So at the end of another curious Premier League evening, here are all the final scores:
Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United
Everton P-P Crystal Palace
Fulham 2-3 Manchester United
Manchester City P-P Sunderland
Newcastle 0-4 Tottenham
Stoke 1-1 Swansea
All of which means that Arsenal fail to win back top spot, Liverpool stay fourth, Tottenham are three points behind in fifth, Everton have a game in hand, Manchester United are 11 points off fourth place, Swansea go 10th, Stoke go 14th and Fulham stay bottom, five points off Norwich in 17th and increasingly doomed. Tonight’s big winners? Manchester City. They didn’t play but Arsenal dropped more points, just as Chelsea did last night, and they’re two points behind the leaders, Chelsea, with a game in hand. Thanks for reading and have a safe journey home wherever you are.
Full-time: Fulham 2-3 Liverpool: Liverpool go four points off the top of the league! Fulham stay bottom! Sorry - Fulham stay bottom. There, that’s suitably sombre.
Full-time: Stoke 1-1 Swansea: A fair point but Stoke aren’t happy they didn’t get a late penalty.
How’s your touch, Darren Bent? A deflected shot from Holtby finds him eight yards out and he lets the ball run under his foot and out for a goal-kick.
Teixeira almost wraps it up for Liverpool. But he doesn’t. So there.
There are still a few minutes of stoppage time to be played at Craven Cottage, though. They’re in stoppage time at the Britannia Stadium too.
GOAL! Fulham 2-3 Liverpool (Gerrard pen): In the 90th minute, Steven Gerrard has surely won it for Liverpool! It’s heartbreak for Fulham, who had the lead twice in this game!
PENALTY! PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Riether stupidly brings down Sturridge. No doubt about it.
Stoke want a penalty. But they’re not getting a penalty! Peter Crouch is annoyed after seemingly being caught by Chico. Crouch is booked for his protests.
A stunning save by Begovic from De Guzman’s wind-assisted shot prevents Swansea from going ahead. It’s still 1-1 at the Britannia Stadium.
No one - no one - on this planet speaks faster than Emmanuel Adebayor. No one.
There’s not long left in the two remaining games. Both are level. Will there be a winner in either game? There’s only one place to find out!
*Guardian legal disclaimer: there is more than one place to find out.
It’s finished Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United. Barry Glendenning has the details here.
Full-time: Newcastle 0-4 Tottenham: Oh dear.
Bony should give Swansea the lead but his shot is saved by Begovic and Shawcross manages to stop it going over the line!
Stekelenburg is conscious and sitting up but appears to have one helluva shiner. He’s coming off.
Martin Stekelenburg is down after a collision with Luis Suarez, who was trying to reach a through-ball. He had to go for it but the Fulham goalkeeper might be out cold.
GOAL! Newcastle 0-4 Tottenham (Chadli): What a belter! Nacer Chadli takes a touch and then absolutely hammers a bending drive into the far corner from the left of the area! This is now officially embarrassing for Newcastle. The people running the show at that club are a risible disgrace.
GOAL! Fulham 2-2 Liverpool (Coutinho): Well that didn’t last long. Coutinho shuffles past a couple of players on the edge of the area and his shot deflects off Kvist and flies into the bottom-right corner. Liverpool are level!
This will be Newcastle’s fourth successive league defeat at home - and their fifth in all competitions. They are on a dismal run.
GOAL! Newcastle 0-3 Tottenham (Adebayor): He’s only gone and done it again, this goalscoring machine. You can always rely on Emmanuelk Adebayor to come up with the goods. A neat move from Tottenham ends with Townsend’s powerful shot being pushed out to Adebayor by Krul and from the edge of the area, he hits a volley down into the ground and up over the luckless Newcastle keeper.
GOAL! Fulham 2-1 Liverpool (Richardson): Fulham lead again! It’s Kieran Richardson! Liverpool fail to deal with a high cross, Skrtel’s calamitous clearance falls to Richardson and he has an easy finish from six yards.
Fulham are tiring. Sturridge shoots wide from the right. Then, out of nowhere, Suarez batters a shot against the post! Liverpool are getting closer but it’s still 1-1.
