Luis Suarez gave "unreliable" and "inconsistent" evidence

Unreliable and inconsistent! Suarez blasted as FA release race row details

Liverpool”s Luis Suarez gave “unreliable” and “inconsistent” evidence to the commission investigating claims that he racially abused Manchester United”s Patrice Evra.

The FA released the independent regulatory commission”s full written reasons this evening on its website.

The 115-page document goes into detail of the case and the conversation the two players had during the match at Anfield on October 15.

Blasted: Liverpool

Blasted: Liverpool”s Luis Suarez gave “unreliable” and “inconsistent” evidence to the FA

On December 20, following a lengthy investigation by an Independent Regulatory Commission, the FA announced that Suarez would be banned for eight matches and fined 40,000 for racially abusing Evra.

The ban was suspended pending an appeal by the Merseyside club.

The report stated in its summary: “Mr Evra was a credible witness. He gave his evidence in a calm, composed and clear way. It was, for the most part, consistent, although both he and Mr Suarez were understandably unable to remember every detail of the exchanges between them.

“Mr Suarez”s evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance. It was, in part, inconsistent with the contemporaneous evidence, especially the video footage.

Total support: Liverpool have continued to back their star man

Total support: Liverpool have continued to back their star man

“For example, Mr Suarez said that he pinched Mr Evra”s skin in an attempt to defuse the situation. He also said that his use of the word “negro” to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence.

“To describe his own behaviour in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument. That this was put forward by Mr Suarez was surprising and seriously undermined the reliability of his evidence on other matters.

“There were also inconsistencies between his accounts given at different times as to what happened.”

Norwich 1 Fulham 1: Simeon Jackson earns a point for Canaries

Norwich 1 Fulham 1: Super Simeon! Late Jackson goal earns draw for Canaries

Simeon Jackson came off the bench to grab a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser as Norwich rescued a draw from the Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham at Carrow Road.

Portugal forward Orlando Sa had netted after just six minutes to put the visitors on course for a rare away win.

Norwich, though, continued to press and just when time was running out, Jackson nodded in Elliott Bennett”s right-wing cross to earn Paul Lambert”s men a deserved share of the points.

Super sub: Simeon Jackson celebrates his stoppage time goal

Super sub: Simeon Jackson celebrates his stoppage time goal

MATCH FACTS

Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Whitbread, Ayala, Naughton, Pilkington (Bennett 80), Johnson, Fox (Holt 46), Surman, Hoolahan, Morison (Jackson 69).

Subs Not Used: Rudd, Crofts, Barnett, Wilbraham.

Goal: Jackson 90+4

Fulham: Stockdale, Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, John Arne Riise, Ruiz, Murphy (Etuhu 65), Dempsey, Frei (Duff 80), Orlando Sa (Sidwell 79), Dembele.

Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Baird, Kasami, Hughes.

Goal: Sa 7

Attendance: 26,406

Referee: Howard Webb

The Canaries manager had made four changes from the side easily beaten here by Tottenham on December 27.

However, his side failed to keep a clean sheet as it took only six minutes before their defence was breached.

Moussa Dembele was allowed to charge to the edge of the penalty area before feeding Sa, who drilled a low shot past John Ruddy into the bottom right corner.

The home side were almost 2-0 down before they could mount a recovery, with full-back Kyle Naughton on handto clear an effort off the line from lively Portugal striker Sa.

Slowly Norwich managed to get some possession, and a spell of pressure saw Bradley Johnson set up just inside the Fulham box, but his sidefoot effort was deflected behind.

Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale then knocked the ball up off the underside of the crossbar from Zak Whitbread”s header, before John Arne Riise blocked Steve Morison”s close-range effort.

Inch perfect: Orlando Sa curls his shot past John Ruddy in the Norwich goal

Inch perfect: Orlando Sa curls his shot past John Ruddy in the Norwich goal

Well done: Sa celebrates his goal with Martin Jol

Well done: Sa celebrates his goal with Martin Jol

Norwich remained on the offensive, but continued to lack a telling final pass when in promising positions.

The visitors broke quickly on 32 minutes and came close to a second goal when Clint Dempsey”s close-rangeheader cannoned back off the crossbar from a right-wing cross by Stephen Kelly.

Kerim Frei charged forwards, brushingoff Daniel Ayala far too easily before rifling in an 18-yard effort which John Ruddy beat away.

When Norwich finally managed to get the ball into the Fulham half, once again there was no outlet to support Morison.

Captain Grant Holt – the club”s leading scorer with seven goals – was sent on for the start of the second half, replacing midfielder David Fox as Lambert looked to inject new life into the Norwich attack.

Fulham, though, did not look too stretched by the change as Philippe Senderos and Brede Hangeland remained untroubled.

The visitors continued to counter-attack well, with Sa their main threat.

When Norwich did get a man over down the left and Morison pulled the ball back across goal, Anthony Pilkington”s effort was blocked by Riise.

New Year celebrations: The Fulham players congratulate Orlando Sa after his early goal at Carrow Road

New Year celebrations: The Fulham players congratulate Orlando Sa after his early goal at Carrow Road

Life of Bryan: Fulham

Life of Bryan: Fulham”s Ruiz battles with Kyle Naughton

Naughton shaved the top of the crossbar with an angled drive when the home side pressed again as the hour mark approached.

Sa was bundled over by Ayala to give away a free-kick some 25 yards out, just right of the penalty arc. The ball was touched back to Riise to strike, but Whitbread got his body behind it.

Tough battle: Moussa Dembele fights for the ball with Bradley Johnson

Tough battle: Moussa Dembele fights for the ball with Bradley Johnson

Ending on a high: Norwich City owner Delia Smith has had a good 2011 with the club

Ending on a high: Norwich City owner Delia Smith has had a good 2011 with the club

With 20 minutes left, Lambert made another attacking change when diminutive Canada frontman Jackson came on for Morison.

Andrew Surman flashed a 20-yard drive wide as Norwich continued to press for an equaliser.
Stockdale soon had to turn away a curling effort from Jackson, before the Fulham keeper then held onto Whitbread”s towering header.

To their credit, Norwich continued to press Fulham back, as Holt headed over from close range.
Then, deep into five minutes of stoppage time, the pressure finally told as Jackson nodded in Bennett”s cross to snatch a point.

