The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 2 March 2011

Van Persie to miss trip to Nou Camp

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has been ruled out for three weeks with a knee injury, meaning that he will miss the second leg with Barcelona. Theo Walcott was already ruled out although Cesc Fabregas is “possible”, according to Arsène Wenger. MORE

Anderson needs to regain Ashes form

Jimmy Anderson has struggled to replicate his Ashes form in the World Cup so far, and England will need him to re-discover his best cricket if they are to succeed. This should start in today’s game with Ireland, with Stuart Broad struggling with illness. MORE

Irish expectations rise with progress

Irish disappointment at losing to Bangladesh in Mirpur last week shows how far they have come. “Back then we were amateurs”, said Ireland bowler Trent Johnson. “We consider ourselves one of the big boys now.” MORE

Birmingham deny Bowyer new deal

Birmingham City have told midfielder Lee Bowyer that he will not be offered a new contract when his deal expires this summer. “I think at the moment the club have said ‘no’”, said the 34- year-old. “That is not going to happen so I’ll be looking elsewhere.” MORE

Sheridan ruled out with calf injury

Andrew Sheridan has been ruled out of the rest of the Six Nations after tearing a calf muscle against France on Saturday. The prop is likely to be replaced in the starting line-up by Alex Corbisiero who is part of the England squad training in Oxford this week. MORE

Half of league in fight against drop

There are 10 games left and as many teams in danger of relegation to the Championship. Wigan Athletic look doomed and while West Ham should fight their way out of trouble, Blackpool may well go into free fall as they run out of steam. MORE

Cipriani sorry after fine for drinking

Danny Cipriani has apologised after being fined for an incident in an Australian night club. Cipriani was fined one match fee by Melbourne Rebels for drinking in the Prahan night club. “I regret any embarrassment my behaviour caused”, he said. MORE

Mancini: Big clubs get better deal

Roberto Mancini has said that Wayne Rooney’s escaping punishment for an elbow last weekend was a sign that bigger clubs get “different treatment”. His Manchester City side host Aston Villa tonight, and he said he believed City can win the FA Cup. MORE

Eastmond to join Bath in code switch

Kyle Eastmond has confirmed he will join Rugby Union side Bath in November, after the end of the current Super League Season. The St Helens half-back has faced criticism after not acknowledging the fans after the recent defeat to Warrington. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

For a spell in the first half, United played some of their best football of the season. Paul Scholes was, well, nothing so much as Paul Scholes. The authentic one, this is, and to an impressively pronounced degree. MORE

Chelsea fight back to stun United

Frank Lampard’s late penalty won a thrilling match at Stamford Bridge 2-1 for Chelsea against Manchester United. The game started at a frantic pace and Wayne Rooney deservedly put the visitors ahead after 29 minutes. He received the ball on the edge of the box, had time to turn and rifled a shot into the bottom corner. Chelsea came out much stronger for the second half, though, and soon equalised thanks to David Luiz’s far-post volley. There were then chances at both ends, but with 10 minutes left Lampard scored from the spot after Yuri Zhirkov had tripped over Chris Smalling’s foot in the area. MORE

Mills strike causes right Royal shock

Reading caused an upset at Goodison Park, beating Everton 1-0 in their fifth-round tie to reach the quarter-finals for the second successive season. Matthew Mills shot through a crowd of players midway through the first half to secure the victory. MORE

Cavendish brands critics ‘ignorant’

Mark Cavendish has defended the reputation of professional cycling, claiming it is not full of drug abuse. “It’s an ignorant thought to just put cycling with doping”, Cavendish said. “There are cheats in every aspect of life, in every sport, every nation.” MORE