Fernando Torres says he is not tired

I don't need a rest! Torres insists he is fresh and ready to kick on with Chelsea

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UPDATED:

12:53 GMT, 30 September 2012

Fernando Torres insisted he did not need to be rested like Juan Mata after the pair combined again to fire Chelsea three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

For the second successive game, Torres and Mata linked up to devastating effect as the European champions won 2-1 at Arsenal on Saturday.

As in Tuesday's Capital One Cup thrashing of Wolves, each set up the other's goal at the Emirates Stadium, Torres scoring from Mata's free-kick before earning the foul from which his fellow Spaniard netted the winner.

Fresh: Fernando Torres says he is not in need of a break

Fresh: Fernando Torres says he is not in need of a break

Mata's return to the side after being given a fortnight off following his Euro 2012 and Olympic exertions has reinvigorated both Chelsea and Torres.

Manager Roberto Di Matteo decided to give Mata a complete break amid fears he could suffer burn-out and the Italian may have similar concerns about Torres, who is the only player to have started every one of the club's games this season.

Tuesday's Champions League match against Nordsjaelland might be the ideal time to rest the 28-year-old if Daniel Sturridge is fit.

But, having spent much of last season kicking his heels on the bench, a siesta was the furthest thing from Torres' mind.

'I've been resting last season too many games, so I'm fresh now,' said.

'I'm feeling good and now we have a very important game against a great team.

'It's an important game for us in the Champions League because we didn't start with the three points.'

That was in Chelsea's Group E game against Juventus, which saw them blow a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2.

It was also the first match in which Di Matteo started all three of Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar in the same team.

He did so again on Saturday, despite question marks over whether the trio could function together as a unit – especially away from home.

Lie down: Torres says he did not play enough football last year

Lie down: Torres says he did not play enough football last year

Torres scoffed at the pundits who doubted the enterprise, saying: 'They are not experts.'

He added: 'If you have great players, you have to use them. That gives you more chances to score and to win.

'Arsenal are a great team in possession but we were not scared to keep the ball.

'Also, this is the best way to defend, and this is one of the main reasons why Chelsea are not conceding too many goals, because we have the ball and we do it with quality.

'So why can't all of these kinds of players play together'

Despite deserving to win, Chelsea's failure to punish Arsenal on the break allowed their opponents to go close to equalising more than once.

Torres was largely to blame, wasting several opportunities in an up-and-down performance that saw him score a brilliant goal, bully Laurent Koscielny all afternoon but still lack fluency in the final third.

Attack: Torres thinks all the creative players can be deployed at once

Attack: Torres thinks all the creative players can be deployed at once

He admitted: 'We created so many chances on the counter-attack. We couldn't score the third one and should have killed the game.'

Di Matteo was delighted with Torres' contribution and the increasing understanding between Mata, Hazard and Oscar.

But he added: 'We have not been together for much time and that shows sometimes, so it is just a matter of working on the training ground to try to improve.'

Di Matteo also played down his own side's title chances, saying: 'It's only six games into the league.

'But it gives you confidence and it gives you belief. And, going forward, hopefully it will give us a good lift.'

Hard to handle: Juan Mata was sublime on Saturday

Hard to handle: Juan Mata was sublime on Saturday

All the talk pre-match had been about how John Terry would react after being found guilty by an independent Football Association panel of using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand.

What slipped under the radar somewhat was Frank Lampard missing a third successive match – although he was injured on Tuesday night.

Lampard's lack of game time was a hot potato during the reign of Andre Villas-Boas last season.

Di Matteo said: 'It is always difficult to leave a player out.

'All the guys who started are internationals as well but, because we are playing so many games, there is room for everybody.

'That is the only way we can achieve anything, by using all of the squad.'

Patrice Evra says Manchester United deserved to lose to Tottenham

It was like we stayed in the hotel! Evra says United deserved to lose after poor first half show

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UPDATED:

12:53 GMT, 30 September 2012

Patrice Evra believes Manchester United are putting their Barclays Premier League title hopes at risk with the kind of performance they produced against Tottenham on Saturday.

