The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 19 April 2011

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The Independent Online

Point moves QPR closer to promotion

Queen’s Park Rangers stumbled again in their quest for promotion after being held to a goalless draw by Derby. Victory at Cardiff this Saturday, however, would be enough to take Neil Warnock’s side back to the Premier League after a 15-year absence. MORE

Henson suspended by Toulon for fight

Welsh centre Gavin Henson has been suspended for a week by French outfit Toulon, after a fight with at least one team-mate. He will miss this weekend’s game with Perpignan. The incident may also mean he misses a place in Wales’ World Cup squad. MORE

United dominate team of the year

Four Manchester United players were chosen in the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year. Also included were three from Arsenal and two from Manchester City. Gareth Bale and Jack Wilshere were in midfield.

Cahill: Bolton must respond to defeat

Gary Cahill admitted the Bolton team were “terribly disappointed” with their 5-0 loss to Stoke, and said “it was like a different Bolton team out there”. He demanded the players now refocus: “Everybody has to take knock-backs. Now it’s how we respond.” MORE

Murray to decide on elbow injury

Andy Murray will decide today whether he is fit enough to play in this week’s Barcelona Open. The 23-year-old Scot had a scan yesterday on the elbow he injured in Monte Carlo last week and has been having treatment from his physiotherapist. MORE

Wilshere believes in title challenge

Jack Wilshere has claimed he believes “100 per cent” that Arsenal can still win the title this year. “If we don’t believe,” he said, “then what chance have we got?” He also said “it would be a dream” to represent Britain in next summer’s Olympic Games. MORE

Gulbis: I can beat anybody at my best

Ernests Gulbis is well known for his partying as well as his tennis pedigree. The 22-year-old Latvian tells i that it will not detract from his performances, however: “If I play my best tennis I can beat anybody. It’s not being too confident. I’m just realistic.” MORE

Etherington gives thanks to Pulis

Matthew Etherington has paid tribute to Stoke manager Tony Pulis for helping to revive his career. “He’s just put an arm round me, basically, and made me feel wanted,” he said. “He’s a great man-manager and has been fantastic to me personally.” MORE

O’Sullivan rockets into strong 7-2 lead

Ronnie O’Sullivan raced into a 7-2 lead in the opening round of the World Championship yesterday, and nearly completed a maximum break of 147 on his return to the Crucible. “The Rocket” has not won a first-round ranking match for more than six months. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

What Kenny Dalglish seemed to be saying to Arsène Wenger on Sunday was that maybe it is time for him to rail not against unkind fate, but the failings of his own team. There is only so much faith to be invested in it. MORE

Ferguson prepares for assault on title

Sir Alex Ferguson will take a stride towards his 12th Premier League title should Manchester United win at Newcastle tonight. Victory at St James’ Park would move Ferguson’s team nine points clear of Arsenal. The United manager, however, is committed to improving his squad for next season. He has sent his brother to watch Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David De Gea, and will also decide about a number of current players. Owen Hargreaves, Wes Brown, Michael Owen, Tomasz Kuszczak and even top scorer Dimitar Berbatov cannot be certain of their futures. Ferguson admitted he may have to make difficult decisions. “It’s a horrible thing to say but you cannot be sentimental in this job,” said the 69-year-old manager. “My job is to manage United and to produce results and I am no different to any other manager. I will not be regarded in the same way if I am not successful.” MORE

Balotelli likely to escape FA charge

Mario Balotelli is to be told today by the Football Association that he has no case to answer for the post-match row at Wembley on Saturday. The FA does not think that he was guilty of improper conduct. Kenny Dalglish is also unlikely to be charged. MORE

Mutai runs fastest marathon ever

Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest marathon in history yesterday, achieving a time of 2hr 3min 2sec in Boston. It was not an official world record, though, because the Boston course is classified as “downhill” by world governing body the IAAF. MORE