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By Chris Bevan
Well, I think my work here is done - I'll be back tomorrow to see if those Newcastle fans from earlier were right, and the Magpies can end Liverpool's title bid. Before then, remember to give Alan Green a call on 606
, the audio version, on BBC 5 Live from 1800 BST.
And tune into BBC One at 2230 BST for Match of the Day
(which will be streamed online for UK users). If you miss that, you can always get up early on Sunday for the 0735 BST repeat. Enjoy.
Now seems like a good time to remind you that, although there is no late Premier League game today, we are transferring our attention to Spain and the battle for supremacy between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of La Liga. 'El Clasico' is always a special occasion, and I know you will be joining Stevo
shortly for what promises to be a memorable evening...
And, if you thought League One went to the wire, wait until you hear about League Two
are celebrating after securing their second successive promotion with a 1-0 away win over Rotherham United, despite Stuart Fleetwood's missed penalty in the final 10 minutes. The Grecians will be joined in Division One next season by Wycombe
. Despite Wanderers suffering a 2-1 home defeat by Notts County, they went up by one goal following Bury's 1-0 win over Accrington Stanley - had the Shakers scored another, they would have taken second place instead.
1706: From Kranjcarism on 606:
"Arsenal kids have done very well today, against a strong Pompey away from home." Join the debate on 606
It's been a good day for Manchester United, who cement their lead at the top of the table, but also for Arsenal - who face Sir Alex Ferguson's side in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday. Arsene Wenger took a very young Gunners team down to Fratton Park but claimed a very easy victory.
About five hours ago, I made a call for drama this afternoon and, although there was not much of it about in the Premier League
, the lower leagues
have more than made up for it...
A very late Cliff Byrne equaliser saw Scunthorpe
seal a play-off place in League One with a 1-1 draw against Tranmere, to deny Rovers that all-important sixth place. Meanwhile, Crewe
are relegated after a 3-0 home defeat by champions Leicester and they will be joined by Northampton Town
, who go down to the same result against Leeds at Elland Road.
1659: FULL-TIME Stoke 0-1 West Ham
1658: From Pete the Stat, via text on 81111:
"Portsmouth and Blackburn seem determined to slip into trouble. But those below them are having none of it. I think 38 points will be enough to stay in the Premier League this season, maybe even 37."
West Brom's defeat at White Hart Lane means the Baggies are six points from safety with three games left. They also have an inferior goal-difference to the teams above them. Tony Mowbray's men gave it a good go against Spurs but, although they had chances themselves, the home side also spurned a hatful.
1655: FULL-TIME Man City 3-1 Blackburn
1654: FULL -TIME Portsmouth 0-3 Arsenal
FULL-TIME Wigan 0-0 Bolton
1653: FULL-TIME Chelsea 3-1 Fulham
1651: FULL-TIME Tottenham 1-0 West Brom
Time is running out for West Brom at Spurs - and defeat will all but end the Baggies' hopes of staying in the top flight. Tony Mowbray's men are still only 1-0 down but it is the home side who look more like scoring - Aaron Lennon has just hit the post forTottenham and Scott Carson has produced a fine low save to deny Jermaine Jenas.
Maybe this can bring us a goal at the JJB Stadium. Amr Zaki replaces Mido, although Zaki has not scored since he fired in a penalty against Bolton in the Latics' 1-0 win in December.
Lukasz Fabianski has come in for a bit of stick in recent weeks but the Arsenal keeper has just made a couple of fantastic saves. First he tips over John Utaka's free-kick then, from the resulting corner, he keeps out Sylvain Distin's volley from point-blank range.
That Blackburn comeback seems to have fizzled out at Eastlands. Manchester City are playing keep-ball now and seem to be happy with their lead.
1642: From anonymous Newcastle fan, via text on 81111:
"The way things are shaping up its going to be very tight at the bottom of the Premier League tonight. Not so at the top though when the 'Toon beat Liverpool tomorrow!"
You have to admire his optimism, don't you?
Stoke come very close to snatching an equaliser against West Ham and protecting that superb home record of theirs. Abdoulaye Faye thinks he has found the net with a header but Mark Noble clears off the line.
1638: RED CARD Noe Pamarot
hauls down Andrey Arshavin as he runs in on goal and the Portsmouth defender is given his marching orders by referee Lee Mason.
David James produces a fine save, to partly make amends for his earlier howler. Carlos Vela, who scored the Gunners' third goal, tries to put the finishing touches to a flowing move but cannot beat the England goalkeeper.