Rising high: Jackson heads Norwich level

Rising high: Jackson heads Norwich level

Late drama: Jackson scores for Norwich late into the game

Late drama: Jackson scores for Norwich late into the game

Stoke 2 Wigan 2: Drama at the Britannia as Watson denies Potters with late penalty

Stoke 2 Wigan 2: Drama at the Britannia as Watson denies Potters with late penalty

Ben Watson came off the bench to rescue a valuable point for 10-man Wigan in a thrilling finale to their match with Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

Victor Moses put the struggling Latics ahead on the stroke of half-time, but Gary Caldwell was then sent off for deliberate handball in the 76th minute and Jonathan Walters converted the resulting penalty to draw eighth-placed Stoke level.

When substitute Cameron Jerome – whose header had led to Caldwell”s dismissal – subsequently put the hosts ahead, things looked bleak for Wigan, but Watson then scored an 87th-minute penalty of his own – with his first touch – after Ryan Shotton had been penalised for a tug on Hugo Rodallega”s shirt.

Late show: Wigan Athletic

Late show: Wigan Athletic”s Ben Watson scores from the spot to earn his side a point against Stoke

MATCH FACTS

Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson (Shotton 50), Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Etherington (Jerome 73), Walters (Jones 90),Crouch.

Subs Not Used: Begovic, Diao, Whitehead, Upson.

Booked: Delap, Shotton.

Goals: Walters 77 pen,Jerome 84.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Stam, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Jones (Watson 86), Gomez (Gohouri 78), Diame, McCarthy, Moses, Rodallega.

Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Crusat, Di Santo, McArthur, Sammon.

Sent Off: Caldwell (76).

Booked: Moses, Stam, Rodallega.

Goals: Moses 45,Watson 87 pen.

Att: 26,595

Ref: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

Roberto Martinez”s side remain in the Barclays Premier League relegation zone, but the Spaniard will surely take heart from the fight his side showed in salvaging something from the game.

The visitors had slipped a place to 19th by kick-off following Blackburn”s sensational 3-2 victory at Old Trafford, and they were forced onto the back foot early on.

Jordi Gomez and Rodallega each warmed the palms of home goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen as Wigan settled, yet Stoke remained on top and Robert Huth headed narrowly wide from a Rory Delap throw-in.

Latics stopper Ali Al Habsi was soon inconvenienced by another Delap missile, before the veteran midfielder fired narrowly wide from 20 yards.

At the other end, Ronnie Stam was given the opportunity to shoot from distance and Sorensen had to be alert to tip away his dipping effort.

After the fit-again Andy Wilkinson had gone close for Stoke in an increasingly open game, Rodallega then latched onto a long ball and found himself through on goal, but Ryan Shawcross intervened with a crucial clearing header after the striker had lifted the ball over the onrushing Sorensen.

Huth then headed over from another set-piece and Marc Wilson tried his luck for the hosts with a long-range effort that sailed wide.

If that was ambitious, then Maynor Figueroa”s subsequent shot from inside his own half represented the most optimistic of attempts, although the same player had scored from a similar distance at this ground in December 2009.

Off and running: Wigan Athletic

Off and running: Wigan Athletic”s Victor Moses celebrates scoring his sides first goal

Stam prompted fury among the Stoke support – and earned himself a booking – shortly before the interval when he blasted the ball into the crowd after it had gone out of play.

Wigan then moved ahead in the 45th minute as Stam played in Rodallega down the right channel and the Colombian crossed for Moses to slot home with a clinical first-time finish into the roof of the net.

Stoke began the second half with renewed vigour, but were forced into a change in the 49th minute as Wilkinson limped off to be replaced by Shotton.

As had been the case in the opening period, the Latics weathered the early pressure and gradually settled into their stride.

Yet they survived a major let-off just before the hour mark when another long throw from Delap picked out Huth, whose firm header struck a post before bouncing back into the arms of a grateful Al Habsi.

Jumping for joy: Cameron Jerome celebrates putting Stoke in front

Jumping for joy: Cameron Jerome celebrates putting Stoke in front

Although Wigan were content to play largely on the counter, they retained an attacking threat and the impressive Mohamed Diame saw a 30-yard strike deflect narrowly off target before Rodallega nodded wide from a corner.

As the home supporters grew increasingly frustrated, Tony Pulis opted to introduce Jerome in place of Matthew Etherington with 17 minutes remaining and the move reaped immediate rewards.

After Peter Crouch had diverted a deep cross from the right back across the area, Jerome”s goalbound header was blocked by the arm of Wigan skipper Caldwell, who was duly sent off.

Walters drilled the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner and Stoke were soon pouring forward in search of a second.

Jerome was the man to provide it, the former Birmingham man slotting a cool finish into the far corner after flick-ons from Crouch and Walters had sent him clear.

However, Wigan were then awarded a penalty of their own after Shotton grabbed Rodallega”s shirt in the box.

Watson climbed off the bench to take the spot-kick and the midfielder calmly sent Sorensen the wrong way with his first touch of the game.

Huth saw another header fly wide as the final whistle approached, while appeals for a second Stoke penalty were waved away after Shawcross took a tumble in stoppage-time.

Swansea 1 Tottenham 1: Scott Sinclair denies Spurs

Swansea 1 Tottenham 1: Sinclair sickens Spurs as late effort dents Harry”s hopes

Scott Sinclair”s scrambled late equaliser earned Swansea a deserved point and denied Tottenham the chance to close to within four points of the Barclays Premier League summit at the Liberty Stadium.

Rafael van der Vaart had given the visitors the lead a minute before the break as he capitalised on a defensive error from Joe Allen to sweep home with the help of a deflection from Ashley Williams.

Swansea had not managed to pick up a single point this season after conceding the first goal, but they bucked the trend as a period of heavy pressure was rewarded when Brad Friedel hesitated when dealing with a deflected Angel Rangel cross for Sinclair to nip in and claim his fifth goal of the campaign.

