The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 26 September 2012


McDowell: home comforts will give the US an edge

Graeme McDowell has said Europe will not underestimate the importance to the US of home advantage at the Ryder Cup this weekend. McDowell sank the winning putt at Celtic Manor in 2010 but expects a different atmosphere across the three days in Chicago.

"There's a world of difference between playing in front of your home fans and playing in front of the US fans," McDowell, above, said. "Putts that drop in front of your home fans are like a bomb going off – and putts that go in this weekend will be like someone's got the silencer on.

"It's like a muted applause. I remember Valhalla [in 2008]. The 14th was a very big natural amphitheatre and one of the most intimidating holes as a European." MORE

Chelsea cruise past woeful Wolves

Chelsea cantered into the fourth round, thrashing Wolves 6-0 at Stamford Bridge last night. Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand and Juan Mata put Roberto di Matteo's side ahead before the break, before further goals from Oriol Romeu, Fernando Torres and Victor Moses.

Villa shock City as Leeds beat Everton

Aston Villa surprised Manchester City 4-2 after extra-time at the Etihad, twice coming from behind to put the Premier League champions out in the third round. Elsewhere, Everton's fine start to the season came to an abrupt end as they were beaten 2-1 at Leeds.

Boselli double downs West Ham

Mauro Boselli scored twice as Wigan came from behind to beat West Ham 4-1 at Upton Park last night. Modibo Maiga put the home side ahead, before Boselli and Ivan Ramis made it 3-1 at the break. Jordi Gomez added a fourth from the penalty spot with six minutes left.

Robins seeks to lift Sky Blues gloom

New Coventry manager Mark Robins hopes tonight's League Cup trip to Arsenal can herald a turnaround in fortunes. "We've got a group of players who've been battered from pillar to post," he said of the struggling League One side. "We've got to start being positive with them." MORE

Finn prepared to face Gayle force

Steve Finn is relishing facing Chris Gayle in England's Super Eights match against West Ind-ies. "He's got an aura about him," Finn said. "When you're watching him on TV he's got a massive aura. It's exciting to come up against people like that." MORE

Pakistan win to make Super Eights

Pakistan completed the Super Eights line-up, easing to an eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh. Shakib Al Hasan's 84 helped Bangladesh post 175 for 6, a total Pakistan reached for the loss of two wickets, with Imran Nazir hitting 72. MORE

Watson impresses in Sharapova loss

Heather Watson continued to cement her growing reputation, taking the first set off Maria Sharapova in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo yesterday. The Russian world No 2 recovered to win 6-7 6-3 6-4 over three hours. MORE

Lancaster: England captaincy up in air

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has yet to decide who will captain the side in the autumn internationals. "Chris [Robshaw, the current captain] has done a fantastic job," he said. "We'll see who's available, look at form and fitness and make a call." MORE

Next generation take centre stage

The success of Great Britain's cyclists at the Olympics has led to greater interest in the sport. The next generation of GB stars takes to the Manchester Velodrome tonight for the National Championships. MORE

James Lawton

Now that his extraordinary ascendancy appears to be Rory McIlroy's property, Tiger Woods' appreciation of the chall-enges of the Ryder Cup have deepened dramatically. MORE