea Report
Wigan 1-0 Tottenham 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

1815: On this enormous day, it's time to wrap up. What a fantastic weekend to be Sir Alex Ferguson, eh? Don't forget to watch Match of the Day Two at 2200 GMT on BBC Two and online, and BBC Radio 5 Live's 606 is ready for your calls right now. Cheesy will be here on Tuesday with the FA Cup replays, and I'll see you soon.

1812: Chelsea might be second in the table, but they are struggling. They've won just one of their last five league games and face a tricky FA Cup third round replay at Southend on Wednesday. Luiz Felipe Scolari has quite a job on his hands.

1809: "I don't think people should be writing Chelsea off. They'll be right up there to the very end."
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1806: "A clean sheet and three goals against a very good side, it really sets us up now. I'm no stranger to playing in central midfield, I just tried to use my experience out there. This gives us a lot of confidence, it's not about what it does to Chelsea."
Manchester United's Ryan Giggs

1804: "Sorry, but Chelsea are nowhere near who they were under Avram Grant, never mind Jose Mourinho."
Paul, Staverton, via text on 81111

1801: Whisper from BBC Radio 5 Live's man in Rome is that England midfielder David Beckham may start on his Serie A debut tonight for AC Milan, after it was previously thought he would be on the bench.

1800: "Much of the post-match focus will be on Chelsea's awful second-half display, nevertheless the United defence deserves a huge amount of credit. Every time Chelsea had a chance they were immediately closed down - and it's about 750 minutes since they last conceded a goal in the league."
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1758: "You would not have thought in that second half that that Chelsea team were playing for each other. United were the only team in it after they scored and they thoroughly deserved their win."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1756: Full-time Manchester United 3-0 Chelsea

1755: Didier Drogba heads wide, but he'd pushed Jonny Evans anyway.

1755: "Home time for Chelsea's fans - and celebrations all round for Manchester United after seeing off one of their fiercest rivals in convincing fashion.

"United have produced a perfect response to the verbal jabs from Rafael Benitez, who started the weekend with bold statements of intent aimed at adversary Sir Alex Ferguson.

"Liverpool's tame draw at Stoke, couple with this powerful victory, means all the honours have gone to United and the master manager - long way to go though."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1754: We're deep into injury time, by the way. Not long left now.

1753: Frank Lampard's corner is headed over by Michael Ballack. Didier Drogba, meanwhile, might as well not be there. His performance in the second half has been utterly abject, a real embarrassment.

1751: "I'd like to ask the Chelsea players if they are giving everything for the cause. I'd have to say they're not."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1750: "Scolari gone soon? I can see it happening."
Will, via text on 81111

1749: GOAL Manchester United 3-0 Chelsea
The most un-Chelsea-like defending you could imagine. Cristiano Ronaldo whips in the free-kick from just outside the box on the left and Dimitar Berbatov runs away from his marker to volley into the net from close range. Easy as you like.

1748: Cristiano Ronaldo twice beats Juliano Belletti down the United left and twice the Brazilian fouls him, the second time conceding the free-kick. Belletti is booked.

1747: Chelsea bring on Franco di Santo for the last few minutes, he's on for Joe Cole.

1746: Chelsea have fallen apart. Ashley Cole's heavy pass is mis-controlled by Ricardo Carvalho and the ball falls for Cristiano Ronaldo, who rifles a fierce right-foot shot from 30 yards that flies inches wide.

1745: Cristiano Ronaldo is flagged offside - perhaps a touch harshly - from Dimitar Berbatov's pass, he goes through and fires into the net anyway.

1744: "Not too much in the way of a response from Chelsea so far. United look in fiercely determined mood at the back and Chelsea are struggling to fashion chances from plenty of possession.

"Giggs leaves the stage to a huge ovation as Ferguson introduces Michael Carrick to shore things up for the last 10 minutes. Make no mistake United and Ferguson will see this as a huge statement of intent if they close this out."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1742: John Terry is booked for a high tackle on Park after the Chelsea skipper had misjudged a bouncing ball on halfway.

1741: Juliano Belletti surges into the United box but John O'Shea gets in a tackle to prevent the Brazilian from shooting. Ryan Giggs is now taken off to a very well deserved standing ovation, with Michael Carrick replacing the Welshman.

1739: "Chelsea disappoint me now. I can't see any shape to them, any balance, They have been really disappointing in this half."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1737: "This is not the Chelsea of last season or previous ones. Well, I'm sorry to say this, but we are no longer a winning team."
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1735: Howler. Michael Ballack flicks on a Frank Lampard free-kick and Didier Drogba completely mis-kicks the ball as it lands at his feet eight yards out. What a great chance.