United's 3-2 defeat was their second of the season.

It leaves them four points behind early pacesetters Chelsea and already in that dreaded game of catch-up.

Down and out: Patrice Evra slammed Manchester United's first half showing

Down and out: Patrice Evra slammed Manchester United's first half showing

Of their six matches so far, the Red Devils have been behind in five. They have kept just one clean sheet and conceded nine goals.

And Evra knows it simply is not good enough.

'It is too much if we want to win the title,' said the Frenchman.

'The result against Tottenham is what happens when you only play for 45 minutes.

'The game is 90 minutes long and we deserved to lose because we only played for 45.

'To concede three goals at Old Trafford is not good enough.'

Indeed, Evra went further, questioning United's mentality.

'The problem is in our heads,' he said.

'It looked like we stayed in the hotel.

'The first 45 minutes had no speed, no focus, we didn't win a lot of challenges and we conceded some silly goals.

'Maybe I am hard with myself and the team but we only showed the United face in the second half.

'This is not enough if we want to win the title.'

The positives to be gained from a vastly improved second-half display, triggered by the introduction of Wayne Rooney, were tempered by the sight of Jonny Evans hobbling away after the final whistle.

Sir Alex Ferguson said afterwards the Northern Ireland defender was suffering from nothing worse than a dead leg and would be fit for Tuesday's Champions League encounter with CFR Cluj.

If Ferguson is not correct in his assessment, rookie Scott Wootton could be in for the biggest game of his fledgling career as United look to build on their success over Galatasaray.

Job done: The Spurs bench erupted when they sealed the victory

Job done: The Spurs bench erupted when they sealed the victory

Impressive: Gareth Bale surged through the middle of the park to score his goal

Impressive: Gareth Bale surged through the middle of the park to score his goal

However, against Romanian opponents who took advantage of Braga's profligacy to record a surprise win in Portugal a fortnight ago, United cannot afford a repeat of what unfolded on Saturday.

'We have to be positive,' said Evra.

'It's not a bad start to the season.

'We won at Anfield, which we didn't do last season, even if they played much better than us.

'We still have a lot to do, but we have to forget that first half against Spurs.

'I hope it was just an accident and we can get back the winning mentality that we showed in the second half in the Champions League and against Newcastle on Wednesday.'

Not enough: Nani sparked the fightback just after half-time but United could not get a point

Not enough: Nani sparked the fightback just after half-time but United could not get a point

Arsene Wenger demands improvement

Up your game! Wenger demands improvement from Arsenal after 'average' show against Chelsea

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UPDATED:

12:52 GMT, 30 September 2012

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accepts his side cannot afford many more 'average' performances like against Chelsea if they are to have a say in the Barclays Premier League title race.

The Gunners went into Saturday's showdown with the leaders at the Emirates Stadium unbeaten, and holding some genuine hope of making a real impact again at the business end of the table.

However, despite creating several good openings – with Blues keeper Petr Cech denying both Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, who then missed a great chance in stoppage time – Arsenal were the architects of their own downfall against a well-drilled Chelsea outfit.

Unhappy: Arsene Wenger wants his side top improve on their 'average' display

Unhappy: Arsene Wenger wants his side top improve on their 'average' display

Goals from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata's free-kick secured a 2-1 victory for the visitors.

And Wenger said: 'We can be much better. Technically we were average, and also so was our authority at the back.

'When you play at home and concede two goals from set-pieces, it is unacceptable.

'I think there is some psychological damage because we lost the game and the players are very disappointed, especially because we have lost a game we should not have lost and that is where we have some work to do, especially in some aspects of our defensive game.'

Torres had got the better of Laurent Koscielny – who retained his place ahead of Per Mertesacker as captain Thomas Vermaelen returned to the defence – to fire the visitors ahead on 20 minutes after Arsenal failed to deal with Mata's free-kick into the penalty area.

