After moaning recently about Garth Crooks’ Team of the Week because he wasn’t picking Arsenal players, this week I’m going to complain because he did.

Yes, that’s right, I’m never happy.

Of course I want to see Arsenal players given awards, even if they are small and meaningless like this, but to pick Petr Cech, Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis in the team of the week from a game against Burnley? Well that seems a little odd to me.

Here’s his team:

garth crooks totw 22nd jan 2017

Let’s break it down.

Petr Cech

Crooks said he picked Cech for a few reasons. First, because he took a blow to his head. Well, it was, in fact, his shoulder, as shown when Cech started stretching his shoulder after treatment. Also, why is being hurt reason to get selected? That’s just stupid.

Crooks then adds about Cech’s performance, “You can count on Cech to be professional in a crisis and there were times in this match when Arsenal seemed to be out of control. The behaviour of Arsene Wenger was jaw-dropping. To push the fourth official, who was well within his rights to ask Wenger to leave the area having been dismissed, was appalling. It’s just as well the Arsenal manager has apologised to him, it’s the least he could do. Now he will have to wait to hear what the FA thought about this unseemly affair. I suspect it won’t be good.”

Quite what that has to do with Cech is anyone’s guess.

Four keepers had higher scores than Cech this weekend – Ben Foster, Joel Robles, Thibaut Courtois and Fraser Foster – with Ben Foster absolutely smashing the others and grabbing a Squawka score that was more than four times higher than Cech’s.

Shkodran Mustafi

Picked in a back four that contained Seamus Coleman, Gary Cahill and Chris Brunt, Mustafi continued his trend of not losing for Arsenal. Scoring his first goal for the club and taking a few whacks in the face from some Burnley elbows, Musti was great.

But was he really one of the four best defenders this weekend?

Well, no. He wasn’t even in the top 15, coming in 17th place when compared to all other defenders.

His teammate, Laurent Koscielny, was ranked 7th. The other three defenders picked came in 10th, 9th, Chris Brunt is weirdly listed as a midfielder on Squawka despite a MotM display for the Baggies as a defender.

Calum Chambers, it’s worth noting, was also ranked more highly than Mustafi this weekend.

Alexis Sanchez

When it comes to forwards this weekend, Alexis was the 3rd highest ranked, although I don’t think that Opta stats take into consideration the ice in his veins as he took that 97th minute penalty.

Liverpool fans can, perhaps, feel hard done by that Firmino wasn’t included, especially as he out performed all other forwards this weekend by some distance on stats scores alone, but I’m not going to argue with this one.


Crooks found no place in his team for Jack Wilshere who picked up another MotM award with Bournemouth. The midfielder was the 3rd highest ranked midfielder this weekend (66 points), with Aaron Ramsey 4th (53), but Crooks decided Ward-Prowse (minus 6), Wayne Rooney (39) and Tom Carroll (7, 7 points, not 7th) deserved the places instead.

Mesut Ozil was listed 6th, btw (50).

People may not put much stock in what Garth Crooks thinks, and with good reason. But they trust the BBC. Maybe picking players based on reality might be a decent starting point moving forward, even if that does mean not picking so many Arsenal players.

Unless, of course, Crooks and the BBC prefer to use Alternative Facts.