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Live Reporting

Steve Canavan and Libby Dawes

All times stated are UK

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  1. Sportsday: Out

    Right, that's your lot today!

    Thank you for choosing to stick with us on the day a dress broke the internet. Have a great evening one and all. (Apart from those who see white and gold. It's clearly blue and black and that's the end of it).

  2. West Brom v Southampton


    With no late kick off on Saturday, the last of the 15:00 kick offs will be the Baggies v the Saints.

    Saido Berahino

    West Brom pair James Morrison and Saido Berahino are both injury doubts ahead of the visit of Southampton.

    Forward Victor Anichebe is back in full training after a groin injury and may be involved.

    Southampton's Sadio Mane could be recalled, having been dropped against Liverpool as punishment for his poor timekeeping.

    Toby Alderweireld is likely to return from a hamstring injury next week but Jay Rodriguez remains out.

  3. Stoke City v Hull City (Saturday, 15:00)


    Ryan Shawcross

    Ryan Shawcross is again out with a back problem, with Stoke hoping rest, rather than surgery, offers him the best chance of a swift return to fitness.

    Geoff Cameron returns after a one-game ban, while Erik Pieters, who limped off at Aston Villa, is fit.

    Hull are still without Mohamed Diame, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from the knee injury that has sidelined him since December.

    The Tigers have no new fitness concerns.

    Liam Rosenior and James Chester remain out with respective hamstring and shoulder problems, while Robert Snodgrass continues his rehabilitation from a season-ending knee injury.

  4. Newcastle v Aston Villa (Saturday, 15:00)


    Jonas Gutierrez

    Some brilliantly positive news to come out of Newcastle today is that midfielder Jonas Gutierrez could make his first appearance in 17 months after overcoming testicular cancer.

    Cheick Tiote has undergone knee surgery and Jack Colback is suspended.

    Villa captain Ron Vlaar also serves a ban, while full-backs Alan Hutton and Aly Cissokho are both injury doubts.

    Kieran Richardson is out with a calf problem so rookie left-back Lewis Kinsella could be involved.

  5. Burnley v Swansea (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)


    Sean Dyche

    Burnley boss Sean Dyche is likely to keep faith with the side that drew 1-1 at Chelsea last weekend.

    Matt Taylor (Achilles) is nearing a return, but Dean Marney and Kevin Long are both out for the season.

    Swansea have no new fresh injuries so Garry Monk's main dilemma is whether to revert to his favoured 4-3-3 formation.

    Jefferson Montero is the player most likely to be recalled if Monk ditches the midfield diamond he used for last week's win over Manchester United.

  6. Manchester United v Sunderland (Sat, 15:00)


    Robin Van Persie

    Moving onto the 15:00 GMT kick offs. (Anyone else counting down the days to when we can write BST...?)

    Manchester United striker Robin van Persie while fellow forward James Wilson is doubtful with a dead leg.

    The game against Sunderland may come too soon for midfielder Michael Carrick, who is nearing a return from a calf problem.

    Sunderland's Emanuele Giaccherini is unlikely to play again this season after undergoing ankle surgery.

    Billy Jones and Jack Rodwell remain out with ankle and groin problems but both could return against Hull on Tuesday.

  7. Premier League

    West Ham United v Crystal Palace (Saturday, 12:45 GMT)

    Sam Allardyce

    Thought you may want some team news looking ahead to tomorrow's early kick off.

    West Ham boss Sam Allardyce says Brazilian striker Nene will make his debut as Carlton Cole has a damaged hamstring.

    As we already knew, Morgan Amalfitano is banned and Andy Carroll (knee) is out for the season.

    Crystal Palace are bolstered by the return to fitness of captain Mile Jedinak and James McArthur.

    Fraizer Campbell,Marouane Chamakh and fellow striker Yaya Sanogo all miss out with hamstring injuries, with Campbell likely to be out for up to six weeks.

  8. Fury admits to gamble


    Tyson Fury admits his decision to take on Christian Hammer on Saturday is a gamble but fully expects to fight for a world heavyweight title this year.

    Manchester's Fury, 26, is the mandatory challenger for Wladimir Klitschko's WBO belt and is also on the radar of WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

    Tyson Fury and Christian Hammer

    But first Fury must see off Romania's Hammer at the O2 Arena in London.

    "It's a risky decision but I need to keep busy. Hammer was available and he took the fight," said Fury.

  9. Everton fans "need not worry" - Martinez


    Roberto Martinez

    Roberto Martinez has reassured Everton fans looking to travel to Ukraine for their last-16 Europa League tie with Dynamo Kiev, that they should not worry.

    There was trouble at Dynamo's victory over Guingamp in Kiev on Thursday, and the game suspended for around 10 minutes.

    Martinez said: "We're going to take every step as it comes and wait for instructions."

    In case you were interested, here is the full draw:

    europa league last 16
  10. 'I'm sick of me' - Clarke


    Australia captain Michael Clarke believes people are "sick" of talking about his injury problems as he prepares to lead his country again.

    Clarke will return to the Australia side for their third World Cup Pool A match against unbeaten New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.


    The 33-year-old has been out since December after tearing a hamstring in a Test match against India in Adelaide.

    "I think everybody's sick of talking and reading about my injury," he said.

    Clarke's injury has been one of the most talked-about topics during the Australian summer.

  11. Only the minor matter of a missing Matic for the massive match?

    (Say that 5 times fast)


    Robbie Savage's column this week looks at Sunday's Capital One Cup final and explains why, despite Nemanja Matic's suspension and Tottenham's good form, he expects Chelsea to collect their first trophy of the season at Wembley.

