At the end of each round of Premier League fixtures, BBC football pundit Garth Crooks is on hand to give you his team of the week.
But who did he choose this time? Take a look and choose your own team below. As always, Garth also has his say on the game’s big talking points in Crooks of the Matter.
Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
For the second week in a row, I see myself having to choose Emiliano Martinez as my number one goalkeeper. The Argentina international has been playing out of his skin since returning from a successful World Cup. He was exceptional against Leeds and ensured Villa got three more points at Southampton.
I also notice that Unai Emery made Martinez his captain. It would appear that the added responsibility given to the World Cup winner by his manager has inspired even more confidence. Martinez is also starting to appear very comfortable with the ball at his feet and looks more like a footballer than a goalkeeper these days. I just hope he doesn’t get carried away and make the same mistake as a lot of goalkeepers who suddenly think they can play.
Chris Richards (Crystal Palace)
Newcastle United have had an incredible run in recent weeks and really should have won at Crystal Palace considering the chances they had. One of the reasons Eddie Howe’s new side didn’t snatch all three points was because of the performance of Eagles centre-back Chris Richards.
For a fee of £10m from Bayern Munich, the USA international looks like a good buy in his last two showings. He was equally impressive against Manchester United in midweek and gave Patrick Vieira’s side a real boost in defence.
Newcastle keeper Nick Pope deserves a mention at this point. The England international’s performance went head and shoulders above that of Everton’s Jordan Pickford. His one and only save against Crystal Palace and his extraordinary run of clean sheets proves it.
Oleksandre Zinchenko (Arsenal)
Oleksandr Zinchenko had an injured start to his career at Arsenal after arriving from Manchester City, but he is in fine form at the moment.
He was involved in both of Eddie Nketiah’s goals against Manchester United, while Granit Xhaka’s corner ball to play Martin Odegaard was simply delightful.
Arsenal haven’t had such an effective left-back since the days of Ashley Cole. Zinchenko played a major role in transforming Mikel Arteta’s team. Pep Guardiola let the Ukrainian defender go to Arsenal and possibly let the Premier League title go with him.
Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
Chelsea should have wrapped up their game against Liverpool in the first half of what was really a pretty lackluster goalless draw.
Graham Potter’s team sports a number of new imports, of which Mykhailo Mudryk is one.
The Ukraine international was quick, had two good feet, had awareness but didn’t look too good in front of goal. I hope for Chelsea’s sake that he is not another Timo Werner, who had what it takes to be a great striker but couldn’t finish.
Club owner Todd Boehly, in his bid to make an impact on the English game, must be careful not to let his club become known as ‘webuyanyone.com’. Fortunately, the Blues have Thiago Silva at the back for them and at the tender age of 38 he still looks imperious. The best teams are carefully made, not bought.
Cristian Romero (Tottenham)
In their current circumstances, it was a very important three-pointer for Tottenham at Fulham. After losing at home to Aston Villa and then suffering the humiliation of being well and truly beaten by their north London rivals, Spurs needed a result against Fulham at Craven Cottage – and a clean sheet yet. more.
The fact that they both illustrated some of the character that was missing in previous matches. A player with bottle packs is Romero. The Argentine World Cup winner has the kind of bite to his game that forwards hate. He left his mark on Aleksandar Mitrovic a few times and provided the Tottenham defense with steel and class in equal measure.
Jarrod Bowen (West Ham)
If you’ve scored just one goal in your last five Premier League away matches and find yourself trailing 2-0 after just 40 minutes, it’s fair to assume you have a problem. Everton are in serious trouble both on and off the pitch and Jarrod Bowen’s goalscoring instinct for West Ham has just jettisoned Frank Lampard from his job and catapulted the Toffees into more turmoil.
If Everton are to survive this season, their fans will have a huge role to play. They can start by getting rid of banners insisting on the removal of executives from their board, making Goodison Park a special place for their team to play again, and a fear of teams visiting the stadium. That’s what special fans do.
