The Sports Matrix: Monday 15 August 2011

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The Independent Online

United win despite goalkeeper error

Manchester United started their title defence with a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion yesterday. But Sir Alex Ferguson described David de Gea’s conceding of an equaliser as “slack”, and Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Rafael are all facing spells out. MORE

Tomkins runs in four past Salford

Wigan remain on course for a Super League and Challenge Cup double after Sam Tomkins scored four tries to help his side to a 52-18 victory over Salford. “Our effort to defend our own try-line was non-existent,” said Salford coach Matt Parish. MORE

Swansea confident of causing an upset

Swansea City play Manchester City tonight, and first-team coach Alan Curtis is hopeful of a surprise in their Premier League debut. “It is a good time to play them,” he said. “City won’t know anything about us. But we’ll know everything about them.” MORE

Injured Henson to miss World Cup

Gavin Henson will miss the World Cup after fracturing a bone in his right wrist during Wales’s defeat of England on Saturday. Henson played well for half-an-hour before the injury. Wales hooker Matthew Rees is also a World Cup doubt with a neck problem. MORE

Villas-Boas wants stricter refereeing

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has called for referees to get tough on the physicality of the Premier League following his side’s failure to score in the 0-0 draw with Stoke: “There’s a limit to the pushing and grabbing. Referees have to pay attention.” MORE

Flower: We will reset our goals

England reaching the No 1 Test ranking will lead to a change in focus, according to coach Andy Flower: “We don’t want to just hang on to No 1 staus. That’s not a very exciting way to go about our business. We are going to have to reset our goals.” MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Newcastle-Arsenal was a match without redemption. What was so sickening was how the most squalid behaviour is seen as a prime entertainment commodity, even more so than the triumph of England’s cricket team. MORE

Barça agree fee for Fabregas – and pay just €14.5m up front

Arsenal last night claimed they had achieved the €40m (£35m) deal they wanted for Cesc Fabregas as the player’s transfer to Barcelona was finally completed. The club announced Fabregas’s departure just before 10pm last night with midfielder already en route to Spain. In a low-key statement, Arsène Wenger praised the player’s “contribution” to the club and said it had been impossible to stand in his way. Wenger said: “We have been clear that we didn’t want Cesc to leave and that remains the case. However, we understand Cesc’s desire to move to his hometown club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona.” Arsenal sources said they were confident they had obtained the terms that they wanted from a deal worth around €40m (£35m). Reports in Spain said Barcelona had agreed to pay an initial fee of just €14.5m (£12.7m) with a further €14.5m payment in October. It was also claimed there will be future payments of €1m (£870,000) for every one of the five years on Fabregas’s contract and potential add-ons of €6m (£5.2m).

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