1734: Joe Cole slips a little pass in to Didier Drogba but Nemanja Vidic makes a terrific block to deny the big striker.

1732: Chelsea are struggling badly right now. They have no width, no options and, it seems, no real desire to haul themselves back into this match. United are by far the better team.

1730: "Sheer ecstasy around Old Trafford after that second goal - and thoughts swiftly turn to Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and his taunts with cries of "are you watching Merseyside?"

"Benitez did say at Stoke last night that he would relax in front of the television this afternoon - not sure he will find this sight very relaxing."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1729: "I'm in the box beside Mourinho and I just overheard him say that Chelsea are half the side they were under him!"
Conor, via text on 81111

1728: John O'Shea comes on for the injured Patrice Evra.

1728: Wayne Rooney is booked for a late tackle on Ricardo Carvalho. Bit harsh, possibly. Accumulation, perhaps.

1726: Juliano Belletti comes on for Bosingwa for Chelsea, while Patrice Evra is in big trouble for United.

1725: GOAL Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea
It's end-to-end stuff, but United may have just wrapped this game up. Nicolas Anelka's fabulous pull-back almost falls for Frank Lampard, but Gary Neville gets in a tackle. United race up the other end, Cristiano Ronaldo tees up Patrice Evra down the left and his cross eludes Dimitar Berbatov but falls for Wayne Rooney to volley in - the striker sticking his boot through the legs of Ashley Cole to score.

1721: Carlos Tevez starts warming up on the touchline and he gets a terrific reception from the United faithful.

1720: "This match is set up to finish 1-1 just like at Stamford Bridge. United will defend even deeper and Chelsea will equalise very late on."
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1718: Didier Drogba tees up Frank Lampard in the United box and he lays the ball back to Drogba, but the big striker's shot is wild and it goes out for a throw-in on the far side.

1716: Cristiano Ronaldo plays a stunning cross from the left right across the six-yard box, but none of his team-mates have gambled and the chance goes begging. That's where you want your number nine to be, Dimitar Berbatov.

1716: Ryan Giggs has been magnificent in central midfield so far and his gorgeous, floated pass almost lands at Park's feet as he races through, but Chelsea have enough cover.

1714: "(See 1652) Hasn't Scolari stated that he doesn't want players on the posts? He said "posts don't score, players do". He's got a point. A bad one, but it's a point nonetheless."
Neil, Arborfield, via text on 81111

1713: "The introduction of Nicolas Anelka for Deco has been well received by Chelsea's fans tucked away in a corner of Old Trafford. Good, positive move from Scolari.

"Deco produced nice touches, but nothing that threatened to seriously hurt United. Not sure he is really the answer in Chelsea's midfield - and it would be the perfect time for Drogba and Anelka to disprove the widely-held theory that they cannot play together."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1711: Manchester United, remember, have not conceded a league goal since Samir Nasri scored his second for Arsenal at the Emirates on 8 November.

1710: Deco apparently picked up a knock in the first half and that is why he has been replaced.

1709: Didier Drogba finds some space in the United box and controls a cross but his touch is too heavy and Jonny Evans gets across well to slide the ball away.

1707: Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney get the second half under way. What have Chelsea got?

1707: Nicolas Anelka comes on for the ineffective Deco for Chelsea in the second half.

1704: "I can understand Rooney's frustration as it was a fantastic corner leading up to the disallowed goal. When you practise something like that in training, and it works to perfection in the big match, of course it's going to be frustrating. The officials were too slow to realise what Rooney was doing. Great idea.

"But yes, he should have been carded earlier for dissent."
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1702: "As a Spurs fan, I can but only dream that my team would show the effort and commitment that United's and Chelsea's players do. That's why they are winners and we are floundering."
Stoney from Ware, via text on 81111

1700: Can I just say something? I'm being slaughtered by United fans for having a pop at Wayne Rooney for his behaviour. If you aren't watching the game, take a look at Match of the Day Two on BBC Two at 2200 GMT tonight. I love Rooney the footballer, he can be magical, but today he has been nothing short of thuggish.

1657: "Dramatic end to a desperately scrappy first half, but United's late flurry was more than Chelsea could survive - the release of frustration inside Old Trafford was deafening.

"Chelsea would have been the happier side had they survived those final 30 seconds but Vidic's goal has changed everything. It might even calm Wayne Rooney down, because he looked ready to blow in the closing stages of that first half.