Get in: Scott Sinclair was a happy man after earning his side a draw against Tottenham

Get in: Scott Sinclair was a happy man after earning his side a draw against Tottenham

MATCH FACTS

Swansea: Vorm, Richards (Rangel 46), Williams, Monk, Taylor, Dyer, Dobbie, Allen, Gower (Agustien 62), Sinclair, Moore (Graham 68). Subs not used: Tremmel, Britton, Routledge, Lita

Goal: Sinclair 84

Booked: Richards

Tottenham:Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Parker (Livermore 71), Sandro, Bale, Van der Vaart (Defoe 70), Adebayor. Subs not used: Cudicini, Dawson, Kranjcar, Rose, Pienaar.

Goals: Van der Vaart 44

Booked: Bale, Livermore

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Attendance: 20,393

Tottenham had lost just once in the league since the end of August but this result will have felt like a defeat, especially in the wake of Manchester United”s shock defeat to Blackburn earlier in the day.

Butfew would argue their hosts were worthy of taking something from the game, and they will enter 2012 five points clear of the relegation zone after being tipped by many as certainties to go down.

Whilemanager Brendan Rodgers” decision to field Luke Moore and Stephen Dobbie suggested he had one eye on Monday”s trip to Aston Villa, there was no sign of that from his players who took the game to their high-flying visitors from the off.

NathanDyer almost gave Swansea a dream start inside four minutes after Mark Gower had dispossessed Scott Parker and switched play.

The winger got away a curling left-footed effort that Friedel did well to palm away from his top corner.

Dobbie then dallied over picking out a fellow white shirt in the box having come off best in a challenge with Kyle Walker, before Sinclair scuffed his strike after Gower”s corner had found him unmarked.

Timing: Rafael van der Vaart shows great technique to turn the ball home just before the break

Timing: Rafael van der Vaart shows great technique to turn the ball home just before the break

Breakthrough: Rafael van der Vaart is given a lift by Benoit Assou-Ekotto after scoring Spurs

Breakthrough: Rafael van der Vaart is given a lift by Benoit Assou-Ekotto after scoring Spurs” opener

Thosenear misses roused Spurs from their early slumbers, and Luka Modric fizzed an effort narrowly wide of Michel Vorm”s right-hand post after 14minutes.

Vorm then denied Emmanuel Adebayor after lovely play between Modric, Gareth Bale and Van der Vaart, although the effort would not have counted as the flag went up for offside.

Spurs should have led after 32 minutes after a horrible pass from Dyer played Emmanuel Adebayor in on goal, but Vorm added to his growing reputation with a superbly timed sliding challenge to take the ball away from the Togolese forward.

Tussle: Spurs

Tussle: Spurs” Brazilian midfielder Sandro (right) holds off Mark Gower

Bale, the recipient of so much praise this week, had to this point been a peripheral figure, with young Jazz Richards doing a commendable job of limiting the Wales star”s forays down the flanks, while the Swansea midfield were doing just enough to crowd his space when he looked inside.

And his disappointing half was summed up when he was booked for diving over Gower”s trailing leg just before half-time.

On the run: Gareth Bale stretches his legs as he tries to launch a Spurs attack against the Swans

On the run: Gareth Bale stretches his legs as he tries to launch a Spurs attack against the Swans

But the visitors took the lead just a minute before the break as Benoit Assou-Ekotto”s cross was turned back into danger by Allen and turned home by Van der Vaart.

Tottenham almost doubled their lead 60 seconds after the restart as Younes Kaboul was given far too much room to advance, the centre-half being denied by Vorm after a neat exchange with Adebayor.

Swansea were looking vulnerable to Tottenham”s rapid counter-attacks and a misjudged Allen pass allowed Adebayor to tee up Van der Vaart, Vorm being forced to make the block low to his right.

Still got it: Spurs

Still got it: Spurs” veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel dives to save a shot from Nathan Dyer

Indeed the visitors for the first time in the contest looked genuinely comfortable, and Bale prodded just wide as Swansea struggled to contain the seamless movement of the likes of Modric, Van der Vaart and the assured presence of Sandro.

Rough and tumble: Spurs midfielder Scott Parket is sent flying by a challenge from Jazz Richards

Rough and tumble: Spurs midfielder Scott Parket is sent flying by a challenge from Jazz Richards

But the home side came within centimetres of a leveller in the 66th minute as Rangel”s volley from Allen”s corner flew just wide of the target.

Spurs skipper Scott Parker limped from the field with an injury, while Swansea introduced top scorer Danny Graham from the bench, and the pattern of the game suddenly changed.

Graham diverted a fierce Sinclair drive over the bar and it took a fantastic clearance from Walker to deny the striker a tap-in as Dobbie stabbed the ball across the box.

Modric blocked a Sinclair effort as Swansea piled forward, and the pressure yielded an equaliser with just six minutes to play.

Rangel”s ball into the box deflected off Assou-Ekotto and as Friedel hesitated the ball broke loose for Sinclair to fire home from close range.

Derby 2 West Ham 1: Resurgent Rams strike a blow to Hammers" promotion hopes

Derby 2 West Ham 1: Resurgent Rams strike a blow to Hammers” promotion hopes

Teenage striker Callum Ball and Paul Green struck early in the first half as
Derby closed in on the npower Championship”s top six with a second successive win over the Christmas period.

Ball, 19, struck his second senior goal from the edge of the penalty area in
the second minute and midfielder Green, who returned from a long-term knee injury in November, headed his first goal in over a year eight minutes later.

Hammers striker Frank Nouble pulled one back for the visitors with a rasping drive just before the break, but Nigel Clough”s side created other chances and defended valiantly in the second half to claim another prized scalp by following up their Boxing Day win over Leeds.

Derby have won three of their last four league games to climb within two points of the play-offs.

Dejected: West Ham

Dejected: West Ham”s Mark Noble and Gary O”Neil kick off following Derby”s opening goal

MATCH FACTS

Derby: Fielding, Brayford, Barker, Shackell, Roberts, Green, Bailey,
Bryson, Ward (Ben Davies 73), Tyson (Robinson 46), Ball (Buxton 90). Subs not used: Legzdins, Priskin.

Scorers: Ball 2, Green 10.

West Ham: Green, O”Brien, Reid, Tomkins, Potts, Lansbury, Diop (Hall 79), Noble, O”Neil (Cole 61), Piquionne (Baldock 61), Nouble. Subs not used: Carew, Sears.

Booked: Lansbury, O”Brien, Reid, Cole.