Runaround: Fernando Torres (left) got the better of Laurent Koscielny on a number of occasions on Saturday

Runaround: Fernando Torres (left) got the better of Laurent Koscielny on a number of occasions on Saturday

Up your game: Santi Cazorla (right) was unable to create many openings for Arsenal

Up your game: Santi Cazorla (right) was unable to create many openings for Arsenal

Although Gervinho levelled with well-taken equaliser just before the break, another curling dead-ball delivery from Mata found its way into the bottom corner on 53 minutes as Koscielny's slight deflection only helped the ball past Vito Mannone.

While Cech's reactions – particularly from a deflected Giroud shot – certainly helped earn Chelsea their fifth win from six games, Arsenal's defensive shortcomings were again highlighted.

Wenger accepted the doom-mongers would soon latch on to that well-examined area of weakness.

'I can completely understand people's opinion,' he said, 'but what is important is the personality you show in a big game and that is where is some areas we were not at the [right] level.'

In it goes: Juan Mata bagged the winner with a fortuitous free-kick

In it goes: Juan Mata bagged the winner with a fortuitous free-kick

Wenger passes 16 years at the helm this week but insists for him it has always been about meeting the next challenge head-on.

'I never look back, I always look forward,' he said.

'I looked at the Chelsea game and look at the next game. It is not easy, it is never easy.'

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby limped off on Saturday after less than 20 minutes.

Wenger said: 'It is a thigh muscle strain. It is a minimum of three weeks.'

Meanwhile, England international Jack Wilshere is expected to make his long-awaited return to action after 14 months out in an Under 21s match at West Brom on Monday afternoon.

Not again: Olivier Giroud missed a good chance in the dying moments which could have levelled the game

Not again: Olivier Giroud missed a good chance in the dying moments which could have levelled the game

Juventus ready to rescue unsettled Nani from Manchester United

Juventus ready to rescue unsettled Nani from Old Trafford after training ground bust up

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UPDATED:

12:13 GMT, 30 September 2012

Juventus are ready to swoop for unsettled Manchester United winger Nani after his bust up with 20-year-old team-mate Davide Petrucci last week.

The champions of Italy are monitoring the progress of the Portugal international’s growing unrest at Old Trafford as they prepare to make a concrete offer in January, according to the Mirror.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has grown increasingly frustrated with Nani over recent months.

Escape route: Juventus are keen to land Nani in January

Escape route: Juventus are keen to land Nani in January

Not only did the 25-year-old miss a penalty against Galatasaray last week, but as Sportsmail revealed on Saturday, Ferguson was furious with Nani after he landed a blow on reserve midfielder Petrucci after a training ground spat.

Sources in Turin claim that Juventus are unwilling to come even close to Manchester United’s 25million valuation of Nani, and are hoping to land the player for less than half that fee.

Nani, who scored in United’s 3-2 defeat against Tottenham on Saturday, is also unimpressed with his current club, as he believes they have backtracked on their promise to offer him a contract worth 120,000 a week.

As a result, United fear that Nani could run down the remaining two years of his contract and leave United on a free.

Zenit St Petersburg were in the running for Nani’s signature before the transfer window closed, before a 25million deal fell through.

Frustrated: Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to be unhappy with the winger after he rowed with Davide Petrucci

Frustrated: Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to be unhappy with Nani (above) after he rowed with Davide Petrucci (below)

Frustrated: Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to be unhappy with the winger after he rowed with Davide Petrucci

Warrington Wolves turn attention towards first Grand Final

Wolves keeping emotions in check as they turn sights on first Grand Final

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UPDATED:

13:31 GMT, 30 September 2012

Warrington are through to their first Grand Final but the champagne is staying on ice for now.