"The onus is on Chelsea now."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1655: Fletch brings you the very latest Player Rater update: "Not many chances in the opening half at Old Trafford - and not all that many stand-out performances, with plenty of players falling short of breaking the seven. United, just about, deservedly lead, but the top of the Player Rater pops is Deco on 6.71. What do you make of that?"
Rate the players

1652: "I just do not understand it. I go on about it all the time, but why oh why do Chelsea not put players on the goalposts from set-pieces? You are trying to make your goal smaller - why don't they do it? It's just cost them a goal."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1651: Half-time Manchester United 1-0 Chelsea

1649: GOAL Manchester United 1-0 Chelsea
Big, big moments. A corner is taken quickly and Cristiano Ronaldo heads in from Ryan Giggs' cross. But the assistant was flagging and it's ruled out, much to the disgraceful Wayne Rooney's disgust. The corner is re-taken, Dimitar Berbatov flicks it on and Nemanja Vidic arrives at the far post to head downwards and into the net.

1648: Calamity from Mikel who gives the ball away on the edge of the Chelsea box - first Cristiano Ronaldo's shot is blocked and then Darren Fletcher's follow-up is deflected wide.

1646: Very important block from John Terry to deny Park there after he was slipped through into the box down the left by Cristiano Ronaldo.

1645: Ryan Giggs is having a fabulous game. Not known for his tracking back, the Welshman has provided his back four with some fantastic cover, as well as breaking forward well.

1643: Lovely play from Chelsea down their left, but after great work from Frank Lampard and Deco, Michael Ballack decides to cross instead of shoot and the chance goes begging.

1642: "We need Essien. Mikel doesn't push forward enough so both Lampard and Drogba are having to drop too deep."
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1640: Chelsea play keep-ball for a minute and eventually, after about 20 passes, Didier Drogba wins a corner down the right, which evades everyone in the box.

1639: Cristiano Ronaldo has swapped over to the left but Chelsea are doubling up on him and his left-foot cross makes its way through to Petr Cech.

1638: Ten minutes to go until half-time. Not much non-booking action so far, is there?

1636: "I'm a lifelong United fan, but it's becoming difficult to love a team with such appalling temperament. Rooney thinks aggression is a good attribute, and he's right, but only when it's concentrated in the right way. He's playing like an angry child at the moment."
Paul, Stockport, via text on 81111

1635: "It's not going to be the easiest of games to referee and he's not going to get everything right."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1633: Wayne Rooney sets up Dimitar Berbatov after great work down the left from Patrice Evra, but after the Bulgarian creates himself a yard of space, his shot is tame and straight at Petr Cech.

1633: "The battle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Ashley Cole is taking shape nicely - and the Chelsea defender has a history of playing well against this particular opponent.

"Lots of frustration inside Old Trafford aimed at referee Howard Webb, and a smaller portion directed at striker Dimitar Berbatov, who clearly still has work to do to convince Manchester United's fans of his worth."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1631: Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Carvalho are both booked for a coming together in the area - Ronaldo's being hauled the the ground by his fellow Portuguese and that could be a penalty. Strange, strange officiating.

1630: Is Howard Webb giving Rafa Benitez more cause to moan? Bosingwa is booked for a foul on Wayne Rooney, just moments after the striker avoided a caution for a similar incident the other way around.

1629: Frank Lampard lashes in a sweet left-foot half-volley that Jonny Evans does really well to block, throwing himself at the ball.

1628: Wayne Rooney is given a stern talking to by Howard Webb after lashing out ridiculously at Bosingwa and then moaning about the decision. Poor refereeing again - should have been booked, Rooney. Appalling attitude.

1626: Cristiano Ronaldo's shot is deflected wide by Didier Drogba. Good wall defending, that.

1626: Joe Cole fouls Wayne Rooney 27 yards out and Cristiano Ronaldo starts marking out his run-up...

1625: Ryan Giggs fires it in but it's straight at Petr Cech, who dismissively punches the ball away.

1625: The assistant referee flags for a free-kick to Manchester United right on the edge of the Chelsea box down their left after Ashley Cole handles Cristiano Ronaldo's cross. Another inch and that's a penalty.

1623: "(See 1618) Time to move on mate. There's no hope for the relationship."
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1621: Cristiano Ronaldo runs into Ashley Cole and referee Howard Webb gives another free-kick. Lots of whistling in the early stages.

1620: Jonny Evans is adjudged to have fouled Joe Cole in the air. Chelsea have started the better of the two teams, and as my colleague Fletch suggests, everything they are doing in an attacking sense is going through Didier Drogba so far.

