Who ran their man ragged? Garth Crooks' Team of the Week

Garth Crooks' Team of the Week

After every Premier League weekend, BBC football pundit Garth Crooks gathers his thoughts and gives you his Team of the Week.

Here are this week's choices and, as ever, Garth also discusses the game's big talking points in the Crooks of the Matter.

Garth Crooks' Team of the Week: Jordan Pickford, Dan Burn, William Saliba, Josko Gvardiol, Bukayo Saka, Conor Gallagher, Idrissa Gueye, Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio, Alexander Isak, Kai Havertz
[BBC Sport]
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Jordan Pickford (Everton): What a top-class save by Jordan Pickford from Ivan Toney in the opening exchanges against Brentford. The striker was in the six-yard box bearing down on goal and Pickford got across to make the stop.

England's number one goalkeeper also did well to deny Kevin Schade before making an electric recovery as he scrambled to deny Toney any chance of picking up the pieces.

Everton might be safe now but that is largely due to Pickford who has been magnificent in recent games. Only Arsenal's David Raya has kept more clean sheets in the Premier League and his team are top of the table.

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Dan Burn (Newcastle): Two very important tackles from Dan Burn kept Newcastle in the game in the first half against a Sheffield United side that for 20 minutes had the bit between their teeth.

Had the Blades taken their chances at St James' Park they might still have a chance to stay in the division.

However, they lost their nerve as opportunities went begging and with it their faith in their ability to win this match. Once Newcastle took the lead the game was over.

Next season will be a pivotal moment for Eddie Howe and the Magpies. Newcastle will not be in the Champions League but they have proved themselves worthy of playing against the very best.

However, should England not win the Euros with one of the best squads in recent years then Howe must be one of the very few English managers who could take over from Gareth Southgate. Watch this space.

William Saliba (Arsenal): It is no coincidence Arsenal are challenging Manchester City for the title and William Saliba has not missed a game all season.

Although Arsenal conceded two goals against Spurs in the north London derby it took a special effort to come away with a victory.

Saliba held his nerve when it appeared that Gabriel and, uncharacteristically, Declan Rice in particular seemed to wobble.

However, the game seem to hinge on yet another VAR decision when Micky van de Ven was judged to have been offside.

Is it possible when the technology takes what appears to be an age to make a decision that the player might actually be level?

The whole point of the offside rule was to stop players from gaining a material advantage - not whether one player has a bigger backside than the other.

Josko Gvardiol (Man City): Manchester City destroyed Brighton at Amex Stadium on Thursday night and all in the space of 35 minutes. Phil Foden looked world class and we know Kevin de Bruyne already is.

However, their match against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground was a different matter entirely.

Forest stood up to City and it took a set piece to take the wind out of their sails. The player who is scoring goals in matches that are becoming increasingly important for City is Josko Gvardiol.

The movement towards the near post by the Croatia international was quite superb matched only by his header.

Forest had two gilt-edged chances that might have turned the game on its head but they failed to take them. They cannot afford to do that in their remaining fixtures if they intend to stay in the league.

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Bukayo Saka (Arsenal): It has been a long time since I have seen such a mismatch. You normally see them in a boxing contest when the referee has to stop the fight as the opponent is taking so much punishment.

Well, Ben Davies had a similar experience when facing Bukayo Saka in the north London derby.

Davies got booked on 81 minutes having made another desperate challenge on the Arsenal man and was substituted soon afterwards.

England winger Saka ran Davies ragged, scoring his team's second goal and leaving the field to a standing ovation from the Arsenal fans.

The Gunners have three winnable games left to play and Manchester City cannot afford to make a single mistake otherwise the title is going to north London.

Conor Gallagher (Chelsea): Having seen Chelsea crumble against Arsenal in midweek, manager Mauricio Pochettino was entitled to a reaction from his team and he got one with a battling performance away at Aston Villa a few days later.

The Chelsea boss could not have asked any more from his players than what they gave at Villa Park and yet their performance at Emirates Stadium was nothing short of embarrassing.

Chelsea seem to play only when it suits them or when they are forced to respond having played badly.

