Robin van Persie, Man Utd, Ashes, Premier League

A look ahead to the weekend's Premier League games, Robin van Persie latest and third Ashes Test reaction.

13 December 2013 Last updated at 08:07 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 0800: 

    A very good day to you and welcome to Sportsday. The third Ashes Test is under way and evenly poised, while there are a number of Europa League matches to reflect on and a heap of football to look forward to. All will be covered on this very page over the next few hours so let's get going.

  2. 0809: 

    Sam Sheringham and Marc Higginson have been working through the night to bring you updates of the third Ashes Test and are still going at it. For the latest from Perth join Sam and Marc (not of Pop Idol fame) on the live text commentary. Australia seem to have come through a slight wobble and are now 254-5 in the first innings with Steven Smith unbeaten on 76.

  3. 0815: 

    Tottenham had already guaranteed their progress in the Europa League, but a Roberto Soldado hat-trick in a 4-1 win against Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday ensured Spurs maintained their 100% record in the competition.

    Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, however, has said Soldado is not guaranteed to start against Liverpool on Sunday.

    "We have to think about it. It's a bit premature," said Villas-Boas. "We always wanted to give this game to Roberto after two games in a row for Jermain Defoe."

    Roberto Soldado
  4. 0827: 

    Swansea lost 1-0 to St Gallen in the Europa League on Thursday but even defeat was enough to see the Welsh team through to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

    Michael Laudrup's team needed a point to qualify but still finished second in Group A as Kuban Krasnodar only drew 1-1 in Valencia.

    "I'm never happy when we lose but we went through," Laudrup said. "After the draw we will feel differently. We're there, that's the most important thing."

    Michael Laudrup
  5. 0833: 

    FA Cup holders Wigan failed to progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League as Uwe Rosler's first game in charge of the Latics ended in a 2-1 defeat at Maribor.

    "The referee didn't have his best day, he influenced the game in a massive way. He looked to me very inexperienced, he made a lot of errors," said Rosler, whose team were reduced to 10 men after the sending off of Chris McCann.

    "I can only say I'm very proud of my players, not only with the way they played but they never gave up. We attacked more and in the last minutes it was one-way traffic."

    Maribor v Wigan
  6. 0843: 

    Manchester United have opened talks with Inter Milan over a deal for midfielder Fredy Guarin. United hope they can sign the 27-year-old Colombian for around £10m. Full story: Metro

    Chelsea are expected make a £20m January move for Southampton's 18-year-old defender Luke Shaw. Full story: Daily Telegraph

    Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart is set to return to Premier League action on Saturday, with the 26-year-old in line to start against league leaders Arsenal. Full story: Daily Mirror

  7. 0849: 

    There are seven Premier League fixtures on Saturday but the stand-out one is Manchester City's game against league leaders Arsenal. City need to win to narrow the gap on the Gunners who have eked a six-point lead over the City in the table.

    Premier League table

    But the question of the day is: Will the winner of Saturday's match at the Etihad become favourites to win the Premier League title and are these the two best teams in the league right now? You can tweet your answers using the hashtag #bbcsportsday.

  8. 0856: 

    There's been a wicket over in balmy Perth and the man forced to walk is Brad Haddin (55) after he was bowled by Ben Stokes and caught by Jimmy Anderson. It leaves the hosts 272-6 in the first innings, with Steven Smith still going strong, unbeaten on 85.

    For the latest from Perth you can follow our live text commentary.


    BBC Sport's chief sports writer Ton Fordyce on Twitter: News from Perth: if you're just waking up back home, you're probably going to be late for work. Only 8 hours time difference here. Pleasure

  10. 0858:  
    Geoffrey Boycott, BBC Test Match SpecialCRICKET - ASHES THIRD TEST

    "Another batsman out hooking, another player who is dozy. Nobody has learnt - once it gets big on you here, you can't control it."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  11. 0905: 

    The Nelson Mandela Championship has been reduced to a 54-hole tournament due to the wet conditions that have limited the early action in Durban. Tournament organisers have had heavy downpours to contend with that have caused major interruptions, with scheduled play on Wednesday and Thursday hampered by the rain that led to waterlogging.

    GET INVOLVED #bbcsportsday

    Will the winner of Saturday's match between Manchester City and Arsenal become favourites to win the Premier League title and are these the two best teams in the league right now?

    You can tweet your answers using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or visit our Facebook page.

    Tunde Akere on Twitter: If Arsenal can beat Man City and then Chelsea, It will be a big statement of intent and I will back them for the title.

    You Are My Arsenal on Twitter: I don't think the City/Arsenal game will decide the title, AFC have shown more consistency against 'lower teams' hence the gap

    Oluseyi Bolarewaju on Twitter: Certainly the winner in this game should be considered a STRONG candidate for the EPL. ARSENAL all the way

  13. 0913:  
    Phil McNulty, BBC SportMan City v Arsenal

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty"Put simply, it is a meeting between the best home team in the Premier League and its best travellers.

    "If Arsenal come away with at least a point from a ground where a succession of teams, Manchester United included in a 4-1 derby defeat, have been swept away by City's sheer weight of attacking talent, then Wenger has every right to insist no-one can take their title credentials anything other than very seriously."

  14. 0920: 
    FOOTBALL- Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sunday, 1330 GMT

    Manchester United's Phil Jones admits confidence is low at Old Trafford after a poor run of form, but says the squad must deal with the pressure. David Moyes's side, ninth in the Premier League table, are looking to avoid a third straight league defeat when they travel to Aston Villa on Sunday.