  12. Nico Rosberg quickest in Barcelona

    German Mercedes driver sets the fastest time on day two of testing

    Testing times and laps completed

    1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:22.792 (106 laps)

    2. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:23.995 (90)

    3. Felipe Nasr (Sauber) 1:24.071 (141 laps)

    4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:25.339 (143)

    5. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:25.590 (101)

    6. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 1:26.705 (140)

    7. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) 1:26.766 (139)

    8. Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) 1:26.965 (84)

    9. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:28.412 (77)

    You can see how the whole day played out here. Aren't we good to you.

  13. Can Sarah Storey break yet another world record?

    It will be her 74th if she does...

    Sarah Storey

    On Saturday in London's Olympic velodrome, the 11-time Paralympic champion will attempt arguably her toughest challenge yet - the women's hour record.

    It has stood since 2003, a time when Storey was still smashing records left, right and centre in the pool.

    "It's never something I intended to do; it seems a crazy thing to do," the 37 year old said.

    Find out how she gets on tomorrow.... Go on Sarah!

  14. Lawro v George Ford


    In any normal situation, we are pretty sure Lawro wouldn't challenge an international rugby star to anything.

    George Ford

    However, he has decided to take on England fly-half George Ford in his weekly score prediction feature. There are eight Premier League fixtures plus the League Cup Final to contest. Can Lawro extend his slim lead over the guests?

  15. Liverpool cleared of any financial fair play breach


    Liverpool have been cleared of any financial fair play breaches by UEFA, but Hull have been fined 200,000 euros (£145,000).

    The Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) announced the decisions following a meeting on Friday.

    UEFA said in a statement: "The CFCB investigatory chamber announced that Sparta Prague and Liverpool have been found (following the submission of additional financial information) to have satisfied the break-even requirement and are no longer under investigation."

    Hull, who played in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, have agreed to settle for the fine and to pay an additional 400,000 euros (£290,000) if they are not compliant with FFP for the 2015/16 season.

  16. Fleetwood make signing

    BBC Radio Lancashire: Fleetwood Town FC sign Brighton left-back Adam Chicksen on-loan for a month. The 23-year-old could make his debut at Chesterfield tomorrow.

  17. One change for Ireland

    Rugby Union

    Jordi Murphy's inclusion in place of Jamie Heaslip is Ireland's only change from the win over France for Sunday's big Six Nations game against England.

    Jordi Murphy in action in Ireland's opening Six Nations win over Italy earlier this month

    Number eight Heaslip is ruled out by injury after being kneed in the back by France's Pascal Pape two weeks ago.

    Murphy, who will be earning his seventh cap, started in Ireland's opening Six Nations win over Italy when Heaslip was missing because of a shoulder problem.

    Jack McGrath remains at loose-head prop despite the claims of Cian Healy.

  18. 'They leave a lot of space' - Berbatov


    Veteran striker Dimitar Berbatov has not helped Arsene Wenger's cause by revealing that Monaco fully expected to exploit Arsenal's wandering defence during their 3-1 Champions League win at the Emirates Stadium.


    Berbatov, 34, said: "Arsenal have very quick players, when they go forward they have a leave a lot of space at the back. We knew that, we prepared well and we took advantage of it.

    "We knew what their weaknesses were and we exploited them and I think everyone can agree that we deserved to win."

    "However," Berbatov added, "this is Arsenal, so it (the tie) is not over."

  19. Hull fined by Uefa


    Liverpool have been cleared of any breaches of financial fair play, but Hull have been fined £145,000, UEFA has announced.

  20. McClair appointment


    Brian McClair has been appointed performance director of the Scottish Football Association.

    The 51-year-old, who won 30 caps for Scotland, spent almost 30 years at Manchester United as a player, youth coach and - most recently - director of the youth academy.

    Brian McClair

    "I am sure my experiences can be of benefit to Scottish football," said McClair.

    SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said McClair "has been at the cutting edge of coaching evolution, analysis and performance management".

  21. Wasps add Weepu and Thomas

    Rugby Union

    Premiership side Wasps have signed World Cup-winning scrum-half Piri Weepu and full-back Martyn Thomas as injury cover for the rest of the season.

    New Zealand international Weepu, 31, who has signed to play in France for Oyonnax next season, has been released from his one-year contract with London Welsh.

    Thomas, 21, was formerly with Newport Gwent Dragons and Gloucester.

  22. Big two fight for Clyne

    Football Gossip


    Chelsea are set to challenge Manchester United for the signature of Southampton and England right-back Nathaniel Clyne, according to the Daily Mirror.

  23. Sky Blues sign striker


    Managerless Coventry City have signed Brentford striker Nick Proschwitz on loan for the rest of the season.

    Despite Steven Pressley's sacking on Monday, the Sky Blues have pressed ahead with a deal for the 28-year-old German that had already been lined up.

    "We're delighted to bring in a player we've been tracking at this club for a long time," said joint caretaker manager Neil MacFarlane.

  24. Knee injury ends Trinder's season

    Rugby Union

    Gloucester's Henry Trinder will undergo surgery after being ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a serious knee injury.

    The 25-year-old centre made his first start since September at the weekend, but was stretchered off the field after only nine minutes.

  25. Celtic charged by Uefa


    Celtic have been charged on two counts of improper conduct by European governing body Uefa following their Europa League defeat by Inter Milan.

    They relate to the setting off of fireworks by supporters - and the team's on-field discipline.

    Celtic captain Scott Brown is booked by referee Ivan Kruzliakin

    Celtic received seven yellow cards, including two for defender Virgil van Dijk, who was sent off during their 1-0 last-16 loss in the San Siro Stadium.

    The charges will be heard by Uefa on 19 March.

  26. Birmingham 'have funds to complete season'


    The Football League has met with representatives from Ernst & Young, the receivers of the parent company that owns Championship club Birmingham City.

    Birmingham International Holdings Limited went into receivership earlier this month.

    In a statement, the League said it had received confirmation that "no funding will be withdrawn from Birmingham City" and "sufficient funds are available to ensure that the club can complete the 2014-15 season."

