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Page last updated at 18:37 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 19:37 UK

Premier League as it happened

RESULTS
Arsenal 2-0 Man City
Blackburn 2-1 Tottenham
Bolton 4-1 Middlesbrough
Fulham 0-1 Liverpool
Hull City 0-0 Portsmouth
Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea
West Brom 0-2 Stoke
West Ham 2-0 Sunderland

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

606: DEBATE

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

By Jonathan Stevenson

1937: My word count is suggesting I'm rapidly approaching the 10,000-mark, which has to mean it's time to go. Thanks for playing a quality hand in another brilliant day of Premier League football. Alan Green's on BBC Radio 5 Live on 606 right now, and Match of the Day is on BBC One and online at 2200 BST. See you tomorrow, legends.

1934: You know what? If the reaction from Liverpool fans on 606, on the texts and from the fans in the office is anything to go by, I reckon they might have just enjoyed that win perhaps even more than their last three. The Reds are now two points clear in the Premier League, with Manchester United having two games in hand.

1932: "Dare I say that is the tenacity of champions? Absolutely relentless until something budged. I am impressed."
Sasha, a once hopeful Gunner, via text on 81111

1930: My word we have a Premier League title race and some, don't we? Whoever you support, it's difficult to argue that the league isn't better for it. And you have to praise Liverpool after that - perseverance is a very, very useful commodity.

1927: "Liverpool have deserved it, I don't think you can say they don't, but it's been a really entertaining game and both teams tried to go for it. Well done Liverpool."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1926: Full-time Fulham 0-1 Liverpool

1925: Erik Nevland's cross sails into the arms of Pepe Reina.

1924: Steven Gerrard is rested for the last few seconds as Daniel Agger comes on.

1922: GOAL Fulham 0-1 Liverpool
Who writes Rafa's scripts right now? Ryan Babel finds Steven Gerrard in the Fulham box and the ball ricochets off a Fulham defender into the path of Yossi Benayoun , who smashes a fabulous shot into the far corner from an angle on the right. It's a brilliant finish, and is perhaps the most important goal of the Premier League season so far.

1922: Rafa Benitez is urging his team forward from the touchline.

1921: Yossi Benayoun shoots into the side-netting from about eight yards. Officially now, we are into injury time. Of which there will be at least four minutes.

1920: Martin Skrtel is booked for a foul on Clint Dempsey. The clock ticks round to 89...

1918: Fulham's last change is the withdrawal of Andrew Johnson and introduction of Norwegian striker Erik Nevland, who wastes no time barking instructions to his team-mates.

1916: Zoltan Gera is now cautioned for a late challenge on Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina. Nervy times at the Cottage.

1916: Ryan Babel is booked, no idea why. Five minutes plus stoppages left.

1914: "The international break came at a bad time for Liverpool."
spikey4ril on 606
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1912: Incredible. Fulham survive by the skin of their teeth as Liverpool knock on the door and pinball in the home team's box ends with Steven Gerrard lashing the ball across the face of the Fulham goal from the right and Yossi Benayoun flicking it between his legs and agonisingly past the far post.

1909: Simon Davies is taken off and Zoltan Gera comes on for the Welshman for Fulham.

1907: Yossi Benayoun comes on for Dirk Kuyt for Liverpool, while Olivier Dacourt replaces Danny Murphy for Fulham.

1906: "I just watched a Liverpool attack from my plane coming into land at Heathrow and I could tell Hangeland was having a good game."
From Tom and Bowser, via text on 81111

1904: Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy gets away from Xabi Alonso, but his right-foot shot from 30 yards flies well wide.

1903: Steven Gerrard whips over a cross from the left and Fernando Torres is a whisker away from heading it in a la 1987's Keith Houchen, but again Fulham manage to clear their lines. Phew!

1903: Liverpool have injected some real urgency in their play - they have 18 minutes plus stoppage time to find a winner.

1902: Fulham's corner from the right is cleared and Steven Gerrard launches a quick counter-attack, finding Ryan Babel, who sees his cross-shot cleared well by John Pantsil with Dirk Kuyt trying to turn it in.

1900: "Babel for Dossena could work, but personally I would rather Riera. We will see - all I can do is trust Rafa."
redboychris on 606
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1858: Xabi Alonso's big, swirling free-kick into the Fulham box is missed by Mark Schwarzer but thankfully for the Australian, missed by everyone else as well as it runs out for a goalkick.

1856: Rafa Benitez makes his first change and it's Ryan Babel on for Andrea Dossena, who actually had a pretty decent game again on the left wing.

1853: Danny Murphy takes Paul Konchesky's pass really neatly and skips past one challenge and into the area - if he can get past Martin Skrtel he's got a clear shooting chance, but the Slovakian makes an inch-perfect tackle.

1851: An hour gone at Craven Cottage and will Rafa Benitez be thinking about a change anytime soon, I wonder?

1848: Jamie Carragher's pass is well controlled by Lucas, who surges at the Fulham defence only to meet the immovable object Brede Hangeland, who mops up with typical ease. An outside bet for Player of the Year?

1846: "I'm stood next to a guy who needs a Liverpool win to scoop £400 on an accumulator. He's more agitated than the Liverpool fans with the number of times they've hit the bar!"
Mr Onedge in the pub, via text on 81111

1844: Emiliano Insua does really well to drive down the left and cut in towards the box and the Argentine's cross lands on the head of Fernando Torres, but the striker can only head tamely into the arms of Mark Schwarzer from eight yards. Poor effort.

1843: West Ham's Jonathan Spector is OK too. Here's what Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola had to say about the American's injury: "He lost consciousness and his short memory, but he is fine now. He doesn't remember me, which is a good thing."

1842: Newcastle's Peter Lovenkrands has been taken to hospital wearing breathing apparatus after he collapsed during their defeat at home against Chelsea. "They have now stabilised him and hopefully, he will be OK," said manager Alan Shearer.

1840: The pattern of the second half is very much a replica of the first, with Liverpool dominating possession and Fulham waiting for a chance to break.

1837: "Fulham needed that half-time break and it will be very interesting to see whether the interval helps them, because Liverpool were in total control."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1835: Rafa Benitez looks very relaxed as he strolls across the Craven Cottage pitch, stopping for a quick word with Jamie Carragher on his way. We're back under way.

1832: "Clearly that crossbar has had some voodoo worked on it. I expect the FA to investigate this matter thoroughly should this game end in a draw."
Eliza, via text on 81111

1828: Liverpool could be 4-0 up. If they were 4-0 up, they'd have pulled off a feat not achieved by the Anfield men since 1905 - scoring four goals in four consecutive games. If only the woodwork of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Aston Villa had produced the goods like Fulham's has.