Oh, and there won't be a hat-trick at Fratton Park for Nicklas Bendtner. He's just been replaced by Fran Merida.
Chelsea have been completely dominant against Fulham since Didier Drogba scored their third goal. As things stand the Blues will stay in third place but will only trail Liverpool on goal difference.
West Brom are still in the hunt for a point at White Hart Lane. Shelton Martis nods a free header wide from five yards, then the Baggies see a second header from a Chris Brunt corner cleared off the line by Jermain Defoe.
1625: GOAL Man City 3-1 Blackburn
Nedum Onuoha is rightly penalised for a clumsy challenge on Morten Gamst Pedersen but Blackburn are extremely lucky to get a goal back from the resulting spot-kick. Shay Given saves El-Hadji Diouf's penalty, and the striker's follow-up too - but is powerless to stop Keith Andrews
sweeping up the second rebound to score.
1625: Penalty to Blackburn
Tottenham make a change up front and is a welcome return for Jermain Defoe, who is back after the death of his half-brother last week. Roman Pavlyuchenko is the striker making way.
Just time for a quick lower-league update. The relegation spots in League One
look sewn up. Crewe are 1-0 down against champions Leicester, Northampton are 2-0 down against play-off bound Leeds. Both sides need something from their games to avoid the drop. But if they turn things around, Hartlepool, Carlisle and Brighton are at risk.
It's wide open at White Hart Lane and both sides are creating chances. Aaron Lennon gets to the bye-line for Spurs and sends across an inviting cross that just eludes Robbie Keane - any touch and that would have been a second goal for the home side.
No goals at the JJB Stadium but plenty of injuries. Wigan lose a second defender as Paul Scharner limps off with what looks like a knee problem and is replaced by Erik Edman.
Didier Drogba needs treatment after being caught by a heavy John Pantsil challenge. He seems to have hurt his ribs - Barcelona watch with interest but the striker is fine.
1614: GOAL Portsmouth 0-3 Arsenal
Portsmouth lay seige on the Arsenal goal but Arsenal break and Andrey Arshavin lays the ball back for Carlos Vela
to shoot low past David James from the edge of the penalty area.
1613: GOAL Chelsea 3-1 Fulham
A cool finish from a man in form at Stamford Bridge. Nicolas Anelka slips in Didier Drogba
and the big Ivorian takes a touch before slotting past Mark Schwarzer. A really tidy strike.
1612: From Sean in Cardiff , via text on 81111:
"Re: 1558 no, just a bad Blackburn side!"
Blimey! West Brom have just gone mighty close to forcing an equaliser at Spurs. Marc-Antoine Fortune runs in on goal and lets fly with a low shot that is deflected on to the post with Heurelho Gomes beaten.
1608:From Dave in Portsmouth, via text on 81111:
"Isn't it about time Nicklas Bendtner started getting some good press?! Awesome today so far!"
Perhaps with one eye on the Champions League in midweek, Chelsea take off Michael Essien and Alex at half-time and send on Branislav Ivanovic and Michael Ballack.
More substitution news:
Wigan have suffered an injury blow with captain Mario Melchiot being forced off at half time. Emmerson Boyce has come on at right back.
And Blackburn Rovers have brought on Carlos Villanueva for Benni McCarthy, who picked up a foot injury early on in the first half.
The other five Premier League games have now restarted. I'd like more goals, but preferably not all at the same time this time please. Please!
We're back under way at White Hart Lane. That's the only game to have restarted so far though.
1559:From Adam in Barnsley, via text on 81111:
"Re: 1514 no wonder David James couldn't stop Arsenal's first goal - trying to make a save with one finger is a classic schoolboy error."
1558:From Si at Eastlands
,via text on 81111:
"3-0 up and not even playing well. Are we seeing the signs of a good Man City side?"
Plenty of goals about in the top flight then, but what's going on in the lower leagues? It's a good day, so far, for Tranmere, who are beating Scunthorpe 1-0 and will take the final League One
play-off spot from their opponents. And in League Two
it's the same situation for Shrewsbury, who are winning 2-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge. But it's a very bad day for Northampton and Crewe who are both going down to League Two as it stands.
1553: HALF-TIME Stoke 0-1 West Ham
HALF-TIME Tottenham 1-0 West Brom
HALF-TIME Wigan 0-0 Bolton
1552: HALF-TIME Man City 3-0 Blackburn
HALF-TIME Chelsea 2-1 Fulham
Trouble at the Britannia Stadium. Luis Boa Morte commits a late tackle on Rory Delap. Delap feeling aggrieved by the challenge kicks out at the West Ham player. Referee Peter Walton books Boa Morte and surprisingly just shows a yellow to the Stoke player.