    It also said the receivers did not believe their appointment in Hong Kong should be considered as an "insolvency event" under Football League regulations, which could lead to a deduction of 10 points.

  27. Murray concentrating on US clash


    Andy Murray's defeat by Borna Coric in the Dubai Championships had more to do with him wanting to prepare for the Davis Cup, according to Andre Agassi.

    Britain's Murray, 27, was beaten 6-1 6-3 by the 18-year-old Croatian on Thursday.


    American Agassi told BBC Sport the Scot wanted to be "preparing for what he probably is really valuing - that is the Davis Cup".

    Murray has been named in Great Britain's squad to face the United States in Glasgow from 6-8 March.

  28. Carl Frampton and the gum

    Defending IBF super bantam weight world champion Carl Frampton meets challenger Chris Avalos in the ring on Saturday.

    But it appears the weigh-in, held earlier today in Belfast, got a little heated.

    Here's what Frampton tweeted...


    Followed by...

  29. Slade says Tan will stay


    Vincent Tan

    Cardiff City manager Russell Slade is confident of owner Vincent Tan's continued commitment to the Bluebirds.

    The club's latest accounts reveal the Welsh club are £174m in debt, more than £120m of which is owed to Tan.

    They also show Cardiff lost £12m during their Premier League campaign which ended with relegation to the Championship last summer.

    Slade said: "The figures are staggering - the amount of money and support he has given to the football club. Do I see that changing? No, I do not. But I can understand why he wants it run more conservatively, on a more sound financial basis."

  30. Connolly out for season


    Kilmarnock defender Mark Connolly has been ruled out for the rest of the season after breaking his collarbone during the 3-3 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday.

    Mark Connolly looks in pain against Inverness
  31. Question of Sport's Formula 1 Special

    Tonight, BBC One, 19:30 GMT

    In case you hadn't noticed, it's Friday!!! I have heard staying in is the new going out, so get your quizzing heads ready for the Formula 1 special this evening.


    Oh and watch out for our very own Suzi Perry and McLaren's very own Kevin Magnussen getting way too into the Sprint Finish...

  32. "Qatar 2022 final no later than 18th of December" - Blatter

    Sepp Blatter

    Fifa president says the 2022 World Cup will be over before Christmas.

    Does this mean no Boxing Day football? ("Sad face")

  33. Manor Marussia confirmed on 2015 entry list

    Manor Marussia confirmed on 2015 entry list

    Manor Marussia have been named on a 10-team Formula 1 entry list on Friday, subject to conditions that included full compliance with the 2015 technical regulations.

    The list, which does not include the failed Caterham team, said the revived Manor Marussia F1 team would compete with Ferrari engines.

    Marussia, who have clawed their way back from the brink of oblivion, have named Britain's Will Stevens as one of their drivers. However, the governing FIA said that was subject to him holding a super licence.

  34. Braid going nowhere

    Rugby Union

    Connor Braid will now be staying with Glasgow Warriors until the end of the season.

    Connor Braid

    The 24-year-old Canadian back was due to return to London Scottish following the conclusion of his loan spell, but - with Duncan Weir out injured and Finn Russell and Peter Horne on duty with Scotland - the Warriors have agreed a deal to keep him at Scotstoun.

  35. Roberto Martinez news conference

    Arsenal v Everton (Sunday, 14:05 GMT)

    Roberto Martinez

    Right back to the news conferences and Roberto Martinez has commented briefly on being drawn against Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 of the Europa League. "It is what we expected - a tough draw. But we leave it to the side for now and our focus is on Arsenal. We know Dynamo Kiev will be tough opponents. We would have preferred to be away first, but that's not in our control.".

    Everton travel to The Emirates this weekend, with both teams having played midweek European ties. Martinez doesn't think "Arsenal will let the midweek game affect them. We need to make sure we are fit and ready for an exciting game. John Stones and Aaron Lennon will return, but the squad will otherwise be the same" (as the team that beat BSC Young Boys).

  36. Pat Nevin on how Spurs striker is threat to Chelsea

    A bit of Pat Nevin football analysis for you to peruse on your lunch break:

    Pat Nevin

    This week, he looks at the way Harry Kane has achieved success in front of goal this season, and asks if the Tottenham striker will be a one-season wonder.

  37. Rutherford out of GB team


    Greg Rutherford has withdrawn from the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague, which starts on 5 March.

    Greg Rutherford

    The Olympic, European and Commonwealth champion was set to compete in the long jump following his win and indoor personal best performance at the Sainsbury's Indoor Grand Prix last weekend.

    But he has now decided to concentrate on the outdoor season ahead.

    "My body still hasn't fully recovered from the Grand Prix and with an incredibly important summer coming up I've decided to keep my focus purely on the summer season," Rutherford said.

  38. Probably, potentially, maybe, maybe not going to quit at Cheltenham

    Horse Racing

    AP Mccoy

    Soon to retire AP McCoy says he's "very, very, very unlikely" to quit the saddle at jump racing's Cheltenham Festival next month, even if he were to land one of the major prizes.

    He has said wants to line up in the Grand National at Aintree on April 11 where favourite Shutthefrontdoor is his likely mount. So we think we can expect to see a few more races yet.

    In case you were wondering, you can read all of the day's horse racing results here.

  39. Reflection on LVG's news conference

    Man Utd v Sunderland (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    BBC Sport's Simon Stone at the Manchester United news conference: "The 'rat race' Louis van Gaal confirmed Manchester United are in for a top four place is not what was envisaged when the Dutchman splashed out £150m on new players last summer.

    "But money is no guarantee of success, so now the scrap is on with Arsenal, Southampton, Liverpool and Tottenham for those coveted Champions League slots, two of which are already taken by Chelsea and Manchester City.

    Man Utd

    "Van Gaal has admitted it would be a massive disappointment to fail, yet he does not appear overly concerned about the situation. He is pleased with results, if not many of United's performances and "would sign" for a top four place at the beginning of May if it was offered.