“The only time I have been to see East Fife play I recall they ran out to Telstar by The Tornados,” says Simon McMahon. “Never did find out why.”
I went to see Valencia play a couple of years ago and they played the Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune after the goals. I don’t know why.
Newcastle aren’t quite finished yet! Debuchy pummels a header goalwards and he’s denied by a magnificent save by Lloris.
Steve Sidwell also tried to score from his own half. However he is Steve Sidwell.
Sturridge chips a pass to Suarez on the left. His volley bounces just wide. Fulham have been warned.
GOAL! Stoke 1-1 Swansea (Chico Flores): Chico Flores has equalised with a header. Hope the delicate little flower didn’t hurt himself.
Suarez’s free-kick, intended as a cross, fizzes just past the far post. You wouldn’t put much past him.
Swansea are pressing. Bony almost latches on to a deflected shot and then rasps one of his own over.
They’re off again at Craven Cottage and the Britannia Stadium. Goals please! “In the mid 80s Ipswich Town used to take to the field to the circus theme music you posted at 8.10pm,” says Tony Cowards. “I can only assume the stadium announcer was unaware of it’s connotations and had chosen it because it’s actual title is “Entrance of the Gladiators”.”
Younes Kaboul has banged his head. He should be ok. Although don’t trust me, I was struck off four years ago. “Back in Boxing Day 1988 I went to Colchester to se Peterborough play – my mate had got a Public Enemy cassette for Xmas and insisted on playing it all the way there,” says Paul Gauntlett. “Sadly when we got to Layer Road the game was called off due to a frozen pitch. I’ve never forgiven Chuck D and Flavour Flav....”
Do you reckon Mike Ashley is remotely bothered that Newcastle are going to lose again?
“Last one was Boxing day 2010 vs Birmingham City,” says Mark Robinson of postponed matches at Everton. “The pitch was fine but the ancient plumbing in the Goodison toilets had all frozen. I remember this as I had to spend the day at the mother in laws instead of going to the match. Not good.”
GOAL! Newcastle 0-2 Tottenham (Paulinho): And there’s the second goal for Tottenham! Paulinho’s flick finds Adebayor. He shoots. Krul saves. But Paulinho scores. Tactics Tim is tacticking again.
Half-time: Fulham 1-1 Liverpool: Kolo Toure for Fulham, Daniel Sturridge for Liverpool.
Half-time: Stoke 1-0 Swansea: Monk out!
They’re off again at St James’s Park, where Newcastle will be hoping to win and Tottenham will also be hoping to win.
GOAL! Fulham 1-1 Liverpool (Sturridge): Now something’s going for Liverpool! With the outside of his right foot, Steven Gerrard sends Daniel Sturridge through and he equalises confidently. What a pass from Gerrard, though. He fell over just before he hit it.
Nothing is going right for Liverpool at the moment. Inconsistency continues to haunt them. “I’ve got a second one for you,” says Ian Sargeant. “As a spotty teenager not allowed to venture to west ham on my own I had to make do with local non-league games - one of the best of which was an FA Vase game in the mid 80’s between Tunbridge Wells and Camberley. The game was abandoned at half time in extra time with the score at 5-5 - with no floodlights at the Culverden Stadium at the time, it was just too dark to continue.”
Fulham are on top at Craven Cottage. Where’s Liverpool’s pep gone? “How does Kolo’s own goal compare to Djimi Traore’s vs Burnley, way back in 2005?” says Matthew Kemp. You never know, Toure might equalise - stranger things have happened.”
Half-time: Newcastle 0-1 Tottenham: Boos greet the half-time whistle. Emmanuel Adebayor’s goal is the difference. “Don’t know if you’ve mentioned it, Jacob, but the club found that Everton fan you featured at the start and he met the players and the boss...all on Twitter and Facebook (Grand Old Team, etc),” says James Hartley.
Fulham are defending really well. That is not a typo, do not adjust your screens. Liverpool haven’t got going at all. “The last game to be called off at Goodison was surely the boxing day affair against Portsmouth that never was, a few years back (2010),” says Stephen King. “Although, I think that was called off due to the extreme cold...”
