Garth Crooks’ team of the week: Aubameyang, Martial, Alonso, Jota, Giroud
Their grip enhanced on second place with a 1-0 triumph over rivals Leicester City in what has been yet another fascinating weekend at the Premier League.
The race for the other Champions League spots lasted while Tottenham slipped with a 2-1 defeat at fourth-placed Chelsea, with Manchester United moving around fifth with a 3-0 win over Watford.
Arsenal created more ground against Everton using a 3-2 win, although sheffield United also dropped a place by using their 1-1 draw Brighton. They are now four points shy of fifth place.
It was another day for club Norwich, that lost 3-0 to Wolves.
Here is my team of the week – have a read and then select your own below.
Shock. Striker Sergio Aguero has gone four matches which what will they do? On Ederson in aim, that is what. When he faced Leicester forward Jamie Vardy in a situation the Brazil keeper made his mark. The keeper stood his ground in the middle of his goal and stated to Vardy’defeat me if you can’. Ederson held his guts, Vardy dropped his – and hit the post. I have lost count of the times I have seen race outside to dive in a striker’s feet to give away a penalty. As for competing with Ederson in a 50/50 challenge – good luck with that. The way he abandoned Kelechi Iheanacho in a heap, before half-time, indicates he isn’t joking.
Did you know? Since the beginning of this 2017-18 season, Ederson has kept more clean sheets than any other Premier League goalkeeper (45).
Lewis Dunk: This is a contest, played at times in problems. Brighton battled Sheffield United at the 1-1 draw nearly and they dealt with the weather. Defending for the Seagulls had been Dunk. The shield was immense throughout, and occasionally the game was on the edge of boiling over. Dunk behaved most professionally when John Lundstram lunged in a ball he never went to get and did not. Dunk was gracious about the incident, which played some part on the pitch from the Blades player staying.
Did you know? One of outfield players, just Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta (8,973) along with Burnley’s Jack Cork (8,919) have played more minutes in the Premier League compared to Dunk (8,823) since the onset of this 2017-18 season.
Harry Maguire: Earlier in the week from Chelsea, Maguire was that the villain after getting off with the improper struggle on striker Michy Batshuayi. Against Watford he wasn’t precisely the enthusiast, but he played a pivotal role in procuring a clean sheet for the Reds. Six points, two wins two blank sheets and two matches imply United are building by the back. I still think they need another top-class guardian to play alongside Maguire if they intend to be taken seriously as a top-four team. Having an in-form Martial – and – Mason Greenwood along with Marcus Rashford awaiting reunite – United possess the firepower. What they want is a Virgil van Dijk-type figure alongside Maguire in defence.
Did you know? Maguire finished more passes than any other participant during United’s 3-0 win over Watford (65).
Marcos Alonso: The ball by Alonso for Mason Mount in the first exchanges of this London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham was a direct reminder of just how much I, and really the Blues, had overlooked the standard of his left foot. Just minutes later we watched a beautiful volley flash with his weaker right foot. However, what took place was a moment of absolute magic. Three minutes into the second half of the very exquisite first-time ball from Ross Barkley set up a glorious attack by Alonso that put the game beyond Spurs. It momentarily took my mind off the awful choice to leave Tottenham’s Giovani lo Celso about the pitch because of his shocking address on Azpilicueta.
Did you know? Since the start of the 2016-17 year, Alonso has scored more goals than any other Premier League defender (17).
Moussa Djenepo: The participant placed on the target for striker Shane Long amid appalling defending by Aston Villa. Then he spins Frederic Guilbert on the halfway point, or so the Frenchman is abandoned handed hoping to grab the Malian’s shirt. The single thing Djenepo did not do was evaluate the goal his performance richly deserved throughout the 2-0 triumph. Meanwhile, Villa are living off the Carabao Cup final and I think it will cost them somewhere in the Premier League in the finish.
Did you know? Only Stuart Armstrong (five) made more chances than Djenepo (four) in Southampton’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
Bruno Fernandes: The lad appeared good on his Premier League debut, but to be accepting Manchester United’s penalties so early in his career at Old Trafford is a statement in itself. Since the harm to striker Rashford along with the prolonged lack of midfielder Paul Pogba, United have experienced difficulties using penalty-takers, but Fernandes might be the answer. There’s also a developing relationship between Fernandes and the lovers, that is hardly surprising. They understand a top-class player when they see one.
Did you know? Fernandes became the first player to score their first Premier League goal for United with a penalty-kick.
