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Live Reporting

Marc Higginson

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye

    Well, Everton fans will have a spring in their step when they go to work tomorrow.

    Sunderland fans? Surely it can only get better, to quote D:Ream.

    Anyway, I'm outta here now - Jonathan Jurejko is your man for coverage of Southampton v Bournemouth. That game kicks off shortly over here.

    Until next time... goodbye.

  2. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce: “The defensive frailties were just too much in the side today and we allowed Everton to win the game comfortably in the end. If we don’t sort those out, and we are going to give it away like we did when we get to 2-2 today, it will be a long haul over the next few months or so.”

  3. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    It matters very little, but Jermain Defoe has bagged more away goals at Goodison Park than at any other PL ground (5).

  4. Get Involved

    Text 81111 (UK only)

    Chris Greenwood, West Hampstead: Weren't Everton fans calling for Martinez to be sacked not so long ago? Just shows what happens when clubs put faith in good managers and good players.  

  5. Manager reaction

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    "It was a fantastic game to watch first and foremost. From our point of view, we knew Sunderland had changed their system to make it difficult for us. But the movement and composure in possession was special. To score six - and we could have scored more - it was outstanding. It was special.

    "We got in between spaces really well. Sometimes your attacking pattern can become predictable. But the way we used the space and the interplay between our attacking players - it was a complete performance.

    "We had a two-goal lead so it was a huge blow to concede before half-time and then suddenly we have something to lose. You need to understand how to play the game after conceding the second. They did that very well."

    [On Arouna Kone] "His springboard was against Watford on the opening day. He had a career-threatening knee-injury but when he came on against Watford, to show he could help the team and perform, it was an incredible turning point. Since then we have seen a very good footballer."

    Roberto Martinez Everton manager

  6. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Big Sam is being interviewed now. He seems fairly relaxed in the circumstances.

  7. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    You know it's been a bad day at the office when the red spots on your team heat map are in the centre circle, from having to kick off so many times!

    Sunderland heat map
  8. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Here's how the table now looks for you, Everton fans.

    Premier League
  9. Post update

  10. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    And here's what the number crunchers thought of it all.

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland
  11. Player reaction

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    "It was end to end. Not the plan we had. The goal before half-time changed it a bit. Second half, some of our attacking play was really good.

    "The plan was to get down the sides. It was the one-twos around the box that paid off and we took our chances when they came.

    "At the end of my career I will look back at having played so many games. While I'm still playing I have to keep enjoying it. My body is good. I'll take it a season as a time."

    Gareth Barry Everton midfielder, on Sky Sports

  12. Get Involved


    Paul Scully: Nice to see all the Sunderland players go over to their supporters. They couldn't get off the pitch quicker.  

    Mark Taylor: Big Sam surely one of the EPL worst managers. Yes, I have just been sacked again but I'm your man. OK the jobs yours then.  

  13. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Everton supporters will be pleased to see Ross Barkley's stats from today. He played more passes than anyone else and his passing accuracy of 94.3% was only bettered by John Stones (95.2%). He's clearly improving.

  14. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Romelu Lukaku was seriously good in the number 10 role today - here's his heat map, showing where he did the damage.

  15. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Arouna Kone looks pretty chuffed with the matchball as he marches off with it in his hand. And so he should - what a superb display from Everton.

    Aroune Kone

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Oh to be a fly on the wall of the Sunderland dressing room once Big Sam gets rid of the gum and tears into his players.

  17. Get Involved


    Dave Payn: It seems that at times, the only games Sunderland are switched on for are the ones v Newcastle.  

  18. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Arouna Kone, by the way, is the fifth different Ivorian to score a Premier League hat-trick - after Didier Drogba, Arouna Dindane, Yaya Toure and Saloman Kalou.

    Aroune Kone
  19. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    A chance for Sunderland to add a consolation but Duncan Watmore lacks composure and, after breaking into the box unmarked, his lob is easily saved by Tim Howard who just sticks out a hand and diverts it away from danger.

  20. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Kevin Mirallas curls a shot wide. Everton want seven - they continue to pour forward.

  21. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Sunderland's defence might be 'iffy', to say the least, but Everton's front three has looked the business today.

    Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku deliver the bullets and Arouna Kone does the rest. There's a great understanding between the three of them.

    Romelu Lukaku
  22. Get Involved

    Text 81111 (UK only)

    Jamie Anderson: Not to say I told you so to everyone I told but a back three against Lukaku and Kone? What was Sam thinking? Where's the ten men behind the ball we should have been deploying?  

