MX23RW : Saturday, December 4 04:40:34| >> :120:22914:22914:

Live Coverage: Saturday football including West Ham United, Stoke City, Norwich City

Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of Saturday's action, which includes a number of key games in the Premier League relegation battle.

Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of Saturday's football, which sees the likes of Real Madrid, Everton and West Ham United all in action.

With the Premier League's top four all playing each other tomorrow, it is matters further down the table which take the focus on what could be a pivotal day in the relegation battle.

However, there is action at the top of La Liga and the Bundesliga, while Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to extend their dominance in Ligue 1.

We also have 10 Championship games kicking off at 3pm and many more from the lower leagues and across Europe.

Good afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for live coverage of today's football on what could prove to be a pivotal day in both the Premier League relegation battle and the La Liga title race. Real Madrid, Everton and West Ham United are amongst the teams in action in 3pm kickoffs, team news for which is beginning to filter through...

BOURNEMOUTH STARTING XI: Boruc; Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels; Surman, Gosling, Arter, Stanislas, Pugh; Afobe
Subs: Federici, Iturbe, King, Distin, Grabban, Ritchie, O'Kane

STOKE STARTING XI: Butland; Johnson, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Pieters; Whelan, Imbula, Walters, Afellay, Shaqiri; Diouf
Subs: Haugaard, Ireland, Odemwingie, Joselu, Teixeira, Crouch, Bojan

CRYSTAL PALACE STARTING XI: Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Zaha, Jedinak, Cabaye, Mutch; Wickham, Adebayor
Subs: Speroni, Mariappa, Kelly, Boateng, Lee, Chamakh, Campbell

WATFORD STARTING XI: Gomes; Nyom, Prödl, Cathcart, Ake; Behrami, Watson, Capoue; Amrabat, Deeney; Ighalo
Subs: Pantilimon, Paredes, Holebas, Suarez, Guedioura, Anya, Abdi

EVERTON STARTING XI: Joel; Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Oviedo; Barry, McCarthy, Cleverley, Barkley, Lennon; Lukaku
Subs: Howard, Baines, Osman, Pienaar, Mirallas, Deulofeu, Kone

WEST BROM STARTING XI: Foster; Olsson, Chester, Yacob, Evans, McClean, Berahino, Fletcher, Dawson, Sessegnon, Rondon
Subs: Myhill; Gardner; Anichebe, Brunt, Pocognoli, Pritchard, Sandro

NORWICH STARTING XI: Ruddy; Martin, Klose, Bassong, Brady; Howson, O'Neil; Redmond, Hoolahan, Naismith; Jerome
Subs: Rudd, Mbokani, Bamford, Jarvis, Dorrans, Olsson, Pinto

WEST HAM STARTING XI: Adrian; Byram, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Song, Noble, Obiang, Antonio, Payet; Valencia
Subs: Randolph, Oxford, Moses, Browne, Carroll, Emenike, Parfitt-Williams

SWANSEA STARTING XI: Fabianski; Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Britton, Cork, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Ayew; Paloschi
Subs: Nordfeldt, Naughton, Amat, Ki, Fer, Barrow, Gomis

SOUTHAMPTON STARTING XI: Forster; Bertrand, Fonte, Van Dijk, Targett; Clasie, Davis, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Long; Pelle
Subs: Stekelenburg, Cedric, Yoshida, Mane, Tadic, Juanmi, Austin

There is one game currently taking place in the Premier League at the moment, and it is one that a lot of teams involved in the 3pm kickoffs will be keeping a close eye on, with relegation-threatened Sunderland holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw as things stand. You can follow live coverage of that game by clicking here.

In the Championship, meanwhile, Fulham are cruising in a London derby at Loftus Road, leading Queens Park Rangers 3-0 with just a couple of minutes remaining in that match. We will keep you updated with any late incidents from that match and Sunderland's clash with United.

Switching our focus back to the 3pm kickoffs, though, there are a few interesting pieces of team news. Perhaps the biggest sees Saido Berahino handed a rare Premier League start for West Brom, who have resisted the temptation to call upon the striker up to this point despite their poor form in front of goal. Pulis has finally handed him a chance, though, and it is now up to the player to take it. Everton are unchanged in that game, which means that Howard, Baines and Deulofeu all miss out once again.