    "Indeed, his biggest gripe this lunchtime was the insinuation that he had said United had achieved the best results over the last 15 games - they have - when his contention is that the media have said it in their questions, he has merely agreed."

  40. Louis van Gaal news conference

    Man Utd v Sunderland (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    And let's switch back to Manchester for a final few words from Louis van Gaal.

    Asked if it would be a big disappointment not to make top four, Van Gaal replies, perhaps unsurprisingly: "Of course. When you start the season with objective of finishing in the first four of the league you are occupied with doing that.

    "But we are still there, I don't know why are we talking about when we are still there. What is the problem?"

    'Do you need to beat Sunderland?', he's asked.

    "Not because of this game, because I want to mention that last year Sunderland has won everything against Manchester United. They have lost also a league cup match, but after penalties they have beaten, so you have lose also.

    "It is like we [Holland] draw also against Argentina in the semi-final, but in the end we are not in the final, so we have lost. I could say that, yes, we didn't lose, but with penalties you have lost."

    Right, we're just off for a lie-down...

  41. Manuel Pellegrini news conference

    Liverpool v Manchester City (Sunday, 12:00 GMT)

    Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has said they have no injury concerns and they have a fully fit squad to choose from.


    Ahead of Sunday's match against Brendan Rodger's side, he said it was "very important to beat Liverpool, they are a strong team and it's a difficult stadium. We will try to attack [them] from the start of the game".

    On the topic of City's potential title defence, Pellegrini said, "We must keep fighting until the end and as soon as we close the gap (on Chelsea) it's better for us".

  42. Jose Mourinho news conference

    Chelsea v Tottenham (League Cup Final, Sunday, 16:00 GMT)

    Back to London and a final few words from Jose Mourinho.

    He says Matic (suspended) and Mikel (injured) are the only players who will miss Sunday's Wembley showdown with Spurs.

    Asked if he was pleased other English clubs have struggled in Europe - including Tottenham, knocked out of the Europa League last night - Mourinho replied: "People in this country forget we need English teams to succeed in Europe and to win matches and I'm never happy when an English team loses in Europe. I work in this country and I may be affected in the future by that."

    And that's that from the Chelsea boss. Quite talkative all things considered.

  43. Louis van Gaal news conference

    Man Utd v Sunderland (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    Now before you read this next bit, take a deep breath and concentrate hard.

    Van Gaal

    Asked about United's record over the last 15 games, Van Gaal replied - and we quote: "We have discussed in the last press conference, you have said it, not I, from the last 15 matches, that we have had the best result. I don't say that, but now I am reading that I have said, no, I have answered yes, I know, because I know that, you are writing that. But when you are writing the other way around, you are not being fair because you are pushing that we were the best, you have made comment on that."

    Got that? Good.

  44. Louis van Gaal news conference

    Man Utd v Sunderland (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    Louis van Gaal speaks about Tyler Blackett's new contract.

    "When I came here there they told me that they wanted to have more youth academy players in the first-team and also there is the rule in the Premier League that you must have a certain amount of players in your own squad - that is also important," the Reds boss said.

    Tyler Blackett

    "I am happy that we can sign players from our youth academy and our players are very popular.

    "We also have a lot of youngsters out on loan and we can pick and select the clubs where the players can play every week.

    "That is a strategy. I believe in players that you have educated in your own youth academy - maybe that is the reason I am sat here."

  45. Jose Mourinho news conference

    Chelsea v Tottenham (League Cup Final, Sunday, 16:00 GMT)

    Naturally, after Mourinho's last little snippet, a journo asks what he means by those players that like to "complicate things".

    Mourinho answers before the press officer can open his mouth. "Some players simulate every two or three matches. You know who they are so you don't need me to say who they are," says the boss.

    The Chelsea manager, though, does hold his tongue when asked to comment on the reduction of Nemanja Matic's ban from three games to two - something Chelsea are fuming with as they think he shouldn't be banned at all.


    "If I give you my views it is bad for me. If I speak about it again I promise you I will be in big trouble," Mourinho says.

    What about Ashley Barnes escaping punishment (for the tackle on Matic)?: "I can't comment."

    *Press officer breathes a sigh of relief*

  46. Jose Mourinho news conference

    Chelsea v Tottenham (League Cup Final, Sunday, 16:00 GMT)

    A journalist tries to ask Jose about referees.

    'Erm, we can't talk about officials in the build-up to the game, it's not in the competition's rules,' Chelsea's press officer interjects.

    But then, presumably much to the press officer's frustration, Mourinho answers anyway.

    "I don't believe that anyone involved in this game doesn't want to do his best," he says.

    "I believe all three teams (Chelsea, Spurs, the officials) will go with the same ambition - to do very well and hopefully even the players that like to complicate things, hopefully they will try to make the final a big final."

  47. Jose Mourinho news conference

    Chelsea v Tottenham (League Cup Final, Sunday, 16:00 GMT)

    Jose Mourinho is reminded that it is 10 years exactly since he won his first trophy as Chelsea manager - the League Cup.

    He doesn't really comment on that but does make a point of saying how much he likes the competition and suggests he has changed the way English clubs view the League Cup.


    "I respect every competition. It would be easy to say we didn't take FA Cup seriously because we lost against Bradford but we take every competition seriously," he said.

    "Probably lots of teams have followed us since 2005 when we took the League Cup as a real competition, as a real challenge, and we were trying to reach finals and trying to win.

    "Liverpool and us gave it everything in the semi-final. It is a big competition."

  48. Jose Mourinho news conference

    Chelsea v Tottenham (League Cup Final, Sunday, 16:00 GMT)

    Well, Jose appears to be in good form today. No short answers to questions and no sulky faces.

