Chelsea 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 Thibaut Courtois, Davis Luiz and Marcos Alonso in the one nil victory over Middlesbrough at the weekend at the Riverside 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.
‘Thibaut Courtois is starting to look as safe as houses again. He only had two real saves to make in the entire match against Middlesbrough and he was equal to the test. The Belgium international had his difficulties last season and was being asked to play like a sweeper at times in order for his defence to hold a high line, which didn’t suit him at all.
But now he is performing in a new-look back five and looking like a top-class keeper again. And we all know you can’t win the Premier League title without one.’
‘Against Middlesbrough, he never missed a header, a tackle, or an interception. In fact, he was the architect of the move of the match that resulted in Pedro’s strike crashing against the underside of the bar. Luiz has been immense since his return to Stamford Bridge.
The victory over the Boro was as emphatic as it was stylish and takes them to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since May 2015. Chelsea are the best team in the league at the moment, with steel and flair in equal proportions. The late, great Howard Kendall once said that winning trophies was like sipping champagne; once you’ve had a taste, you keep going back for more.
Antonio Conte has enjoyed a sip or two of success over the years. By the look of his new-look Chelsea team’s recent performances, both he and they are developing a taste for more in the months ahead.’
‘I must be honest; I wasn’t sure about Marcos Alonso as Chelsea’s left-back, but that was probably due to having watched Ashley Cole for a number of seasons. However, with every clean sheet Chelsea have achieved this season, Alonso has grown.
Against Middlesbrough, he started to look more reassured going forward, always making himself available, and even forcing an impressive save out of Victor Valdes. Chelsea have struggled to find a naturally left-footed full-back since the departure of former England international Cole. Now they have one, and boy does it make a difference.’
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.
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Virgil van Dijk (Southampton), David Luiz (Chelsea), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Victor Anichebe (Sunderland), Jermain Defoe (Sunderland).