The only game without a goal so far is at the JJB Stadium but Wigan are trying their best. Mido floats a curling left-footed effort in from 25 yards but Jaaskelainen, who has been Bolton's best player so far, was again equal to it with an acrobatic save to stop the ball nestling in the top corner.
1549:HALF-TIME Portsmouth 0-2 Arsenal
1549: GOAL Man City 3-0 Blackburn
Referee Mike Dean points to the spot after Gael Givet handles Stephen Ireland's back-heel inside the area. Elano
steps up to extend City's lead with aplomb.
1547: Penalty to Man City
Not much to report from Stamford Bridge, especially when you think about how that game started. It is not great news for Fulham, though as their goalscorer Erik Nevland limps off and Diomansy Kamara comes on in his place.
1541: GOAL Tottenham 1-0 West Brom
Vedran Corluka steps in from the right wing, passes to Jermaine Jenas
who casually side-steps an Albion defender before side-footing a low curling shot beyond Carson from 25 yards. Harsh on West Brom, who have more than held their own, but are made to pay after Marc-Antoine Fortune volleyed over from 10 yards moments earlier.
1539: GOAL Portsmouth 0-2 Arsenal
Sean Davis is not happy when referee Lee Mason awards Arsenal a spot-kick for his foul on Andrey Arshavin. Nicklas Bendtner
steps up, and confidently slots the ball past David James's despairing dive to score his second of the game.
1539: PENALTY to Arsenal
Nervous times for Wycombe. They're 1-0 down against Notts County. As it stands, they're still getting promoted from League Two, but they know that defeat gives Exeter and Bury the chance to overtake them...
1534: GOAL Stoke 0-1 West Ham Diego Tristan
gives the Hammers the lead with a fantastic 25 yard free-kick that dips over the wall and past Thomas Sorensen.
1534: GOAL Man City 2-0 Blackburn Robinho
looks up for it today. After good work by Vincent Kompany, the ball comes to the Brazilian on the edge of the box and he makes no mistake with his first time finish past Paul Robinson before celebrating with his trademark thumb-suck.
Another quick update from the lower leagues. Veteran Huddersfield striker Andy Booth
- who is retiring after today's match - has given the Terriers a 1-0 lead at Leyton Orient. Doesn't change anything in terms of promotion or relegation, but it's a lovely little story, no? It's Booth's 150th goal for Huddersfield.
Portsmouth's turn to threaten at Fratton Park, with a move as pretty as any Arsenal have managed today. It ends when Peter Crouch shoots inches wide after a delightful one-two with Nadir Belhadj.
There have been a smattering of goalkeeping howlers so far this afternoon and we almost have another costly one at White Hart Lane. West Brom's Scott Carson lets a routine low cross from Jermaine Jenas slip from his grasp, but Roman Pavlyuchenko is not quick enough to take advantage and Lennon's follow-up curls wide.
1528: GOAL Man City 1-0 Blackburn
Blackburn fail to clear their lines from a corner and the ball falls for Felipe Caicedo
, who prods the ball home from the edge of the six yard box. Not the prettiest of strikes but the Ecuador international does not get many and his celebrations suggest he does not care one bit.
Thankfully [for me anyhow] things have settled down a bit at Stamford Bridge after that flurry of early goals. Chelsea could climb above Liverpool and into second place today but they need to beat Fulham by at least five.
West Brom need to beat Tottenham by four goals to climb off the bottom of the Premier League table and they almost have their first of the afternoon as Jonas Olsson sees his header saved by Heurelho Gomes, who turns the ball around the post.
Another chance for Arsenal. Emmanuel Eboue ghosts past Portsmouth right-back Noe Pamarot and centres for Carlos Vela, who is denied by a superb last-ditch challenge from Herman Hreidarsson.
A quick update from the lower leagues. As it stands in League One
, Scunthorpe are claiming the final play-off spot, Brighton and Crewe are going down - with Northampton, Hartlepool and Carlisle staying up on goal difference. In League Two
, Wycombe and Exeter are going up and Shrewsbury are getting into the play-offs at the expense of Dagenham, who they lead 1-0.
A good chance at the JJB Stadium, where Bolton almost take the lead when Gary Cahill hits a thundering volley from 18 yards which deflects off a Wigan defender and rattles the bar.
West Brom are making all the running at White Hart Lane but only have a scuffed Iglesias Borja Valero effort to show for their early endeavour. Roman Pavlyuchenko has dragged a 20-yard free-kick well wide for Spurs.
