At the end of every Premier League weekend BBC football pundit Garth Crooks will be on hand to give you his Team of the Week.
But who has he picked this time? Take a look then pick your own team. As ever, Garth will have his say on the game’s big talking points in The Crooks of the Matter.
Ederson (Manchester City)
I will declare before I go any further that there are many goalkeepers in the modern era who I think are very average. It might have something to do with the fact that I grew up in the era of Gordon Banks, Pat Jennings, Peter Shilton, Ray Clemence, Joe Corrigan, Phil Parkes; I could go on.
Most modern-day goalkeepers punch the ball when they should be catching it and try to catch it when they should be punching it. Ederson, Alisson and David de Gea are the exceptions.
Ederson, like all goalkeepers, is capable of making the odd mistake or having a poor performance but he wins more games for his team than he loses. His save from Leicester’s Youri Tielemans on Saturday was another classic example.
Diogo Dalot (Manchester United)
The longer this game went on the more Manchester United had to dig in against a very determined West Ham. I don’t like witch hunts and Harry Maguire has been subject to quite a few but he’s held his nerve. He stood the test against the Hammers as did Lisandro Martinez, who produced another star performance and whose style of play reminds me of former Scotland defender Martin Buchan.
David de Gea played his part although all his saves I expected a keeper of his class to make. The real star of the show was Diogo Dalot. If there was a header to be made, he made it. He defended brilliantly and at times in very difficult circumstances. United are now just one point outside the top four and looking like a proper team again.
Ben Mee (Brentford)
The goal by Ben Mee against Wolves deserved recognition, that’s why he’s made my selection. Sometimes defenders have inspired moments in the opposition’s penalty area and the finish by Mee was as intentional as it was brilliant. Why Mee then got caught up in the altercation with Diego Costa is another matter entirely. Costa has a reputation for being volatile, so Mee knew what he was getting involved in.
For Costa to drop his head into Mee’s face was asking for trouble but for the Brentford centre-back to then fall like a stone looked feeble. If a centre-half wants to engage in a battle then do so by all means but do it with some dignity.
Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
I have often thought that Aymeric Laporte was the junior partner to Ruben Dias – well, not anymore. Laporte has become a very reliable defender for Manchester City with or without Dias by his side. It has taken the Spaniard a while to find his feet in a team that does not carry any passengers. He now looks like the real deal and was instrumental in City’s clean sheet against a very dangerous Leicester City. With Laporte, Dias, John Stones, Nathan Ake and new starlet Manuel Akanji to choose from they look almost impregnable.
Crysencio Summerville (Leeds)
Boy, did Leeds need these three points. No-one expected they would get them at Anfield but not only did they get them, they deserved them. Crysencio Summerville certainty had the sort of impact Liverpool never expected. The 21-year-old Leeds midfielder could not have had a better birthday present than scoring the winning goal.
Liverpool have dropped 19 points so far in the league already this season and the fact they only managed to lose 22 points in their entire campaign last season should tell us something.
This team has played an awful lot of football over the last three years and the new boys have not had the impact some had expected, especially since the departure of Sadio Mane.
Thomas Partey (Arsenal)
Thomas Partey has been in outstanding form for the Gunners this season but has often found himself playing second fiddle in my selections to the likes of Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard. Well, not so against Nottingham Forest.
The Ghana international was his normal resilient self but added a wonder goal to what was a sparkling performance. To be fair to the player, he has scored goals like this before.
Partey has the grit and steel of former Arsenal legend Peter Storey and the running power of David Price. Arsenal fans of a certain age will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
Manchester City seem to be one of the few clubs who coped with the demands of Champions League football while retaining some semblance of top form at the same time. Chelsea took a hammering, while Liverpool suffered a very uncomfortable home defeat. Of course, neither of their teams have Kevin de Bruyne in their ranks.
The best player in the world at the moment struck a free-kick with such venom that it kissed the post and hit the back of the net while Leicester keeper Danny Ward was still suspended in the air trying to get a hand to it. It is time this most wonderful player won the Champions League and with it the Ballon d’Or.
Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
Nottingham Forest came down to earth with a bump at Arsenal, having enjoyed a little of the high life after beating Liverpool last week. The Gunners put five goals past Forest and it could have been 10. At one stage it looked as though Arsenal were making chances at will.
Martin Odegaard strolled around Emirates Stadium conducting most of Arsenal’s attacks and looking very composed and cultured while doing it. This victory takes Arsenal back to the top of the league with two games to play before the World Cup break.
With a bit of luck, that should break their momentum.
Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Scoring 100 goals for Manchester United is a big deal. Marcus Rashford has worked hard in recent months to maintain a regular spot in the United side ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Against West Ham, Rashford looked like a player who had not just worked hard but had regained his confidence.
The question now is can Gareth Southgate trust the striker – should he be included in the final 26-man England squad – to produce the goods for his country? He’d be a brave man to leave him out.
Callum Wilson (Newcastle)
If you were in any doubt about Newcastle United’s performance against Tottenham last week then you can rest assured it was no fluke after they absolutely destroyed Aston Villa at St James’ Park.
Callum Wilson scored in both games and appears to be the perfect fit for a team that is going places under Eddie Howe.
This latest victory takes the Magpies into the top four and they have done it with the minimum of fuss – which rather reflects the character of their manager. I have never seen Wilson as a top-four striker but that is where his team are at the moment and I would not bet against them staying there on this form.
Leandro Trossard (Brighton)
There seems to be some suggestion that Graham Potter owes Brighton fans an apology for leaving Amex Stadium for Stamford Bridge so abruptly. An apology – what for? Brighton fans should think themselves very lucky to have had Potter for as long as they did. It was well known in football circles that he had turned down a number of offers before he succumbed to the lure of Chelsea.
The problem the Seagulls have now is can they hang on to Leandro Trossard, who destroyed Chelsea, and made it very uncomfortable for Potter on his return to his old club. It is not unusual for good players to end up at bigger clubs – or managers for that matter.
The Crooks of the Matter
I see the Socceroos released a collective statement against Qatar’s human rights record, becoming the first 2022 World Cup team to do so. The video message criticises the World Cup hosts’ treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people. I would find the announcement far more compelling if Australia’s treatment of the Aboriginal Australians over the years had not been so appalling.
The Aussies have qualified for the World Cup but I propose that if they feel so aggrieved about the way the Qataris run their country, I can offer a modest suggestion – don’t go!
Actually boycotting the World Cup and not playing would make a far greater statement and back up their conviction far more than mere platitudes. After all, they are not going to win the tournament so why go if you feel so strongly about it?
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