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‘Superb’ Kante makes Garth’s team of the week

Garth's team of the week

This was a week which had plenty – red cards, late winners, lots of goals and penalty misses.

Manchester City twice missed from the spot as Everton held them to a 1-1 draw and Christian Benteke missed a penalty for Crystal Palace as they lost to West Ham.

Bournemouth thumped six past Hull, Chelsea scored three to condemn defending Premier League champions Leicester to a fourth consecutive away defeat and Arsenal won their sixth league game in a row, despite being reduced to 10 men against Swansea.

Do you agree with Garth’s picks or would you go for a different team? Choose your team of the week from the shortlist selected by BBC Sport journalists and share it with your friends.

Pick your XI from our list and share with your friends.

Goalkeeper – Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton)

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Stekelenburg saved two penalties against Man City – the eighth occasion a goalkeeper has done so in a single Premier League game

Stekelenburg’s performance against Manchester City was truly outstanding. The 34-year-old’s penalty saves appeared routine, in comparison to his general performance. The goalkeeper’s display grew to such an extent you began to think the Dutchman was unbeatable.

The goal that eventually beat Stekelenburg from Manchester City’s Nolito seemed a result of fatigue because of the catalogue of saves he made throughout the match. At the end of the game he looked shattered.

Defender – Winston Reid (West Ham)

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No other West Ham player made more clearances than Reid against Crystal Palace (15)

West Ham, who before this weekend were in the bottom three, needed the three points they earned against Crystal Palace and they defended well enough with 10 men to secure them. Admittedly, they needed a little luck and the penalty miss by Benteke was karma for an earlier miscarriage of justice on Aaron Cresswell by referee Martin Atkinson.

Nevertheless, Reid’s performance for the Hammers deserves to be singled out. West Ham were another team who played three central defenders and Reid was the lynchpin that kept them together.

West Ham might have got away with this result, but if they are going to survive in the Premier League they must sort out their performances in their new state-of-the-art stadium, which dreadfully lacks atmosphere. I feel like I am watching a football match in the middle of the Nevada desert!

Defender – David Luiz (Chelsea)

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Luiz made three interceptions against Leicester, which was the most of any Chelsea defender

I have been very critical of Luiz in the past, but I must say his time at Paris St-Germain has proved profitable for Chelsea.

Since the Brazilian’s return to Stamford Bridge this summer, I have noticed he is a much more mature defender who is far less concerned about what he can do on the ball. These days he concentrates on stopping those with the ball from playing.

In a back three, which seems to suit Luiz, he dealt with Leicester striker Jamie Vardy comfortably. Keeping clean sheets helps win titles and, while I see Chelsea a little short of that this season, I am starting to appreciate a defensive unit who might start to cope with life at Stamford Bridge without veterans John Terry or Branislav Ivanovic. It’s about time.

Defender – Ashley Williams (Everton)

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Williams made a game-high 16 clearances against Manchester City on Saturday

I am a huge admirer of this defender and have been since he, on occasions, almost single-handedly kept Swansea in the Premier League.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman, who knows a thing or two about defending, has introduced the Wales international into an Everton defensive line-up that is starting to look like a unit. What a pity the usually dependable Phil Jagielka had such a horror show beside Williams. For a defender to give away one penalty in a match is bad enough – but two is reckless.

Fortunately for the Toffees, Williams held the fort brilliantly against a Manchester City side who looked rampant at times. In fact, Williams is starting to acquire the sort of leadership qualities former Everton legend and fellow Welshman Kevin Ratcliffe became famous for throughout the 1980s.

Midfielder – Aaron Cresswell (West Ham)

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Since his debut in August 2014, Cresswell has provided nine assists in the Premier League – a haul only two other defenders can better (Janmaat 11, Baines 10)

Boy have West Ham missed Cresswell, who was making his first appearance since returning from an injury suffered in pre-season. His ball for team-mate Manuel Lanzini to score was of the highest quality and further indication of what he can produce.

However, what then followed was a travesty. Referee Atkinson made two of the worst decisions I have seen in a long time.

His first error was the yellow card given to Cresswell for diving when the full-back was clearly tripped in the box. Atkinson then went on to compound the mistake 51 seconds later by giving Cresswell a second yellow for putting an arm across Wilfried Zaha, even though the defender was legitimately making life difficult for the Palace winger.

What was Cresswell supposed to do? Give Zaha directions? Atkinson owes Cresswell a public apology for the first caution and should have the decency to rescind the booking for diving when the player clearly did not.