1514: GOAL Portsmouth 0-1 Arsenal
David James will be glad that Fabio Capello is at White Hart Lane not Fratton Park. Andrey Arshavin's cross is headed weakly towards goal by Nicklas Bendtner
but Portsmouth's England goalkeeper allows the ball to slip through his finger and over the line.
1509: GOAL Chelsea 2-1 Fulham
They just cannot stop scoring at Stamford Bridge can they? John Pantsil allows Didier Drogba's low cross to reach Florent Malouda
at the back post and he buries his shot low into the corner of the net. Chelsea will hope their lead lasts a bit longer this time...
Arsenal are looking dangerous in the early stages at Fratton Park - some intricate build-up play sees Andrey Arshavin slip Walcott clear on the right and he fizzes and enticing ball across the penalty area, but there is no one in place to meet it. Moments later, a completely unmarked Johan Djourou heads over the bar from Arshavin's corner.
1504: GOAL Chelsea 1-1 Fulham
Chelsea's lead lasts all of three minutes. Erik Nevland
is out wide on the right when he runs on to a Danny Murphy ball but his shot is still too hot for Petr Cech to handle - the Blues keeper gets a hand to it but cannot stop it going into the far corner. He should have done better with that.
1502: GOAL Chelsea 1-0 Fulham
An amazing start at Stamford Bridge. Florent Malouda crosses, Didier Drogba holds the ball up and Nicolas Anelka
slams the ball home. Chelsea are ahead inside a minute.
We are under way in all six of today's remaining Premier League matches.
1459: BBC Sport's David Garrido at White Hart Lane:
"The teams are lining up here, but the photographers' lenses are pointing the other way, trained on the box directly above us here at the Lane - we believe it's because Fabio Capello's here."
,via text on 81111:
"Oh dear,the Championship beckons for Boro, we're just bereft of goals. I think Brian Clough's statue in Albert Park has more chance of scoring!"
Hmmm. It does not look good for Boro does it? If West Brom win 4-0 at Tottenham today, Gareth Southgate's side go bottom of the Premier League...
1454: TEAM NEWS Manchester City v Blackburn
Micah Richards has won his battle to overcome a knee injury and takes his place in a Manchester City
side which is without Shaun Wright-Phillips (ankle). Like their hosts, Blackburn
are unchanged after overcoming Wigan last week.
You can't keep a good man down. Or Danny the Stat for that matter...here he is, back again with more chat:
Boro fans did not have much to savour there and that shows on the Player Rater, where Tuncay is the top scorer with 5.80, a score I have already labelled as 'measly'. Very different story for Man Utd, their players are all at sixes and sevens (which on the Rater is a good thing). And top of the pops is Ryan "8.16" Giggs
, who has a magnificent, er, 8.16. It can all change, people, do get involved.
1449: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson:
"I thought it was a very good performance - the players all worked their socks off. We knew it would be a difficult game but, once we got a hold of the ball, we always looked a danger."
1447: TEAMS Manchester City v Blackburn Man City:
Given, Richards, Onuoha, Dunne, Bridge, De Jong, Kompany, Ireland, Elano, Caicedo, Robinho. Subs: Hart, Bojinov, Garrido, Petrov, Fernandes, Evans, Berti. Blackburn:
Robinson, Ooijer, Nelsen, Givet, Warnock, Diouf, Grella, Kerimoglu, Pedersen, McCarthy, Samba. Subs: Bunn, Khizanishvili, Mokoena, Andrews, Villanueva, Olsson, Doran.
1445: TEAM NEWS Wigan v Bolton Wigan
boss Steve Bruce makes two changes to the side that lost 2-0 at Blackburn on Sunday. Mario Melchiot comes in for Emmerson Boyce in defence while Michael Brown replaces Ben Watson in midfield. Bolton
boss Gary Megson sticks with the same side that started the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa seven days ago.
TEAMS Stoke v West Ham Stoke:
Sorensen, Wilkinson, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Pugh, Lawrence, Delap, Whelan, Etherington, Fuller, Beattie. Subs: Simonsen, Olofinjana, Cresswell, Kelly, Tonge, Camara, Sonko. West Ham:
Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Stanislas, Noble, Kovac, Boa Morte, Tristan, Di Michele. Subs: Lastuvka, Lopez, Spector, Collison, Sears, Payne, Hines.