Diogo Jota: What a week it’s been for especially and the Wolves Jota. A hat-trick for your Portugal participant against Espanyol has been followed by another two in that which had been, in the end, a regular win on the Canaries. This leaves Norwich seven points adrift at the bottom. The way they are playing in the moment suggests they’ve accepted their destiny, which would be a shame. This really is a nice club with a huge following, and survival is surely not from the query.
Did you know? Jota has scored 10 goals in his past 12 looks for sailors in most competitions – he’s only scored in a few of these games, netting at least 2 goals at every (two braces and 2 hat-tricks).
Dwight McNeil: He should have scored earlier in the game after he smashed a left-foot taken from the post. Undeterred, McNeil fought regardless and got the goal which crowned an outstanding performance against a harshly treated Bournemouth side desperate for points. The Cherries’ disallowed goal not destroyed any effort they could have had of salvaging something from this game, but turned into a travesty for soccer. To have a game endure for a couple of seconds, obtaining the referee wave play-on, a perfectly good goal disallowed and a penalty awarded all in precisely the exact identical period of play lets you know which direction the sport is going if VAR stays in charge of football.
Did you know? McNeil, 20, became the youngest player to achieve 10 Premier League aids since Raheem Sterling at November 2014.
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang: This is really a significant performance by Arsenal, but they’d not have achieved the win against Everton with no Aubameyang. It was not just his ability to set the ball at the back of the net that has been so impressive, but his work-rate is rather phenomenal. Everton, on the flip side, should have got something out of the game once you consider their opportunities. The majority of them dropped to striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has been in hot form recently. However, if Calvert-Lewin would like to be one of the best strikers in the nation, a yield of a single goal in five chances just won’t cut it.
Did you know? Aubameyang has been directly engaged in 38 goals in 38 Premier League looks on Sundays (32 goals, six assists).
Olivier Giroud: It may have been his first league start since the end of November, but Giroud doesn’t seem to have dropped his desire to score goals or direct the Chelsea front-line. The France ahead of first league goal for 10 weeks was a fabulous strike. Giroud’s development in the shadows provides manager Frank Lampard options, especially since Batshuayi is in such poor form and Tammy Abraham is still coming to terms with his first full season in the Premier League. Giroud must have been relieved to get on that contraption they call another worked goal wasn’t chalked off by VAR, and the score-sheet against Spurs because it did against Manchester United from midweek. Aims are much too tough to come by because it is.
Did you know? Giroud has had a hand in 26 targets in 35 starts for Chelsea in most contests (16 goals, 10 assists).
Anthony Martial: Martial scored a brilliant directed goal against Chelsea in midweek and produced a chip that is sensational to beat goalkeeper Ben Foster when the chance appeared to have gone from Watford, although I was tempted to place Greenwood into my TOTW. Make no mistake, Martial seems to have taken over as the whipping boy of United from prior striker Romelu Lukaku. The France could be temperamental, but he can perform. If United fans want to get the best out of him, their boo-boys will need to treat him with care.
Did you know? Martial has scored 15 goals in all competitions for United this year – only netting longer in 2015-16 (17).
Weekly you have seen my selections. However, who would you go for?
As soon as I saw the image of England forward Raheem Sterling with a Real Madrid shirt draped across one shoulder and a Manchester City shirt draped over the other about the front cover of a Spanish publication, I instantly thought’this is a real situation where there’s not any smoke without fire’.
Eitherm interior failed to disappoint with Sterling appearing when asked if he would one day like to play for Real Madrid; if he would like to play Manchester United, like asking a starry-eyed youngster, it was. The distinction is that the odds are probable the Sterling could do this, and are not merely a pipe dream. I asked him exactly what his ambitions were, and interviewed him two decades back for Soccer Focus, bearing in mind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were going to vacate their positions as the top players in the world. Sterling knew behind the question and reacted by saying he wished to be the best player he could at City – but the smile that followed showed the reality that was unbridled.
When a golf club is about to sell you, the largest club in the world does not come in for you. When that bar is desperate to keep you, they come in to you.
Readers of TOTW will understand what I think of Sterling. With director Pep Guardiola as his tutor, I’ve said Ronaldo could be replaced by him . What I’ll add is that he may attain the exact same standing under coach Zinedine Zidane. The question for Sterling is, who is it going to be? Move on and my advice is to do Gareth Bale didn’t Spurs and exactly that which Ronaldo didn’t Manchester United. Do everything in your power to win against the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League with City, but at the end have a bow. Your time has arrived. Now grab it.