GOAL! QPR 1-3 Fulham (Tjaronn Chery)

It's only a consolation, but QPR pull a late goal back against Fulham through Tjaronn Chery to make it 3-1 at Loftus Road. This win will take Fulham up to 17th in the table, seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Over at the Liberty Stadium, there is another start for January arrival Alberto Paloschi as Francesco Guidolin looks to continue his unbeaten start to life at the club, while the in-form Sigurdsson will also provide a goal threat from midfield. Charlie Austin starts on the bench once again for Southampton as Ronald Koeman opts for Pelle leading the line, and in goal Fraser Forster will look to make it six clean sheets from six games since his return from injury.

FULL TIME: QPR 1-3 Fulham

GOAL! Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United (Lamine Kone)

They left it late against Liverpool last weekend, and Sunderland have done it again against one of the big boys! The Black Cats regain the lead against Manchester United with just eight minutes remaining through Lamine Kone, and it was his fellow January arrival Khazri who provided the cross from which the defender scored. Sunderland are on course for a huge three points at the Stadium of Light!

A reminder that you can follow in-depth coverage of the closing stages of that game by clicking here.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has decided to leave Bojan on the bench this afternoon, despite the Spaniard signing a new long-term contract with the club this week. The likes of Walters, Afellay and Diouf are preferred to Bojan for their match against Bournemouth, but there is a place for big-money January signing Imbula in midfield. Bournemouth themselves start their biggest signing of the winter window again as Afobe leads the line in a side that shows just one change.

That Kone goal has now been changed to a David de Gea own goal, which won't exactly improve Manchester United's mood. Where does this leave Louis van Gaal's future?

BOURNEMOUTH VS. STOKE: Bournemouth could move eight points clear of the relegation zone with victory over Stoke this afternoon, and they will fancy their chances against a Potters side who have failed to score a goal in five of their last six outings, losing four of those games. Bournemouth were beaten by Arsenal last time out, but played well in that game and probably deserved more than they got from it.

FULL TIME: Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United

It's all over at the Stadium of Light, and serious questions will now be asked of Louis van Gaal once again. His Manchester United side remain six points adrift of the Champions League places, while Sunderland move to within one point of safety for a few hours at least. What a huge victory that is for the Black Cats.

Here is what that result has done for Sunderland at the bottom of the table, lifting them up to 18th. Norwich, Swansea and Bournemouth are all in action at 3pm, while Newcastle take on Chelsea later today.

Bottom 6 @ 1441

It just keeps getting worse for United...

That win means that victory for West Ham this afternoon would send the Hammers fifth in the table, while Southampton and Everton could also close the gap on United. The top four is perhaps too far beyond that chasing pack, but fifth place looks like an increasingly achievable goal.

Here is the state of play in that area of the table:

4-9 @ 14.42

Sunderland's John O'Shea is quick to praise the January arrivals following that win over Manchester United:

"All-round fantastic team performance and I think you can see the difference the new lads made today."

And reaction from Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce on a "massive" three points for his side:

"Beating Man Utd in the position that we're in is 3 big points for us. It's massive."

Right, we're five minutes away from the big kickoff around the country, and I will have everything covered for you here. We also have more in-depth commentaries for a few matches, which can be found below:

Crystal Palace vs. Watford
Everton vs. West Brom
Swansea vs. Southampton
Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is not too optimistic over his side's chances of making the top four following that defeat at the hands of Sunderland today...

"It will be difficult to get into the top four now, we have to somehow move on."

Down in League Two the full-time whistle has just blown in Newport's early kickoff against Carlisle, Newport giving their survival hopes a timely boost by edging to a 1-0 victory over their 10-man visitors.

And we're off! Games are getting underway around the country and Europe - now we just have to sit back and wait for the goals to start flying in!

GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Athletic Bilbao (Cristiano Ronaldo)

And it hasn't taken long at all for us to get started! Real Madrid, who have been scoring for fun under Zinedine Zidane, take the lead inside three minutes at the Bernabeu through Cristiano Ronaldo, who collected Benzema's pass before firing the ball into the top corner.

