Live League Cup final – Aston Villa v Man Utd (UK users only)
GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)
606: DEBATE
Your thoughts on the action
To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used)
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty tweeting from Wembley: „O’Neill in discussion with ref Dowd. He’s furious Collins & Downing have been booked and Vidic & Carrick have escaped. He has a point.”
1528: Ashley Young’s free-kick hits Emile Heskey’s head and lands fortuitously at his feet. He shoots on the turn but too close to the keeper. Now James Milner curls one wide. Cracking game this. Cracking.
1526: Now Bobby Zamora. There’s an England striker if ever I saw one. Simon Davies chips a nice ball into the box to meet Zamora’s clever run – but not such a clever header. In fact, it’s closer to the corner flag than the post. Oh well. Maybe Michael Owen’s a good shout then.
1524: Craig Gordon and Mark Schwarzer may be set for a day off at the Stadium of Light. Neither have had a save to make in the opening 15 minutes, with Zoltan Gera’s half-volley flying wide the only slight threat of note.
1522: In midweek, I said Michael Owen shouldn’t be in the England squad – but you could get back to me when he is picked in big games and scores in them. And to be fair to you, you have. It was a great finish by Owen, I can only agree.
Liverpool goal: After Blackburn have made much the better start, it’s the hosts who go ahead. Yossi Benayoun collects a ball from Steven Gerrard on the left and he finds Gerrard’s burst into the box. The touch from Gerrard isn’t great but it does the trick, and he slots past Paul Robinson.
1519: GOALFLASH Liverpool 1-0 Blackburn (Gerrard)
1518: Stewart Downing joins James Collins in the book for a late challenge on Patrice Evra. It’s still 100mph at Wembley…
1516: Blackburn threaten again after Lucas is caught in possession, with Nikola Kalinic breaking into the area and cutting inside before shooting across goal but wide.
1516: James Milner drives at the Manchester United defence, jinking this way and that before unleashing a swerving shot – punched away by Tomasz Kuszczak. Gabby Agbonlahor picks up the rebound and tries to curl one in, but not enough curl on it.
Man Utd goal: This is a quite incredible start at Wembley. Nightmare for Richard Dunne, caught in possession on Villa’s left by Dimitar Berbatov, who skips towards the edge of the box. Dunne recovers with a brilliant tackle – but the ball breaks perfectly for Michael Owen, who strokes a low finish into Brad Friedel’s bottom right-hand corner.
1513: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd (Owen)
1512: Nemanja Vidic may have escaped, but Villa defender James Collins does not after bringing down Michael Owen. Michael Carrick makes a complete hash of the free-kick – which kind of sums up the start Manchester United have made.
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty at Wembley: „Aston Villa’s pace through the middle and down the flanks always a threat and it has given them the perfect start. Nemanja Vidic never looked like dealing with Gabriel Agbonlahor and he had a tug at his shirt before hauling him to the ground. James Milner cool from the spot and Vidic might even be lucky to still be on as he looked to be the last man.”
From Shiraz, Leicester, via text: „Time for Wayne Rooney I think.”
1508: By the way, you know I said the roof was on at Wembley? I lied. Not deliberately, I just made a mistake. Meanwhile at Anfield, Blackburn have made a very decent start and go close for a second time, this time through Martin Olsson, who is not closed down and goes close with a long-range strike.
Aston Villa goal: Ashley Young’s ball over the top releases Gabriel Agbonlahor and as the Villa striker holds the ball up and looks to get the shot in, Nemanja Vidic has a large chunk of his shirt and sticks a leg out just to make sure Agbonhlahor goes no further. Clear penalty – but controversially Phil Dowd does not show a card of any sort to the United defender. James Milner coolly tucks away the penalty. What a start at Wembley.
1506: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-0 Man Utd (Milner pen)
1505: PENALTY TO ASTON VILLA
1502: Chris Samba heads straight into the arms of Pepe Reina from four yards out. Great chance for Blackburn at Anfield.
1501: Aston Villa, wearing white shirts and blue shorts, kick off the Carling Cup final. The two Premier League games are under way too.
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty tweeting from Wembley: „Big Ron Atkinson behind me at Wembley. Smiling as he watches himself on monitor leading out Villa for ’94 final when they beat Man Utd 3-1.”
1457: I have no time to reflect on that result – because Camilla Kerslake is leading the Wembley crowd in the national anthem. She’s signed to Gary Barlow’s record label, I’m being told.
1456: FULL-TIME Tottenham 2-1 Everton
From DjR_606 on 606: „An insight into SAF’s thinking on Rooney: he is anticipating AVFC having spent the lion’s share of their prep time working out how to handle Rooney, and will therefore be unprepared for and wrong-footed by the still formidable strike force that Berbatov and Owen could be. Or not.”
