FA Cup Team of the Week: Aguero, Bellerin, Fabregas, Roofe and Pierre Star

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJanuary 12, 2016

FA Cup Team of the Week: Aguero, Bellerin, Fabregas, Roofe and Pierre Star

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    The FA Cup third round is a landmark calendar event on which fans across England gather to revel in upsets and take in football at a different level.

    We saw Oxford United upset Swansea City, Exeter City hold Liverpool, Wycombe Wanderers hold Aston Villa and Walsall beat Brentford in addition to several more eyebrow-raising results.

    Those results have largely shaped our Team of the Week, with a few strong performers sprinkled in to make up the numbers.

    We've selected the best performers from the thrilling weekend and slotted them into a workable formation—on this occasion, a 4-3-3.

    Disagree with our selections? Hit us up in the comments section below to start the conversation.

GK: Neil Etheridge, Walsall

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    Walsall fought extremely hard for their 1-0 victory over Brentford at Griffin Park on Saturday and had to rely on some goalkeeping heroics from Neil Etheridge to retain their lead.

    The well-travelled 25-year-old is looking to settle at Walsall after taking in a remarkable amount of loan spells to hone his craft, and he has impressed the fans so far.

    His performance here, which included several excellent stops and some good time-management to grind the clock, was a key factor in Walsall's progression.

RB: Hector Bellerin, Arsenal

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    Hector Bellerin narrowly beats out Aston Villa's Micah Richards for the spot at right-back after putting in an eye-popping showing against Sunderland.

    His ball across the face of goal, creating an easy scoring chance for Aaron Ramsey, was a thing of absolute beauty. It was a pass Mesut Ozil would have been proud to call his own.

    His speed and directness was a factor all day, with the Black Cats never really coming to terms with his presence on the flank.

CB: Aaron Pierre, Wycombe Wanderers

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    Aston Villa started Rudy Gestede against Wycombe Wanderers likely in the hope that he would be able to bully lower-league defenders with his physicality and size. But the League Two outfit had a brutish weapon of their own in Aaron Pierre, who performed superbly at the back all afternoon.

    His combative game was summarised perfectly by his quick dash to the sideline to get his head bandaged, only to run straight back in and head yet another ball into the box clear.

    At 22 years of age, he's shown he has the smarts to nullify a genuine striking threat and will have attracted a few admiring glances for sure.

CB: Sebastian Prodl, Watford

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    Watford were made to work for their 1-0 win over Newcastle United, with the Magpies enjoying spells of domination and putting together some very neat passages of play. In the absence of Odion Ighalo, the Hornets lacked a killer goal threat and had to hang on a bit at times.

    Naturally, that drew focus on the defensive line, and both Sebastian Prodl and Craig Cathcart excelled. It's the former we will single out for Team of the Week status here, as it's been a while since he took to the field—Miguel Britos has locked him out of the XI—but he slotted in seamlessly.

    Key blocks and towering headers are Prodl's thing, and he had to make several to preserve a clean sheet.

LB: Ben Chilwell, Leicester City

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    Ben Chilwell's second Leicester City appearance was another success. Thrown in against Tottenham Hotspur's impressive attacking options, he played well in a frantic, end-to-end game.

    uMAXit Football's Raj Bains has detailed Chilwell's rise superbly here, revealing his impressive loan spell at Huddersfield and how the second-tier club were desperate to keep him longer. Claudio Ranieri, though, saw a chance to field him in the FA Cup and Chilwell seized the opportunity with both hands.

    No clean sheet, but that's hardly his fault. He showed poise in possession and defensive ability in spades.

CM: Barry Bannan, Sheffield Wednesday

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    Barry Bannan, now plying his trade for Sheffield Wednesday after struggling to make the grade at Aston Villa, flashed what he is truly capable of this weekend.

    He put in an all-star performance as the Owls beat Championship rivals Fulham, dictating play easily from midfield and scoring an absolute scorcher of a goal with his left foot, sending a high ball arrowing toward the top corner.

    The goalkeeper had absolutely no chance.

CM: Fabian Delph, Manchester CIty

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    Manchester City gave some fringe starters a chance to impress against Norwich City, mixing them in among the stars.

    The two central-midfield berths were given to Fernando and Delph so they could prove their worth, and the latter particularly impressed.

    Delph's all-action, energetic style suited City's dominant display, opening avenues in midfield and carrying the ball well. He's spent a chunk of time on the left wing of late, but his true position is centralhe reinforced that point nicely here.

CM: Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Cesc Fabregas is really starting to ease into form. That's good news for Chelsea fans and Guus Hiddink, but very bad news for Premier League defences.

    The ease with which he is now sliding passes into the channels and dictating play is scary; we all know how brilliant he can be, but it has beenquite literallyone year since we've seen it.

    Perhaps he's reversing his usual trend of starting strong and finishing limply. 2015 was awful for him, but now Crystal Palace and Scunthorpe have fallen to his mercurial ways in successive weeks to start the year.

Fwd: Kemar Roofe, Oxford United

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    Kemar Roofe's outstanding display on Sunday helped Oxford United stun Premier League side Swansea City 3-2. His two goals in the second half took the roof off the Kassam Stadium.

    Hardly known as a clinical finisher, it perhaps surprised a few casual supporters to see him rifle two strikes into the net. The first, in particular, was a truly wonderful effort from the edge of the box that left Kristoffer Nordfeldt with no chance.

    He energised both his colleagues and the crowd to set the scene for a rather famous victory.

Fwd: Tom Nichols, Exeter City

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    The rumour mill works fast. According to the Exeter Express & Echo, Tom Nichols is being linked with Championship clubs just days after impressing against Liverpool in the FA Cup.

    BBC Sport's Danny Murphy admitted on their live broadcast that "he could play at a higher level" after putting in an inspiring performance for Exeter City, scoring a goal and linking play brilliantly up front.

    He consistently dropped into the No. 10 space and turned toward goal with the ball, worrying the Reds' midfield contingent as he played in runners and flashed shots at goal. He was deservedly given BBC's man-of-the-match award.

Fwd: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

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    Sergio Aguero was in irresistible form this weekend, putting Norwich City to the sword in a 3-0 victory.

    He hasn't shown his best form of late after returning from yet another injury, but he turned on the style at Carrow Road, scoring an absolutely immense solo goal and impacting heavily throughout.

    He interacted with Kelechi Iheanacho well, created chances as well as getting on the end of them, and he put together his best physical performance in a while.

    When you catch him in this mood, there really is very little you can do to stop him.


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