The Sports Matrix: Friday 9 November 2012


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The Independent Online

Wenger upset with FA over Wilshere's England inclusion

Arsène Wenger expressed his frustration with the Football Association last night over Jack Wilshere's inclusion in the England squad for next week's friendly with Sweden.

Wilshere has played only three games for Arsenal since returning from 16 months out injured. The Arsenal manager said he was against Roy Hodgson picking Wilshere, right, but the club do have an understanding with the Football Association that he will play for only 45 minutes.

Wenger said: "I wouldn't like to come out on my feelings on that because at the moment, they are not very positive. I saw it coming."

When asked whether he would rather the midfielder had not been chosen, Wenger was clear. "Yes. Of course," he replied. "If I had objectively, alone, the choice I compromise. Anyway, I have no choice. If they call him up, they call him up."

He added: "I have good relations with Roy Hodgson. We spoke about the situation, he knows my feeling and I know his feeling. So we cut a good compromise." MORE

Interview: Christian Benteke

The striker explains how Belgian football is producing many star young players in Europe: "There are a lot more street footballers coming through with a lot of skill learnt on the street." MORE

Celtic's victory revives spirit of '67

Celtic's 2-1 Champions League victory over Barcelona on Wednesday has drawn comparison with Jock Stein's European Cup winning side in 1967. Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "Neil has shown tremendous strength of character and resilience." MORE

Liverpool suffer loss in Russia

Liverpool's ambitions of qualifying for the knockout stages suffered a blow after losing 1-0 to Anzhi Makhachkala at the Lokomotiv Stadium. Lacina Traore's 45th-minute looped shot secured victory for the hosts, as Brendan Rodgers' side slipped to second in Group A. MORE

Defoe's hat-trick seals Spurs victory

Jermain Defoe's superb hat-trick ensured Tottenham earned a 3-1 home win over NK Maribor in Group J. Defoe's 22nd-minute volley put Spurs ahead and although Robert Beric levelled, Defoe found the net in the 49th minute before adding a third with 13 minutes left. MORE

Quick turnaround for Newcastle

Newcastle came from behind to draw 2-2 away at Bruges to stay top of Group D. Ivan Trickovski and Jesper Jorgensen put the hosts 2-0 up within 20 minutes. But Vurnon Anita's 41st-minute volley reduced the deficit and team-mate Shola Ameobi levelled two minutes later. MORE

Rooney: RVP is our new talisman

Wayne Rooney said Robin van Persie has taken over his mantle as the "talisman" of Manchester United and stressed the need to get more players working around him as the next stage in the club's way to capitalise on the £24m signing. MORE

Jol earns extra year on contract

Fulham chairman Mohamed al-Fayed has taken up an option to extend manager Martin Jol's contract for another year. Jol signed a two-year deal in June 2011 and guided Fulham – who visit Arsenal tomorrow – to ninth in his first season. MORE

Murray plans break after Finals

Andy Murray, who plays Jo-Wilfried Tsonga tonight in his concluding round-robin match at the ATP World Tour Finals as he tries to qualify for Sunday's semi-finals, will take his first break for two years after the season-ending finale. MORE

Coy Pietersen lets ton do the talking

Kevin Pietersen struck 110 runs from 94 balls as England ended the first day of their final warm-up match against Haryana XI on 408-3 in Ahmedabad yesterday. But the batsman declined to comment on his reintegration into the squad. MORE

Lancaster backs uncapped pair

England head coach Stuart Lancaster backs Mako Vunipola and Joe Launchbury, both 21, uncapped, and set to be on the bench for tomorrow's Fiji Test. He said: "They're involved because I think they're ready." MORE