TEAMtalk's Premier League Picks
Seb Larsson's handball and Arsenal's rotten luck feature as TEAMtalk selects the main talking points from the weekend's Premier League action. On Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout the 2011/12 season, TEAMtalk's writers will present their Premier League Picks - the stand-out moments, star performers, stunning matches or shocking incidents from the day's action which we expect to dominate the headlines. We'll be watching all the action unfold on the live TV feeds which are piped into TEAMtalk Towers from grounds up and down the country. Once you've read through our choices, let us know your opinions by adding a comment below... Larsson's handball. Seb Larsson was Sunderland's hero last weekend, but he was lucky to escape a straight red card in the 1-0 defeat by Newcastle on Saturday when he blatantly handballed to keep out Joey Barton's header - the offence was missed by referee Howard Webb and his assistants. The incident threw up the following talking point: if the Premier League presses ahead with its plans to introduce goalline technology from the start of the 2012/13 season, just how much difference will it make? The proposals would only retrospectively correct the handful of in-match 'ball over the line' calls which need to be made each season, yet there would be no provision to review incidents such as the Larsson handball or the countless marginal offside calls which have an influence on goals and games each week. If goalline technology does come in, would this be the beginning of the end for on-field officials? John Baines Arsenal out of luck. They say it never rains but it pours, and that's certainly the case for Arsene Wenger at the moment. Already without a host of key players, Arsenal lost Laurent Koscielny to a back injury early in Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool and later saw Emmanuel Frimpong sent off for two bookable offences. Throw in a comical own goal from Aaron Ramsey and it's fair to say the Gunners' luck was out. They were desperately poor though, and Liverpool, although hardly swashbuckling themselves, were good value for the win following the introductions of Raul Meireles and Luis Suarez. Questions remain over the value of some of their signings but there is certainly more cause for optimism for Kenny Dalglish than there is for Wenger at the moment. Mark Holmes Hoilett a shining light for Rovers. There is little good to say about Blackburn following their 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa, but in Junior Hoilett they have a player of real quality. His run and cross for Morten Gamst Pedersen's goal was the most impressive act of the game, but that is where the positives end for Steve Kean. All three of Villa's goals were poor from Rovers' point of view and they will face a real battle to remain in the Premier League if Kean is not able to strengthen before the end of the month. Alex McLeish, meanwhile, could yet lose his 'boring' tag if Villa's forward players continue to shine as they did in this game. MH Barkley card marked. Having been made to wait to start their season by north London rioters, and then forced to endure a depressing week as the extent of the club's financial plight was discussed in public, Everton fans were then forced to watch their heroes labour to a 1-0 defeat by newly-promoted, nouveau riche QPR on Saturday. However, there was one bright spark in the Goodison firmament and his name is Ross Barkley. The 17-year-old has been spoken of in hallowed tones for several months now and was handed his full debut against Rangers, going on to play the full 90 minutes. He was by some distance Everton's best performer, his midfield prompting and competitiveness putting his more experienced team-mates considerably in the shade. It's proof that the Toffees are still producing great young talent at Finch Farm, even if the money isn't there to make new signings. As for Rangers, they produced a battling performance after last weekend's home humbling by Bolton, and a goal of great quality - created by Akos Buzsaky and finished in style by Tommy Smith. Jon Holmes More to follow...
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