The Sport Matrix: Monday 4 March 2013


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The Independent Online

Villas-Boas sees the gap as Spurs win vital derby

Andre Villas-Boas warned Arsenal that they are in a "negative spiral" after seeing his Tottenham Hotspur side open up a seven-point gap over their north London rivals with a 2-1 win yesterday.

Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon put Spurs two goals ahead in the first half, before Per Mertesacker halved the deficit early in the second. "We are on an upward spiral in terms of confidence and they are in a negative spiral in terms of results," said Villas-Boas, above, whose side are now unbeaten in 12 in the Premier League, their longest unbeaten league run since 1984-85. "To be out of that negative spiral is extremely difficult."

Lions position not worrying Robshaw

England's Chris Robshaw claims he is not losing any sleep over the potential of captaining the Lions during this summer's tour of Australia, with the Harlequins flanker suggesting that the situation will take care of itself. MORE

Sarries go top as Welsh falter again

Saracens replaced Harlequins at the top of the Aviva Premiership table yesterday with a 35-14 bonus-point win over London Welsh at Allianz Park. The defeat leaves Welsh three points above bottom placed Sale. MORE

Inter show fight before Spurs tie

Ahead of their Europa League game at Tottenham on Thursday, Internazionale fought back from two goals down to beat Catania 3-2 in Serie A yesterday. They recovered from a horrendous first half with substitute Rodrigo Palacio scoring twice, including an injury-time winner.

Shakes-Drayton shines in Sweden

Perri Shakes-Drayton's gold medal in the women's 400m yesterday helped Great Britain to a second place finish in the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg. There were also golds for the women's and men's 4x400 relay team. MORE

Allen takes World Open title in China

Mark Allen retained his Haikou World Open title by beating Matthew Stevens 10-4 in China yesterday, becoming the first person to win a world ranking tournament in successive years since John Higgins in 2010 and 2011.

Nadal continues successful return

Rafael Nadal comfortably beat David Ferrer in the Mexican Open final to win his second title since recovering from a serious injury to his left knee. Nadal, 26, defeated 30-year-old Ferrer 6-0, 6-2 in Acapulco. MORE

Cech: players have right to speak out

Chelsea's long-serving goalkeeper Petr Cech has defended the players' right to have their say about matters affecting them. "It is up to the manager if he wants to listen to what the players say or find his own way to go through," said the 30-year-old. MORE

Mancini wants rid of City slackers

Roberto Mancini has warned any Manchester City player who does not take responsibility for poor performances that they can leave the club. City, who are 15 points behind Manchester United, travel to Aston Villa tonight. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Quite apart from the astonishing impact of Bale, Spurs are looking stronger, more resolute and more composed than at any time since Harry Redknapp pushed back their horizons three years ago. MORE