The Challenge Cup winners came from behind to secure an impressive 36-18 semi-final victory over St Helens to set up a Wembley rematch with defending champions Leeds at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The celebrations at Langtree Park were muted, however, as the Wolves quickly turned their thoughts towards becoming the first team to achieve the double since St Helens won the Cup final and Grand Final in 2006 and pulling off their first league championship for 57 years.

Whoosh: Trent Waterhouse scores a try

Whoosh: Trent Waterhouse scores a try

'We're made up that we've got there but we've still a lot of hard work to do,' warned hooker Mickey Higham.

'Fair play to Saints, they had a real strong start and got us in an arm wrestle but we stuck in there and turned it around.

'We got back to something like (acceptable) with the ball and defensively and hopefully we can take that into next week.

'We won't be satisfied with just getting there. We've earned the right to get there now and we want to kick on and finish it off.

'It would be just reward for a long, consistent season.'

Tries from wings Tommy Makinson and Francis Meli and skipper Paul Wellens put Saints into a 14-4 lead and on course for a seventh successive Grand Final appearance, but Warrington crucially pulled a try back just before half-time through Simon Grix.

The Wolves then dominated the second half, with Australian second-rower Trent Waterhouse clinching victory with two tries in a decisive three-minute spell.

Gunning for silverware: Ryan Atkins celebrates at full time

Gunning for silverware: Ryan Atkins celebrates at full time

Waterhouse was an NRL Grand Final winner with Penrith Panthers in 2003 while Higham has to go back even further for his last showpiece victory, a nailbiting 19-18 success with St Helens over Bradford in 2002.

'It's my 10th anniversary,' he said. 'Personally it's been long overdue. I've been striving to get back there and I've finally done it.

'Hopefully I can have a repeat of the last one, but not as close as the last result. I'd take a one-point win but hopefully we can get the job done a bit before that.'

Warrington beat Leeds 35-18 in last month's Challenge Cup final – they were also 30-6 winners over the Rhinos at Wembley in 2010 – but the Yorkshiremen have a proud record at Old Trafford, where they are aiming for a fifth success in the last six years.

Leeds have once more defied all logic by reaching the final from fifth place and Higham admits he did not expect them to get past league leaders Wigan in Friday's first semi-final at the DW Stadium.

On the ball: Chris Riley dives into score a try

On the ball: Chris Riley dives into score a try

'Truthfully, probably not,' he said. 'I did fancy Wigan. It could have gone either way at the end but it went for Leeds.

'That's why they are a champion team, they've been there the last six or seven years.

'They had a defeat in the Challenge Cup so they have quite a few things to motivate them this week.

'It's going to be a tough one but, if we can stick to our strategies and our guns, hopefully we can get them again.'

Leeds will have half-back Danny McGuire back for the final after he sat out the Wigan tie through suspension while Warrington will also be at full strength.

England second-rower Ben Westwood, who is on the Man of Steel award shortlist, made his comeback from a knee injury sustained at Wembley and coach Tony Smith also has the option of recalling prop Garreth Carvell.

The former Leeds front-rower has recovered from a back injury but was surprisingly left out by Smith for the semi-final.

Manchester City almost back to their best – Roberto Mancini

We are almost back to our best, City boss Mancini warns title rivals

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UPDATED:

13:17 GMT, 30 September 2012

Roberto Mancini believes Manchester City are getting close to their best and will be back firing on all cylinders after the international break.

The reigning Barclays Premier League champions picked up a 2-1 victory at Fulham on Saturday thanks to substitute Edin Dzeko's late effort.

Had the Bosnian not found the net, though, the draw would have seen City go five matches without a win in all competitions for the first time in nearly four years.

Leaving it late: Edin Dzeko (left) scored Manchester City's winner at Fulham

Leaving it late: Edin Dzeko (left) scored Manchester City's winner at Fulham

Mancini admits his team are yet to find the form they showed last season but believes they are moving in the right direction.

'I was worried because we continued to play well and had chances,' Mancini said.

'We didn't score for 87 minutes and I am very pleased for Edin because he scored an important goal.

