Just the four 3pm starts in England’s top tier this Saturday afternoon, but we guarantee* you lots and lots of goals.
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*Not a guarantee
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Arsenal 1 – 0 QPR FT
Reading 3 – 3 Fulham FT
Stoke 0 – 0 Sunderland FT
Wigan 2 – 1 West Ham FT
14.50 – HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO…..
We’re singing to keep warm in TheScore.ie war-room. To help us along a little more we’ll grab a pie and a hot mug o’ Bovril, but only after we give you the team news for today’s intriguing quartet of games.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on events at the Britannia where Giovanni Trapattoni hopefully has his hot water bottle.
There are four Irish players starting in that game, so he should have plenty to take note of.
Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Kightly, Whitehead, Adam, Nzonzi, Walters, Crouch.
Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Owen, Upson, Etherington, Wilkinson, Palacios.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, O’Shea, Cuellar, Rose, Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, Johnson, McClean, Fletcher.
Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Campbell, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Saha, Sessegnon.
14.54 – Here are the rest of the teams for today’s 3pm kick-offs.
Our other screen will be filled by Arsenal v QPR, so let’s lead with that.
Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ramsey, Podolski, Giroud.
Subs: Martinez, Koscielny, Walcott, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Gervinho.
QPR: Julio Cesar, Bosingwa, Mbia, Nelsen, Traore, Wright-Phillips, Diakite, Granero, Hoilett, Taarabt, Zamora.
Subs: Green, Ferdinand, Cisse, Mackie, Onuoha, Ephraim, Faurlin.
Reading: McCarthy, Cummings, Gorkss, Mariappa, Shorey, Pogrebnyak, Tabb, Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff, Roberts.
Subs: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Le Fondre, Hunt, McCleary, Robson-Kanu.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Duff, Baird, Diarra, Richardson, Rodallega, Berbatov.
Subs: Stockdale, Senderos, Sidwell, Petric, Ruiz, Karagounis, Dejagah.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour, Kone, Di Santo, Maloney.
Subs: Pollitt, Jones, Watson, Gomez, McManaman, Boselli, Stam.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Tomkins, Collins, Reid, McCartney, Jarvis, Noble, Nolan, Diame, Benayoun, Carroll.
Subs: Spiegel, Cole, Maiga, O’Brien, O’Neil, Chambers, Hall.
15.03 – KICK OFF:
All four games are now underway. Sunderland begin with a short brisk spell of possession, but the boot it long for Fletcher to chase.
The Scot does well, forcing Begovic to check and boot it out for a throw, but it comes to no more than that.
Already a lot of defenders being forced to turn and face their own goal to chase balls over the top.
15.07 – Down in London, Arsenal are involving jack Wilshere from the off, but his low cross from the left has nobody to chase it into the six yard box.
A similar situation for James McClean who flashes a left-foot cross in to the near post. It’s claimed comfortably enough by Begovic.
15.10 – Chance for Olivier Giroud! But the Frenchman’s near-post touch is too deft and it’s palmed back towards the penalty spot by Julio Cesar.
GOAL: Wigan 1 – 0 West Ham (Ramis ’8)
15.15 – That Ivan Ramis goal was, we hear, a cracker. The defender steering home Beausejour’s corner with a first-time volley. Nice.
15.19 – Michael Kightly, fresh from his Carlos Tevez-esque golazo at Old Trafford last week has started brightly again.
The former Wolves man broke clear down the left and, from the by-line, swung in a dangerous cross over the head of Mignolet. But Peter Crouch couldn’t get on the end of it.
15.21 – At The Emirates, Jack Wilshere continues to exert his influence, this time firing in a rasper of a low left-foot shot which Julio Cesar could only palm away again, but gathered before Giroud could gobble up an easy rebound.
15.25 – YELLOW CARD: It’s been a difficult fortnight for Danny Rose. Here, he is harshly the first in the notebook as he follows through on a clean looking tackle.
He didn’t let it deter him much. Charlie Adam’s free-kick fizzed in and then rebounded to the edge of the box where Dean Whitehead was lining up a right-foot special. Rose threw himself in front of the midfielder and this contact was clean.
15.27 – GOAL: Reading 1-0 Fulham (Leigertwood ’25)
15.31 – Kightly gets the Britannia crowd on their feet again, swinging in a right-foot cross/shot. Cuellar opts to head the ball away. Robert Huth threatens from the corner and it’s behind for another set-piece. But O’Shea and co repel the danger.
15.41 – Jack Wilshere really is a commanding presence for Arsenal. He is at the heart of everything, but they would probably be better off asking Santi Cazorla to come inside and knit the play together.
15.45 – No sign of trap just yet, so….
STAT ALERT: Because we were all wondering when Leigertwood scored last.
15.47 – HALF TIME:
Arsenal 0 – 0 QPR
Reading 1 – 0 Fulham
Stoke 0 – 0 Sunderland
Wigan 1 – 0 West Ham
15.51 – Give this commenter a prize:
“Trap will surely hand in his notice rather than watch the second half of the stoke sunderland game”
*Looks around for prizes. Finds empty soup bowl, broken headphones and some used aaa batteries.
15.57 – The ever-succinct Arseblog have the Emirates action summed up within 140 characters.
