Date: 13th February 2017 at 12:05am
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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 Eric Bailly and Juan Mata in the two nil victory over Watford at the weekend at Old Trafford was enough to earn them 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 duo as part of his team but explaining his choice he told the BBC.


‘Those of you who partake in social media (I don’t) might know that I was on a train from Manchester to London and spent longer than normal (because of a delay) talking to a number of Manchester United fans. They seemed reasonably satisfied with the win against a very dangerous Watford and after a little more probing they suggested that Eric Bailly might be a candidate for my team of the week. Taken aback by this level of impertinence and their intrusion into my team of the week, I thought I would make further inquiries about Bailly’s performance to see if they had a case! I must say I don’t normally take fans’ comments seriously, but in this instance they were spot on. My problem with Bailly is he goes into tackles at such speed he leaves no margin for error and always appears to run the risk of being cautioned or dismissed. That said, the boys I spoke to on the train were right – Bailly was composed on the ball and measured in the tackle against Watford. It’s always a pleasure taking to genuine football fans who actually know their stuff.’


‘This gentleman is one of the most professional players I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I interviewed him (when he was a Chelsea player) before he was shown the door by Jose Mourinho and sold to Manchester United – only for the man who flogged him to United to follow him to Old Trafford. You think at this point it’s only a matter of time before Mourinho moves Mata on once more. Not only does Mourinho mess the Spaniard about with tactical substitutions that only he understands, and at moments in the game that seem insignificant, Mata always seems to rise above it which often shows Mourhino to be a bit of a brute. It has got to the stage where not only has Mata displayed remarkable professionalism, he is now playing as well for United as he did when Mourinho decided to sell him at Chelsea. Which rather suggests to me that Mata has become sellable again and therefore may be the first in Mourinho’s cull come the end of the season. Watch this space.’

It’s always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to both for their recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course the victory.

Full Team:

Petr Cech (Arsenal), Eric Bailly (Manchester United), David Luiz (Chelsea), Alfie Mawson (Swansea City), Martin Olsson (Swansea City), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal).