It may not be the most glamourous of Saturday afternoon fixtures we’re ever likely to see, but who needs glamour when you’ve got some good old fashioned end of season relegation scrapping and scrambling for European places? That’s right, no-one.
With issues like who gets to book trips to some of Europe’s top footballing venues for next season and who gets to book trips to some of the East Midlands finest footballing venues next season to be decided, it’s an important afternoon.
If you’re out and about feigning an interest in wood flooring, otherwise engaged with some triviality like maintaining meaningful relationships with friends and family or simply sick of listening to the Soccer Saturday team gang bash the English language, but want to keep up with the latest goings-on then this place for you. It may not be the place for accurate spelling or even coherent sentences, but it’ll get the main details across. And probably faster than the BBC’s cheap knock-off version of a live blog.
I’ll be here for the afternoon to keep you up to date with whatever’s happening in the 3pm kick-offs in my own slightly cynical and world weary way – all with 100% less Paul Merson than you get elsewhere.
Feel free to join in by leaving comments in the comments section below or giving a shout on Twitter where I’m @MinistryOfGlove
Everton 1 – 0 Fulham
Southampton 0 – 3 West Brom
Stoke 1 – 0 Norwich
Wigan 2 – 2 Tottenham
Newcastle v Liverpool – (5.30pm) – BET NOW
Manchester City 2-1 West Ham (FULL TIME)
4.54pm: FULL TIME! After some frantic goal mouth action, Wigan survive and get a point that may yet prove to be very useful. Wigan 2-2 Tottenham.
4.53pm: FULL TIME! Stoke narrowly come out on top of a spiky affair with Norwich. Stoke 1-0 Norwich.
4.52pm: FULL TIME! Everton hold on for a 1-0 win that should have been more.
4.51pm: FULL TIME! It finishes 3-0 to West Brom at St. Marys
4.47pm: GOAL! 2-2! Spurs equalise! It’s not entirely clear who got the goal, but it wasn’t the greatest goalkeeping from Robles in the Wigan goal.
4.41pm: RED CARD! Southampton are down to nine men as Danny Fox gets sent off for a ridiculous two footed tackle. Fully deserved. It’s the worst decision in Southampton since Craig David decided to abandon his ‘UK garage’ roots.
4.40pm: CHANCE! Kone is denied by Lloris. It was a decent save, but there’s bigger fish to fry.
4.35pm: GOAL! WEST BROM 3-0! Shane Long bounces back from Ramirez’s elbowing to seal the points for the Baggies. It’s a neat finish from about 10 yards out to the left of the Southampton goal after getting played in by a team-mate that I couldn’t identify.
4.33pm: CHANCE! Everton go close. Cole (I think) goes on a barnstorming run and smashes a half volley and Schwarzer, who beats it away.
4.27pm: RED CARDS! Gaston Ramirez gets a red card for Southampton. He delivers a sneaky elbow to the face of Shane Long. West Brom’s numerical advantage lasts about ten seconds as the referee gets around to giving Marc-Antoine Fortune his marching orders, presumably for his part in the mass scuffle that broke out afterwards.
4.24pm: GOAL! WEST BROM 2-0 For once, Boruc can’t stop Lukaku and the Belgian striker latches on to a through ball, rounds the keeper and slots into an empty net. Stuart Pearce still looks angry.
4.22pm: SUB! Whelan does go off injured and Dean Whitehead comes on. I can’t see Stoke suddenly switching into ‘swash-buckling’ football mode as a result.
4.20pm: GREAT CHANCE! Stoke manage to manufacture a glorious chance, but sick of the ‘good touch for a big man’, Peter Crouch fluffs it terribly. Charlie Adam squares it to him five yards out, but the nine foot tall striker completely whiffs it.
4.18pm: Stuart Pearce is in the crowd at St. Mary’s for some reason. He’s looking very pissed off, which is more a feeling you’d associate with having to watch the Stoke v Norwich game.
4.14pm: WOODWORK! Clyne hits the crossbar for Southampton from a narrow angle. Very unlucky.
4.12pm: Glenn Whelan is on the ground, grabbing his crotch area. It’s not a very lazy Michael Jackson impression, it looks like a groin strain and he may be coming off.
4.09pm: CHANCE! Spurs get a chance to answer right back through another Garth Bale header, but it goes over. Not by much mind.