1444: TEAMS Wigan v Bolton Wigan:
Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Scharner, Figueroa, Valencia, Brown, Cattermole, N'Zogbia, Rodallega, Mido. Subs: Pollitt, Edman, Watson, De Ridder, Koumas, Boyce, Zaki. Bolton:
Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Kevin Davies, Muamba, McCann, Cohen, Taylor, Elmander. Subs: Al Habsi, Puygrenier, Hunt, Makukula, Smolarek, Basham,Riga.
So, job done for Sir Alex. United go six points clear at the top of the table with four games to play. Two of those are against Arsenal and Manchester City but you still have to fancy the champions to defend their title. Liverpool, who play Newcastle tomorrow, may still have something to say about that though...
1441:From BBC Radio 5 Live's Chris Waddle:
"I think Boro are down, I don't think they can save themselves now. As for United? They are in command but I can see Liverpool winning every week too so it might take them a bit longer to actually clinch the title."
1438: FULL-TIME Middlesbrough 0-2 Man Utd
Afonso Alves has a pop with a free-kick from 30 yards for Boro. It almost flies out of the ground. Oh dear.
United are strolling - playing keep-ball in the middle of the pitch and under no pressure whatsoever.
The story of the game for Boro has been lots of effort but zero creativity. United are stopping them in their tracks outside their area every time. Lots of empty seats now on view at the Riverside. We are into injury time now...three minutes of it.
1433: TEAM NEWS Stoke v West Ham Stoke
full-back Andy Wilkinson has recovered from his back problem to face the Hammers and, as expected, James Beattie also starts.
For West Ham
, Jack Collison (knee) makes the subs bench, but Carlton Cole is still troubled by his groin problem and will not feature at all.
1431: TEAM NEWS Tottenham v West Brom
With Darren Bent sidelined with a knee injury, Roman Pavlyuchenko starts up front for Tottenham
after recovering from a back injury. Jermain Defoe is named on the bench after missing the 5-2 defeat at Manchester United following the death of his half-brother.West Brom
defender Shelton Martis comes in for the injured Abdoulaye Meite while midfield duo Iglesias Borja Valero and Youssouf Mulumbu are promoted from the bench in place of Jay Simpson, who drops to the bench, and Graham Dorrans.
Wayne Rooney curls a free-kick just wide from the edge of the area. Boro keeper Brad Jones would have got there anyway.
United should really have added a third there. Another slick passing move rips Boro apart but John O'Shea's shot is blocked by Matthew Bates at the far post.
1426: TEAMS Tottenham v West Brom Tottenham:
Gomes, Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Palacios, Jenas, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Keane. Subs: Cudicini, Hutton, Bale, Zokora, Bentley, Huddlestone, Defoe. West Brom:
Carson, Zuiverloon, Martis, Olsson, Robinson, Koren, Borja Valero, Greening, Brunt, Mulumbu, Fortune. Subs: Kiely, Bednar, Kim, Filipe Teixeira, Menseguez, Simpson, Donk.
BBC Sport's David Garrido at White Hart Lane:
"Albion have brought in the big guns for this one - just seen 'celeb fans' Frank Skinner and Adrian Chiles chatting with Match of the Day 2's Kevin Day "
Boro look a bit desperate now and they are leaving bigger gaps at the back. Wayne Rooney almost punishes them, bending a shot just wide from inside the area. United have just reshuffled their defence - Rafael is on for Patrice Evra.
1423: TEAM NEWS Chelsea v Fulham Chelsea
make just two changes from the side that earned a 0-0 draw in Barcelona on Tuesday, with Ashley Cole coming in for Branislav Ivanovic and Jose Bosingwa moving to right-back and Nicolas Anelka replacing Michael Ballack. Fulham
are without the injured Andrew Johnson and he is replaced by Erik Nevland.
1421: TEAM NEWS Portsmouth v Arsenal Portsmouth
make two changes to the side that was beaten by Manchester United last time out as Glen Johnson and David Nugent make way for Noe Pamarot and Jermain Pennant.
With one eye on their Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester United, Arsenal
make eight changes with Bacary Sagna, Alexandre Song and Theo Walcott the only players to retain their places from last Wednesday's first leg. Andrey Arshavin is one of the players to come in.
Another United substitution - Nani is coming on for Ji-Sung Park.
Boro are committing a lot of men forward now but they still cannot break United down. Has Ben Foster had a save to make in the second half? I think not...
A bit of breaking team news - Arsenal
, who are at Portsmouth today, have made eight changes from the side that lost to United in the Champions League on Wednesday.
A chance for Boro? Stewart Downing curls a free-kick in from the left but David Wheater heads the ball high over the bar. Chance gone.
