Garth Crooks’ team of the week: Ederson, Van Dijk, Foden, Perez

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Garth Crooks’ team of the week: Ederson, Van Dijk, Foden, Perez

Liverpool remain two points clear at the top of the Premier League following a 2-0 win at Cardiff City after Manchester City beat Tottenham 1-0 to keep the pressure on.

In the battle for Champions League places, Arsenal were beaten 3-2 at home by Crystal Palace and Manchester United crumbled to a 4-0 defeat at Everton.

At the other end of the table, Brighton claimed a hard-earned point by holding Wolves to a goalless draw.

Fulham secured a 1-0 win at Bournemouth and Huddersfield lost 2-1 at home to Watford.

Newcastle beat Southampton 3-1, while West Ham and Leicester shared four goals.

Here’s my team of the week – have a read and select your own below.

Goalkeeper – Ederson (Man City)

I thought Ederson had a nightmare for Manchester City in the epic Champions League quarter-final against Spurs in midweek. If he had played anything like he did in the equally crucial league fixture against the same opposition, City would be in the semi-finals.

But fortune favours the brave and the Brazilian goalkeeper not only showed up for this fixture but did what he failed to do on Wednesday night – stopping Son Heung-min from causing any further damage to City’s future prospects.

Did you know? Since the start of last season, Ederson has kept 33 clean sheets – more than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League.

Defenders – Seamus Coleman (Everton), Joel Matip (Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Seamus Coleman: He now wears the Everton captain’s armband and justifiably so. Seamus Coleman has played a massive part in the victories over Arsenal, Chelsea and now Manchester United. United were poor at Goodison Park and while they should be beating the likes of Everton, the emotional impact of losing to Barcelona in the Champions League cannot be underestimated.

Did you know? Everton have won 44% of their games with Coleman in the team in the Premier League this season, compared with 25% when he doesn’t feature.

Joel Matip: I don’t normally look beyond Virgil van Dijk in Liverpool’s back four when clean sheets have been maintained and matches won, but on this occasion I think I have to. Joel Matip was superb against Cardiff and overshadowed even the brilliant Van Dijk. Matip’s defending has been much more considered since the arrival of the Dutchman – but it’s the quality of his distribution that has left me speechless.

Did you know? Liverpool are unbeaten in the 21 Premier League games when Matip has played this season, averaging only 0.7 goals conceded per game in this period.

Virgil van Dijk: Three games to go and Virgil van Dijk is as close as he has ever been to winning the Premier League title. The former Southampton defender has come a long way since his days at Celtic but my tip for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year next week is playing with a calm and a composure I have seldom seen at this stage of the season. Has anyone told him what’s at stake here?

Did you know? Van Dijk has won 77% of his aerial duels in the Premier League this season.

Midfielders – Bernardo Silva (Man City), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool), Phil Foden (Man City)

Bernardo Silva: If anyone wants to know the difference between the two Manchester clubs, then study the reaction of both teams after their exits from the Champions League in midweek. Manchester United caved in at Goodison Park while City dug deep and claimed a crucial victory to keep their title challenge on track. Bernardo Silva was outstanding against a Tottenham side intent on doing even more damage than they inflicted in midweek. Fortunately, Bernardo had other ideas.

Did you know? Bernardo was directly involved in seven of Manchester City’s 15 shots against Tottenham, having three attempts and creating four.

Gylfi Sigurdsson: It’s not that long ago that Everton were going through a shocking period of games and there were questions raised about manager Marco Silva’s suitability for the job. Gylfi Sigurdsson has emerged as one of the shining lights in Everton’s resurgence since that period. His goal against a mentally shattered Manchester United was pivotal in Everton’s excellent 4-0 victory at Goodison Park.

Did you know? Sigurdsson has been directly involved in nine Premier League goals against Manchester United (five goals, four assists) – more than he has against any other club in the competition.

Georginio Wijnaldum: What a finish by Georginio Wijnaldum. I didn’t even expect Wijnaldum to play for Liverpool at Cardiff, but the Netherlands international sat in front of the back four and looked supreme as he and his team-mates slowly wore the Bluebirds down. Cardiff were brilliant for 50 minutes, but once Wijnaldum thundered the ball past Neil Etheridge in the Cardiff goal, the game was over.

Did you know? Wijnaldum’s goal for Liverpool was only his second scored away from home in the Premier League, with the other 19 all coming in home games.

Phil Foden: When you’re 18 and asked to fill the boots of David Silva, you had better be good. So what do you do? After only five minutes, you go and score your first Premier League goal. It’s what fairytales are made of, but that’s what happened to Phil Foden on Saturday.

Manchester City went out of the Champions League on Wednesday night because they could not cope with Spurs on the counter attack. For the same reason, they were lucky to come away with all three points in this league fixture.

Did you know? Eighteen-year-old Foden scored his first Premier League goal for Manchester City, becoming the third youngest player to score in the competition for the club (after Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge).

Forwards – Gerard Deulofeu (Watford), Ayoze Perez (Newcastle), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Gerard Deulofeu: He’s at it again. Gerard Deulofeu produced two moments of magic against Huddersfield Town, whose manager Jan Siewert at times seemed more animated than his team. Deulofeu doesn’t score ordinary goals – they tend to be exquisite, which makes watching him all the more infuriating when we find ourselves waiting for weeks on end for the Spain international to do something amazing.

Did you know? Deulofeu has scored six goals in his past five Premier League away games for Watford.

Ayoze Perez: What a way to get your ninth, 10th and 11th league goals of the season; playing against Southampton in front of a packed St James’ Park and with Alan Shearer watching in the Match of the Day studio. I don’t think it gets better than that for Ayoze Perez.

The Spaniard has found hitting the back of the next on a regular basis a bit of a challenge in the past but saved his best for Shearer to observe. Life is nothing if it’s not about timing.

Did you know? Perez’s hat-trick was Newcastle’s first in the Premier League since October 2015, when Georginio Wijnaldum scored four times against Norwich City.

Wilfried Zaha: I was transfixed on the Cardiff-Liverpool game on Sunday, but each time I glanced to observe Crystal Palace, I saw Wifried Zaha running Arsenal ragged. It was nice to see Christian Benteke among the goals again after such a long barren spell, but his link-up play with Zaha cannot be underestimated. Zaha needs someone to play off and a fit Benteke is as good as anyone.

Did you know? Zaha has scored eight away goals for Crystal Palace in the Premier League this season – only Harry Kane (11) and Jamie Vardy (10) have netted more in the competition.

Now it’s your turn

You’ve seen my selections this week. But who would you go for?

The Crooks of the Matter

Danny Rose has started 17 Premier League games for Tottenham this season

The Professional Footballers’ Association’s 24-hour social media boycott #Enough was nothing short of brilliant. I do not get involved in social media in any way, shape, or form because of its often, but not always, pernicious and malicious comments. It’s not helped when cowards use the platform to racially abuse professional footballers, largely as a result of jealousies or sheer ignorance based on fake tribal loyalties.

I have thought for a long time now that professional players and managers, regardless of colour or creed, should be protecting each other when so-called fans think they have the right to abuse players just because they can.

I never quite understood why my white team-mates never called the racists out when I was abused as a player or, in more recent times, why high-profile white players have not come to the aid of their team-mates publicly when faced with the same insults, as Danny Rose or Raheem Sterling have been.

But now they have. I was heartened to see David Beckham come out in support of the campaign on his Instagram the moment the campaign was launched, followed by Gianni Infantino, the president of Fifa. If we are really serious about driving racism out of our game, it can only be achieved by working together. Enough really is enough.

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