Scorer: Nouble 42.

Referee: Jon Moss.

Attendance: 28,067.

West Ham, depleted by injuries and suspensions, have won only one of their last five league games and couldslip out of the top two if Middlesbrough beat Cardiff.

Derby were unchanged from the side that beat Leeds 1-0 on Boxing Day, while Hammers manager Sam Allardyce was without eight first-team players.

Skipper Kevin Nolan, winger Julien Faubert, defender George McCartney and midfielder Jack Collison all missed out through suspension, while Abdoulaye Faye (thigh), Guy Demel (thigh), Matt Taylor (calf) and David Bentley (knee) are currently injured.

Midfielder Gary O”Neil and striker Nouble both made their first league
appearances of the season for the Hammers but Derby caught the visitors cold by racing into an early lead.

Striker Nathan Tyson slipped the ballinside from the right side of the penalty area and Ball rammed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 18 yards.

The visitors had barely had time to catch breath when the Rams doubled their advantage.

Left-back Gareth Roberts stormed forward and supplied a fine cross for former Doncaster team-mate Green to head firmly downwards beyond West Ham keeper Robert Green into the bottom corner in the 10th minute.

West Ham midfielder Noble, skipper inNolan”s absence, lifted his side with a 25-yard shot that flew just wide and Papa Bouba Diop headed over the crossbar.

Missing out: Sam Allardyce saw West Ham slump to their third defeat in five games

Missing out: Sam Allardyce saw West Ham slump to their third defeat in five games

Hammers striker Frederic Piquionne also went close with a header and at the other end Derby striker Jamie Ward flashed two shots just off target.

Derby goalkeeper Frank Fielding savedbrilliantly twice to deny Nouble and O”Neil in quick succession in the 39th minute, but could do nothing to prevent Nouble reducing the deficitthree minutes later.

Piquionne played the ball inside from the left and Nouble arrowed a shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Rams midfielder Craig Bryson fired wide early in the second half and Ball dragged his effort off target from similar distance inside the area.

Allardyce sent on strikers Sam Baldock and Carlton Cole with an hour gone, but it was Derby who threatened to add to their lead.

Green”s goalbound header from John Brayford”s cross was blocked by West Ham defender James Tomkins and Wardlashed a shot from the edge of the area wide.

The action continued to flow from end to end, with Noble and Cole this time
pulling shots wide for the visitors.

Noble”s late corner prompted Fielding into another sprawling save and Cole headed wide in the 90th minute, but Derby held on.

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Chelsea v Aston Villa, Arsenal v QPR, Swansea v Tottenham, Bolton v Wolves, Norwich v Fulham, Stoke v Wigan

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Follow Saturday”s action from around the grounds as it happens

Follow Sportsmail”s coverage of the Barclays Premier League as title chasing rivals Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are in action across six 3pm games. Harry Redknapp”s men visit Swansea, the Gunners host QPR in a London derby and the Blues welcome Aston Villa. Elsewhere it”s Bolton v Wolves, Norwich v Fulham and Stoke v Wigan. Email me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Live scores

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Arsenal 0-0 QPR

Bolton 1-1 Wolves

Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa

Norwich 0-1 Fulham

Stoke 0-1 Wigan

Swansea 0-1 Tottenham

All the latest from the Championship

All the latest from League One

All the latest from League Two

16.11: Chance for Villa but Agbonlahor”s shot is easily stopped by Petr Cech. He should score.

16.08: Apologies for lack of goal updates on Twitter right now. It seems that website is having one or two problems that is out of our hands.

16.05: GOAL! Bolton 1-1 WOLVES

What does this striker have to do to get more recognition Steven Fletcher scores once again after peeling off his marker, Zat Knight to convert Matt Jarvis” cross.

16.02: After a small break I”m back again as the second halves get underway.

15.50: Half-time everywhere in the Premier League.

15.47: GOAL! Stoke 0-1 WIGAN

Slightly against the run of play this but a top finish from Victor Moses who buried Hugo Rodallega”s cross.

15.45: GOAL! Swansea 0-1 TOTTENHAM

Wouldn”t you just know it, Spurs show those title credentials again as a minute before the break Rafael van der Vaart applies a lovely finish into the bottom corner.

15.42: Fulham once again look dangerous, this time on the counter, as Kerem Frei is denied by a super stop from Norwich keeper John Ruddy.

15.39: Slowly, Spurs are starting to get back into the game at the Liberty Stadium, with Emmanuel Adebayor curling just over for the visitors.

15.36: Cracking game at Carrow Road as Clint Dempsey hits the bar for Fulham from Sa”s cross. The latter is really making an impact here.

15.33: A penalty shout at Arsenal as Laurent Koscielny”s shot seems to deflect off Luke Young”s chest onto his arm. I have seen those given but it would have been harsh.

On the rebound: Stephen Ireland shocked the hosts by equalising for Aston Villa

On the rebound: Stephen Ireland shocked the hosts by equalising for Aston Villa

15.30: GOAL! Chelsea 1-1 ASTON VILLA

And we continue that trend at Stamford Bridge. John Terry looks like he handled Stephen Ireland”s initial shot on the line but the midfielder pounces on the rebound to fire in the equaliser. I think Villa will take the goal over a red card and a penalty…not that there is much choice anyway.

15.27: Still Swansea dominate Spurs who have hardly had a kick…it looks set to be the day of the underdog.

Sam

Sam”s the man: Ricketts hands Bolton the lead against Wolves

15.24: GOAL! BOLTON 1-0 Wolves

What a way to mark your comeback. He was out for 10 months but he seems to have learnt how to score in that time as Sam Ricketts scores his first goal in five years by converting Nigel Reo-Coker”s cross.

Spot on: Didier Drogba fired Chelsea ahead against Aston Villa

Spot on: Didier Drogba fired Chelsea ahead against Aston Villa

15.22: GOAL! CHELSEA 1-0 Aston Villa

It”s a certain penalty as Richard Dunne brings down Didier Drogba and the striker steps up to convert from the spot.

15.21: PENALTY (Chelsea)

15.18: Juan Mata is pulling the strings in Chelsea”s midfield but Villa have shown some threat as Gabriel Agbonlahor fails to connect properly with his head from a Marc Albrighton cross.