There is a big game towards the bottom of League One this afternoon, with Blackpool hosting Shrewsbury at Bloomfield Road. The hosts are looking to extend their unbeaten run to four games, but they have gone behind early against their fellow relegation candidates.

...make that 2-0. Terrible start for Blackpool as they concede another to Shrewsbury, and the match could be beyond them already, after less than 10 minutes of play. Further up in League One, Coventry have taken the lead against Bury as they look to consolidate their place in the playoff spots.

GOAL! Bournemouth 0-1 Stoke (Gianelli Imbula)

GOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (Javier Eraso)

Gianelli Imbula marks just his second Stoke start with his first goal for the club, opening the scoring against Bournemouth at Dean Court! The big-money signing volleys his side ahead in the ninth minute to end their recent goal drought and set them on course for a return to winning ways. Over in Spain, meanwhile, a defensive mix-up has allowed Bilbao to level things against Real Madrid through Eraso.

GOAL! Brighton 1-0 Bolton (Jamie Murphy)

RED CARD! Yoann Barbet (Brentford)

Promotion-chasing Brighton were heavy favourites against Bolton this afternoon, and sure enough they have taken an early lead against the troubled Trotters courtesy of a Jamie Murphy strike.

GOAL! Everton 0-1 West Brom (Jonas Olsson)

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 0-1 Huddersfield

GOAL! Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Brentford

GOAL! Crystal Palace 0-1 Watford (Troy Deeney, pen)

Troy Deeney, on his return to the Watford side, gives the Hornets the lead against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park! It comes from the penalty spot after Jedinak had been penalised for wrapped his arms around the Watford skipper, who made no mistake from 12 yards. Elsewhere, in-form Everton could be in line for a shock as they have fallen behind against West Brom courtesy of Jonas Olsson's looping header.

GOAL! Wolves 0-1 Preston (Paul Gallagher)

GOAL! Bristol City 1-0 Ipswich (Aden Flint)

A potentially huge goal at both ends of the Championship as Bristol City take the lead against Ipswich at Ashton Gate. The hosts began the day three points outside the relegation zone, while Ipswich were two adrift of the playoffs.

GOAL! Brighton 0-1 Bolton (Emile Heskey)

Always a pleasant surprise to see Emile Heskey's name pop up on a goalscorer's list! The former England international fires Bolton level from close range in another game between a Championship struggler and playoff hopeful.

Everton appeared to be one of the safest bets in the 3pm kickoffs this afternoon, but they trail West Bromwich Albion as things stand. Here is what our reporter Darren Plant has had to say on the opening 25 minutes:

"Everton dominated possession during the opening stages but Olsson's header has rocked them. They are yet to register a shot on goal and frustration is growing inside Goodison Park."

Gianelli Imbula is going the right way about making friends at Stoke. His goal separates the Potters from Bournemouth as things stand.

Giannelli Imbula celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Bournemouth and Stoke City on February 13, 2016© Getty Images

It's still goalless in South Wales between Swansea and Southampton. Here is our reporter Dan Lewis's take on matters so far:

"More than 25 minutes in at the Liberty Stadium and this game has still yet to spark into life. Just a single shot on goal by each side, neither of which truly troubled either stopper, is all we have to show for play in an attacking sense. You get the feeling, even at this early stage, that a single goal could be the difference today in what is a cagey affair."

An update from our resident La Liga expert Matt Law too on the opening 25 minutes of Real Madrid's match against Athletic Bilbao:

"It has been a very even game since Real Madrid took the lead through a Ronaldo stunner in the third minute. A mistake from Varane allowed Eraso to equalise and both sides have had chances to score a second in an end-to-end opening 25 minutes in Madrid."

Shrewsbury have surely wrapped things up inside the opening half an hour at Bloomfield Road, now leading Blackpool 3-0. It is the same scoreline for Coventry against Bury too, so a couple of matches in League One appear to be done and dusted already.

GOAL! Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Brentford (Gary Hooper)

The Owls are flying against 10-man Brentford now, with Gary Hooper adding to Fernando Forestieri's earlier goal to make it 2-0 at Hillsborough. It's turning into a very good day for the playoff-chasing Wednesday with Ipswich also losing as things stand.