    Jose Mourinho

    First up, the Chelsea boss is asks what the knock-on effect might be of either winning or losing at Wembley.

    "I just think about the moment. Only this game. We have a final to win and nothing else matters," he replies.

    "I don't think if we win the Cup final we will win the league, or if we lose it we will lose the league.

    "It is just a game we have to play and after that the Cup talk is over. If we go home with the Cup and the medal, perfect. But no consequences - we just carry on. There is no time to think about consequences."

  49. Fernando Alonso update

    "I'm completely fine"


    Fernando Alonso

    After his high speed crash in testing last week, McLaren Honda driver Fernando Alonso has posted a video on Youtube, reassuring his fans he is "completely fine" and would love to be taking part in testing in Barcelona.

    He has been advised by doctors to "wait a little bit- a couple of days". He then says he will keep us all updated on his progress and thanks everyone for all the support.

    What a nice chap!

  50. Jose Mourinho news conference

    Chelsea v Tottenham (League Cup Final, Sunday, 16:00 GMT)

    The Chelsea gaffer has just settled into his seat and is about to take questions from the media ahead of Sunday's Wembley game.

    Let's see what mood he is today...

  51. Louis van Gaal news conference

    Man Utd v Sunderland (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    LVG - you know who we mean by that don't you? Good - also spoke about the battle to finish in the top four.

    The United boss said it was 'a rat race between five clubs', that finishing in top four was 'objective from start of season' but that it was a three year project.

    He added that he would have settled for this position 'in spite of all the criticism' and it would be a 'disappointment' if they didn't make it.

  52. Louis Van Gaal News Conference

    Man Utd v Sunderland (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    Van Persie

    From Switzerland to Manchester where it's bad news for Man United boss Louis van Gaal. He has confirmed striker Robin van Persie will be out for at least two weeks with an ankle injury.

    Van Persie, 31, suffered the injury in last week's defeat at Swansea.

    "He is injured," said Van Gaal. "It is an ankle problem. I do not think it is very heavy but ankle problems can take a long time.

    "It is not one or two weeks"

  53. Europa League draw


    The Europa League draw is compete. Here it is in full...

    Everton v Dynamo Kiev, Dnipro v Ajax, Zenit St Petersburg v Torino, Wolfsburg v Inter Milan, Villarreal v Sevilla, Napoli v Dinamo Moscow, Club Brugge v Besiktas, Fiorentina v Roma.

    The games takes place on 12 and 19 March.

  54. Lukaku rules


    A little stat ... Everton Romelu Lukaku is the top scorer among the 16 sides left in the Europa League, with six goals since the start of the group stage.

  55. Europa League draw


    Right, after much talking by various Uefa folk, the draw is finally taking place.


    And Everton are first out of the hat ... and will face Dynamo Kiev. The first game is at Goodison Park on 12 March with the return leg a week later.

  56. Europa League draw

    Nine different nations are represented in the Europa League last-16 draw, which is just getting under way now in Nyon in Switzerland.

    Everton are the sole British representatives, after Liverpool, Tottenham and Celtic were sent tumbling out last night.

    As well as the Toffees, the likes of Ajax, Besiktas, and last season's Europa League winners Sevilla are in the hat - though it's not really a hat, more a strange-looking glass machine that looks not unlike the kind of thing mad scientists used for experiments in old black and white B movies.

    We'll let you know who draws who as soon as it happens.

  57. Arsene Wenger news conference

    Arsenal v Everton (Sunday, 14:05 GMT)

    A final line emerging from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's chat with the media earlier.

    After the Gunners performance against Monaco in the Champions League on Wednesday was almost universally criticised, Wenger said: "What is hurting is the defeat more than the criticism.


    "I do not say I am immune to it. I love to win and when I don't win, I am hurt of course.

    "We have to live with that criticism and of course when you come out from a disappointing game like Wednesday night, you don't expect people to applaud. It is absolutely normal that we get criticised."

  58. Post update

    BBC Humberside Sport: Hull FC's Steve Michaels is reportedly wanted for arrest in Australia in connection with a drugs scandal at his old club, Gold Coast Titans.

  59. 'Let's train babies'


    We all know the best sportsmen and women start young.

    But Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to take it to the next level, and start training the country's football stars of the future from birth.


    Just how they'll learn to head a ball and do kick-ups aged six months is unclear as yet, but the Government has approved the country's "football reform plan" and says being good at football is the "ardent wish of the whole nation".

    Xi is a keen football fan and has spoken of "three wishes" for China; to qualify for another World Cup, to host a World Cup and to eventually win one.

    China are 82nd in the world rankings. But in 20 or so years it could be very different, at least if President Xi gets his way.

  60. Steve Bruce news conference

    Stoke v Hull (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    Steve Bruce says Saturday's opponents Stoke are the perfect example of how to get in the Premier League - and stay there.

    "It's a really healthy club," the Hull boss said. "That's something we aim to achieve here. Stoke and West Brom are two types of club we can take an example from.

    "They're well run, they built their training grounds up and the infrastructure to go with it, and over the years they've steadily become established Premier League teams.

    "That's something we can aspire to. The longer we're here, the better the squad becomes and the better facilities become."

  61. 'Happy it happened at Goodison'


    Everton's Romelu Lukaku has used his Instagram page to dedicate the win against BSC Young Boys to his late Grandfather.

    Romelu Lukaku
  62. Wood signs for Ipswich


    Chris Wood

    Ipswich Town have signed Chris Wood on loan from Leicester until the end of the season. The striker will wear the number 39 and could make his debut in the East Anglia derby against Norwich on Sunday.

  63. Fletcher leaves World Cup


    India coach Duncan Fletcher has left the World Cup to attend his father-in-law's funeral in Cape Town.

    Fletcher is set to miss the world champions' Pool B clash against United Arab Emirates in Perth on Saturday.

    Fletcher is scheduled to return on Monday and in time for India's fourth group game, which will also be at the WACA, against West Indies on 6 March.