1618: "My girlfriend's making me watch Titanic instead of the match. I'm using my phone to get updates. Shocking - of all the days to watch Titanic."
Kay, Surrey, via text on 81111

Making you? Titanic? I feel physically ill.

1616: Michael Ballack's lame free-kick is all along the floor and easily cleared by the home team's defence.

1615: Darren Fletcher fouls Deco 25 yards from the Man Utd goal. He's not booked, but Chelsea have a clear sight of goal here.

1615: It's a routine start to such a big game. Both teams have knocked it around nicely so far, probing away looking for a yard of space to create a chance. Chelsea need Deco to have a big game - he's seen lots of the ball in the early stages.

1612: "Some lengthy touchline chit-chat between Didier Drogba and Big Phil. Scolari has spotted something he wants changing and Didier is the messenger. Vibrant start in a great Old Trafford atmosphere, with referee Howard Webb putting a marker down with that early booking for Frank Lampard."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1610: Petr Cech drops a Cristiano Ronaldo cross from the right, but there are enough Chelsea players back to clear the danger.

1609: "It's blatant that the Man Utd defence lacks pace except for Evra. Might work switching Joe Cole to the right?"
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1606: That is frankly a woeful decision from referee Howard Webb, who books Frank Lampard for a foul on Cristiano Ronaldo. It's a foul, nothing more. It just doesn't help the game at all.

1606: "There should only be exams in June to August in odd-ended years, otherwise I'm bound to be distracted!"
James, in Bath, via text on 81111

1604: First half-chance for Chelsea courtesy of some nice passing from Deco and Joe Cole, but Frank Lampard's shot from 22 yards bobbles harmlessly wide.

1603: "Deafening ironic applause inside Old Trafford for Chelsea captain John Terry - a leftover from his Champions League final penalty miss. Terry looks unmoved - I suspect it will be water off a duck's back. He may well have heard far worse."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1603: Chelsea get us under way. Excited?

1601: "(See 1555) All of which makes me wonder what Anelka's doing on the bench. Can't say I'm his greatest fan but so far this season, his stats speak for themselves."
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1558: Manchester United have the best home record in the Premier League. Chelsea have the best away record in the Premier League. As the teams come out at Old Trafford, something has got to give (unless it's a draw).

1557: Portuguese stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco are deep in conversation in the tunnel. They are both due a performance, too.

1555: If you aren't convinced that this is a Premier League season unlike any other, check out this stat for the top three league goalscorers from last term and how they compare this campaign:

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo:
2007/08: 31 goals in 34 games. 2008/09: Eight goals in 15 games.

Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor:
2007/08: 24 goals in 36 games. 2008/09: Seven goals in 18 games.

Liverpool's Fernando Torres:
2007/08: 24 goals in 33 games. 2008/09: Five goals in 10 games.

1552: "Just woke up, about to have breakfast and watch the match. Beautiful."
John, Newcastle, via text on 81111

1549: "Fletcher and Park always seem to be amazing in these big games. The middle does seem to lack a dominator - a Carrick or a Scholes. Oh well, Fergie knows best (I sincerely hope)."
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1547: "Plenty of cameras trained on the directors' box at Old Trafford to capture The Special One, all wrapped up against the cold. An affectionate greeting from Jose for a member Chelsea's media staff. Still got friends at the Bridge - and why shouldn't he after his magnificent spell at the club?

"Let's hope he is back in the Premier League in years to come - maybe even back at Old Trafford as Sir Alex's eventual successor? Discuss."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1545: Cristiano Ronaldo has never scored a Premier League goal against Chelsea. He did bag in the Champions League final in Moscow last May, however. Can the Portuguese, who has not been in great form recently, end that drought today?

1542: "I have lots of good players available in every position now. I go with Drogba, but if I need another striker, I've got Anelka. For our system, it's better we start with just one. We need to win this game, I've said this to the players."
Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari

1540: "Rio trained all week without a problem but woke up this morning with another spasm, so we're gonna send him to another specialist tomorrow because it's becoming a problem for us. I'm really looking forward to the game, though."
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

1538: Fletch has the final word on Wigan v Tottenham, from a Player Rater point of view anyway: "Not exactly a match to savour, but striker Amr Zaki can go home happy in the knowledge that at full-time he had held on to the top Player Rater score with 8.25. Of course, you can knock him off his perch, as I imagine match-winner Maynor Figueroa might want to improve on his score of 6.14."
Rate the players

1535: "United v Chelsea, the type of game where Ji-Sung Park and Darren Fletcher aren't brilliant, but effective. Hopefully they will be able to repay Sir Alex's faith in them. Also, a worrying number of defenders on the United bench."
Tim, Bristol, via text on 81111

1533: "Some surprise here about Sir Alex Ferguson's team selection, especially his decision to go for Ryan Giggs in midfield ahead of Michael Carrick. Big call that, but Giggs has the quality to flourish in there.

