BBC Premier League team of the week: Arsenal, Liverpool stars lead way in balanced XI

After another enthralling week in the Premier League, BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks has returned with a seemingly balanced and fair team of the week.

Often criticised for his selections, it’s always difficult for any pundit to satisfy all readers given the subjective nature of picking a team of the week.

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Nevertheless, Crooks appears to have avoided any backlash on social media this time round, as he’s picked a balanced XI across various teams in the top flight.

Rui Patricio gets the nod between the posts after a fine display against Chelsea, albeit he was eventually beaten by Eden Hazard as Wolves picked up a point at Stamford Bridge.

Crooks has gone for a back-three in front of the Portuguese shot-stopper, with Bruno Manga, Lewis Dunk and Sokratis, with all three playing key roles in wins for their respective sides.

The Greek international was particularly impressive against a dangerous Man Utd attack, and he certainly deserves credit for putting his red-card nightmare in midweek in the Europa League behind him to emerge as a key figure for Unai Emery’s side on Sunday.

Crooks certainly lets himself down by suggesting that United were ‘rampant in midweek against Paris Saint-Germain’ though, as the Red Devils certainly weren’t despite advancing to the quarter-finals.

In midfield, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is included after a fine display at the Emirates, coming in at right wing-back and putting in a real shift for his team.

He’s joined by James Ward-Prowse, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling, with the Man City star being a no-brainer after netting a hat-trick in his side’s win over Watford to keep them top of the Premier League table.

Lallana also deserves a special mention as after being dogged by injuries for so long, he would undoubtedly have been delighted to feature prominently for Liverpool again.

Ayoze Perez, Jamie Vardy and Sadio Mane form the attacking trident, with all three bagging a brace in wins for their sides. With that in mind, and similarly to Sterling’s goalscoring feat this past weekend, it’s hard to ignore the trio in question who deserve their place in the XI.

Crooks has gone for a number of goalscorers again, but it’s nice to see him look across the entire league rather than focus in on the top sides. With that in mind, it’s difficult to argue with his picks this week.

BBC Team of the Week: Patricio; Manga, Dunk, Sokratis; Niles, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Sterling; Perez, Vardy, Mane (via BBC Sport).

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