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Garth Crooks' team of the week

Garth Crooks
By Garth Crooks

Manchester United did not falter at the Premier League summit, with Dimitar Berbatov and Antonio Valencia scoring in the win over Fulham, while Arsenal's victory at Blackpool ensured they stayed in touch with the league leaders.

But at the Reebok Stadium, Daniel Sturridge lit up the weekend with a performance which could, in my opinion, have him moving closer to the England team as a successor to Michael Owen.

Garth Crooks

ALI AL HABSI
Ali Al Habsi

Goalkeeper
Wigan

He kept Chelsea at bay for 67 minutes and would have kept a clean sheet had it not been for an infringement by Fernando Torres, who clearly impeded the Wigan keeper before Florent Malouda fired home. Luckily for Chelsea, referee Howard Webb didn't see what I, and many others, saw.

Did you know? Made nine saves this weekend, four more than any other keeper.

PATRICE EVRA
Patrice Evra

Full-back
Manchester United

A player who has found it difficult to replicate the quality of last season's performances, particularly since a woeful World Cup and rows with French officialdom. Fortunately, the full-back looked more like his old self against Fulham.

Did you know? Has missed only one of United's league matches in the last two seasons - the 0-0 draw at Sunderland in October.

JAMES COLLINS
James Collins

Centre-back
Aston Villa

When he's not being disciplined by his club or falling out with his team-mates, Collins is a very good defender. He is solid at the back and always a danger at set plays. You cannot do any better than keep a clean sheet and score the winner.

Did you know? Won 16 aerial challenges this weekend, the most in the Premier League.

ZAT KNIGHT
Zat Knight

Centre-back
Bolton

Knight gets the nod over Everton's Phil Jagielka because he saw off Carlton Cole, Frederic Piquionne and Demba Ba all in one afternoon. Knight has been a silent force at the Reebok alongside Gary Cahill and he made a couple of superb interventions to thwart the Hammers. Solid performance.

Did you know? Since his arrival, Bolton have not kept a clean sheet in any of the seven Premier League games in which he has been missing.

EMMANUEL EBOUE
Emmanuel Eboue

Full-back
Arsenal

Having witnessed Emmanuel's moments of madness in the past I'm delighted he's made my Team of the Week. He's clearly worked hard to erase the petulance in his game and has convinced his manager, Arsene Wenger, and the fans that he still has a future at Arsenal. Against Blackpool he proved it.

Did you know? His goal against Blackpool was his first shot on target of the season.

PHIL NEVILLE
Phil Neville

Midfield
Everton

He doesn't score many but when he does they are memorable. This 20-yard strike was a corker and put the game beyond Wolves. A thoroughly professional footballer with a refreshing attitude.

Did you know? Everton have not won a single league game without him playing this season: three draws and three defeats.

LUKA MODRIC
Luka Modric

Midfield
Tottenham

Spurs have signed some wonderful playmakers over the years but there cannot be many who have grit and skill in equal measure. Another top-class performance and the inspiration behind Tottenham's victory over Stoke.

Did you know? Has received 53 passes per game this season: only Michael Essien, Cesc Fabregas and Steven Gerrard have received more.

ANTONIO VALENCIA
Antonio Valencia

Midfield
Manchester United

This lad looks better every time I see him. He was sensational at Chelsea in the Champions League in midweek and his goal against Fulham was a fitting reward for his tireless efforts.

Did you know? No player set up more goalscoring chances (five) than him this weekend.

DANIEL STURRIDGE
Daniel Sturridge

Striker
Bolton Wanderers

If this lad can keep his head and the people around him can keep theirs then I believe Sturridge can be England's long-term replacement for Michael Owen. Two superbly taken goals and he should have had his hat-trick. A real fox in the box.

Did you know? Has now scored as many goals in eight Premier League games with Bolton (six) as he had in 47 league appearances before joining the Trotters.

DIMITAR BERBATOV
Dimitar Berbatov

Striker
Manchester United

Can someone please tell me how a Manchester United centre-forward with 21 league goals has gone almost unnoticed?

The country's leading goalscorer is not even in the running for player of the season. He strolled through this fixture with his usual dexterity. His touch, finish and general contribution were pure class.

Did you know? Berbatov has the second-best shot conversion rate in the Premier League this season (29.6%) only behind team-mate Javier Hernandez (34.4%).

PETER ODEMWINGIE
Peter Odemwingie

Striker
West Bromwich Albion

This Super Eagle has been flying since his debut opening goal against Sunderland last August. This time however he was involved in everything West Brom did. He put the Black Cats to the sword again and was a constant threat.

Did you know? Has scored or assisted 37% of his side's league goals this season. Only Sunderland's Asamoah Gyan (37%) and Manchester City's Carlos Tevez (50%) have been more important for their sides.



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see also
Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal
10 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Aston Villa 1-0 Newcastle
10 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Man Utd 2-0 Fulham
09 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Chelsea 1-0 Wigan
09 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Tottenham 3-2 Stoke
09 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Sunderland 2-3 West Brom
09 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Wolves 0-3 Everton
09 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Blackburn 1-1 Birmingham
09 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Bolton 3-0 West Ham
09 Apr 11 |  Premier League
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day


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