Midfielder – N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

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Kante has completed more passes than any other Chelsea player in the Premier League this season (486)

It is not often I select a player for my team of the week who everyone agrees with. In fact, part of the fun is to get you to disagree with me.

However, when it comes to Kante, there couldn’t have been anyone in either the Chelsea or Leicester camp who thought the midfielder was not superb throughout on his return to his former club.

To call the France international a ‘holding player’ does him the most incredible disservice, particularly when he covers so much ground, has touch, vision and reads the game so brilliantly.

The affection in which he is held by his former Leicester team-mates was clearly visible after the game. To see Kante go over to the Foxes fans and applaud them suggests his move to Chelsea in the summer was more to do with business than pleasure.

Midfielder – Joe Allen (Stoke)

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Allen has now matched his best goal haul for a top-flight season (four, also 2011-12)

Allen was denied what would have been a glorious hat-trick by the left arm of Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Nevertheless, Allen’s first brace of his career suggests that life is very different under Mark Hughes at Stoke than it was at Liverpool. It is no coincidence that Allen is finding himself in the opposition penalty area on a regular basis and enjoying a lot of success as a consequence.

It is clear that Hughes considers his fellow Welshman to be the real deal and not just a ‘bit-part player’, which seemed to be the case on so many occasions at Anfield. The way Allen is playing at the moment, he could find himself in double figures at the end of the season.

Midfielder – Victor Moses (Chelsea)

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Moses had more shots on target than any other Chelsea player against Leicester (two), scoring once

The continued influx of foreign coaches in the Premier League has created an explosion of tactical options. One player who has taken advantage of the variety afforded players these days is Moses.

Loans to West Ham and Stoke suggested his career at Stamford Bridge was over but manager Antonio Conte – in the absence of Willian, who is on compassionate leave – has found a new role for the Nigerian and he looks like he’s loving every minute of it.

His performance for Chelsea against Leicester, in a classic 3-4-3 formation, gave him freedom to express himself without placing restrictions on his team.

Admittedly, he had genuine defenders behind him but his athleticism and ability to take players on was an exciting feature against the Foxes. A player I thought tended to stroll through games suddenly looks like a match-winner again.

Forward – Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth)

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Stanislas created three chances against Hull – the joint-most by a Bournemouth player in a Premier League game this season (Jordon Ibe also had three against Hull)

Eddie Howe’s decision to stay at Bournemouth and resist overtures, however flattering, to manage England is paying off. His ability to develop players and transform them into top-class performers is evident.

Former West Ham player Stanislas is probably Howe’s best example. The 26-year-old is proving to be a consistent performer. A well-taken goal and an audacious penalty capped a sparkling performance by the winger.

Meanwhile, Mike Phelan gets a new job to replace the old one with an extension to the end of the season, but it has failed to inspire Hull. It’s now 17 goals conceded in four league matches.

Do the Hull City players realise that the contract offered to Phelan means he could be replaced at any stage during his tenure? If they really value the integrity of their manager they should have a collective word with themselves and stop conceding goals immediately.

Forward – Romelu Lukaku (Everton)

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Lukaku has scored six goals in his past five Premier League games after a run of 11 consecutive appearances in the competition without a goal

Lukaku’s goal was one of extraordinary quality because when the Everton striker received the ball 30 metres from goal there was no immediate danger. The Belgian then beat City full-back Gael Clichy, whose lack of pace must be a real cause for concern for his manager Pep Guardiola, before smashing the ball past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

What surprised me was that having seen Lukaku in this mood Clichy was left so isolated – that there wasn’t more urgency from City to cover the threat of the Belgium international.

City may look devastating going forward but Lukaku made them look pedestrian at the back.

Forward – Theo Walcott (Arsenal)

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Walcott has scored five goals in eight Premier League games this season which is the same number he scored in 28 appearances in the 2015-16 season.

Arsenal should have scored a hatful against Swansea and Walcott should have netted most of them. In the end, it didn’t matter as the England international scored two goals and the Gunners won the match.

However, the notion that Walcott should do for England what he does for Arsenal is a real misunderstanding of the situation.

Seldom do you see international teams defend like Swansea and adopt such an alarming inability to defend set pieces – and neither does the England team have world-class players like Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil or Alexis Sanchez to call on every time there is a crisis.

In the meantime, Walcott can wallow in the luxury of genuine, world-class talent and England will just have to cope.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37674215