16.05 – SECOND HALF:
Let’s hope for something a little more cohesive from both our feature games.
I’ll be honest with you, Stoke v Sunderland: your the first i’m threatening with the shepherd’s crook.
16.09 – oooh. Arsenal get another shot in as Arteta’s in-swinging free-kick is diverted on target by a QPR defender. Cesar (again) palms the ball away.
16.09 – GOAL: Wigan 2-0 West Ham (McCarthur ’50)
16.12 – Worrying stuff at the Britannia. Marc Wilson has been stretchered off after a fairly innocuous clash with Steven Fletcher. We’ll bring you more as we find out, but it didn’t look great for the Irish international.
His movement on the stretcher was limited and Fletcher was the first to call attention to the defender’s distress.
16.20 – Still very little shape or rhythm to the Stoke games, though they are growing in strength at present, forcing Sunderland back into their own box.
At the emirates the crowd are getting involved – booing – As Esteban Granero receives a talking to after making a foul on the edge of the area minutes after he received his first yellow card. To us, it was a free kick the other way. It came to nothing in any case.
Giroud soon follows Granero into the book, the striker lunged in on Traore as the fullback built up a gallop on the left.
16.21 – GOAL! Reading 1-1 Fulham (Ruiz, 59)
16.24 – Sigh… goals are flying in in the two EPL games I’m not watching. Fulham’s equaliser sounds a bit special too as Bryan Ruiz blasts a right-foot shot into the top corner.
65 minutes gone in The Emirates and The Britannia. 25 minutes to get some goals.
To that end, Arsene Wenger has introduced Theo Walcott and pulled Wilshere ashore.
16.27 – UPDATE: We’re just hearing a little bit of detail on the Wilson incident: Fletcher’s tackle caught the Derry man on the Achilles and the Scot kicked the ball straight out of play.
16.33 – Arsenal did manage to stretch the play, but QPR couldn’t have chosen a better player to advance at their back four with the ball at his feet.
Theo Walcott couldn’t find the incisive pass.
16.35 – Big BIG chance for Sunderland as Stoke overload the right hand side and Sunderland switch to find Fletcher on the left side of the area.
The clinical striker cuts inside to curl a left foot shot, but it hits Huth on the arm. The German’s hands were by his side.
16.37 – Meanwhile in London… Arsenal really should be ahead. Another ball into the box spins out of the six-yard box. It falls beautifully set for Santi Cazorla on the penalty spot.
The only problem is that it’s on his right foot and he blazes his shot over the top.
16.39 – RED CARD: Stephane Mbia (QPR)
QPR will have to see out the final 10 minutes with 10 men and Mbiqa only has himself to blame.
The midfielder chased a loose ball to his own corner-flag with Vermaelen in tow. The Belgian fouled him, but Mbia felt it good counsel to swing a right boot at the defender’s knee.
A grand total of two metres from the assistant referee, he couldn’t possibly have hoped to get away with that.
16.41 – GOAL: Arsenal 1 – 0 QPR (Arteta ’84)
The hosts almost instantly make the advantage count. But it comes after a goal mout scramble.
Cesar produced a superb save from a bullet header, but it fell to Mike Arteta who needed two attempts to find the back of the net. Game over.
16.42 – GOAL: Reading 1 – 2 Fulham (‘Baird 79)
16.47 – GOALS: Reading 2-3 Fulham
The Royals look like they will once again come out on the wrong end of a cracking game. Gareth McCleary equalised to the the delight of the home fans, but Martin Jol’s star pupil Dimitar Berbatov edged the visitors back into the lead two minutes later.
16.49 – 90 minutes: Stoke 0 -0 Sunderland
The board has gone up and the Marc Wilson injury means there will be eight minutes more of this game.
Meanwhile, QPR are producing a late rally to scare the living daylights out of Arsenal.
16.49 – GOAL: Reading 3-3 Fulham ( Robson-Kanu ’90)
The Madejski crowd goes wild as Nicky Shorey’s cross drops kindly for Hal Robson-Kanu inside the six-yard box.
16.53 – FULL TIME: Arsneal 1 – 0 QPR
16.55 – 95 mins: Stoke are the ones still pushing forward here. A decent move ends in a through-ball for big Crouchie, but Mignolet dives at full stretch to palm the ball clear.
It rolls only as far as Kightly, who cuts inside on his left foot and his shot curls into the side netting.
16.57 – FULL-TIME: Reading 3-3 Fulham
FULL-TIME - Wigan 2-1 West Ham
James Tomkins pulls one back for West Ham in the last minute, but the hosts hold on at the DW.
17.05 – FULL-TIME: Stoke 0-0 Sunderland
There it is, folks. The end of a long breezy afternoon at the Britannia. Unfortunately, the main talking point from the game will be a nasty looking injury to Ireland’s Marc Wilson who was stretchered off in the second half.
TheScore.ie will have news of Wilson as soon as his injury is diagnosed. So stay tuned.
Thanks for joining in huddling up for warmth, but the liveblog action don’t stop there; nuh, uh.
Ben Blake donning his Michael Laudrup vintage Real Madrid shirt in preparation for Manchester City v Swansea and Pat McCarry is dressed like a polar explorer en route to the RDS where Leinster are facing Cardiff Blues.
You keep warm. Stick with us.