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The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 16 April 2014

Arsenal overcome nerves to revive European hopes

Arsenal moved back into the top four of the Premier League last night, recovering from an early Matt Jarvis goal to beat West Ham 3-1 at the Emirates.

Jarvis headed the visitors in front with five minutes of the first half remaining after a hesitant start from Arsenal. The hosts, who reached the FA Cup final with victory over Wigan on Saturday, levelled before the break through Lukas Podolski, before Olivier Giroud and Podolski, again, sealed the victory and moved Arsenal back above Everton. MORE

Lambert’s Villa future in doubt after suspensions

By Simon Hart

Fresh doubt was cast on the future of the Aston Villa manager, Paul Lambert, yesterday after the suspension of his two closest allies at the struggling Premier League club.

Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa, Lambert’s assistant manager and head of football operations respectively, have been suspended pending an internal investigation. They are not expected to return to their positions.

Lambert, speaking after Villa’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday, had alluded to “things” going on “behind the scenes” and it is rumoured that Culverhouse and Karsa had fallen out with players and staff.

They have been replaced temporarily by Under-21s coach Gordon Cowans and Shay Given. A Villa source said: “The manager’s position is rock solid.”  Lambert stated: “I’m delighted to have Gordon and Shay to assist me.” However, dissent is growing among Villa fans.

Houghton defends big City spending

Steph Houghton has hit back at criticism of Manchester City’s spending spree in the Women’s Super League, ahead of their first match. “People have seen it in a negative way,” she said. “A big club coming in and trying to be the best. But I can’t see what’s wrong with that.” MORE

Joyce century puts Sussex on brink

Ed Joyce inspired a Sussex revival at Edgbaston in the County Championship, his 125 not out taking the visitors to within 57 runs of an unlikely victory. After the Bears were bowled out for 471, Ian Bell with 189 not out, Sussex ended the third day on 273 for 2, chasing 330. MORE

Ricciardo’s Aussie appeal rejected

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has lost his appeal against disqualification from last month’s Australian GP. The Perth-born 24-year-old finished second in Melbourne on debut but was later removed for a fuel irregularity. “We are disappointed but we move on,” the team said. MORE

Djokovic masters Montanes on clay

Novak Djokovic showed no signs of rustiness as he began his clay court campaign with a comfortable victory at the Monte Carlo Masters. The world No 2 lost just one game against Albert Montanes, progressing to the third round 6-1 6-0. MORE

McCafferty: Euro cup worth wait

The chief executive of Premier Rugby has maintained that the upheaval of the European scene will be worth it. “Let’s wait until next season,” Mark McCafferty said. “Let’s make judgement then. Hopefully, we can evolve without crisis.” MORE

Test errors clear Campbell-Brown

Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown was cleared of doping due to blatant flaws in the test procedure and the possible contamination of her urine sample, an appeals body said. The sprinter tested positive for HCT last May.

Pete Jenson

This year the failure to bring in a long-term replacement for Carles Puyol has hit Barcelona hard, with Gerard Pique’s fractured pelvis keeping him out of tonight’s Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid. MORE

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