1451: There’s as much chance of an Everton equaliser as another Tottenham goal. End to end, harem-scarem stuff. Tim Howard does well to push Niko Kranjcar’s well-struck shot around the post.
1450: SIX minutes of added time at White Hart Lane where Tottenham are hanging on to a 2-1 lead against Everton.
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty at Wembley: „Manchester United fans are using this Wembley showpiece to again demonstrate the strength of feeling against the Glazer regime. Green and gold colours adopted by the protestors are prominent among their fans around Wembley.”
1448: TEAM NEWS Aston Villa v Man Utd
Aston Villa bring in Stiliyan Petrov, Emile Heskey and James Collins for Fabian Delph, John Carew and Luke Young, while Brad Friedel gets the nod ahead of Brad Guzan in goal. Manchester United make seven changes from the side that beat West Ham. Wayne Rooney is joined on the bench by Ben Foster, Gary Neville, Wes Brown, Darron Gibson and Paul Scholes, while Anderson is injured. Tomasz Kuszczak, Rafael, Johnny Evans, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Ji-Sung Park all come in.
1448: And while we’re at it, I quite enjoyed this from Sam Allardyce as well: „People just think Sam Allardyce and long ball but that is not fair on my players. We are playing some good stuff at times… It’s not my players fault, it is mine. Actually no, it is you guys who write about perception and not reality.”
1443: Anxious groans from the home fans as Johnny Heitinga swings over a corner and Phil Jagielka is left unmarked to head over. Just on Big Sam v Rafa, Allardyce has been in fine form this week, accusing Liverpool of copying his Bolton tactics to climb up the table. „They’ve had to go back to basics and the pretty stuff goes out of the window until you start winning. They have been professional and dogged enough to slowly improve over recent weeks.”
From timbotouch on Twitter: „I wonder if Benitez will walk past Big Sam’s outstretched hand. Cameras will be on that one too.”
1441: A change apiece at White Hart Lane. James Vaughan on for Jack Rodwell. Peter Crouch on for Roman Pavlyuchenko.
1439: TEAM NEWS Liverpool v Blackburn
Fernando Torres returns to the Liverpool starting line-up, making his first start since 13 January as one of four changes from the team that defeated Unirea Urziceni. Fabio Aurelio, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez also return to the starting XI while Javier Mascherano plays at right-back. Blackburn make one change from the team that defeated Bolton 3-0, with Chris Samba in for the injured Ryan Nelsen.
1437: SHOCKER! Jack Rodwell is in space in the area and arrows a shot towards the far corner. It deflects off the defender but Landon Donovan is at the far post and a yard out. He must score… but no, he’s put it in the side netting. He has his hands over his face – as does David Moyes, who cannot believe his eyes.
1436: TEAMS Aston Villa v Man Utd
Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing, Heskey, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Luke Young, Sidwell, Carew, Delfouneso, Delph, Beye.
Man Utd: Kuszczak, Rafael Da Silva, Vidic, J Evans, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Park, Owen, Berbatov. Subs: Foster, Neville, Brown, Rooney, Scholes, Gibson, Diouf.
Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill on leaving Brad Guzan out: „That was a really difficult decision. Brad Guzan is primarily responsible for us being here, but Brad Friedel’s experience might stand us in good stead. I’m looking forward to the game, obviously. We’re going in with plenty of confidence.”
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty at Wembley: „Aston Villa fans making all the noise at the moment – and what a lift for them with the news that Wayne Rooney is only on the bench for Manchester United. Fantastic opportunity for Michael Owen to make some attempt to rescue his stalled season, but Rooney on the bench for a Wembley final? Not sure of the logic in that.”
1432: The departure of Tom Huddlestone appears to have really affected Spurs and the game at White Hart Lane is now very evenly matched with 16 minutes remaining. Jermain Defoe is replaced by Eidur Gudjohnsen, who will partner Roman Pavlyuchenko up front.
1431: Full teams very shortly. Here’s Villa’s starting XI: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing, Heskey, Agbonlahor.
1430: TEAM NEWS Sunderland v Fulham
Lee Cattermole returns to the Sunderland midfield following suspension, with Steve Bruce shuffling his pack as Anton Ferdinand moves to left-back and George McCartney drops to the bench. Bobby Zamora retains his place for Fulham after shaking off an Achilles injury and Nicky Shorey returns at left-back having been cup-tied in midweek.
From I Think I Got A Man Crush on Fernando Torres… on 606: „Re 1419: I quite like the idea of Mascherano at right-back. He’s strong, pacy and powerful, can make lung-busting runs down the right and get crosses in the box. A bit like Glen Johnson, only better defensively, and a little worse in an attacking sense.”
1422: Landon Donovan comes on or Everton, replacing Victor Anichebe. Surely Everton can’t recover from 2-0 down against Spurs again?
1420: Here’s the full Manchester United starting eleven. Villa to follow. Kuszczak, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Park, Owen, Berbatov.
