The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 5 December 2012


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The Independent Online

City bottom after defeat as Arsenal settle for second

Arsenal and Manchester City both ended their group stage campaigns in defeat last night, condemning Arsène Wenger's side to the runners-up position in Group B and chucking Roberto Mancini's side out of European competition completely as they ended bottom of Group D. "We only have ourselves to blame," City goalkeeper Joe Hart said, after Julian Schieber's goal was enough for Borussia Dortmund to take the points. MORE

Arsenal surrended a half-time lead to go down 2-1 in Olympiakos, a goal from Tomas Rosicky, above, cancelled out by second-half strikes from Giannis Maniatis and Kostas Mitroglou. Arsenal end in second and will face a group winner in the last sixteen. MORE

Ferguson 'concern' at leaky rearguard

Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed his frustration at Manchester United's struggles in defence. "We're getting punished for every ball that goes in the box," the Old Trafford manager said. "It's a worry, a concern." United have already conceded 32 goals this season. MORE

Torres valuable in defence, says Rafa

Rafael Benitez insists Fernando Torres offers more to Chelsea than just a presence up front. "It's not just scoring," the manager said. "We changed his position at corners. He's a big lad, good in the air." Chelsea host Nordsjaelland in the Champions League tonight. MORE

Lennon challenges side to make last 16

Neil Lennon, Celtic's manager, has urged his players to make the most of tonight's golden opportunity to reach the last 16 of the Champions League. "This is their moment," he said ahead of the visit of Spartak Moscow. "They might never get this opportunity again." MORE

O'Sullivan to end exile at Crucible

Ronnie O'Sullivan is poised to make a surprise comeback to the game to defend his title at next year's World Championsip in Sheffield. The 36-year-old has held secret meetings with World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn over ending a self-imposed sabbatical from the game. MORE

RFU confident of home comforts

Ian Ritchie, the RFU chief executive, has dismissed the idea of England's 2015 World Cup match with Wales being played in Cardiff. "Why would we want to do that?" he asked. "It's not my decision, but I'd like to think the game will be at Twickenham." MORE

Cook tips Giles to find perfect recipe

Alastair Cook believes England will benefit from the arrival of Ashley Giles as a full-time coach. "He wasn't the most naturally gifted of cricketers," Cook said. "But he worked hard to get results. I'm looking forward to working with him." MORE

Veteran Davies still enjoying life

Laura Davies insists she is still enjoying the game as she closes in on her half-century of years. "The tour has changed completely," she said. "There's not much camaraderie any more. But I spend time with the caddies, I have the same fun I've always had." MORE

Dettori set to learn drugs punishment

Jockey Frankie Dettori expects to learn his fate today over a failed drugs test in France in September. The French racing authorities are due to notify the Italian of his punishment, which could be a suspension of up to six months. MORE

Black aims to raise medal tally in Rio

New UK performance director Neil Black is determined to better the London 2012 tally of six athletics medals in Rio in 2016. "We have a significant list of things that didn't go well," he said. "Things that we've learnt." MORE

James Lawton

Part of Jürgen Klopp's secret may be an ability to choose carefully those occasions to criticise and educate, and those to celebrate the work achieved in four remarkable years of progress. MORE