Garth Crooks' team of the week: Schar, Koscielny, Neves, Rashford, Salah

Garth's team of the week

Manchester United maintained their 100% record under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and kept up the pressure on fourth-placed Chelsea with victory over Brighton.

Maurizio Sarri's men were beaten in a London derby by Arsenal, while leaders Liverpool remained four points clear after their victory over Crystal Palace was matched a day later by second-placed Manchester City's win at managerless Huddersfield.

Wolves beat Leicester in a classic and Newcastle claimed an important win over Cardiff, while Bournemouth bounced back to winning ways against West Ham and Southampton continued their resurgence under Ralph Hasenhuttl, taking three points from Everton.

Tottenham left it late to edge past Fulham and Watford played out a goalless draw with Burnley.

Garth's team of the week

Goalkeeper - Ederson (Manchester City)

Ederson in action

He didn't have to do an awful lot against Huddersfield but keeping a clean sheet in the Premier League is a big deal - just ask Julian Speroni. The Crystal Palace keeper let the occasion get to him and it cost his team dearly. No such mistakes from Ederson.

The Manchester City keeper did what he had to do in order to keep City's hopes of retaining the title alive.

Did you know? Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Manchester City's Ederson has kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper (26).

Defenders - Fabian Schar (Newcastle), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham)

Fabian Schar, Laurent Koscielny, Davinson Sanchez

Fabian Schar: I have to go back to the days of Philippe Albert for a performance like this from a Newcastle defender. I'm not saying he's in that class but Fabian Schar did have a magnificent game.

The Swiss international scored one of the best individual goals I've seen from a central defender in years, along with a match-winning intervention if ever I saw one. Can Newcastle survive this season? Yes, but not without Rafa Benitez.

Did you know? Fabian Schar became the first defender to score twice in a Premier League match for Newcastle since Philippe Albert against Manchester City in February 1996.

Laurent Koscielny: The Frenchman is a hard man to keep down when he's in this mood. He's also a real threat in the opposition's penalty area on set plays and so it proved against a Chelsea team I didn't recognise from the side I saw earlier in the season.

Something is going on at Stamford Bridge and, if his post-match interview is anything to go by, it has clearly spooked Maurizio Sarri. Read more about my thoughts on Sarri's outburst in The Crooks of the Matter below.

Did you know? Laurent Koscielny became the first Arsenal defender to score 20 Premier League goals.

Davinson Sanchez: Claudio Ranieri's expression at the end of his Fulham side's encounter with Spurs said it all. With a face like thunder he stormed off the pitch. The hosts deserved a point. Harry Winks might have got the winner but it was left to Davinson Sanchez to deal with the threat of Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and he did it brilliantly.

It was like a heavyweight contest but with poor old Sanchez having to punch well above his weight. Meanwhile Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld left the field without a scratch. Both of them should give Sanchez half of their wages. Protection money!

Did you know? Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Spurs have conceded an average of 0.8 goals per game when Davinson Sanchez has started (39 games), compared with 1.2 per game when he hasn't (21 games).

Midfielders - James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Ruben Neves (Wolves), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

James Ward-Prowse, Paul Pogba, Ruben Neves, Raheem Sterling

James Ward-Prowse: What a transformation at Southampton, who look a very different football team from the one I saw under Mark Hughes, although I can't put my finger on why. The Saints seem to benefit from the departure of one manager and profit from the arrival of another.

Meanwhile James Ward-Prowse appears to be one of the team's main beneficiaries. He was on top of his game against Everton, who weren't at their best by any means. There are now rumours circulating that Marco Silva is under pressure. Surely not. It's far too early for that.

Did you know? James Ward-Prowse has scored in consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time in his career.

Paul Pogba: So the Manchester United renaissance continues under Paul Pogba. At least that's what it looks like on the field of play as caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on, perfectly at ease with matters as his five-star general takes care of business.

Pogba's first touch was so precise it caused Gaetan Bong to panic and bundle the Frenchman down in the penalty area. As for the penalty - he can take them however he likes as long as he puts the ball in the back of the net.

