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The Sport Matrix: Wenger praises Wilshere as Arsenal earn draw

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger praised Jack Wilshere as “an honest guy” who had responded to a difficult week in which he was pictured smoking outside a nightclub to score a crucial equaliser as Arsenal drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion.

Wilshere (above) struck in the 63rd minute to protect an unbeaten run for Arsenal that now stretches to 11 games. Asked whether he was sure that Wilshere had stopped smoking, Wenger replied “I don’t know” although the Arsenal manager did so with a smile that suggested otherwise. It was Wilshere’s first goal in the Premier League since November 2010.

Wenger said: “At least the goal is done now. He had a difficult first half where he was fouled a lot. But showed he has character and kept going. I’m happy he was rewarded. He was pushed over a lot. I don’t think he was fouled dirty but pushed over. He didn’t get the fouls. In the second half he put in some great balls and had a very good second half.”

Wenger added: “He’s an honest guy. When he’s wrong he knows it.” MORE

Strikerless West Ham run riot

West Ham enjoyed a comprehensive 3-0 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane – even though the visitors played with no strikers, starting with a 4-6-0 formation. Winston Reid and Ricardo Vaz Te scored before Ravel Morrison struck a  sublime solo goal. MORE

Super subs seal Chelsea victory

Chelsea earned their first Premier League away league victory of the campaign yesterday, defeating Norwich 3-1. Oscar put Chelsea ahead before Anthony Pilkington levelled, but substitutes Eden Hazard and Willian both scored late goals for Jose Mourinho’s side. MORE

Lallana boosts his England chances

Adam Lallana boosted his England chances after inspiring Southampton to a 2-0 win over Swansea. The 25-year-old midfielder played brilliantly and shot past Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm to put Southampton ahead before Jay Rodriguez ensured the win. MORE

Rooney: Januzaj can help England

Wayne Rooney hopes his Manchester United team-mate, two-goal 18-year-old Belgium-born Adnan Januzaj, could play for England based on residency grounds. Rooney said: “I’m sure the FA will be doing everything they need to do to get him to play for England.” MORE

Steenson puts boot into Gloucester

Exeter beat Gloucester 29-12 yesterday. Fly-half Gareth Steenson impressed by scoring 19 points – five penalties and conversions of tries by Ben White and Dean Mumm, as Exeter leapfrogged Gloucester in the Premiership table. MORE

Triumphant Vettel closes in on title

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won the Korean Grand Prix yesterday, meaning the German will win a fourth consecutive world championship in Japan on Sunday if he triumphs with Fernando Alonso placed lower than eighth. MORE

Harmison calls time on his career

Steve Harmison, a key member of the Ashes-winning England team of 2005, has announced his retirement. He said: “I’ve had the utmost highs and the biggest lows, bowled some of the best balls the game’s ever seen and some of the worst.” MORE

Nadal beaten just as he goes to No 1

Rafael Nadal, who will return to the top of the world rankings today for the first time in more than two years, lost for the first time since Wimbledon yesterday, beaten 6-3 6-4 by the former  No 1 Novak Djokovic in the China Open final. MORE

Treve comfortably prevails in the Arc

Treve won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris in comprehensive fashion. Jockey Thierry Jarnet rode Criquette Head-Maarek’s unbeaten filly to a five-length win, as Orfevre came second. MORE

Sam Wallace

Some find it unpalatable that footballers are occasional smokers – like Wayne Rooney – but the England side’s failure to keep the ball for sustained periods of games is a far greater concern. MORE

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