"Strong-looking Chelsea side. Good move by Scolari to go for Didier Drogba ahead of Nicolas Anelka - he will try to make it a difficult afternoon for young Jonny Evans. All praise of Drogba should, of course, be qualified by questioning which Didier will actually pitch up.

"And yes - Rafael Benitez's attack on Sir Alex Ferguson IS the talk of Old Trafford."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

1530: Jose Mourinho strolls into Old Trafford, warmly welcomes a man he recognises from his time in England and then strides off to the directors' box. Hands up if you've missed the Special One? (Mine's up)

1529: So, Jonny Evans continues as Nemanja Vidic's partner in the centre of Manchester United's defence with Rio Ferdinand still suffering from a back injury. Ryan Giggs is a surprise starter ahead of Michael Carrick in central midfield, while Darren Fletcher and Park Ji-Sung also feature. Carlos Tevez is on the bench. Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has opted to start Didier Drogba on his own up front as Nicolas Anelka drops to the bench, while skipper John Terry returns from a two-match ban to partner Ricardo Carvalho in defence.

1526: We've just witnessed history in the making. That is the first time Wigan Athletic have ever beaten Tottenham Hotspur, at the ninth attempt. The Latics have now won six out of their last seven games, while Spurs remain in the relegation zone.

1524: Full-time Wigan 1-0 Tottenham

1522: That goal was timed at one minute into injury time. Heartbreak for Spurs.

1520: GOAL Wigan 1-0 Tottenham
Didn't you just know it? Ryan Taylor swings over his umpteenth corner from the right and Maynor Figueroa rises highest to head past a stranded Heurelho Gomes.

1519: "The biggest surprise for me is the exclusion of Carrick. Time for Fletcher to stand up again in a big match and repeat his match-winning performance against Chelsea in 2005."
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1517: Great tackle, Titus Bramble, which stops the marauding Aaron Lennon from running at the heart of the Wigan defence.

1517: MANCHESTER UNITED v CHELSEA LINE-UPS
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Ronaldo, Fletcher, Giggs, Park, Berbatov, Rooney.
Subs: Kuszczak, Anderson, Carrick, Scholes, Welbeck, O'Shea, Tevez.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Mikel, Joe Cole, Lampard, Ballack, Deco, Drogba.
Subs: Cudicini, Ivanovic, Di Santo, Ferreira, Kalou, Belletti, Anelka.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

1515: Amr Zaki gets on the end of a corner from the right but the Egyptian heads wide from six yards, he'll definitely think he should have done better there.

1515: Yeah, glad I talked up the strikers, anyway (see 1251). Really glad.

1513: Ryan Taylor curls a free-kick hopelessly over from 25 yards, thankfully this game is finishing very soon.

1512:Breaking team news: Gary Neville, Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs are back in the Man Utd side, but there's still no Rio Ferdinand. John Terry is back for Chelsea and Michael Ballack replaces Florent Malouda.

1511: Paul Scharner is cautioned for a poorly-timed challenge on Darren Bent on the left-hand corner of the Spurs 18-yard box.

1510: Heurelho Gomes is struggling badly, I think he's annoyed not have been substituted. He throws the ball forward over halfway instead of kicking, because of his injury. Just in case anyone had forgotten.

1509: "Let's hope the next game is a bit more exciting - I would rather be round my nan's for Boxing Day dinner than watch this rubbish."
Chris, disheartened Spurs fan, via text on 81111

1508: I underestimated Michael Dawson's injury there, he looks awfully groggy as he gets back to his feet. He's led off by the Spurs physio and former Nottingham Forest team-mate Jermaine Jenas comes on for him, with Ledley King dropping back to centre-half.

1506: Michael Dawson goes down after an aerial challenge with Emile Heskey and the central defender needs a little bit of treatment, but he'll be OK.

1504: Jonathan Woodgate is the next man in the book with a foul on Emile Heskey. Andre Marriner might as well not put his card back in his pocket if he's going to show yellow for every foul.

