The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 23 January 2013


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The Independent Online

Wenger admits players lack belief

Arsène Wenger has admitted his Arsenal players have shown a lack of conviction in big matches this season. "You have to go with a mentality in big games based on belief and total commitment," the manager said ahead of tonight's visit of West Ham. "You cannot lose 50/50s in big games." page 51

Fourth-tier Bradford upset odds to fulfil Wembley dreams

League Two Bradford City completed one of the most unlikely results of the season last night, beating Aston Villa, of the Premier League, 4-3 on aggregate to reach the League Cup final.

Christian Benteke scored first for Villa, but Bradford, led by manager Phil Parkinson, above, refused to wilt and restored their two-goal overall advantage, when James Hanson headed past Shay Given. Andreas Weimann, gave Villa hope late on but Bradford hung on. Goalkeeper Matt Duke said: "This is dreamland, hopefully we will have a great following at Wembley and do the club proud." Bradford chairman Mark Lawn will reward the players with a trip to Las Vegas in the summer. MORE

Laudrup: Pressure is all on Chelsea

Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup insists Chelsea have a greater need for a trophy than the Welsh side ahead of tonight's League Cup semi-final second leg. "With the money [Chelsea] have spent?" he said. "It's quite obvious that they do. They want trophies - every year." MORE

Minichiello in talks with UK Athletics

Toni Minichiello, coach of Jessica Ennis, remains in talks with UK Athletics over a consultancy role with the domestic governing body, having seen his previous role lost as a result of restructuring. "I am still having discussions," he confirmed. MORE

Ferguson's Viking lined up for National

Harry The Viking has been confirmed as a possible runner in the Grand National. The horse, owned by Sir Alex Ferguson among others, finished runner-up at the Cheltenham Festival last season. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

With Roger Federer fanning the last flames and Rafa Nadal battling against infirmities, Novak Djokovic, left, is moving towards his sixth Grand Slam in something of a controlled competitive rage. MORE

Rose in the swing against Oosthuizen

Justin Rose is looking forward to renewing his rivalry with South African Louis Oosthuizen at the Qatar Masters. "We are similar in many ways," the Briton said. "He's a great bloke first of all, and we both swing the club pretty well." MORE

Fantastic Ferrer makes final four

Spaniard David Ferrer staged a remarkable comeback to beat Nicolas Almagro in five sets and reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open. "It was a miracle I won this match," he said after recovering to win 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-2 and earn a last-four tie against Novak Djokovic. MORE

Shoulder injury rules out Clark

Calum Clark has been ruled out of the forthcoming Six Nations after learning that the shoulder injury he picked up at Glasgow last week requires surgery. Worcester flanker Matt Kvesic's chances of inclusion in England's squad have risen as a result. MORE

Yuvraj's switch of blades for glory

Yuvraj Singh's attempts to help India wrap up the one-day series against England in Mohali today come after he shone at ice-skating at a young age in the area. "Yuvi won golds," a former schoolmate recalls. "He was a great skater." MORE

Sport dresses up for crucial season

This World Cup year represents the sport's best chance to make a lasting impact on the nation's consciousness, says RFL chief executive Nigel Wood. "This gives us the chance to put on our best frock and say, 'Look this is a terrific sport'," he said. "We mustn't let this opportunity slip." MORE