Did you know? Paul Pogba's goal was his eighth in the Premier League for Manchester United this season, equalling his best return in a single season in the top five European leagues (he got eight for Juventus in 2014-15 and 2015-16).

Ruben Neves: We've seen Neves destroy the opposition before at Molineux so why Leicester gave this very talented Portugal international the room to do what he does best was a complete mystery to me. Is it any wonder that Claude Puel was blowing a gasket on the touchline?

The Leicester manager's job is hanging by a thread because he can't provide the fans with a settled team. Meanwhile, Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo knows exactly what his best team is and Neves is at the heart of it.

Did you know? Ruben Neves has completed more passes than any other Wolves player in the Premier League this season (940).

Raheem Sterling: When a penalty appeal goes so badly against you and the home crowd have the audacity to boo you because they believe you have tried to gain an advantage, the humiliation of it all can unravel your entire game.

Sterling's goal and overall performance against a totally outclassed Huddersfield Town proved the England international is made of tougher stuff than that. Andre Marriner's decision not to award Sterling a penalty was so bad it was almost villainous.

As for his assistant referee Richard West, he might as well have gone West!

Did you know? Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling have combined for six Premier League goals for City this season - the only duo to combine for more are Bournemouth's Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser (seven).

Forwards - Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Diogo Jota (Wolves), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Marcus Rashford, Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah

Marcus Rashford: There was a moment in the Manchester United v Brighton game when I literally jumped out of my chair in the Final Score studio. Marcus Rashford attempted the most wonderful piece of skill and just missed the Brighton upright.

Moments later, from a more acute angle, the United striker nailed the technique and scored a magnificent goal. Two months ago the England striker wouldn't have dared to be so audacious in front of goal under the autocratic Jose Mourinho.

The result? Old Trafford once again has bums on seats and smiling faces.

Did you know? Marcus Rashford - making his 150th appearance for United in all competitions - has now scored in his past four Premier League games. Only Anthony Martial (five) has had a better such run in the competition this season.

Diogo Jota: This was a game full of errors and some excellent finishing by the Portugal international.

Jota looked razor sharp against a Leicester City side in desperate need of leadership. He tormented the Foxes and, with better finishing, might have scored more than his hat-trick.

What really grated with me was the sending-off of Nuno Espirito Santo. The Premier League insists such behaviour warrants a sending-off and referee Chris Kavanagh duly obliged. So why didn't the same referee send off Jurgen Klopp against Everton at Anfield in December? Kavanagh clearly made a mistake.

Did you know? Diogo Jota is the first Wolves player to score a top-flight hat-trick since John Richards in October 1977, also against Leicester. He also became the second Portuguese player to score a Premier League hat-trick after Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mohamed Salah: Mo Salah is breaking my heart. Why would such a wonderful player do something so grotesque?

He went down in the penalty area as though he had been poleaxed. Crystal Palace skipper Luka Milivojevic told the Egypt international what he thought of the charade in no uncertain terms, and quite rightly. This was before the Liverpool striker sent the Eagles back to Selhurst Park having had their wings severely clipped.

I was so disappointed in Salah but I still can't bring myself to leave him out of my team of the week.

Did you know? Salah has scored his 50th Premier League goal in his 72nd appearance in the competition - only Andy Cole (65), Alan Shearer (66) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) have reached the milestone in fewer appearances.

Now it's your turn

You've seen my picks this week. But who would you go for?

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

The Crooks of the Matter

When is it legitimate for a manager to criticise his players in public?

Maurizio Sarri felt the time was right after Chelsea's lamentable performance against Arsenal on Saturday. Both his predecessors at Chelsea, Messrs Mourinho and Conte, had no problem whatsoever telling the media exactly what they thought about their players, whether they were good, bad or indifferent.

What I've never come to terms with is, why? Why is it necessary for managers to criticise players in public when they can do it in private?

The answer is, of course, when you know certain players are no longer responding to you. Sarri hasn't mentioned names yet but I will bet a pound to a penny those names will appear in the public domain very soon. Mourinho did it with Pogba at Old Trafford and Conte did it with Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge.

However, it is a very dangerous game they play. Get it wrong and the manager is the one picking up his P45, not the player. Sarri take note.

Maurizio Sarri

Top Stories