1825: "Great work by the Fulham defence, especially the woodwork - just wondering if Man City will bid for it this summer."
eusuphxaiYNWA on 606
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1821: "Liverpool have dominated, they've hit the woodwork four times, the game really should be over. But let's hope the second half will be as entertaining as that was."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1819: Half-time Fulham 0-0 Liverpool

1818: We're into added time in the first half. How the blazes is it still 0-0? Answers on text to 81111.

1815: Danny Murphy executes a quite brilliant tackle on Steven Gerrard inside the Fulham box and then sends Bobby Zamora away down the Fulham right, but the maverick forward, who tormented Manchester United two weeks ago, gives the ball away carelessly.

1812: Fulham win a free-kick 25 yards out and Clint Dempsey smashes it over after a touch from Danny Murphy. It'd be nothing short of daylight robbery if Fulham went in front.

1810: "This game should be dead."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1809: Steven Gerrard whips over a stunning cross from the right and Andrea Dossena meets it with a diving header that - guess what? - crashes against that Fulham crossbar. Unbelievable.

1807: Steven Gerrard plays a lovely pass through to Fernando Torres and the Spaniard waits until the last moment to shoot right-footed across the goalkeeper, hitting the far post. How unlucky the visitors have been.

1806: Fernando Torres races on to a ball over the top down the left, cuts inside John Pantsil and forces Mark Schwarzer to make a low save at his near post with a 25-yard shot.

1804: Xabi Alonso shows off his stunning technique to volley a right-foot shot from the edge of the Fulham box after a corner is half-cleared, but it rattles against that pesky (for Liverpool) crossbar once again. Fabulous skill.

1801: "Does anyone else think that Arsenal could actually challenge for the title now? I have big doubts, but could this be the latest title challenge EVER?"
Greek, N5, via text on 81111

No, but it would be awesome if they did. Awesome.

1758: Xabi Alonso rifles a right-foot shot wide from 22 yards, it screws off the outside of his foot after a lay-off from Fernando Torres. Liverpool are comfortably in the ascendancy.

1756: Now Dirk Kuyt's found his range - the inconsistent Dutchman delivers a stunning, vicious cross from the right and Fernando Torres can only head powerfully wide of the target.

1755: Liverpool are knocking the ball around like they've got all the time in the world, but they are being very clever, waiting for their chance to pounce. One such chance comes along when Steven Gerrard plays in Fernando Torres and his low shot is very smartly saved by Mark Schwarzer, who stays alert to get rid of the rebound too.

1753: "Liverpool just need to keep calm, be patient. The goal will come. We need to be wary of the timely runs Andy Johnson makes. We're playing a dangerous game pushing forward early on. But there's plenty of time."
Dinheiro Não Pode Comprar Futebol Bonito on 606
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1749: Lucas does well down the right for Liverpool, holding off two defenders and giving Fernando Torres the chance to cross, but Mark Schwarzer does really well to stay alert and cut out the Spaniard's ball across the face of goal.

1748: Martin Skrtel inexplicably gives the ball away to Bobby Zamora, but he cannot find Andrew Johnson with his attempted pass.

1747: "I said it at the time Stevo - Boro beating Liverpool in February was the worst result for them because it meant Gareth Southgate would stay!"
Ray from Brighton, via text on 81111

1745: Steven Gerrard gives Dirk Kuyt two cracking chances to fire over crosses from the right, but his first is low and blocked and the second rubbish and into the crowd. That's no way to celebrate a new contract...
Kuyt agrees Liverpool extension

1743: Remarkable - a corner falls to Martin Skrtel and he hammers a left-foot shot goalwards that that man Andrea Dossena flicks on and it crashes against the Fulham crossbar with Mark Schwarzer beaten.

1742: Andrea Dossena forces a fine save from Mark Schwarzer with the outside of his left foot after brilliant hold-up play on the edge of the Fulham area from Fernando Torres.

1739: Clint Dempsey runs at Alvaro Arbeloa down the Fulham left and skins him, racing into the box and winning a corner eventually, which comes to nothing.

1738: Bobby Zamora tries to send Andrew Johnson through and he's given offside, a terrible decision as he's easily on. Could have been interesting.

1736: "We worked very, very hard and contained them in the first half, but the second half came back to bite us. We made a mistake and got punished for it and you don't want to go gung-ho because you're playing against a very good team. We'll have to step up our quality, but we're not playing Chelsea every week."
Newcastle manager Alan Shearer

1734: "Liverpool know the score - they've got to win pretty much all of their games if they want to win the league. It's a hard task for them today because Fulham will be very organised."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor

1732: The teams change ends and Fulham get us under way.

1730: Confident, Liverpool fans? Fulham's might be - after all, they've only lost one of their six meetings with so-called 'Big Four' sides this season, winning two of them.

1727: Not long until kick-off at Craven Cottage and the sun is shining brightly on west London as the teams emerge from that far corner of the ground.

1724: I'm getting a very big vibe from you lot, Boro fans, that you are absolutely furious about your club's predicament - five points adrift of Premier League safety. I sympathise massively - for all the talk of Steve Gibson being a chairman like no other, his decision to stick with Gareth Southgate looks like it is ending in relegation. I like Southgate too, but he shouldn't be in that job still.

1722: Fulham's occasionally controversial (though not usually in footballing circles) owner Mohamed Al Fayed goes on a pre-match stroll around the Craven Cottage pitch and stops to shake hands with some of his employees. The players seem suitably amused.

1720: "We - Boro - deserve to go down. We have no passion, no pride and no defence. Conceding four goals against a team like Bolton is not on, Southgate out now!"
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1717: "Fantastic result for the Irons, real promise for the future shown today. Who knows - maybe we can get in to Europe after all! I hear Jonathan Spector was concussed, and it wasn't his shoulder after all."
Deano, via text on 81111

1715: Fulham name an unchanged line-up as they go in search of their 10th home victory of the season. Liverpool , who could go top of the Premier League, make three changes, with Emiliano Insua, Lucas and Andrea Dossena in for Fabio Aurelio, Javier Mascherano and Albert Riera.

1712: Remember - Liverpool will go top of the Premier League even if they only manage a draw at Fulham's Craven Cottage today. But a win would very nicely put pressure on Manchester United, ahead of their game against Aston Villa at Old Trafford tomorrow.