    Jones says: "It is a results game, we know that and we've not picked up as many points as we would've liked and we have to start doing that.

    "Players' confidence does go a little bit but we are professionals at the end of the day and we have to do the right job and deal with that. We are at Manchester United and there is pressure at every game."

  15. 0925:  
    Michael Vaughan, BBC Test Match SpecialCRICKET - ASHES THIRD TEST

    "He's played the short ball as well as anybody, some fantastic batting. He's got a hundred before, but this was under real pressure. It could be career-defining."

    Steve Smith is 100 not out as Australia reach 298-6.

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  16. 0933: 

    El-Hadji Diouf's future at Leeds United is in doubt as manager Brian McDermott reveals that the forward is not being considered for selection due to personal issues and lengthy absences from training.

    The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that the 32-year-old former Liverpool player, who is out of contract in the summer, was given permission to attend Nelson Mandela's memorial service this week.

    McDermott says: "He's spent quite a lot of time away recently, travelling over to Senegal and dealing with a few things he needed to sort out personally."

  17. 0938: 
    Man City v Arsenal (Saturday, 1245 GMT)

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says defender Bacary Sagna will have a fitness test on the eve of his side's game at the Etihad Stadium.

    Wenger adds: "Lukas Podolski is available but I feel he is a bit short."

  18. 0944: 
    Man City v Arsenal (Saturday, 1245 GMT)

    More from Arsene Wenger, whose Arsenal side start the weekend with a five point lead at the top of the Premier League: "City has a strong squad, I don't deny that but when I look at my squad I don't envy them.

    "What is good is we can influence their [the bookies] belief tomorrow. We have more creative players and we are more versatile so it's easier for me to rotate."


    Will the winner of Saturday's match between Manchester City and Arsenal become favourites to win the Premier League title and are these the two best teams in the league right now?

    You can tweet your answers using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or visit our Facebook page.

    13-12-13 on Twitter: Whatever the outcome on Saturday, I still don't feel it will be the decider, what will prevail will be consistency.

    mrinal on Twitter: All I can say is that Arsenal will at least get a draw they need to prove themselves and they will.

    Hootles on Twitter: One game doesn't make a season. The title won't be won in this match. Cagey game? Doubt it. Neither team defend well enough.

  20. 0952: 
    Man City v Arsenal (Saturday, 1245 GMT)

    Arsene Wenger defends Arsenal's transfer market record and says Manchester City "have gone a different way".

    Wenger adds: "What our policy shows is we have consistency in our attitude and results. We respect our income and expenses but we have better resources now.

    "City have gone a different way."

  21. 0956: 
    Former Bath director of rugby Gary Gold

    Bath release a statement saying Gary Gold has left the club because of disagreement over his role as director of rugby.

    Gold joined the club as head coach 18 months ago, but was moved to director of rugby over the summer, with Mike Ford stepping up to run first-team affairs.

    Gold, 46, says: "It is with deep regret that my time as director of rugby at Bath has come to an end after amicable and respectful discussions."

    Bath are third in the Premiership table after seven wins in the first nine game.

  22. 1009: 
    Man City v Arsenal (Saturday, 1245 GMT)

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on his Premier League leaders playing at 1245 GMT on Saturday after an away tie in Italy against Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday: "I don't complain about the timing of the fixtures, we don't use it as an excuse.

    "When you play Wednesday night and Saturday morning you cannot do a lot in training. It's mostly recovery."

  23. 1015:  
    Geoffrey Boycott, BBC Test Match SpecialCRICKET - ASHES THIRD TEST

    "At five down, England were not good enough to grasp the opportunity. The concern for England is that James Anderson is not doing anything with the ball, he was straight up and down. Graeme Swann has been a matchwinner for England and controlled matches when he isn't taking wickets. He could do neither today - he was gifted his two wickets."

    Australia recover from 143-5 to 326-6 at the close on day one.

  24. 1023:  
    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the WacaCRICKET - ASHES THIRD TEST

    "Australia close on 326-6, Smith unbeaten on 103 and Mitch 39, having been 143-5 after lunch. Another frightener for England on Friday 13th."

  25. 1031: 

    Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez vents his frustration in his latest column in the Independent after his Napoli side are knocked out of the Champions League despite finishing the group stage with 12 points.

    Benitez says: "Mathematics in the Champions League? Tell me about it! Our Napoli team accumulated 12 points in our group by beating Arsenal at Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday and still did not qualify.

    "The last team to score that many points and not go to the knockout stages was PSG in 1997. What can you do? We look at Zenit St Petersburg who are through from their group with only six points. Repeat: What can you do?"

  26. 1039: 
    Tottenham v Liverpool (Sunday, 1600 GMT)
    Liverpool defender Kolo Toure

    Liverpool defender Kolo Toure says Liverpool are targeting the Premier League title after a fine start to the season. The Reds start the weekend second in the table, five points behind leaders Arsenal.

    Former Manchester City player Toure adds: "We want to win the league. No team starts the season wanting to finish fourth. We all start with zero points and the team that works the hardest and wants it the most will finish the season as champions.

    "In May, we'll know who that team is but until then, we'll do everything we possibly can to try and make sure it is Liverpool."

  27. 1051: 
    Man City v Arsenal (Saturday, 1245 GMT)

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the title race: "I think we have an opportunity to make a difference on Saturday, we play first and have an opportunity to go from five to eight [point lead] and that's fantastic, we have to look at it like that.