1503: "I think Chelsea should go with two wingers today, which would mean drop either Anelka or Drogba. Early on this season we played our best football with two out-and-out wingers - instead of accommodating players we should pick the best 11 in the 4-3-3 formation."
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1501: Didier Zokora is booked for a foul on Wilson Palacios, perhaps a touch of revenge in that one. Less than 20 minutes to go at the JJB.

1459: Gareth Bale's ambitious shot clips the top of the wall and Wigan clear the danger.

1458: Wilson Palacios is booked for a foul on Didier Zokora as he surged forward - he needn't have bothered, because Zokora's pass was too far ahead of Jermain Defoe anyway. Spurs have a free-kick, more than 30 yards out, fairly central.

1456: "Every game Spurs play, I hear people criticising Gomes, it's getting really boring. He's been fantastic lately."
Luke from Leamington Spa, via text on 81111

1454: Antonio Valencia is booked for an aerial challenge on Gareth Bale, catching the defender with his elbow. Harry Redknapp and Steve Bruce have an amicable chat about it on the touchline.

1452: Michael Dawson once again gets up above Amr Zaki as Wigan launch the ball into the Spurs box. I wonder how many headers Dawson and Jonathan Woodgate have won so far today. A real masterclass.

1450: Wilson Palacios surges forward from the back for Wigan and slides the ball into Emile Heskey, who has not timed his run very well and is two yards offside. Heurelho Gomes saves his shot, anyway.

1449: "Bent and Defoe up front for Spurs now - that was Ramos' first ever striking partnership away to Middlesbrough. How times change..."
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1447: Another one who has been below-par, Luka Modric, comes off and Aaron Lennon replaces him. Which also means Didier Zokora can go back to his more favoured position in the middle.

1446: Heurelho Gomes has got a problem, he's pulled up with something of an injury, but after a chat with the Spurs physio he will continue.

1444: Darren Bent has come on for the hugely disappointing Roman Pavlyuchenko.

1443: Gareth Bale swings over a lovely cross from the left and Jamie O'Hara seems to miss it completely with his head, having arrived in the box first.

1442: Wilson Palacios pulls back Jermain Defoe, it's an obvious tug, but again Andre Marriner fails to give the free-kick. Defoe is looking a little frustrated.

1441: Wigan have made a much better start to the second half, every time Spurs launch it forward it's not sticking and Wigan just launch another attack.

1439: "Tell Hannah (see 1429) to do something modern. Should take her about 10 minutes."
Kimpton Baggie, via text on 81111

1436: Heurelho Gomes throws the ball straight out to Ryan Taylor 45 yards out and with the Brazilian out of his goal, Taylor tries to volley into the net, but doesn't quite get enough on it and Gomes survives.

1435: England coach Fabio Capello is at Wigan, with assistant Franco Baldini. Someone should tell Jermain Defoe - he needs a debut goal. We're back under way.

1433: "Yes, the result (of Man Utd v Chelsea) will be important, but the game itself is likely to be dreadful."
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Not helping me sell it to Hannah are you, mate?!

1429: "I have an art piece for coursework due tomorrow! What do I do?"
Hannah from Rochester, via text on 81111

Hannah, Hannah, Hannah. You stay with the football until it finishes, and then you do what's technically called a 'half job' on your coursework. Priorities.

1426: Fletch has been checking out the old Player Rater chat: "You wouldn't say that too many have really gone all out to ensure they topped the Player Rater poll at the break but Wigan's Amr Zaki has been full of running and shown more than the occasional glance of skill. He is top of the pops with 8.44. Why not get involved yourself?"
Rate the players

1423: 97 minutes until kick-off at Old Trafford. Walking into the stadium, Sir Alex Ferguson has a broad grin on his face. He'll meet up with an old foe today, too, with Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho in the crowd to check out his side's next Champions League opponents.

1421: For my money this game is there for the taking for Wigan, but Tottenham really need to sort that formation out, because whatever it is, it ain't working. And it never will if Didier Zokora is their only outlet down the right.

1419: Half-time Wigan 0-0 Tottenham

1418: "See 1409. Anyone else think Wigan specifically practice bicycle kicks at training?? Zaki scored a screamer at Liverpool earlier in the season so he obviously gets top marks, but Palacios and Scharner efforts in the first quarter of the hour 'must do better!'. Still cannae beat Mo Johnson's effort against France in 1989 in a World Cup qualifier- what a goal that was!"
Foz, Aberdeen, via text on 81111

1416: Ryan Taylor has a free-kick 25 yards out after Jamie O'Hara fouled Emile Heskey, but he only ever scores against Newcastle and it hits the top of the wall.

