The Sports Matrix: Monday 31 December 2012


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Premier league: Chelsea line up move for Ba as QPR remain in trouble

Chelsea were last night in negotiaions with representatives of Newcastle striker Demba Ba about a move for the 13-goal Senegalese. Interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez remained coy on the potential move, which could see Ba replace Daniel Sturridge, who is tipped to join Liverpool.

"Demba is out of my hands," the Spaniard said. "There's nothing I can do. Ba plays for another team, so I do not like to talk about it." On the pitch, Chelsea won 2-1 at Everton to go third. Frank Lampard scored twice after Steven Pienaar gave Everton the lead. "There is speculation," Lampard said of reports linking him with a move. "I keep trying to give my best."

Elsewhere, QPR remain rooted to the bottom after losing 3-0 to Liverpool, Luis Suarez, above, scoring twice. Manager Harry Redknapp, however, remains confident of avoiding the drop. "I still think we'll stay up," he said. "You'll think we're mad, but I think we will. I feel we can still turn it round, if we can get one or two [players] in. It can still make the difference."

Football: Zaha eyes Premier move in January

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has admitted he is keen to move to the Premier League sooner rather than later. "To be honest," the England international, who has been linked with a number of clubs, said, "If I had the chance in January, it's something I'd want."

Football: Black Cats target Cahill loan move

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill is ready to ask Tim Cahill to provide the club with a new year boost as he attempts to drag the Black Cats up the Premier League table. The former Everton midfielder, 33, could make a winter loan move from New York Red Bulls.

Football: Canaries depleted for West Ham trip

Norwich have a number of injury worries for tomorrow's trip to West Ham. Grant Holt missed Saturday's defeat to Manchester City with a hamstring strain, while his replacement, Steve Morison, limped off. Bradley Johnson also misses out at Upton Park, through suspension.

Football: Newcastle finally seal Debuchy deal

Newcastle United have agreed a deal to sign Mathieu Debuchy, the France international, from Lille in the January transfer window. A £4.9m move has been completed, after Alan Pardew's side failed to land the 27-year-old right-back in the summer, despite protracted negotiations.

Rugby Union: Meyler the sinner as Saints beaten

Saracens beat Northampton 17-16 to move up to second in the Premiership. The hosts surged into an 11-0 lead before Saints hit back, although the visitors squandered a late chance to win when Stephen Myler missed a long-range penalty.

Cricket: Jamshed guides Pakistan to victory

Pakistan completed a six-wicket win to take a 1-0 lead in their One-Day International series with India yesterday. Nasir Jamshed hit an unbeaten century in Chennai as Pakistan reached their target of 228 for the loss of just four wickets.

Tennis: Serena sights on 2013 Slam sweep

Serena Williams hopes to complete a clean sweep of the Grand Slams in 2013. "Absolutely. I think whoever wins the Australian Open will have that same thought," she admitted. "There is no way other players don't feel the same way."

Golf: Jimenez ruled out after breaking a leg

Miguel Angel Jimenez has been ruled out of action for three months after breaking his leg in a skiing accident. "I lost control and fell," he said of the incident in Malaga. "I felt a huge stab of pain. It will take three [to] five months to recover."

Racing: Tidal Bay waits for Gold Cup go-ahead

Trainer Paul Nicholls has admitted it would be "unorthodox" for Tidal Bay to run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. "The ground would play a part in deciding his target," he said. "It would need to be testing."

Opinion: James Lawton

This Chelsea victory was one both for Frank Lampard and Rafa Benitez, left. The manager's virtues were best captured in this most recent evidence that he knows how to tighten a defence.