    "I don't deny that every game has vital importance because of the inference on confidence, the belief of the team, what you just want from your team is to show during this [busy] period is a huge level of commitment and belief.

    "That can make a massive difference but the period is important."

  28. 1053: 

    England bowling coach David Saker: "It was a disappointing day for all the bowlers. We pride ourselves at being able to restrict scoring and we weren't able to do that.

    "We had a chance, but we weren't able to take it. We probably bowled a little bit too short.

    "But the game is still alive. We will come back tomorrow, fight to get the four wickets and then hopefully bat really well."


    Will the winner of Saturday's match between Manchester City and Arsenal become favourites to win the Premier League title and are these the two best teams in the league right now?

    You can tweet your answers using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or visit our Facebook page.

    Dave Kennedy on Twitter: A big game for Arsenal, can they beat the big boys? Man Utd beat them, in my opinion rather fortunately! Tough call!!!

    Alan Hill on Twitter: AFC squad too thin to win title. Lots of players at top of form right now. Won't maintain it over 38 games. Man City for me.

    Jeremy Cooper on Twitter: I keep saying, this season will go to the wire. Arsenal and City could win it, but this game won't decide which.

  30. 1104: 

    England bowler Stuart Broad on Twitter: Could have been better today but six wickets on a day one Test pitch after losing yet another toss is a pretty good effort.

    Read Tom Fordyce's day one report from the Waca

  31. 1112: 
    Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sunday, 1330 GMT)
    Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley

    Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley says he has been "average" this season and has more to give.

    The 24-year-old England international tells the Manchester Evening News: "At the moment, I feel like I've got more to give.

    "I've had a few average games, a few more than I would prefer. But I felt this time last year was when I hit my best form of the season, when we were playing every few days.

    "I'm the type of player who prefers that and, if I can get into a rhythm, then hopefully I can add more than just appearances to my record, I can also add some stand-out performances."

  32. 1117: 

    Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew on Twitter: A repeat of Brisbane first day... England need to stand up with the bat tomorrow, as in serious centurions... And Smith showed precisely the character that is required. Top knock.

  33. 1122:  
    Nick Hope, BBC Sport reporter at the World Grand Prix in ManchesterTAEKWONDO

    "Solid start for British fighters this morning with -49kg European junior champion Georgia Barnes and heavyweight Mahama Cho both winning through to the round of 16.

    "Ivory Coast-born Cho, who grew up in London, is competing for GB for the first time since the 2011 World Championships in Korea.

    "He quit the programme at the end of that year and joined the French national team - winning gold at both the Dutch and German Opens this year - but has since returned to the UK and targeting Rio Olympic qualification for Team GB."

  34. 1129: 
    England Lions captain Chris Woakes

    England name 15-man England Lions squad to face Sri Lanka A in February and March 2014.

    Chris Woakes will captain a side which includes a number of players who have represented England at a senior level across different formats.

    Woakes, Jonny Bairstow, Simon Kerrigan and James Taylor have already received full England Test caps. Middlesex batsman Sam Robson receives his first England Lions cap, while all other members of the squad have previously been capped for England Lions.

    England Lions squad: Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Scott Borthwick (Durham), Varun Chopra (Warwickshire), Ben Foakes (Essex), James Harris (Middlesex), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Tymal Mills (Essex), James Overton (Somerset), Sam Robson (Middlesex), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), James Vince (Hampshire).

  35. 1134:  
    Michael Vaughan, BBC Test Match SpecialCRICKET - ASHES THIRD TEST

    "I feel flat as the realisation sets in that the Ashes might have to stay in Australia."


    Andy Kershaw: I think it will be a big win for Man City, but that just suits Chelsea who I think will chase City all the way to the title.

    Lewis: Can't see any visitors winning at the Etihad this year. City for me.

    Dangermousein: If you're expecting a title decider to happen in December you'd be a fool. Both teams not impressed that much and still too open.

    Will the winner of Saturday's match between Manchester City and Arsenal become favourites to win the Premier League title and are these the two best teams in the league right now?

    You can tweet your answers using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or visit our Facebook page.

  37. 1145: 

    Unseasonably heavy snow has fallen near the mountain venues of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Russia's chief weather forecaster is optimistic there will be no shortage of snow for the Games in February.

    Unusually warm temperatures last winter prompted organisers of Russia's first post-Soviet Olympics and first Winter Games to store some 450,000 cubic metres (16m cubic feet) of snow in the mountains just in case.

  38. 1154: 
    FOOTBALL- Tottenham v Liverpool (Sunday, 1600 GMT)

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has described defender Martin Skrtel as one of the best centre-halves in the Premier League.

    "Last year I felt he was rash and made mistakes," said Rodgers of a player whom he left out of the starting XI in the latter part of last season.

    "He's composed, he looks bigger on the pitch and he's been brilliant during this run he's had in the team, so hopefully that will continue."

  39. 1159: 

    BBC Sport has updated its app to support larger tablets - the iPad, Android tablets and Kindle Fire 8.9" devices.

    This update is available across devices for UK users; the app is already freely available from Google Play for Android devices, the App Store for iPhones, and the UK Amazon Kindle Fire Appstore.

    Previously, the app had been optimised for devices up to seven inches, however, based on user feedback, a decision was made to scale up the app to make the most of larger screen sizes.

  40. 1204: 

    Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Amos has his loan at Carlisle United extended until 1 January 2014. The 23-year-old has made four appearances for Carlisle since joining the League One club on 15 November.

