FA Cup Team of the Week: Hazard, Oscar, Podolski and Begovic Star
Welcome to the latest edition of our FA Cup Team of the Week!
We've perused the many games on show this weekend to provide you with 11 stellar players, forming an unorthodox 3-4-3 formation full of goals and attacking flair.
Who joins Chelsea's Eden Hazard in our selection? Read on to find out. If you don't agree with our choices, feel free to name your XI in the comments below!
GK: Asmir Begovic, Stoke City
Asmir Begovic returned to duty between the sticks for Stoke City this weekend.
He played with a splint propping up a broken finger, but it didn't hinder him in the shot-stopping department at all.
He made four total saves—including one incredible stop from a rasping David Luiz free-kick—and his individual performance didn't warrant a loss.
DEF: John Brayford, Sheffield United
John Brayford made his first start for Sheffield United on Sunday, having recently been loaned from Cardiff City for playing-time purposes.
He slotted in seamlessly, and even as the Blades went a man down and Fulham began turning the screw, the right-back stayed strong in the challenge and swatted away any danger on his side.
An impressive, promising showing.
DEF: Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City
If not for Ryan Shawcross, Chelsea would have beaten Stoke City by a comfortable margin on Sunday afternoon.
The Englishman made three vital interceptions to prevent certain goalscoring chances, most notably against Andre Schurrle when the German was winding up to convert an easy chance.
More consistency is needed from the former Manchester United trainee.
DEF: Carl Jenkinson, Arsenal
Carl Jenkinson gets a harsh rap from the footballing world, but credit where credit is due: his performance against Coventry was strong and represents a real confidence builder.
In our...unorthodox three-man defence, we opted for the Englishman over John Stones of Everton and teammate Laurent Koscielny.
MID: Eunan O'Kane, Bournemouth
Eunan O'Kane, a boyhood Liverpool fan and former Everton academy prospect, took to the field against his beloved Reds on Saturday.
Bournemouth fought hard against Brendan Rodgers' superstars, played some excellent football and can consider themselves extremely unlucky to have lost the contest.
O'Kane, playing in central midfield, put in a very accomplished display.
MID: Jack Cork, Southampton
Jack Cork played an instrumental role in Southampton's win over Yeovil Town on Saturday, dominating the middle of the park.
He's been in fantastic form since re-entering the Saints' first XI at the back end of 2013, and he continued to look assured on the ball as Mauricio Pochettino's men avoided a potential "Cupset."
MID: Oscar, Chelsea
Oscar scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea beat Stoke City 1-0 on Sunday, converting a sensational free-kick from 22 yards out.
The Brazilian's wicked effort found the top corner of the net, leaving Asmir Begovic no chance, and just a few minutes later he smashed another shot straight onto the post.
The Blues dominated from start to finish despite only notching the sole strike, and Oscar was influential throughout.
MID: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Eden Hazard was in unstoppable form for Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.
Stoke City had absolutely no idea how to contain him, and the Belgian created more than five clear-cut chances for his profligate, wasteful teammates.
Whether he's cutting inside or hitting the byline for a cut-back, his raw agility and low centre of gravity make him near-impossible to stop.
FWD: Lukas Podolski, Arsenal
Lukas Podolski sent a message to Arsene Wenger on Friday night, and while it may only have been Coventry City, the German's predatory instinct is becoming difficult to ignore.
He wants playing time, and the only way to secure that is by taking your chances. He converted two and just missed on a third in the FA Cup fourth round, and Arsene Wenger must now make a tough decision.
FWD: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
Sergio Aguero saved Manchester City's blushes on Saturday, converting a superb hat-trick in the second half to beat Watford.
The Hornets had a two-goal lead at the Etihad by half-time—a feat rarely managed by top-tier clubs, let alone Championship ones—and the Argentine was required to weave some magic in the second period.
Unstoppable goalscoring machine.
FWD: Sam Gallagher, Southampton
We've elected to honour Sam Gallagher in our team this week, as the youngster scored his first competitive goal for Southampton on Saturday afternoon against Yeovil Town.
The Englishman was substituted on for Guly Do Prado—who had scored earlier in the day and is slowly returning from a bad injury—and added one of his own to seal a 2-0 win.
It could have been two, were it not for a great save from Marek Stech, and the forward is now targeting a first-team impact more often, per the club's official website.
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