Garth Crooks’ Team of the Week: Alisson, Trippier, Maddison, Salah, Zaha

Garth Crooks

At the end of every Premier League weekend, BBC football expert Garth Crooks will be on hand to give you his Team of the Week.

Who did he choose this time? Please take a look then choose your own team. As usual, Garth will have his say on the main points of the game in The Crooks of the Matter.

Team of the Week Garth Crooks
Garth Crooks weekly team

Goal keeper

Alisson (Liverpool)

How refreshing to see a goalkeeper catch the ball in the air for a change.

Most of them parry or punch but it is important on both occasions victory at Tottenham Alisson did neither but instead caught the ball with both hands as he went to ground.

Anything less could cost Liverpool the game. I rank the Brazilian among my top three keepers in the country and my top five in the world. Playing away to Spurs is a tough game for Liverpool but when you have a goalkeeper like Alisson it makes life easier. Top class guardian if any.


Kieran Trippier (Newcastle)

Trippier’s interception followed by a pass for Joe Willock to score Newcastle’s third goal in their win at Southampton goes some way to explaining why the right-back must be a serious consideration for Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

Apart from anything else, he’s played football all his life and is taking a place at Newcastle that hasn’t been seen since Kevin Keegan was in charge.

Saints should have got something from this game but not because of their poor finishing and selection in front of goal. Che Adams needs a senior partner next to him to share the load. Southampton have been unable to replace Danny Ings since his departure to Villa Park.

William Saliba (Arsenal)

There is only one team that can win this London derby and it is Arsenal. If there was any doubt about how seriously the Gunners are taking their Premier League title challenge, then you only have to look closely at the way they celebrated their victory away to Chelsea.

This is a statement if ever there was one. Saliba, Gabriel and Ben White looked solid as a rock with Saliba looking at the group’s choice. This kid is a must for France’s World Cup squad.

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Chelsea, on the other hand, looks tired and lacking ideas. They may be doing well in the Champions League but finishing outside the top four is not a good look for Chelsea. Worrying times for Graham Potter.

Lucas Digne (Aston Villa)

It should have been a couple of free kicks from Frenchman Digne to beat David de Gea from 25 yards. In reality Manchester United should not have lost this game at Villa Park when you compare the players of both teams but Villa were the better team on the day.

However, the arrival of Unai Emery as the new manager has clearly boosted Aston Villa’s performance but the question is for how long. They seem to get this spike every time a new manager arrives on the scene but then they fail.

Digne is a good player and the type that might interest Emery. I will be very interested to see where Villa finish the season under Emery – who stays and who goes.


Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

Last week, De Bruyne rescued three points for Manchester City against Leicester City after a difficult midweek Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund.

This weekend the Belgium international did the same again, having dispatched Sevilla in midweek and was equally impressive against Fulham, who failed to accommodate De Bruyne or a 10-man City side.

Pep Guardiola’s side continue to pick up valuable points in the Premier League after a brilliant performance in midweek European action.

If City can overcome Chelsea, in the EFL Cup, and Brentford, in the Premier League, at home before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, it will be very difficult for any team to stop them from doing something quite extraordinary in the second. half the season with a fit and rested Erling Haaland.

James Maddison (Leicester)

Leicester City fans began to show signs of panic during their team’s performances at one stage this season and even jeered their manager Brendan Rodgers after a few games. They don’t do that now.

Their performance against Everton, who could not match Leicester’s quality in midfield, was brilliant enough if not ultimately decisive. Maddison was excellent and began to show the type of game that England could benefit from in Qatar.

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Adam Lallana (Brighton)

His goal was beautifully executed while his assist for Kaoru Mitoma was simply stunning. Lallana plays the football he produced at Southampton.

I don’t think he’s ever played the football he was able to do at Anfield. He always worked hard at Liverpool but failed to reproduce the artistry we saw from him at St Mary’s.

At Brighton, he seems to have recaptured that touch of class again and the Seagulls are playing the best football I’ve seen them play in the top flight.

Wolves are everywhere. No manager, no established centre-forwards available due to injuries and suspensions and points dropping like they are getting out of date. New manager Julen Lopetegui, who starts work on November 15 when the league takes a break for the World Cup, has a lot of work needs to be done to change the situation.

Chrysencio Summerville (Leeds)

Bournemouth should have put this game away when they led 3-1 at Elland Road but weren’t ruthless enough. When Leeds got the equalizer there was only one winner.

Jesse Marsch must take credit for this exciting comeback. The Leeds manager made key changes to a struggling team and the change was particularly effective for Wilfred Gnonto – who looked like the fittest 19-year-old I’ve ever seen.

The star of the show was once again Summerville, who last week put Liverpool to the sword. The Dutch youngster remained a constant threat to the Cherries and ultimately cost them the match.


Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton)

He played his part in Chelsea’s demolition last week but Mitoma’s performance against Wolves was impressive. The Japanese international has all the ingredients of a top class player.

Mitoma has a very similar game to Tottenham’s Son Heung-min. He is not afraid to take on people, can see a pass and wants to score. How he will shape after the World Cup is anyone’s guess but, make no mistake, Brighton have players here.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Is it me or Zaha’s finish is getting better? He scored his goal in the win against West Ham brilliantly. I’ve seen Zaha play as a center forward before and while he’s no Haaland in that position, he looks threatening.

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For such a talented player, I’ve always thought that Zaha should score more goals and after watching him against the Hammers, playing him as an out-and-out striker might give him more chances to score. Definitely worth considering.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

If you’re going to head the ball make sure you do it from your own goal and not behind you, especially when you don’t know the position your goalkeeper has taken. Eric Dier, for some inexplicable reason, decided to do just that and Spurs never recovered.

Tottenham took too long to get going in this game and looked like a shadow of the team that beat Marseille in the Champions League a few days ago. Liverpool have been largely inconsistent this season but luckily for them they have Salah in form.

Short presentation gray line

The Crooks of the matter

Last week, I stated that if Australia were so upset about the World Cup being held in Qatar then they shouldn’t be going. This week Fifa wrote to all 32 teams competing in the tournament telling them to “now focus on football” following the controversial build-up. Meanwhile, a sponsor has removed their name from the team’s jersey so as not to be associated with the tournament. The French authorities refused to have fans park in their city to show the game and team captains were asked to wear solidarity armbands in support of human rights issues.

Fifa may have the power to organize the best football competition in the world but they cannot stop people from voicing their opinions. Which, in the final analysis, may prove to be very embarrassing for Fifa and even more so for their hosts.

The letter, signed by Fifa president Gianni Infantino stressed that players should “not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists”. It’s pretty funny when you consider the world governing body did that as soon as they awarded the World Cup to Qatar

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