1709: FULHAM v LIVERPOOL LINE-UPS
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey, Murphy, Etuhu, Davies, Zamora, Johnson.
Subs: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Gera, Kamara, Dacourt, Kallio, Baird.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Alonso, Lucas, Kuyt, Gerrard, Dossena, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Agger, Riera, Benayoun, Babel, Mascherano, Ngog.
Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent)

1707: My computer is slower than Christopher Samba's turning circle, so massive apologies if the updates appear a little slower than usual. Fulham-Liverpool team news on the way.

1704: "They may have outplayed us today, I'm guessing by the scoreline. But it's common courtesy for me to ask what happened with Jonathan Spector and is he OK?"
A downbeat Sunderland fan, via text on 81111

Lovely touch, that. Unfortunately we don't know anything more at this time, but I'll try to give you an update as soon as possible.

1700: "The Championship will have a new derby to look forward to next season - the Tyne-Tees derby!"
redandblackT1899 on 606
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A handy replacement for the Brian Clough derby, he bemoaned...

1657: Full-time West Ham 2-0 Sunderland

1656: Full-time Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City

1655: "Alan Shearer marches off stone-faced and St James' Park is silent. No dream start for Shearer and a clear illustration of the huge task awaiting him."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park

1654: Full-time Hull City 0-0 Portsmouth

1654: Hermann Hreidarsson's header crashes against the post as Pompey go close to scoring against Hull.

1653: Full-time Bolton 4-1 Middlesbrough

1653: Full-time West Brom 0-2 Stoke

1652: Full-time Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea

1651: "The home fans are starting to stream out. A fan just said there's more chance of them winning a Grand National bet then Newcastle staying up."
BBC Sport's Saj Chowdhury at St James' Park in the Gallowgate

1648: Franco di Santo goes on a mazy run at Newcastle, cutting in from the left and beating two players only to drill a shot wide.

1647: My colleague Rob has gone stat happy: Stoke's win at West Brom is their first away league win since 26 April last year, when they won at Colchester in the Championship, while Newcastle's defeat leaves them with just a single win in their last 15 matches.

1646: Not the best day for north-east football fans, is it? (Hartlepool apart)

1644: GOAL Bolton 4-1 Middlesbrough
Matty Taylor's magic left foot swings over another cracking ball to the far post and Ricardo Gardner controls neatly before curling a left-foot shot past Brad Jones and into the far corner from 10 yards.

1642: "Robinho's attitude may prevent him from becoming a truly great player."
messiisgod on 606
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At the moment, it might be stopping him from even being a very good one.

1639: SENDING OFF Glen Johnson (Portsmouth)
It had been coming - referee Chris Foy had probably told Johnson one more and he's off and he over-runs the ball and collides with Dean Marney, Foy showing him his second yellow of the game. It looks a very harsh booking to me.

1638: GOAL Bolton 3-1 Middlesbrough
Oh dear. Middlesbrough are heading for their ninth successive away defeat in the Premier League and it's a howler of a goal to concede. Matty Taylor curls over a left-foot free-kick from out on the right and Boro's defender and Brad Jones all leave it, the ball bouncing into the top corner of their net.

1637: "Luis Boa Morte is ripping them apart!"
Curtis, at Upton Park, via text on 81111

1636: "Not been a good afternoon for Robinho - aside from being ineffective, he's just completely miscontrolled a ball on the touchline, bringing almost the biggest cheer of the afternoon from the Emirates crowd."
BBC Sport's David Garrido at The Emirates

1634: Boro have had the better of the second half at Bolton, Afonso Alves has gone close, but they are running out of time to find an equaliser.

1633: Michael Owen's cross is deflected goalwards and cleared off the line by Ashley Cole - but the England striker thinks it is over the line, and he might just have had a case.

1632: "Some Newcastle fans are heading for the exits as Chelsea tear the script to pieces. Shearer looks suitably dejected at the grim turn of events."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park

1630: Jonathan Spector has been down for about five minutes at West Ham, receiving treatment on the pitch and he is eventually stretchered off. We haven't been shown a replay, but will let you know what happening as soon as we know.

1629: West Brom's Robert Koren goes on a mazy little run and Ryan Shawcross heads over his own crossbar.

1628: "Manchester United were once relegated. It happens."
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1625: GOAL Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea
Route one and that's that for Alan Shearer and Newcastle today. Petr Cech's goalkick is flicked on by Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard tees up Florent Malouda to lash home left-footed.

1625: Chris Brunt hits the crossbar with a stunning 30-yard left-foot drive, so unlucky for West Brom.

1624: "I think its going be two from the three north-east teams going down this year."
Perturbed Sunderland fan, via text on 81111

1623: Portsmouth fail to clear their lines and David James is forced to make a save from Craig Fagan's header. Pompey were all over the place there.

1621: Tuncay volleys over from 10 yards at Bolton - my word do Middlesbrough need to find a way back into that game - and soon.

1619: Roman Bednar, Robert Koren and Filipe Teixeira come on for West Brom in what might be called 'Tony Mowbray's last throw of the dice'.

1616: GOAL Newcastle 0-1 Chelsea
That's why Newcastle are struggling. Fabricio Coloccini dallies on the ball and Nicolas Anelka steals it, the ball is played back to Anelka and his deflected shot loops against the crossbar, with Frank Lampard on hand to nod into an empty net. Horror show from the Argentine.

1614: Johan Elmander misses a glorious chance for Bolton, before Obafemi Martins skies one at Newcastle and then at Arsenal, Alex Song heads inches over. Enough action for you?!

1611: GOAL West Ham 2-0 Sunderland
James Tomkins doubles West Ham's lead at Upton Park with a powerful header that bounces down just before line and just beats Craig Gordon's despairing dive.

1611: GOAL Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City
Sheer delight. Cesc Fabregas proves why he is one of the best players in the world with a stunning lofted pass from 30 yards that takes Richard Dunne out of the game and puts Emmanuel Adebayor clean through, the striker rounding Shay Given and nonchalantly slotting in.

1611: Florent Malouda hits a fierce right-foot shot that forces Steve Harper to save at Newcastle.

1609: GOAL West Brom 0-2 Stoke
Hammer blow for the home team - is that their fate sealed? Matthew Etherington latches on to Ricardo Fuller's hooked pass and the ball breaks kindly for James Beattie 12 yards out to rifle a left-foot shot via Scott Carson's despairing dive into the corner of the net.

1608: And they're under way at The Emirates now too.

1607: "Arsenal will be only seven points behind Manchester United in the title race, they still have to play Chelsea at home, Liverpool and Manchester United away. Wenger could just shock everybody because their squad and team are looking strong now."
Jayamz86 on 606
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1606: Newcastle and Chelsea are back in action - just Arsenal v Man City we're waiting for now.