BBC Sport’s David Garrido at Wembley: „First blood to Villa fans banter-wise on Wembley Way…having seen those green-and-yellow anti-Glazer scarves many United supporters are wearing here, the chant was: ‘Are you Norwich in disguise?’ A compliment, surely…”
1419: TEAMS Liverpool v Blackburn
Liverpool: Reina, Mascherano, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Benayoun, Gerrard, Lucas, Maxi, Kuyt, Torres. Subs: Cavalieri, Aquilani, Babel, Insua, Ngog, Kelly, Ayala.
Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Givet, Olsson, Hoilett, Nzonzi, Andrews, Pedersen, Diouf, Kalinic. Subs: Brown, Emerton, Dunn, Roberts, Grella, Di Santo, Chimbonda.
1416: Maybe that makes up for it, Heurelho Gomes with a diving save from Jack Rodwell’s snapshot.
Everton goal: Well, Heurelho Gomes has been having one of those days and it has finally caught up with him. Deep corner from the left is headed back across by Jack Rodwell and Gomes flaps at it under pressure from Victor Anichebe. Yakubu is left to tap in only his third goal of the season.
1415: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-1 Everton (Yakubu)
1411: Aston Villa have Brad Friedel in goal, not Brad Guzan. Problems here for Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone, who hurt his foot as he shot and collided with Johnny Heitinga. He is stretchered off. Could be a metatarsal? I’m only guessing. Younes Kaboul is on.
BBC’s Alan Hansen on Rooney being on the bench: „Can you understand it? Can you make a case for it? In the Villa dressing room, when they get the team sheet, it’s such a big boost for them.”
1407: BREAKING TEAM NEWS Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov start for Manchester United, with Wayne Rooney on the bench.
1407: Johnny Heitinga pounces on a loose ball about 20 yards out but Heurelho Gomes is equal to the shot.
1404: Second half under way at White Hart Lane. Phil Jagielka replaces Leon Osman for Everton, with Johnny Heitinga moving into midfield.
From anon via text: „Best half of Spurs football I’ve seen this season. Brilliant.”
1357: Speaking of that live streaming of the Carling Cup final for UK users, it’s there now if you give the page a manual refresh. Just seen Martin O’Neill walking past an enormous picture of himself. He looked bemused, as you would.
1355: The Villa players have been out on the pitch at Wemberlee, wearing some very sensible suits and some not-so-sensible massive headphones. Hey, if you live in the UK, you can watch the Carling Cup final live on the BBC website. No, you can. I’m not even kidding.
1354: Our friends at Infostrada Sports have unearthed bad and good omens for Toffees’ fans. Bad – Everton have only come from two goals down to win once in Premier League history, at home against Wimbledon in May 1994, when they won 3-2 after trailing 0-2. Good – in the match between the sides in Dec 2009, Tottenham also led 2-0 before Everton staged a strong come-back and scored twice in the last 12 minutes to draw 2-2.
BBC 5 live summariser David Pleat: „Bale has been a very elusive attacker for Spurs from left-back. Tottenham’s passing and movement has been first class, and of course, they have more predatory instincts than Everton, who’ve had very little in terms of goal threat.”
1348: HALF-TIME Tottenham 2-0 Everton
1345: Gareth Bale drives at the Everton defence again, his shot deflected wide by John Heitinga. Everton’s defence look scared every time Bale has the ball.
1342: Lovely ball by Gareth Bale, low across the box looking for the run of Jermain Defoe – but the striker is an inch away from applying the final touch.
1341: Victor Anichebe stays on his feet to play in Phil Neville down the right and from the cross, Jack Rodwell has a golden opportunity to get Everton back into it – but heads wide.
1338: Victor Anichebe is on the floor again after landing heavily. Not sure the Everton striker is having much fun on the slippery surface.
1336: Just to really ram home their dominance, the home fans start up the oles as the Tottenham players stroke the ball around in midfield.
From Simon Spurs, via text: „So is ‘Arry a fool for never playing Pav or a genius for getting the best out of him at the right time? I know what he’d have us believe…”
1333: Spurs playing some fabulous stuff on the damp turf at White Hart Lane. Roman Pavlyuchenko touches the ball on for Jermain Defoe – but the England striker is stopped in his tracks by the offside flag.
Spurs goal: A goal of top, top quality from Tottenham. Slick passing in the build-up before Niko Kranjcar plays it to Luka Modric just inside the area. The quick-thinking Croat puts his right foot underneath the ball to lift a wonderful shot over Tim Howard and in off the bar.
1329: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-0 Everton (Modric)
1326: Shortly after Niko Kranjcar heads straight at the keeper, another howler by Heurelho Gomes. The Spurs keeper allows a cross to go straight through his hands, but there’s no Everton player behind to take advantage. He needs treatment for an elbow injury now.
