Date: 16th August 2016 at 6:21pm
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Manchester United are represented in the latest Premier League team of the week that has been selected by BBC pundit Garth Crooks.

Actually Garth is now down as a ‘Football Analyst’ these days, a posh term for a pundit then!

The performances by Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the three one victory over Bournemouth at the weekend at Dean Court was enough to earn them all a place in the side alongside the other, in the opinion of the former Spurs striker anyway, most impressive performers in the topflight over the latest weekend.

I think we’ll already know ourselves, and not just based on the latest performance, why Crooks, we’ll also not argue with it, selected the four as part of his team but explaining his choice he told the BBC.

Shaw:

‘It’s not often I select both full-backs from the same side in my team of the week, but Shaw’s return to first-team football after a horrendous broken leg last season deserves recognition. Against Bournemouth on Sunday, he played his way into the game brilliantly without trying to prove any points. It’s clear manager Jose Mourinho rates him very highly, which is just as well because the expectations at United are now massive.’

Bailly:

‘What a Premier League debut. There was power and pace from a centre-back who can pass a ball. I can’t remember the last time I saw a defender not give the ball away throughout the entire 90 minutes. This performance by Bailly bodes well for United and Mourinho, but this was against a Bournemouth side who seemed reluctant to take the risks required to really test defenders like him. There is always a mistake in any defender. The question is: can the striker find it?’

Valencia:

‘Valencia was always Manchester United’s outlet against Bournemouth in a frightfully tight first half, when space was at a premium. But you can always depend on him to retain the ball under pressure and he did it at a time when United needed it most. The Ecuador international has been playing the game a long time and has served United well over the years. However, I suspect that for all of Mourinho’s multi-million pound signings, it is Valencia – bought by Sir Alex Ferguson seven years ago – who might well prove to be one of his most important players.’

Ibrahimovic:

‘For years, I wondered what the fuss was all about with Ibrahimovic. Then I saw him smash four goals past England in an international friendly in 2012. The Swedish superstar has left his mark everywhere he’s been. However, to arrive at Old Trafford expecting to lead the line at the age of 34 is a stretch even for him. Nevertheless, the way he took to the task in the Community Shield, and again against Bournemouth in the opening game of the season, has been immense. There have been no histrionics on or off the field. He has just quietly got on with the job – and United fans have another cult hero to worship.’

It’s always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to all for their recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course opening the season with a win.

Full Team:

Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Curtis Davies (Hull City), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Robert Snodgrass (Hull City), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United).

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