  41. 1209: 

    Comedian and Liverpool fan John Bishop is pitting his wits against BBC Sport's football expert Mark Lawrenson this week.

    Lawro predicts a 2-1 victory for Manchester City against Arsenal, while Bishop goes for a 1-1 draw.

    "Manchester City are capable of beating every single team at home and the fact they played a day earlier than Arsenal in Europe will help them," says Lawro. "If Arsenal are going to be vulnerable anywhere, it will be at the Etihad Stadium."

    Lawro's predictions for the rest of the weekend's Premier League games are available on this website.

    John Bishop
  42. 1214: 

    Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez says he hopes to be part of England World Cup squad - despite a disappointing debut for Roy Hodgson's team.

    Rodriguez, 24, made his senior debut in the 2-0 friendly defeat against Chile at Wembley on 15 November. "Obviously I wasn't happy with my performance in the game, but the experience was unbelievable for me," he says.

    "I took a lot of positives from that, but I would have obviously liked it to have gone better and to get the win. It would be a great feeling to go to a World Cup, but I have a lot of hard work to do. I need to keep trying to improve as a player for Southampton."

  43. 1220: 
    Man City v Arsenal (Saturday, 1245 GMT)
    Manchester City

    BBC Sport's Shamoon Hafez at the Etihad Stadium: Awaiting the arrival of Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini for his news conference ahead of their Premier League clash against Arsenal.

    City will be heading into the match full of confidence following their superb comeback in the Champions league against Bayern Munich.

    The Chilean, though, will be hoping there are no complicated maths questions to answer.

  44. 1227: 

    It's that time of day when we pose the the Question of Sport Teaser from @QofS_Official. Today we ask: when Man City hosted Arsenal in the Premier League last season who were the five Englishmen to start the game?

    Post your answers using the hashtag #QSTeaser and we will reveal the answer at about 1400 GMT.


    Will the winner of Saturday's match between Manchester City and Arsenal become favourites to win the Premier League title and are these the two best teams in the league right now?

    You can tweet your answers using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or visit our Facebook page.

    Gav Sanders on Twitter: It could well be that the title won't be decided over the big game clashes, rather whoever takes the most from smaller teams

    James Makumu on Twitter: Arsenal can loose both City game and Chelsea and still win the league provided they are consistent

    Victor Emmanuel on Twitter: AFC/CITY won't decide the title, People should stop doubting AFC. AFC deserve been on top and should be respected for that

  46. 1236: 

    Welshman Elfyn Evans will become the first British driver since Colin McRae to drive in the World Rally Championship when the 24-year-old races for the M-Sport team in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship.

    "It is an absolutely fantastic feeling to know that I will be driving a world rally car for a full season next year," said Evans.

  47. 1245: 
    Chelsea v Crystal Palace (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho refuses to rule Manchester United out of the title race.

    United trail leaders Arsenal by 13 points, but Mourinho says: "I think it's going to be difficult for them. It's not just because they're 13 points behind Arsenal but also because they're eight points behind us and Liverpool, and seven behind Manchester City. c

    "So United have to recover points not just to a single team but other teams. But the culture of Manchester United is there, and the power and tradition is there. Never say Manchester United are out of the race unless it is mathematically possible."

  48. 1245: 

    Australia captain Michael Clarke has been named the International Cricket Council's player of the year for 2013.

    Clarke, currently playing in his 100th Test against England in Perth, scored 1,559 runs at an average of 70.86 in the 12 months to 25 August.

    Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara was voted the limited-overs international cricketer of the year.

    England wicket-keeper Sarah Taylor was named women's Twenty20 player of the year for the second year running.

    Australia captain Michael Clarke
  49. 1247: 
    Chelsea v Crystal Palace (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is asked whether he will sign a new striker in the January transfer window after again being linked with a move for Manchester United's Wayne Rooney: "I don't think so."

  50. 1251: 
    Chelsea v Crystal Palace (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    More from Mourinho on the Premier League title race: "It is very early to predict the way things are going.

    "We can close the gap. This weekend is Tottenham v Liverpool so somebody will lose points. This weekend is Manchester City v Arsenal so somebody will lose points. So have to wait and see. The five point gap between us and the top is not a drama."

  51. 1257: 
    Chelsea v Crystal Palace (Saturday, 1500 GMT)
    Chelsea defender David Luiz

    Jose Mourinho on the future of defender David Luiz after reports that Barcelona are interested in the Brazil international: "His future? He has a long term contract with us. At this moment everything is clear. He is our player and we are so happy he is back [from injury]."

    On the January transfer window: "The market is open in January but I don't think we will be buying or selling. At the end of the season Chelsea will be analysing the situation."

    Manchester City v Arsenal

    Manchester City FC on Twitter: PELLEGRINI: This is our opportunity to discount three important points against the best team in the Premier League at the moment.

  53. 1304: 
    Manchester City v Arsenal
    Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini

    Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has said he does not feel guilty about not realising his team were one goal away from claiming top spot in Champions League Group D during their 3-2 win over Bayern Munich.

    "Before the match we had to win," he said. "We knew we had to score one more goal than them when they played here.

    "When they scored, I knew it was not enough because of goal average but when they scored second I didn't think about scoring five. I tried to think more about the game because we were losing 2-0. I recognise my mistake but I don't have a guilty conscience."

  54. 1310: 
    Manchester City v Arsenal

    Manuel Pellegrini on Saturday's match against Arsenal: "We need to be at least three points near the top. All the teams, especially if we win, will be near us. There are six or seven teams fighting for the title."