Jose Canas sidefoots Wayne Routledge’s cross over. Swansea sense an equaliser. “Abandoned games?” says David Hopkins. “How about the very first game at your new stadium, 2-1 up, match abandoned due to floodlight failure? I think Derby take the lead on incompetence yet again...”
Liverpool haven’t mustered much of a response since going behind. Their away form hasn’t been that impressive recently, with only two wins in their last six. “Phrases that must be banned,” says Keith Tucker. “Kolo Toure is a defender.”
Michel Vorm keeps Swansea in it with a great save from Arnautovic’s effort from 25 yards. Up the other end, Pablo Hernandez wastes the chance to equalise by dilly-dallying when clear. “If it remains Newcastle 0 - 1 Spurs and Fulham win 33-0, Tottenham will go 4th,” says Mitchell Stirling. “That is a ridiculous goal difference gap between teams in 4th and 5th in early Feb.”
Aaron Lennon has cut inside and seen a low skimmer pushed behind by Krul. “When Carragher announced his retirement, we all worried that he couldn’t be replaced,” says Matt Dony. “Turns out, Toure has manfully filled at least some of the void left behind. Well done.”
GOAL! Stoke 1-0 Swansea (Crouch): Crouchigol! Stoke, comfortable in this climate, lead. Peter Odemwingie shoots against the post, the ball falls to Crouch and he does the rest.
Phil Dowd has run into Darren Bent and fallen over. You can’t write this stuff. “Late postponements - you could run all night with west ham tales,” notes Ian Sargeant. “Mine was boxing day in the mid 90’s - bought my new father in law a ticket (v coventry) for a bonding session. Living in barkingside (so not that far away) we rang an hour before kick off to be told - no problems - ground not frozen - no pitch inspection. 30 minutes later as we rock up just off the barking road we hear ‘match postponed following a pitch inspection the pitch is frozen.”
Papiss Cisse lobs over Hugo Lloris and wide of the target. Luis Suarez is involved in some mischief too but can’t draw Liverpool level. “The world-famous Dundee United FC, like most other Scottish clubs, have matches called off all the time, our last postponement coming just a couple of weeks ago due to a waterlogged pitch,” says Simon McMahon. “The only abandonment I can recall came in late 2009 at Tannadice against Rangers, at half-time after biblical rain. We were 1-0 down at the time so thought it only fair that we let them win the replayed fixture 3-0.”
Phrases that must be banned, No. 54,576 in a never-ending series: foot race.
Tottenham are threatening again. Newcastle’s defence is at sixes and sevens. They’re just about hanging in there. You have to feel for Alan Pardew. “My abandoned game was Reading vs Bury in the League Cup,” says Mark Ireland. “When Bury scored to go 2-0 up I celebrated so hard my watch came off and got trampled to bits underfoot. Then the game got abandoned because of torrential rain and Reading ended up winning the rescheduled game. Booooo.”
GOAL! Fulham 1-0 Liverpool (Toure own goal): Kolo the Klown has that pained expression on his face again. What a blunder! What an own goal! What a dunderhead! What a danger to his own team! Lewis Holtby slid a lovely pass down the inside-left channel to Kieran Richardson, Liverpool cut to ribbons. Richardson knocked a cross into the six-yard box and found deadly marksman Kolo Toure, who took advantage of a bobble to send a witless shank past Simon Mignolet. Dear lord, he really is bad.
Swansea have started well at the Britannia Stadium. Which is probably not what anyone was expecting, was it. But they’re passing crisply.
GOAL! Newcastle 0-1 Tottenham (Adebayor): He’s scored again. Nabil Bentaleb holds off Debuchy and when his crosses is pushed out by Tim Krul, who’s there but Emmanuel Adebayor to prod home. What a simple goal. He’s not bad when he’s pulled his finger, that Adebayor.
Look at Fulham go! What a team! Intelligent link-up man and thoroughly modern striker Darren Bent sets up Ryan Tunnicliffe for a sighter that Mignolet pushes behind at his near post.
Another chance for Tottenham. Jan Vertonghen meets Kyle Walker’s free-kick but nods wide.
And now they’re playing football. Told you.
