The Sports Matrix: Thursday 3 March 2011

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The Independent Online

Arsenal back on Wembley trail

A hat-trick from Nicklas Bendtner helped Arsenal forget last weekend’s League Cup final defeat, overcoming Leyton Orient 5-0 to set up a last-eight trip to Manchester United. Marouane Chamakh and Gaël Clichy scored the other goals. MORE

Defoe calls for right approach

Spurs striker Jermain Defoe has warned his team-mates to treat every match as a cup final as they seek to finish in the top four again. “It’s hotting up and reminds me of last season,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure on and we did it in the end.” MORE

England’s bowling nightmare goes on

The struggles of Andrew Strauss’ side in the field continued yesterday, with three of their five most expensive World Cup bowling displays coming in this year’s tournament. Ironically England usually prosper when giving away runs.

City cruise through to Reading tie

Manchester City strolled through their fifth-round tie with Aston Villa, easing to a 3-0 win to set up a meeting with Reading next week. Yaya Touré and Mario Balotelli put the home side in front in the opening 25 minutes, before David Silva sealed the win. MORE

Serena undergoes blood clot surgery

American player Serena Williams has undergone emergency treatment after suffering a blood clot in her lung. The World No 11, aged 29, received treatment on Monday for a haematoma. Williams has been out of action since last summer. MORE

Wilson wins latest Old Firm meeting

A goal from Mark Wilson three minutes after the break was enough for Celtic to overcome nine-man Rangers 1-0 last night. Neil Lennon’s side now go through to a quarter-final tie with Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday week. MORE

Woods ready to return to Masters

Former world No 1 Tiger Woods believes his life is “more balanced” as he prepares to visit Augusta for next month’s US Masters, the scene of his return to the sport last year. “My life is certainly a lot more balanced where it needs to be,” he said. MORE

Ferguson faces prospect of ban

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson faces the possibility of a touchline ban after comments made about referee Martin Atkinson. The official’s display was criticised by the Scot after United’s Premier League defeat at Chelsea on Tuesday. MORE

Foden: England camp a happy one

Ben Foden believes England are on course as they seek a Six Nations Grand Slam. “We’re a relaxed camp and everything is going in the right direction,” he said. “To come through a crunch match with France shows we’re getting better. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

The FA may choose to cast Sir Alex Ferguson as the villain. But then maybe it should recognise him as not the disease but its most persistent symptom. The real malady is a refereeing system too often unfit for purpose. MORE

Fastest century helps Ireland shock England

A quickfire century from Kevin O’Brien led Ireland to a surprise three-wicket victory over England in Bangalore yesterday. Andrew Strauss’ side appeared to have posted an imposing total, finishing on 327 for 8 after 92 from Jonathan Trott, 81 from Ian Bell and 59 from Kevin Pietersen. Ireland began their reply poorly, losing captain William Porterfield first ball to an inside edge off James Anderson. Three quick wickets from Graeme Swann reduced Ireland to 111 for 5, only for O’Brien to take centrestage. Some powerful strokes took the 26-year-old to his half-century from 31 balls, and he advanced to record the fastest century in World Cup history, posting 113 as he almost led the Irish home single-handely, his country surpassing England’s total with five balls left. England next face South Africa in Chennai on Sunday, while Ireland play India later on the same day, in Bangalore. MORE

United to remain on top for 19th title

They may have given hope to the rest of their challengers by throwing away a 1-0 lead to lose to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this week, but Manchester United will still stay on course to claim a record 19th top-flight title. MORE

Hatton steps out of Ricky’s shadow

Matthew Hatton is used to being in his brother Ricky’s shadow, but on Saturday he will take centre stage when he fights Saul Alvarez for the vacant WBC light-middleweight title in Los Angeles. “I will be on my own and that suits me fine,” he said. MORE

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