De Gea is in again – but who else makes Garth Crooks' team of the week?

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Liverpool maintained their perfect start while Chelsea dropped points for the first time this season at West Ham.

Defending champions Manchester City won again, but neighbours Manchester United stumbled to a disappointing draw with Wolves, and Arsenal continued to build momentum at home to Everton.

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace played out a goalless draw with Newcastle, Burnley hammered Bournemouth, Leicester bounced back against Huddersfield, Tottenham beat Brighton and Fulham drew with Watford.

But who did enough to make my team of the week? Read my selections and then pick your own XI.

Goalkeeper – David de Gea

He’s only gone and saved United again for the third consecutive week. He did it against Burnley, then Watford and now Wolves. David de Gea is in magnificent form – the save from Raul Jimenez with his legs was as instinctive as it was brilliant.

However, it was the stop from Willy Boly’s header that kept United in the game. United boss Jose Mourinho can moan all he wants about a lack of motivation from his team, but when you’ve won in the Champions League in midweek and gained a valuable point in the following fixture having not played well, you count your blessings.

Did you know? Since the start of the 2017-18 season, De Gea has the best save percentage of any goalkeeper in the Premier League (78%).

Defenders – Danny Rose, Joel Matip, Issa Diop

Danny Rose: Just when I was starting to get concerned, Spurs stop the rot and pull a win out of the bag. Danny Rose has also stopped this talk about leaving the club and started looking like a full-back with purpose again.

When he is on his game this lad is an outstanding performer, and against Brighton he produced the perfect ball for Erik Lamela to smash home the winner.

Did you know? Rose already has as many assists in the Premier League this season as he made in the 2017-18 season (one).

Joel Matip: Something quite special is brewing at Anfield – I can feel it. When you have players who are out of the side and desperate to get in, and when they do they perform like they were never away, you know something is going on.

Joel Matip was that player. The smile on his face when he scored his goal – not to mention the camaraderie between himself and Joe Gomez, two players competing for the same shirt – speaks volumes about the harmony within the dressing room. If I was Jose Mourinho I would be very concerned by all this.

Did you know? Since making his Premier League debut for the club in August 2016, Liverpool have won 64% of the games Joel Matip has featured in, compared to 50% when he hasn’t appeared.

Issa Diop: He was outstanding against Everton last week and was unlucky not to make my TOTW then. However, another outstanding performance by Issa Diop and a clean sheet – against Chelsea of all teams, having been battered in the opening exchanges – has not gone unnoticed.

Did you know? Diop made more blocks (two) than any other player on the pitch and he also had the highest passing accuracy (94.7%) for the hosts.

Midfielders – Diogo Jota, Ilkay Gundogan, Aaron Lennon, James Maddison

Diogo Jota: Every so often you see a player and a manager who you just know are destined for great things. Wolves have Diogo Jota to thank for a magnificent performance and the player is fast becoming a Premier League star. The same is true of Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo, whose teams seem to impress me every time I see them. There is something of the Jose Mourinho about him – but with a touch of class.

Did you know? Since the start of last season, Diogo Jota has been directly involved in more league goals than any other Wolves player (22 – 17 goals and five assists).

Ilkay Gundogan: There was no David Silva for Manchester City, but they didn’t need him. Gundogan was immense. The Germany international scored one and could have had five. However, the tackle on Gundogan by Joe Ralls was a shocker and should have seen the Cardiff midfielder sent off. It’s not the first time Ralls has singled out Gundogan for special attention. In last season’s FA Cup tie, Ralls caught Gundogan with a similar challenge. I gave Ralls the benefit of the doubt in that game, but not this one.

Did you know? Gundogan’s strike against Cardiff City was his first league goal from outside the box since April 2013 (for Borussia Dortmund against Greuther Furth in the Bundesliga).

Aaron Lennon: At last, Burnley’s season has finally started. The Europa League distraction has gone (I did warn them) and Aaron Lennon looks lean, mean and back in the kind of form that won him England recognition. This player has battled back from his personal issues and is playing football that has fans on the edge of their seats. Great to have you back, Aaron.

Did you know? Lennon’s goal against Bournemouth was his first in the Premier League for 931 days, since netting for Everton against West Ham in March 2016.

James Maddison: Leicester look like a team again after disappointing results against Liverpool and Bournemouth. Do Leicester fans have any idea what team their manager is going to play from one week to the next, because I don’t have a clue. I wonder if Claude Puel tinkers with the team just to keep it interesting. One player who is a fixture in the team at the moment is James Maddison. I’m sure he would benefit from a settled side like the rest of us. As for Huddersfield, in the words of Dad’s Army’s Private Frazer – “we’re doomed”.

Did you know? Maddison has either scored or assisted in four of his past five Premier League starts for Leicester City (three goals, one assist).

Forwards – Sergio Aguero, Alexandre Lacazette, Raheem Sterling

Sergio Aguero: Regular readers of my TOTW will know my thoughts on Sergio Aguero. He is one of the most complete finishers we have ever had on these shores, especially in the modern era, and he has the stats to prove it. Against Cardiff, the Argentine assassin scored his 205th goal in his 300th appearance for Manchester City. And he’s never won Footballer of the Year or the PFA Player of the Year. What does he have to do?

Did you know? Aguero has now scored 13 and assisted two more in his past 13 Premier League games against newly promoted sides.

Alexandre Lacazette: In the end, one goal was enough to win the game against Everton, and when you score a superb goal like Alexandre Lacazette’s one for Arsenal, you are entitled to celebrate. What I don’t get is the appalling disco jig that follows. Why spoil such a wonderful finish with such a spine-chilling dance? What’s wrong with punching the air or running to the crowd? If you want to know more about what I think about the role of football supporters, read The Crooks of the Matter below.

Did you know? Of Lacazette’s 16 Premier League goals, 12 have been scored at Emirates Stadium (75%). Only Tony Adams (83% – 10/12) netted a higher percentage of his goals in the competition in home games for the Gunners of players to score at least 10.

Raheem Sterling: There was a moment in the game when Manchester City were 4-0 up and still coming at Cardiff like it was the Charge of the Light Brigade. There was one point when five City players were practically queuing up to put the ball in the back of the net. Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling was running riot and there was nothing Cardiff City could do about it.

Did you know? Since the start of last season, Sterling has made 12 Premier League assists, more than any other English player and a tally only team-mates Kevin de Bruyne and Leroy Sane can better overall (16 each).

Now it’s your turn

You’ve seen my picks this week. But who would you go for?

Pick your XI from our list and share with your friends.

The Crooks of the Matter

Crystal Palace fans during a Premier League match against Newcastle in February

What on earth has happened to Selhurst Park? And where are the ‘ultras’ – the group draped in black on the top left hand corner of my screen going crazy every other week? What’s happened to them – and more to the point, can I have them back please?

While Roy Hodgson and, it would seem, the Crystal Palace board have been consumed by the extension of Wilfried Zaha’s contract and how many times the forward is fouled, the most important element of the club’s recent success has been overlooked. The atmosphere generated by the relatively small, but extremely vocal group of fans who bring matchdays at an otherwise antiquated ground alive.

Whatever the reasons behind the dispersal of the ‘ultras’, the club’s executives and this set of fans need to come together and resolve their differences in the best interest of the team. Crystal Palace’s season is slowly coming apart at the seams and the team needs them.

Professional football is nothing without the fans and this small pocket of supporters – who can be high maintenance, mischievous, effective and highly entertaining all at the same time – must not be dismantled for the sake of politeness or other people’s delicacies.

I want to see my screen jumping again when I’m watching Palace. I know the players miss them. In fact, damn the players, I miss them.



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