  64. Steve Bruce news conference

    Stoke v Hull (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    Hull may be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to four matches against Stoke, but manager Steve Bruce has warned his players they remain in a "horrible dogfight".

    Bruce's boys head into Saturday's match in a seemingly respectable 15th place but the boss said: "Two weeks ago we were in the bottom three and now we're four points clear, but we've got to maintain it.

    "We're not out of the woods yet. We're in a horrible dogfight and there's eight or nine teams in with us who are all feeling it.

    "If you can put another couple of results together at this particular stage of the season it will really help."

  65. 'De Villiers is a genius'


    Former South African batsman Barry Richards has been on Radio 5 live to hail the achievements of AB de Villiers 162 off 66 balls against West Indies at the Cricket World Cup today.

    De Villiers

    "He's magnificent - an all-round sportsman," said Richards. "He could play any sport. It was almost as good a knock as the one he played against them in South Africa recently. He's decimated them twice in two knocks so they must hate the sight of him."

    Asked where De Villiers ranks among the great batsman, Richards replied: "He's obviously a genius player. Is he better than Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara? I don't know. They didn't play under the same conditions so it's always difficult to say."

  66. #TheDress ...continued

    Carlton Cole is on the fence...

    And just to prove we're not going mad, even West Ham striker Carlton Cole is tweeting about it...

    Carlton Cole
  67. Manchester United

    Our heads are hurting at #TheDress debate

    If you have no idea what we are on about, read this...

    Anyway Manchester United have jumped on the bandwagon tweeting this picture of their away kit from last season.

    Manchester United

    As you were.... (It's blue and black).

  68. Cook's facing inquiry after cocaine test

    Horse Racing

    Jump jockey Danny Cook is to face a disciplinary inquiry after testing positive for cocaine.

    The 31-year-old rider, who won at the Cheltenham Festival on Great Endeavour in 2010, has accepted an interim suspension and will miss the big meeting next month.

    Danny Cook

    In a statement on his behalf, the Professional Jockeys' Association confirmed he had tested positive for a banned substance.

    Cook, who was set to partner runners for trainer Brian Ellison at Cheltenham, apologised to "all those he has let down through an act of foolishness".

    The British Horseracing Authority has scheduled a hearing for 19 March, with the jockey facing a ban of about six months if he is found to have breached the rules.

  69. Post update

    BBC C&W Sport: Coventry caretaker manager Neil McFarlane has confirmed that the Sky Blues have signed Brentford striker Nick Proschwitz on loan. He'll be in contention for Saturday's game against MK Dons.

  70. Steve Bruce news conference

    Stoke v Hull (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    Steve Bruce is asked about the Uefa fine that Hull are expected to be hit with a £10,000 fine today for failing to comply with Financial Fair Play rules.

    "It's interesting because even Jose Mourinho has to sell before he brings someone in," said Bruce, whose club will find out their fate at 16:00 GMT.

    Steve Bruce

    "Financial Fair Play is there, we've been given two years to put our eggs in the basket and to make sure it's right.

    "But it's tough on us because the only reason we've come under investigation is because we qualified for a Uefa tournament and because we were in the Championship.

    "Most clubs would struggle to meet the way it works. They are trying their best but it's very difficult."

  71. Steve Bruce news conference

    Stoke v Hull (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

    Bad news for Hull - Mohamed Diame is again absent for Hull as they take on Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.


    Tigers boss Steve Bruce confirmed that the Senegal midfielder, who has been out with a knee problem since 3 December, is still not back in training after suffering another setback last week.

    He joins fellow long-term absentees James Chester (shoulder), Liam Rosenior (hamstring) and Robert Snodgrass (knee) on the sidelines but there are no new injury concerns ahead of the game with Sunderland.

  72. Astana licence revoked

    Road Cycling

    The International Cycling Union has requested that Astana, the team of Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali, has its World Tour licence withdrawn.

    Vincenzo Nibali

    It follows an independent audit and places Nibali's future in limbo.

    The audit was ordered by the UCI after a number of anti-doping infringements by Astana and its feeder team.

    The UCI said the reality of the team's policies and structures differs from what Astana told the licence commission during a review last December.

  73. TMS Podcast World Cup Special: Aus v NZ


    As one of the tastiest games at this year's competition draws nearer, Alison Mitchell is in Melbourne to look ahead to the two host nations as they do battle at Eden Park on Saturday.

  74. What a guy!

    The lowdown on that knock...

    AB De Villiers
  75. West Indies take a hammering


    A bit like putting an injured dog hit by a car out of its misery, South Africa have finally finished off the suffering West Indies at the Cricket World Cup in Sydney.


    The Windies were bowled out for 151, which means South Africa win by a massive 257 runs - the fourth largest winning margin in the history of one-day internationals.

    Earlier AB de Villiers hit the fastest 150 in ODI history as South Africa amassed 408-5. De Villiers reached 150 from 64 balls, beating the previous record, set by Australia's Shane Watson, by 19 balls.

  76. Game suspended for inflatable banana


    Feyenoord's Europa League match against visitors Roma was suspended for more than 10 minutes after an inflatable banana was thrown towards the pitch.

    Fourth official carries an inflatable banana down the touchline

    Several objects landed close to Roma's Ivory Coast striker Gervinho, who went on to score the winner in a 2-1 victory as the Italians progressed to the last 16 3-2 on aggregate.

    "It was right to suspend play," said Roma coach Rudi Garcia. "We could have opened a shop with all the objects thrown from the stands."

    In what was a lively match to say the least, both teams left the pitch in the 55th minute after Feyenoord's Mitchell te Vrede was shown a straight red card.

    Rotterdam police had detained 17 locals and one Italian before the game had even begun.

  77. Another blow for Scots


    As if losing in heartbreaking fashion wasn't bad enough, Scotland's players have been fined for a slow over rate in their tense World Cup defeat by Afghanistan.

