At the end of each round of Premier League fixtures, BBC football pundit Garth Crooks will be 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. And, as always, Garth will have his say on the game’s big talking points in Crooks of the Matter.
David de Gea (Manchester United)
Manchester United faced very different Wolves at Molineux on Saturday, and it turned out. Wanderers are becoming a tough team to beat under new manager Julen Lopetegui, but Manchester United too with David de Gea in this form.
A superb free-kick from Ruben Neves was brilliantly stopped by the impressive De Gea when he was still a goalkeeper. And while much attention will be given to Marcus Rashford’s winner and why he was dropped for the game, it was De Gea’s close-range save to deny Raul Jimenez who actually won them the match.
De Gea didn’t go to the World Cup with Spain and it looks like he enjoyed the rest.
Ethan Pinnock (Brentford)
I remember giving Ethan Pinnock a hard time for his performance in their 4-0 thrashing at Aston Villa in October. In fact, I thought the defender looked out of his depth and said so.
Since then, I couldn’t help but notice that Thomas Frank continued to select the Jamaica international as Brentford’s results started to improve. Managers only trust players they can trust and Frank clearly has no problem trusting Pinnock.
The centre-back has been around since the Villa Park defeat and was instrumental in the victory at West Ham. On reflection, I think I may have been slightly wrong in my assessment of Mr. Pinnock. He is certainly no longer out of his depth.
Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
Thiago Silva is on my team of the week not only because Chelsea faced all the aggression and physical Nottingham Forest thrown at them, but also because of his composure.
The veteran Brazil international appears to be playing the game at his own pace, refusing to be pushed around and being utterly unfazed. Granted, he’s been playing for a very long time and with some of the best players in the world, so he knows a thing or two about the game.
However, what never ceases to amaze me is how well he seems to fit in with every team he has played for. It is low maintenance for any potential handler and model professional. I see all the qualities of a future manager in Silva and one day even another Carlo Ancelotti.
Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
I knew Luke Shaw was quick but I hadn’t seen the defender come into play in the same way he needed to in his new central role.
Manchester United’s clean sheet against Wolves was nothing short of expected as far as I was concerned but, against a side with a renewed goal and an attack led by Diego Costa, it was a different matter altogether.
Two clean sheets in two games took United back into the top four and meanwhile Lisandro Martinez, the man Shaw replaced, is still recovering from Argentina’s World Cup victory. The way Shaw plays, I suggest Martinez take his time. There is no emergency.
Emiliano Buendía (Aston Villa)
When will Spurs get a top-notch keeper? The one who can save the team’s points and not cost them games? People keep telling me he won a World Cup so he must be good. France won the World Cup despite Hugo Lloris not because of him.
Sunday’s shot from Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz was routine save for a decent goalkeeper, but Lloris’ lack of focus caused the ball to bounce off his chest and allow the excellent Buendia to bite the cherry.
Don’t get me wrong, this Tottenham defeat against Villa is even more atrocious as their north London rivals sit seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table at the start of the new year.
Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa)
John McGinn’s assist for Villa’s second against Spurs was matched only by the finishing touch provided by Douglas Luiz. The Brazilian midfielder was extremely impressive throughout this encounter.
Unai Emery’s arrival has undoubtedly served to galvanize Villa, but Spurs are starting games desperately slowly these days and are suffering as a result.
Something is wrong at Tottenham at the moment and I’m starting to wonder if Antonio Conte is the right person to fix it.
There was a distinct lack of urgency, passion and defensiveness in the Tottenham Hotspur base. I’ve expressed my thoughts on Hugo Lloris before, but Spurs also need two centre-halves to give themselves a real chance of securing a top-four spot.
Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
You can’t mention Arsenal these days without it being accompanied by the name Martin Odegaard. The Norway international is doing something quite special among his teammates. He shows them leadership.
His performance against Brighton once again demonstrated how far the Gunners have come under his captaincy. His quality on the ball hasn’t gone unnoticed either. His assist for Gabriel Martinelli to seal three more points and extend the Gunners’ lead at the top of the table was outstanding.
Arsenal have always had exceptional captains whenever they have done something special. It’s still early to talk about titles, but they have a leader in Odegaard who is capable of special things.
Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)
I said after Crystal Palace sent off two players against Fulham and showed a gross lack of professionalism in the process, that it was essential that Patrick Vieira get his team back on track as a matter of urgency. Well, it didn’t take them long.
The Eagles looked like a different proposition against Bournemouth and got the points their performance deserved.
The star of the show was Eberechi Eze, whose superbly taken goal put the game beyond the Cherries. If Eze can stay fit and start converting his considerable abilities into goals, this kid will be one of the top four players.
Demarai Gray (Everton)
Everton and Frank Lampard in particular needed the point at the Etihad Stadium much more than at Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. Lampard’s side were struggling before the World Cup break and nothing really changed when he returned to domestic football.
What saved Lampard was Everton’s ability to never throw in the towel and fight on regardless. It was their greatest attribute against Manchester City, with a touch of magic from Demarai Gray.
He is a player who has the tools to hurt any opposition but his best performances are far too rare. It’s Lampard’s job to fix that and get Gray to be more consistent and do what he did on Saturday on a more consistent basis.
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
In a few days, Bukayo Saka made the selection of my team twice. He was outstanding against West Ham and then played a crucial role in dismantling Brighton at the Amex Stadium.
What always stands out for me with this player is that he always starts a match quickly and is an immediate threat to the opposition. His first touch, to set up his goal against Brighton within seconds, was flawless.
His ability to defend and be a team player is also commendable. It’s a feature of Mikel Arteta’s style of play and the demands he places on each of his players.
Ivan Toney (Brentford)
The Brentford striker just can’t help but find the back of the net. His goal against a West Ham side who have now lost five games in a row was a typical poacher’s goal if ever I saw one.
The England striker doesn’t appear to have been affected in the least by his exclusion from Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad. On the contrary, the absence of top class matches for Brentford seems to have only served to increase Toney’s appetite for goals.
West Ham, on the other hand, seem to have lost their spark and manager David Moyes is running out of ideas. Unless something drastic is done, West Ham could be in trouble.
The material crooks
the death of the greatest footballer ever stepping on the planet was met with great sadness. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, left the world of football with wonderful memories.
In 1958, the 17-year-old boy from Santos caught the world’s attention with a stunning performance in the World Cup final. Back then, assassins were waiting for you at every turn, but luckily the youngster’s skills were so new to the game that he escaped the hitmen.
In 1966, the hitmen were waiting for him, and they got him too. Beaten and bruised, he was eventually expelled from the World Cup against Portugal, leaving the stage vowing never to return. However, in 1970 the best player in the world had rediscovered his love for the game and played in what is considered to be the greatest World Cup final of its time – and he was beautiful.
Those who saw him play will never forget him. Those who will never understand how awesome he was. There are those who dare to compare him to Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. These players were just supporting acts.
What separates Pelé from others is that he was not only a great footballer, he became its greatest ambassador.