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Garth Crooks' team of the week

Garth Crooks
By Garth Crooks

Manchester City receive three selections in my Team of the Week after they brushed aside Aston Villa to go two points clear of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

Chelsea remain in contention but it is players from Blackburn, Norwich and Bolton who capture my attention this week.


Man Utd's De Gea

Manchester United

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was the first to congratulate the Manchester United goalkeeper on a fine performance. The point blank save from Luis Suarez in the first half and a string of memorable saves after the break kept them in the game.

Did you know? Has made five more saves than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League this season (36), and has the highest saves-to-shots ratio (86%).

Chelsea's Cole


When a defender is influential in both boxes in equal measure you know he's an exceptional player. His sortie and pin-point cross down the left for Sturridge to nod home was another indication that Ashley is back to his best.

Did you know? Has the highest passing accuracy of any full-back in the Premier League this season (90.2%).

West Brom's Olsson

West Brom

The big Swede played like a giant against the Wolves. His block on the line was sensational and epitomised the spirit engendered by Roy Hodgson. Big win for the Baggies.

Did you know? Since the start of last season, West Brom have conceded 1.5 goals per game with him playing in the Premier League, compared to 2.3 without him.

Blackburn's Samba


We know he's big, strong and imposing but his goal against QPR was out of the top drawer. Another commanding performance by the Blackburn captain and keeps Steve Kean in a job . Well, at least for another week!

Did you know? Made more touches in the opposition box than any player in the Premier League this weekend (10), while only Chris Eagles (four) managed more shots on target (three).

Man City's Richards

Manchester City

The Manchester City defender is having a great season and his surging runs on the right had Villa on the back foot all game. I've been really impressed with his all-round contribution all season.

Did you know? Has set up more goals (three) than any other Premier League defender this season.

Norwich's Pilkington

Left Midfield

This lad has be on the verge of my TOTW a number of times this season without having made it. He would have made it against Man Utd had he not had a moment of stage fright when through on goal. Not so against Swansea. Took both goals extremely well.

Did you know? Was his first brace in the league since the opening day of his League One campaign with Huddersfield last year (v Notts County).

Man City's Milner

Manchester City

Another Man City player who gets on with the job, works extremely hard for the team and is not high maintenance. Fabulous goal and no histrionics. Take note Balotelli!

Did you know? Has already scored twice for City in the Premier League this season, having failed to find the net in 32 games in 2010/11.

Bolton's Eagles


Bolton have had a difficult time of it lately but Eagles' performance against a Wigan defence bearing too many gifts has eased their worries. The former Man Utd winger is starting to look like the player Owen Coyle wanted in the first place.

Did you know? Attempted the joint-most dribbles (nine, with Victor Moses) in the Premier League this weekend.

Man City's Johnson

Right Midfield

Manchester City

He might not be the most exciting or glamorous player on City's books but he is dependable, consistent and capable of scoring goals like he did against Villa . Nice to see a touch of predictability in a team full of surprises.

Did you know? Has scored in back-to-back Premier League appearances for the first time.

Liverpool's Gerrard



It's just great to have him back playing in that red shirt again. Slowly coming back to the boil - and helped by Ryan Giggs not doing his job in the wall. A must to take over Rooney's role for England in the Euros.

Did you know? Has played 1,922 minutes of Premier League football against Man Utd, more than against any other side, netting five goals in this period.

Arsenal's Van Persie


I can't help feeling that if anything should happen to Van Persie then Arsenal would be in considerable more difficulty than they are at the moment . I suggest they wrap the Dutchman in cotton wool. Two well-taken goals.

Did you know? Has scored 23 goals in 25 Premier League games in 2011, six more than any other player (Rooney, 19).

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see also
Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland
16 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Chelsea 3-1 Everton
15 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Liverpool 1-1 Man Utd
15 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Man City 4-1 Aston Villa
15 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Newcastle 2-2 Tottenham
17 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Norwich 3-1 Swansea
15 Oct 11 |  Premier League
QPR 1-1 Blackburn
15 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Stoke 2-0 Fulham
15 Oct 11 |  Premier League
West Brom 2-0 Wolves
16 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Wigan 1-3 Bolton
15 Oct 11 |  Premier League
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day

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