TEAMtalk's Premier Picks

TT's Premier Picks: Video debate resurfaces

Saturday 7th April 2012 16:31

Ivanovic: Blatantly offside

Ivanovic: Blatantly offside

Clint Dempsey, Paul Lambert, ref Lee Probert and the TV technology debate all feature in TEAMtalk's review of Saturday's Premier League action.

On Saturday 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 April 7, let us know your opinions by adding a Comment below.

No real delay when video's in play

There can be no denying Chelsea enjoyed a huge slice of good fortune as they won 2-1 at home to Wigan on Saturday. Branislav Ivanovic was clearly offside before he scored the opening goal at Stamford Bridge and for anyone opposed to using video technology for such incidents on the grounds of the delay it might cause in proceedings, they need to take a look at this one.

Wigan players surrounded referee Mike Jones and the linesman, so convinced were they that an injustice had been done to them. Jones then consulted with his assistant while Chelsea players returned to their half and waited for the restart. Eventually Jones decided the goal would stand. In truth, with reliable technology, the whole dispute would probably have been cleared up correctly (with the goal being disallowed) and more quickly if it had been referred 'upstairs' to a video referee, as we have seen so frequently in the Sri Lanka v England Test cricket series.

Wigan clawed their way back into the game thanks to Mohamed Diame's superb equaliser and could have even forged ahead, but seconds later the combination of Dider Drogba, substitute Fernando Torres (with an excellent volley) and the always alert Juan Mata produced Chelsea's last-gasp winner. Wherever these teams finish in the table, both will surely look back on this result as being absolutely critical to their respective fates. Jon Holmes

Probert red card an embarrassment

Blackburn Rovers left the Hawthorns full of frustration after seeing their survival hopes take a hammer blow on Saturday. And Rovers substitute Anthony Modeste epitomised their mood after seeing red for an innocuous late push on Albion defender Billy Jones.

The game had already passed Rovers by when Modeste pushed Jones on the touchline as the pair tussled for a loose ball. It was a push and nothing more, but referee Lee Probert saw it as violent conduct and promptly sent the sub straight off.

It was a ridiculous decision from the experienced Probert and one he will surely be left red-faced by when he sees the replay. And if the FA uphold the dismissal, I reckon we might as well waved good-bye to the game we love. Matty Briggs

Too little, too late

Liverpool fought back to earn a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa but the Reds only seemed to up the tempo in the second half.

Kenny Dalglish's side need to start much quicker out of the blocks, especially at Anfield.

I was disappointed to see Sebastian Coates on the bench and Jordan Henderson on the right. If you are going to play Henderson, play him in the centre of midfield.

The Reds were a much more potent force once Craig Bellamy came on and it is a shame that knee injuries over the course of his career prevent him from playing week in, week out.

Liverpool's lack of cutting edge up front is their Achilles heel and one stat sums up their campaign.

The Reds have now hit the woodwork 28 times in the Premier League this season - nine more times than any other team.

Liverpool need at least one if not two top strikers to compliment Suarez and Bellamy but that is easier said than done, especially as they will not be in the Champions League next season.

It is time to accept that the signing of Andy Carroll has not worked out and the club should just cut their losses and ship him out. Sam Nightingale

All hail king Lambert

I reckon Norwich boss Paul Lambert will be in the running for manager of the year after guiding the Canaries to the 40-point mark and ultimately survival. Every man and his dog had them down as cannon fodder and dead certs for relegation, but Lambert has moulded a team that can compete with the very best and they did that again against Everton on Saturday.

They were second best for long spells against the resurgent Toffees, but they hung in there and twice pegged the visitors back to reach the magical 40 points. It was a display full of resilience and determination that eventually knocked Everton out of their stride and the hosts can now look forward to another tilt in the top flight. Matty Briggs

Clint deserves a fistful of dollars

A firm favourite on the TEAMtalk desk, Clint Dempsey once again proved he's ready to step up another level with his superb brace in Fulham's 3-0 rout of Bolton.

The USA star, whose contract expires in 16 months, is one of the Premier League's most consistent performers and deserves a move to a club who are regularly challenging for honours (no disrespect to Fulham, who I greatly admire).

Dempsey's first was a cracking 30-yard free-kick, while his second was a powerful header - once again showing what a fine all-round finisher he is.

Whether Fulham can convince their talisman to stay remains to be seen but one thing is for sure, Clint fully deserves a big pay rise this summer. Rob McCarthy

Spurs can't afford any complacency

Listening to Harry Redknapp's comments after Saturday's stalemate at Sunderland, you'd be forgiven for thinking Tottenham were sitting pretty in the top four.

"You've seen teams get in positions where the pressure gets to them, but I think we're quite a laid-back bunch and will just get on with it," the Spurs boss told reporters.

Redknapp is trying to keep his players relaxed, but there's a fine line to tread between keeping cool heads and showing too casual an approach.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle are breathing down Spurs' necks in the race to reach the Champions League and although the run-in for Redknapp's men doesn't look too tricky (they are playing teams placed 10th or below in their final seven fixtures), they need more urgency in their game if they are to finish the season playing the kind of football that won them so many admirers earlier in the campaign.

The clash with Sunderland was frustrating for both sets of fans, but the Tottenham supporters will certainly be wanting to see some more buckle to Spurs' swash when they host Norwich on Monday. JH



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