1413: From Sportsfan87 on 606:
"United need to try and score a few more goals here just to go ahead of Liverpool on goal difference. That way if we lose against Arsenal and Man City (don't think we will lose both) then we can still be ahead on goal difference. Boro are flat and there for the taking." Join the debate on 606
Boro are not out of this yet but they are not helping their cause by continuously giving the ball away. United still look dangerous on the break too, so the home side have a lot to think about right now - they have about 25 minutes to turn this one around.
Evra is back on his feet and playing on by the way...
United defender Patrice Evra is down, and clutching his ankle. He got a bit of a tap from Stewart Downing and needs treatment - Arsenal fans looking ahead to Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg will be very interested in whether he continues and how serious the injury is.
1407:From Jeromein Armagh
,via text on 81111:
"Re 1355 - Game over you say, league over I say and I'm a liverpool fan."
Boro boss Gareth Southgate is on his feet again, trying to urge his team forward. They are struggling to get out of their own half at the moment though - United still well on top.
1402:From BBC Radio 5 Live's Chris Waddle:
"Boro look completely flat - it's a question of how many United want to score."
Carlos Tevez doesn't take long to get involved and, after running at the home defence, he is sent sprawling on the right-hand edge of the area by Boro defender Robert Huth. Ryan Giggs sees the subsequent free-kick cleared by Matthew Bates.
Right then - substitute o'clock. Boro bring on Didier Digard and Afonso Alves for Tony McMahon and Marlon King. Carlos Tevez is off the bench for United, replacing Federico Macheda.
1355: GOAL Middlesbrough 0-2 Man Utd
Another great move by United and they get the second goal they have been threatening. Wayne Rooney plays the final ball through to Ji-Sung Park
and he buries his low shot past Brad Jones - a great strike from the edge of the area. Game over?
United are already passing it around a lot better than they did in the first-half and they seem to be pressing Boro far more too. A second United goal would kill this game and they almost get it when Wayne Rooney twists his way to the bye-line and tees up Federico Macheda - it seems the teenager cannot miss, but he does - firing wide at the near post. He should have done much, much better...
No changes at half-time from either side - Boro get us back under way. What have they got in their locker?
Boro gave it a good go in the first half without ever looking that dangerous - now they've got to do it all over again - and turn around a 1-0 deficit. If they don't, they will remain three points adrift of fourth-bottom Hull City, with three games left. Time is running out for Gareth Southgate to save his side...
From anonymous Boro fan via text on 81111:
"If we go down it will be down to a lack of a goals and poor refereeing, it is a shame because we are quite entertaining."
1341:From Gerrard's Understudy on 606:
"I think if Middlesborough fail to get a point today, Liverpool's title hopes lie with Arsenal getting a win against Man Utd and Man City creating an upset in the Manchester derby." Join the debate on 606
Just a reminder, if the scoreline at the Riverside stays the same, United are six points clear of Liverpool at the top and both clubs will have four games to play.
1337:From anonymous Liverpool fan via text on 81111:
"Boro going in at half-time 1-0 down may not be so bad. In recent weeks when Man U have been losing or drawing at half time they have come out firing! Come on Boro!"
I'm quite new to this live commentary lark, well for football on a Saturday anyway, so I was wondering who the little man with dubious personal hygiene sat to my left was...it's only Danny The Stat
, isn't it? Here's his chat:
"What a week for Ryan Giggs.
Not only has he bagged the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award, he's also bagged the Leading the Boro-Man Utd Player Rater Scores at Half-Time in their Match award. Memorable times indeed. Giggsy's lording it on a veteran-tastic 7.64, ahead of Wayne Rooney (7.20). Get in the numbers mix, people, by becoming involved... Player Rater
1333:HALF-TIME Middlesbrough 0-1 Man Utd
A big, big let-off for Boro and their goalkeeper Brad Jones, who gives the ball straight to Dimitar Berbatov with a clearance. The Bulgarian tees up Paul Scholes in the area, but the ball is slightly behind him and Scholes can only scuff his shot wide. That was a real chance.
United have not been on the attack for a while but Paul Scholes shows why they are so dangerous, picking the ball up about 30 yards out and firing in a bouncing shot that flies wide.
1328:From BBC Radio 5 Live's Chris Waddle:
"Boro's two front players are waving their arms about complaining they are not getting the service but their movement is not good enough. The only time Boro are threatening is from set-pieces.
Another Boro attack ends with a long-range shot, this time blocked by Wayne Rooney. Have the home side run out of ideas?