1605: Bolton v Middlesbrough gets started again, along with West Brom v Stoke and Hull v Portsmouth.

1604: Up and running once more at West Ham.

1602: Boy do Newcastle need to win today - or at least avoid defeat. They've lost their last two matches at St James' Park and they've never lost three in a row at home in the Premier League. That is one Toon record Alan Shearer will not want to break.

1558: "Most people give up crisps and chocolate for lent. At The Hawthorns the team give up defending and the fans give up hope."
John at West Brom, via text on 81111

1555: "I think Mark Hughes will be very relieved indeed that its only 1-0 at half time. Such is the difference in class between the sides it could easily be three or four by now if it weren't for a couple of good saves from Shay Given."
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1551: Half-time Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City

1550: Peter Lovenkrands is still being stretchered off at Newcastle, he's receiving oxygen and looks totally out of it. Let's hope he's OK.

1550: Half-time Bolton 2-1 Middlesbrough

1549: Half-time West Ham 1-0 Sunderland

1549: Half-time West Brom 0-1 Stoke

1549: Half-time Hull 0-0 Portsmouth

1549: Half-time Newcastle 0-0 Chelsea

1547: Arsenal's Andrei Arshavin plays a one-two with Alex Song and forces a fine save from Shay Given.

1547: Jon Obi Mikel is booked for a horrible tackle on Jonas Gutierrez as half-time approaches at Newcastle.

1544: GOAL West Ham 1-0 Sunderland
West Ham take the lead after a breathtaking move starting with keeper Robert Green, whose quick throw eventually finds Luis Boa Morte via a superb flick from David Di Michele and Junior Stanislas celebrates his first start for the Hammers with a simple side-foot finish from six yards.

1543: GOAL Bolton 2-1 Middlesbrough
Unbelievable defending from Boro and after fighting back so hard to get on level terms, they've only got themselves to blame. A ball into their box isn't cleared and Johan Elmander, eight yards out, has got enough time to control the ball and find Gary Cahill , who fires in. They're going down if that continues.

1543: Middlesbrough's goal, I'm reliably informed by my colleague Rob, is their first away from home in the league in eight games - a run stretching back to 6 December. At Newcastle, Damien Duff comes on for the injured Peter Lovenkrands.

1541: Man City make their second change of the half, with Elano coming on for Vincent Kompany.

1540: "St James' Park is a little subdued after the early wave of euphoria. Shearer is impassive on the sidelines, even ignoring one or two chants to give the home fans a wave. The first signs of nervousness are in the air because Chelsea look the more threatening side.

"Shearer has returned to the dug-out - presumably in readiness for his first interval team talk. Newcastle still look short of confidence, although Nicky Butt is certainly not short of tackles."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park

1538:GOAL Bolton 1-1 Middlesbrough
That, Boro fans, is a lovely goal - and quite unexpected for a few of you, I'll bet. Tuncay plays a beautiful pass through to Gary O'Neil and the former Pompey midfielder keeps his cool to clip the ball over the advancing Jussi Jaaskelainen.

1537: Middlesbrough have had the ball in the Bolton net, but it's ruled out for offside against Tuncay. At Newcastle, Frank Lampard is booked by referee Rob Styles for an alleged dive, much to the enjoyment of the home fans.

1535: Afonso Alves goes close to a leveller for Middlesbrough, his 25-yard free-kick hitting the post - but it's been all Bolton so far at The Reebok.

1534: West Brom are having more of the ball and Paul Robinson wastes a good chance to shoot, while at Arsenal, Shaun Wright-Phillips tees up Gelson Fernandes 12 yards out, the Swiss midfielder hammering his shot against the outside of Manuel Almunia's left-hand post.

1532: "The crowd are getting a little bit tired of Newcastle's slapstick defence. Lots of colourful words used to describe them."
BBC Sport's Saj Chowdhury at St James' Park

1530: Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka is sent through but he is being hassled and harried by Habib Beye and his left-foot shot is deflected just off target.

1529: Man City break and Shaun Wright-Phillips does really well to turn Gael Clichy and then set up Micah Richards, who sees his shot saved by Manuel Almunia.

1528: "Robinho is getting booed by the Arsenal fans at almost every touch of the ball… if you doubted his work-rate, he's running around like a Duracell bunny… but he's been outwitted twice by Kolo Toure already."
BBC Sport's David Garrido at The Emirates

1527: Kolo Toure cuts in from the right flank, beats Pablo Zabaleta and forces a great save from Shay Given who smothers the Arsenal defender's shot at close range. City defence looking very shaky.

1526: Glen Johnson has just been booked for Portsmouth and he goes in late on Geovanni moments later - he gets a stern warning from referee Chris Foy.

1525: Jay Simpson fires in a cracking shot from 22 yards at West Brom but it flies just wide of Thomas Sorensen's right-hand post.

1525: It's fairly even-steven at Hull but the hosts go close when Manucho volleys Bernard Mendy's cross off target from six yards.

1523: Both sides playing some industrious stuff at Upton Park, with David di Michele missing the best chance for West Ham, firing wide, and Grant Leadbitter going close twice for Sunderland.

1522: Geovanni fires a shot wide from 20 yards as Hull go on the attack against Portsmouth.

1522: "Alan Shearer's new deputy Iain Dowie places a paternal arm around the new Newcastle manager's shoulder as he advises on some tactical adjustments in defence.

"Any suggestions that Chelsea might be knocked out of their stride by the atmosphere generated by Shearer's return have not materialised, with captain John Terry looking particularly fired up, especially after being bundled over unceremoniously by Jonas Gutierrez.

"Obafemi Martins may have missed Newcastle's best chance, but the move drew applause by way of encouragement from Shearer."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park

1521: "I got lost up the highest and windiest peak in the peak district while my friends ate a roast dinner today. I would very much like Afonso Alves to score a hat-trick."
Jack on a mini bus heading home, via text on 81111

1520: Gelson Fernandes comes on for Wayne Bridge at The Emirates, with Manchester City already a goal down.

1518: Play goes up the other end and Jose Enrique crosses from the Newcastle left, Alex missing his clearance and it surprises Obafemi Martins, who lets it hit his knee and fly out for a goalkick.

1517: Ashley Cole crosses from the left and Salomon Kalou meets it at the near post with a diving header that forces a decent save from Steve Harper.

1515: The ball falls out of the air to James Morrison 15 yards out but the West Brom midfielder's volley is easily saved by Thomas Sorensen.