    The International Cricket Council deemed the Scots were "one over short of its target" in Dunedin on Thursday.

    Scotland captain Preston Mommsen

    The Scots were fined 10% of their match fees, with captain Preston Mommsen, who pleaded guilty to the offence, paying double the amount.

    Mommsen will face a one-match suspension if he is again found guilty of the same offence in this tournament.

  78. 5 live Rugby Podcast

    Something you may want to check out... On this week's 5 live rugby podcast, Matt Dawson is joined by Paul Grayson, Denis Hickie and Shaun Edwards to preview a crucial weekend in the 6 Nations. England travel to Dublin to face Ireland, as the only two teams that can claim a grand slam.

    England v Ireland - Six Nations
  79. Celtic red-card victim not happy


    Celtic centre-half Virgil Van Dijk has laid into the referee who sent him off during the club's Europa League defeat at Inter MIlan.

    Virgil van Dijk walks off after being red carded at the San Siro

    Slovakia's Ivan Kruzliak booked Van Dijkfor a foul on Rodrigo Palacio and, within 10 minutes, sent him off for a clumsy challenge on Mauro Icardi.

    "The referee was horrible," the defender said. "It was never a red card and everybody could see that, but he gave it.

    "If you look at the fouls, the first one was never a yellow card. It was maybe a foul - but never a yellow card. The second one was a 50-50 challenge in the air."

  80. Two new starters for England

    Rugby Union

    Alex Goode and Jack Nowell, have been named in the England side for the Six Nations match with Ireland in Dublin on Sunday.


    Goode, who replaces the injured replaces Mike Brown, will start his first Test for England in two years and is joined in the back-line by Exeter Chiefs wing Nowell, who takes over from Jonny May.

    In the only other change to the match day 23, Henry Thomas replaces Kieran Brookes on the replacements' bench.

    England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We've made minimal changes as we felt the squad performed well in the first two games."

  81. Arsene Wenger's news conference

    Arsenal v Everton (Sunday, 14:05 GMT)

    Some positive news to finish on from Wenger.

    He says midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini are "nearly fit" - though on the downside, Mathieu Debuchy (who dislocated his shoulder against Stoke last month) and Mikel Arteta are "still a few weeks away" from a return.

    And that's that for the time being, we'll bring you more later.

  82. Arsene Wenger's news conference

    Arsenal v Everton (Sunday, 14:05 GMT)

    Arsene Wenger keeps mentioning that he wants and expects a "strong response" to the Monaco defeat.

    "You play 55 games a year and you have moments where you are disappointed. We want to finish the season in a strong way," he says.

    "I expect a strong response in the Premier League because it is a different competition. We have an opportunity to maintain our top-three position."

  83. Arsene Wenger news conference

    Arsenal v Everton (Sunday, 14:05 GMT)

    Arsene Wenger

    As you'd expect, plenty of questions from the media about Arsenal's chastening Champions League defeat at the hands of Monaco in midweek.

    "We fought very hard against Besiktas to qualify and what's frustrating is that we've gone out in the last 16 in the last four years," says Wenger.

    "There is nobody to blame individually. On the night everything went against us and missing chances was only one characteristic.

    "What's important to give a strong response. We are a big club so that gives us a stronger responsibility."

  84. Arsene Wenger news conference

    Arsenal v Everton (Sunday, 14:05 GMT)

    Arsene Wenger has arrived and begins with a bit of worrying news.

    Jack Wilshere

    Jack Wilshere has undergone a "minor procedure" to stop discomfort in his ankle.

    This is not good news at all for Gunners fans, with the midfielder first undergoing surgery back in November and returning to training a couple of weeks ago with the problem apparently sorted.

  85. Friday's back pages


    More Europa League misery in The Guardian, as well as a pledge from new ECB chairman Colin Graves about the future of English cricket.

  86. West Indies collapsing


    We mentioned the cricket earlier, with AB de Villiers hitting the fastest 150 in one-day international history as South Africa amassed 408-5 in their Pool B match against West Indies in Sydney.

    Well, an update on the Windies reply, and it's fair to say it's not going well. In fact they seem to be playing a bit like England usually do.

    South Africa

    Current scoreboard - 63-7 off 17.4 overs. Could be an early finish in this one me thinks.

  87. Wenger due


    We're waiting for Arsene Wenger's press conference at Arsenal to begin. When it does, we'll have bring it you here.


    After what happened against Monaco on Wednesday, the Gunners gaffer could be facing a few tough questions.

  88. Barca testing continues

    Formula 1

    Over in Spain, Jenson Button is on the track as testing ahead of the new Formula 1 season continues.

    McLaren have had a poor start to the year, what with Fernando Alonso suffering a bad crash and the car hit with a few issues.


    How will Button do today? Find out by following live text commentary by BBC Sport's Jamie Strickland.

  89. Overhaul of the game

    Rugby Union

    And on that very subject, here's confirmation from BBC Radio 5 live's rugby reporter Chris Jones.

    "Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union have begun discussions about expanding the Aviva Premiership and scrapping promotion and relegation.

    The talks - described as "constant and productive" - are a key part of the negotiations around a new heads of agreement between the two parties, with the current deal set to expire in 2016.

    Although it is early days in the process, a possible outcome is for the Premiership to expand to 14 teams in time for the start of the 2016/2017 season, with the extra clubs reaching the top-flight on merit.

    The potential move is being described as a "moratorium" rather than a permanent ring-fencing, meaning clubs in the Championship may be able to force their way into the top-tier if they could prove their suitability on and off the pitch over a period of time."

