After yet another great weekend of Premier League football, BBC pundit Garth Crooks has put together yet another Team of the Week and here is his starting XI.
GOALKEEPER – HUGO LLORIS (Tottenham)
I was tempted to put Norwich’s John Ruddy in, but as good as he was, four goals were put past him by Arsenal. Clean sheets are at a premium in football, and on that basis, I’m going for Hugo Lloris who provided a solid performance away at Aston Villa.
DEFENDER – NATHANIEL CLYNE (Southampton)
There’s been a lot of talk about Adnan Januzaj and whether he should play for England. Well, I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t we consider Nathaniel Clyne, who is home-grown and was every bit a match for the Belgium-born starlet? That way, we give exciting local talent every encouragement to pursue their dream to play for their country.
DEFENDER – PHIL JAGIELKA (Everton)
You know exactly what you are going to get with Phil Jagielka, and we saw it again in Everton’s 2-1 win against Hull. No heroics like Chelsea’s David Luiz, just a rock-solid performance. A real Mr Dependable.
DEFENDER – DEJAN LOVREN (Southampton)
I’d like to know precisely what manager Mauricio Pochettino is serving his players at Southampton? They have the best defensive record in the Premier League and Lovren is one of the reasons why. At no stage was the centre-back intimidated by Manchester United’s frontline in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
DEFENDER – JAN VERTONGHEN (Tottenham)
Jan Vertonghen a first-class defender who can operate anywhere across the back-four. His performance for Spurs against Aston Villa was of the highest order. He always looks composed, and is always prepaid to join in attacks as well as defend.
MIDFIELD – MESUT OZIL (Arsenal)
I thought it was Mesut Ozil who was the one who was supposed to provide Olivier Giroud with the superb crosses, not the other way around? I also thought that Ozil was the king of the assists, not a goalscorer. This consistency by Arsenal, along with the sublime football, is getting very worrying. Spurs fans should be concerned.
MIDFIELD – STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool)
What a week for the Liverpool captain. He steered England to World Cup qualification in his 107th international, before scoring his 100th Premier League goal against Newcastle. I said some time ago that Steve McClaren made the worst mistake of his managerial career by not appointing Gerrard as the England captain when he had the chance.
MIDFIELD – JONATHAN DE GUZMAN (Swansea)
He did warn Sunderland with an earlier free-kick that whistled by the upright with Keiren Westwood well beaten, so it was no surprise that when Jonathan De Guzman got a second chance he crashed a beauty past the goalkeeper. That put the Swans 2-0 and initiated the shout from the travelling support to bring back former head coach Paolo Di Canio. Nothing can be that bad.
FORWARD – ANDROS TOWNSEND (Tottenham)
What a week Andros Townsend has had. He helped his country qualify for the World Cup by running Poland ragged, and then scored his first goal in the Premier League for Tottenham by doing precisely the same thing he did to the Poles against Aston Villa.
FORWARD – SERGIO AGUERO (Manchester City)
What an asset Sergio Aguero is proving to be for Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini. I’ve criticised City’s superstars in the past for their lacklustre away performances this season, but not against West Ham. Right from the start, Yaya Toure and David Silva looked liked they meant business and supplied the service to Aguero to do the damage. When all is said and done, City might be a serious title threat after all.
FORWARD – EDEN HAZARD (Chelsea)
Whatever your thoughts on the merits of referee Anthony Taylor’s decision not to intervene in Samuel Eto’o’s controversial interception on Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall, what was impressive was Eden Hazard’s ability to take advantage of the situation. Fortunately for Mr Taylor, Hazard’s second goal had absolutely nothing to do with him.