Garth Crooks's team of the week

By Garth CrooksBBC football pundit

Another fabulous weekend of football in the Premier League with Manchester City refusing to relinquish their hold on top spot as they respond to a Manchester United victory at Loftus Road.

Liverpool are impressive at Aston Villa, which keeps them in the hunt for fourth spot, while Fulham, Norwich and Everton also have players who make my team of the week.

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Garth Crooks


Joe Hart

Liverpool had Ray Clemence and Nottingham Forest had Peter Shilton. Both keepers provided their teams with championships.

Joe Hart has produced another important display on the big stage, this time against Arsenal, and in this form he can be the difference between Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini winning and losing the Premier League title. He is the best English keeper by a mile.

Did you know? Made six saves on Sunday - his joint-most in a match this season, and the most when he has kept a clean sheet.


Manchester United's Patrice Evra

At no stage did you ever get the feeling that QPR were a real threat to the Manchester United goal. That was partly down to good defending and a display by the United captain that epitomised calmness. If the captain stays cool under pressure, the chances are the rest of the team will.

Did you know? Won six tackles this weekend, the most by a Manchester United player in a match this season.


Martin Skrtel

Last week it was Daniel Agger who made my team, this week it's Martin Skrtel. It doesn't matter which Liverpool centre-back makes my selection, both players are causing Jamie Carragher a great deal of discomfort.

With Skrtel defending so well and coming up with the occasional goal like he did against Aston Villa, there's clearly no room at the inn for Carragher this Christmas. Clean sheets are the order of the day.

Did you know? Skrtel scored three of the last five goals Liverpool have managed from corners in the league.


Fabricio Coloccini

His absence was acutely felt against Norwich last week but the 1970's Marc Bolan lookalike was back in the heart of the Magpies defence looking every bit a star against Swansea.

Assured and commanding, the Argentine continues to be the rock upon which Newcastle boss Alan Pardew builds his Toon house! His brave header which hit the post nearly won the game for the Magpies.

Did you know? Has made the most interceptions at Newcastle in the Premier League this season.


Manchester City's Micah Richards

Richards was clearly concerned about his sore hamstring throughout the win over Arsenal, but he's become so important to Roberto Mancini there was no way the City boss was going to take him off.

The youngster is growing up fast and the way he shrugged off his bust-up with Mario Balotelli in midweek is further evidence of that fact. Another powerful performance by the youngster.

Did you know? Has made the most assists in the Premier League this season for a defender (five, one more than Chelsea's Ashley Cole).


Leon Osman

The more I see Osman, the more I like him. There are elements of his game that remind me of Peter Reid. He is small and compact but fearless and handles the ball with a certain confidence and style.

He always works hard and is never afraid to get involved. He was at the heart of the majority of Everton's attacks against Norwich, and got the reward for his efforts with a lovely little toe poke just in the nick of time for anxious looking manager David Moyes.

Did you know? Has had the joint-most shots on target of any Everton player in the league this season (10, level with Louis Saha).


Michael Carrick

If you don't score goals on a regular basis, make sure that when you do they are memorable. Such was the case when Carrick scored what was only his first goal for United in 70 games.

The midfield general was nothing short of his inspirational best when he picked up the ball on the halfway line and shrugged off three defenders before planting his shot coolly into the net. Perhaps those United fans who continue to make Carrick the scapegoat for all their ills this season will now back off.

Did you know? Scored for the first time in 44 Premier League appearances since December 2009 (vs Portsmouth), firing in 33 shots without scoring in the interim.


Craig Bellamy

Love him or hate him, Craig Bellamy has produced the goods wherever he's gone. He picked the pockets of the Villa defence for the first goal and made the second for Skrtel. Not a bad afternoon's work for an old 'un.

Did you know? Has scored six Premier League goals against Aston Villa, his joint-most against any side (level with Middlesbrough and Sunderland).


Clint Dempsey

This all American guy is proving to be the real deal for the Cottagers. Ever present and thoroughly professional, the way he performed against Bolton makes you wonder why Arsenal never pursued their interest in the player in the summer.

Did you know? Has been involved in half (five goals, four assists) of Fulham's Premier League goals this season.


Daniel Sturridge

It was Sir Geoff Hurst who made the point that Daniel Sturridge was capable of leading England into the European Championship along with Wayne Rooney. On his current form the Chelsea striker has a great chance.

He terrorised Wigan and looks like a player always keen to add to his goal tally. A note of caution, however, from Sir Geoff who suggests that he needs better team awareness - with that, this young man might make it onto an even a bigger stage than the one he already occupies.

Did you know? Has had just five more shots for Chelsea in the Premier League than Fernando Torres since the Spaniard's arrival (35-30), but has bagged five more goals (8-3).


Grant Holt

There's still a lot to be said for good old-fashioned British centre-forward play. Holt led the line in a Norwich attack that gave the Everton defence untold problems, upsetting defenders and never allowing them to think that a challenge wasn't imminent. He deserved his well-taken goal.

Did you know? Excluding penalties, has the second best chance conversion rate in the Premier League this season (32%), behind Bolton's Ivan Klasnic (33%).

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