Iheanacnho
Iheanacnho
in

FA Cup quarter-final Team of the Week

The FA Cup’s final four have been confirmed following an entertaining weekend of quarter-final action, with Leicester’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United the stand-out result in the last eight.

Leicester’s win means the Foxes reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1982, where they will face Southampton for a place in the Wembley final against either Manchester City or Chelsea.

Following the latest action we’ve picked out the leading performers, here is The Football Faithful’s FA Cup quarter-final Team of the Week:

 

Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga – Chelsea

Handed a rare starting opportunity in the absence of Edouard Mendy, the much-maligned Chelsea goalkeeper ensured there was little to be concerned about as the west Londoners eased into the semi-finals for a fourth time in five seasons.

The Spaniard dealt with a couple of long-range efforts comfortably, whilst he made one impressive save on the stretch to deny David McGoldrick and prevent Sheffield United from levelling the scores at Stamford Bridge.

His long-term future remains uncertain, but Kepa benefitted from a much-improved Chelsea defence this weekend to help the Blues to a 12th clean sheet in just 14 fixtures under Thomas Tuchel.

Right-back: Kyle Walker-Peters – Southampton

Southampton’s full-back pairing were bright and ambitious throughout as the Premier League side made light work of Bournemouth in the quarter-finals, the gulf in quality between the top two divisions evident as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side moved into the last four.

Walker-Peters provided signature energy and drive at right-back to provide the Saints with a constant outlet, whilst his delivery in the final third was impressive throughout.

Southampton have struggled in the Premier League of late but this was an encouraging showing, one the club will hope to take confidence from following the international break.

Centre-back: Wesley Fofana – Leicester

Brendan Rodgers has done a superb job at Leicester to ensure the club continue picking up results in recent weeks, adapting to the Foxes’ mounting injury list with a change to a back three formation.

That system has brought the best from his centre-back options with Wesley Fofana impressive against Manchester United this weekend, the 20-year-old continuing his fine debut season in English football with a mature display against the Red Devils.

Fofana was confident and composed when stepping forward in possession from the right side of the three centre-backs, whilst he defended well against the visitor’s forward line in a strong showing.

The youngster will now hope to take his form into the international break, where he is hoping to secure his place in France’s U-21 side for the European Championships this month.

Centre-back: Caglar Soyuncu – Leicester

Alongside Fofana in our defence is another of Leicester’s centre-back trio, Caglar Soyuncu partnering his teammate in our FA Cup Team of the Week.

Soyuncu has struggled to build on a breakout season last term, but this was arguably his best performance of the current campaign as he dominated the Manchester United forward line with powerful defending and anticipation.

The 24-year-old won headers and cut out crosses as Leicester came under pressure in the second half, whilst he never appeared ruffled when under pressure in a superb defensive display.

Left-back: Ben Chilwell – Chelsea

Ben Chilwell has faced a fight to convince Thomas Tuchel he deserves a place in Chelsea’s starting side, the change to a wing-back system under the new head coach having seen Marcos Alonso come back into favour at Stamford Bridge.

Chilwell was handed an opportunity during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United and did his chances of more regular involvement no harm with a fine display, the England international involved in both goals as the Blues progressed to the last four.

The left-back’s sweet strike was deflected into his own goal by Oliver Norwood to open the scoring, before Chilwell raced forward on the counter-attack to tee up Hakim Ziyech for the second in stoppage time.

Midfield: Fernandinho – Manchester City

Fernandinho has aged like a fine wine in the Manchester City midfield and rolled back the years once again this weekend, the veteran producing a masterclass in defensive screening during the club’s 2-0 win at Everton.

The Brazil international shut down opposition attacks with his intelligent positioning and tenacity at the base of the midfield, whilst offering his side forward threat as he drove forward when in possession.

The 35-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and his future remains uncertain, but this was a performance that showcased the value in keeping the veteran at the Etihad beyond the current campaign.

Amidst the collection of stars that have turned out for Manchester City over the past decade, Fernandinho has been an unassuming heartbeat of the side and one of the club’s greatest ever servants.

Midfield: Youri Tielemans – Leicester

Youri Tielemans keeps getting better and better as the all-action star of Leicester’s engine room, the Belgium international rapidly becoming one of the most complete midfield talents in English football.

Tielemans has starred in a role as a deep-lying conductor for Brendan Rodgers’ side this season, though the multi-faceted midfielder continues to influence games at both ends of the pitch.

The 23-year-old’s high press forced the mistake for Leicester’s opener against Manchester United, before he drove forward purposefully to score the Foxes’ second and put Rodgers’ side in control at the King Power Stadium.

Tielemans’ goal capped a fine performance in which passed intelligently throughout, his partnership with Wilfred Ndidi in midfield amongst the best in English football at present.

Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

Restricted to a cameo appearance off the bench in Manchester City’s win at Everton, Pep Guardiola called on the services of his most influential player as the Premier League leaders struggled to break down a stubborn rearguard at Goodison Park.

The introduction of the Belgian had the desired impact as he was involved in both of City’s late goals, including netting a stunning strike for the second to seal a place in the last four.

The depth of City’s squad means they can leave players of De Bruyne’s calibre on the bench and still produce performances, though his 10-minute cameo proved it is almost impossible to replicate the quality of arguably the world’s best midfielder.

Right-wing: Christian Pulisic – Chelsea

Christian Pulisic’s second season with Chelsea is yet to quite catch fire as a combination of injuries and managerial upheaval have prevented the winger building on an impressive debut campaign.

The 22-year-old has struggled for opportunities since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel in January, but was Chelsea’s most dangerous forward threat as the Blues beat Sheffield United on Sunday.

Pulisic was bright and threatening throughout despite some rough treatment from the Blades’ defence, his fleet of foot evident as he weaved through traffic to create goalscoring opportunities.

The US international will have been disappointed not to find himself on the scoresheet, but this was a positive performance from a player brimming with attacking talent.

Left-wing: Nathan Redmond – Southampton

The best player on the pitch and by some distance, Nathan Redmond produced an outstanding performance to book Southampton’s place in the semi-finals.

Southampton have struggled in recent months as a bright start to the season has faded, but victory over Bournemouth this weekend can offer hope ahead of the final stages of the campaign.

Redmond was superb throughout and provided the opener with an enterprising run and perfectly-weighted pass into the pass of Moussa Djenepo, before scoring a brilliant solo effort to double the Saints’ advantage.

Redmond netted his second with a composed finish on the rebound, booking a last four meeting with Leicester as Southampton look to cause a shock and win a first FA Cup since 1976.

Forward: Kelechi Iheanacho – Leicester

Leicester’s leading light once again, Kelechi Iheanacho is enjoying the best period of his career in English football after hitting a purple patch in front of goal in recent weeks.

It’s now seven goals in just four fixtures for the Nigeria international who has seized his opportunity in the side, handed a run of games amid the Foxes’ injury problems and starring as the club’s free-scoring focal point.

Iheanacho put Manchester United to the sword this weekend with a clinical brace at the King Power Stadium, capitalising on Fred’s woeful backpass to open the scoring, before heading home unmarked at the back post to seal Leicester’s semi-final spot.

The 24-year-old also provided the assist for Youri Tielemans’ goal and continues to flourish amid regular minutes, the forward reaping the rewards of patience and hard-work on the training ground.

Read – Premier League Weekly Awards: Messi Lingard, comeback carnage, ‘cute’ Kane’s dive

Read Also – Tweets of the Week: Jailed manager topples Spurs, Lewandowski channels his inner Michael Jordan

Subscribe to our social channels:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments