Garth Crooks' Team of the Week

Who is a candidate for manager of the season? Who could play until they're 40? Find out in Garth Crook's latest Team of the Week.

GB About: Coutinho Publish: 03/09/2022 Edit: 03/09/2022 Author: Gardener


WeekPremier League leaders Manchester City responded to Liverpool's win over West Ham by beating derby rivals Manchester United on Sunday. Arsenal defeated Watford 3-1 to move up to fourth place, while Chelsea retained third place with a 4-0 win over Burnley. Newcastle allayed relegation worries with a 2-1 win over Brighton, as did Brentford with a 3-1 win at Norwich City, but Leeds United were unable to improve their situation after manager Jesse Marsch's first game ended 1-0 -Loss to Leicester ended City. Elsewhere, Aston Villa recorded a convincing 4-0 win over Southampton and Crystal Palace beat Wolves 2-0. But what you want to know is: who made my team of the week? Kasper Schmeichel's save against Jack Harrison was decent, Daniel James' other better, but the stop with the legs from Raphinha, who had the goal in his hand with the keeper on the ground, was not only brilliant but a turning point. Schmeichel's performance against a rejuvenated Leeds was crucial. Leicester's form has been erratic of late, while Leeds have been in the mood to prove a point under new management. I wonder what Don Revie and Billy Bremner would have said about an American managing Leeds United in the top flight in what is fast becoming a relegation battle. Leicester City have kept a clean sheet for the first time since February 2021. Fabian Schar: Last week Fabian Schar scored goals, this week he's going to score them. It's the second year in a row that Schar has been my team of the week and if he keeps playing like this, he could make it my team of the season. I don't know who is advising the new owners but since arriving at St James' Park they have made all the important decisions accurately. As for Eddie Howe, he must be a contender for Manager of the Season. No team has been unbeaten in the Premier League longer than Newcastle, who have gone eight games unbeaten in the competition. Thiago Silva: Aaron Lennon had brilliantly gotten to the touchline and pulled the ball back for Wout Weghorst but the Burnley centre-forward's shot was kicked off the line by Thiago Silva. Not only did he save Edouard Mendy, who looked like he was out of position, but he also allowed Chelsea to keep a clean sheet. Whoever came up with the idea of ​​bringing Silva to Chelsea is a genius. The man is 37 and looks like he could play in the Premier League until he is 40. Chelsea have won their last three Premier League games, having won just three of their previous 11 in the competition prior to this run. Joao Cancelo: The attack on Anthony Elanga in the second half when the game started to get interesting was insistent. For a defender who doesn't know much about Manchester derbies, Joao Cancelo certainly let Elanga know he was in a game. If Aaron Wan-Bissaka struggled down the right with Phil Foden, then Cancelo had Elanga in the bag. Big games require big players but I was alarmed by Paul Pogba's poor post in this one. Manchester City completed their fifth league double against Manchester United - and the first since 2018/19. Reece James: The return of Reece James to Chelsea's starting XI was significant. Thomas Tuchel left the England international out of the starting XI in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool and Chelsea suffered as a result. Goals are invaluable on any team, and replacing goal scorers with care can get expensive. James' return to Chelsea's right flank for the injured Cesar Azpilicueta against Burnley paid off in large measure. James might not be as good on defense as the Spaniard but he gives you a lot more up front. His second-half finish and assist for Kai Havertz set the tone for an excellent away win. With five goals and six assists, Reece James is one of three English players, along with Jarrod Bowen and Mason Mount, to have scored at least five goals and five assists in the Premier League this season. When Steven Gerrard landed the Brazilian's services, he said that once the player was fully fit he would play an important role in Villa's progression and that appears to be the case. Coutinho lets players play all over the pitch. It's hard to understand why his move to Barcelona didn't pan out, but I haven't seen a player make such an impact on a Villa team since Jack Grealish. It looks like Coutinho has really replaced Grealish - and at a fraction of the cost. Coutinho for Grealish looks like a good deal from Villa. Philippe Coutinho was involved in six goals in four Premier League home games for Aston Villa. Overall, he has both scored and assisted in three of his last six home games in the competition. Kevin de Bruyne: His first goal was tucked away with utter ease, while his second was tucked away with the authority of