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
I’ve spent the last two weeks singing the praises of Luke Shaw as a centre-back. He moves to his preferred position and the full-back is torn apart by Bukayo Saka. Why Shaw never insisted he get help from Scott McTominay, I’ll never know. Saka was in excellent form and made United pay for Shaw’s defensive shortcomings.
Playing as a central defender is certainly very different from playing as a full-back. First of all you are isolated and if you can’t handle your wingman you are exposed. By the end of the match, Shaw looked like he was put to the test.
Thomas Partey (Arsenal)
He was outstanding against Spurs and still hasn’t made my team of the week. Thomas Partey didn’t have his best game for Arsenal against Manchester United but he was as solid as a rock. The Ghana international has arguably been Arsenal’s most consistent player this season.
There have been plenty of stars in the league leaders’ ranks, but few have played as consistently as Partey. The biggest challenge Mikel Arteta now faces is: can he keep his most important players injury-free?
He can’t control what happens in games, but he can regulate what happens in training. If the Gunners can manage their resources as well as they have managed their performance, then they are close to completing what is already a formidable title chase.
Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
Manchester City beating Wolves at home is nothing less than I expected. Erling Haaland also didn’t score a hat-trick in the same game. While that comment may sound dismissive, the reality is anything but City draws immediate criticism from a side set to win the title.
The Carabao Cup was a distraction, to tell the truth. The Champions League is a priority and City are in the round of 16 again in a competition they have never won. So back-to-back wins over Spurs and Wolves demonstrated that losing to Manchester United in the derby was a blow and that they still have their sights set on the title and the Champions League. Haaland holds the key to both.
Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal)
I honestly thought the loss of Gabriel Jesus to injury would have a devastating effect on Arsenal’s title chances. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Jesus was in sparkling form before his injury at the World Cup, but ever since the day Eddie Nketiah entered the Arsenal squad to replace Jesus, he has been in stunning goalscoring form.
His goals-per-game ratio is off the charts. The striker has scored seven goals in his last seven games and would have added to that tally had it not been for David de Gea’s brilliant goalkeeper on Sunday. What Arteta does when Jesus is fit is anyone’s guess, but if he were to play 4-4-2 with Jesus and Nketiah up front as a partnership, it’s game over.
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
It’s a difficult time for Tottenham Hotspur and especially Harry Kane. Spurs are overshadowed by their north London rivals, while speculation surrounds the England captain over a potential move to Manchester United.
None of this, however, seemed to bother him against Fulham. His goal was of the highest quality as he left Tim Ream in the corner in place before kicking the ball past a stranded Bernd Leno.
If Kane were to leave Tottenham for Old Trafford it would cause a major storm and put the club’s ownership under pressure and the manager’s position in doubt. Read more about my thoughts on the relationship between the manager and his board members at Spurs in the Crooks of the Matter below.
The material crooks
Antonio Conte said after the loss to Manchester City that he believed his Tottenham side were not ready to be at the top. He’s been in the job for almost 18 months and he’s only getting it now?
He went on to say he felt somewhat isolated and was the only one who had to explain the difficulties he was having managing Spurs. Who else is he waiting to explain his decisions? Does he expect Daniel Levy to leave the boardroom and conduct the post-match interview and defend Conte’s managerial selections?
I don’t know how much Spurs are paying the Italian, but it will be a princely sum to pick the team, manage fan expectations and explain to the media why his side are losing goals.
Although I was a huge admirer of Conte, the Italian seems to be a shadow of the man who won the Premier League title with Chelsea in 2017. Tottenham players don’t seem to react to his methods the way they did when he arrived.
In addition, his judgment was challenged. Hugo Lloris should have been replaced months ago when the selection of 20-year-old Pape Matar Sarr for his first North London derby against Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka was unimaginable.
I’m afraid Conte has given up and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he ends up walking.