  23. Post update

    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    If you were a Sunderland defender, would you bother going back to the dressing room later and facing the wrath of Big Sam?

    I'd jump over a gate, still in my kit, and get the train home. A much less frightening proposition.

  24. Get Involved


    Niall Hughes: How many managers do Sunderland have to go through before they improve their centre backs. Been awful since Bruce was in charge.

    Tom Gardner: I'll bet fifty quid Sam Allardyce has Kevin Nolan signed up within the week after this result/ performance.  

    Kevin Nolan
  25. Post update

    One of my favourite Yorkshiremen Jonathan Jurejko is whirring into life for a dedicated live text of Southampton v Bournemouth. You can join JJ over here.


    Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Romelu Lukaku's work is done and he is replaced by Leon Osman.

    And what a shift from the big Belgian, who looks the part as a number 10 - pulling the strings and orchestrating the Toffees attack. A display Teddy Sheringham would have been proud of.

    Romelu Lukaku
  27. Get Involved


    James Bremner: Can I get a mention for the great refereeing at #EVESUN. Free flowing football needs a good referee, not a centre of attention.  

  28. Post update

  29. GOAL - Everton 6-2 Sunderland

    Arouna Kone hat-trick

    You need to watch Match of the Day 2 later just to see Romelu Lukaku's cross. It's a sublime effort with the outside of his boot to pick out Arouna Kone, who makes no mistake from 10 yards out to ensure he'll be taking the match ball home tonight.

    Aroune Kone
  30. Post update

    Everton 5-2 Sunderland

    We'll get Romelu, Arouna and Ross to look into your technical issues, Steve (see tweet below). I'm sure normal service will be resumed soon.

    Sorry Sunderland fans. It's best to laugh. If not, you'll cry.

    Everton players
  31. Get Involved


    Steve Fletcher: What's going on ? No reports of a goal for at least 5 mins. Is it a technical fault?  

  32. Post update

    Everton 5-2 Sunderland

    Everton almost make it 6 (six) when Kevin Mirallas breaks through the middle but he's forced wide by the keeper and Sunderland survive. For now.

  33. Get Involved


    Joel Ikechi Oblates: I thought Sunderland were in this when they equalised? Looking at the table I guess their position is were they truly belong.

    Barney Kiddle: January can't come soon enough for Big Sam.

    Craig Andrew Smith: Defensively we've not been good enough, but at the same time have to admire #Everton's performance. They have been outstanding.

    Sam Allardyce
  34. Post update

    Everton 5-2 Sunderland

    Seven goals in the first match on a Sunday is always good, isn't it?

    Like finding out it's rhubarb crumble for dessert after your Sunday lunch.

    Treats galore.

  35. Post update

  36. Post update

    Everton 5-2 Sunderland

    Romelu Lukaku is enjoying himself now - doing the old Ronaldinho trick of looking one way and passing the other to release Everton down the right. The cross comes in from Kevin Mirallas, but Arouna Kone falls over in trying to get on the end of it.

  37. Post update

    Everton 5-2 Sunderland

    Does anybody know the score? I've lost count.

    On a serious note, are Sunderland missing Lee Cattermole? He went off injured in the first half.

    Lee Cattermole

    Everton 5-2 Sunderland

    Everton's little magician Gerard Deulofeu is brought off - much to Sunderland's relief, no doubt. His replacement? Only Kevin Mirallas.

  39. Get Involved


    Belete Eshetea: What a match we are having. If things continue like this, we might end up with the highest goals scored in a game.  

  40. GOAL - Everton 5-2 Sunderland

    Arouna Kone

    What's going on here? Did Big Sam take off his defence at half-time and not tell us? Perhaps he read his players a chapter from Steve McClaren's book of half-time team talks?

    It's been some implosion from his side who worked their way back to 2-2 and are now 5-2 down. Arouna Kone bangs in another.

    I'm sure if you give us a minute, we'll be reporting on another goal.

    Aroune Kone
  41. GOAL - Everton 4-2 Sunderland

    Romelu Lukaku

    Romelu Lukaku is through on goal, he rounds the keeper and sidefoots home.

    And for those Fantasy Football managers out there, the assist came courtesy of Gerard Deulofeu's sublime sliderule pass.