    The Chilean also said Manchester United, currently ninth in the league, are still in the title race: "They have good players and manager. They have the second half of the Premier League to play and a strong team like them will always have chances."

  55. 1316:  
    Nick Hope, BBC Sport reporter at the World Grand Prix in ManchesterTAEKWONDO

    "Ivory Coast-born British fighter Mahama Cho (+80kg) is one win away from a medal after his last 16 opponent - Olympic champion Carlo Molfetta of Italy - pulled out with an injury.

    "Cho is also GB's last chance of success today after multiple open winner Bianca Walkden (+67kg) lost 9-5 to reigning Russian world champion Olga Ivanova in the round of 16.

    "Teenagers Georgia Barnes (-49kg) and Stephanie Allen (+67kg) also exited at the same stage in their major international debuts."

  56. 1320: 
    Chelsea v Crystal Palace (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on Ashley Cole, who will be on the substitutes bench: "He is not happy. We have two number 1 left backs."

    On defender Gary Cahill, who will not feature: ''He's almost injured, we need to protect him. I think it's important to try not to kill some players by playing them every minute of every game - even if they are the most important players."

  57. 1327: 
    FOOTBALL- West Ham v Sunderland (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has admitted he is not enjoying life as he attempts to drag the Premier League's bottom club out of danger.

    "Is it enjoyable? No, I can tell you it's not, but I don't think everybody gets a job and tries to enjoy the job," said Poyet, whose team are five points adrift of safety.

    "That's a dream job. That's what I have said to the players: You want to play football? Yes. You want to earn money? Yes. Have you got a lovely place to train? Yes. Then you are lucky because you are enjoying your life.

    "But at the moment, no, I am not really enjoying my life. But it's the way it is. I am trying to make sure I can enjoy it in a few weeks' time, that would be nice."

  58. 1330: 
    Tottenham v Liverpool (Sunday, 1600 GMT)

    Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby says Tottenham lack the flair of recent seasons as the Reds look to end a six-match White Hart Lane losing streak.

    Molby tells the Liverpool Echo: "White Hart Lane has been a difficult place for Liverpool in recent years. Spurs have been blessed with a lot of flair and pace with the likes of Bale and Modric. But they aren't the team they were in the past three years. They don't have that quality of player any more.

    "Andre Villas-Boas has got their Premier League season back on track with a couple of wins against Fulham and Sunderland, but I'm not convinced about them."

  59. 1335: 
    FOOTBALL- Manchester City v Arsenal (Saturday, 1245 GMT)

    The Guardian reports that Mikel Arteta has expressed frustration and disbelief that Arsenal must visit Manchester City a little over 48 hours after returning from their Champions League tie at Napoli.

    "The recovery time is very tight," said Arteta. "I don't understand why we play Sunday afternoon, Wednesday evening, get back at 4am and then play again on Saturday morning in Manchester.

    "There is nothing we can do - just recover well. It's a big game and we want to win it."

    Mikel Arteta (left)
  60. 1344: 

    Celtic entertain Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday but Neil Lennon's news conference has been dominated by the club's 6-1 Champions League away defeat to Barcelona in midweek.

    Manager Lennon says: "Even if we had spent £7m on a striker, would that have guaranteed us getting to last 16? Shakhtar Donetsk spent £160m and didn't qualify, Juventus didn't qualify, and Napoli, who were very unfortunate, didn't either.

    "We overachieved last season and this season we finished fourth in a group in which we were seeded fourth. We will always look to invest in team when we can and we'll be looking to do that in January."

  61. 1352: 
    FOOTBALL- Cardiff v West Brom (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    West Brom boss Steve Clarke concedes his side could be facing a relegation battle as he prepares his team to face newly promoted Cardiff.

    The Baggies are two points above the Premier League's bottom three after winning just one of their last nine games and losing the last three.

    "All I would like to do is get back on an even keel. We have worked hard in training this week," said Clarke. "It will look bad if we lose four games in a row, of course it will. But that is where we are, that is the situation I am in."

  62. 1357: 

    Manchester United striker Robin van Persie ruled out for a month with a thigh strain.

  63. 1403: 
    FOOTBALL- Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sunday, 1330 GMT)
    Manchester United striker Robin van Persie

    Robin van Persie has scored seven goals in 11 Premier League appearances this season but the 30-year-old will miss Manchester United's festive programme, manager David Moyes reveals.

    Van Persie injured his thigh after the corner he took that led to Phil Jones' match winner in a 1-0 win against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday.

    Moyes says: "Robin Van Persie is out as well for a month. He picked up a thigh strain in taking a corner kick which led to the goal."

  64. 1408: 
    FOOTBALL- Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sunday, 1330 GMT)

    More from David Moyes on the news Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has been ruled out for a month with a thigh strain: "It's unfortunate because I think if you look at our record with Wayne Rooney and Robin in the team, it is actually very good and we have not had them for quite a period recently."

  65. 1411: 

    Press Association Sport chief football writer Simon Stone on Twitter: Asked David Moyes if he had walked under any ladders lately: "No. I have no doubt it will get better."

  66. 1415: 
    Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sunday, 1330 GMT)

    Manchester United manager David Moyes on Sunday's game: "We want to play well. We've not done as well in the league as we should have. We want to put it right."

    On being 13 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal: "We'll do everything possible to get closer. We've got a lot of games coming up and can pick up points. But we need to do it, not talk about it."

