The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 18 December 2012


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The Independent Online

Santi brings early cheer for Wenger with hat-trick

Arsenal bounced back from their humiliating defeat at Bradford City last week with a 5-2 win at Reading last night. Arsène Wenger's side raced to a 4-0 lead from a Santi Cazorla hat-trick and a strike by Lukas Podolski, above, before Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Kébé sparked hopes of a Reading comeback. Theo Walcott then sealed the win with an 80th-minute effort. MORE

Cook: Victory was on par with Ashes

After the final Test ended in a draw yesterday, securing a 2-1 series win for England, captain Alastair Cook said that the success was equal to winning the Ashes. “I think it was on par with the Ashes [victories] he said. “It has been an incredible tour.” MORE

Pardew cancels Christmas party

The Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has cancelled the club’s planned Christmas party because of their poor form this season. “It’s out of respect to our fans, and what we’ve served them this year,” he said. “There’s no party for us, and the same for the staff.” MORE

City risk lengthy Balotelli battle

Manchester City are taking a risk by going outside disciplinary guidelines to fine Mario Balotelli £340,000, resulting in a legal case which could drag on into next year. City have fined the Italian two weeks’ wages because of his accumulation of cards. MORE

Rodgers doubtful on January buys

The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, said it is doubtful that he will strengthen his squad in the January transfer window “We want to bring in goals,” he said. “But there won’t be too many top players moving about in January because clubs want top money.” MORE

Wiggins' aim – two tour wins in 2013

BBC Sports Personality of the Year Bradley Wiggins has set a new goal for next season, winning both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France. "People said it can't be done – winning two tours in one year – so let's have a go," he said. MORE

Houllier: Henry return is unlikely

Gérard Houllier dampened hopes for Thierry Henry's proposed return to Arsenal on loan from New York Red Bulls. Henry recently became a father again. "I think he will want to enjoy the holidays," Houllier told a French TV station. MORE

Byrne sidelined with back injury

Wales full-back Lee Byrne faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after his club revealed that he has suffered a significant back injury. The Clermont Auvergne player was hurt during his team's Heineken Cup win over Leinster last weekend. MORE

Chilton the newest Briton on the grid

Max Chilton has been promoted from reserve driver to take a race seat for Marussia next season, Eddie Jordan has claimed. Chilton will be the fourth British driver on the grid in 2013 after Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta. MORE

Woods sole US player in top four

Tiger Woods was the only American to make it into the world's top four in the end-of-year rankings. The 36-year-old was third, trailing Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald but ahead of Justin Rose. MORE

James Lawton

The most encouraging aspect of England's historic tour was the performances of Captain Cook, who came of age not only as a leader of immense promise but a Test cricketer of the first rank. MORE