BBC 5 live summariser David Pleat: „Everton are having more possession now, but they still look a bit anaemic up front.”
1322: Confident? Just a bit. Roman Pavlyuchenko picks up the ball on the left and takes a couple of touches to his right before going for goal. Easily dealt with by Tim Howard.
1318: Yikes. Heurelho Gomes catches then drops a cross, allowing Yakubu a shot on goal, but luckily for Gomes, there are too many Spurs defenders in the way. Also, think Yakubu was understandably a bit shocked to be gifted the ball.
From AdZY16 on Twitter: „Where is the Everton that beat United and Chelsea? It’s so easy for Spurs at the moment.”
Spurs goal: The boy simply cannot stop scoring. Lovely ball forward from Tom Huddlestone for Jermain Defoe down the right channel. The England striker appears to be shooting for the bottom corner but Roman Pavlyuchenko anticipates it and runs in to knock in his fifth goal in three games.
1312: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-0 Everton (Pavlyuchenko)
1309: Phil Neville completely and utterly and spectacularly mistimes a challenge on Gareth Bale, sending the left-back flying. The Welshman needs treatment, but he looks like he’ll be OK.
1306: Sharp start from the hosts, Roman Pavlyuchenko bursting into the box but the ball not quite falling for him.
1303: Spurs have to win this game if they are to reclaim fourth place from Manchester City. They are hoping to match their Premier League record of six home clean sheets in a row today.
1301: Tottenham have to drag themselves away from their team huddle so we can get going, which we have now.
1257: Tottenham’s groundstaff had a job on their hands to make sure this game went ahead after a significant rain dump over London this morning. The White Hart Lane turf is sodden, but the players are out and we’ll be under way shortly.
From RichardBurbidge on Twitter: „Re 1247: Turning point? Fifteen achievable points from Arsenal’s next five games might give us an answer. Let’s do it for Ramsey.”
1252: No word on what’s up with Louis Saha: whether he has has an injury, or he’s just been dropped. The 31-year-old was hoping to join up with the France squad this week for the first time in three years.
1247: He/she may be the World’s Most Pessimistic Gooner (see below), but he/she also has a excellent way with words. The Arsenal players’ response after the Aaron Ramsey’s injury was immense – against a side who had not lost in 2010. Was yesterday the turning point of the season? (You don’t need to answer that. We don’t know yet.)
From The World’s Most Pessimistic Gooner on 606: „Everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with Aaron Ramsey. Let’s hope he makes as speedy a recovery as possible and stop vilifying Ryan Shawcross. No-one wanted this to happen.”
1240: Rumour has it that Wayne Rooney might get a rest today. No such luck for you though. Get texting on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (world), or speak via 606 or Twitter.
1240: TEAM NEWS Tottenham v Everton
Vedran Corluka and Wilson Palacios have recovered from the virus that swept through the Tottenham training camp to play. Corluka takes Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s place in defence. In the only other change from the side which beat Bolton 4-0 in the FA Cup fifth round replay on Wednesday, midfielder Niko Kranjcar starts in place of David Bentley. Everton manager David Moyes makes five changes from the side which lost 3-0 at sporting Lisbon in the Europa League on Thursday. Victor Anichebe and Yakubu will start in attack, with Landon Donovan dropping to the bench and Louis Saha not featuring at all. Defenders Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga return from suspension and ineligibility respectively to replace Philippe Senderos, who has a hip injury, and Joseph Yobo. Jack Rodwell takes Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s place in midfield.
1239: Arsenal have just released a statement about Aaron Ramsey’s condition. He suffered „fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg” and underwent surgery last night. The statement continues: „The operation successfully reduced the fractures and whilst it is too soon to state an exact timescale for recovery, Aaron will certainly miss the remainder of this season. Our thoughts are with Aaron at this time and everyone at the Club wishes him all the best in making as speedy a return to action as possible.”
1237: TEAMS Tottenham v Everton
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Bassong, Dawson, Bale, Kranjcar, Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Kaboul, Crouch, Gudjohnsen, Kyle Walker, Dervite, Assou-Ekotto.
Everton: Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Anichebe, Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, Rodwell, Yakubu. Subs: Nash, Yobo, Jagielka, Bilyaletdinov, Donovan, Vaughan, Gosling.
1234: Your Sunday looks like this: Tottenham v Everton at 1300 GMT, then Liverpool v Blackburn, Sunderland v Fulham, and the Carling Cup final (1500 GMT). Don’t get me started on two Premier League games kicking off at the same time as the Carling Cup final… just don’t.
1230: Hello there. Recovered from yesterday’s drama yet? From the soap opera of the non-handshake to the sickening injury to Aaron Ramsey and Ryan Shawcross’s shock England call-up, it was quite a day. Don’t worry though, today should be a lot more relaxing. Just the season’s first piece of silverware to dish out, and a few Premier League games to worry about. It’ll be a breeze…

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Live League Cup final – Aston Villa v Man Utd (UK users only)
GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)
606: DEBATE
Your thoughts on the action
To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used)
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty tweeting from Wembley: „O’Neill in discussion with ref Dowd. He’s furious Collins & Downing have been booked and Vidic & Carrick have escaped. He has a point.”