GOAL! Bristol City 2-0 Ipswich (Aden Flint)

GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Athletic Bilbao (James Rodriguez)

Real Madrid regain the lead at the Bernabeu in what has been an action-packed first half, with James Rodriguez curling home a second for his side, who are looking to close the gap on leaders Barcelona at the top of La Liga. Elsewhere, Ipswich now have a big task on their hands to save anything from Ashton Gate, with Bristol City having doubled their lead with a carbon copy of their first goal - even scored by the same player.

The thoughts of our reporter Pascal Lemesre on the first half so far between Crystal Palace and Watford, where the Hornets lead 1-0 through Troy Deeney's penalty:

"The Palace fans could not believe it when Watford were awarded a penalty and they're getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of cutting edge their side have shown. Adebayor has been caught offside several times and must do more to stay behind the play. He and Wickham hardly look like a menacing strike duo and it would be no surprise to see Pardew make a change at half time."

GOAL! Brighton 2-1 Bolton (Tomer Hemed)

Brighton regain the lead against Bolton just before half time courtesy of Tomer Hemed, while over in Germany Borussia Dortmund have broken the deadlock against Hannover. They have played almost an hour in that one.

GOAL! Real Madrid 3-1 Athletic Bilbao (Toni Kroos)

GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-1 Watford (Emmanuel Adebayor)

He was slated just minutes ago by our very own Pascal Lemesre, but Emmanuel Adebayor has opened his Crystal Palace account to level things up for the Eagles against Watford! The former Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham striker loops his header over Gomes right on the stroke of half time for what is the first goal from open play from a Palace striker all season. It could be game over at the Bernabeu, meanwhile, with Toni Kroos having made it 3-1 with a powerful finish right at the end of the first half.

GOAL! Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Brentford (Kieran Lee)

Surely there is no way back for Brentford at Hillsborough now. The Bees have been forced to play with 10 men since the fifth minute, and Wednesday have made their numerical advantage count. They now lead 3-0 courtesy of Lee's low strike on the turn just before half time.

We've reached the halfway stage of all our Premier League, Championship and La Liga matches, then, and as it stands not a single home team are winning in the top flight of English football.

This is how things are looking in the Premier League at the halfway stage of the five 3pm kickoffs, then:

Bournemouth 0-1 Stoke
Crystal Palace 1-1 Watford
Everton 0-1 West Brom
Norwich 0-0 West Ham
Swansea 0-0 Southampton

...and this is how it is affecting the bottom of the table. Not much movement so far!

Bottom 6 @ 15.54

He's back!

Over in Germany, Dortmund are on track to cut Bayern Munich's lead down to five points at the top of the table as they still lead bottom-placed Hannover 1-0. There is a huge match taking place at the bottom of the Bundesliga too, where Werder Bremen are currently level with Hoffenheim.

Sticking in Europe, we're underway in the Ligue 1 match between runaway leaders PSG and Lille, while Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao have started the second half at the Bernabeu, with the hosts leading 3-1.

...and we're also back underway in all five Premier League games.

Let's take a quick trip up to bonnie Scotland, where there has only been one goal in the top flight so far today. Predictably enough it was Celtic who got it, with Leigh Griffiths scoring right on the stroke of half time to give them the lead against Ross County. As things stand, they will move three points clear today.

Playoff-chasing AFC Wimbledon appear to have things sewn up in their match against Luton down in League Two having just extended their lead to three goals. Elsewhere in that division, Plymouth are on course to close the gap to leaders Northampton, with Argyle leading Mansfield 2-0 and the in-form Cobblers currently being held by Leyton Orient.

GOAL! Bournemouth 0-2 Stoke (Ibrahim Afellay)

Stoke appear to be on course for a return to winning ways. They double their lead against Bournemouth through Afellay, who smashed home the finish after good work from Walters to hold the ball up when he had no support. Long way back for the Cherries now!

