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The Sport Matrix: Monday 29 April 2013


Wenger: Van Persie retains friends at the Emirates

Arsène Wenger said yesterday that he and the Arsenal players still considered Robin van Persie their friend, in spite of a low-key demonstration of hostility from fans towards the club’s former captain on the occasion of his first return to the Emirates yesterday with Manchester United.

Van Persie scored his 25th league goal of the season to give United a 1-1 draw after Theo Walcott opened the scoring. He applauded the United fans at the end and was booed as he went down the tunnel by Arsenal fans.

Asked whether the Arsenal players still got along with Van Persie, Wenger, above, replied: “Of course. People who have played together for five or six years, they [still] fight on the pitch. I think our defenders didn’t make life easy for him at all.

“We are rivals but at the end of the day, we decided to sell. You want to give everything for the 90 minutes and after the game you can still talk to each other.”

The result leaves Arsenal fourth with three games to play. They are two points clear of Tottenham in fifth, although Spurs have one game in hand. match report, MORE

Reading and QPR relegate each other

A goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium was enough to relegate both Reading and Queen’s Park Rangers to the Championship. Pavel Pogrebnyak had a shot cleared off the line for the hosts while Esteban Granero struck the bar but both clubs were unable to salvage safety. MORE

Rocket on course to retain world title

Ronnie O’Sullivan remains on track to become the first player to retain the World Championship in 17 years after hitting a third century break of the tournament as he led Ali Carter 9-7 last night. The pair resume their last-16 tie tonight. MORE

Second trainer faces steroid ban

The racing industry is set for a fresh drugs shock today after a second Newmarket trainer disclosed to i he is facing a ban for injecting steroids. Horses in Gerard Butler’s yard received treatment for injured joints. MORE

Lampard helps Chelsea into third

Frank Lampard moved to within one goal of Chelsea’s record scorer Bobby Tambling as the London side beat Swansea 2-0 to move back into third in the Premier League. Oscar opened the scoring before Lampard struck from the spot for his 201st goal for the Stamford Bridge side. MORE

Froome lays down a Tour marker

Chris Froome sent a message to his rivals for the Tour de France with victory in Switzerland. The Sky rider finished third in the final time trial to win the Tour de Romandie. Bradley Wiggins won the race last year before winning the Tour de France. MORE

Wilkinson kicks Toulon into final

A virtuoso display from former England captain Jonny Wilkinson helped Toulon into their first Heineken Cup final yesterday as they overcame Saracens 24-12 at Twickenham. The 33-year-old sent over seven penalties and a killer drop goal to provide all of the French side’s points. MORE

Warwickshire pair hang on for a draw

A rearguard action helped Warwickshire rescue a draw against Somerset in the County Championship yesterday. Struggling at 376 for 9, Rikki Clarke and Oliver Hannon-Dalby clung on for 21 overs to claim a share of the spoils at Taunton. MORE

Bale wins awards

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Gareth Bale last night capped a fine season when he was voted PFA Player of the Year. The Welshman, 23, scorer of 29 goals this campaign, also took the Young Player award.

Wolves maintain top-four push

Warrington Wolves retained their top-four position as they thrashed Bradford Bulls 32-4 in the Super League yesterday, with Simon Grix going over twice. Elsewhere, Leeds Rhinos remained level on points with Warrington after easing to a 44-10 victory at Hull KR. MORE

Haye announces date with Charr

The former world heavyweight champion David Haye is to fight German Manuel Charr in Manchester on 29 June. “Haye is determined to add another world title and sees [Charr] as the next step towards doing that,” his promoters said.