4.07pm GOAL! WIGAN 2-1 It’s an absolute belter from Callum McManaman. He picks the ball up on the edge of the area, takes a touch and slams a half volley past Hugo Lloris. See Callum, you can be quite good when you’re not busy maiming people.
4.03pm: GOAL! STOKE 1-0! Straight from kick-off Stoke hoof the ball towards Peter Crouch. Charlie Adam gets on the end of the knock-down and thumps it low past Bunn. Already in the first ten seconds of the half we’ve got more action than we saw in the entire first period.
4.02pm: They’ve resumed at Goodison Park. Everyone else is a little sluggish to get going after halftime.
3.47pm: HALF TIME! It’s time for some half-time hairdryer action for the players involved in today’s 3pm kick-offs. Although they’re losing, don’t be disheartened if you’re a Fulham or Southampton fan. They’ve shown more than a few glimmers of hope. If you’re an Everton or West Brom fan, you’re doing ok, but don’t get too smug.
Wigan v Spurs is very much in the balance and the draw seems about fairt, although Spurs may feel slightly more aggrieved. Stoke and Norwich is simply on course to about the worst advertisement for English football since Dmitry Kharine’s creepily tight tracksuit bottoms.
If you want, you can find out how the latest odds are looking this way. No pressure.
3.45pm: Boruc saves from Lukaku for what must be about the 40th time today. At the DW, Defoe butchers a good chance after cleverly wriggling through the Wigan defence and at the Britannia, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye – which might actually happen soon.
3.43pm: CHANCE! Gareth Bale heads over from about five yards out. It was a very good chance, much better than Bale made it look to be honest.
3.40pm: ANOTHER BLOODY YELLOW CARD! Peter Crouch goes into the book for a studs up tackle. The ref’s going to need a new cartridge for his fountain pen before half time if it carries on like this. It’s still 0-0 by the way, but you’re quids in if you backed the overs on the Card Index.
3.38pm: YELLOW CARD! Stoke v Norwich has basically been a succession of bad tackles mixed with the occasional outbreaks of football. This time, Grant Holt goes into the book for a clumsy tackle from behind on Robert Huth who was just innocently trying to shepherd the ball out of play.
3.36pm: Despite gifting Spurs an early goal, Wigan aren’t doing too badly. They’re 12/5 to get a win their survival chances badly need.
3.33pm: SUB! Trouble for Wigan. Maynor Figueroa is stretchered off with a nasty looking injury and Ronnie Stam takes his place.
3.30pm: YELLOW CARD! Cameron Jerome joins his team-mate in his notebook – the referee’s one, not the sappy film. He collides with Norwich goalkeeper, Mark Bunn and there’s some hang-baggy style stuff from both of them.
3.26pm: YELLOW CARD! Stoke live up to their reputation as Steve N’Zonzi commits a horrible foul on Bassong. He’s late, forceful and probably lucky to be still on the pitch. It’s far more dangerous than a few teeth marks on the shoulder, but David Cameron probably won’t make a song and a dance of it, so everything’s ok.
3.24pm: CHANCE! At the DW, Kone narrowly misses with a speculative lob over Hugo Lloris. Generally have been looking less crap than they were at the start of the game.
3.22pm: Stoke appeal for a penalty, claiming handball from a Cameron Jerome shot. They might have a point, but the ref waves away their protests.
3.18pm: GREAT CHANCE! Lukaku is played through on goal, but again Artur Boruc makes a sharp stop. God must be a fan of Catholic goalies today.
3.15pm: GOAL! 1-0 EVERTON! The Toffees have started well and they hit the front thanks to a goal from Steven Pienaar. He slots home a cut-back from about eight yards out and celebrates by lifting up his shirt to reveal a message on his t-shirt. Or else he’s just showing us his vest. I can’t tell.
3.09pm: GOAL! All square at the DW! Spurs take the lead for all of a minute as Wigan go down the other end and Emerson Boyce powers a header beyond Hugo Lloris.
3.08pm: GOAL! 1-0 SPURS! And already Match of the Day is well worth a watch, mainly for the comedy goal Gareth Bale has scored for Spurs. For some reason Wigan start knocking the ball around at the back like they’re the Harlem Globetrotters. Bale closes down the goalkeeper’s clearance and it ends up the back of the net. Calamity stuff from Wigan. Almost as calamitous as what happens every time Dave Whelan opens his mouth.