Teenage Manchester United striker Federico Macheda, making his first Premier League start, has something to remember his day by. Not a goal - yet - but a yellow card for an innocuous-looking challenge on David Wheater. Now, I've got a graphic for that....
The game has slowed down a tad - it is a hot day in the north-east and there is no way either side, especially Boro, could maintain the frantic pace they started at. United don't look comfortable but they will be happy if Boro keep shooting from long range.
1319:From BBC Radio 5 Live's Chris Waddle:
"Boro remind me of West Brom in a way - they play some good football but in both boxes they have problems - they don't score enough and they concede too many."
Credit to Boro, they keep coming forward. United goalkeeper Ben Foster does well to reach Gary O'Neil's right-wing cross and, when the ball comes to Tuncay on the edge of the box, his shot is blocked by John O'Shea.
Good pressure by Boro and a bit of controversy - it appears Dimitar Berbatov handled the ball when Tuncay played it into the visitors' area. It certainly hit the United player but referee Mark Halsey is having none of it.
Wayne Rooney and Boro defender Tony McMahon are having a rum old battle on the left flank - honours are even so far and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is trying to give some advice to his striker....well, he is shouting at him a lot, anyway.
1310: From BBC Radio 5 Live's Chris Waddle:
"Boro have put so much effort into this game that I'm not sure they have anything left to respond to going behind."
1309: GOAL Middlesbrough 0-1 Man Utd
A loose ball runs across the edge of the area, with Boro claiming Dimitar Berbatov fouled Matthew Bates, and Ryan Giggs
rifles a first-time shot into the bottom corner of the net. Brad Jones does not move an inch.
Ooooh - a sniff of a chance for Boro. Marlon King's pass into the box finds Jeremie Aliadiere, who beats Nemanja Vidic to the ball. The Frenchman gets his shot away but Ben Foster saves with an outstretched leg.
Wayne Rooney is operating on the left-hand side, mainly, and he is always looking to cut inside Tony McMahon when he receives the ball - this time he sees his shot fly well wide.
1304: From BBC Radio 5 Live's Chris Waddle:
"You have got to give Boro credit - they are trying to get at United and press them and it is working so far."
Boro striker Tuncay is looking up for this but he has had a couple of marginal offside decisions go against him so far and boss Gareth Southgate's mood is not helped when David Wheater is penalised for a foul on Federico Macheda on the half-way line - it looked like the United striker handled the ball when he received it.
Boro defender Tony McMahon is caught in possession and the ball comes out to Wayne Rooney on the right - he has a crack too, but his shot flies just over Brad Jones' bar. Boro have got to keep their focus here...
Boro are having plenty of possession in the United half and Matthew Bates curls in a decent cross that is heading towards Stewart Downing at the back post before John O'Shea does well to clear.
1254: From Chris in Milton Keynes, via text on 81111 :
"Re 12.18, Southgate may well be friendly, intelligent and articulate, but unfortunately he is a poor motivator, coach and tactician. But that doesn't seem to matter to many people in the media who prefer to focus on his frankly irrelevant niceness."
Stewart Downing, who is yet to score a Premier League goal this season, has a go from 35 yards but sees his scuffed shot roll harmlessly wide. Perhaps that's why Boro are the lowest scorers in the top flight in the current campaign?
Wayne Rooney cuts in from the left and lets fly with a curling shot...that flies a long way over. First effort on goal from the Premier League champions.
Jeremie Aliadiere has a pop from the edge of the area but does not get enough power in his shot to trouble Ben Foster. The Boro fans are lively so far - I think they know they have to be to give United something to think about.
I saw Gareth Southgate at close-hand when I watched Boro [lose] at Tottenham earlier this season...he is an extremely animated manager who doesn't like to sit down. We've had a scrappy start at the Riverside but he is already on his feet...more of that to come I feel.
We're off - United get us under way. If Fergie's men win, they go six points clear at the top of the Premier League. If Boro triumph, they go level on points with fourth-bottom Hull City.
1242: From Paul at the Riverside, via text on 81111 :
"Re 12.18, the problem Chris is that Gareth Southgate is too nice and is afraid of fighting for our Premier League place. 1-1 today I think."
Not long to go until we get started at the Riverside. Now, there's no 'late' [ie 1715 BST] Premier League game today but you can still get your football fix on the BBC Sport website as my friend [well, colleague] Stevo
will be bringing you live text commentary on 'El Clasico' - the showdown in La Liga between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Should be an absolute cracker.