  90. Friday's back pages

    Daily Telegraph

    In the Daily Telegraph, there's a big photo of the moment which made Celtic's Europa League task in Milan nigh on impossible - the first half dismissal of defender Virgil van Dijk. There's also an exclusive from the world of rugby union, with the paper claiming the game is set to undergo its biggest overhaul since going professional. "England's leading clubs are proposing a radical plan to expand the Premiership for the start of the 2016-17 season and then scrap ­promotion and relegation," writes Gavin Mairs.

  91. Outside shot leads the way


    Everyone loves an underdog, which is why there will be a lot of people cheering for Nic Henning today.

    Nic Henning

    Despite being the joint lowest-ranked golfer on the professional tour - the world number 1,555 to be exact - Henning leads the Joburg Open after carding a nine-under-par 62 opening round to equal the course record.

    "I haven't made a score like that for many, many years so it's really nice," the 45-year-old South African said.

    He is one shot ahead ahead and if Henning retains his lead over the remaining three rounds, he will collect a prize of £150,000 - more than three times his previous biggest payday on the European Tour.

  92. Terrific Toffees


    But wait, just when you thought all was doom and gloom, Everton have provided us with a little ray of sunlight - the only British club to make it through to the last-16 of the Europa League.

    They beat Young Boys 3-1 at Goodison Park, following up a 4-1 first leg win in Switzerland to record a handsome aggregate victory.

    Romelu Lukaku

    Romelu Lukaku scored two goals last night, not bad going after hitting a hat-trick in the first game.

    Remember Everton fans, the draw for the next round is at 12:00 GMT and we'll bring it you right here.

  93. Friday's back pages

    The Times

    The Times reflects on a pretty dismal night for British clubs in Europe, pointing out that a Premier League hailed as the best in the world by many is struggling big-time in this season's elite competitions.

  94. Post update

    Opta Joe on Twitter: The three teams to beat Liverpool in a competitive penalty shootout are Wimbledon, Northampton Town and Besiktas.

    And another stat...

    Since joining Southampton in 2009/10, Rickie Lambert has scored all 35 penalties in club football. Expert.

  95. Spurs pay for errors


    Tottenham also have no more trips to Europe to look forward to, Mauricio Pochettino's side losing 2-0 to Fiorentina.

    Mario Gomez beats Hugo Lloris for Fiorentina's first goal

    It was an error-strewn performance from Tottenham, with goals from Mario Gomez and Chelsea loanee Mohamed Salah sealing victory for the Italians after defensive errors.

    It meant a 3-1 aggregate win for Fiorentina and the result is a blow for Spurs ahead of their biggest game of the season so far - the League Cup final against Chelsea on Sunday.

  96. Friday's back pages

    The Sun

    A sad story adorns the back page of The Sun today, with Chelsea striker Diego Costa claiming he's being picked on by referees. How much sympathy the Spaniard will get from football fans across the country with his complaint remains to be seen...

  97. Close but no cigar


    Celtic are out of the Europa League too, though they leave with heads held high.

    Virgil van Dijk was dismissed in the first half of their tie in Inter Milan, leaving the Glasgow club a man down for the majority of the game.

    Virgil van Dijk is sent off by Slovakian referee Ivan Kruzliak

    But only a stunning late strike from Inter's Fredy Guarin secured a 4-3 aggregate victory for the Italians, leaving Ronny Deila's men - and especially outstanding keeper Craig Gordon - devastated.

    Full report here.

  98. Liverpool pay the penalty


    Let's start with Liverpool, who went to Istanbul and the home of Besiktas full of hope following a 1-0 first-leg win at Anfield.

    But 1-0 down after the end of extra time, Brendan Rodgers' team suffered a 5-4 penalty shoot-out defeat and exit the competition.

    Dejan Lovren

    It was, interestingly, the first time Liverpool's have ever lost a European shootout.

    The Reds actually had happy memories of their last penalty shootout at the same venue, the Ataturk Olympic Stadium - it was where they beat AC Milan to win the 2005 Champions League.

  99. Europa League losers


    After the disappointment British clubs suffered in the Champions League - Arsenal and Man City beaten, Chelsea clinging on for a draw at Paris St-Germain - there was more bad news in Europe last night.

    Liverpool, Tottenham and Celtic all crashed out of the Europa League, with only Everton left standing.

    It makes the draw for the Europa League last-16 slightly less exciting but we'll bring it to you anyway - it's due to take place at 12:00 GMT.

    In the meantime, let's have a look back at some of the action, depressing as it is.

  100. As easy as A B ... D


    Straight to the cricket first, though, for South Africa's AB De Villiers has just completed a magical innings at Sydney in the Cricket World Cup.

    De Villiers has smashed the fastest ever one-day international 150 against a shell-shocked West Indies, reaching the landmark in 64 balls. Astonishing.

    AB de Villiers

    He finished on 162 not out as South Africa racked up a mammoth 408-5 - the second highest in World Cups behind the 413-5 scored by India against Bermuda in 2007.

    West Indies are just starting their reply. Good luck lads, you'll need it - especially as Chris Gayle is already out, the Windies currently 16-2 off four overs.

  101. What's coming up


    There's also this chap, who might have some tricky questions to face following Arsenal's crushing Champions League defeat by Monaco.

    Arsene Wenger

    Arsene Wenger is one of seven Premier League managers talking to the media ahead of the weekend's action. Here's the full line-up.

    Steve Bruce, Hull (08:45 GMT); Wenger, Arsenal (09:00).

    Louis van Gaal, Man United (12:00 GMT); Jose Mourinho, Chelsea (12:30).

    Manuel Pellegrini, Man City (12:45 GMT); Roberto Martinez, Everton 14:00); Mark Hughes, Stoke (14:30).

    We'll bring you the best of what they say - Wenger, in particular, should be interesting.

  102. Tasty day ahead

    Take a pinch of this.

    Jose Mourinho

    A dash of that.


    And a sprinkling of him.

    Louis van Gaal

    And what do you get? The tastiest of Sportsdays.

    Loads going on, here's the menu...