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GARTH CROOKS’ TEAM OF THE WEEK

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After another great weekend of Premier League football, BBC Pundit Garth Crooks has picked his ‘Team of the Week’ and you can see who made the starting XI below.

GOALKEEPER – HUGO LLORIS (Tottenham)

Spurs have not had a world class goalkeeper since the days of Pat Jennings in the 1970s and Ray Clemence a decade later. Well they have now. Hugo Lloris produced a series of saves at critical times in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea when the match was in danger of going the Blues’ way.

DEFENDER – MAMADOU SAKHO (Liverpool)

I’ve watched this lad play a few times for Liverpool recently and I must say he is proving to be an excellent defender with plenty of composure. His relationship with the rest of Liverpool’s defence has been key to the Reds’ fine form. If they can keep it up, we will have to start taking Liverpool’s Champions League ambitions seriously.

DEFENDER – JOHN TERRY (Chelsea)

It’s no coincidence that when John Terry and Gary Cahill play for Chelsea as a pair they concede fewer goals than when David Luiz plays at the back with either one of them. Just why manager Jose Mourinho perseveres with the Luiz-Terry partnership when the stats speak for themselves is a mystery to me. Terry was at the heart of everything good at the back for Chelsea in the draw at White Hart Lane.

DEFENDER – STEVEN CAULKER (Cardiff City)

The centre-back kept strikers Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent quiet for the entire match during the 2-1 win against Fulham, while simultaneously posing a constant threat in the opposition box at set pieces and popping up with a goal.

DEFENDER – BRANISLAV IVANOVIC (Chelsea)

The tackle by Ivanovic on Paulinho in the first half to prevent Spurs from going 2-0 up in the London derby was superb and it transformed Chelsea’s prospects of taking something out of the game. This was another flawless performance by the Serb defender.

MIDFIELD – JACK WILSHERE (Arsenal)

If Arsenal lift the Premier League title this season, it will be down to their midfield quartet of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Mathieu Flamini and Wilshere. Their performance in the 2-1 win against Swansea was so cohesive that it was enough to make Spurs fans feel nauseous.

MIDFIELD – AARON RAMSEY (Arsenal)

This lad is in the form of his life. He is starting to display the confidence and produce the performances that I heard he was capable of when he was a trainee. For years he struggled to live up to the billing, but well done to Arsene Wenger for retaining belief in a player many, myself included, thought incapable of such impressive performances.

FORWARD – STEPHANE SESSEGNON (West Brom)

What a performance by the former Sunderland man. When he’s in the mood, he is capable of giving defences nightmares and the Benin international literally ran Manchester United ragged in the Baggies’ shock win at Old Trafford.

FORWARD – SERGE GNABRY (Arsenal)

The German youngster appears to be yet another Arsene Wenger protege destined for great things. The lad proved against Swansea that he is quick, strong and can score goals. Football Association chairman Greg Dyke suggested recently that foreign players in the Premier League are limiting the opportunities of homegrown talent. Wenger clearly thinks that if you’re good enough, you play – regardless of age or nationality.

FORWARD – MORGAN AMALFITANO (West Brom)

What a goal. Morgan Amalfitano’s strike against Manchester United at Old Trafford will go down as one of the coolest finishes of the season. The Frenchman ran from inside his own half, weaving his way past red shirts, then nutmegged Rio Ferdinand before chipping the ball over a helpless David De Gea. It doesn’t get better than that.

STRIKER – DANIEL STURRIDGE (Liverpool)

He was precocious at Man City and disgruntled at Chelsea, but you could never deny his talent. At Liverpool he has matured into a top-class striker, and he also demonstrated in the win against Sunderland just how much his general football awareness has developed at Anfield. Sturridge must lead the line for England in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

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