    Romelu Lukaku
  42. Get Involved


    Richard Parfitt: Deulofeu wins the most ridiculous dive of the season so far. The defender was closer to bringing me down than he was Deulofeu.

    Giannina Caraceni: Deulofeu brought a little bit of Spain back with him? The girls at #GymnasticsWorldChamps would be proud of that fall  

    Gerard Deulofeu
  43. GOAL - Everton 3-2 Sunderland

    Seb Coates own goal

    This game is turning into a cracker.

    Everton re-take the lead in fortuitous circumstances when Gerard Deulofeu's cross from the right is turned into his own net by Seb Coates.

    The defender got to the ball before Romelu Lukaku and just poked it past the keeper.

    To make the goal extra special for Everton fans, Coates is a former Liverpool defender.

    Seb Coates

    Everton 2-2 Sunderland

    That's an awful dive from Gerard Deulofeu who flings himself to the floor in the penalty area after losing control of the ball.

    Play continues and 60 seconds or so later, the Spaniard is booked for simulation. And quite right too.

  45. Get involved - Best trophyless player


    Who is the most naturally talented player never to win a trophy?

    Nonso: Jay Jay Okocha, he won nothing at the club level.  

    Tom Robinson: Johnny Haynes.

    Euan MacTaggart: Juan Roman Riquelme. Best passer of a ball I've ever seen but never won a major trophy.  

    Jay Jay Okocha
  46. Post update

  47. GOAL - Everton 2-2 Sunderland

    Steven Fletcher

    Shows what I know, hey?

    Sunderland are level - and Everton only have themselves to blame. Jermain Defoe has the ball in the corner, he passes to Patrick van Aanholt who stands up a cross from the left andSteven Fletcherbeats Ramiro Funes Mori in the air to head home from six yards.

    Plenty of chances to stop that goal. None taken. 2-2.

    Steven Fletcher
  48. Post update

    Everton 2-1 Sunderland

    Big Sam looks very agitated on the touchline, as though he can't remember where he put his car keys. Everton have started the second half better than his side.

  49. Get Involved - Best trophyless player


    I asked you who was the most naturally talented footballer never to win a trophy...

    Matthew Hearn: What about Emmanuel Adebayor? Don't think he ever won anything and has played for Arsenal, Real Madrid and Man City! 

    Nilesh Patel: Most naturally talented footballers never to win a trophy has to go to Matt Le Tissier, Saints legend.

    Matt Le Tissier
  50. Post update

    Everton 2-1 Sunderland

    Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce is late to return to his seat after half-time, and he emerges from the tunnel holding a very small mug of tea.

    I think it was a small cup, and it's not because Big Sam has giant hands.

    Who knows?

    Sam Allardyce
  51. KICK-OFF

    Everton 2-1 Sunderland

    Let's get this second half up and running, shall we?

  52. Get Involved


    Mike Hall: Can anyone else smell a Jermain Defoe hat-trick today?  

  53. Post update

    Everton 2-1 Sunderland

    Going back to Jermain Defoe, who are the most naturally talented footballers never to win a trophy. Get involved using #bbcfootball.

  54. Remembering Howard Kendall

  55. Post update

    Everton 2-1 Sunderland

    Is it unfair to suggest Jermain Defoe should have achieved an awful lot more in his career for a man who clearly was born to score goals.

    Am I right in thinking he has never won a trophy?

  56. Get Involved


    Luke Street: Jermain Defoe that was naughty... Great goal!  

    Matt Lee: Oh Defoe, you beauty!!  

    Jermain Defoe
  57. Post update

    Everton 2-1 Sunderland

    The stats keep on coming today - Jermain Defoe has scored in five of his last eight Premier League appearances at Goodison Park.

    He loves it on Merseyside. The blue half, at least.

  58. Post update

    Everton 2-1 Sunderland

    As an idea of how that near 75% possession is being used by Everton, take a look at the two teams' heatmaps. I don't need to tell you that Everton are on the left.

    But with a man like Jermain Defoe up top, Sunderland can never be discounted.

    Everton v Sunderland

    Everton 2-1 Sunderland

    Well, that's changed things a little.

  60. GOAL - Everton 2-1 Sunderland

    Jermain Defoe

    Jermain Defoe has got a nose like a cocker spaniel when he gets a sniff of goal.

    He collects the ball just outside the area, gets in front of John Stones and then nips the ball past Ramiro Funes Mori before a neat finish deflects off Stones and into the back of the net.

