At the end of each Premier League weekend, BBC football pundit Garth Crooks will present his Team of the Week.
But who has he chosen this time? Take a look and choose your team. As always, Garth will have his say on the game’s big talking points in The Crooks of the Matter.
Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
It has not been easy for Arsenal to find a first choice goalkeeper and they have nothing to match David Seaman. However, with Aaron Ramsdale it looks like they have found a goalkeeper who completes the team Mikel Arteta is trying to create. No heroics and certainly no grudges – just an honest guardian willing to do whatever it takes. He is particularly good at spreading himself out in one-on-one situations and did so well against Brentford. He reminds me of the legendary Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson, who was a great team player. If Ramsdale can handle the big moments of pressure as well as Wilson, Arsenal’s time at the top of the table may not be as short as some in north London would like.
John Stones (Man City)
What a blow by the Manchester City defenders. If Jude Bellingham’s finish at Borussia Dortmund was an indicator of why he should be in England’s starting line-up, then why not John Stones – especially at a time when Harry Maguire can’t get into Manchester United’s squad and looks the part. fighting for the centre-backs? Against a top European team, Stones looked as competent as any defender on the pitch, and he did so against Wolves at the weekend. In terms of scoring top-flight goals against top-flight opposition, it’s testament to the player’s confidence in staying at City. Stones is the only English centre-back showing consistent form at the moment.
Manuel Akanji (Man City)
He hardly put a foot wrong the entire game. In fact, he was so effective against Wolves that I wanted to know why I hadn’t noticed this player before. Manuel Akanji, a Swiss international with a distinctive Nigerian surname. If only Nathan Collins was as composed as Akanji. Wolves defender Jack Grealish brought down the middle with what can only be described as a flying karate kick. Judge Anthony Taylor dismissed Collins without a second thought, and with good reason. As for Akanji, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of the centre-back at City this season.
William Saliba (Arsenal)
I have to say I expected a bit more from Brentford, as I did from Ivan Toney given his recent selection for the England national team. However, both Brentford and Toney had to deal with William Saliba, who is extremely dangerous in the opposition penalty area and rock solid in his own right. If Toney is to be taken seriously as a starter for the national team, he will have to make life much more difficult for defenders like Saliba. This was a walk in the park for the Frenchman. It’s not always about scoring goals for the strikers, but sometimes it’s about putting your head.
Jack Grealish (Man City)
It was not only refreshing but very honest to hear Jack Grealish admit that the criticisms he has received about his lack of goals and assists since arriving at Manchester City were fair. Against Wolves, the England international had his best performance for City since leaving Villa Park. It wasn’t just his willingness to get into the six-yard box that was impressive, but his link-up play with Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland was significant; settling down and starting to produce his best work.
Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)
Manchester City took all the points and Wolves could do nothing. Three goals for City and two assists for De Bruyne – job done. A ball into the box by Grealish was incredible, and the pass that led to Phil Foden’s goal was impossible. It’s getting to a stage where you start to wonder: how does De Bruyne consistently produce such exceptional quality? There are already five assists this season and there will surely be more. I’ll bet De Bruyne has as many assists as Haaland this season.
Joao Palhinha (Fulham)
It was an impressive goal and an impressive win against Nottingham Forest. Fulham are very different under Marco Silva to what they were under Scott Parker, and it continues to show in his performances. Silva has put together a team that is not afraid to challenge the opposition and take risks, which is exactly what they did against Forest. Meanwhile, I sense a touch of fatalism in Steve Cooper’s every post-match interview and that the task ahead may be too great. The owner has not helped bring players to the club in August when they should have been in July. Cooper now has to build a squad in September and October, and after the World Cup in November, Forest could be ready to compete in the Premier League in January or February; by then, it could be delayed to avoid relegation. .
Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)
I don’t like Granit Xhaka. I find it confrontational, too aggressive and downright irritating. However, on his day he is a very good player. He should have left Arsenal years ago. However, for some reason he not only stays at the club, but also occasionally wears the captain’s armband, such is his popularity these days. He was very impressive against Brentford and so was Arsenal. I’d like to know why Brentford didn’t go for this game, but the Gunners were so good, I kind of suspect it wouldn’t have changed anything if they had – Arsenal were that good. The most worrying
Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)
Ever since Gabriel Jesus pulled on an Arsenal shirt, he’s been playing like one. His enthusiasm and passion for the game is incredible. He’s not just scoring goals for the Gunners, he’s leading the line. His movement on the pitch is fantastic and he plays with an infectious swagger that is spreading through Arsenal like wildfire, and the reason they sit atop the Premier League today. The way Jesus beat David Ray in the Brentford goal through a beautiful ball from Xhaka showed just how fit and strong Jesus really is. Why Brazil haven’t selected him for their national team during the international break is a complete mystery to me.
Erling Haaland (Man City)
Everything he touches at the moment seems to fly into the back of the net. His goal against Wolves at the weekend was a mistake, and much was made of his finish against Borussia Dortmund in midweek; some even dared to compare it to Johan Cruyff’s goal against Brazil in 1974. It wasn’t the same class, it’s the same competition. Haaland’s Champions League winner against his old club, while vital in Manchester City’s bid to lift the elusive European title, was a fluke in a desperate attempt to make contact with the ball. Cruyff’s, on the other hand, was a superbly controlled side-footed volley that left the player standing and dangling in mid-air. Granted, goals are goals, but some are better than others.
Son Heung-min (Tottenham)
He waited ages for a goal and suddenly scored three in 14 minutes. Spurs manager Antonio Conte insisted that Son was rested for the game against Leicester, but said the reality was that the South Korea international had left. What a way to regain your confidence, and stick two fingers at the manager at the same time. To be fair to Conte, he brought Son on after 59 minutes with the player hoping to seal the game for Spurs, and that’s exactly what he did. Spurs now have options available with Richarlison, Dejan Kulusevski and Ivan Perisic, while Son will have to fight for his place, but this win for Spurs sets up the north London derby nicely. As for Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, he will be lucky to see the international break.
The Crooks of the Matter
It seems kind of wrong for me to restart the season’s games after a short delay without acknowledging why they were stopped in the first place. There was a lot of talk in some quarters about the rights and wrongs of postponing weekend conferences in honor of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. In 1952, when a young queen ascended the throne, some of these comments were made by people who had no imagination. However, league matches were suspended to allow the national sport to pay respect, and quite rightly, to the Royal Family and the death of the monarch.
There were other competitions such as Test cricket, a sport less likely to stir up feelings or chants that could cause offence, which paid a very emotional tribute to the Queen by suspending her activities for 24 hours. Football had reasons to do the same, but it chose to create a space for quiet reflection and for families across the country to offer their condolences. Some of them gathered outside the gates of Balmoral, through the streets of Edinburgh and London to Buckingham Palace, to watch the cortege. Or just remember the moment Her Majesty presented our greatest ever captain Bobby Moore with the World Cup trophy. The game has now taken its hat off to the monarchy it served in the best way it knew how. Now we can resume hostilities over the management sackings and the incompetence of VAR and its officials. Suspension was a small price to pay for a sovereign who served the nation for less than 70 years.
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