15.15: Norwich nearly draw level, but Bradley Johnson”s deflected effort flies just wide.

15.12: Tottenham are always likely to be on fire or awful on their travels, but it”s the latter today as Swansea continue to waste a host of decent chances.

15.09: GOAL! Norwich 0-1 FULHAM

Out of nowhere the visitors score as Orlando Sa buries an effort from 20 yards out following a good passing move.

15.07: Arsenal and Chelsea in domination of their early homes games so far…but then so were Manchester United at this stage earlier today. Plenty of football to be played yet.

15.04: Early chance for Stoke as Peter Crouch flashes a chance across goal. Wigan are going to need to wise up from set-pieces.

15.01: Away we go then.

14.57: Teams are out around the country.

14.51: Full line-ups from the Britannia Stadium:

Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Etherington, Walters, Crouch. Subs: Begovic, Jones, Diao, Whitehead, Upson, Shotton, Jerome.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Stam, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Jones, Gomez, Diame, McCarthy, Moses, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, McArthur, Sammon.

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Back in the side: Peter Crouch starts for Stoke

Back in the side: Peter Crouch starts for Stoke

14.48: Stoke are boosted by the return of record signing Peter Crouch for the visit of Wigan.

Crouch, who has missed the Potters” last two matches with a virus, replaces Kenwyne Jones in attack as manager Tony Pulis makes four changes from the Boxing Day draw against Aston Villa, with the fit-again Andy Wilkinson, Rory Delap and Jermaine Pennant also recalled.

Hugo Rodallega, the scorer of the goal that secured Premier League survival for Wigan at the Britannia Stadium on the final day of last season, replaces Conor Sammon in the only alteration to the visitors” line-up.

Sammon is among the substitutes, having had his red card against Manchester United rescinded by the Football Association.

14.45: Norwich captain Grant Holt finds himself back on the bench as manager Paul Lambert makes four changes for their game against Fulham at Carrow Road. Fulham are again without the injured trio of Bobby Zamora, Andrew Johnson and Damien Duff.

Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Whitbread, Ayala, Naughton, Pilkington, Johnson, Fox, Surman, Hoolahan, Morison.
Subs: Rudd, Crofts, Holt, Jackson, Bennett, Barnett, Wilbraham.

Fulham: Stockdale, Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, John Arne Riise, Ruiz, Murphy, Dempsey, Frei, Orlando Sa, Dembele.
Subs: Etheridge, Sidwell, Baird, Kasami, Duff, Hughes, Etuhu.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

14.41: Over to Wales now as Swansea host high-flying Spurs.

Swansea: Vorm, Richards, Williams, Monk, Taylor, Dyer, Dobbie, Allen, Gower, Sinclair, Moore. Subs: Tremmel, Britton, Graham, Routledge, Lita, Rangel, Agustien

Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Parker, Sandro, Bale, Van der Vaart, Adebayor. Subs: Cudicini, Defoe, Dawson, Kranjcar, Rose, Livermore, Pienaar.

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Still playing: Gary Cahill (left) starts for Bolton despite a fee being agreed for his transfer to Chelsea

Still playing: Gary Cahill (left) starts for Bolton despite a fee being agreed for his transfer to Chelsea

14.34: Sam Ricketts will make his first appearance for Bolton for more than 10 months today in the crunch Barclays Premier League clash with Wolves while Gary Cahill captains the side despite a fee having been agreed with Chelsea. Wolves boss Mick McCarthy makes three changes from the team that drew 1-1 against Arsenal, with the injured Ronald Zubar, suspended Nenad Milijas and youngster Anthony Forde replaced by George Elokobi, Richard Stearman and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts, Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Muamba, Petrov, Ngog, Klasnic. Subs: Bogdan, Robinson, Eagles, Sanli, Kevin Davies, Wheater, O”Halloran.

Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Elokobi, Hunt, Henry, Ward, Jarvis, Fletcher, Ebanks-Blake. Subs: De Vries, Edwards, Hammill, Doyle, Doherty, Foley, Guedioura.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

14.30: And here are the teams over at the Emirates as Arsenal host fellow Londoners QPR.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Song, Arteta, Walcott, Ramsey, Arshavin, van Persie. Subs: Almunia, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin.

QPR: Cerny, Young, Connolly, Gabbidon, Traore, Faurlin, Barton, Mackie, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd. Subs: Murphy, Orr, Hill, Derry, Campbell, Smith, Helguson.

Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

14.27: We”ll start at Stamford Bridge where 50million flop Fernando Torres and veteran Frank Lampard are back warming the bench. Didier Drogba is recalled with Paulo Ferreira also handed his first league start of the season at right-back. Darren Bent is only fit enough to start on the bench for Aston Villa, with Gabriel Agbonlahor starting as a lone striker.

Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Romeu, Meireles, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Lampard, Torres, Malouda, Bosingwa, Kalou, Hutchinson.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Albrighton, Petrov, Clark, N”Zogbia, Ireland, Agbonlahor. Subs: Marshall, Hutton, Bent, Delfouneso, Bannan, Weimann, Gardner.

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

14.25: Good day one and all, and welcome to Sportsmail”s coverage of the final six Premier League matches of 2011… and what an afternoon it promises to be, with Spurs Chelsea and Arsenal all in action.

Juan to watch: Mata has proved an effective player in Chelsea

Juan to watch: Mata has proved an effective player in Chelsea”s attack this season

Manchester United 2 Blackburn 3: Unhappy birthday for Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United 2 Blackburn 3: Rovers spoil the party as Yakubu and Hanley make it unhappy 70th birthday for Ferguson

Blackburn were the party-poopers as Steve Kean”s side ruined Sir Alex Ferguson”s birthday with a hard-fought win at the home of the Premier League champions.

Fans sang to Ferguson as he celebrated his 70th birthday on the same day it was revealed he intends to stay at Old Trafford for another three years.

But Rovers are fighting for their Premier League lives and manager Kean was determined to spoil the party for his fellow Scot.

Stranded: David De Gea (right) is left helpless as Grant Hanley heads in Blackburn

Stranded: David De Gea (right) is left helpless as Grant Hanley heads in Blackburn”s winner against United

MATCH FACTS

Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva (Will Kean 85), Jones, Carrick, Evra, Nani, Valencia, Park, Welbeck, Hernandez, (Anderson 46), Berbatov.

