Date: 23rd October 2016 at 11:20pm
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Middlesbrough 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 Victor Valdes and Adama Traore in the scoreless draw with Arsenal at the weekend at the Emirates 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 both as part of his team but explaining his choice he told the BBC.


‘This was a match I described on BBC’s Final Score as a ‘walk in the park’ for Arsenal. As it turned out, it was a game Middlesbrough should have won, and would have done if midfielder Gaston Ramirez had shown a little more ruthlessness in front of goal. However, it was keeper Victor Valdes who showed real composure under pressure and did a superb job keeping a clean sheet when Arsenal breached Middlesbrough’s defences. At times it became a duel between former Barcelona team-mates Valdes and Alexis Sanchez, both of whom hoovered up a hatful of trophies between 2011 and 2014 at the Nou Camp. However, there were no trophies at stake on this occasion – and no winners either.’


‘What a performance by the 20-year-old. Adama Traore was outstanding – he was a constant menace down Arsenal’s flank and came very close to completely destroying manager Arsene Wenger’s 67th birthday bash. As it happens the game was a pretty dismal affair except for the flashes of brilliance from the Middlesbrough man. It never ceases to amaze me how young foreign nationals are so willing to play abroad in order to extend their understanding of the game and development. The former Barcelona player has left one of the most glamorous cities in the world and the splendour of Nou Camp (and its stars Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi) and eventually gone to Teesside in the hope that one day he might replace them. Now that’s what I call dedication.’

It’s always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to both for their recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course the point.

Full Team:

Victor Valdes (Middlesbrough), Christian Fuchs (Leicester City), Winston Reid (West Ham United), David Luiz (Chelsea), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Adama Traore (Middlesbrough), Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City).