1414: He'll never score. Ever, ever, ever. A messy spell in the middle of the pitch ends with Jermain Defoe battling hard to win the ball and he pokes it through for Didier Zokora in miles of space on the right of the Wigan box, but he shoots first time, well, well wide. He could have taken a touch, done anything.

1411: Amr Zaki turns Michael Dawson down the left and floats over a cross that flicks off the head of Jonathan Woodgate and falls for Emile Heskey, who is foiled by Heurelho Gomes at the far post.

1411: "All this talk of a title race has got me thinking of a 100m sprint between Benitez, Ferguson and Scolari. That would be a sight to behold."
shortyshorty89 on 606
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1409: Wilson Palacios has got an eye for the spectacular, but his acrobatic volley from 18 yards flies into the arms of Heurelho Gomes, who, being Brazilian, probably quite liked that attempt on his goal.

1407: Ryan Taylor swings over another pinpoint free-kick from the right and Amr Zaki gets just ahead of Didier Zokora but can only glance inches wide of the far post.

1405: Gareth Bale is cautioned for a foul on Antonio Valencia, a sliding challenge that was late, but probably looked a little worse than it was.

1405: "Is it just me or is Tottenham's bench almost better than their starting line-up? Bently, Bent, Jenas and Lennon... I suppose they are away."
Henry Hitchcox, via text on 81111

1403: The Spurs bench are up, furious that referee Andre Marriner did not give a free-kick for a blatant Wilson Palacios foul on Jermain Defoe that flattened the striker.

1401: Jermain Defoe is waiting for Luka Modric to get on the ball and then he peels off the last defender, looking for the ball over the top. On this occasion, Titus Bramble clears, but he wants an offside flag that never came.

1359: "Wigan-Spurs looks like a classic case of a game that will be decided by one great piece of skill or one complete clanger. Gomez or Bramble?"
DougCoglan on 606
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1357: Amr Zaki, have a word with yourself. The big man is barged off the ball by Vedran Corluka and waves an imaginary yellow card at the referee. Oh dear. Ryan Taylor curls the ball over from the resulting free-kick.

1356: A corner from the Wigan right falls to Paul Scharner, but his acrobatic volley flies miles over.

1355: Wigan are enjoying more possession and Amr Zaki gets into a lovely position on the right-hand side of the Spurs box, but Michael Dawson, who has been magnificent so far, clears with his head.

1353: Didier Zokora is the man trying to give Spurs width down the right, but he looks uncomfortable in attacking positions and his attempted pass for Roman Pavlyuchenko goes straight through to Chris Kirkland.

1351: Not much happening at the moment in Wigan, the game has settled down a bit after a lively start. Jermain Defoe hasn't been involved much, but he's scored on his West Ham, Tottenham and Portsmouth debuts, so he's sure to bag today.

1347: "Bale is a class player, he just needs to be given the right set of players to get him out of his shell, but Spurs don't have the best squad at the moment. He just made those two runs and you saw a hint of what he can achieve going forward."
Anonymous, via text on 81111

1345: Didier Zokora gives the ball away and Amr Zaki races into the box, but just as he is set to pull the trigger, Michael Dawson makes a fabulous saving tackle.

1343: Vedran Corluka is the third central defender, alongside Michael Dawson and Jonathan Woodgate. But it's an odd one, because the Croatian seems to be helping out Didier Zokora down the right as well. Ledley King is playing just in front of the back, er, three.

1342: Luka Modric slides the ball into the area and Jamie O'Hara drags his shot wide of the far post from 12 yards, he really should have got that on target.

1342: Jermain Defoe goes down after Titus Bramble shoves him off the ball, and it's a decent place for a free-kick wide out on the left.

1339: Might just be an inspired formation change from Harry Redknapp, this. Gareth Bale is far more suited to playing wing-back than full-back - he loves to get forward and needs more cover when he's defending. He's rampaged forward twice already - and he can cross a ball too, when he gets the chance.

1336: "Surely playing wing-backs against a team with good wingers, such as Wigan, is a very risky strategy. Lets see if it works."
wolfinnotts on 606
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1334: Jamie O'Hara whips over a free-kick from the left and Chris Kirkland fails to gather Ledley King's header, the keeper recovering quickly to punch away from Michael Dawson as he tried to head in the rebound.

1333: Emile Heskey and Lee Cattermole get us under way at the JJB Stadium.

