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GARTH CROOKS’ TEAM OF THE WEEK

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BBC Pundit Garth Crooks has put together his ‘Team of the Week’ after yet another exciting weekend of Premier League football.

In a weekend which saw Everton thrash Arsenal, Liverpool return to the top after both Chelsea and Manchester City winning and Chris Hoghton losing his job at Norwich City, this is the starting XI that impressed Crooks the most.

GOALKEEPER – Ben Foster (West Brom)

Ben Foster made two saves that were key to West Brom’s 1-0 win at Norwich. First he made a fabulous one-handed save from Johan Elmander’s header, and then he pushed a Robert Snodgrass free-kick on to the crossbar.

DEFENDER – Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

As Chelsea got their title push back on track by beating Stoke 3-0, Branislav Ivanovic turned in an excellent display.

DEFENDER – John Stones (Everton)
 
For the second week in succession, John Stones makes my Team of the Week. Impressive in last weekend’s 3-1 win at Fulham, the England Under-21 international was at it again in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Arsenal.
 
DEFENDER – Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)
 
Slovakia international Skrtel was more than a match for the menacing Carroll, and that was key factor in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory.
 
DEFENDER – Kieran Richardson (Fulham)
 
John Motson called it absolutely right. “What a screamer,” said the voice of football as Kieran Richardson thundered in Fulham’s opener in a 2-1 win at Aston Villa.
 
MIDFIELDER – Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
 
Few players remain as cool under pressure as Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. It’s just as well, because the pressure is mounting on his team as they chase their first league title since 1990. Twice at West Ham on Sunday, Gerrard was given the task of converting a penalty. Twice, he came up with the goods.
 
MIDFIELDER – Yaya Toure (Manchester City)
 
Just like Steven Gerrard, Yaya Toure is a man who knows how to stay calm. If you want a player to convert a vital penalty for you, Toure is a reliable bet.
 
MIDFIELDER – Willian (Chelsea)
 
This lad looks better every time I see him. I first watched him when he and his fellow Brazilian Fernandinho played a central role for Shakhtar Donetsk in a deserved Champions League group-stage victory over Chelsea last season. From that moment, I resolved to keep an eye on him.
 
MIDFIELDER – Juan Mata (Manchester United)
 
Two classy finishes by Juan Mata set up Manchester United’s fourth successive away league victory as they brushed aside Newcastle 4-0. I don’t think you will see better. And they were accompanied by a wonderful back-heel to set up Adnan Januzaj for the fourth goal.
 
FORWARD – Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace)
 
Jason Puncheon was unlucky not to make my Team of the Week last time out with his display as Crystal Palace beat Chelsea. But he was even better as Tony Pulis’s side won 3-0 at Cardiff on Saturday.
 
FORWARD – Mohamed Salah (Chelsea)
 
Salah scored the opener, before winning the penalty that led to Chelsea’s second goal as they won 3-0. Mourinho highlighted the 21-year-old’s role in the victory, and was quick to mark him out for a bright future at Stamford Bridge.
 
What are your thoughts on this team?
 
Comment below!
 
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt – @AlexsArticles

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