3.06pm: GOAL! WEST BROM 1-0 From the resulting corner, the Baggies talk the lead. It’s a bit crap, but it won’t matter to Marc-Antoine Fortune who has been going through a goal drought that would make even Fernando Torres blush.
3.05pm: WOODWORK! Huddlestone hits the post for Spurs.
At St. Mary’s Lukaku is through on goal but Boruc makes a save.
3.04pm: Early pressure from Everton. Fellaini gets a header on goal, forcing 82 year old Mark Schwarzer into a save from point black range.
3.01pm: HALF CHANCE! Gareth Bale gets a head to a pretty shoddy free-kick from Huddlestone. It’s harmless and off target, but the pundits love him so much they’ll probably heap lots of praise in his direction just for the sake of it.
3pm: With all the unnecessary pre-match huddles out of the way, we’re underway in all four of today’s 3pm kick-offs.
2.55pm: The teams are walking out at the DW Stadium and a quick look at the teams suggests Spurs have the height advantage. It also suggests that they’ve got the talent advantage.
2.50pm: 10 minutes to go before kick-off in this afternoon’s games. It’s about time to get on if you’re that way inclined.
2.39pm: That Yaya Toure goal that ended up being the winner for City is well worth a gander and quite possibly a bit of a drool:
2.37pm: It’s full time at the Etihad Stadium and the news is Manchester City still surrendered their title to United rather easily. They did however manage to beat West Ham by a score of 2-1.
2.30pm: TEAM NEWS – STOKE v NORWICH
And to complete our full house of team news, the line-ups from the Britannia wrestling ring are in. Stoke took a big step towards safety last weekend and another win today would put their survival beyond doubt. Tony Pulis has named their typical ‘you wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley’ team.
Begovic, Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson, Jerome, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Walters, Crouch
Despite winning last weekend, Chris Hughton has made changes to his team. In come Whittaker, Tettey and Ryan Bennett, with Garrido, Turner and Elliott Bennett missing out.
Bunn, R. Bennett, Martin, Bassong, Whittaker, Johnson, Snodgrass, Howson, Tettey, Holt, Kamara
2.26pm: TEAM NEWS – SOUTHAMPTON v WEST BROM
Southampton are pretty much safe now, but they’ve named a strong time for the visit of the Baggies.
Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox, Schneiderlin, Cork, Davis, Rodriguez, Lallana, Lambert
The West Brom team looks a lot like you’d expect a West Brom team to look:
Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Yacob, Dorrans, Fortune, Morrison, Lukaku, Long
2.20pm: TEAM NEWS WIGAN v TOTTENHAM
Sky Sports will be telling us all today’s games are super-mega-important just because they need to squeeze every last bit of value out of the TV rights they paid so much for, but the most important game of the day is Spurs’ trip to Wigan. The teams are in and make sure those shin-guards are nice and secure Tottenham players because Callum McManaman is around. Ali Al-Habsi misses out in goal, which some people might actually see as a good thing.
Robles, Scharner, Figueroa, Boyce, Beausejour, McArthur, McCarthy, Gomez, McManaman, Maloney, Kone
AVB has named his strongest Spurs team, by which I mean it’s Gareth Bale plus 10 others.
Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton, Dembele, Huddlestone, Parker, Dempsey, Defoe, Bale
2.14pm: I’m not live text commentating on City v West Ham, but Samir Nasri just missed an absolute sitter. He can expect some baiting from Piers Morgan on Twitter in the very near future. The poor bastard. No-one deserves that.
2.07pm: TEAM NEWS – EVERTON v FULHAM
The Everton team is in for their game at home to Fulham and because David Moyes has a squad of about seven players he cleverly rotates to make look like a team of 11, it looks as you’d expect:
Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Fellaini, Mirallas, Pienaar, Anichebe, Jelavic
For the Cottagers, Phillipe Senderos returns to the scene of his former … well, certainly not glories … more the scene of getting paid a lot of money for not doing much.
Schwarzer, Manolev, Senderos, Hangeland, Richardson, Emanuelson, Karagounis, Enoh, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Berbatov
1.50pm: News of what players to shout at for under-performing should be filtering through soon, but in the meantime here’s an amazing attempt at parallel parking to pass the time:
1.45pm: If you’ve bumbling your way through the stats to pick out your bets for today’s matches, then it might be worth having a look at what Andy Gray has to say. And don’t worry, just because you read it, it doesn’t make you sexist.