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Who looked 'scary'? - Garth Crooks' Team of the Week

Published on: 07 August 2022

At the end of every Premier League weekend BBC football pundit Garth Crooks will be on hand to give you his Team of the Week.

But who has he picked this time? Take a look and then pick your own team below. And, as ever, Garth will have his say on the game's big talking points in The Crooks of the Matter.

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Robert Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion)

The flag might have been raised, but no-one could say with any certainty that VAR might not have overturned the assistant referee's decision which made the save all the more remarkable.

The shot from Marcus Rashford was at point-blank range, but the save by Sanchez changed the game. This was a historic victory for Brighton over Manchester United and makes the start of Erik ten Hag's reign at Old Trafford even more problematic than it was originally. Read why I think United have to let Cristiano Ronaldo leave in the Crooks of the Matter below.

Eric Dier (Tottenham)

Much has been said about the prospect of Tottenham challenging for honours this season and possibly the title. Well, I'm not going to get carried away with one performance, but I will concede they do look promising. Dier scored his first goal in three years and seems more comfortable in a Tottenham shirt than I've seen for some time.

He has never been in the same class as Virgil van Dijk, Ruben Dias or Antonio Rudiger. However, if Spurs are going to be serious about challenging for top spot, then Dier is going to have to produce some pretty spectacular performances this season.

Fabian Schar (Newcastle)

His first-half tackle on Jesse Lingard in the Newcastle box was enough to suggest the Swiss defender was in no mood to give the Nottingham Forest player one inch.

Schar's strike for Newcastle's opening goal was struck beautifully. This footballer can defend and play in equal measure. Precisely what Lingard is doing at Forest I am not entirely sure, but a one-year deal on a free transfer? What sort of commitment is that? Does Lingard think we are all stupid?

Take the deal and split if the team goes down - is that the plan? I'm not sure who looks more ridiculous. Lingard for signing or Forest for accepting the terms.

William Saliba (Arsenal)

This was an impressive start to the season for Frenchman Saliba. The challenge on Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha in the box early in the second half spoke volumes about the quality - and especially the timing of the defender's tackle.

Arsenal haven't looked convincing at centre-half since the days of Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Martin Keown and Steve Bould. It is still early days, but Saliba looks like a proper defender. Palace, on the other hand, were far too wasteful in front of goal - a problem they must fix quickly.

Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

Everyone is understandably talking about Erling Haaland's exceptional acceleration that won him the penalty, but it was Gundogan's defence-splitting pass that put him in there.

The Germany international then controlled the first half for Manchester City and, later, the game. The way Gundogan was desperate to lay another goal on for Haaland in the second half, when he had the perfect opportunity to score himself, suggests City's players are very keen to see the Norwegian superstar succeed at the Etihad.

Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

It can't be much fun if you're playing against City and when De Bruyne and Gundogan are in the starting line- up. You know you are not going to see much of the ball and, if you're lucky and don't get too close, they might spare you further embarrassment.

Well, you couldn't help feeling that's how West Ham's players approached this match. The Hammers didn't lay a glove on City which was rather disappointing. West Ham teams that played at Upton Park in the past never cared about reputations.

Pascal Gross (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Manchester United have yet again completed another long-term signing without knowing whether the player can handle life in the Premier League or the Old Trafford stage.

New centre-back signing Lisandro Martinez had a shocking first half and his second wasn't much better.

Gross, on the other hand, loves playing against United and is an established Premier League player who cost Brighton a fraction of the Argentine defender's £57m fee.

Gross was the coolest man on the pitch against United, while Brighton played sensible, uncomplicated, counter-attacking football and it ultimately cost United the match.

Dejan Kulusevski (Tottenham)

What a brilliant acquisition by Antonio Conte to bring Kulusevski to Spurs. This player has been a revelation since he arrived from Juventus in January, scoring five times and providing eight assists last term.

And he continued in that vein, setting up Ryan Sessegnon's opener and then scoring himself as Tottenham blew Southampton off the park.

However, the issue for Tottenham is can they win a trophy? Any trophy? This club seems to have lots of legends, but very few who have ever won anything. This squad of players would do very well not to join that category.

Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)

The Brazilian looked electric for much of the game against Palace. I often got the feeling the former Manchester City forward wasn't given the respect his talents deserved under Pep Guardiola.

However, under Mikel Arteta, it looks like the striker may have found a manager who not only believes in his abilities but also provides him with a golden opportunity to represent his country in the World Cup in November. I don't think he would have got that under Guardiola.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham)

I know it was warm at Craven Cottage, but not even the former European Champions can win football matches playing at walking pace.

Meanwhile, Fulham were right in the face of the visitors and they didn't like it.

Mitrovic, a player I thought was done playing Premier League football two years ago, was putting himself about like Didier Drogba - much to the dismay of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who got destroyed by the Serbia international for the first goal, and a Liverpool backline who had come for an easy life.

Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

Watching De Bruyne and Gundogan supplying quality service for Haaland to do what he does best must be a cause for concern for rivals like Liverpool.

There is no doubt these two clubs will be fighting it out again for the Premier League title, but City's latest addition demonstrated the power and pace that would terrify any team.

I am not in the slightest bit swayed by the over-the-top predictions that this lad can score 30 or 40 goals in the Premier League, but I did sit up and take notice of the electric turn of pace a man of Haaland's size could generate. That was scary.

The Crooks of the Matter

Cristiano Ronaldo's insatiable appetite to play football is only matched by his extraordinary physical shape at the age of 37.

His return to Old Trafford, in the twilight of his career, has not given the player what he desires most - and that is Champions League football.

Ronaldo has been past his best for some time now, but commercially he is still at the very top. The Portuguese superstar has a staggering 474 million followers on Instagram and they go where he goes.

Anyone who can command that kind of attention not only deserves to be taken very seriously but can make the sort of demands very few players in the world can.

United want to retain Ronaldo's worldwide commercial value but that might come at a price the club simply can't afford.

Let's be clear. You cannot build a team around a 37-year-old, no matter how good he is on occasions. With Champions League football already off the table, all that United can offer the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is automatic selection if the player is fit to play.

Should Erik ten Hag concede to such demands and put commercialism before team selection he will lose the dressing room in a nanosecond. That's why United must cut Ronaldo loose now.

Pick your team of the week

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