'It is also difficult for me to choose 11 players because I have 17, 18, 20 players that are really good.

'We play every three days so we need all of these players. Fulham is a difficult pitch so it was really important to have all these good players.

'I think that we were very close to the same we played last year.

'The problem we had was we didn't have all the players in pre-season. Twelve players started their pre-season 10 days before the championship began, which is difficult.

'I think, in my opinion, maybe after the international break we will be OK.'

Catch me if you can: City celebrate their narrow win against Fulham

Catch me if you can: City celebrate their narrow win against Fulham

Saturday's win stopped the rot and propelled City up to fourth, keeping them within touching distance of Manchester United and Chelsea.

'We were unlucky for three or four weeks and we deserved to win,' Mancini said.

'Against Fulham we had a lot of possession, a lot more chances to score and I think we played very well.

'I am happy with that and if we had lost you could say it was a bad moment, but we wanted this victory and we got it.'

Mancini's attention now turns to the Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday for which the Italian says he has no new knocks after Saturday's victory.

Fulham, meanwhile, will be looking for a return to winning ways when they travel to Southampton next weekend.

The Cottagers have enjoyed a bright start to the season and began well against City, with Mladen Petric netting from the penalty spot 10 minutes in.

Back to our best: Roberto Mancini believes City have rediscovered their form

Back to our best: Roberto Mancini believes City have rediscovered their form

However, Sergio Aguero's leveller and Dzeko's late goal saw Martin Jol's side lose out on a point the Dutchman believes would have been fortuitous.

'Everybody saw before the game they changed their team,' Jol said.
“Normally they play with Aguero and striker Dzeko, but they left him out and played 4-3-3.

'They don't do that all the time and that was good for us because they showed us respect.

'Scoring the goal after 10 minutes gave us a good cushion but we need a bit more to score the second one.

'To score the winner at 1-1 we had one good chance through Bryan Ruiz and Alex Kacaniklic, but it was just not enough for me to say we probably deserved the point.

'On the other hand, I feel if you work that hard and concede a goal just before the end through our own mistake it's a bit frustrating.'

Andy Murray prepares for first appearance since historic US Open win at Japan Open

Murray prepares for first appearance since historic US Open win at Japan Open

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UPDATED:

14:21 GMT, 30 September 2012

Andy Murray is preparing to take to the court in his first match since lifting the US Open, as he looks to defend the Japan Open this week.

Murray ended Britain’s 76-year wait for a men’s grand slam champion when he conquered Novak Djokovic in a thrilling five-set match at Flushing Meadows in September.

Murray, who has already been practising in Tokyo, is preparing to defend his Japan Open crown, starting with Frenchman Gael Monfils in his first match since the historic day New York.

Here he comes: Andy Murray is hoping to defend the Japan Open after arriving in Tokyo for practice

Here he comes: Andy Murray is hoping to defend the Japan Open after arriving in Tokyo for practice

‘It will be a tough first match against Monfils,’ Murray said. ‘I've played him I think five times and lost to him a couple of times. He's a great athlete.’

Not only did Murray take the US Open from Djokovic, he also reached his first Wimbledon final and won two Olympic medals – a gold in the men’s singles and a silver in the mixed-doubles with Laura Robson.

Murray is still hungry for success in Japan, despite his most successful season since joining the men’s tour.

‘Obviously I have good memories (of Tokyo) from last year,’ said the world No 3, who beat Rafa Nadal in a memorable final, losing just four points in a 6-0 third set.

‘It's nice to come back. I'd also like to play well at the Tour Finals in London. I didn't have the chance to do that last year (because of a groin strain).

‘It was a very disappointing way to end the year. I want to make sure I'm 100 per cent fit for that tournament and finish the year well there’

In good shape: Murray looks fit for purpose ahead of his match against Gael Monfils

In good shape: Murray looks fit for purpose ahead of his match against Gael Monfils

In good shape: Murray looks fit for purpose ahead of his match against Gael Monfils

Murray, whose hired former world No 1 Ivan Lendl as coach earlier this year, said he felt stronger mentally, physically and technically than ever.

