The Sport Matrix: Thursday 8 January 2015


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The Independent Online

Premier League stars fly to Africa 

Premier League clubs are preparing for the biennial struggle to cope with the loss of key players as the African Cup of Nations deprives them of stellar names. Added to the mix this year is the Asia Cup, limiting further top-flight selections. Yaya Touré is perhaps the biggest miss, from champions Manchester City, with Papiss Cissé, Yannick Bolasie, Nabil Bentaleb and Wilfried Bony also jetting off.

Murray and Watson suffer Hopman loss

British pair Andy Murray and Heather Watson suffered defeat in their second Hopman Cup match yesterday, losing 2-1 to Poland after opening with victory over France on Monday. Watson began with defeat to Agnieszka Radwanska before Murray overcame Jerzy Janowicz, only for defeat in the doubles to determine the tie. Great Britain face Australia in their final Group match tomorrow.

United back De Gea as Valdes arrives

Manchester United are determined to hold on to their highly rated goalkeeper David de Gea, despite agreeing an  18-month contract with the former Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes last night. The 32-year-old, who recently recovered from a knee injury, also interested Liverpool. United manager Louis van Gaal has reservations over the qualities of understudy  Anders Lindegaard.

Don’t say cheese: Tottenham and Arsenal ban selfie sticks

Tottenham Hospur supporters will have to take pictures of themselves without the help of selfie sticks in future matches at White Hart Lane.

The devices, extendable rods for taking pictures with a smartphone or small camera, have been banned from Tottenham’s stadium following complaints from a fan irked by having his view of a match obstructed by a selfie stick.

North London neighbours Arsenal have followed suit in banning the controversial sticks from matchdays at the club’s Emirates Stadium.

Varndell heads for exit door at Wasps

Wasps yesterday completed the signing of Leinster’s Jimmy Gopperth as Tom Varndell neared an exit from the Ricoh Arena, moving to Bristol. Andy Goode’s playing career at the  club is also set to finish, with the fly-half considering a coaching role with Wasps.