  67. 1426: 

    Striker Robin van Persie joins a Manchester United injury list that also contains Marouane Fellaini [back], Michael Carrick [Achilles], Nemanja Vidic [knock], Patrice Evra [knock] and Chris Smalling [hamstring].

    Manager David Moyes adds: "I am sure we have plenty of players who can cover it and we don't miss them too much."

  68. 1434:  

    Former England coach Peter Moores says England's batsmen need to make a statement in the third Ashes Test.

    Australia had been 143-5 but went on to close on 326-6 on the first day in Perth, with Steve Smith hitting a century.

    "They didn't really create any sustained level of pressure, which has been the bowlers strength in recent years," Moores told BBC Radio 5 live. "They're not out of the series yet but they're going to have some real quality batting tomorrow {Saturday] to make a statement in the series."

  69. 1440: 
    FOOTBALL- Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sunday, 1330 GMT)
    Manchester United manager David Moyes

    Manchester United manager David Moyes, when informed that no team from 13 points behind at this stage has won the Premier League: "We see it as an opportunity. There is a long way to go but we can only take one game at a time.

    "Football is like that. Let's see what happens come later in the season. Maybe we can talk about it then. At moment we can't talk about it because we are too far away, but we want to get closer and we will do everything we possibly can to do that."

  70. 1444: 

    Germany's Adrian Sutil will drive for Sauber in the 2014 season.

  71. 1450: 

    Northampton Saints are hunting a season-defining victory at Leinster in the Heineken Cup on Saturday, according to scrum-half Lee Dickson.

    Just a week after leaking six tries to the Irishmen in a 40-7 defeat at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, who are third in their group, make the return trip to the Aviva Stadium.

    Dickson says: "You can go one of two ways: You can think you're going over there to get beaten again, or you can really raise your game, stand up, be counted, have a bit of pride and show a bit of character, go over there and nullify the mistakes you made the previous week."

  72. 1455: 

    Head of PR for the Premier League and Professional Game Match Officials Philip Dorward on Twitter: Referee change for Aston Villa v Manchester United match on Sunday. Lee Mason replaces Chris Foy, who still has hamstring twang.

  73. 1503: 
    Tottenham v Liverpool (Sunday, 1600 GMT)

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says the club's owners will back him in the January transfer window if he can identify available targets.

    Rodgers signed Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho and England striker Daniel Sturridge in the January 2013 window, and Rodgers says: "Everyone knows that January is a difficult window. We did a remarkable piece of business last January in Coutinho and Sturridge.

    "What I know is that if there is a player or players out there that will improve our team, I know the owners will support that. They have been outstanding for me. It's just on the availability of the right type of player, and that has to be a player than can come into the team and improve us."

  74. 1513: 
    Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sunday, 1330 GMT)
    Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney

    Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney could make the 500th club appearance of his career against Aston Villa.

    Manager David Moyes says: "There are big things ahead for Wayne. He can break Sir Bobby's goals record. There are some fantastic legends at this club... Wayne can be one."

    Sir Bobby Charlton is United's record goalscorer with 249 in all competitions. Rooney has 207.

  75. 1518: 
    Sergio Garcia

    Sergio Garcia struck a hole-in-one at the Thailand Golf Championship on his way to a seven-under-par 65. The 33-year-old Spaniard shares the halfway lead with world number four Justin Rose on 11 under. Garcia struck gold on the par three 198 yards eighth hole with a six iron.

  76. 1522:  
    Nick Hope, BBC Sport reporter at the World Grand Prix in ManchesterTAEKWONDO

    "Great Britain secures their first medal of the competition after heavyweight Mahama Cho defeats Frenchman M'Bar N'Daiye in a dramatic sudden-death round.

    "Cho, 24, was one second from a quarter-final defeat when his opponent stepped off the mat and incurred a penalty to level the scores at 9-9. The Ivory Coast-born fighter, who re-joined the GB programme earlier this year after 12 months competing for France, struck with a punch to land the crucial winning point."

    You can watch live coverage of Cho's bid for Grand Prix gold on the BBC Red Button and via the BBC Sport website from 18:30 tonight.


    BBC Scotland's Jim Spence on Twitter: Kenny Shiels appointed new Morton manager from Monday 16 December.

  78. 1529: 

    Germany plan to build their own team accomodation at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as local facilities do not meet requirements, according to Bild newspaper.

    The paper says local hotels weren't luxurious enough so the German authorities are creating the sports village for the team, complete with 13 housing blocks, a press centre and training pitch.


    Earlier, @QofS_Official posed the Question of Sport Teaser, which asked "when Man City hosted Arsenal in the Premier League last season who were the five Englishmen to start the game?"

    It is now time to reveal the answer. The players were: Kieran Gibbs, Joe Hart, Carl Jenkinson, Joleon Lescott and Scott Sinclair.

  80. 1540: 

    Former World Champion eventer Zara Phillips has been telling BBC Sport how she has helped improve Welsh Grand National winner Monbeg Dude's jumping.

    The eight-year-old is co-owned by her husband Mike Tindall and fellow rugby stars James Simpson-Daniel and Nicky Robinson.

    "He's just done some pole work to get him to use his feet and just think about it a bit," said Phillips of a horse whose odds vary from 20-1 to 33s for the Grand National. "He was going through his fences last year and now he's actually a good jumper, and makes a good shape [over the obstacles] and then he travels so much better."

  81. 1549: 

    Tottenham have expressed their disappointment at a reduced allocation for the FA Cup third-round tie at Arsenal on 4 January.