1514: Glen Johnson fashions a chance to cross from the Portsmouth right at Hull and he finds the in-form Peter Crouch, who forces Matt Duke to save.

1511: Jonas Gutierrez has been involved in everything at Newcastle so far but his tackle on John Terry angers the England captain, who has a word with an official. No clear-cut chances yet at St James' Park.

1510: GOAL Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City
The returning Emmanuel Adebayor wastes no time getting back on the scoresheet, waiting for Cesc Fabregas's free-kick from the right to arrive about eight yards out and, unmarked, heading into the corner.

1508: GOAL Bolton 1-0 Middlesbrough
First blood to the hosts and Boro's woeful run away shows no signs of stopping. Ricardo Gardner creates a yard to cross down the left and fires it over, Kevin Davies arriving at the far post to clip in with his right foot.

1507: James Beattie's low 20-yard shot brings Scott Carson into the game again at The Hawthorns, but it's a regulation save from the keeper.

1505: Glenn Whelan sends over a free-kick from about 20 yards that forces a good save from Scott Carson in the West Brom goal. What a start from Tony Pulis' men, who have not won away all season - the only team in England with that particular record.

1505: "Low-key entrance by Alan Shearer - more businesslike than triumphalist - although he received a suitably rapturous reception. Blackburn's win against Spurs - announced to a sombre reaction from St James' Park - has just upped the stakes on the Geordie Messiah's emotional return."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park

1503: GOAL West Brom 0-1 Stoke
Shocker from Shelton Martis as he completely misjudges the bounce and lets Ricardo Fuller race on to a pass behind him, the striker cutting inside and shooting from 20 yards, the ball going under the dive of Scott Carson and into the net. Seen that before.

1502: Arsenal and Manchester City are now under way at The Emirates.

1501: West Ham v Sunderland, Bolton v Middlesbrough and Hull v Portsmouth are under way.

1501: West Brom and Stoke are the next to get under way. Meanwhile at Newcastle, Michael Essien and Nicky Butt both need a touch of treatment after clashing.

1459: Under way nice and early at St James' Park.

1458: Here comes the man of the moment - Newcastle legend Alan Shearer emerges from the tunnel to a fine ovation from the Geordies. He's clearly had a chat with Sir Alex Ferguson, as he furiously chews gum while the cameras click and whirl around him. Paul Gascoigne watches on proudly from a box, like a father seeing his son in action for the very first time.

1456: The teams are out at St James' Park and there is only one name on the lips of the 52,000 or so inside the ground on Tyneside.

1455: "The Newcastle dug-out is already swamped with photographers waiting to capture the images of Alan Shearer when he emerges to take charge of his new side for the first time. And there was a predictably huge roar around St James' Park when Shearer's name was announced - along with the line-ups - just a few moments ago."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park

1455: Habib Beye makes his first start since Boxing Day for Newcastle , coming in at centre-back due to injuries to Sebastian Bassong and Steven Taylor, while Ryan Taylor fills in at right-back. Kevin Nolan returns from a three-match suspension after his sending off against Everton in February. Chelsea are without Didier Drogba but Nicolas Anelka returns after injury. Jose Bosingwa is ruled out so Branislav Ivanovic starts at full-back, while Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda are also included.

1453: As far as a taster of things to come for the next couple of days, that was a pretty explosive start, wasn't it? Minutes until Alan Shearer time...

1449: "That match was not decided on footballing reasons, but on mistakes by the ref. What we do know is Tottenham are a far better team than most others outside of the top four. Blackburn were terrible and if they don't go down this season I expect they will next."
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1446:Bolton make one change from the side that drew with West Brom, with Danny Shittu in for Sebastien Puygrenier. Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate makes four changes, with Justin Hoyte, Matthew Bates, Jeremie Aliadiere and Afonso Alves in for Andrew Taylor, Mohamed Shawky, Marlon King and Tony McMahon.

1444: "If the players can tap the fans optimism and confidence and have some of Shearer's focus, with a bit of luck of course, then they'll pull themselves out of this. It's as much about not making mistakes than anything. If we don't win today, then we'll get enough in the remaining seven games. Have a real worry, though, that Rob Styles will ruin today. He's not one to be upstaged by anyone!"
Woody on the way to St James' Park, via text on 81111

1441: Midfielder duo Radoslav Kovac and Scott Parker both miss out because of injury so West Ham make two changes from the side that drew with Blackburn, with Matthew Upson and Junior Stanislas both starting. Sunderland recall Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon to the starting line-up and Kieran Richardson returns after suspension, but Kenwyne Jones is only fit enough to figure on the bench.

1440: How on earth did Tottenham not win that game? Remarkable. Meanwhile, El-Hadji Diouf is having a massive tantrum at the end of the game and his rage seems to be directed at Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes. More of that to follow, I'd wager.

1439: Full-time Blackburn 2-1 Tottenham

1439: "Apparently Robinho only came back from South America yesterday after international duty with Brazil… yet he starts. We'll soon find out if he's feeling jetlagged..."
BBC Sport's David Garrido at The Emirates

1438:Hull striker Daniel Cousin has failed to recover from a back injury so Manucho will begin in attack again. Michael Turner, Andy Dawson, Kamil Zayatte and Ian Ashbee all start after recovering from injuries. Portsmouth have made one change with Richard Hughes coming in for Sean Davis, who picked up a knee injury in training. Jermaine Pennant starts on the bench for Pompey after recovering from a thigh injury.

1437: Borja Valero returns to the West Brom starting line-up with Robert Koren dropping to the bench in the only change from the side that drew with Bolton before the international break. Matthew Etherington starts for Stoke , replacing the injured Salif Diao, as Tony Pulis' team continue their search for an away win in the Premier League.

1436: I wonder if anyone's told Blackburn legend Alan Shearer...

1434: GOAL Blackburn 2-1 Tottenham
About as bad a goal as you could want to concede and Harry Redknapp will be absolutely fuming. A corner is swung over from the Blackburn left and Heurelho Gomes and his defenders don't bother going for it - the ball bounces up for a disbelieving Andre Ooijer two yards out to tap home.

1434: "They've just released hundreds of black and white balloons at St James' Park. The fans will be hoping there's still something worth celebrating by 5pm."
BBC Sport's Saj Chowdhury at St James' Park in the Gallowgate

1433: Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas returns after three months out, while Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Adebayor are also back in the starting line-up after injuries and Alex Song is the fourth change to the Gunners' line-up. Manchester City make two changes, bringing in Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bridge for Elano and Valeri Bojinov.

