Date: 29th December 2016 at 10:56pm
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Arsenal 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 Hector Bellerin and Laurent Koscielny in the one nil victory over West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day at the Emirates 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 duo as part of his team but explaining his choice he told the BBC.


‘West Brom at home was a must-win game for Arsenal after two disappointing performances against Everton and Manchester City and the Gunners had to dig deep. For all of Arsenal’s intricate passing, a team doesn’t dominate a game or show how brilliant they are by the number of touches they have on the ball. The game has always been about putting the ball in the back of the net. Bellerin is a defender but one who does as much as any player on the field to affect the score line. Arsenal are always better when he’s in the side. Constantly raiding down the right-hand side of West Brom’s defence, the Spaniard was instrumental in helping Arsenal grind out a 1-0 victory. Is it any wonder Arsene Wenger is so delighted to have recently signed Bellerin on a long-term contract? The Arsenal manager has firmly slammed the door shut in the faces of suitors Barcelona and Bayern Munich.’


‘I have always had reservations about Laurent Koscielny. He is an excellent player on his day but he can also be very unpredictable. I have seen him have some magnificent games for club and country and then suddenly do something utterly inexplicable. This could materialise in a sudden lunge on an opponent in his own box, a two-footed tackle or an off-the-ball incident. Whatever it is it always comes at a price to his teams. Yet when he’s on top of his game he can be one of the best central defenders around. Against West Brom, he was the consummate professional. He was cool, calm and collected at the back and it was just what Arsenal needed in what was rapidly becoming a tricky fixture for the Gunners. If he can stay fit and remain in this frame of mind he, and not the stars up front, might transform Arsenal’s bid for the title. It’s always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to all three for their recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course the three points.’

It’s always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to the duo for their recognition, but the most important thing about the game was of course the three points.

Full Team:

Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Hector Bellerin (Arsenal), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Winston Reid (West Ham), James Milner (Liverpool), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United).