    Jermain Defoe
  61. Post update

    Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Steven Fletcher from 12 yards out. A tame low shot is straight at Tim Howard.

  62. Post update

    Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Some nice approach play from Sunderland, but twice they ruin a chance to get a shot or header away with poor delivery. Jack Rodwell is the culprit the first time around.

  63. Post update

    Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Everton are bossing this game now. They have a firm lead and are dominating possession. 

    Everton v Sunderland
  64. Post update

    Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Ross Barkley has plenty of tricks and is capable of match-winning performances. But he also throws in the odd rick.

    He spurns a great opportunity for Everton to test Sunderland when he overhits a pass to Gerard Deulofeu on the edge of the box and the Toffees are pressed back to the halfway line.

  65. Post update

    Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Arouna Kone
  66. Get Involved


    PtheP: How the devil are Everton even ahead, let alone 2-0?   

    Max Baggins-Craig: Great deserved goal for Kone, can always rely on him to deliver, very good link-up play too. Everton top 7 easily.


    Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Lee Cattermole won't be getting a yellow card today. He's succumbed to injury and is to be replaced by Jack Rodwell. Sunderland are temporarily down to 10 men.

    Lee Cattermole
  68. Not exactly shot-shy

    Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Plenty of shots in this game, seven for Everton to Sunderland's six, but it's the ones with the little football next to them that count. (Green arrows are on target, red off target, and yellow are blocked shots).

  69. Post update

    Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Has Roberto Martinez done a job on Big Sam here?

    The Sunderland boss pushed his wing-backs forward early doors and, like a great counter-attacking fighter, Everton waited to land a couple of swift jabs. The Black Cats are on the canvas now.

  70. Post update

    Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Gareth Barry, who was involved at the beginning of Everton's second strike, has gone above David James in the all-time Premier League appearances list today - only Ryan Giggs and Frank Lampard are above him.

    He looks good for a man of 573 top-flight appearances.

    I'm not convinced he's not touching up his hair though. There's not a single grey hair on his head.

    Ryan Giggs
    Frank Lampard
  71. GOAL - Everton 2-0 Sunderland

    Arouna Kone

    Pick that out!

    A superb goal from Arouna Kone, who drives a powerful left-footed shot into the roof of the net from just inside the area.

    It came at the end of a nice one-two with Romelu Lukaku. Sunderland have a mountain to climb now.

    Aroune Kone
  72. Post update

    Everton 1-0 Sunderland

    Adam Johnson curls a shot wide after being teed up by Jermain Defoe. That goal, it must be said, has really taken the wind out of Sunderland's sails.

    Sunderland players
  73. Post update

    Everton 1-0 Sunderland

    Here's how Everton took the lead. The ball through was by Arouna Kone (number 9) and Gerard Deulofeu (19) did the rest.

  74. Get Involved


    Andy McNamara: Have to say that's against the run of play. If Everton play to their true potential, they could achieve so much more.  


    Everton 1-0 Sunderland

    Everton defender Bryan Oviedo pulls his hamstring chasing after Jermain Defoe and has to be replaced. Brendan Galloway comes on at full-back.

    Bryan Oviedo
  76. Post update

    Everton 1-0 Sunderland

    Steve Bower

    BBC football commentator at Goodison Park

    Suffice to say, this has been an open game so far. 

  77. Post update

    Everton 1-0 Sunderland

    Up until that goal, it looked like Sunderland's 3-5-2 system was working quite well, given they had hit the post twice. These are the touches of wing-backs Patrick van Aanholt and DeAndre Yedlin, who have been causing plenty of problems for Everton. Will that change now Sunderland are behind?

  78. Post update

  79. CLOSE!

    Everton 1-0 Sunderland

    Seamus Coleman has a shot beaten away as Everton try and turn the screw.

  80. GOAL - Everton 1-0 Sunderland

    Gerard Deulofeu

    You don't rise through the ranks at Barcelona without being able to finish. Gerard Deulofeu puts Everton into the lead - against the run of play, it must be said - with a cool finish between the legs of Costel Pantilimon.

    He owes Arouna Kone a drink, though. What a superb defence-splitting ball from the Ivorian to put the Spaniard through on goal. And from there, there was only ever going to be one result.

    Gerard Deulofeu
  81. Get Involved


    Rob Burroughs: Tbh, if Adam Johnson had a decent right peg, that's 1-0 for Sunderland. Good lord.   

    Adam Johnson
  82. CLOSE!

