City Trio In Team Of The Week (16/10/17)
Manchester City are represented in the latest Premier League team of the week that has been selected by BBC pundit Garth Crooks.
Actually Garth is now down as a 'Football Analyst' these days, a posh term for a pundit then!
The performances by Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus in the seven two demolition of Stoke City at the weekend at the Etihad Stadium was enough to earn them a place in the side alongside the other, in the opinion of the former Spurs striker anyway, most impressive performers in the topflight over the latest weekend.
I think we'll already know ourselves, and not just based on the latest performance, why Crooks, we'll also not argue with it, selected the trio as part of his team but explaining his choice he told the BBC.
'When Guardiola talked about Manchester City having the 'wow factor', he wasn't kidding. Poor Tom Edwards will remember his debut for the rest of his life, and for all the wrong reasons. The Stoke full-back must have felt a million dollars before the game, and wondered what had hit him afterwards. I think the name that will stay with young Edwards for some considerable time will be Kevin de Bruyne. The Belgium international produced a performance in the Zinedine Zidane class. His range of pass and ability to carve open Stoke's defence was sublime. The pass for Leroy Sane that led to City's second goal was one of those balls that makes a football crowd gasp because no-one other than De Bruyne saw it coming. As for the ball to Gabriel Jesus for City's fourth goal - well, you will not see a better pass. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, he produces a ball for Sane, who politely accepts the gift to convert yet another assist. Guardiola didn't need to substitute De Bruyne, he simply could have left him on the pitch and no-one would have thought anything of it. But he didn't. Instead, he took the man of the match off so both sets of fans could give him the standing ovation his performance deserved. Now that's management.'
'What's happened to Raheem Sterling? I have not seen this sort of performance from the young man since his early days at Liverpool. I did see a flash of this overwhelming confidence when he snatched the ball from Sergio Aguero, to the amazement of the striker, to take a penalty in their demolition of Watford. I also saw a snippet away at Bournemouth when he scored City's winner in the dying seconds. However, I am now seeing the sort of growth in the player commensurate with his talents. Sterling has always been far too anxious in front of goal, but not any more it would seem. Guardiola has got the player (he's not just a winger any more) to settle down and be far more controlled in certain situations. It may even be the arrival of younger players such as Sane and Gabriel Jesus that has helped Sterling feel more at home in an otherwise pressurised environment. Whatever the reason, it's great to see. When Sterling left Anfield he couldn't have imagined that his development at City would have been such a struggle. However, under Guardiola the England international looks far more accomplished. The question now is can Gareth Southgate get him to do the same for the national team.'
'Manchester City might have found another Ronaldo. He moves like the former Brazil and Real Madrid striker, and definitely has the same eye for goal. With De Bruyne cast as Zinedine Zidane, and playing like him, Gabriel Jesus will have access to all the ammunition he needs to steal the Golden Boot from Tottenham striker Harry Kane, Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku or even City team-mate Sergio Aguero. At 20 years of age, this lad is embarrassingly brilliant and looks like he could be central to City's European dreams. As for the domestic scene, City fans must be giving United fans hell. They are top of the league and playing the sort of football other teams can only imagine. I have picked Manchester United for the title, but having seen such a gutless performance by Mourinho at Liverpool, I think I may have made a mistake. Nevertheless, I will stick to my guns on the basis that even Mourinho must recognise there is far more at stake than winning the Premier League title. It's called kudos; football is nothing without the glory. It has never been just about winning that matters to football fans. It's how you win that makes you sleep well at night.'
It's always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to the trio for their recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course the win.
David de Gea (Manchester United), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Tom Cleverley (Watford), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Troy Deeney (Watford), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).