However, on this performance it was the Blues who looked like Champions League contenders rather than Villa and Conor Gallagher a player worthy of the captain's armband.

His goal was superbly taken and his team's performance possessed the required character.

Pochettino would do well to remind his players what it takes to be a top side - and it is not just talent.

Idrissa Gueye (Everton): Idrissa Gueye does not score many but two in two vital games for Everton have helped seal their Premier League status in what has been a very trying season for the Toffees.

Points deductions and appeals have taken Everton to almost breaking point.

The midfielder's strike against Nottingham Forest, and another brilliant goal against Brentford, may have put that all behind them and the club can now concentrate on football without the spectre of relegation hanging over them.

Sean Dyche's post-match interview after their appalling 6-0 defeat against Chelsea where he demanded professionalism from his players was a big moment and clearly a turning point. All credit to him - he asked for it and got it.

Jarrod Bowen (West Ham): On Wednesday evening Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin put a serious dent into Liverpool’s title hopes which was met with a stinging rebuke from Reds boss Klopp who said his team were "not good enough".

I was not sure if he was referring to his side's performance against Everton or to their title bid.

By the time Saturday came around West Ham's Jarrod Bowen took advantage of Liverpool's poor form by netting his 20th goal of the season. A superb landmark for any player especially one who has had his fair share of injuries this season.

Meanwhile, in the space of a week Liverpool look like they have let a golden opportunity to win the Premier League slip from their grasp.

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Michail Antonio (West Ham): The header by Michail Antonio was superb and his goal well deserved.

The Jamaican international may not be the most gifted striker on the park but he certainly leaves every bit of himself on the pitch when asked to perform.

At the time Antonio had equalised for West Ham, Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah was busy engaging in a dispute with his manager on the touchline and having to be restrained by his team-mates.

What actually rattled Salah was unclear but it was a further indication that the Reds' title challenge is over and matters are beginning to unravel at the club.

Liverpool's players would do well not to allow their disappointment of missing out on the title to ruin what has been a magnificent relationship with their manager and fans.

Alexander Isak (Newcastle): Newcastle United fans expect something a little bit special from their centre-forwards.

After all they have had the likes of Malcom McDonald, Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer and Andy Cole and all have graced St James' Park with goals - and plenty of them.

Alexander Isak may not go down as one of Newcastle's greats but with 23 goals in all competitions to his name this season, he has certainly played his part in making sure the Magpies have recovered sufficiently from a very punishing season, and one where their exploits in the Champions League took its toll.

The Sweden international scored two goals in the 5-1 romp over Sheffield United that finally relegated the Yorkshire club with three games left to play.

One of those games is against Nottingham Forest, who are one point above Luton Town and fighting for their lives - and I will be expecting the Blades to do the decent thing and have a go.

Kai Havertz (Arsenal): I cannot say I am a fan of Kai Havertz. I was not when he played for Chelsea and I am not now he plays for Arsenal.

I must however accept that the German looks a different player for the Gunners than he was at Stamford Bridge.

I was shocked the player who clearly struggled at Chelsea still commanded a fee of £60m and I could not understand why Arsenal bought him.

He has taken a while to acclimatise to the way the Gunners like to play but has put his experience and obvious ability to excellent use under Mikel Arteta.

At no time this season has the player looked uncomfortable or out of his depth and I would not have said that when he was playing for Chelsea.

Havertz proved to be a handful against Spurs and once again showed just how technically competent he is as a player.

The Crooks of the Matter

Having watched the FA Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Coventry, I am more convinced now than ever that technology in football is no longer a help but a hindrance.

In any other generation the offside decision judged by VAR would have been viewed as level.

Even with the electronic lines that are supposed to provide the viewing public with an element of certainty, the neutral observer was left feeling no advantage by the Coventry player had occurred - and all we could actually see was a sense of injustice.

Meanwhile, the headline from Goodison Park in the match between Everton and Nottingham Forest was all about the person operating the technology.

The reality is that much of the technology used in football is undermining the game while slowly and painstakingly dismantling its precious traditions.

Celebrations muted, no-one knows what a handball or offside is any more and as for penalties, no-one has a clue. Those who insisted that technology be brought into the game certainly have a lot to answer for.