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Garth Crooks' team of the week

Garth Crooks
By Garth Crooks

The blue side of Manchester continues to dominate the Premier League as Roberto Mancini's men staved off an audacious attempt by Queens Park Rangers to deprive them of a ninth win of the campaign.

Only two City players make my Team of the Week, while players from Bolton, Aston Villa and Arsenal all make the team amid the occasional surprise.

Garth

MICHEL VORM
Swansea's Michel Vorm

Goalkeeper
Swansea

An outstanding display of shot-stopping and counter-attack awareness from the Swansea keeper, leaving Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish to moan about his Kop flops . King Kenny might be frustrated with his team's inability to score goals but he could at least give the Swans some credit.

Did you know? He has kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (five).

RYAN TAYLOR
Newcastle's Ryan Taylor

Left-back
Newcastle United

So the Magpies are soaring high , helped by another magnificent strike from Ryan Taylor. The Newcastle full-back immediately dedicated his goal to his newborn son Henry. I hope he doesn't follow his dad and end up supporting Liverpool!

Did you know? Six of his eight Premier League goals have come from outside the box.

THOMAS VERMAELEN
Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen

Centre-back
Arsenal

It's not that often Arsenal have kept a clean sheet this season but when they do it's even more special when one of their centre-backs adds to the goal tally. Solid at the back and deserved to score his first goal for the club since February 2010.

Did you know? He has started under half of Arsenal's PL games since his debut (41/87), but Arsenal have conceded 1.05 goals per game when he has started, compared to 1.35 without him.

JOE RILEY
Bolton's Joe Riley

Right-back
Bolton Wanderers

When a manager relies on a 20-year-old to make his Premier debut against a team like Stoke, then he must be either extremely talented or very tough. Based on all the evidence, and Bolton's impressive 5-0 romp , he is both. An excellent debut.

Did you know? He is the youngest player to start for Bolton in the Premier League since Rodrigo Moreno in January.

YAYA TOURE
Man City's Yaya Toure

Defensive Midfield
Manchester City

The silent assassin comes to the rescue for league leaders Manchester City for the second time in four days. His display in the Champions League was impressive enough but to return from Spain and finish off the west Londoners in this thriller was very impressive. A man for all seasons.

Did you know? He has made the most passes in the Premier League this season (767), five more than Swansea's Angel Rangel (762).

GARETH BALE
Tottenham's Gareth Bale

Left Midfield
Tottenham Hotspur

The Welsh wing wizard with the deadly left foot scored one and made one . He's enjoying his best form of the season now, showing his undoubted quality and turning in some lung-busting displays after a quiet start.

Did you know? Only David Silva (33) has created more chances from open play in the PL this season (20).

DAVID SILVA
Man City's David Silva

Attacking Midfield
Manchester City

Another masterful display of pure artistry by the Spaniard, who combines brilliantly with Yaya Toure. Silva is so comfortable on the ball he could peel an orange with his feet!

Did you know? He has already equalled his PL goal tally from last season (four), and is just one short of reaching his assist tally from 2010/11 (seven).

MIKEL ARTETA
Arsenal's Mikel Arteta

Right Midfield
Arsenal

It's not easy to come into a team where you are expected to fill the shoes of Cesc Fabregas. Whilst not in that class, he has the ability to open up defences and score goals. That said he's not a bad replacement and showed his class for Arsenal's third goal.

Did you know? Since arriving at Arsenal he has made the most passes per 90 minutes of any Premier League player (79.6) and has created the most chances in the PL this season for the Gunners (20).

ROBIN VAN PERSIE
Arsenal's Van Persie

Forward
Arsenal

For the fourth consecutive week Van the Man has made it into my team of the week. I've been looking for reasons to leave the flying Dutchman out but he's in such breathtaking form I can't. The only problem for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger now is what happens if he gets injured.

Did you know? Without van Persie goals or assists, Arsenal would have won just five league games in 2011 (actually 14).

KEVIN DAVIES
Bolton's Kevin Davies

Striker
Bolton

At last Kevin's season has started, and boy did Bolton boss Owen Coyle need a performance from the big man. He led the line as though he was back to his best. If he continues to play like this then the Trotters have every chance of staying in the division.

Did you know? He has ended a run in which Bolton had lost the last three league games when he had found the net.

GABBY AGBONLAHOR
Villa's Gabby Agbonlahor

Striker
Aston Villa

Aston Villa's local lad ripped the heart out of a credible Norwich performance. Two assists for his strike partner Darren Bent and a well-taken goal just for good measure made him the difference between the two teams. If their relationship continues to grow, then boss Alex McLeish may find himself in a European place at the end of the season.

Did you know? Despite starting every league game this season, he has had just eight shots on target so far, but has scored five goals. He has participated directly in 56% (9/16) of Villa's league goals this season.



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see also
Arsenal 3-0 West Brom
05 Nov 11 |  Premier League
Aston Villa 3-2 Norwich
05 Nov 11 |  Premier League
Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea
05 Nov 11 |  Premier League
Bolton 5-0 Stoke
06 Nov 11 |  Premier League
Fulham 1-3 Tottenham
06 Nov 11 |  Premier League
Liverpool 0-0 Swansea
05 Nov 11 |  Premier League
Man Utd 1-0 Sunderland
05 Nov 11 |  Premier League
Newcastle 2-1 Everton
06 Nov 11 |  Premier League
QPR 2-3 Man City
05 Nov 11 |  Premier League
Wolves 3-1 Wigan
06 Nov 11 |  Premier League
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day


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