‘I've probably improved mentally a little bit,” the Scot said with some understatement after finally breaking his grand slam duck.

‘It's very important at my age to make sure you keep trying to learn and get better.

‘I've improved my game. That's the thing I've been the most pleased with this year. With the way men's tennis is now – there is a lot of depth.

‘The top of the men's game is very, very strong so if you want to improve your ranking and win more tournaments you need to keep finding things to improve your game.’

Strike a pose: Murray had time for photographs with South Korean pop group A-peace in Tokyo

Strike a pose: Murray had time for photographs with South Korean pop group A-peace in Tokyo

Murray has done just that under Lendl, avenging his Wimbledon loss to Roger Federer at the London Olympics before beating Djokovic in a pulsating US Open final.

A well-rested Murray arrived early for his Tokyo title defence, flying in from Bangkok on Thursday.

‘I've had a few more days to enjoy the city a bit,’ he said. ‘It's been fun. I've had four or five days complete rest. During the season there's not many times you can do that.’

Murray is also looking forward to playing doubles at the Japan Open after winning that title too with brother Jamie last year.

‘A lot of players at this stage of the year are a bit mentally and physically tired,’ he said. ‘You need to find the best way of managing for the last couple of months of the year.’

No rest: Murray hopes to defend his Japan Open title

No rest: Murray hopes to defend his Japan Open title

Hoffenheim midfielder Boris Vukcevic in critical but stable condition after car crash

Hoffenheim midfielder Vukcevic in critical but stable condition at hospital after car crash

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UPDATED:

13:56 GMT, 30 September 2012

Hoffenheim midfielder Boris Vukcevic remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital following a car crash on Friday.

The 22-year-old is still in a coma after two nights in a Heidelberg clinic following the accident, which occurred while the player was on his way to training on Friday.

He remains in intensive care, his club confirmed today, and his condition 'remains critical', but he is in 'the best possible hands,' according to Hoffenheim's general manager Andreas Muller.

Critical: Boris Vukcevic of Hoffenheim is in a critical but stable condition

Critical: Boris Vukcevic of Hoffenheim is in a critical but stable condition

'We have discussed how we should deal with the situation. We know that Boris is in the best possible hands and all we can do is hope that his condition stabilises itself further,' he said.

Hoffenheim fulfilled their Bundesliga fixture against Augsburg yesterday, managing a 0-0 draw, and the players have now been given two days off before returning to training on Tuesday.

'The players should remain with their families and try to clear their minds as much as possible,' said Muller.

'Of course they have the opportunity of coming into our training centre whenever they want.'

Wreck: The midfielder's car was seriously damaged during the crash

Wreck: The midfielder's car was seriously damaged during the crash

Tributes: Hoffenheim fans held up shirts and banners for their midfielder before the game against Augsburg

Tributes: Hoffenheim fans held up shirts and banners for their midfielder before the game against Augsburg

World Twenty20: Australia beat South Africa

Australia cruising towards last four after emphatic win over South Africa

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UPDATED:

13:47 GMT, 30 September 2012

Tournament top-scorer Shane Watson again provided a telling contribution as Australia beat South Africa by eight wickets to stay bang on course for an ICC World Twenty20 semi-final.

Watson added 70 runs to Xavier Doherty's three for 20 with the ball as Australia won their second successive Super Eight match at the R Premadasa Stadium, by chasing down the Proteas' 146 for five with 14 balls to spare.

Watson had shared a century opening stand with David Warner in Friday's success against India, but this time lost his first-wicket partner early.

Main man: Shane Watson was in fine form as Australia beat South Africa

Main man: Shane Watson was in fine form as Australia beat South Africa

It did not faze him, though, as he reached his third half-century in four innings with his second six – over square-leg off Wayne Parnell – to go with six fours from 35 balls.