Subs not used: Lindegaard, Diouf, Pogba, Fryers, Cole.

Goals: Berbatov 52, 62

Booked: Carrick, Nani

Blackburn: Bunn, Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Pedersen, Henley, Nzonzi, Petrovic, Rochina (Morris 55), Formica (Goodwillie 85), Yakubu (Slew 89).

Subs not used: Kean, Blackman, Vukcevic, Linganzi.

Goals: Yakubu 16, 51, Hanley 80

Booked: Petrovic, Lowe

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Attendance: 75,146

Yakubu silenced the home crowd with apenalty after Dimitar Berbatov pulled down Chris Samba and the striker grabbed his second early in the second half.

Berbatov nipped in to score just seconds later and doubled his own tally with a cool finish from Antonio Valencia”s delivery.

But despite piling on the pressure, it was United who were undone as David de Gea failed to collect Morten Gamst Pedersen”s corner, allowing Grant Hanley to head home the winner 10 minutes from time.

It represented Kean”s best win as Blackburn manager, taking them off the foot of the table, and left Ferguson to question the wisdom of not even putting a rested Wayne Rooney on the bench.

The party atmosphere at kick-off proved to be a false guide to what followed.

In a pre-recorded interview with MUTV, Ferguson confirmed his future plans, which would make him by some distance the Premier League”s oldest manager.

Big day: Sir Alex Ferguson was all smiles at the start of the game on the day of his 70th birthday

Big day: Sir Alex Ferguson was all smiles at the start of the game on the day of his 70th birthday

Faithful: Ferguson was given a rousing reception by the United fans before his side faced Blackburn

Faithful: Ferguson was given a rousing reception by the United fans before his side faced Blackburn

The Scot then received a rendition of “Happy Birthday to you” from the home fans, setting the scene for the slaughter expected to follow.

Except United, injury-hit to the extent of having to name Rafael and Park Ji-sung as central midfield partners, were not up to the task.

The fluency that had carried them to eight wins from nine league games since their only defeat, that 6-1 massacre by Manchester City in October, was so obviously missing.

Hard to watch: Ferguson

Hard to watch: Ferguson”s mood soon changed as his United side struggled to cope with Blackburn

Top men: Sir Alex and Steve Kean head in at half-time with the Rovers boss the happier of the two

Top men: Sir Alex and Steve Kean head in at half-time with the Rovers boss the happier of the two

Nani was an obvious attacking outlet but had one of his frustrating days and neither Berbatov, Hernandez nor Danny Welbeck could plot a path through the massed ranks of Blackburn”s defence.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Ferguson had confirmed an intention to hand Berbatov an extra year”s contract.

He must have felt like snatching it away, when the Bulgarian followed up his Boxing Day hat-trick against Wigan by hauling Christopher Samba over in the box.

At a club as unstable as Blackburn, one of the few certainties is that from the spot, Yakubu does not miss and the Nigerian promptly sent De Gea the wrong way.

Cool head: Yakubu slams home his penalty to give Blackburn the lead against Manchester United

Cool head: Yakubu slams home his penalty to give Blackburn the lead against Manchester United

Party pooper: Blackburn striker Yakubi celebrates scoring against United on Sir Alex

Party pooper: Blackburn striker Yakubi celebrates scoring against United on Sir Alex”s 70th birthday

United”s response was strange in that, without playing well, they started to create opportunities.
Nani was off target with a couple of efforts then the Portugal winger was denied by Rovers” stand-in keeper Mark Bunn, as was Hernandez.

At one point, Hernandez also got in the way of a goalbound effort from Phil Jones, who had recovered from illness to face his former club for the first time since his 17million move to Old Trafford.

Pilloried by his own fans immediately before Christmas, Rovers boss Kean had now seen his side take first-half leads at Liverpool and United in a staggering six-day spell.

Up and under: Manchester United winger Nani struggles to find a way past Blackburn

Up and under: Manchester United winger Nani struggles to find a way past Blackburn”s Mauro Formica

With no Rooney to assist his team, Ferguson turned to Anderson at the break, a move that triggered a number of positional changes, the most significant of which saw Valencia shifted into an advanced position.

But, before United had a chance to see whether the tactical switches would work, they fell further behind.

Yakubu had too much strength for makeshift central defender Michael Carrick as he turned on the edge of the area, then nipped past Jones before drilling his shot through De Gea”s legs.

Getting stuck in: Rafael tries to make progress for United but he is stopped by a challenge from Grant Hanley

Getting stuck in: Rafael tries to make progress for United but he is stopped by a challenge from Grant Hanley

Disastrously for Blackburn, they conceded themselves within 20 seconds of the restart as United advanced, the ball eventually finding its way to Rafael whose bouncing cross-shot was nodded home by Berbatov.

So often have Ferguson”s teams recovered from such unpromising situations down the years, Kean must have felt sick.

His side started to get overwhelmed by the tide of red attacks, with Valencia to the fore.

Head boy: Hanley (centre) wheels away to celebrate sinking Manchester United

Head boy: Hanley (centre) wheels away to celebrate sinking Manchester United

It was the South American”s burst of pace and subsequent cut-back that provided Berbatov with the opportunity to side-foot United level.

Minutes later, Bunn almost unbelievably prevented Grant Hanley from turning Berbatov”s cross into his own net. He did not know much about it though, as the ball flew over off his outstretched foot.

The weight of attacks on the Blackburn goal was immense. Yet United”s commitment was so great they forgot to defend, and once again the questions were raised over De Gea, who came to collect Pedersen”s corner.

Instead, Hanley won the first header, then found the bottom corner with his second.
United resolve was sapped and their hopes of snatching the point that would take them top of the table disappeared when Bunn and home debutant Will Keane got in the way of Jones” injury-time effort.

Head down: A dejected Ferguson makes his way back to the changing room after losing to Blackburn

Head down: A dejected Ferguson makes his way back to the changing room after losing to Blackburn

Sir Alex Ferguson eyes three more years at Manchester United

Fergie eyes three more years at Old Trafford as United manager celebrates 70th birthday

Sir Alex Ferguson has said he intends to remain as Manchester United manager for another three years if his health remains good.

