The Sports Matrix: Monday 14 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Villa: Arsenal’s purists suit Barça

David Villa tells i why Arsenal’s style makes them well-suited to Barcelona ahead of Wednesday’s game. “It suits us to play a side that will come out and look for the ball and not just sit in their own half and wait for us to take the initiative,” he says. MORE

Narrow escape for two other horses

Two other horses at Newbury on Saturday came close to death, it emerged yesterday. Kid Cassidy briefly collapsed but his plastic shoes saved him from electrocution while The Merry Giant also collapsed. The meeting is likely to be re-scheduled today. MORE

Strauss talks up England prospects

Andrew Strauss said that he is confident for the World Cup despite England’s 6-1 defeat to Australia. “We’re here to win it,” he said, “and we feel like we’ve got an excellent chance. We’re excited about it.” MORE

Terry no longer certain of a start

Carlo Ancelotti has said that John Terry is no longer guaranteed to start for Chelsea every week, since the arrival of David Luiz. “We can have more rotation with our players”, he said. The Brazilian defender will make his first start against Fulham tonight. MORE

France kick their way to Dublin win

France secured a 25-22 victory over Ireland in Dublin yesterday. The Irish scored two more tries, but the French prevailed courtesy of a solitary try from winger Maxime Médard and five penalties from Morgan Parra and one from Dimitri Yachvili. MORE

Celtic win away to maintain lead

Celtic restored their five-point lead over Rangers with a 3-1 win at Dundee United. Anthony Stokes and Mark Wilson put Celtic ahead in the first half, before David Goodwillie pulled one back. Daniel Majstorovic’s 78th-minute header made the game safe. MORE

Hull KR start with derby victory

Hull Kingston Rovers started their Super League campaign with a 34-22 win over rivals Hull in Cardiff yesterday. Two tries each from Ben Galea and Kris Welham helped Rovers triumph, while team-mate Michael Dobson kicked four goals.

Opinion: James Lawton

We knew – unless we were on a different planet – that even in the depths he has occupied this season Wayne Rooney was still capable of doing something beyond the range, even the dreams, of any other English player. MORE

Sturridge prolongs Everton woes

Daniel Sturridge continued his scoring streak as Bolton Wanderers beat Everton 2-0 at the Reebok Stadium, leaving their opponents just three points above the relegation zone. Gary Cahill put Bolton ahead after 10 minutes, heading in a free-kick from Stuart Holden. Tim Cahill missed a good chance to equalise from a Leighton Baines cross but Everton struggled to create goalscoring chances. Sturridge doubled Bolton’s lead after 67 minutes, his third goal in three games, as he finished fiercely after a free-kick broke to him. Bolton had a third goal disallowed when the ball was judged to have gone out of play. MORE

Ten-man Forest peg back QPR

Nottingham Forest held Queen’s Park Rangers to a draw despite being down to 10 men for most of the game. Tommy Smith put QPR ahead before Radoslaw Majewski was sent off. But David McGoldrick equalised and Forest fought hard for the draw. MORE

McIlroy loses out to Quiros in Dubai

Three successive bogeys cost Rory McIlroy any hope of winning the Dubai Desert Classic, as he finished five shots back from Alvrao Quiros. Lee Westwood finished another shot behind, but remains world No 1 ahead of Martin Kaymer. MORE