a player who holds the Premier League title with one hand and has no intention of letting go. De Bruyne led his team onto the pitch with the colors of Ukraine in an impressive show of solidarity. I don't know if he or his teammates took inspiration from that, but they definitely played that way. De Bruyne is back at his best and with him in this mood I wouldn't bet on City winning the title if he can stay fit. Kevin de Bruyne is the fourth Manchester City player to score twice against Manchester United in a home Premier League game, after Niall Quinn (1993), Shaun Goater (2002) and Sergio Aguero (2013). Riyad Mahrez: Manchester United had every reason to walk away completely dejected at the end of this Manchester derby after what ended in real brawls. Etihad Stadium, on the other hand, bounced due to City's sheer superiority. City may be six points clear at the top of the table but Liverpool have a game on their hands and the slightest slip would let them in. Liverpool don't play the quality of football that City play but that won't stop them from getting their hands on the title given the opportunity. Only Mohamed Salah (27) has scored more goals in all competitions this season than Riyad Mahrez (21) among Premier League players. Ivan Toney: He's had a somewhat sterile streak, followed by an injury recently, but Ivan Toney came back with an impressive hat-trick against a Norwich side who have lost that bit of fizz that the arrival of Dean Smith brought to the club . This was a massive away win for Brentford and could be a turning point in their season. I was a little worried the west London club could be drawn into a relegation battle but so far they have held themselves out of the bottom three and in a place of relative safety. A punter recently asked me if I thought Brentford would stay up and I said I wasn't sure. Ivan Toney has scored all 16 penalties he has taken for Brentford in all competitions. Saturday's game marked the second time he converted two penalties in a single game for the club. Kai Havertz: To say that Kai Havertz has found his feet at Chelsea would be an understatement. The German striker not only scores goals, but also plays brilliantly. Romelu Lukaku, a centre-forward who is currently out of favor and lacking in confidence, needs to play regularly to be at his best. No Chelsea player has scored more goals in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel than Kai Havertz (13), who has struck twice in a Premier League game for the first time since May 2021. Bukayo Saka: If you're a Tottenham fan it must be excruciating Watching your local rivals continue to rack up points as they try to secure a place in the Champions League. Arsenal's last performance against Watford was enough to take all three points, but they are still showing signs of weakness in defence. The England international has grown tremendously since taking part in the European Championship and seems to be gliding through games these days. If Arsenal can't offer the youngster Champions League football, I suggest he finds it elsewhere. Bukayo Saka has been involved in 13 Premier League goals this season, more than any other player under the age of 21 (eight goals, five assists). The image of Thomas Tuchel raising his voice and staring at a reporter in response to a barrage of questions about Roman Abramovich's future at Chelsea made it clear: the press conference had a profound impact on the manager. Chelsea's owner and his alleged connection to Vladimir Putin had become a flashpoint that the media refused to ignore. If it had that impact on the manager, rest assured it had an impact on his players. The situation surrounding Chelsea Football Club and its owner had become unmanageable. A statement was released shortly before the FA Cup fifth round tie against Luton Town, confirming the club were to be sold. Tuchel answered questions about the owner's decision in his post-game interview with much more aplomb than days before, as if it had somehow punctured the ulcer. The mere fact that the Chelsea owner has still not slammed his president's actions leaves MPs with a very large stick to hit him with. What has also become abundantly clear this week is that neither the club nor Abramovich could take the pain any longer - hence the statement. So what does the future hold for Chelsea? The club is a world away from the days under Ken Bates. Buying Chelsea is one thing, but who has the disposable income to hunt the kind of trophies Abramovich hunted? The west London club have embraced a lifestyle they may no longer be able to afford.


Keywords: Chelsea, three, first, Premier League, six, Kai Havertz, Brentford, five, Ivan Toney, this season, Thomas Tuchel, Reece James, Leeds, Burnley, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, one, second, fifth, eight, fourth, 13, Bukayo Saka, London, Riyad Mahrez, De Bruyne

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