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TEAMtalk's Premier League Picks

01 Oct 2011 12:00:00

TEAMtalk's Premier League Picks

Gabby Agbonlahor, Martin Atkinson and Tim Krul feature as we name our decision, miss, player, save and moan of the day from the Premier League. On Saturday evenings throughout the 2011/12 season, TEAMtalk's writers will present their Premier League Picks - the five special 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. Decision of the day: Martin Atkinson got the day off to a controversial start when he sent off Everton's Jack Rodwell 23 minutes into the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. Luis Suarez - great player though he is - undoubtedly displayed his darker side in exaggerating what contact there was from Rodwell, but the finger of blame for a grossly unfair dismissal should be pointing squarely in the direction of Atkinson, who could not have had a better view of an incident he deemed to be serious foul play. Never mind 'serious', it was barely a foul. Rodwell would've been within his rights to feel hard-done-by had he seen yellow, so you can understand the young midfielder's frustration when Atkinson pulled the red card from his pocket. Elsewhere, Mark Halsey and his assistants will be just as unpopular at Molineux as Atkinson is among the blue half of Merseyside. With Wolves trailing 2-0 to an impressive Newcastle side, Halsey failed to give Wolves a penalty lifeline just before the break when he ruled that Steven Taylor's challenge on Jamie O'Hara had taken place outside the penalty area, when, in fact, O'Hara had been felled within the confines of the box. Wolves got themselves back in the game with two minutes remaining, and Mick McCarthy's men then thought they had earned an unlikely point in injury time when Kevin Doyle bundled the ball home from close range. The home fans' celebrations were abruptly halted, incorrectly it would seem, by the raised flag of a baseball-capped linesman. The assistant at Molineux may have been looking at the sun, but Atkinson cannot have that, or any other excuse. He was in the right place and right time but made the wrong call, and ultimately gave Liverpool the platform to beat their local rivals.(Ian Watson) Miss of the day: After watching Manchester United allow their visitors chance after chance in their previous two home games against Basel and Chelsea, Norwich could be forgiven for going to Old Trafford with hopes of stealing something, when many outside Carrow Road expected the Canaries to get stuffed. Much like Basel, though, Norwich's wastefulness eventually came back to haunt them as United punished them for their wastefulness in front of goal. No one was more profligate than Anthony Pilkington, who was gifted the chance to put the Premier League new boys ahead in the second half. Antonio Valencia - who is looking more and more uncomfortable at full back - was robbed by Pilkington on the edge of the box, leaving the ex-Huddersfield winger one-on-one with Anders Lindegaard. Pilkington kept his cool and beat the goalkeeper on his Premier League debut, but the ball also rolled beyond the far post, much to Paul Lambert's disgust. United punished Pilkington and Norwich in virtually their next foray forward, when Ryan Giggs' corner was met by headers from Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney and Anderson, with the Brazilian's bonce providing United with their barely-deserved opener. Pilkington later hit the post with a deflected effort as the Canaries continued to ruffle United's feathers but by then their big chance had already been and gone.(IW) Player of the Day: Alex McLeish said of Gabby Agbonlahor after Aston Villa's win over Wigan that "there's no point having that kind of pace if you're not going to use it." I thought that summed up Agbonlahor pretty well. I've always found him an extremely frustrating player because, while he clearly has all the attributes to be a top player, he's never used them consistently enough. We've seen flashes of brilliance from him down the years but he's never done enough to warrant a place in the England team, in my opinion. However, that could now be changing. I'm not sure what has clicked for him under Alex McLeish this season but Agbonlahor has impressed me in every game I've watched so far and against Wigan he was devastating. He is now using his pace to good effect, but he's also proving that he is a good footballer as well as a great athlete. His running and movement against Latics really was top class and I for one hope he shakes off a back complaint to take his place in the England squad on Sunday. (Mark Holmes) Save of the Day: Tim Krul impressed in goal for Newcastle as the Toon beat Wolves 2-1 at Molineux in the Premier League. The Dutch stopper's double save midway through the second half kept out shots from Steven Fletcher and Jamie O'Hara during a goalmouth scramble. Newcastle are still unbeaten this season in all competitions and Krul is a big reason behind their improved consistency. (Sam Nightingale) Moan of the Day: The Rovers fans want him out and after watching Blackburn's game plan against Manchester City, even after they went behind, it's hard to argue against them. Blackburn were at home while City were coming off a really tough week, after the loss at Bayern Munich and the much-publicized Carlos Tevez affair, but I couldn't believe that Kean's masterplan was to try and frustrate them for as long as possible rather than try and hit them while they were down. After all, Rovers have always been at their best for me when they play at a high tempo and are all over the opposition, especially at Ewood. Two quick goals gave City breathing space early in the second half but Kean changed very little about the way his side was set up, making just one like-for-like switch in attack, and City's eventual 4-0 success was accrued with them hardly getting out of second gear. This result could ultimately cost Kean his job and I'm sure he'll regret going out with a whimper rather than being a little braver. (Rob McCarthy)


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