1528: Ashley Young’s free-kick hits Emile Heskey’s head and lands fortuitously at his feet. He shoots on the turn but too close to the keeper. Now James Milner curls one wide. Cracking game this. Cracking.
1526: Now Bobby Zamora. There’s an England striker if ever I saw one. Simon Davies chips a nice ball into the box to meet Zamora’s clever run – but not such a clever header. In fact, it’s closer to the corner flag than the post. Oh well. Maybe Michael Owen’s a good shout then.
1524: Craig Gordon and Mark Schwarzer may be set for a day off at the Stadium of Light. Neither have had a save to make in the opening 15 minutes, with Zoltan Gera’s half-volley flying wide the only slight threat of note.
1522: In midweek, I said Michael Owen shouldn’t be in the England squad – but you could get back to me when he is picked in big games and scores in them. And to be fair to you, you have. It was a great finish by Owen, I can only agree.
Liverpool goal: After Blackburn have made much the better start, it’s the hosts who go ahead. Yossi Benayoun collects a ball from Steven Gerrard on the left and he finds Gerrard’s burst into the box. The touch from Gerrard isn’t great but it does the trick, and he slots past Paul Robinson.
1519: GOALFLASH Liverpool 1-0 Blackburn (Gerrard)
1518: Stewart Downing joins James Collins in the book for a late challenge on Patrice Evra. It’s still 100mph at Wembley…
1516: Blackburn threaten again after Lucas is caught in possession, with Nikola Kalinic breaking into the area and cutting inside before shooting across goal but wide.
1516: James Milner drives at the Manchester United defence, jinking this way and that before unleashing a swerving shot – punched away by Tomasz Kuszczak. Gabby Agbonlahor picks up the rebound and tries to curl one in, but not enough curl on it.
Man Utd goal: This is a quite incredible start at Wembley. Nightmare for Richard Dunne, caught in possession on Villa’s left by Dimitar Berbatov, who skips towards the edge of the box. Dunne recovers with a brilliant tackle – but the ball breaks perfectly for Michael Owen, who strokes a low finish into Brad Friedel’s bottom right-hand corner.
1513: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd (Owen)
1512: Nemanja Vidic may have escaped, but Villa defender James Collins does not after bringing down Michael Owen. Michael Carrick makes a complete hash of the free-kick – which kind of sums up the start Manchester United have made.
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty at Wembley: „Aston Villa’s pace through the middle and down the flanks always a threat and it has given them the perfect start. Nemanja Vidic never looked like dealing with Gabriel Agbonlahor and he had a tug at his shirt before hauling him to the ground. James Milner cool from the spot and Vidic might even be lucky to still be on as he looked to be the last man.”
From Shiraz, Leicester, via text: „Time for Wayne Rooney I think.”
1508: By the way, you know I said the roof was on at Wembley? I lied. Not deliberately, I just made a mistake. Meanwhile at Anfield, Blackburn have made a very decent start and go close for a second time, this time through Martin Olsson, who is not closed down and goes close with a long-range strike.
Aston Villa goal: Ashley Young’s ball over the top releases Gabriel Agbonlahor and as the Villa striker holds the ball up and looks to get the shot in, Nemanja Vidic has a large chunk of his shirt and sticks a leg out just to make sure Agbonhlahor goes no further. Clear penalty – but controversially Phil Dowd does not show a card of any sort to the United defender. James Milner coolly tucks away the penalty. What a start at Wembley.
1506: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-0 Man Utd (Milner pen)
1505: PENALTY TO ASTON VILLA
1502: Chris Samba heads straight into the arms of Pepe Reina from four yards out. Great chance for Blackburn at Anfield.
1501: Aston Villa, wearing white shirts and blue shorts, kick off the Carling Cup final. The two Premier League games are under way too.
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty tweeting from Wembley: „Big Ron Atkinson behind me at Wembley. Smiling as he watches himself on monitor leading out Villa for ’94 final when they beat Man Utd 3-1.”
1457: I have no time to reflect on that result – because Camilla Kerslake is leading the Wembley crowd in the national anthem. She’s signed to Gary Barlow’s record label, I’m being told.
1456: FULL-TIME Tottenham 2-1 Everton
From DjR_606 on 606: „An insight into SAF’s thinking on Rooney: he is anticipating AVFC having spent the lion’s share of their prep time working out how to handle Rooney, and will therefore be unprepared for and wrong-footed by the still formidable strike force that Berbatov and Owen could be. Or not.”