GOAL! Norwich 1-0 West Ham (Robbie Brady)

GOAL! Bournemouth 0-3 Stoke (Joselu)

GOAL! Blackburn 0-1 Hull (Abel Hernandez)

GOAL! Brighton 2-2 Bolton (Jay Spearing)

GOAL! Wolves 0-2 Preston (Adam Reach)

GOAL! Bournemouth 1-3 Stoke (Matt Ritchie)

Action-packed spell at Dean Court, where three goals have flown in in the space of just five minutes! Joselu added a third to Afellay's strike to put Stoke in control, but Bournemouth pulled one back almost immediately through Ritchie's strike from the edge of the penalty area. Norwich have also scored at Carrow Road, taking the lead against West Ham through Robbie Brady.

A couple of goals concerning the Old Firm in Scotland to tell you about now. Celtic have doubled their lead against Ross County courtesy of a Dedryck Boyata goal, while down in the Scottish Championship bottom-of-the-table Alloa have taken a shock lead against leaders Rangers.

GOAL! Bristol City 2-1 Ipswich (Brett Pitman)

GOAL! Brighton 3-2 Bolton (Beram Kayal)

Ipswich are right back in it at Ashton Gate courtesy of Pitman's goal to halve the deficit against Bristol City, while a seesaw game at the Amex continues with Brighton taking the lead for the third time this afternoon, this time Kayal getting the goal after being teed up by his compatriot Hemed.

GOAL! Blackburn 0-2 Hull (Mohamed Diame)

GOAL! Norwich 2-0 West Ham (Wes Hoolahan)

Another huge goal for Norwich, who are surely now on course for a first win since January 2! At the very least it looks as though their six-match losing streak will come to an end as Wes Hoolahan has doubled their lead against West Ham, sweeping the ball home after Naismith's shot had deflected into his path. Elsewhere, Hull look like they will go top of the Championship having also gone 2-0 up against Blackburn.

Here is what that Norwich scoreline has done at the bottom of the table as thing stand, with Newcastle to play later.

Bottom 6 @ 16.25

GOAL! Swansea 0-1 Southampton (Shane Long)

GOAL! Wolves 1-2 Preston (Joe Mason)

Southampton's good form looks set to continue as they take the lead against Swansea through Shane Long, nodding home Ward-Prowse's cross. And Forster STILL hasn't conceded a goal this season...

Everton still trail West Brom with a little more than 20 minutes to go at Goodison Park! The thoughts of our reporter Darren Plant:

"Everton are continuing to carve out half-chances but they are finding West Brom a tough nut to crack. The Baggies look a threat on the break too, and could have doubled their lead through Brunt. They look a different outfit to the team which succumbed at Newcastle United last weekend."

GOAL! Norwich 2-1 West Ham (Dimitri Payet)

Uh-oh Norwich - don't let it slip now! Dimitri Payet celebrates his new West Ham contract with a goal to halve the deficit for West Ham at Carrow Road. Norwich have 15 minutes left to hold out!

Over in Wales, it is still Shane Long's goal that separates Southampton from their hosts Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. Here are the thoughts of our reporter Daniel Lewis:

"The second half has been an improvement on the first at the Liberty Stadium, and we finally have the all-important breakthrough goal. Shane Long squandered the best chance of the contest late in the opening 45 minutes when heading into the hands of Lukasz Fabianski, but he made no mistake this time around following some poor defending from the hosts. Still time for City to respond, yet they have not really looked like scoring so far."

GOAL! Norwich 2-2 West Ham (Mark Noble)

Two goals in three minutes for West Ham, and they have hauled Norwich back in! The Canaries will be kicking themselves for letting that two-goal lead slip - there is no telling just how big that could prove to be. Payet turns creator for this goal, setting up Noble to slam home after Moses and Carroll had also combined earlier in the move.

...which means that bottom of the table once again looks like this:

Bottom 6 @ 16.36

And who could be replacing those teams in the Premier League next season? Well, as things stand Hull will be moving to the top of the Championship, and it is proving to be a bad day for playoff-chasing Ipswich.

Championship Top 8 @ 16.29

RED CARD! Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

Real Madrid will have to see out their match with Athletic Bilbao a man lighter as Varane has been shown a second yellow card at the Bernabeu! They have a two-goal lead, though, and just five minutes to hold out, so I suspect they will be fine.

GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford (Troy Deeney)

Crystal Palace just can't buy a win at the moment. They fall behind again in the latter stages against Watford, and it is a second goal for skipper Troy Deeney. Is there time for the Eagles to respond?

GOAL! Real Madrid 4-1 Athletic Bilbao (Cristiano Ronaldo)

Who needs 11 men? Real Madrid extend their lead despite their numerical disadvantage courtesy of Ronaldo's second of the game. That boy can play.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Athletic Bilbao on February 13, 2016© AFP

GOAL! Derby 0-1 MK Dons (Jake Forster-Caskey)

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 0-2 Huddersfield (Phillip Billing)

Derby's troubles continue as they fall behind against MK Dons courtesy of a fine Forster-Caskey free kick, while Phillip Billing has doubled Huddersfield lead against Forest, grabbing his first ever professional goal in some style with a 30-yarder.

GOAL! Real Madrid 4-2 Athletic Bilbao (Gorka Elustondo)

FULL TIME: Real Madrid 4-2 Athletic Bilbao

Our reporter Pascal Lemesre on what looks like another defeat for Crystal Palace:

"Palace had been the better side in the second half, but you cannot leave Troy Deeney unmarked like that. Great control and finish from the Hornets' captain and it looks like it's going to be nine league games without a win for Alan Pardew's men."

FULL TIME: Swansea 0-1 Southampton

GOAL! Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 Brentford (Lucas Joao)

RED CARD! Pape Souare (Crystal Palace)

FULL TIME: Bournemouth 1-3 Stoke

FULL TIME: Blackburn 0-2 Hull

FULL TIME: Bristol City 2-1 Ipswich

FULL TIME: Norwich 2-2 West Ham

FULL TIME: Wolves 1-2 Preston

FULL TIME: Everton 0-1 West Brom

FULL TIME: Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 Brentford

FULL TIME: Rotherham 0-0 Birmingham

FULL TIME: Reading 0-0 Burnley

FULL TIME: Derby 0-1 MK Dons

FULL TIME: Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford

FULL TIME: Brighton 3-2 Bolton

FULL TIME: Nottingham Forest 0-0 Huddersfield

FULL TIME: Charlton 0-0 Cardiff

CHELSEA STARTING XI: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Pedro, Willian, Hazard; Diego Costa
Subs: Begovic, Baba, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Traore, Kenedy, Remy

NEWCASTLE STARTING XI: Elliot; Janmaat, Taylor, Coloccini, Aarons; Tiote, Shelvey, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Townsend; Mitrovic
Subs: Darlow, Lascelles, Colback, Saivet, Perez, Riviere, Doumbia


Bournemouth 1-3 Stoke
Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford
Everton 0-1 West Brom
Norwich 2-2 West Ham
Swansea 0-1 Southampton

What has that done for the table, then? Well, it was a big day at the bottom and could have been a good one for Norwich, who were on course to climb out of the bottom three with a two-goal lead against West Ham. However, they let that slip and remain in the relegation zone. Swansea and Bournemouth were also beaten, making it a very good day for West Brom.

Bottom 7 @ 17.05

Wins for Stoke and Watford have pushed Everton into 10th and Merseyside rivals Liverpool down into the bottom half, while Crystal Palace's defeat leaves them below the Reds, who face Aston Villa tomorrow.

Middle 6 @ 17.06

And at the top, it is only Southampton who have any reason to celebrate today. They move to within one point of fifth-placed Manchester United, who were beaten by Sunderland in the early kickoff, while West Ham miss the chance to leapfrog the Red Devils. The top four are all in action tomorrow.

Top 7 @ 17.06


Blackburn 0-2 Hull
Brighton 3-2 Bolton
Bristol City 2-1 Ipswich
Charlton 0-0 Cardiff
Derby 0-1 MK Dons
Nottingham Forest 0-2 Huddersfield
Reading 0-0 Burnley
Rotherham 0-0 Birmingham
Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 Brentford
Wolves 1-2 Preston

Bolton drop to the bottom of the table having been the only side in the bottom three to have not picked up a point today, and the gap for that trio to safety is now five points following Bristol City's win over Ipswich. Huddersfield and MK Dons also picked up valuable victories today, as did Fulham in the early kickoff.