Doherty had earlier given Australia a wonderful start after they had won the toss.

The slow left-armer had South Africa eight for two in the third over – Richard Levi somehow playing inside the line to be bowled leg-stump for a duck and then Jacques Kallis edging behind to go cheaply too.

It would have been 16 for three had Michael Hussey managed a direct hit from point to run out JP Duminy by yards.

Marching on together: Australia are heading towards the semi-finals

Marching on together: Australia are heading towards the semi-finals

But Watson saw off Hashim Amla with his medium-pace and doubled up with another big wicket – AB de Villiers caught at cover – when he returned for a second spell.

It was therefore only a late flurry from Robin Peterson and Farhaan Behardien, in an unbroken stand of 60, that kept South Africa competitive.

Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn then bowled well with the new ball, and the pressure told on Warner.
He responded to three tight overs by making room to hit Morkel but failed to make contact and was bowled middle-stump.

Toil: South Africa struggled to cope with the Australians' batting

Toil: South Africa struggled to cope with the Australians' batting

Australia did not manage a boundary until Kallis replaced Steyn for the fifth over, and Watson immediately cut him for four.

The destructive opener did not put a foot wrong until he mishit Peterson on 52 but escaped as Parnell could not quite hold a tough catch, diving in from wide long-off.

Watson eventually holed out off Peterson at long-on to end a stand of 99 with Hussey (45no).
But South Africa still never came close to getting off the mark in a group currently dominated by the Australians – and Watson in particular.

Aston Villa v West Brom LIVE Premier League action

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Aston Villa v West Brom – as it happens from Villa Park

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UPDATED:

14:47 GMT, 30 September 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Aston Villa host Midlands rivals West Brom at Villa Park in Sunday's only match. Both sides have new managers this season but there has been a contrast in how they have enjoyed the opening few weeks.

Paul Lambert has struggled to get his side firing but Steve Clarke has had no such trouble. Who will emerge on top today Kick-off is at 4pm.

Sportsmail's Alex Horlock takes you through all the action at Villa Park.

MATCH FACTS

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, Albrighton, Holman, El Ahmadi, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke.

Subs not used: Given, Bent, N'Zogbia, Westwood, Bannan, Weimann, Lichaj.

West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Gera, Long.

Subs not used: Luke Daniels, Rosenberg, El Ghanassy, Dorrans, Lukaku, Tamas, Fortune.

15.44: Villa have failed to beat their Midlands rival in the last three meetings. BUT, until last October, West Brom had not won at Villa for 32 years.

I'm struggling to predict this one, but I am leaning towards a West Brom win given the slick attacking football Clarke has installed since his arrival.

Don't worry though Villa fans, I've been wrong plenty of times before…

15.40: It's Lambert v Clarke. Both these bosses have gone some way to winning over their respective fans already, but a victory here will surely catapult them into the 'fans' favourite' category.

15.35: The full teams are in. Check the green box at the side!

Interest selections from both managers up front.

Paul lambert has opted to leave Darren Bent on the bench in place of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke.

Steve Clarke has dropped Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku after some bullish performances for Shane Long.

Bold moves, people. Will they pay off

15.30: With yesterday's Premier League action yielding an exceptional goal haul, I'm hoping this one can add a few more to that tally.

West Brom have had an excellent start to the season, whereas Villa have looked a little erratic.

Mind you, they did see off the champions Manchester City in the Capital One Cup in midweek. This one could go either way!

15.25: Good afternoon everyone, and thanks for joining us for our coverage of what is sure to be a hotly contested Midlands derby.

First up, here's Aston Villa's starting XI: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, El Ahmadi, Delph, Albrighton, Holman, Agbonlahor, Benteke.

West Bromwich's team to follow…

Ready Gabriel Agbonlahor starts up front for Aston Villa

Ready Gabriel Agbonlahor starts up front for Aston Villa