1432: "What a poor red card by the ref. That's not a yellow card, the second one, he didn't even stick his leg in. It's just an awful call from an inexperienced referee trying to make up for an earlier and still poorer call for the penalty."
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1430: Benni McCarthy flicks the ball on from a cross into the Spurs box and Chris Samba goes all Peter Crouch on us, acrobatically turning the ball goalwards, only for Heurelho Gomes to make the save.

1427: GOAL Blackburn 1-1 Tottenham
Spurs fail to properly clear a corner and the ball bounces up on the edge of the penalty area, Chris Samba somehow turning Jonathan Woodgate and sliding it along to just in front of the penalty spot where Benni McCarthy is on hand to tap in.

1427: Blackburn have nine minutes plus stoppage time against 10 men to salvage something from this one.

1425: SENDING OFF Wilson Palacios (Tottenham)
He's really unlucky there, the Spurs midfielder. Moments after picking up his first yellow he goes in for a tackle with David Dunn and realises he cannot get the ball, so pulls out of the challenge. Dunn falls to the ground and Peter Walton flashes a second yellow.

1424: Wilson Palacios is booked and Blackburn launch the resulting free-kick into the Spurs box, but the visitors are soaking up all the long balls with ease at the moment.

1423: WEST HAM v SUNDERLAND LINE-UPS
West Ham: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Noble, Spector, Stanislas, Boa Morte, Di Michele, Tristan.
Subs: Lastuvka, Lopez, Dyer, Nsereko, Collins, Sears, Payne.
Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Ben-Haim, Collins, Malbranque, Whitehead, Richardson, Leadbitter, Cisse, Murphy.
Subs: Fulop, Nosworthy, Edwards, Jones, Reid, Healy, McShane.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

1423: ARSENAL v MANCHESTER CITY LINE-UPS
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Fabregas, Song Billong, Denilson, Walcott, Adebayor, Arshavin.
Subs: Fabianski, Ramsey, Silvestre, Djourou, Bendtner, Eboue, Gibbs.
Man City: Given, Richards, Onuoha, Dunne, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Zabaleta, De Jong, Kompany, Robinho, Bellamy.
Subs: Hart, Bojinov, Elano, Garrido, Fernandes, Mwaruwari, Sturridge.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

1422: El-Hadji Diouf fires over a brilliant cross from the right that Heurelho Gomes for some reason does not come for, and Benni McCarthy while tumbling heads it wide from six yards.

1421: "Newcastle owner Mike Ashley - no doubt delighted with his coup in luring Alan Shearer back to Newcastle - has moved down towards the front of the stand to sign autographs for a small group of supporters and it is smiles all around.

"Ashley - labelled part of a 'Cockney Mafia' by fans after the departure of Kevin Keegan earlier this season - will be hoping it stays that way after the action against Chelsea is complete. No sign of the owner replacing his old 'King Kev' replica Newcastle shirt with a Shearer version as yet."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park

1420: BOLTON v MIDDLESBROUGH LINE-UPS
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Shittu, Samuel, Taylor, Muamba, McCann, Gardner, Elmander, Kevin Davies.
Subs: Al Habsi, Hunt, Smolarek, Puygrenier, Cohen, Basham, Andrew O'Brien.
Middlesbrough: Jones, Hoyte, Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, Downing, O'Neil, Sanli, Bates, Aliadiere, Alves.
Subs: Turnbull, Taylor, Emnes, Shawky, King, McMahon, Walker.
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)

1419: Spurs are enjoying most of the play now at Ewood Park. Blackburn are going to have to do something different if they want to take anything from this one.

1418: WEST BROM v STOKE CITY LINE-UPS
West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon, Martis, Olsson, Robinson, Morrison, Greening, Borja Valero, Brunt, Fortune, Simpson.
Subs: Kiely, Hoefkens, Koren, Bednar, Moore, Dorrans, Filipe Teixeira.
Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Higginbotham, Lawrence, Delap, Whelan, Etherington, Fuller, Beattie.
Subs: Simonsen, Olofinjana, Cresswell, Pugh, Kelly, Camara, Sonko.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

1418: HULL v PORTSMOUTH LINE-UPS
Hull: Duke, Ricketts, Zayatte, Turner, Dawson, Mendy, Ashbee, Barmby, Geovanni, Manucho, Fagan.
Subs: Myhill, Garcia, Halmosi, Kilbane, Folan, Marney, Featherstone.
Portsmouth: James, Kaboul, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Johnson, Mullins, Hughes, Nugent, Kranjcar, Crouch.
Subs: Begovic, Kanu, Pennant, Belhadj, Basinas, Pamarot, Utaka.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

1417: Luka Modric wants to take a corner from the Spurs left, but the Rovers fans are furious because the ball is not in the quadrant. Referee Peter Walton actually jogs over to make sure it's OK and he says it is, only for the wind to blow the ball into the quadrant. You couldn't make it up.

1415: Keith Andrews fires over a woeful cross from the right and when Blackburn are pretty much solely relying on good delivery into the Spurs box, that is not what the doctor ordered.

1414: Jermaine Jenas fires a cross along the Blackburn six-yard box but there's no-one there to knock it in. Moments later Aaron Lennon repeats the feat, but this time a Blackburn defender manages to clear his lines.

1412: NEWCASTLE v CHELSEA LINE-UPS
Newcastle: Harper, Ryan Taylor, Beye, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Gutierrez, Nolan, Butt, Lovenkrands, Owen, Martins.
Subs: Forster, Guthrie, Duff, Smith, Geremi, Edgar, Carroll.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Ashley Cole, Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka, Kalou.
Subs: Hilario, Carvalho, Di Santo, Ballack, Deco, Belletti, Mancienne.
Referee: Rob Styles (Hampshire)

1409: Wilson Palacios needs a bit of treatment after a coming together with Aaron Mokoena, who appears to lift his elbow in the face of the Spurs midfielder. Naughty. Mokoena is promptly taken off, though probably not because of that, and Tugay comes on.

1407: I wonder if Alan Shearer is keeping an eye on this game from the bowels of St James' Park. Do you think he's desperately hoping his old club lose? He was invited to apply for the Blackburn job last summer, don't forget.
Shearer declines Blackburn chance

1404: Spurs are still knocking it around nicely and a fine move in and around the Blackburn box ends with Wilson Palacios badly screwing a shot wide. Tugay begins to warm up on the touchline.

