Date: 16th October 2017 at 8:04am
Written by:

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 goalkeeper David de Gea and Phil Jones in the scoreless draw with Liverpool at Anfield at the weekend 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.

de Gea:

‘Unfortunately for United it’s a while since they had a team capable of reclaiming the trophy they used to win on such a regular basis. But if you are going to win the Premier League you need a world-class goalkeeper to do it, and I think we all agree that David de Gea is in that class. His save from Liverpool defender Joel Matip with his feet was unbelievable. I could never understand keepers who always felt they had to save every shot with a textbook save, fresh from the coaching manual, with their hands. I can assure you strikers get just as frustrated when a goalkeeper produces a world-class save with his feet. Former United keeper Peter Schmeichel used his feet better than most, but the greatest of them all must have been Pat Jennings. The former Northern Ireland international was a master at keeping the ball out of the net with judicious use of his feet. De Gea is a close second, and the only reason United got a point at Anfield.’


‘When I saw Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata on United’s bench, my initial thought was Jose Mourinho had better get a result. If you were a United fan having travelled to Anfield only to hear the manager had left Rashford and Mata – two of your most creative artists – on the bench, your heart must have sank. And if that wasn’t infuriating enough, watching United play with such caution against one of your biggest rivals must have nearly killed you. However, what is exciting me is watching Phil Jones getting better with every game. The England defender made a couple of first-class decisions in the first half, on the edge of United’s penalty area, when he refused to take the bait and make an inappropriate challenge. Instead, he stood up and gave the striker the problem by refusing to commit himself. Defenders who pose questions to strikers are often the best defenders, and that is what Jones is doing more and more these days. It is an easy evaluation to make in the cold light of day, but not in front of 53,000 people demanding you do something. Sometimes in that situation, giving the striker the option often presents him with biggest problem of all.’

It’s always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to both for his recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course the win and United failed to achieve that.

Full Team:

David de Gea (Manchester United), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Tom Cleverley (Watford), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Troy Deeney (Watford), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).