Emirates FA Cup – Team Of The Quarterfinal Round
Premier League gameweek 31 saw several of its fixtures get postponed due to FA Cup commitment of the teams who progressed through to the quarterfinals of the prestigious competition. Seven out of 8 outfits belonged to Premier League, i.e. top tier of the English football whereas Wigan Athletic, currently in League One, were the only exception.
The Latics had an incredible journey to proceed through to the last 8 of the competition as they defeated three Premier League outfits en route to their memorable spell. They knocked out Bournemouth, West Ham United and the mighty Manchester City but failed to continue the momentum following a home heartbreak to Premier League strugglers Southampton FC who beat them 2-0 to set up a semifinal clash against Chelsea FC.
Chelsea, on the other hand, clinched an edgy win against Leicester City at King Power Stadium when Pedro scored an extra-time winner following a 1-1 outcome after 90 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur had a stroll in the park against Swansea City at Liberty Stadium despite the injury absence of Harry Kane and registered a thumping 3-0 win over the Welsh team. They have set up a clash against Manchester United in the semis, who shook off their Champions League shambles and clinched a routine 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford.
That said, here’s the FA Cup Team of the Week.
GK – Sergio Romero
The Argentine has been second-fiddle to David De Gea all season and has mostly been preferred in Cup outings. Romero started against the Seagulls and managed to keep a clean sheet with multiple important saves. Mourinho was rightly discontent with his side’s defensive display but the custodian stood tall and delivered a towering display between the sticks.
RB – Cedric Soares
The Portuguese fullback not only ensured a clean sheet for the Saints but also scored a late goal to seal the deal against an impressive Wigan Atheltic side, who despite being the cup minnows, knocked out several big guns by banking on some spirited display throughout the competition.
CB – Jack Stephens
The young Saints centre-back was excellent in a central defensive role and helped his side keep hold of the lead and grab a clean sheet against the upbeat Latics.
CB – Jan Vertonghen
The veteran Belgian led the defensive line with his experience. Did not allow the Swans to break Spurs’ resilience.
LB- Ashley Young
Although he came on as a half-time substitute in place of unimpressive Luke Shaw, the Englishman did a majestic job as a makeshift left-back once more and his stunning delivery from a free-kick allowed Nemanja Matic to double the lead in the closing minutes.
CM – Nemanja Matic
Matic’s heroics helped the Red Devils to stage a second-half comeback against Crystal Palace in the league. The Serbian delivered another inspiring display in the middle of the park against the Seagulls and ensured a win with a late header to make it 2-0.
CM – N’Golo Kante
Ran the show in the midfield, controlled the game against his former employers and also assisted Pedro who scored the crucial extra-time goal that earned the Blues a hard-fought yet massive victory over the Foxes.
RM – Dusan Tadic
The Southampton attacker might have struggled to leave an impact in the league but he delivered a stunning performance against the League One minnows. He assisted Pierre-Emile Højbjerg to break the deadlock in the second half and also terrorised the Latics backline with his movements in and around the box.
CAM – Erik Lamela
The Argentine attacker assisted Christian Eriksen for his incredible opener and also netted one to seal the deal against Swansea City. Lamela was a massive influence in absence of Harry Kane and took the pressure off Mauricio Pochettino to some extent.
LM- Christian Eriksen
Indubitably FA Cup’s Player of the Week who inspired his side to register a thumping win over the Swans at Liberty Stadium. His 20-yard curler earned Spurs an early lead and he netted again in the second half via a deflected effort.
ST – Romelu Lukaku
The big Belgian has been criticised for his lack of impact on big occasions but the forward has been in great form in recent weeks and maintained the same against the Seagulls when he broke the deadlock in the first-half and earned his side a crucial lead.