Championship Bottom 8 @ 17.08

Preston climb into the top half of the table courtesy of their victory over Wolves, who sit a place and two points further back. Cardiff could only manage a draw against Charlton to see them slip up in the playoff race.

Championship mediocrity @ 17.09

Hull are the new Championship leaders following their 2-0 win over Blackburn, with Middlesbrough not in action until Monday night. Burnley, Birmingham, Derby and Ipswich all dropped points in the promotion race, and Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton took advantage with victories.

Championship Top 8 @ 17.10

CRYSTAL PALACE 1-2 WATFORD: Let's get some reaction, shall we? Watford skipper and two-goal hero Troy Deeney has been speaking to BBC Sport about his side's win at Selhurst Park.

"It is a massive win. We target teams in and around us to take the points and it was a well deserved victory, and a well fought one.

"I thought we dominated the first half, but when they got a goal at the end of the half we knew a reaction was coming so it was about managing that.

"We are just getting closer to the 40 mark, we will take that and keep looking up."

We're nearing kickoff at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea are hosting Newcastle in the evening game, and you can find dedicated live commentary of that match by clicking here.

CRYSTAL PALACE 1-2 WATFORD: Despite Watford now being up in eighth place and 12 points clear of the drop, Heurelho Gomes still has one eye looking over his shoulder.

"We knew we needed to be sharp and play well and that is exactly what we did," he is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.

"The goal they scored at the end of the first half gave them a lift but we defended very well and took our opportunities.

"The most important thing is to avoid relegation, but I believe we can do more than that."

CRYSTAL PALACE 1-2 WATFORD: Palace are now winless in their last nine, but Alan Pardew feels that they should have ended their run today.

"We were not good in the first half. We were much improved in the second half and should have won it, so a bit of a blow to lose the game.

"We made a slight error on the Watford winner. I can't think of too much of a threat they had in the second half, but that is what it is for us.

"We are on a tricky run and need to fight out way out of this form."

EVERTON 0-1 WEST BROM: Arguably the biggest shock in the 3pm kickoffs came from West Brom, who beat in-form Everton at Goodison Park. Jonas Olsson, who will try to claim the goal but will probably miss out to Salomon Rondon, has been speaking to BBC Sport.

"It was tough. I think, especially in the last bit of the half, we were really on back foot.

"We are comfortable in our shape. In the second half there was some close ones but we were pretty much in control. It is a massive win for us."

EVERTON 0-1 WEST BROM: Everton boss Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, is at a loss to explain just how his side were beaten by the Baggies. The Toffees had 34 shots and 76% possession, but failed to score.

"We didn't do anything wrong," he told Sky Sports News.

"Their one shot on target ends up in the back of the net. We look bright enough to open them, we hit the post, hit the crossbar.

"The effort and the way that we play the game I couldn't fault. It is one of those moments in football sometimes that are difficult to explain."

We are underway at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea vs. Newcastle!

Two goals in quick succession have seen Chievo take and then lose the lead against Sassuolo in Serie A, with that match now locked at 1-1. Villarreal, meanwhile, have broken the deadlock against Malaga in La Liga, and PSG remain goalless at home to Lille with just over 10 minutes remaining.

GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle (Diego Costa)

What a start for Chelsea as Diego Costa continues his fine run of form by rolling an effort past Elliot having been found by Willian. It is turning into some day for Sunderland this!

NORWICH 2-2 WEST HAM: Robbie Brady opened the scoring for Norwich today, but they would go on to squander a two-goal lead against West Ham and only manage a draw. Here is what Brady had to say to BBC Sport.

"We had a two-goal lead and shot ourselves in the foot again. Hopefully it is a valuable point on the board but so disappointing to let that lead slip especially when we felt so comfortable.

"We have to make sure results stick with so few games left."

GOAL! Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle (Pedro)

It goes from bad to worse for Newcastle as they concede a second in the opening 10 minutes at Stamford Bridge. Pedro doubles Chelsea's lead, nipping in to collect an underhit Aarons pass before sliding his finish home.

