City Quartet In Team Of The Week (12/12/17)
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 goalkeeper Ederson, Nicolas Otamendi, David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne in the two one victory over Manchester United at the weekend at Old Trafford 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 all four as part of his team but explaining his choice he told the BBC.
'What a double save by Ederson to deny Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata in quick succession in the closing stages of the Manchester derby. Last week David de Gea made a similar double save that gave United the points at Arsenal. This week it was Ederson. The first save hit him in the face, but the speed at which the Brazil keeper recovered to make the second save from Mata was incredible. I also noticed in the first half that the City keeper was absolutely brilliant when manipulating the ball with his feet. This allows him to play in a way that helps his team retain the ball - the reason behind manager Pep Guardiola making Joe Hart surplus to requirements. This was a fabulous performance by City but I am in no doubt that, as good as they were, Ederson's double save was the turning point in this fixture. Eight away wins out of eight and 11 points clear at the top suggests the title race is over.'
'Five goals in his last 15 appearances for City can not be a coincidence. I have had mixed views about this defender since he arrived at the club, but he has already made my Team of the Week this season. With a finish worthy of a top striker in the biggest Manchester derby for years, he has done so again. There have been many times when I thought he was far too impetuous and his positional sense was often suspect. But the 79th-minute incident involving Ander Herrera and Otamendi was a clear indication of the growth in the player. Otamendi in the past would have dangled a leg and given away a penalty. This time he refused to take the bait. Herrera's dive was as pathetic as it was desperate and deserved the booking he received. United boss Jose Mourinho can complain all he wants about referee Michael Oliver's decision not to give a penalty, but the real issue is that United were outclassed and the better side won. Trying to deflect that issue will not wash with those who understand the game. And nothing other than that fact should be occupying Mourinho's mind at this moment.'
'I don't think I have seen this man play with the same fire and determination as I have these past few weeks. I said recently that David Silva was going in where it hurts. If he has been asked by Pep Guardiola to increase his goal tally, and there is no reason why he can't, then he is doing it with great gusto. Silva is finding himself in the six-yard box with greater regularity and converting half-chances into goals. I never thought Guardiola could create another Xavi but Silva has become that player.'
'This was a top-class performance by Kevin de Bruyne in a different way than I have seen from him this season. I know he can pass the ball brilliantly, strikes the ball as cleanly as Tiger Woods hit a golf ball and has a great eye for goal. But on Sunday, De Bruyne tracked back, put his foot in, made challenges and even took a couple of smacks in the mouth. That is what most defenders have to do on a weekly basis, but because they have an amazing team City tend to have the ball at their feet more often than not and do not have to do the normal fetching and carrying. However this was a Manchester derby, and you've got to be prepared for physical activity. De Bruyne also will have known that a victory against United would tighten their grip on the Premier League title to such an extent it would take something quite unique for United to take it from them. So taking the occasional smack in the mouth was more than worth it.'
It's always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to all four for their recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course the win.
Ederson (Manchester City), Ashley Williams (Everton), Winston Reid (West Ham), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), David Silva (Manchester City), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Jermain Defoe (Bournemouth), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).