The teams are out at Craven Cottage and the Britannia Stadium. They’ll be playing football soon! Maybe there’ll even be some goals.
Newcastle haven’t been out of their half for a while. But then they spring forward, De Jong heading a free-kick to Cisse, who somehow fails to score from six yards out! It did take a great save from Lloris to deny him after some dismal Tottenham defending.
There are quite a few empty seats up at Newcastle. The mood’s not great there and it would have got even darker if this had ended in a Tottenham goal - but Emmanuel Adebayor’s shot from Mousa Dembele’s cutback is deflected wide. Moments later, Paulinho’s piledriver is saved by Krul, Tottenham bossing this one in these early stages.
“No tales of abandoned football matches, but have abandoned all hopes of having a partner in time for Valentine’s Day if that counts?” says Ryan Dunne.
THIS IS AN URGENT GUARDIAN APPEAL: WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE RYAN DUNNE A HOME ON VALENTINE’S DAY? PLEASE DONATE GENEROUSLY.
So I was meant to be covering five games tonight. Currently I’m covering one and I can’t see it. D’oh!
Peep! They’re off at St James’s Park and they’re off at the Emirates. Follow that match with Barry Glendenning here.
So come on then - let’s hear your stories of abandoned matches. I’ll start. This has happened to me twice. The first time was 19 February 1997 and a match between QPR and Reading. I’d won two tickets to the game, only for it to rain quite hard. The second was on 30 December 2000, when a game between West Ham and Chelsea fell foul to a frozen pitch. West Ham assured everyone that “hell would freeze over” before the match was called off. Turned out they were wrong. I think someone forgot to switch the undersoil heating on. Or maybe they didn’t have any. At the time, West Ham were in great form and had beaten Charlton 5-0 on Boxing Day but they were a mess by the time the rearranged fixture came around and lost 2-0.
ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, THE WEATHER?
“With a location just a Tim Howard punt from the sea and efficient undersoil heating, I’m not sure I can recall when Everton have had a match called off,” says Gary Naylor. “I do recall bouncing up and down at half-time in the Gwladys Street in about 1980 when I think it was the only Division One match played - to the amusement of the MOTD cameras. Anyone know the last postponement at Goodison?” Anyone? We must be told.
The reason that Everton v Crystal Palace has been called off is because the wind was causing damage to properties outside Goodison Park.
GOAL! UNIDENTIFIED TEAM A 0-1 UNIDENTIFIED TEAM B (The Wind): Thanks to Moyukh Purkayastha for sending me this.
Now Everton v Crystal Palace is off! Oh, this isn’t going very well. Everyone move down to London, don’t worry, it’s very affordable to live here.
Here’s the story about Manchester City v Sunderland being called off. And below is a picture of the Guardian’s intrepid reporter, Jamie Jackson, braving the elements to deliver you, our readers, the news. What a guy! What a fearless journalist! How do you like them apples, John Simpson! He appears to have knocked over a programme stand, though. Oh Jamie.
Let’s get you some teams while we still have some games.
Everton v Crystal Palace
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Distin, Jagielka, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; McGeady, Osman, Pienaar; Naismith. Subs: Robles, Hibbert, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Barkley, Stones, Traore.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Delaney, Dann, Parr; Puncheon, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Ince; Ledley, Chamakh. Subs: Bolasie, Thomas, Gayle, Murray, Gabbidon, Hennessey, Bannan.
Referee: Dr Dre Marriner.
Fulham v Liverpool
Fulham: Stekelenburg; Riether, Heitinga, Burn, Riise; Tunnicliffe, Sidwell, Kvist, Richardson; Holtby; Bent. Subs: Stockdale, Hangeland, Parker, Kasami, Cole, Kacaniklic, Duff.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Flanagan, Toure, Skrtel, Cissokho; Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho; Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling. Subs: Jones, Agger, Kelly, Allen, Moses, Teixeira, Aspas.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
Stoke v Swansea
Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Odemwingie, Adam, Whelan, Arnautovic; Walters, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Muniesa, Palacios, Nzonzi, Guidetti, Assaidi, Ireland.