Ferguson celebrates his 70th birthday on Saturday and in an extensive interview with MUTV, has confirmed his intention to remain in his job for a period of time that would make him the Premier League”s oldest manager.

Fan-fare: Sir Alex Ferguson is all smiles as Manchester United supporters sing Happy Birthday to mark his 70th

Fan-fare: Sir Alex Ferguson is all smiles as Manchester United supporters sing Happy Birthday to mark his 70th

Are you sitting comfortably, Sir Alex The United manager takes his seat for the lunch-time kick-off

Are you sitting comfortably, Sir Alex The United manager takes his seat for the lunch-time kick-off

Face like thunder: Fergie reacts after seeing his side go behind at Old Trafford

Face like thunder: Fergie reacts after seeing his side go behind at Old Trafford

“I hope I have a long time left,” he said. “As long as my health stays up, I would hope to have another three years at the club. I am still enjoying it.

“We have defeats but compared to what we have achieved, they are minuscule.”

Great Scot: Ferguson has been in charge at Old Trafford for the last 25 years

Great Scot: Ferguson has been in charge at Old Trafford for the last 25 years

Sealed with a kiss: The Scotsman has led Man United to two European Cups during his Old Trafford tenure

Sealed with a kiss: The Scotsman has led Man United to two European Cups during his Old Trafford tenure

Ferguson had declined the opportunity to talk about his birthday in his pre-match press conference yesterday ahead of the Premier League encounter with Blackburn.

However, even in his programme notes, he has given little indication of having his legendary hunger for success sated by all his achievements.

“This time it is a milestone birthday and I suppose inevitably, Manchester United supporters are going to ask if a man of 70 is up to managing this great club, he told United Review.

Guard of honour: Ferguson celebrated 25 years at the Old Trafford helm in November

Guard of honour: Ferguson celebrated 25 years at the Old Trafford helm in November

“As someone who loves his job I am not about to let my years alone dictate my future.

“At my age health becomes the key issue for a man”s work and I am happy to say I have been blessed with stamina and energy that sees me coping with what I admit is a very demanding job.”

And, whilst he has regrets, including the three more Champions League final appearances he feels United should have had during his time in charge, the chance to land a third European Cup will drive him on, as will the opportunity to bring through another group of talented youngsters.

“We have players like Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck who have not won any league medals,” he said. “And, without question, winning the European Cup is important for this club.”

Manchester United v Blackburn live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Manchester United v Blackburn – follow the action from Old Trafford as it happens

Follow Sportsmail”s coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Manchester United host Blackburn at Old Trafford to kick off Saturday”s action. The Red Devils go into the match knowing at least a point will see them end 2011 top of the table, but they will be after more against a Rovers side who sit bottom of the division. Email me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Manchester United 0-1 Blackburn (12.45pm)

Click here for the goals as they go in

Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Jones, Carrick, Evra, Nani, Valencia, Park, Welbeck, Hernandez (Anderson 46), Berbatov.
Subs: Lindegaard, Diouf, Pogba, Will Keane, Fryers, Cole.

Blackburn: Bunn, Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Pedersen, Henley, Nzonzi, Petrovic, Rochina, Formica, Yakubu.
Subs: Kean, Slew, Blackman, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Morris, Linganzi.

Goals; Yakubu 16 pen.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Click for the live Premier League table

All the latest from the Championship

All the latest from League One

All the latest from League Two

Second-half: United have made one change as Anderson has replaced Hernandez. Blackburn get us going again.

13.40: A shock scoreline at half-time but United won”t be that slow out the blocks again all season.

I still fully expect them to go on and win this but what a half from Blackburn who have continued from where they left off at Liverpool.

13.36: Hair dryer at the ready…

Half-time: Manchester United 0-1 Blackburn

45min: Three minutes added on as United pile on some sustained pressure here. A few goalmouth scrambles now.

44min: After a lull in play, United have arguably their best chance as Nani”s shot from inside the box is well palmed away by Bunn. It just lacked power form the hosts perspective.

40min: A really poor atmosphere inside the ground. Blackburn are growing in confidence too as they start to commit on the counter. So far you would have to say Steve Kean is playing a blinder tactics wise.

37min: One of my favourite Blackburn tactics. I don”t know why more teams do not do it. They win a free-kick 60 yards out from goal and use Bunn to loft a high lofted ball deep into the penalty area.

It doesn”t work this time as Yakubu goes down under minimal pressure inside the box, but for flick-ons and penalty chances I don”t know an easier route to goal.

No way through: Manchester United

No way through: Manchester United”s Nani (top) vies with Blackburn”s Ruben Rochina

34min: From InfostradaLive:

Yakubu has now scored 11 Premier League goals this season, the highest total by a Blackburn Rovers player at this stage for 14 seasons.

32min: Another wasteful attack for United. Rovers, for once, make a hash of clearing the ball inside their box but Nani has a rush of blood to the head when he snatches a shot over the bar 16 yards out.

29min: Following a goalmouth scramble that Rovers clear, United threaten again as Javier Hernandez whistles a shot across goal. We haven”t seen too much of him so far.

26min: In my opinion United are playing too slow at the moment and are making it easy for Blackburn to defend. They really need to up the tempo.

23min: Frustration kicking in for United as they still haven”t forced Bunn into a save. Michael Carrick is booked for a clumsy tackle on Mauro Formica.

20min: But Nani”s freestyle lay-off that Phil Jones to smashes towards goal is blocked.

19min: United could respond here as they win a free-kick on the edge of the box. Old Trafford very subdued so far today.

Birthday blues: Yakubu gave Blackburn a shock lead from the penalty spot

Birthday blues: Yakubu gave Blackburn a shock lead from the penalty spot

Birthday blues: Yakubu gave Blackburn a shock lead from the penalty spot

16min: Manchester United 0-1 BLACKBURN

Well I can”t believe I”m even typing this. No complaints about the penalty as Dimitar Berbatov clearly pulls on Chris Samba”s shirt to bring him down. Yakubu steps up to send David de Gea the wrong way from the penalty spot. That is pretty much Rovers” first attack.

15min: PENALTY (Blackburn)

12min: That”s awful from Nani though, whose delivery doesn”t beat first man Yakubu. In frustration his lunging tackle to win the ball back only catches the striker”s ankle and he is booked.