1402: "If I was Sam Allardyce I'd have done something with my midfield at half-time because there was nothing getting to the strikers. They've got Tugay as an option, I know he's getting a bit long in the tooth but he's still a good player."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Jimmy Armfield

1400: "Don't forget Samba smashed one in to win at White Hart Lane a couple of seasons ago. Could he be the new Steve Walsh/Ian Marshall?"
James, via text on 81111

1358: Chris Samba has a very big part to play in this half and he latches on to a Benni McCarthy knock-down, only to see his remarkably well-struck volley from 20 yards cannon into Jonathan Woodgate.

1356: "1-0 down, one sub left and no decent attacking options on the bench? Doesn't look good."
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1354: Chris Samba's presence in the Spurs box pays dividends as he wins a header and it falls for El-Hadji Diouf to spank a bouncing ball over. Blackburn are about to go route one like we haven't seen for a good long time...

1352: Blackburn defender Christopher Samba, perhaps the definition of 'a unit', is playing up front alongside Benni McCarthy. I'm almost lost for words. Almost.

1351: Blackburn bring on defender Andre Ooijer for striker Jason Roberts. They are 1-0 down, as a reminder. We're back under way.

1350: "Alan Shearer has just taken his first steps back on to the St James' Park turf - dressed in a smart suit, he posed briefly for a photograph with some suitably delighted fans while new right-hand man Iain Dowie prepared the warm-up for his new players on the pitch behind him.

"Another Tyneside legend, Paul Gascoigne, is also here for Shearer's return and he poses for more pictures with former Newcastle colleague Peter Beardsley and supporters gathered by the dug-out. There is already a sense that this will be a special day at St James' Park."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park

1347: "Blackburn losing already - its going Al's way so far. Come on the Mags!"
Mud, glued to the goalflash at work, via text on 81111

1345: "Alan Shearer will give the club a massive lift, but only for a time and the players have still got to go and play. Shearer has got a great knowledge of the game, but compare him to Guus Hiddink and I know who I'd want. It's much more of a gamble."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Pat Nevin

1342: "Penalty aside, Spurs have been by far the better team. They've made a number of nice passing moves into the box, but Rovers are just punting the ball down the field and hoping for the best."
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1338: "It was a controversial penalty, but all that matters for Spurs is that they are in front, and they were the better side at the end of the half certainly. Blackburn up front have been totally ineffective, they must try and get Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts into the game."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Jimmy Armfield

1335: Half-time Blackburn 0-1 Tottenham

1333: Stephen Warnock volleys wide and that should be that for this half.

1332: Jonathan Woodgate heads a corner wide having got a little run on Ryan Nelsen, who bagged a brace in midweek for New Zealand against Thailand 'A'. He hasn't scored in 137 games for Blackburn, though.

1331: Spurs try the 'Paul Scholes corner routine' with Wilson Palacios lurking on the edge of the Blackburn box, and his left-foot volley is deflected away by a Rovers defender.

1331: Rovers have had a little more of the ball in the last 10 minutes, but they don't look capable of breaking Tottenham down, it's all just a bit too slow and deliberate.

1328: "If Shearer were to keep Newcastle up, how could Joe Kinnear have the nerve to take over again next season?"
Sam, via text on 81111

Oh Kinnear's got some nerve, haven't you been paying attention?

1325: "Alan Shearer signs off his first programme notes with a message to Newcastle fans: 'Together we can achieve our target'. And judging by the mood of thousands of fans already milling around St James' Park, they believe him."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park

1322: Great chance for Luka Modric to have a pop but after another fine move involving Robbie Keane and Darren Bent, the Croatian takes too long to shoot and Keith Andrews gets rid.

1320: "And then the refs wonder how the Respect campaign is going."
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1318: You have to say, officials don't help themselves. Peter Walton has got no right to let Robbie Keane take that penalty, it's just downright ridiculous refereeing.

1316: GOAL Blackburn 0-1 Tottenham
Fair to say referee Peter Walton will not be on Sam Allardyce's Christmas card list. Aaron Lennon scampers away down the right and his cross cannons against the right arm of Gael Givet. He can't get out of the way, but Walton gives a penalty. Robbie Keane puts the ball down and it's not on the spot, much to the frustration of the Rovers players, but Walton lets Keane take it and he rolls it into the corner. The Blackburn fans are furious.

1315: PENALTY TO TOTTENHAM

1314: Vedran Corluka fastens on to a Robbie Keane pass down the right after a lovely move carves Blackburn wide open, but he cuts inside and shoots into the side-netting instead of passing. Selfish.

1313: Aaron Lennon bursts into the Blackburn box but is in two minds about whether to shoot or cross and ends up doing neither particularly well.

1311: Blackburn bring on David Dunn for Morten Gamst Pedersen, who has picked up a knock early doors. Blow for the hosts, that.

1309: Spurs fail to deal with another Morten Gamst Pedersen throw into their box and El-Hadji Diouf shoots towards the corner of the net from eight yards, only for Benoit Assou-Ekotto to make a crucial block.

1308: Isn't Robbie Keane just a brilliant footballer to watch when he's on-song? The Republic of Ireland captain plays a gorgeous ball into the path of Darren Bent and he beats his defender for pace, only to tamely shoot at Paul Robinson.

1306: It's one of the great days of the sporting summer, and boy have we got a treat for you - live text on the Grand National has begun in earnest already, with the brilliant Oliver Brett. Come on Butler's Cabin.
Live text - Grand National

1304: Darren Bent takes a pass from Wilson Palacios on the inside right channel and from just inside the area he hits a textbook shot towards the far corner, only for Paul Robinson to stick out a strong right hand and make a fabulous save.

1303: (See 1239) Er, Heurelho Gomes comes racing out of his goal and gets nowhere near a long punt into the Spurs box, but his defenders cover for him and the danger is cleared.

1301: "Put a bet on Shearer being manager of the Toon next season - even if they go down, he's in a win-win situation. He can do no wrong in the fans' eyes."
Alex, via text on 81111

I think Joe Kinnear might have something to say about that...
Kinnear 'will resume Magpies job'

1300: Robbie Keane breaks down the Spurs left and his ball to the edge of the area is cleared by Stephen Warnock only as far as in-form Luka Modric, who sees his shot deflected wide. From the corner, Ledley King flashes a header across the six-yard box and wide.

1257: Golden chance for El Hadji Diouf, who gets ahead of Benoit Assou-Ekotto at the far post to latch on to Morten Gamst Pedersen's right foot swinger into the area only to nod wide from 10 yards.

1256: Aaron Mokoena nails Wilson Palacios in the middle of the park and a couple of bad tackles apart, there's nothing doing in this one yet.