CRYSTAL PALACE 1-2 WATFORD: Watford are now just four points short of reaching the 40-point mark, but should they be aiming higher than that now? Quique Flores isn't getting ahead of himself...

"It is always important psychologically for players to win. You work hard every single week but you need to win to confirm the good feelings you have in the week.

"It is an important win for us, we are close to the target and we are happy with the performance of the players."

EVERTON 0-1 WEST BROM: Baggies boss Tony Pulis is delighted with his side following their smash-and-grab victory over Everton today.

"Everton are a top four or five team. The depth of quality within the club is fantastic, they had a great performance to beat Stoke last week and to come here and put in the performance we have done is fantastic," he told Sky Sports News.

"It is what we need when things are not going as well as we hope. They (West Brom players) have been fantastic, I have to say, because we played Everton at the beginning of the season and we were 2-0 up and they scored three late goals and we were distraught, so it is nice to come here and get one back on them."

CRYSTAL PALACE 1-2 WATFORD: More from Palace boss Alan Pardew, who believes that the penalty given against his side was a "tough" call from referee Bobby Madley.

"It was a tough result for us. We couldn't get going in the first half," he told BBC Sport.

"We have had situations where Scott Dann is dragged to the ground on regular occasions but nothing given, I am not going to say it was not holding, but to have it on the first corner at the first play was tough.

"We know we are on a tricky run and these things go against you on these runs. We just have to focus now and get out of this run. The league form is a bit of a worry and we just have to put it right. It is a 90-minute game and we wasted 45 minutes."

GOAL! Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle (Willian)

This is quickly becoming embarrassing for Newcastle! They are three down inside 20 minutes at Stamford Bridge, with Costa turning provider this time to set up Willian for another goal. It looks like Hiddink's wait for a league win at Stamford Bridge will end this evening.

SWANSEA 0-1 SOUTHAMPTON: Southampton's defence is the subject of Koeman's praise following their sixth consecutive clean sheet.

"You hope for that kind of performance. First of all, it was good organisation and we defended well," he told BBC Sport.

"For sure, we are totally confident in our defence and we know we have the players who can create chances. It was a fantastic performance.

"It was a well deserved three points. We have a great run at the moment. It's a pity we have a break. But it's becoming a great season for us."

FULL TIME: PSG 0-0 Lille

Lille have done what no team has managed to do since December 1 and prevent PSG from winning. They come away from Parc des Princes with a goalless draw to end PSG's phenomenal 16-match winning streak in all competitions, although Laurent Blanc side's lead at the top of Ligue 1 is now 25 points.

It is almost time for me to bid you adieu, but first let's take a look at the bottom of the table once again, as there has been a change since we last looked. Newcastle began their match against Chelsea out of the bottom three on goal difference, but those three quickfire goals have seen them drop back in, while Norwich move up to 17th.

Bottom 6 @ 17.53

SWANSEA 0-1 SOUTHAMPTON: Francesco Guidolin's unbeaten start to life at Swansea is over, but he admits that his side didn't deserve a victory over Southampton today (although he feels a draw might have been fair).

"Southampton are a strong team in a good period. They played well, with enthusiasm and calm. It's difficult to score a goal against them at the moment. We had a few situations but we deserved only one point today," he told BBC Sport.

NORWICH 2-2 WEST HAM: It is hard to tell whether Slaven Bilic is pleased or not with his side's result against Norwich today...

"We are never happy with a point, we are not buzzing. But when that points comes after being 2-0 down gives us confidence and satisfaction," he told BBC Sport.

"After Tuesday night (FA Cup replay against Liverpool) when we played 120 minutes to show that kind of strength and resilience and character and quality makes us happy.

"To be 2-0 down, all the guys deserve credit and especially the three from the bench who made a huge impact. The last half an hour we were brilliant. We showed the quality that we have."

Right, that's it from me this afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's action, and remember that it is not all over yet - we have live coverage of Chelsea vs. Newcastle United for you, where the hosts are already 3-0 up. Be sure to check that out, but from me it is goodbye for now!

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Robert Huth celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Leicester City on February 6, 2016
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