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GARTH CROOKS’ TEAM OF THE WEEK

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With the weekend over it is time for BBC pundit Garth Crooks to reveal his Team of the Week, and this week, Newcastle United seem to have impressed as he has included three of their players from the 1-0 victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

Here is Crooks’ Team of the Week.

GOALKEEPER – JOHN RUDDY (Norwich)

I must be honest and say that this was not an outstanding weekend for goalkeepers. But of all the performers I thought John Ruddy’s performance in Norwich’s 2-0 win at the Hawthorns was the most significant. The Canaries had previously only won one of their seven league matches away from home this season and that had put the team and their manager Chris Hughton under tremendous pressure. To win in the manner they did and not concede says volumes about the commitment of the players to their manager. Everything Ruddy did was utterly professional.

DEFENDER – KYLE WALKER (Tottenham)

It was another impressive performance from the England full-back in Tottenham’s 2-1 win at rejuvenated Sunderland. The Spurs defender stood resolute in defence and was full of running in attack. Walker seems to be showing a lot of maturity in his game these days.

DEFENDER – FABRICIO COLOCCINI (Newcastle)

You have to hand it to Alan Pardew. He kept Coloccini when the Argentina international wanted away from Newcastle and now the centre-back seems to be playing better than ever.

DEFENDER – MIKE WILLIAMSON (Newcastle)

Manchester United’s forward line was no match for Newcastle’s central defence partnership as Alan Pardew’s side claimed a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. Admittedly Williamson might be the junior partner but the more Man United huffed and puffed the more formidable Williamson appeared to get.

DEFENDER – JOHN ARNE RIISE (Fulham)

It has been a while since John Arne Riise got in to my team of the week and that may tell you a little about Fulham’s fortunes over the past few months. However, under new coach Rene Meulensteen, the Norwegian defender looks born again and Fulham’s prospects look infinitely better.

MIDFIELDER – YOHAN CABAYE (Newcastle)

Another player Alan Pardew might have lost earlier in the season but managed to persuade to stay. Now here’s a question, do Manchester United buy Cabaye for £10m or Marouane Fellaini for £27.5m? Both were available in the summer. I must say Cabaye strikes me more of a Manchester United player than Fellaini but David Moyes clearly knows best.

MIDFIELDER – LEROY FER (Norwich)

He played an exquisite ball for Gary Hooper to open the scoring for the Canaries before sealing all the three points himself with a brilliantly-produced solo effort and a rare away win. Chris Hughton had to spend a lot of money to take Fer to Carrow Road and the Dutchman is starting to repay some of the transfer fee and has increased Hughton’s job security.

MIDFIELDER – SCOTT PARKER (Fulham)

Thank goodness Fulham have Scott Parker. It was Parker primarily along with Steve Sidwell who secured the 2-0 win over Aston Villa for the Cottagers. Of course it is always nice when your best players like Dimitar Berbatov turn up but you can not beat the boys who, come rain or shine, produce a performance, don’t sulk and put the team first. Scott Parker is the man for all seasons.

FORWARD – ANDRE SCHURRLE (Chelsea)

There was only one ray of hope in the entire Chelsea performance in their 3-2 defeat at Stoke and that was Andre Schurrle. He scored two and the crossbar stopped him from getting his hat-trick. Why Mourinho felt compelled to substitute the Germany international with so much at stake was laughable only for the Chelsea boss to argue in his defence that the player was injured. Schurrle without doubt was the best man on the park, injured or not.

FORWARD – CAMERON JEROME (Crystal Palace)

This might be a first team of the week selection for Cameron Jerome, not that he will be the least bit concerned about that. However, what he should note is the impact he is having on not just the entire Crystal Palace team but his strike partner Marouane Chamakh. I saw the pair run West Ham ragged on Monday night and in the 2-0 win over Cardiff at the weekend. If Jerome keeps this up he might find himself be my team more often and help keep Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

FORWARD – LUIS SUAREZ (Liverpool)

I was asked the question on Final Score who I thought was the better player out of Luis Suarez or Sergio Aguero. Originally I couldn’t choose between them but after some considerable thought I went for Aguero. Having studied Suarez performance in the 4-1 victory against West Ham I reserve the right to change my mind.

What are your thoughts? Comment your starting XI below!

Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt – @AlexsArticles

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