10min: Free-kick to United just off the left flank near the penalty box as the hosts continue to attack in numbers. You wouldn”t believe Blackburn have five men in midfield – they are getting carved open time and again.

8min: Decent chance that for the hosts. Nani picks up the ball 25 yards out but he slices his shot wide.

6min: It”s just a matter of time you know. Danny Welbeck and Nani are finding it very easy to reach the Blackburn penalty area. The visitors are sitting far too deep but they are holding firm for now.

3min: No birthday surprises so far as United dominate the early stages. Blackburn can”t keep hold of the ball.

1min: From InfostradaLive:

Blackburn Rovers” starting XI is their youngest ever in a Premier League match, averaging 23 years and 320 days of age.

Bad touch: Manchester United

Bad touch: Manchester United”s Patrice Evra fouls Blackburn”s Mauro Formica after losing control of the ball

Kick-off: After a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Fergie, United get us going.

12.44: Teams are out at an overcast Old Trafford.

12.42: /12/31/article-2080371-0F4E301100000578-281_634x419.jpg” width=”634″ height=”419″ alt=”Happy Birthday to you: Sir Alex Ferguson acknowledges the fans” birthday chants” class=”blkBorder” />

Happy Birthday to you: Sir Alex Ferguson acknowledges the fans” birthday chants

12.36: Just seen a montage of Fergie”s managerial career highlights and it really underlines how much he has done for Manchester United.

What boss would want to succeed him Just how do you topple his achievements

United brings a fantastic managerial opportunity don”t get me wrong, but what an act to try and follow.

12.33: So no Wayne Rooney but I wouldn”t read too much into that.

As you may have guessed by now it”s a busy period for the football season and Ferguson is probably saving him for a tricky trip to Newcastle on Wednesday.

12.30: One hope for Blackburn is how well they played last time out. They rode their luck at times at Liverpool to secure a 1-1 draw but it was as organised as I have seen them this term.

And if Mark Bunn has another game like he did on Boxing Day then it might not be a birthday to remember for Fergie.

12.27: From OptaJoe:

2 – Since conceding six against Man City, United have shipped just two goals in the last nine matches and kept seven clean sheets. Tighten.

12.24: Don”t forget folks you can follow every Premier League goal as it goes in this afternoon by tracking our live goal service on Twitter.

12.21: Full line-ups from Old Trafford:

Man Utd v Blackburn
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Jones, Carrick, Evra, Nani, Valencia, Park, Welbeck, Hernandez, Berbatov. Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Diouf, Pogba, Will Keane, Fryers, Cole.

Blackburn: Bunn, Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Pedersen, Henley, Nzonzi, Petrovic, Rochina, Formica, Yakubu. Subs: Kean, Slew, Blackman, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Morris, Linganzi.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Rovers reunion: Manchester United

Rovers reunion: Manchester United”s Phil Jones starts against his former side

12.18: From InfostradaLive:

Manchester United have never lost a Premier League match at Old Trafford over the Christmas period (Dec 25 – Jan 6),winning 24 and drawing 5

12.15: Suddenly my expectations of Blackburn have dropped. No Hoilett while United welcome back Ex-Rover Phil Jones it could be a long afternoon for Steve Kean”s men.

12.12: Wayne Rooney is not even named on the bench by birthday boy Sir Alex Ferguson for Manchester United”s Barclays Premier League encounter with Blackburn at Old Trafford.

Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov are partnered together in attack by Ferguson, who celebrates his 70th birthday today.

Rafael and Phil Jones are back in defence after injury and there is also a place on the bench for Anderson, who has not featured since the beginning of November, as United take on a Blackburn team lacking injured duo David Dunn and Junior Hoilett from the side that drew at Liverpool on Boxing Day.

12.09: And Fergie shows no sign of giving up yet, revealing to the club”s in-house TV station that he will be staying on for another three years.

You can almost hear the collective groans around their title rivals.

12.06: From InfostradaLive:

Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his 70th birthday today, only the second manager to reach this milestone in the PL era after Sir Bobby Robson

12.03: Manchester United starting XI:

De Gea, Rafael, Carrick, Jones, Evra, Nani, Valencia, Park, Welbeck, Berbatov, Hernandez.

12.00: Here we go then, the final day of the year and a cracker to get us going. The current Premier League champions against former champions in what promises to be a….oh who am I kidding

It”s top v bottom, and on paper at least this looks like one of the mismatches of the season. Do Rovers really have a chance

You know what, I think they do. The reasons why are coming up but first I will bring you the team news.

Taking his chance: Dimitar Berbatov is given another start for United after scoring a hat-trick against Wigan

Taking his chance: Dimitar Berbatov is given another start for United after scoring a hat-trick against Wigan

Gary Cahill wanted by Liverpool

Liverpool ready to swoop for 7m Cahill as Chelsea deal hits the skids

Liverpool have entered the race to sign Gary Cahill.

The Bolton defender, who is out of contract at the end of the season, looked set to join Chelsea after a 7million fee was agreed on Friday.

In demand: Liverpool have entered the race to sign Bolton defender Cahill

In demand: Liverpool have entered the race to sign Bolton defender Cahill

But the highly-rated 26-year-old has failed to settle on personal terms at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea bossAndre Villas-Boas saying that the two parties were some way off finalising the deal

Villas-Boas said: “We”re still miles apart regarding agreement with the player.

“We will continue to monitor this situation and other targets for this position. I think we can sort it out. It should be no problem.

No deal: AVB says Bolton defender Cahill hasn

No deal: AVB says Bolton defender Cahill hasn”t agreed terms with the club

“The best outcome for us is for the player to join us. His technical attributes are immense. His pace is fantastic as well. He”s been playing magnificently at international level, normally alongside John Terry, and he can add to this squad or any squad.

“He can make this jump. But we are still far away in terms of agreement with the player.”

And According to the Daily Mirror, Liverpool are ready to vest their interest.

Manager Kenny Dalglish is a huge admirer of Cahill and is prepared to swoop, with the defender reportedly preferring to stay in the north.

Cahill joined Bolton from Aston Villa for 5million in January 2008 and has emerged as one of the country”s finest central defenders, forcing his way into Fabio Capello”s England squad.