Garth Crooks's team of the week: Mata, Bony, Kane, Hazard

Garth's Team of the Week
Garth's Team of the Week

There were some eye-catching displays in the final round of Premier League matches before the players go away on international duty.

Manchester United look on course to secure a Champions League place after they clinched a 2-1 win at Anfield which left Liverpool five points off the top four.

Chelsea had to work hard for their 3-2 win over Hull, but they maintained their six-point cushion over Manchester City, who were 3-0 victors over West Brom.

With the exception of Everton, who claimed a 2-1 victory over QPR at Loftus Road, all of the teams in the bottom eight lost, which leaves the battle for survival finely poised.

Here are the players who I thought excelled in my team of the week.

GOALKEEPER - Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace)

Julian Speroni
Speroni is only six games shy of matching Nigel Martyn's Palace goalkeeping record of 79 Premier League appearances

I was speaking to a Crystal Palace fan who didn't fancy her team getting anything at Stoke. I told her I thought they might get a point, but neither of us thought that goalkeeper Julian Speroni would be the star of the show in Palace's 2-1 win. I don't know why, because the Argentine has had another excellent season for the Eagles and once again his performance was the difference between the sides.

DEFENDER - Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton)

Nathaniel Clyne
Clyne has made more tackles (97) than any other defender in the Premier League this season

He was unlucky not to get in the team last week after his performance in Southampton's 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and once again the full-back's penetrating runs created mayhem in their 2-0 success over Burnley. It was Clyne's initial shot that found its way to striker Shane Long to prod home as the Saints continued their assault on a European place next season. It was an important victory for Southampton and a nice birthday present for manager Ronald Koeman.

DEFENDER - James Collins (West Ham)

James Collins
West Ham have averaged 1.6 points per game when Collins has played this season, compared to 1.0 when he hasn't

If the ball needed a boot behind it, or a firm header to clear it at Upton Park, then James Collins was your man. Apart from the one moment in West Ham's 1-0 win over Sunderland when Jermain Defoe got in on goal I cannot remember when Sunderland had a sniff of a chance. Much of that was down to the no-nonsense Wales defender's presence at the heart of the Hammers defence.

DEFENDER - Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

Chris Smalling
Manchester United have won all four games since Smalling returned to the starting line-up

I'm beginning to get the distinct feeling that Chris Smalling is a player at Manchester United who might fill the void left by former captain Nemanja Vidic's move to move to Inter Milan on a free transfer last summer. Last week Smalling took care of the threat posed by in-form Tottenham striker Harry Kane, and he did a similar job against Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge in United's 2-1 win at Anfield. United boss Louis van Gaal may want a new centre-back for next season but Smalling might save the Dutchman a fortune.

DEFENDER - Aaron Cresswell (West Ham)

Aaron Cresswell
Cresswell is the only West Ham player to play every minute of every Premier League game this season

West Ham's 1-0 win over Sunderland was not exactly a classic. Sunderland deserved a point, but none of that affected Aaron Cresswell's performance. Under the tutelage of Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, this lad has matured from the player they signed from Ipswich for £2m last summer to a dependable Premier League defender. And he is not afraid to venture into the opposition penalty area. A few more goals would not go amiss but things take time.

MIDFIELDER - Juan Mata (Manchester United)

Juan Mata
Since arriving in England in 2011, Mata has been involved in 65 Premier League goals, more than any other non-striker

I cannot remember when Juan Mata had a better game for Manchester United since his £37.1m move from Chelsea in January 2014. His overall contribution in the 2-1 win at Liverpool was immense, while his two goals were simply out of this world. His first touch for the opening goal was breathtaking and matched only by the finish. As for his second goal - a brilliant scissor kick - there cannot be many players in the world who can produce that kind of quality in a game of such magnitude.

MIDFIELDER - David Silva (Manchester City)

David Silva
Silva has 42 assists since he arrived in the Premier League in 2010, more than any other player

Like a lot of Manchester City fans, I have got a lot of time for the talents of David Silva. It was not Silva's fault that referee Neil Swarbrick made a mistake and wrongly sent off Gareth McAuley instead of Craig Dawson, or that West Brom suffered a 3-0 loss as a consequence. Silva put the Baggies to the sword but City manager Manuel Pellegrini really needs the Spaniard to be playing like this more often and particularly in matches against the top sides.

MIDFIELDER - Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United)

Marouane Fellaini
Manchester United have won nine of the 12 games Fellaini has started this season, compared to eight of 18 when he has not

Not since Didier Drogba in his heyday have I seen a forward be so effective in both penalty areas as Marouane Fellaini was against Liverpool at Anfield. A lot has been said about the Belgium international's growing importance to Manchester United and the extra dimension he now gives to the side. I never thought Fellaini was a Manchester United-type player, but after his recent performances I am having to review my position.

FORWARD - Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Harry Kane
Kane has scored more goals (14) in 2015 than 13 of the 20 Premier League teams

If you are going to celebrate your first England call-up, why not do it with your first Premier League hat-trick? Harry Kane's first goal in Tottenham's 4-3 thriller with Leicester was typical of a man in form, his second had a slice of luck, and his third was taken brilliantly. I agree with the opinion of BBC Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer that England manager Roy Hodgson must put him in the national team immediately and not dilly dally with him in the squad or on the bench. If Hodgson can blend Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Kane together over the next 12 months then England might be a force again.

FORWARD - Wilfried Bony (Manchester City)

Wilfried Bony
Bony's goal was his second Premier League effort of the season at the Etihad but his first for Manchester City

Before West Brom's visit to Etihad Stadium it had been tough period for Manchester City, having damaged their title hopes with the ignominious defeat at Burnley followed by their exit in the Champions League to Barcelona. It is about time Pellegrini took his fingers out of his ears and listened to those of us who have been saying he must play Wilfried Bony up top with Sergio Aguero playing around him. Bony is much more mobile than Edin Dzeko, sees the pass and will get his share of goals. Pellegrini paid £28m to sign Bony from Swansea - now he must play him.

FORWARD - Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Eden Hazard
Hazard has completed 135 dribbles this season, more than any other player managed in the whole of last season

Chelsea's match with Hull should have been put to bed in the first half and Eden Hazard did all he could to oblige. His goal in the opening minutes flew past Hull goalkeeper Alan McGregor and it was the Belgium playmaker's link-up play with Cesc Fabregas that produced Chelsea's second for striker Diego Costa. Chelsea look decidedly edgy at the moment and Hazard seems to be the only player in their team who is playing to anything like his true potential.

Top Stories