Garth Crooks' team of the week: Axel Tuanzebe, Aaron Ramsey, Sam Vokes

Team of the week

Arsenal ended Manchester United's 25-match league unbeaten run to keep alive their own hopes of Champions League qualification - as Arsene Wenger finally beat Jose Mourinho in a competitive match.

On Friday, Tottenham slipped up at West Ham - meaning Chelsea can move seven points clear at the top of the Premier League with victory over Middlesbrough on Monday.

At the bottom of the table, Hull slipped into the relegation zone as Swansea defeated Everton, while Boro will return to the Championship if they lose at Stamford Bridge.

Goalkeeper - Jordan Pickford (Sunderland)

Jordan Pickford
Pickford made five saves at KCOM Stadium, most impressively from Markovic in the second half

I'm still trying to work out how Sunderland managed to pull this result off and the only plausible suggestion I can think of is Jordan Pickford. This was the sort of game that could haunt a team for a long time but Marco Silva's boys need to get over this result fast.

This stage of the season is all about teams at the bottom holding their nerve. Sunderland are relegated and played like a team who have their eyes on winning promotion back to the Premier League next season.

Pickford started his superb performance by getting a hand to a fabulous strike by Sam Clucas. He then pushed a wonderful header from Lazar Markovic over the bar, before producing a great reaction save from Oumar Niasse.

Sunderland seem to have recognised that chopping and changing managers is futile, and that David Moyes is the right man to bring the Black Cats back into the big time and I agree.

However, the real challenge for Moyes is to keep Pickford at the Stadium of Light. The player has proved he can play in the Premier League and needs the intensity of that environment to assist his progress.

Pickford failed to keep Sunderland in the Premier League but without him the Wearsiders might fail to get out of the Championship.

Defender - Axel Tuanzebe (Manchester United)

Axel Tuanzebe
Tuanzebe, 19, made his Premier League debut as Manchester United rotated their squad against Arsenal

I had never even heard of this lad before this fixture. Making your debut for any team is an ordeal but it's an entirely different matter when it's for Manchester United and away at Arsenal.

What made the occasion even more intense was the amount resting on the match for both teams. Well, what a performance by Axel Tuanzebe. The approach from the 19-year-old was just perfect. He did exactly what his senior professionals in the United line-up told him to do and played everything simple.

He never once over-complicated the game when in possession and although United lost, Tuanzebe took care of Alexis Sanchez as if he was playing a youth team game and looked a star in the making.

We've already seen Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard come through at United. Where are they getting these kids from? It's great to see a Premier League club bringing through home-grown talent. I was beginning to think we'd forgotten how.

Defender - Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)

Laurent Koscielny
Arsenal have won successive home Premier League games against the Red Devils for the first time since November 2001

Arsene Wenger has invested in a number of top-class French players during his 21 years at Arsenal. Some have been better than others, and whilst my personal favourite - Patrick Vieira - takes some beating as arguably Arsenal's all-time best French player, Laurent Koscielny is the latest in a line of great Frenchman to have played for Wenger.

I admit he can be erratic at times but when he is on top of his game there aren't many better defenders in the league. Against Manchester United, and a very lively Anthony Martial, he coped comfortably.

Even when United's speed merchant Marcus Rashford came on, Koscielny didn't seem the least bit concerned about the threat posed. And why should he be? He's seen it all before and coped admirably.

Whatever decision Wenger makes about his future at Arsenal in the days and weeks ahead, the manager can look back at a career where his countrymen have never let him down. And, for that matter, he hasn't let them down either.

Defender - Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

Vincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany has scored two goals in his past four Premier League games, as many as in his previous 43

What a finish by Vincent Kompany. I've seen top strikers struggle to convert opportunities like the one presented to him against Crystal Palace on Saturday. However, his ability to score the occasional impressive goal is not the reason I have selected him for my TOTW.

What impresses me about Kompany is his ability to lead. Since his return to first-team action from a horrendous run of injuries, the Belgium captain has shown a tremendous run of form.

His very presence engenders confidence and belief in everyone who plays alongside him. The improvement in Nicolas Otamendi's performance, for example, has been amazing.

Some players command respect and Kompany is clearly one of them. If he can somehow remain injury-free next season then Manchester City must be taken seriously as title contenders. The problem for Kompany is that is a big if.

Defender - Alfie Mawson (Swansea City)

Alfie Mawson
Swansea City were bottom of the Premier League when Paul Clement was appointed boss in January

Any win for Swansea at this stage of the season could be a lifesaver as we approach the season's finale.

If ever there was a game where a Swansea player could be forgiven for taking a stiff drink at half-time then this was it. This was a game that needed cool heads and Swansea played against Everton with a cold clarity of purpose.

Swansea's entire defence was brilliant but the standout player for me was Alfie Mawson. The ball that Romelu Lukaku flashed across the face of goal was an instant cure for constipation but somehow Mawson kept his head and cleared the danger when a lesser defender might have panicked and deflected into his own net.

Mawson's decision-making was so impressive, and with two games left to play, Swansea now have their Premier League future back in their own hands.

Defender - Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)

Ryan Bertrand
Liverpool have now played Southampton four times this season and failed to score against them

This lad has become a top-class performer. To watch his development at Southampton has been a real pleasure. We all knew that he was a player as a youngster at Chelsea - the question was: What sort of player?