1451: There’s as much chance of an Everton equaliser as another Tottenham goal. End to end, harem-scarem stuff. Tim Howard does well to push Niko Kranjcar’s well-struck shot around the post.
1450: SIX minutes of added time at White Hart Lane where Tottenham are hanging on to a 2-1 lead against Everton.
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty at Wembley: „Manchester United fans are using this Wembley showpiece to again demonstrate the strength of feeling against the Glazer regime. Green and gold colours adopted by the protestors are prominent among their fans around Wembley.”
1448: TEAM NEWS Aston Villa v Man Utd
Aston Villa bring in Stiliyan Petrov, Emile Heskey and James Collins for Fabian Delph, John Carew and Luke Young, while Brad Friedel gets the nod ahead of Brad Guzan in goal. Manchester United make seven changes from the side that beat West Ham. Wayne Rooney is joined on the bench by Ben Foster, Gary Neville, Wes Brown, Darron Gibson and Paul Scholes, while Anderson is injured. Tomasz Kuszczak, Rafael, Johnny Evans, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Ji-Sung Park all come in.
1448: And while we’re at it, I quite enjoyed this from Sam Allardyce as well: „People just think Sam Allardyce and long ball but that is not fair on my players. We are playing some good stuff at times… It’s not my players fault, it is mine. Actually no, it is you guys who write about perception and not reality.”
1443: Anxious groans from the home fans as Johnny Heitinga swings over a corner and Phil Jagielka is left unmarked to head over. Just on Big Sam v Rafa, Allardyce has been in fine form this week, accusing Liverpool of copying his Bolton tactics to climb up the table. „They’ve had to go back to basics and the pretty stuff goes out of the window until you start winning. They have been professional and dogged enough to slowly improve over recent weeks.”
From timbotouch on Twitter: „I wonder if Benitez will walk past Big Sam’s outstretched hand. Cameras will be on that one too.”
1441: A change apiece at White Hart Lane. James Vaughan on for Jack Rodwell. Peter Crouch on for Roman Pavlyuchenko.
1439: TEAM NEWS Liverpool v Blackburn
Fernando Torres returns to the Liverpool starting line-up, making his first start since 13 January as one of four changes from the team that defeated Unirea Urziceni. Fabio Aurelio, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez also return to the starting XI while Javier Mascherano plays at right-back. Blackburn make one change from the team that defeated Bolton 3-0, with Chris Samba in for the injured Ryan Nelsen.
1437: SHOCKER! Jack Rodwell is in space in the area and arrows a shot towards the far corner. It deflects off the defender but Landon Donovan is at the far post and a yard out. He must score… but no, he’s put it in the side netting. He has his hands over his face – as does David Moyes, who cannot believe his eyes.
1436: TEAMS Aston Villa v Man Utd
Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing, Heskey, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Luke Young, Sidwell, Carew, Delfouneso, Delph, Beye.
Man Utd: Kuszczak, Rafael Da Silva, Vidic, J Evans, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Park, Owen, Berbatov. Subs: Foster, Neville, Brown, Rooney, Scholes, Gibson, Diouf.
Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill on leaving Brad Guzan out: „That was a really difficult decision. Brad Guzan is primarily responsible for us being here, but Brad Friedel’s experience might stand us in good stead. I’m looking forward to the game, obviously. We’re going in with plenty of confidence.”
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty at Wembley: „Aston Villa fans making all the noise at the moment – and what a lift for them with the news that Wayne Rooney is only on the bench for Manchester United. Fantastic opportunity for Michael Owen to make some attempt to rescue his stalled season, but Rooney on the bench for a Wembley final? Not sure of the logic in that.”
1432: The departure of Tom Huddlestone appears to have really affected Spurs and the game at White Hart Lane is now very evenly matched with 16 minutes remaining. Jermain Defoe is replaced by Eidur Gudjohnsen, who will partner Roman Pavlyuchenko up front.
1431: Full teams very shortly. Here’s Villa’s starting XI: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing, Heskey, Agbonlahor.
1430: TEAM NEWS Sunderland v Fulham
Lee Cattermole returns to the Sunderland midfield following suspension, with Steve Bruce shuffling his pack as Anton Ferdinand moves to left-back and George McCartney drops to the bench. Bobby Zamora retains his place for Fulham after shaking off an Achilles injury and Nicky Shorey returns at left-back having been cup-tied in midweek.
From I Think I Got A Man Crush on Fernando Torres… on 606: „Re 1419: I quite like the idea of Mascherano at right-back. He’s strong, pacy and powerful, can make lung-busting runs down the right and get crosses in the box. A bit like Glen Johnson, only better defensively, and a little worse in an attacking sense.”
1422: Landon Donovan comes on or Everton, replacing Victor Anichebe. Surely Everton can’t recover from 2-0 down against Spurs again?
1420: Here’s the full Manchester United starting eleven. Villa to follow. Kuszczak, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Park, Owen, Berbatov.