1328: "Can you help me out with the Spurs line-up? Three centre-backs, Corluka and Bale, and no Lennon starting. What's going on there?!"
Chris, London, via text on 81111

Not sure I can explain it better than that, in fairness. Looks like Corluka and Bale will be the wing-backs (is it 1996?). Ledley King will play as part of a back three/five depending on how you look at it, though he could pop into his England 2004 defensive midfield position if required.

1325: "Interesting to note that by the next time Liverpool play, Man Utd could actually be top (Chelsea, Bolton and Wigan all played before Liverpool face Everton)."
VeronsTasche on 606
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1321: "We know what Jermain Defoe can do and Roman Pavlyuchenko is in decent form too, so we're hoping they can immediately start up a decent partnership."
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp

1319: Here's a stat to warm up Tottenham fans everywhere - they have never lost to Wigan, in the eight meetings the two clubs have ever had. Most recently, they dumped the Latics out of the FA Cup nine days ago, though Steve Bruce did pick a shadow side for that one.
Tottenham 3-1 Wigan

1315: Dan's right, birthday goals do come round fairly often, but then so do goals for the guys who seem to be attracting the most attention in the transfer window, and Mr Heskey certainly falls into that category, too (Liverpool, Aston Villa etc). Can he up his fee with a stellar display today?

1312: "What are the odds Emile Heskey scores today on his birthday? So many players seem to do it!"
Dan, Coleraine, via text on 81111

1309:Wigan make seven changes from the side that was beaten 3-1 by Tottenham in the FA Cup. Spurs line up with Jermain Defoe back in their side following his return to the club after signing from Portsmouth, and Ledley King is restored to the starting line-up after being rested.

1306: Welsh left-back Gareth Bale plays his 20th Premier League game for Tottenham today. He is still yet to finish on the winning team in the top division. It remains a remarkable statistic.

1303: "Scolari set off the alarm so that, should they lose, he can accuse Ferguson of foul play."
lobotics on 606
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1300: Stevo's Predos:
Wigan 2-2 Tottenham
Man Utd 2-1 Chelsea
Lawro's predictions

1256: WIGAN v TOTTENHAM LINE-UPS
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Palacios, Cattermole, Taylor, Heskey, Zaki.
Subs: Pollitt, Edman, Kilbane, Brown, Boyce, De Ridder, Camara.
Tottenham: Gomes, Zokora, Dawson, Woodgate, King, Bale, Corluka, Modric, O'Hara, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe.
Subs: Cesar, Bentley, Huddlestone, Lennon, Jenas, Bent, Campbell.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

1254: Wigan may have already replaced Heskey, though they'd be loath to admit it. Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega, 23, is poised to join the Latics next week if the club can secure a work permit. "He's fast, about 6ft 1in, good in the air, rangy, can score a goal - just a genuine all-round striker," said boss Steve Bruce. Promising.
Wigan line up striker Rodallega

1251: I, for one, am very much looking forward to the first game of the day. For the following reasons: Emile Heskey, Amr Zaki, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe. One great strikeforce, one potentially great strikeforce. Happy birthday to big Emile, too - he's 31 today. How long will he stay at Wigan for, though?

1247: "A win for Spurs would mean they climb seven places, while a win for Wigan would mean they stay seventh. This season hurts my brain!"
Simon, Durham, via text on 81111

1245: Are you thinking conspiracy theories, yet? Whether you are or not, the bad news is that we've got to wait 195 minutes for kick-off at Man United. The good news is that we've got Wigan v Tottenham to keep us occupied until then. Not to mention your chat and banter. I look forward to your texts on 81111 and the debate is very much already under way on 606.
Join the debate on 606

1241: The plot thickens: Chelsea's players and staff were evacuated from their Manchester hotel at 0700 GMT this morning after the fire alarm went off. They spent around 50 minutes outside and in the lobby before being allowed to go back to their rooms.

1238: Today, Benitez will be watching Manchester United and Chelsea slug it out at Old Trafford away from the firing line. But it's a safe bet his name will be on everyone's lips at the Theatre of Dreams. The Spaniard will be only too aware that if Chelsea win, they move to within a point of his team. If United win their three games in hand (cue drum roll, please)... they will go top of the Premier League.

1235: If there was one thing Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez needed just a day after his explosive character-assassination of Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson, it was his team to go to Stoke and pick up the three points to go six clear at the top. Sadly, it didn't happen, and Rafa the gaffer has been left with a little bit of egg on his face. Over to you, Fergie.
Benitez continues Ferguson attack

1230: I woke up this morning with questions (all football-related) flooding my mind, but one in particular kept repeating itself: Why does nobody want to win the 2008/09 Premier League? Why? Maybe someone out there has the answer...

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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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