FA Cup Team of the Week: Fabianski, Kompany, Silva and Porter Impress
Welcome to B/R's FA Cup-themed Team of the Week!
With the sixth round in the books we can look forward to the quarterfinals, but before we do let's take a look at some of the finest performances on display this weekend.
Who joins Vincent Kompany in our selection? Read on to find out!
Please note, any impressive performances during the Brighton vs. Hull City game, scheduled for Monday night, will be added in in retrospect.
GK: Lukasz Fabianski, Arsenal
Lukasz Fabianski is leaving Arsenal at the end of the season, so any chance he gets to perform from now until June is a certifiable stock-raiser.
Against Liverpool he was excellent, putting in a stellar all-round showing of shot-stopping, cross-catching and diving saves.
His hands looked very secure, defying the nickname "Flappyhandski" previously awarded to him.
RB: Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City
The Premier League's best right-back had an absolute nightmare dealing with Eden Hazard when Manchester City and Chelsea met in the league a few weeks ago, but this time it was an entirely different story.
That's partially down to the help of James Milner—honoured later here—but Pablo Zabaleta also held his own far better and clearly studied up on the Belgian's movements and tendencies since their last encounter.
CB: Gary Cahill, Chelsea
Despite his team losing 2-0, Gary Cahill was impressive once again in the heart of Chelsea's defence.
Even with John Terry absent, he was strong as an ox and assured in the tackle, and that can only be good news for Roy Hodgson ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Englishman has gotten better on the ball as the season has ticked by.
CB: Vincent Kompany, Manchester City
Another week, another impressive performance from Vincent Kompany.
He was alert from the off and looked committed to flying in early and disrupting Chelsea's counter-attacks, but Eden Hazard drew him into a booking and he became required to hold off.
To limit this Blues team to just three shots on goal is an impressive feat.
LB: Leighton Baines, Everton
Everton played a slow, drab game against Swansea City but put in enough to grab a win.
Leighton Baines looked one of their brightest offensive sparks from the left, surging forward regularly and picking up the pace and intensity in the second half.
His penalty—to make it 3-1—sealed the win, and his intent made up for the ineffectual, rusty Lacina Traore.
CM: Ben Watson, Wigan Athletic
Ben Watson scored the winner at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, leading Wigan Athletic into the FA Cup quarterfinals.
The central midfielder scored the winner in the final last year, and his strike in the second half set the Latics faithful wild in hope that they can repeat the impossible dream.
If your side is out already, you'll likely be rooting for Wigan from here on out.
CM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has re-entered this Arsenal side following a length injury layoff and hit the ground running.
He put in another fantastic showing against Liverpool on Sunday and scored the opening goal in a 2-1 win, then grabbed an assist for Lukas Podolski's second-half strike.
The former Saints man is emerging as a can't-miss performer every week.
RW: James Milner, Manchester City
James Milner played a restrictive role on the right side of Manchester City's midfield on Saturday and was primarily charged with keeping Eden Hazard quiet.
He did so wonderfully, completing five tackles and shackling the Belgian into an ineffectual role on the wing.
It's a shame he's suspended for the first leg vs. Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
LW: David Silva, Manchester City
David Silva was Manchester City's best player in the 2-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday.
He was a dominant, tricky presence on the left side of midfield for the home side; tormenting Branislav Ivanovic all game long, he finally grabbed a deserved assist in the second half for Samir Nasri's strike.
When the Spaniard gets on the ball, anything can happen.
AMC: Samir Nasri, Manchester City
Samir Nasri was just finding his stride under Manuel Pellegrini when a knee injury struck him out for several months.
The Manchester City boss lamented his absence at the time, and his goalscoring return to down Chelsea is an example of how well he's come on this season.
He and David Silva combined superbly for the short time they were on the pitch together.
ST: Chris Porter, Sheffield United
Chris Porter played three minutes plus injury time, but the quality of striking play in the other games was so poor he walks into the side.
He managed to score two goals in that time, though, so his selection isn't undeserved, and he passed up a chance for a hat-trick late on by squaring the ball instead of shooting.
The pitch invasion at Bramall Lane tells you just how important this cup run is to the club.