1234: From Kranjcarism on 606:
"Southgate is an idiot for not starting Afonso Alves. Yes, he's had a poor season but he's still their most likely goalscorer. Scored a brace against Man Utd last season and I think he would have fancied his chances today." Join the debate on 606
Bevo's predos/CB's previews/My predictions:
Man City 2-2
Er, a few of you seem to be asking for my 'predos'...in response I will quote Paul Gascoigne, who once said: "I never make predictions and I never will". They will be coming right up, then...
It's a beautiful sunny day at the Riverside as the teams warm-up. So, a great time to use one of our snazzy new graphics, surely?
1220: From Lee, in Larne, via text on 81111 :
"Surely Fergie shouldn't need to worry about early kick offs, since he has such a big squad and since they play before Arsenal do ahead of the second leg on Tuesday."
Lots of chat from Middlesbrough fans on606
about your chances today - and I admire your optimism - but why are you in this situation in the first place? I'm a big fan of Boro boss Gareth Southgate myself - intelligent, friendly, articulate - but what's he doing wrong at the Riverside?
1214: From Red_Rampage on 606:
"Chris, are you related to Welsh Hollyoaks character, Elliot Bevan? You know, the one that has trouble getting girls..." Join the debate on 606
Nope, and no relation to Torquay goalkeeper Scott Bevan either...before anybody asks.
Oh, as well as Chelsea-Fulham, there are five other Premier League matches at 1500 BST
, plus the conclusion of the regular seasons in Leagues One and Two
- plenty at stake there, and I'll be doing my best to keep you on top of the goals that matter as they go in.
From stokeymad on 606:
"Stoke to get guaranteed safety today, Newcastle and Boro to lose, Stoke to win 1 - 0. Good times." Join the debate on 606
Your thoughts on this, and everything else, are clearly more important than mine, though. Text me on 81111
or get involved in the chat on 606
. Please. Join the debate on 606
And, as you may have already read, Mr Ferguson is not very happy about having an early kick-off today, because his side played in the Champions League on Wednesday. Now, usually I'd have a bit of sympathy here - long European trips do tend to give teams a hangover the following weekend, no matter how big their squads. But United were at HOME against Arsenal...and they play the second leg of that tie on Tuesday, so surely it would be a strain no matter whenever this game was scheduled over the weekend?
1208: From the_dancing_feet_of on 606:
"Will it be an advantage or a disadvantage for Boro that Newcastle don't play until later?" Join the debate on 606
Hmmm, I don't think we will find that out until tomorrow...I'll let you know then.
1207: TEAM NEWS Middlesbrough v Man Utd Middlesbrough's
French midfielder Didier Digard starts on the bench, while Justin Hoyte comes in for Andrew Taylor in defence. Manchester United's
Jonny Evans replaces Rio Ferdinand in the centre of defence after the England international failed to shake off a foot problem. Michael Carrick does not feature while Cristiano Ronaldo, Anderson and Carlos Tevez are on the bench. Ji-Sung Park, Federico Macheda, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs start.
1206: From Hadjuk Spliff on 606:
"As much as I want Boro to get something out of the match, I can only see a United win. 0-2 - Michael Carrick and possibly someone unexpected like Ji-Sung Park or Jonny Evans." Join the debate on 606
Well, it won't be Michael Carrick - he's not even on the bench.
So, this should be straightforward for Sir Alex Ferguson's men then? Erm, no - think again. Boro may have only won two of their last 22 league games but they are unbeaten at the Riverside in 2009 and beat Liverpool there at the end of February.
1203: TEAMS Middlesbrough v Man Utd Middlesbrough:
Jones, McMahon, Wheater, Huth, Hoyte, O'Neil, Sanli, Bates, Downing, King, Aliadiere. Subs: Turnbull, Digard, Emnes, Alves, Arca, Adam Johnson, Grounds. Man Utd:
Foster, O'Shea, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Park, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, Berbatov, Macheda. Subs: Kuszczak, Ronaldo, Anderson, Nani, Rafael Da Silva, Gibson, Tevez.
You should know that United's main title rivals Liverpool are not in action for another 24 hours or so, against another team in deep trouble at the bottom, Newcastle. Third-placed Chelsea, who still have slim hopes of overhauling the teams above them, play neighbours Fulham at 1500 BST on Saturday.
So, what excites you most about the Premier League this season? Is it the tussle for the title or the relegation dogfight? Those two worlds collide this weekend - starting with Manchester United, who are three points clear at the top, against Middlesbrough, who are three points adrift of safety. With so much at stake, drama is guaranteed*
*I can't actually guarantee any drama, but hopefully there will be some
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