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Britton, Canas; Dyer, Hernandez, Routledge; Bony. Subs: Tremmel, Amat, Taylor, de Guzman, Vazquez, N’Gog, Emnes.
Referee: Jon Moss.
Newcastle v Tottenham
Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, S.Taylor, Santon; Gouffran, Sissoko, Anita, Sammy Ameobi; De Jong, Cisse. Subs: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Dummett, Gosling, Marveaux, Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi.
Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Naughton; Dembele, Bentaleb, Capoue, Paulinho, Lennon; Adebayor. Subs: Friedel, Dawson, Chadli, Eriksen, Townsend, Kane, Soldado.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
There is also due to be an inspection at Stoke v Swansea at 7pm. The kick-off has been pushed back to 8pm because of traffic issues.
The weather has its first casualty! Manchester City v Sunderland has been called off, deemed unsafe to play by Greater Manchester Police because of the severe conditions. All that preamble for nothing! I know we have to be concerned about safety - I get it, I’m not a monster - but it would have been fun to see a wind-assisted goal. I was once involved in a match where our goalkeeper’s goal-kick was blown straight back in the opposite direction and went out for a corner.
It’s Wednesday night and it’s time for football. And what a night we’ve got in store for you. Hopefully it will be a bit better than the tripe served up yesterday, when we were made to wait 873 minutes for a goal by the eight teams in action – they really did test us. Oh, it was trying. But our patience was rewarded in the end and tonight’s fixtures look rather more enticing. Here’s what’s on the card:
- Can Manchester City forget the nonsense of drawing 0-0 with Exciting Chris’s Norwich City on the weekend and put the hurt on Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium? Maybe. They’ve scored 472 goals there this season. But maybe not. They’re still licking their wounds after Chelsea ended their 100% home record last week, Martin Demichelis exists, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri are all knacked and Sunderland have had the sign over them in the past few years. It’s on! Sunderland to put Saturday’s shambolic 2-0 defeat at home to Hull behind them and roar out of the relegation zone with a typically sassy display!
- Or not.
- Over in west London, Liverpool are at Fulham, who were really, really, really hoping that they the tube strike might come to their rescue and spare them some pain at the hands of the SASASAS (Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling and Skrtel). But no such luck, the strike was cancelled and the game goes ahead. Liverpool were brilliant against Arsenal, that opening 20 minutes arguably the best spell any Premier League side has produced for a while, and are right back in the title race now. The worry for Fulham is that Rene Meulensteen will still be basting himself after the draw with Manchester United, which had very little do his tactics and very much to do with the home side’s incompetence.
- Up in the north-east, it’s Newcastle v Tottenham. Have Newcastle clocked off for the season? Will Emmanuel Adebayor keep Tactics Tim in Daniel Levy’s good books and Spurs in the hunt for fourth place? They’re only three points behind title-challenging Liverpool - but they surely won’t get away with it if they’re as bad as they were against Everton on Sunday.
- But Everton didn’t take advantage. They lost 1-0 and could do with playing an orthodox striker against Crystal Palace. Lacina Traore, all 6ft 8in of him, could be the answer. But Palace are on a roll. Will Tom Ince and Joe Ledley inspire them again? They could end the evening in 10th place and they can’t be lower than 16th. One thing’s for sure, the 100mph winds swirling round Merseyside probably won’t faze Tony Pulis. He was made for nights like this. This is why he was put on this planet. Activate the Pulisbot now!
- Meanwhile Pulis’s former side, Stoke, are hosting Swansea. Will they conjure another of their tiki-taka specials against the Welsh side, just as they did at the Liberty Stadium in November? Or will Swansea, on a hot one-match winning streak, continue their renaissance under
Ryan GoslingGarry Monk onawetandwindynightinstoke?
- And finally ... are any of these games actually going to go ahead? The weather outside is frightful and definitely not delightful.
If they do, here are tonight’s fixtures in full:
Arsenal v Manchester United (7.45pm) – follow it here.
Everton v Crystal Palace (7.45pm)
Fulham v Liverpool (8pm)
Manchester City v Sunderland (7.45pm)
Newcastle v Tottenham (7.45pm)
Stoke v Swansea (7.45pm)