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Garth Crooks' team of the week

Garth Crooks
By Garth Crooks

After a sublime display at Old Trafford saw Premier League leaders Manchester City extend their advantage over rivals Manchester United to five points, City provide four players for my team of the week.

For the second week running, Norwich City and West Brom players make my 11, while Sunderland, Newcastle and Swansea are all represented, in another weekend full of controversy.

Garth Crooks

JOHN RUDDY
John Ruddy

Goalkeeper
Norwich City

For a goalkeeper who made his reputation in the lower leagues, Ruddy is fast becoming a household name in the Premier League. His save from Luis Suarez in the closing minutes of the match was sensational.

Did you know? Only Tim Krul (77.5%) has a better saves-to-shots ratio in the Premier League this season than Ruddy (75.5%).

MICAH RICHARDS
Micah Richards

Defender
Manchester City

Richards is a player who has already featured in my team of the week this season - and in this form it won't be the last time. Neither Nani nor Ashley Young could make any impression down City's right side. In the end, it was Richards who was forcing them to defend and not the other way round. He gets better with age.

Did you know? Richards has delivered four assists in the Premier League this season, two more than any other defender.

VINCENT KOMPANY
Vincent Kompany

Defender
Manchester City

Kompany said on Football Focus how much he was looking forward to playing Manchester United. What he didn't tell us was that he would be central to the best display from a Manchester City side we've seen in years, regardless of the Jonny Evans dismissal. At last, City's captaincy is in safe hands.

Did you know? Kompany has misplaced just three of his 120 passes within his own defensive third in the Premier League this season.

JONAS OLSSON
Jonas Olsson

Defender
West Bromwich Albion

For the second consecutive week Olsson makes my 11, and was the man at the centre of the controversy. Whatever you make of the altercation between the big Swede and Aston Villa's Chris Herd, you can't deny that his superb header and general contribution provided the Baggies with the platform for their victory.

Did you know? Olsson has made 54 clearances in the Premier League this season, 20 more than any other Baggies player.

YOHAN CABAYE
Yohan Cabaye

Defensive midfielder
Newcastle United

What a time to score your first goal for the club and put the Magpies level on points, for now, with credible Champions League challengers. Whether the Geordies can maintain this consistency will largely depend on whether Cabaye can steer clear of injuries. A touch of class.

Did you know? Only three Premier League players (Rooney, Defoe and Taarabt) have managed more shots on target from outside the box this season than Cabaye's six.

JOE ALLEN
Joe Allen

Midfielder
Swansea City

Allen must be still scratching his head and asking himself how on earth the Swans did not get all three points at Wolves. The 2-0 lead with six minutes to go did not reflect Swansea's dominance in this fixture - or Allen's impressive part in it.

Did you know? Allen has had more shots (four) without missing the target than any other Premier League player this season.

STEPHANE SESSEGNON
Stephane Sessegnon

Midfield
Sunderland

Sessegnon scored the first and made the second for Nicklas Bendtner at Bolton in a performance full of energy and ingenuity. The three points could not have come at a better time for Sunderland or for Steve Bruce for that matter.

Did you know? Only David Silva (28) has set up more chances in open play in the Premier League than Sessegnon's 19 this season.

DAVID SILVA
David Silva

Attacking midfielder
Manchester City

I'm beginning to run out of superlatives when expressing the quality of Silva's performances. He provided two of the best passes I've seen all season, both of which resulted in goals, and sealed his display with a goal himself. A certainty for the PFA player of the year award.

Did you know? Silva has set up the most shots in the Premier League this season (29).

ROBIN VAN PERSIE
Robin van Persie

Forward
Arsenal

It's not very often I pick someone who came on as a substitute in my team of the week. However Robin van Persie's contribution in just 23 minutes was sufficient to put Stoke to the sword and me in awe. He did it last week against Newcastle but he did it in record time this week.

Did you know? Van Persie has scored more than half (25/48) of Arsenal's Premier League goals in 2011.

RAFAEL VAN DER VAART
Rafael van der Vaart

Forward
Tottenham Hotspur

Two superbly taken goals by the Dutchman sealed Blackburn's fate and probably manager Steve Kean's. Along with Luca Modric and Emmanuel Adebayor, Van der Vaart ensured Spurs ran the show but unfortunately for the other two, Van der Vaart got the goals.

Did you know? Van der Vaart has the highest shooting accuracy in the Premier League this season (79%), with 15 of his 19 shots hitting the mark.

MARIO BALOTELLI
Mario Balotelli

Striker
Manchester City

Now I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly from this enigmatic individual. Today was certainly the good. The first of Balotelli's two goals was beautifully dispatched - supreme confidence with a splash of impudence thrown in for good measure.

Did you know? Balotelli has now scored in five consecutive appearances in all competitions.



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see also
Arsenal 3-1 Stoke
23 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Aston Villa 1-2 West Brom
22 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Blackburn 1-2 Tottenham
23 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Bolton 0-2 Sunderland
22 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Fulham 1-3 Everton
23 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Liverpool 1-1 Norwich
22 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Man Utd 1-6 Man City
24 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Newcastle 1-0 Wigan
22 Oct 11 |  Premier League
QPR 1-0 Chelsea
24 Oct 11 |  Premier League
Wolves 2-2 Swansea
23 Oct 11 |  Premier League
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day


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