The Sports Matrix: Monday 23 April 2012

 

United collapse puts City in box seat as Wolves go down

Manchester City closed the gap on leaders Manchester United to three points, capitalising on the champions' slip-up at home to Everton by beating Wolves 2-0 at Molineux and taking the initiative in the title race. Roberto Mancini's side, who host United in seven days' time, eased past Wolves with goals from Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri, relegating the hosts in the process. United had earlier twice surrendered a two-goal lead, drawing 4-4 with David Moyes's Everton. Wayne Rooney, above, and Nikica Jelavic scored two apiece. MORE

Odemwingie sends Reds crashing again

Liverpool's poor league form continued as Peter Odemwingie's late goal earned West Bromwich Albion a 1-0 win at Anfield yesterday. Kenny Dalglish's side have won just three of their last 14 league matches at home, and sit eighth, a point above Albion. MORE

Van Persie named PFA player of year

The Arsenal striker Robin van Persie was last night rewarded for a fine campaign when he was voted PFA player of the year. The 28-year-old has scored 34 goals in 43 matches this season. Tottenham Hotspur defender Kyle Walker was named young player of the year.

Nadal coasts past Djokovic on clay

Rafa Nadal's clay brilliance came to the fore as he thrashed world No 1 Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 to win the Monte Carlo Masters for an eighth straight year. The Spaniard took just 78 minutes to retain his title, earning his first win over Djokovic in eight attempts. MORE

Hallissey makes GB Olympic time

Claire Hallissey is likely to have beaten Jo Pavey to qualify for the third spot to run the marathon at this year's Olympics. Hallissey was the quickest British woman in yesterday's London Marathon, beating Pavey's time set last year by 40 seconds. MORE

Vettel holds off Lotuses in Bahrain

World champion Sebastian Vettel won his first race of 2012, beating Kimi Raikkonen in the Bahrain Grand Prix yesterday. Red Bull's Vettel said it was "an incredible race, really tough". Raikkonen's Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean finished third.  MORE

Northampton end Exeter's hopes

Northampton won 18-15 at Exeter yesterday, in effect ensuring their place in the play-offs at the expense of the Devon club. Paul Diggin's try sealed the victory, and Chris Ashton also went over. Exeter coach Rob Baxter admitted that he was "gutted". MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

On the evidence of all but the best of yesterday's performance, a fifth Manchester United title in six years would represent a supreme triumph for Sir Alex Ferguson's ability to make the best of severely diminished means. MORE