    Spurs had applied for the maximum under the competition rules of 15% capacity, which is around 9,000 tickets.

    However, following "lengthy conversations" the White Hart Lane club were advised "on safety and security grounds, experienced at previous cup fixtures this season" that only 5,186 seats would be provided, which equates to around 8.64%.

  82. 1559:  
    Tom Fordyce, BBC Sport chief sports writer in PerthTEST - ASHES THIRD TEST

    "Getting a crowbar in the safe door hasn't been England's problem in this failing raid down under. It's just that every time the loot has been within reach, the grizzled old guard dog has sunk his teeth into their backside," writes Tom in his blog on the opening day of the third Test.

    "For all that this has been Mitchell Johnson's series, it has almost equally been Brad Haddin's. Three times now in three Tests he has growled his way to the wicket with Australia in trouble; three times now he has chased away the tourists and made safe the family store."

  83. 1609: 
    FOOTBALL- Hull v Stoke (Saturday, 1730 GMT)

    David Meyler believes the coming weeks represent a golden opportunity for Hull to consolidate their position above the Premier League drop zone.

    "It's nice to play at home because the KC is kind of like a fortress for us," said the Republic of Ireland midfielder, whose team have only lost once at home.

    "We defend really well here, we play good football and we maximise our points."

    FOOTBALL- Manchester City v Arsenal (Saturday, 1245 GMT)

    OptaJoe on Twitter: 6 - There have been six red cards in the last six Premier League meetings between Manchester City (4) and Arsenal (2).

    Gabby Logan

    Gabby Logan, BBC Sport's Personality of the Year presenter, on Twitter: Popped into Leeds Arena ahead of tomorrow's #spoty rehearsals to speak to Radio Leeds & Look North. Set looking good

  86. 1622:  
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match SpecialCRICKET - ASHES THIRD TEST

    "In some ways, the first day of the third Ashes Test in Perth mirrored the opening exchanges of the previous two matches in Brisbane and Adelaide," writes Jonathan Agnew in his column.

    "The heat was a factor, but England teams of the recent past would have been able to finish Australia off. This one was unable to."

  87. 1629: 
    HEAD-TO-HEAD STATS- Manchester City v Arsenal (Saturday, 1245 GMT)
    Mario Balotelli is sent off playing for Manchester City against Arsenal

    The last six Premier League matches have produced six red cards - four of which were shown to City players.

    Arsenal have only won one of their last six league and cup games against Manchester City, and have failed to score in six of the previous nine meetings in all competitions.

  88. 1638: 

    Wales captain Sam Warburton will not be joining European champions Toulon, says the club's president Mourad Boudjellal.

    The Toulon owner confirmed he had had talks with the Cardiff Blues player over a move to France.

    "I can tell you that Sam Warburton won't end up at Toulon," said Boudjellal. "I have met the player but we couldn't reach agreement on the salary plans."

  89. 1639: 

    More from Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal on Sam Warburton: "Sam Warburton is the captain of Wales and that means we wouldn't have him during the international matches, and we're not used to that.

    "There's also all the training with Wales and we're not used to that either.

    "One year from the World Cup, wouldn't Sam Warburton's priority be the World Cup and not the Top 14, especially as captain?"

  90. 1640: 

    Three players from non-League AFC Hayes are suspended after admitting multiple breaches of the Football Association's betting rules, the FA announce.

    A statement on the FA website reads: "Following an independent regulatory commission hearing, suspensions from all football activity totalling three years and four months have been given to three AFC Hayes players after they admitted multiple breaches of the FA's betting rules.

    "Lawrence Shennan was suspended for two years and fined £580.20, which includes the £330.20 net profit made from the bets. Ben Goode was suspended for one year and fined £606.42, which includes the £456.42 net profit made from the bets.

    "Finally, Chevy Hart, who is no longer with the club, was suspended for four months and fined £145.65, which includes the £45.65 net profit made from the bets." AFC Hayes play in the Southern League Division One Central.

  91. 1645: 

    Premier League leaders Arsenal announce an increase in its ticket prices by three per cent for the 2014-15 season.

    A statement on the Arsenal website reads: "It will be only the third across-the-board increase on prices in the nine seasons the club will have been at Emirates Stadium."

  92. 1651: 

    Uefa fine Celtic £42,139 following the display of "illicit banners" at the recent Champions League match against AC Milan at Celtic Park.

    A Celtic statement reads: "Clearly it is extremely disappointing that the club must pay another sizeable penalty following the actions of a small minority, particularly given the previous assurances which were made to the club and the widespread understanding of the likely outcome of such actions."


    Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has been ruled out for a month with a thigh injury. With Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick also on the treatment table, United's injury problems are mounting.

    Roy Simon on Facebook: We still have good men up front - Januzaj, Rooney and Chicharito.

    Mehraz Mueedl on Facebook: It's a big big blow! Rooney is in good form but to me RVP is the only 'impact player' in the current squad.

    Andrew Medlicott on Facebook: There goes Champions League football.

  94. 1707: 
    HEAD-TO-HEAD STATS- Cardiff v West Brom (Saturday, 1500 GMT)
    Former West Bromwich Albion striker Peter Odemwingie

    Cardiff striker Peter Odemwingie scored for West Brom to help eliminate his current employers from the FA Cup in a 4-2 win the last time the clubs met in the 2011-12 competition.

    West Brom's last defeat away to Cardiff was a 3-1 top-flight loss on Boxing Day 1960. They are unbeaten in seven games away to the Bluebirds since then, with the last four ending in draws.