He showed maturity beyond his years when he surprised us all and performed so well in the 2012 Champions League final in Munich, but it all seemed to come too soon.

Since leaving Stamford Bridge he has become the master of his own destiny and looks more accomplished the more I see him. Against Liverpool, who appeared to get more desperate with every minute, Bertrand look composed and in control.

Even when he picked up his yellow card for kicking the ball away he knew precisely what he was doing; stopping the ball from re-entering the field of play before the Saints could reassemble. He took a booking for the team.

Should Liverpool qualify for Champions League football next season I seriously suggest Jurgen Klopp gets his chequebook out and pay whatever it takes to take Bertrand to Anfield. The player is in that class.

Midfielder - Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)

Manuel Lanzini
Lanzini attempted a team-high three shots and made four key passes for West Ham on Friday

It's official: West Ham are safe and they can look forward to next season in the Premier League. There will be fans who expect much more than mid-table mediocrity from the Hammers, some of whom spend most of their time sitting in the directors' box.

However, they are deluding themselves. West Ham have gone through a tremendous upheaval this season and in my opinion they are lucky to have survived.

In fact, without Slaven Bilic and Manuel Lanzini I doubt whether they would have. Bilic has been the man given the responsibility of managing the transition of moving to a new stadium and the departure of Dimitri Payet - a wonderful player but a disruptive influence.

Lanzini has been West Ham's and Bilic's saviour. The Argentine has not only filled the vacuum left by Payet but produced a quality and a style of football that has made West Ham look more like a team and not one dependant on the performance of one individual.

Meanwhile, Spurs looked like a side whose season had come to a predictable end. And although they have blown the league title for the second consecutive year, this team is very close to winning something major.

The only way that they can do that is to keep every one of their players. Add to them if you must, but lose any of the current team and it will be a testimony to Tottenham's lack of ambition. In other words, put up the 'not for sale' signs now, or otherwise stop talking about Premier League titles.

Midfielder - Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

Kevin de Bruyne
De Bruyne has provided a league-high 15 assists this season; no Manchester City player has registered more in a single Premier League campaign

Top four is the name of the game for Manchester City now, and it took Pep Guadiola's team less than three minutes to get their first goal.

The king of the assists Kevin De Bruyne didn't score it but he might as well have done. He was involved in everything City did. It was De Bruyne's inviting pass that encouraged Kompany to smash the ball past a stranded Wayne Hennessy.

De Bruyne clearly loves providing openings for his team-mates but make no mistake - he enjoys scoring goals just as much.

I've played alongside many midfield players who can either provide goals from that position or score them but there are not that many who can do both. De Bruyne's goal (City's third) was struck home with such authority it was in the back of the net the moment it left his foot.

I don't even know why Wayne Hennessey even bothered to dive. De Bruyne is a class act but he will need to produce this sort of performance on a more consistent basis if City are going to make a real challenge for the title next season.

Midfielder - Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)

Aaron Ramsey
Ramsey was Arsenal's liveliest player in the first half and made a series of key runs in his side's victory

Well, what a difference a few days make. I said after last week's defeat at Spurs that Arsenal could still finish fourth and win the FA Cup and nothing has changed.

In order to keep this dream alive the Gunners had to take care of Manchester United and they did it without a great deal of fuss. Admittedly, Jose Mourinho's priority is no longer finishing fourth but winning the Europa League.

If United were to win that competition they would secure a Champions League place and win a major trophy at the same time - all in Mourinho's first season.

Aaron Ramsey, on the other hand, could, by winning the FA Cup and finishing fourth, provide Arsene Wenger with the perfect leaving gift. Wenger would be mad to subject himself to any more of the vicious bile that has been thrown in his direction from some of his own supporters.

If I were him I wouldn't stay at the club for one second more than was absolutely necessary.

Midfielder - Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)

Riyad Mahrez
Mahrez scored on his 100th Premier League appearance - the first Algerian to reach that milestone in the competition

There are some players that you just love to watch. They move well across the turf, glide past opponents, make goals for others and on their day make the team tick.

Riyad Mahrez is one of those players but unfortunately I don't see it often enough. Against Watford he looked amazing, but he is also one of the reasons Leicester have had an indifferent season.

Claudio Ranieri has gone but Leicester have retained their Premier League credentials, a point that was threatened under the Italian's regime.

The suggestion that Mahrez could follow Ranieri out of the King Power Stadium door to play Champions League football next season may be posed by the player's agent.

However, the reality is that, whilst he has the quality to be effective in that competition the question is: Does he have the mentality to cope with the requisite demands? Having the ability is great but it's the courage and consistency you need most to play at that level.

Forward - Sam Vokes (Burnley)

Sam Vokes
Vokes has netted three goals in his past three Premier League games, as many as in his previous 24 in the competition

Congratulations to Burnley, who have survived another season in the Premier League. To have amassed 40 points with two games to play is an amazing team effort by Sean Dyche and his boys.

The only way to guarantee survival is to score goals and Dyche has shown great faith in Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes. Both have taken time to acclimatise to top-flight football but look the real deal in the fortress that Turf Moor has become.

Against West Brom, who have not given up on producing a record Premier League points tally, Vokes looked as sharp as I have seen him, which would also account for his first brace in the big time.

What Burnley have done is provide teams coming up into the Premier League with a template for survival. Which is, if you get relegated don't sack your manager, keep your players, add one or two more to your squad and retain the same regime that got you promotion in the first place. Brighton take note.

Top Stories