TEAMtalk's Premier Picks

TT's Premier Picks: King's crown slipping?

Saturday 24th March 2012 19:30

Dalglish: Will he carry on at the helm?

Dalglish: Will he carry on at the helm?

Dalglish's latest Liverpool woe, Crouch's wonder-goal, Arteta and Cisse all feature in TEAMtalk's review of Saturday's Premier League action.

On evenings throughout the 2011/12 season, TEAMtalk's writers are presenting their Premier League Picks - the 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 for March 24, let us know your opinions by adding a Comment below.

Shoud the King abdicate in summer?

Sitting seventh in the table, 13 points off the Champions League places and with their worst home league record after 15 games since 1953-54, am I wrong to think that Kenny Dalglish's time should be up at Anfield?

The Reds were truly woeful against an excellent Wigan side on Saturday and deserved nothing from a game in which they were out-passed and out-fought throughout.

Okay, so they've won the League Cup (just) this season and are in the FA Cup semis, but surely the priority for Liverpool this season was to get back into the top four and then compete with the cream of Europe again - especially with the money spent to strengthen the squad.

I'm sure the Liverpool hierachy will not give Kenny the boot (after all, he is a living Anfield legend), but I can definitely envisage a situation this summer where 'The King' steps quietly into the background and lets somebody else have a go at trying to revive this once great club's fortunes. Rob McCarthy

Crouch class - but where was the robot?

The YouTube video of Peter Crouch's sensational goal against Manchester City was pulling in the likes on the TEAMtalk Facebook page on Saturday night. As is always the case, it was eventually pulled - but you can still see it on this GIF, and it's worth watching again and again.

Liverpool fans might prefer Sebastian Coates' midweek scissors-kick effort against QPR, but the distance, angle and trajectory of Crouch's jaw-dropping volley at the Brit surely mean the gangly goal-getter is more likely to claim the gong.

Robin van Persie's volleyed goal for Arsenal against Everton earlier in the campaign would also have to be a contender. Make sure you let us know your favourite from the season so far by posting a Comment below.

As for the result, it was another two points dropped for City - and questions are bound to be asked about the recent contributions of David Silva, who's gone decidely off the boil in the last few months. He was disappointing again against Stoke, even before he was on the receiving end of an elbow from Dean Whitehead in the first half (he was eventually subbed off just after the hour mark), and it would now be something of a surprise if he picked up end-of-season awards ahead of van Persie. Jon Holmes

Metronomic Mik ace for Arsenal

Arsene Wenger admitted this week that his last-minute transfer dealings at the end of the 2011 summer transfer window were not the way he preferred to do business.

The Arsenal boss does not want a repeat come August 31, but he can at least console himself with the knowledge that snapping up Mikel Arteta for around £10million was an astute piece of business.

After Robin van Persie, the Spaniard is the top-ranked player statistically in the Gunners squad and his pass-success rate has been over 90% all season long.

The former Everton man was never going to be a perfect replacement for Cesc Fabregas (who could be, really?) but he's kept Arsenal ticking along all season and his sensational long-range free-kick in Saturday's 3-0 win over Aston Villa was a special moment for a player, who at the age of 29, still has plenty more to give in the famous red shirt. Muy bien, Mikel. JH

Hot-headed Cisse more trouble than he's worth

When QPR signed Djibril Cisse in January, I genuinely thought they were bringing in a striker who could score the goals to help them pull clear of relegation danger.

However, the second red card of his five-game Rangers career at Sunderland on Saturday proves that Cisse has been far more costly than he has been cost-effective to Mark Hughes' side.

And the flamboyant Frenchman can have few complaints after his unnecessary two-footed lunge on Fraizer Campbell left referee Mike Jones with no option but to wave a straight red card.

The visitors were trailing to Nicklas Bendtner's 41st-minute header at the time, but were by no means out of the contest at the Stadium of Light - until that point.

Cisse will now sit out a four-match ban to add to the three he served following his dismissal against Wolves which (maths fans) means he'll have missed more than he's played in for the Hoops.

I genuinely wouldn't be surprised if Hughes sees Cisse as too great a liability and chooses not to start him in any more games for QPR in their relegation run-in once, of course, his latest suspension has run its course. James Marshment

Baines gains England momentum

Leighton Baines may now be Everton's top scorer this season with four goals, but he hasn't exactly impressed for England on his six caps to date and his chances of making the Euro 2012 squad weren't improved by his showing in the recent 3-2 friendly defeat by the Netherlands at Wembley.

In his last England Index column, TEAMtalk's Ian Watson wrote: "Baines failed to impress against Holland and could follow up his 2010 World Cup omission with yet more disappointment. In the likes of (Joleon) Lescott and (Phil) Jagielka, there is enough versatility elsewhere within the squad to patch-up and make do in the event that (Ashley) Cole picks up an injury. If the new manager opts to take a reserve specialist left-back, then Baines may squeeze in at club-mate Jagielka's expense."

However, Baines will surely have boosted his England hopes after his terrific display for Everton in their 2-0 win at Swansea. He was one of the Toffees' stand-out performers at the Liberty, opening the scoring with a fantastic free-kick which he won himself with a marauding run upfield and keeping Wayne Routledge and Angel Rangel under wraps for the majority of the match.

Having Steven Pienaar back in front of him on that left flank seems to suit Baines, and if he can produce that sort of performance on a consistent basis between now and the end of the season, it will be hard for the England manager - whoever that may be - to leave him out of his plans for Ukraine. JH

Blues fail to Bridge the gap

Chelsea missed a great chance to close the gap on Tottenham in the race for Champions League football after failing to take a grip on the game against their London rivals on Saturday.

The onus was very much on the home side going into the game, but they gave an out-of-form Spurs side an easy ride for much of the match and were fortunate not to lose in the end as Harry's men finished the stronger.

In my opinion, this was a game that Chelsea had to win, given Tottenham's favourable run-in, but there was no real fluency to their play and using Didier Drogba as a battering ram never really worked in the end.

After a run of wins under caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea's charge had been halted at Man City in midweek so I expected them to have a right go. Quite why that never happened I don't know, although Spurs are still waiting for their first win at The Bridge since the Titanic sank - at least that's how long it feels! RMc

Trotters' tribute to Muamba just right

Bolton paid tribute to Fabrice Muamba in the best way possible on Saturday, with a 2-1 victory against relegation rivals Blackburn.

Rovers came into the game unbeaten in their last three, but Owen Coyle had his men rallied from the start with Martin Petrov testing Paul Robinson from long range.

While the recovering Muamba moved out of a critical condition this week, his Bolton team-mates also showed commendable fighting spirit at the Reebok.

David Wheater's brace of first-half headers were enough to ensure victory for the hosts, who have now climbed out of the bottom three and pulled Blackburn back into the the dog-fight.

Blackburn earned a goal back early on in the second half through Steven Nzonzi and huffed and puffed at the Bolton defence, but Wanderers stood their ground.

Steve Kean may feel hard done by, as Junior Hoilett skipped past a couple of challenges in the first half and went down in the area under a challenge from Bolton right-back Gretar Steinsson - but referee Andre Marriner waved play on. Marc Murley

What were your highs and lows from Saturday's Premier League games? Let us know by posting a Comment below.



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