The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 3 December 2014


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The Independent Online

Spurs aim to break Chelsea hoodoo

Manager Mauricio Pochettino is eager for his Tottenham Hotspur team to build on their best performance of the season – Sunday’s victory over Everton – and end their 25-year hoodoo at Chelsea tonight. They have not won there since February 1990. “I’ve been saying for weeks, we believe we are going the right way,” Pochettino said yesterday, “and it is very important to keep going forward.”

Tiger is back again – but for how long?

Tiger Woods returns this week at his own charity event, the Hero World Challenge, in Florida. It will be his first appearance since missing the cut at the final major of the season, the US PGA Championship, in August. A back problem that required surgery earlier in the year flared up again as he made his premature return. Now Woods has ditched his coach, Sean Foley, and hired Chris Como instead.

Wenger: Henry is owed grand finale

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger feels his former striker Thierry Henry is owed a big farewell by the French Football Federation, after they failed to give him support when he handballed France’s way past the Republic of Ireland and into the 2010 World Cup. He wants Henry to be picked for France in March’s friendly with Brazil. “I hope he will get that, and get the honour he deserves,” said Wenger.

Crew escape sharks and head for home

The crew of Chris Nicholson’s stranded Team Vestas Wind are finally on their way back home after two days sitting on a remote “sand pit” in a shark-infested region of the Indian Ocean.

The Volvo Ocean Race team grounded their boat after hitting a reef on St Brandon archipelago on Saturday (right) and were forced to abandon it the following day, before wading through knee-deep water to a dry position.

They were picked up by coastguard from the nearby  Ã le du Sud, a near-deserted islet which is serviced weekly by a fishing vessel called Eliza from Mauritius, some 430 kilometres away to the south-west. A trip to the holiday island takes over a day to complete. Neil Cox, the team’s shore crew chief, told “We’ve had nine guys sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

“You’d think it’s a bad movie. You sit there and talk to the coastguard about everything we’re dealing with on the technical side, then they’re asking me to warn the guys that the reef is riddled full of sharks and barracuda and God knows what else.”

Froome will focus on Tour de France

Chris Froome will target next year’s Tour de France, having initially intimated he would just focus on the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana. He said: “Together with the team, we’ve had to prioritise some events over others, but the Tour will remain my main focus for 2015.”