BBC Sport’s David Garrido at Wembley: „First blood to Villa fans banter-wise on Wembley Way…having seen those green-and-yellow anti-Glazer scarves many United supporters are wearing here, the chant was: ‘Are you Norwich in disguise?’ A compliment, surely…”
1419: TEAMS Liverpool v Blackburn
Liverpool: Reina, Mascherano, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Benayoun, Gerrard, Lucas, Maxi, Kuyt, Torres. Subs: Cavalieri, Aquilani, Babel, Insua, Ngog, Kelly, Ayala.
Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Givet, Olsson, Hoilett, Nzonzi, Andrews, Pedersen, Diouf, Kalinic. Subs: Brown, Emerton, Dunn, Roberts, Grella, Di Santo, Chimbonda.
1416: Maybe that makes up for it, Heurelho Gomes with a diving save from Jack Rodwell’s snapshot.
Everton goal: Well, Heurelho Gomes has been having one of those days and it has finally caught up with him. Deep corner from the left is headed back across by Jack Rodwell and Gomes flaps at it under pressure from Victor Anichebe. Yakubu is left to tap in only his third goal of the season.
1415: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-1 Everton (Yakubu)
1411: Aston Villa have Brad Friedel in goal, not Brad Guzan. Problems here for Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone, who hurt his foot as he shot and collided with Johnny Heitinga. He is stretchered off. Could be a metatarsal? I’m only guessing. Younes Kaboul is on.
BBC’s Alan Hansen on Rooney being on the bench: „Can you understand it? Can you make a case for it? In the Villa dressing room, when they get the team sheet, it’s such a big boost for them.”
1407: BREAKING TEAM NEWS Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov start for Manchester United, with Wayne Rooney on the bench.
1407: Johnny Heitinga pounces on a loose ball about 20 yards out but Heurelho Gomes is equal to the shot.
1404: Second half under way at White Hart Lane. Phil Jagielka replaces Leon Osman for Everton, with Johnny Heitinga moving into midfield.
From anon via text: „Best half of Spurs football I’ve seen this season. Brilliant.”
1357: Speaking of that live streaming of the Carling Cup final for UK users, it’s there now if you give the page a manual refresh. Just seen Martin O’Neill walking past an enormous picture of himself. He looked bemused, as you would.
1355: The Villa players have been out on the pitch at Wemberlee, wearing some very sensible suits and some not-so-sensible massive headphones. Hey, if you live in the UK, you can watch the Carling Cup final live on the BBC website. No, you can. I’m not even kidding.
1354: Our friends at Infostrada Sports have unearthed bad and good omens for Toffees’ fans. Bad – Everton have only come from two goals down to win once in Premier League history, at home against Wimbledon in May 1994, when they won 3-2 after trailing 0-2. Good – in the match between the sides in Dec 2009, Tottenham also led 2-0 before Everton staged a strong come-back and scored twice in the last 12 minutes to draw 2-2.
BBC 5 live summariser David Pleat: „Bale has been a very elusive attacker for Spurs from left-back. Tottenham’s passing and movement has been first class, and of course, they have more predatory instincts than Everton, who’ve had very little in terms of goal threat.”
1348: HALF-TIME Tottenham 2-0 Everton
1345: Gareth Bale drives at the Everton defence again, his shot deflected wide by John Heitinga. Everton’s defence look scared every time Bale has the ball.
1342: Lovely ball by Gareth Bale, low across the box looking for the run of Jermain Defoe – but the striker is an inch away from applying the final touch.
1341: Victor Anichebe stays on his feet to play in Phil Neville down the right and from the cross, Jack Rodwell has a golden opportunity to get Everton back into it – but heads wide.
1338: Victor Anichebe is on the floor again after landing heavily. Not sure the Everton striker is having much fun on the slippery surface.
1336: Just to really ram home their dominance, the home fans start up the oles as the Tottenham players stroke the ball around in midfield.
From Simon Spurs, via text: „So is ‘Arry a fool for never playing Pav or a genius for getting the best out of him at the right time? I know what he’d have us believe…”
1333: Spurs playing some fabulous stuff on the damp turf at White Hart Lane. Roman Pavlyuchenko touches the ball on for Jermain Defoe – but the England striker is stopped in his tracks by the offside flag.
Spurs goal: A goal of top, top quality from Tottenham. Slick passing in the build-up before Niko Kranjcar plays it to Luka Modric just inside the area. The quick-thinking Croat puts his right foot underneath the ball to lift a wonderful shot over Tim Howard and in off the bar.
1329: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-0 Everton (Modric)
1326: Shortly after Niko Kranjcar heads straight at the keeper, another howler by Heurelho Gomes. The Spurs keeper allows a cross to go straight through his hands, but there’s no Everton player behind to take advantage. He needs treatment for an elbow injury now.
