The Sports Matrix: Thursday 12 April 2012


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The Independent Online

City close gap to five points as United crash at Wigan

Manchester City moved to within five points of champions and leaders Manchester United after coasting to a 4-0 win against West Bromwich Albion as their neighbours lost 1-0 at Wigan Athletic. Sergio Aguero scored twice for Roberto Mancini's side in an easy victory at the Etihad Stadium, either side of fellow Argentine Carlos Tevez's first for the club in 11 months, before David Silva added a fourth just after the hour.

Meanwhile, a disjointed United went down to a fine Shaun Maloney goal at the DW Stadium, handing Sir Alex Ferguson's side their first league defeat in over three months. The Scotland international curled home from 20 yards early in the second half, after Victor Moses had seen his effort disallowed for a foul, to help Roberto Martinez's side move out of the relegation zone for the first time since the middle of December. Wigan have now lost just one of their last six - a controversial late loss at Chelsea on Saturday - and also beat Liverpool at Anfield last month. MORE      

Lethal Arsenal strengthen grip

Arsenal moved five points clear in third place after easing to a 3-0 victory at Wolves. Home defender Sébastien Bassong was sent-off after eight minutes, giving Robin van Persie a penalty opener, before Theo Walcott and Yossi Benayoun confirmed the win. MORE

QPR move clear of relegation zone

Queen's Park Rangers moved clear of the drop zone with a 3-0 win over Swansea. Joey Barton opened the scoring on half-time before Jamie Mackie and Akos Buzsaky increased the lead after the break to inflict a fourth straight defeat on the visitors. MORE

Ivanovic appeal could be own goal

Branislav Ivanovic is to appeal his FA charge of violent conduct at the risk of a bigger ban – Chelsea's defence is stretched with injuries. Ivanovic was charged after appearing to strike Wigan's Shaun Maloney last Saturday and faces a three-game suspension. MORE

Fayed hits out at 'influenced' FA

Fulham chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed has launched a scathing attack on refereeing standards in the Premier League. The Egyptian claimed officials and the FA are "all too easily influenced" by the "more powerful clubs and individual owners." MORE

Yardy grateful to Flower for support

Martin Yardy has thanked England coach Andy Flower for his support over his battle with dep-ression, which forced him to withdraw from last year's World Cup. "He was unbelievably supportive," Yardy said. "It was a huge relief just to tell him." MORE

Heart issue forces Burns to quit

Welsh hooker Lloyd Burns has announced his retirement from the game due to a neck injury and the prospect of heart surgery. The 27-year-old Newport Gwent Dragons, winner of seven caps, had been out of action since January after damaging his aorta. MORE

Ohuruogu keeps a low profile

Christine Ohuruogu has decamped to Los Angeles to aid preparation for this summer's Olympics. "I'm really quiet," she said. "I'm not one of those people who like courting publicity. I prefer to be in the background and let my work speak for me." MORE

Big Buck's to get Aintree off to flier

The three-day Grand National meeting gets off to a superb start today with a quality card, which begins with champion staying hurdler Big Buck's looking to post his 17th straight win, and thus claim outright the record he currently shares with Sir Ken. MORE

Feature: Tennis and Titanic

Dick Williams and Karl Behr were elite Tennis players who both survived the sinking of the Titanic a century ago. The players met on court later in the same year of the disaster. Paul Newman recounts their stories. MORE