Garth Crooks’ Team of the Week: Who is playing like a future Ballon d’Or winner?

Garth Crooks

At the end of every Premier League weekend, BBC football expert Garth Crooks will be on hand to introduce his Team of the Week.

But who chose this time? Take a look and choose your own team. As always, Garth will have his say on the game’s big talking points in The Crooks of the Matter.

Team of the weekA goal keeper

Ederson (Manchester City)

I will state before I go any further that there are many goalkeepers in the modern era who I think are very mediocre. This may have something to do with the fact that I grew up in the age of Gordon Banks, Pat Jennings, Peter Shelton, Ray Clemens, Joe Corrigan, and Phil Parks; I can go on.

Most modern goalkeepers punch the ball when they should catch it and try to catch it when they should. Ederson, Alison and David de Gea are the exceptions.

Ederson, like all goalkeepers, is capable of making a strange mistake or poor performance but wins more matches for his team than he loses. His save from Leicester’s Yuri Tillmans on Saturday was another classic example.


Diogo Dalot (Manchester United)

The longer this match went on, the more Manchester United had to dig in against a very determined West Ham. I don’t like witch hunts, and Harry Maguire has been exposed to quite a few people, but he stuck with his nerves. He passed the test against the Hammers as did Lisandro Martinez, who gave another stellar performance and his style of play reminds me of former Scotland defender Martin Buchan.

David de Gea played his part despite all the saves I would expect a goalkeeper of his class to make. The real star of the show was Diogo Dalot. If there was a header to do, he made it. He defended brilliantly and in very difficult times. United are now just one point outside the top four and look like a proper team again.

Ben Mee (Brentford)

Ben Mee’s goal against Wolverhampton was worthy of recognition, which is why he chose me. At times, defenders inspired moments in the opponent’s penalty area and Mai’s finishing touch was as intentional as it was brilliant. Why Mee got into the fight with Diego Costa is another matter entirely. Costa is notorious for being fickle, so Mai knew what he was up to.

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As for Costa, to drop his head in Mei’s face, he was asking for trouble but then Brentford’s heart dropping like a stone seemed weak. If the middle half wants to get into a fight, do so by all means but do so with some dignity.

Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)

I always thought Aymeric Laporte was the younger partner of Robin Dias – well, not anymore. Laporte has become a very reliable defender for Manchester City with or without Dias by his side. The Spaniard has taken some time to find his feet in a team that carries no passengers. He now looks like a real bargain and was instrumental in City’s clean sheet against the very dangerous Leicester City. With Laporte, Dias, John Stones, Nathan Ake, and new star Manuel Akanji to choose from, they look almost impenetrable.


Crecencio Summerville (Leeds)

Boy, does Leeds need these three points. No one expected that they would get it at Anfield, but they not only had it, they deserved it. The certainty of Crysencio Summerville was the kind of influence that Liverpool never expected. The 21-year-old Leeds midfielder couldn’t get a better birthday present than scoring the winning goal.

Liverpool have lost 19 points so far in the league already this season and the fact that they only managed to lose 22 points in the whole of last season should tell us something.

This team has played a lot of football over the past three years and the new boys have not had the impact some expected, especially since the departure of Sadio Mane.

Thomas Partey (Arsenal)

Thomas Partey has been in great shape with the Gunners this season, but has often found himself playing second fiddle in my picks for the likes of Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard. Well, not so against Nottingham Forest.

The Ghana international was the same as the natural flex but added a superb goal for what was an impressive performance. To be fair to the player, he has scored goals like this before.

Barty has the grit and steel of former Arsenal legend Peter Storey and the daring strength of David Price. Arsenal fans of a certain age will know exactly what I’m talking about.

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Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Manchester City appears to be one of the few clubs to have coped with the demands of the Champions League football while maintaining some semblance of a higher level at the same time. Chelsea suffered a heavy blow, while Liverpool suffered a very uncomfortable defeat at home. Of course, none of their teams had Kevin De Bruyne in their ranks.

The best player in the world right now took a free kick with such poison that he kissed the post and hit the net while Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward was still hanging in the air trying to get it. It’s time for this most amazing player to win the Champions League and with him the Golden Ball.

Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)

Nottingham Forest have fallen to the ground with a bump at Arsenal, having enjoyed a bit of a high life after beating Liverpool last week. Arsenal put five goals against Forrest and it would have been the number 10. At one point it looked as if Arsenal were creating their chances.

Martin Odegaard walked around the Emirates Stadium and did most of Arsenal’s attacks and seemed very grounded and cultured while doing so. This victory brings Arsenal back to the top of the league with two games to play before the World Cup break.

With a bit of luck, that should break their momentum.


Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Scoring 100 goals for Manchester United is a big deal. Marcus Rashford has worked hard in recent months to maintain his regular spot at United ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Against West Ham, Rashford looked like a player who not only worked hard, but regained his confidence.

The question now is can Gareth Southgate trust the striker – should he be included in the last 26 players in the England squad – to produce the goods for his country? He’d be a brave man if he left him outside.

Callum Wilson (Newcastle)

If you had any doubts about Newcastle United’s performance against Tottenham last week, you can rest assured that it was no luck after they completely destroyed Aston Villa at St James’ Park.

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Callum Wilson scored in both games and appears to be a perfect fit for a team moving into places under Eddie Howe.

This latest victory takes the Magpies into the top four and they did so with minimal fanfare – rather reflective of their manager’s personality. I’ve never seen Wilson as a striker in the top four, but that’s where his team is at the moment and I wouldn’t bet they stay there at that level.

Leandro Trossard (Brighton)

There appears to be some suggestion that Graham Potter owes Brighton fans an apology for leaving the AMEX stadium for Stamford Bridge all of a sudden. Apology – why? Brighton fans must think they are very fortunate to have owned Potter for their entirety. He was known in football circles that he turned down a number of offers before succumbing to the temptation of Chelsea.

The problem the Seagulls now have is can they hold on to Leandro Trossard, who wrecked Chelsea and made it extremely uncomfortable for Potter on his return to his old club. It’s not unusual for good players to end up at bigger clubs – or managers for that matter.

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Fraudsters of the article

I see that the Qatari national team issued a collective statement against Qatar’s human rights record, becoming the first team in the 2022 World Cup to do so. The video message criticizes the World Cup hosts’ treatment of migrant workers and LGBT people. I would find the ad more persuasive if Australia’s treatment of Indigenous Australians over the years had not been so appalling.

The Australians qualified for the World Cup, but I would suggest that if they are too saddened by the way the Qataris are running their country, I can make a modest proposal – don’t go!

In fact, boycotting the World Cup and not playing would have been a much bigger statement and support their conviction much more than mere platitudes. After all, they wouldn’t win the championship, so why go if you feel strong about it?

Choose your eleven from our list and share with your friends.


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