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 pundit Garth Crooks can give you his team of the week.

But who did he choose this time? View and select your own team. As always, Garth gives his take on the big talking points in The Crooks of the Matter.

Team of the weekgoalkeeper

Ederson (Manchester City)

Before I go any further I will declare that there are a lot of goalkeepers these days that I think are pretty average. It might have something to do with the fact that I grew up in an era of Gordon Banks, Pat Jennings, Peter Shilton, Ray Clemens, Joe Corrigan, Phil Parkes. I could go on.

Most modern goalkeepers punch the ball when they have to, and try to hold it when they are punched. Ederson, Alisson and David De Gea are out.

Ederson, like any goalkeeper, can make the odd mistake or poor performance, but he wins more games for his team than he loses. His save from Leicester’s Youri Tielemans on Saturday is another great example.


Diogo Dalot (Manchester United)

As this game went on, Manchester United had to dig in against a very determined West Ham. I don’t like witch hunts and Harry Maguire has been subjected to quite a few but he’s got his nerve. He stood up to the challenge against the Hammers, as did another star performance from Lisandro Martinez, and his style of play reminds me of former Scotland defender Martin Buchan.

I expected David de Gea to make every save he made. The real star of the show was Diogo Dalot. If there is a header to make, make it. He defended beautifully and sometimes in very difficult situations. United are now just one point outside the top four and look like a decent team again.

Ben Mee (Brentford)

Ben Mee’s goal against Wolves deserved credit, which is why he’s my pick. Sometimes the defenders provoked moments in the opposition’s penalty area and Beme’s finish was deliberate. Why she is involved in a dispute with Diego Costa is another matter. Costa has a reputation for flexibility, so Mi knew what he was getting into.

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Costa dropping his head in Me’s face would have taken a toll, but the Brentford centre-back looked weak from that stone. If he wants to get involved in a mid-range battle, then by all means do it with some dignity.

Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)

I often thought Aymeric Laporte was Ruben Dias Jr.’s partner – well, not anymore. Laporte has been a very reliable defender with Manchester City, despite not having Diaz by his side. It took the Spaniard a while to find his footing in a team that carries no passengers. He now looks like the real deal and was instrumental in City’s goal against the very dangerous Leicester City. With Laporte, Diaz, John Stones, Nathan Ake and new star player Manuel Akanji looking unstoppable.


Crescencio Summerville (Leeds)

Boy, Leeds wanted those three points. No one expected to find them at Anfield, but not only did they, they deserved it. Crescencio Summerville certainly made an impact that Liverpool didn’t expect. The 21-year-old Leeds midfielder couldn’t have had a better birthday present than scoring the winning goal.

Liverpool have dropped 19 points in the league so far and the fact that they only dropped 22 points in the competition last season should tell us something.

This team has played terrible football in the last three years and the new men, especially after the departure of Sadio Mane, have not made the impact that some expected.

Thomas Partey (Arsenal)

Thomas Partey has been in great form for the Gunners this season but has been playing second fiddle to the likes of Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard in my selection. Well, not so at Nottingham Forest.

The Ghana international was his usual strong self but added a stunning goal to an impressive performance. To be fair to the player, he has scored goals like this before.

Partey owns the running power of former Arsenal legend Peter Storey and David Price. Arsenal fans know exactly what I’m talking about.

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Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Manchester City seem to be one of the few clubs who have accepted the offer of Champions League football and at the same time remain in top form. Liverpool suffered an embarrassing defeat at home and Chelsea were hammered. Of course, none of their teams have Kevin De Bruyne in their squad.

The best player in the world at this moment’s free kick kissed the post and hit the back of the net before Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward tried to get his hands on it. This is the time when this great player won the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or.

Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)

Nottingham Forest enjoyed a bit of the high life after beating Liverpool last week and came down to earth with a thump against Arsenal. The Gunners were 5 goals past Forest and could have been 10. At one level, Arsenal seemed to create chances whenever they wanted.

Martin Odegaard roamed around the Emirates Stadium, carrying out most of Arsenal’s attacks and looking very composed and disciplined as he did so. This win will take Arsenal back to the top of the league with two games to go before the World Cup break.

With a little luck, that should break their momentum.

in the future

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Scoring 100 goals for Manchester United is a big deal. Marcus Rashford has worked hard in recent months to secure his regular place in United’s squad ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the West Ham game, Rashford looked like a player who had not worked hard but had grown in confidence.

The question now is, can Gareth Southgate trust the striker – who should be included in England’s final 26 squad – to produce the goods for his country? It would be a brave person to leave him.

Callum Wilson (Newcastle)

If you had any doubts about Newcastle United’s performance against Tottenham, you can rest assured that there were none after they destroyed Aston Villa at St James’ Park.

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Callum Wilson scored in both games and looks the perfect fit for Eddie Howe’s side.

This last win took the Magpies into the top four and made little noise – rather it shows the character of their manager. I never see Wilson as a top four striker but that’s where the team is at the moment and I wouldn’t bet on them staying there on this form.

Leandro Trossard (Brighton)

There appears to be a proposal to apologize to Brighton fans for Graham Potter’s sudden departure from the Amex Stadium to Stamford Bridge. Sorry – why? Brighton fans should consider themselves very lucky to have Potter. It was known in football circles that he turned down several offers before succumbing to interest from Chelsea.

The Seagulls’ current problem is that they could hang up Leandro Trossard, who has devastated Chelsea, and makes it very uncomfortable for Potter to return to his former club. It’s not uncommon for good players to end up at big clubs – or managers.

Short delivery gray line

The fraudsters of the case

I have seen the Socceroos issue a joint statement, becoming the first team at the 2022 World Cup to protest Qatar’s human rights record. The video message criticized the treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people by World Cup hosts. I would have found the ad more interesting if Australia’s treatment of Aboriginal Australians over the years had not been so horrific.

The Aussies have qualified for the World Cup but I would suggest that if you are so angry at the way the Qataris are running their country – don’t go!

In fact, dropping out and not playing in the World Cup makes a bigger statement and supports their guilt more than memorabilia. After all, they won’t win the race, so why go if you feel so strongly?

Choose your XI from our list and share it with your friends.


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