Date: 6th February 2017 at 8:32am
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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 Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata in the three nil victory over Leicester City at the weekend at the King Power Stadium 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.

Mkhitaryan:

‘To see this player in full flight with the ball at his feet is a sight to behold. Not since the great Laurie Cunningham have I seen a player who runs as quick with the ball at his feet as he does without it. His goal against Leicester is fast becoming a trademark for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. When the Armenia midfielder took off inside his own half, skipped around a stranded Robert Huth and headed towards Kasper Schmeichel in goal, you instinctively knew it was going to end badly for the Foxes. Mkhitaryan hits the ball so well on the run and in full stride – it is a wonderful attribute and one I won’t get tired of seeing.’

Mata:

‘Should Juan Mata have been sent off? Probably. The fact that he wasn’t had more to do with it being Mata rather than Granit Xhaka of Arsenal, for example, who was sent off recently for a very similar tackle. To say reputations don’t matter is rubbish. Of course they matter. The Spain international is a dreadful tackler and has no business ever going to ground. However, the difference between Mata and Xhaka was that no-one was hurt. Had Mata inflicted damage then that would have provided a different dynamic for the referee. The result was that United’s midfield maestro along with his accomplice Mkhitaryan continued to take Leicester apart. I’ve said before in this column that Leicester are playing with fire. Not to take the Premier League seriously, or worse, allow it to play second fiddle to the Champions League, is a betrayal of their fans. Leicester still have time to stop dreaming about European glory and secure their status in the greatest league in the world. Nothing should threaten that.’

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 win.

Full Team:

Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Andrea Ranocchia (Hull City), Lamine Kone (Sunderland), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Jermain Defoe (Sunderland), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City).

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