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    Is Tim Howard going to have one of those days where he saves everything? He makes a superb stop to deny Jermain Defoe with a low shot. The follow-up from Adam Johnson smashes off the post and Howard then flings himself in front of Steven Fletcher's effort but is beaten to it by Seamus Coleman. A goal-mouth scramble of epic proportions. Everton, somehow, survive.

  83. Post update

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    Sam Allardyce, by the way, hates it at Goodison Park. He has lost each of his last six PL games against Everton (all with West Ham) overall and each of his last five top-tier visits to Goodison Park (with Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham).


    Sam Allardyce
  84. Post update

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    Big Sam won't like that. His Sunderland midfield allow Ross Barkley to get on the ball in a central position and to drive forward. The Black Cats' defence parts but the midfielder's shot goes wide.

  85. Post update

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher look like they've been putting in the hours on the training field this week. The classic big man and little man combination helps Sunderland break and, after dragging four defenders out of position, Defoe slips the ball to Fletcher only for a promising move to break down.

    Steven Fletcher
  86. Post update

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    A tame shot from Romelu Lukaku trickles towards the Sunderland goal but is easily dealt with.

  87. Get Involved


    Kelvin: So Oviedo starts for #Everton? What happened to Galloway? This will be team's third left back.

    Mr Chimps: Ha'way Big Sam, let's get a result today.

  88. Post update

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    And now a minute's applause for Howard Kendall. An Evertonian legend.

    Every man, woman and child is on their feet and clapping.

    Howard Kendall tribute

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    Sunderland's gameplan is clear - long balls, a flick on from Steven Fletcher and the ball is worked down the left where Patrick van Aanholt smashes a shot against the post. Tim Howard was rooted to the spot.

  90. Post update

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    It's early doors, of course, but already Sunderland are snapping into the tackles, winning headers and making sure they are first to the second ball. Big Sam's got his boys fired up.

  91. KICK-OFF

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    A minute's silence is impeccably observed. And now we're under way.

    Sunderland players
  92. Get Involved


    King Henrikh: Keep your eye on Yedlin in the midfield. He might just be the quickest player in the Premiership now and now has licence to go.  

  93. Post update

    Before we start, here's a little heads-up from 'King Henrikh...

  94. Post update

    Everton v Sunderland (13:30 GMT)

    Sam Allardyce explains his 3-5-2 system on Sky Sports: “I don’t play it that often, but every game is different for me. Five at the back, or three centre-backs, has suited me very well in the past, but for me it’s about making sure Everton don’t do what they do best, which is play with attacking flair and creativity.”

  95. Post update

    Everton 0-0 Sunderland

    Right then... it's almost time for kick-off at Goodison. First, however, Everton captain Gareth Barry and Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole will lay a poppy wreath.

  96. Navas drives a Nissan

    It's totally unconnected to today's game, but a story in The Sun caught my eye this morning.

    It concerns Manchester City winger Jesus Navas, who apparently drives to training in an £8,000 Nissan Micra.

    It's far from the flashiest motor on display at Carrington. Fair play to Navas though.

    I'm sure it gets him from A to B and all that.

  97. Get Involved


    Eashwar Rajan: Arsenal have used 21 different players in the PL. If that doesn't show depth, what does?

  98. Post update

    Everton v Sunderland (13:30 GMT)

    Everton have only won one of their last five meetings with Sunderland (D1, L3), so they'll be looking to put that right today.

    As ever when I watch the Toffees, I'm looking forward to seeing Ross Barkley in action.

    With three goals and three assists this season, Barkley has already equalled his best-ever haul of goal involvements in a single Premier League campaign (also six in 2013-14).

  99. Post update

    Everton v Sunderland (13:30 GMT)

    I disagree with Lawro there. Surely it's nailed on Sunderland will stay up now?!

  100. 'Allardyce gives Sunderland a chance'

    Mark Lawrenson

    Former Liverpool defender on MOTD2 Extra

    Quote Message: They haven't had an Allardyce before. He is like Pulis. It doesn't guarantee they will stay up but it gives them a chance. He will sort them defensively. But it all rests on what business he can do in January. As a businessman, if you are [Sunderland owner] Ellis Short wouldn't you give him £30m to get £110m next season?
  101. Post update

    Everton v Sunderland (13:30 GMT)

    So, what has Big Sam been saying this week about the game against Everton?

    Not one to bask too long in the success of a derby win, he's already looking forward.

    "It's a huge task for us all and we have got to meet it head-on, but we have also got to enjoy ourselves," said Allardyce. "It's depressing that a football club of this size with these facilities has only won its first game in 10.

    "It cannot be all doom and gloom, it cannot be all depression because we will never get out of the problems we are in."

    So how can Big Sam bring a smile back to the players? Post-match pizza? Karaoke after training? Let us know your ideas.

    Sam Allardyce
  102. 'Albrighton an unsung hero'

    John Hartson

    Former Arsenal striker on MOTD 2 Extra

    Eight goals in eight games, it's Jamie Vardy's energy but he has the ability to finish. There are a couple of unsung heroes in the Leicester team too. Marc Albrighton, he switches sides and makes goals for the like of Riyad Mahrez.

    I wouldn't have minded playing under Claudio Ranieri if he takes them out for pizza every week! 

    Marc Albrighton
  103. 'Leicester set up to get best out of Vardy'

    Mark Lawrenson

    Former Liverpool defender on MOTD2 Extra

    Quote Message: It is not just pace but width, which Leicester have right and left. Vardy is the key to it. They have set up to get the best out of him. That goes back to Manchester United. Why don't they do the same for Martial? Mahrez has been almost as good as Vardy. But it is not just them. Schmeichel is a great keeper. They are not afraid of anyone.
  104. Post update

    Match of the Day 2 Extra has now finished, but those who have stayed tuned to BBC Two can watch a special programme looking at last season's Road to Wembley in the FA Cup.

    In the meantime, here's the final bit of analysis from John Hartson and Lawro. The subject? Leicester and Jamie Vardy.

  105. Remembering Howard Kendall

    Everton v Sunderland (13:30 GMT)

    It will be another emotional occasion at Goodison Park today, with the Toffees playing their first home game since the funeral of club legend Howard Kendall. To pay tribute, supporters will applaud throughout the fourth minute.

    Kendall wore the number four shirt with distinction while a player at Everton. He would later become their greatest ever manager.

    Howard Kendall banner at Goodison Park
  106. Get Involved


    Rian Hoskins: Van Gaal is tactically astute with the way he has organised that defence but is not utilising the attacking options.

  107. 'Wayne still has the brain but not the legs'

    John Hartson

    Former Arsenal striker on MOTD 2 Extra

    Wayne Rooney started at number nine against Crystal Palace, but for me he can't play there any more because he's not dynamic any more. For me, Wayne has still got the brain to play in behind the striker and the ability to play players through. He can still score too but he can't play up top, he hasn't got the legs. 

  108. 'Martial has to play through the middle'

    Mark Lawrenson

    Former Liverpool defender on MOTD2 Extra

    Quote Message: If you are a Man United supporter what do you want? Would you accept winning the league playing this way or with excitement and wingers like they used to have? Anthony Martial has to play through the middle with Wayne Rooney behind him. At the moment it is so slow. They go sideways and it allows the opposition to get into shape.
  109. Post update

    And now we touch on the subject of Anthony Martial. Why is he not being played down the middle?

    Having him shoved out on the wing is like asking James Anderson to bowl spin. You're never going to get the best out of him.

  110. 'Garde is a gamble'

    Mark Lawrenson

    Former Liverpool defender on MOTD2 Extra

    Quote Message: Aston Villa going for Remi Garde is a gamble with the future. It reminds me of Pepe Mel at West Brom. If it was me, I'd go for David Moyes. Why take a chance on someone who has never managed in the Premier League?
  111. Aston Villa's next manager

    John Hartson

    Former Arsenal striker on MOTD 2 Extra

    I was with Villa's potential manager Remi Garde at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger brought him in as a young player, it wasn't a great fit to be honest. What a manager would have to do at Villa is cope without the money. It would be the current crop of players that he has to deal with.  

  112. Post update

    On the subject of Arsenal, I think their success was summed up perfectly by BBC Radio 5 live's John Murray yesterday.

    Basically, John said that Arsenal are now seeing the benefit of having a world-class keeper in Petr Cech between the sticks.

    How Chelsea would like to have the Czech back now, in the absence of the injured Thibaut Courtois?

  113. Arsenal's title challenge

    Times journalist Oliver Kay on MOTD 2 Extra: "I look at Arsenal and they are a team which might get 80-plus points but I think Manchester City can get more but it's just a case of whether City can perform to the level that they expect." 

  114. Arsenal's title challenge