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Garth Crooks' team of the week

Garth Crooks
By Garth Crooks

There were some ruthless displays this weekend with Chelsea and Manchester City giving Bolton and Blackburn some serious headaches, so it was impossible to ignore some of the star performers in those games.

But also influential were the Newcastle backline, who have once again contributed as the team's sterling start to the season continues, and a striker getting back to old ways in a result I thought was one of the most surprising.

Garth

TIM KRUL
Newcastle's Tim Krul

Goalkeeper
Newcastle

The Dutchman is flying. Much of Newcastle's start has been down to their defensive displays and Krul has been central to them. Against Wolves he was outstanding.

Did you know? Has helped Newcastle concede the fewest goals in the Premier League this season with four. Only once before have they conceded fewer goals after seven Premier League games, in 1995/96 when they finished second.

ALEKSANDAR KOLAROV
Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov

Left-back
Manchester City

At last Aleksandar has adjusted to the pace of the Premier League. He's looking much more assured and very confident in a mean City back four.

Did you know? Made nine crosses at the weekend. The rest of his team made only 13 between them.

PHIL JONES
Manchester United's Phil Jones

Centre-back
Manchester United

It's got to the stage now where I'm looking for reasons to leave the lad out of my team of the week. Jones, once again, was in commanding form against Norwich.

Did you know? Only Nani has made more successful dribbles for Manchester United in the league this season. The Portuguese has made 23 to Jones' 12.

STEVEN TAYLOR
Newcastle's Steven Taylor

Centre-back
Newcastle

My fellow BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson said on Football Focus on Saturday that Taylor is playing particularly well and against Wolves he looked very impressive. The 25-year-old is beginning to mature into a dependable performer.

Did you know? Has made the most headed clearances in the Premier League this season (50).

KYLE WALKER
Tottenham's Kyle Walker

Right-back
Tottenham

Since his return from Aston Villa on loan, he's been practically ever-present for Spurs. Quick, defends well and not afraid to get forward in search of goals. Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny helped his cause a little with the goal, but too many full-backs are frightened to have a go in the first place. Not Walker.

Did you know? Scored his first goal for Spurs. Five of Spurs' last nine league goals at home to Arsenal have come from outside the box.

BARRY BANNAN
Aston Villa's Barry Bannan

Midfield
Aston Villa

Barry was unlucky not to make the cut last week for his performance against QPR but there was no doubt this week. An inspirational performance against Wigan. Bannan seemed to be at the heart of Villa's every move. He literally ran the show.

Did you know? Has been involved in three of Aston Villa's last four league goals (two assists, one goal), and has created more chances than any Villa player this season (11).

FRANK LAMPARD
Chelsea's Frank Lampard

Midfield
Chelsea

If you are going to answer your critics do it in style. No exclusives to the press, no throwing your shirt in the dug-out or kicking water bottles when you're taken off. And certainly not refusing to come off the bench when selected. Just score goals. That usually does the trick.

Did you know? Scored his third Premier League hat-trick, and only his second - of six in his career - that didn't involve a penalty.

ADAM JOHNSON
Manchester City's Adam Johnson

Midfield
Manchester City

For every Carlos Tevez there's an Adam Johnson. He might not be in the same class but there's something to be said for players who are uncomplicated, professional and can score great goals. A player City boss Roberto Mancini can depend on.

Did you know? Johnson's goal was his first in the Premier League since April and his first away from home in the competition since December 2010.

DANIEL STURRIDGE
Daniel Sturridge

Striker
Chelsea

Last season Bolton manager Owen Coyle played a crucial part in the development of on-loan Sturridge as a top-class striker, only for the player to come back to the Reebok and help cause him high embarrassment. He held his position well on the left and was a constant menace. Sturridge now looks like a Chelsea player.

Did you know? Has scored seven goals in nine Premier League appearances at the Reebok Stadium.

MARIO BALOTELLI
Manchester City's Mario Balotelli

Striker
Manchester City

I can't make up my mind whether it's Super Mario or Stupid Mario for his antics at City to date. What I can say, with all assurance, is that if he can maintain this form, stop the antics and grow up a little City have a great asset. If he doesn't do any of the above then he really is a fool.

Did you know? Had eight shots on Saturday, though his goal was the only one of them that was on target.

ANDREW JOHNSON
Fulham's Andy Johnson

Striker
Fulham

In the 11 seasons Fulham have been in the Premier League they had never scored a Premier League hat-trick. When they finally do it, it couldn't have fallen to a more hard-working and genuine professional than Andy Johnson. He was the ace in a superb Fulham pack.

Did you know? Johnson scored as many goals in 75 minutes against QPR as he had in his last 45 Premier League games combined.



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see also
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal
02 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Bolton 1-5 Chelsea
02 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Swansea 2-0 Stoke
02 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Fulham 6-0 QPR
02 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Man Utd 2-0 Norwich
01 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Blackburn 0-4 Man City
01 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Everton 0-2 Liverpool
01 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Wolves 1-2 Newcastle
01 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Aston Villa 2-0 Wigan
01 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Sunderland 2-2 West Brom
01 Oct 11 |  Premier League
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day


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