The Sports Matrix: Thursday 3 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Chelsea to continue flashing the cash

Roman Abramovich is set to continue spending in the summer as Chelsea seek to bring in young players before Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules come into force. Possible targets include Dutchman Gregory van der Wiel and Belgian Romelu Lukaku. MORE

Duff the difference in Fulham victory

Damien Duff scored against his old side as Fulham beat Newcastle 1-0 to record a fifth successive home victory. The Republic of Ireland midfielder controlled a long ball from Danny Murphy before calmly slotting past Steve Harper in the visitors goal. MORE

United defender Neville retires

Manchester United defender Gary Neville, 35, has announced his retirement from the game. He made 602 appearances for the club, and won 85 England caps. “I have fulfilled every dream I’ve ever had,” he said. MORE

Fabregas says sorry for referee outburst

Cesc Fabregas has apologised for his tunnel tirade at referee Lee Mason during half-time of Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Everton on Tuesday. The Spaniard claimed his comments, relating to Everton’s goal, were made in the “heat of the moment”. MORE

Sturridge keeps Wolves bottom

Daniel Sturridge scored in injury time on his Bolton debut to help his new club to a 1-0 victory over Wolves. The striker, on loan from Chelsea struck from close range to take Bolton up to eighth and leave Mick McCarthy’s side at the bottom of the table. MORE

Suarez scores on Liverpool debut

A debut goal from David Suarez helped Liverpool to a 2-0 victory over Stoke at Anfield. Raul Meireles had given the Reds the lead just after the interval, before Uruguay’s Suarez, who only came on 15 minutes earlier, secured the hosts’ victory. MORE

Tindall to captain England in opener

Mike Tindall will captain England in tomorrow’s opening Six Nations match in Wales in the absence of the injured Lewis Moody. “He’s vastly experienced and has tremendous enthusiasm,” coach Martin Johnson said of the 32-year-old. MORE

Blackpool’s home woes continue

Two goals from Victor Obinna and a debut strike from on-loan Robbie Keane helped West Ham win 3-1 at Blackpool and condemn Ian Holloway’s side to a fourth home loss in five games. Charlie Adam scored the home side’s consolation direct from a corner. MORE

Thorpe to return for London Games

Ian Thorpe has come out of retirement to compete in next year’s Olympics in London. The Australian, 28, was inspired to return to swimming after a tour of the London site. “It was an extraordinary venue and I could actually taste it,” he said. MORE

Opinion: Chris McGrath

If Arsène Wenger is crazy, it’s high time the lunatics took over the asylum. Arsenal should be cherished as a bastion against the follies and avarice that have created an apocalypse of debt in the world’s wealthiest league. MORE

Gardner penalty denies City victory

A late Craig Gardner penalty rescued a point for Birmingham as they drew 2-2 with Manchester City last night. Carlos Tevez had given the visitors an early lead, poking home a David Silva cross before Nikola Zigic equalised after getting a slight touch on a David Bentley cross. Alexander Kolarov put City ahead just before the interval with a free-kick. Gardner’s equaliser, 13 minutes from the end, left City in third place, nine points behind leaders United and just two points ahead of Chelsea in fourth. MORE

Early Crouch goal does for Blackburn

A third-minute header from Peter Crouch secured the points for Tottenham at Blackburn last night as the London side won at Ewood Park for the second consecutive season. The England international headed home from a Rafael van der Vaart cross. MORE

Aussies win again after record chase

Australia achieved their highest ODI run chase to beat England by two wickets in the penultimate game of the series in Sydney. The home side overcame England’s highest ever one-day total against the hosts, of 333-6, to extend their series lead to 5-1. MORE