1255: Former Blackburn star David Bentley is mucking around on the Tottenham bench, once again reduced to a watching brief today. Let's hope he doesn't replicate the quite embarrassing antics of a pair of Scottish substitutes from midweek...
Scots end Gers pair's cap career

1253: The first action of real note is a naughty late tackle from Stephen Warnock on Jermaine Jenas, who gets up and is absolutely fine, if a little irked.

1252: "I live and study in Newcastle, and our university library isn't too far from St. James' Park. It's impossible to not know how many Newcastle have scored from the size of the Toon Army's cheer if you happen to be spending your Saturday afternoons here. I imagine 2.55pm today might be the loudest yet, though."
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1249: Good to see Ledley King lining up alongside Jonathan Woodgate at the heart of the Spurs defence after King's England disaster last week. For my money, one of the most naturally talented defenders in the world.
Capello hits back in King dispute

1247: Tottenham's players do that on-pitch pre-match huddle, Blackburn don't bother. It's Darren Bent and Robbie Keane who get us under way in sunny Lancashire.

1244: Haha. I almost forgot, Liverpool can go top of the Premier League today. They play Fulham later. More to follow on that - guarantee it.

1242: The Blackburn and Tottenham teams are out of the tunnel at Ewood Park and the weekend's Premier League entertainment is about the get under way.

1239: "If Modric can get on the ball and control the game and Gomes keeps the blunders to a minimum, I feel Spurs can win a potentially tricky game."
Matt, Farnborough, via text on 81111

Oh come on, Heurelho Gomes has been brilliant in recent weeks, he's even keeping Carlo 'bench' Cudicini out of the side.

1236: Here's a sobering thought for Blackburn and Tottenham fans - if they'd had Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp as their respective managers all season, based on their results since taking over, Rovers would be eighth and Spurs sixth in the Premier League.

1232: Glen from West Yorkshire has texted in (on 81111) to ask me for a Grand National tip. Apparently, it's because I'm "good at predos" - clearly Glen's a newcomer to the site, then. For what it's worth, I pulled AP McCoy's Butler's Cabin out of the hat in the office sweep, and I was absolutely delighted at the luck of that particular draw.
McCoy aims to break National duck

1229: "Mr Shearer: your mission, should you wish to accept it, is to save your beloved team from relegation, starting with a match against Chelsea. Joey Barton will self-destruct in five seconds!"
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1225: "It'll be like plugging into the national grid today at five to three when Newcastle come out against Chelsea."
BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson

1222: Oh, OK, we can talk about Alan Shearer some more if you want. Remember, he has guaranteed he will not be staying at St James' Park beyond the end of the season, though can you imagine the Toon Army letting him walk away if he keeps them up?
Take our Alan Shearer quiz

1219: It's guaranteed to be close, this one - in their last 11 meetings, no team has won by more than one goal and five of the last eight contests have been drawn. Rovers need to improve their home form if they are to ensure survival - they've bagged a paltry 15 points from as many Ewood Park games this term, with only Hull faring worse in the top flight.

1216:Tottenham are unchanged from the side which beat Chelsea 1-0 last time out. Ledley King plays despite his withdrawal from the England squad due to persistent knee problems. The only change in the Blackburn side from the one that drew 1-1 at home with West Ham two weeks ago is Keith Andrews, who scored their equaliser that day, in for Andre Ooijer, who drops to the bench.

1214: That, by the way, is the first time Tottenham have named an unchanged side all season. About time too.

1210: "(See 1156) Can I ask what it has to do with Mr Neville? Maybe he should concentrate on getting back in the Man Utd team and his stupid 'tache."
Craig, a diehard Toon fan, via text on 81111

1207: BLACKBURN v TOTTENHAM LINE-UPS
Blackburn: Robinson, Andrews, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Diouf, Mokoena, Warnock, Pedersen, Roberts, McCarthy.
Subs: Brown, Ooijer, Kerimoglu, Dunn, Villanueva, Treacy, Olsson.
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Modric, Bent, Keane.
Subs: Cudicini, Zokora, Bentley, Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko, Dawson, Chimbonda.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

1206: But first up, we've got the small matter of Blackburn - two points and one place above the drop zone - hosting Tottenham - 11th and three points away from seventh and a potential Uefa Europa League berth - at Ewood Park. Teams and all that chat on the way shortly.

1204: It's a fair bet Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink has had a flashback or two over the past couple of days, to a time when England was in love with football and the world was a beautiful place to be. Let's reminisce about Euro 96, about the glorious summer evening at Wembley when Shearer and Sheringham showed the Dutch a very English brand of Total Football as they blew Hiddink's team away 4-1. What days.
Hiddink wary of 'Shearer effect'

1200: Stevo's Predos (perhaps a bit rusty, not that you'd notice):
Blackburn 1-1 Tottenham
Arsenal 3-1 Man City
Bolton 2-0 Middlesbrough
Hull City 1-1 Portsmouth
Newcastle 1-2 Chelsea
West Brom 1-1 Stoke
West Ham 2-0 Sunderland
Fulham 1-2 Liverpool
Lawro's predictions

1156: "Then again, according to Gary Neville, Shearer's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy for not getting all his coaching licenses."
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Our friend Desolation row raises a good point. Read on...
Unqualified bosses anger Neville

1153: Our chief football writer Phil McNulty will be bringing us all the latest updates from Geordieland throughout the day, but this commentary won't work unless you guys get involved, too. Get hammering those keys, whack the texts to 81111 and, as always, mix it up on 606. It's Alan Shearer Day, after all.
Join the debate on 606

1150: After a club record 206 goals in 404 appearances for his boyhood idols, Alan Shearer has finally answered the call with Newcastle in great danger of an almost unthinkable relegation. He has eight games in which to keep them up - starting today, with the small matter of Chelsea at what will be a sizzling St James' Park.

1145: That Mike Ashley - he likes a Messiah, doesn't he? Part Two of the controversial Newcastle owner's bid to win over a Geordie public desperate for even the remotest semblance of success begins in earnest this afternoon.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it is my pleasure to be able to bring to you the managerial bow of one of England's greatest modern day footballers... Mr Alan Shearer.
Shearer confirmed as Magpies boss



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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
Arsenal 2-0 Man City
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Blackburn 2-1 Tottenham
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Bolton 4-1 Middlesbrough
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Fulham 0-1 Liverpool
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Hull 0-0 Portsmouth
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea
02 Apr 09 |  Premier League
West Brom 0-2 Stoke
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
West Ham 2-0 Sunderland
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League


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