BBC 5 live summariser David Pleat: „Everton are having more possession now, but they still look a bit anaemic up front.”
1322: Confident? Just a bit. Roman Pavlyuchenko picks up the ball on the left and takes a couple of touches to his right before going for goal. Easily dealt with by Tim Howard.
1318: Yikes. Heurelho Gomes catches then drops a cross, allowing Yakubu a shot on goal, but luckily for Gomes, there are too many Spurs defenders in the way. Also, think Yakubu was understandably a bit shocked to be gifted the ball.
From AdZY16 on Twitter: „Where is the Everton that beat United and Chelsea? It’s so easy for Spurs at the moment.”
Spurs goal: The boy simply cannot stop scoring. Lovely ball forward from Tom Huddlestone for Jermain Defoe down the right channel. The England striker appears to be shooting for the bottom corner but Roman Pavlyuchenko anticipates it and runs in to knock in his fifth goal in three games.
1312: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-0 Everton (Pavlyuchenko)
1309: Phil Neville completely and utterly and spectacularly mistimes a challenge on Gareth Bale, sending the left-back flying. The Welshman needs treatment, but he looks like he’ll be OK.
1306: Sharp start from the hosts, Roman Pavlyuchenko bursting into the box but the ball not quite falling for him.
1303: Spurs have to win this game if they are to reclaim fourth place from Manchester City. They are hoping to match their Premier League record of six home clean sheets in a row today.
1301: Tottenham have to drag themselves away from their team huddle so we can get going, which we have now.
1257: Tottenham’s groundstaff had a job on their hands to make sure this game went ahead after a significant rain dump over London this morning. The White Hart Lane turf is sodden, but the players are out and we’ll be under way shortly.
From RichardBurbidge on Twitter: „Re 1247: Turning point? Fifteen achievable points from Arsenal’s next five games might give us an answer. Let’s do it for Ramsey.”
1252: No word on what’s up with Louis Saha: whether he has has an injury, or he’s just been dropped. The 31-year-old was hoping to join up with the France squad this week for the first time in three years.
1247: He/she may be the World’s Most Pessimistic Gooner (see below), but he/she also has a excellent way with words. The Arsenal players’ response after the Aaron Ramsey’s injury was immense – against a side who had not lost in 2010. Was yesterday the turning point of the season? (You don’t need to answer that. We don’t know yet.)
From The World’s Most Pessimistic Gooner on 606: „Everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with Aaron Ramsey. Let’s hope he makes as speedy a recovery as possible and stop vilifying Ryan Shawcross. No-one wanted this to happen.”
1240: Rumour has it that Wayne Rooney might get a rest today. No such luck for you though. Get texting on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (world), or speak via 606 or Twitter.
1240: TEAM NEWS Tottenham v Everton
Vedran Corluka and Wilson Palacios have recovered from the virus that swept through the Tottenham training camp to play. Corluka takes Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s place in defence. In the only other change from the side which beat Bolton 4-0 in the FA Cup fifth round replay on Wednesday, midfielder Niko Kranjcar starts in place of David Bentley. Everton manager David Moyes makes five changes from the side which lost 3-0 at sporting Lisbon in the Europa League on Thursday. Victor Anichebe and Yakubu will start in attack, with Landon Donovan dropping to the bench and Louis Saha not featuring at all. Defenders Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga return from suspension and ineligibility respectively to replace Philippe Senderos, who has a hip injury, and Joseph Yobo. Jack Rodwell takes Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s place in midfield.
1239: Arsenal have just released a statement about Aaron Ramsey’s condition. He suffered „fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg” and underwent surgery last night. The statement continues: „The operation successfully reduced the fractures and whilst it is too soon to state an exact timescale for recovery, Aaron will certainly miss the remainder of this season. Our thoughts are with Aaron at this time and everyone at the Club wishes him all the best in making as speedy a return to action as possible.”
1237: TEAMS Tottenham v Everton
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Bassong, Dawson, Bale, Kranjcar, Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Kaboul, Crouch, Gudjohnsen, Kyle Walker, Dervite, Assou-Ekotto.
Everton: Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Anichebe, Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, Rodwell, Yakubu. Subs: Nash, Yobo, Jagielka, Bilyaletdinov, Donovan, Vaughan, Gosling.
1234: Your Sunday looks like this: Tottenham v Everton at 1300 GMT, then Liverpool v Blackburn, Sunderland v Fulham, and the Carling Cup final (1500 GMT). Don’t get me started on two Premier League games kicking off at the same time as the Carling Cup final… just don’t.
1230: Hello there. Recovered from yesterday’s drama yet? From the soap opera of the non-handshake to the sickening injury to Aaron Ramsey and Ryan Shawcross’s shock England call-up, it was quite a day. Don’t worry though, today should be a lot more relaxing. Just the season’s first piece of silverware to dish out, and a few Premier League games to worry about. It’ll be a breeze…

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