  95. 1716: 
    Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sunday, 1330 GMT)

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says Czech Republic striker Libor Kozak and defender Antonio Luna have returned to training and could feature against Manchester United on Sunday.

    Luna and Kozak have received treatment for groin and toe injuries respectively, but captain Ron Vlaar remains a doubt with a calf problem.

  96. 1725: 
    STATS- Chelsea v Crystal Palace (Saturday, 1500 GMT)
    Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh

    Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh has scored in successive Premier League appearances for the first time since November 2010. He has never scored in three consecutive league appearances in his career.


    More of your thoughts on Manchester United losing Robin van Persie for a month with a thigh injury.

    Rian Hoskins: It's a huge blow considering the winter fixtures are coming up. Seems there could be a bigger reliance on Rooney now.

    James Hillier: Nice to see RVP replicating that classic form that made him famous at Arsenal; he's out again with a thigh injury.

  98. 1737: 

    QPR on Twitter: We've been saddened to hear ex-defender Brian Taylor, who played over 50 games for #QPR in the 1960s, has passed away. May he rest in peace.

  99. 1741: 

    Germany will play three more friendly matches as part of their World Cup 2014 preparations, including a 15 May clash against Poland in Hamburg, the German football federation announces.

    After that match, Joachim Low's team will host opponents, who are yet to be decided, in Monchengladbach on 1 June and in Mainz, four days later, with Germany hoping to line up an African and another European team.

  100. 1746: 

    Uefa fine German club Eintracht Frankfurt £59,000 for the behaviour of 12,000 travelling fans at a Europa League match in Bordeaux. European football's governing body say the sanctions were imposed for crowd disturbances and setting off fireworks.

  101. 1749: 

    Kusal Perera hits a 59-ball 84 to help Sri Lanka post 211-3 in the second Twenty20 international against Pakistan in Dubai.

    Perera, who hit five fours and four sixes, put on a rapid 100 with fellow opener Tillakaratne Dilshan who made a 33-ball 48 as Sri Lanka, sent into bat, posted the highest ever total against Pakistan in all Twenty20 cricket.

    Pakistan lead the two-match series 1-0 after winning the first game by three wickets, also in Dubai on Wednesday.

  102. 1757: 
    STATS- Everton v Fulham (Saturday, 1500 GMT)
    Everton's Steven Pienaar

    Everton's Steven Pienaar scored his seventh and final goal of last season the last time these sides met in April - he has only scored once in 14 games since.

  103. 1803: 

    India's two-day warm-up match ahead of the first Test against South Africa was called off on Friday without a ball bowled.

    The first day against a South African Invitation XI at Willowmoore Park was Abandoned because of rain and a wet outfield. The first of two Test matches starts at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

  104. 1805: 

    London Broncos avoid going into administration after agreeing a groundshare with Barnet FC, the Super League club announce.

    The Broncos, homeless after leaving the Twickenham Stoop, were in danger of going into administration but their agreement with the non-league football club ensures they will fulfil their fixtures for the 2014 season.

    Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous says: "We are delighted to welcome the London Broncos into our family here at The Hive."

  105. 1813: 

    Fabrice Muamba is taking his first steps into sports journalism with the help of BBC North West Tonight, who have offered the former footballer a work placement.

    The 25-year-old ex-Arsenal, Birmingham, Bolton and England Under-21 midfielder was forced to retire last year after suffering a cardiac arrest during a game in March 2012.

    He is now studying for his new career in journalism at Staffordshire University.

  106. 1826: 
    FOOTBALL- Newcastle v Southampton (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    Newcastle's France international midfielder Yohan Cabaye says his absence from Saturday's match because of suspension could not have come at a better time.

    Cabaye says: "I'm going to relax because, with the national team, I'm starting to be a bit tired. So I'm going to enjoy my week, to stay relaxed and get some treatment, because I need it."

  107. 1838: 
    Olympic gold taekwondo medallist Sarah Stevenson

    Olympic medallist Sarah Stevenson is part of the BBC commentary team as live coverage of the inaugural World Taekwondo Grand Prix gets under way from Manchester Central, with the semi-finals and finals of the female -49kg and +67kg categories, and the male +80kg category.

  108. 1842: 

    Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti plays down reports linking the club with Monaco's Radamel Falcao, saying he did not think the striker was right for his side.

    "He is a great player but at the moment we are very happy with the strikers that we have as they are scoring a lot of goals," Ancelotti said. "I don't think at the moment Falcao would be the right player for us."

  109. 1849: 
    Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sunday, 1330 GMT)

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert backs David Moyes to "get the job right" at Manchester United and branded criticism of his fellow Scot as "pretty harsh".

    Moyes's Manchester United - without a Premier League win in four games - are desperate for three points against Lambert's Villa when the sides meet at Villa Park on Sunday.

    Lambert says: "They have had success for years and years, and when you fall below that really high standard, then people jump on the bandwagon and say they are a spent force. I never really buy into that. I'm pretty sure David Moyes will get that job right."

  110. 1857: 

    That is it for Friday's Sportsday Live. Thanks for your company and enjoy the weekend. We will be back on Monday at 0800 GMT for all the reaction from the weekend's sporting action as well as bringing you all the breaking news.

    And don't forget the 60th BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday which starts at 1940 GMT on BBC One.

    Live scores on Sale v Oyonnax in the Amlin Challenge Cup from 2000 GMT.

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