Coral’s FA Cup Team of the Round: Quarter-finals
So, we know at least two semi-finalists for the FA Cup this season; Arsenal and Aston Villa, with Bradford and Reading set to battle out a replay at the Madejski, while Blackburn Rovers did brilliantly to earn a second bite at the cherry against Liverpool.
With that in mind, we bring you our FA Cup team of the round, carefully selected according to an individual’s performance over 90 minutes. Read on to discover who made it!
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
Manchester United might have lost, though the Spain stopper was exceptional. Had it not been for him Louis van Gaal’s team would have conceded at least two more. Alexis Sanchez looked a cert to score, while Santi Cazorla must have thought his half-volley was in. On both occasions De Gea showed world class athleticism and reflexes to scoop the ball away.
Right back: Leandro Bacuna
Was a consistent threat for Aston Villa a right back and was clearly motivated by the derby atmosphere. He defended well, showing tenacity in the tackle and will be key for Tim Sherwwod’s side for the rest of the season.
Centre back: Alex Baptiste
Set-piece threat Baptiste provided the total package in a hard-earned 0-0 draw for Rovers, looking comfortable and composed on the ball.
Centre back: Matthew Kilgallon
Outstanding for Blackburn against Liverpool and put in a match-winning performance, keeping the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli at bay. It’s unbelievable to think that the former Leeds player is 31, and looked like a sprightly twenty-something against the Reds.
Left back: Nacho Monreal
A superb finish against United as Arsenal took the lead at Old Trafford. Giving De Gea the eyes from an acute angle, he caught the keeper out at the near post, dinking it delicately into the net.
Right wing: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Probably the best player on the pitch until he went off injured midway through the second half. Oxlade-Chanberlain’s direct runs caused the Red Devils all manner of problems, and it was thanks to his great work in the area, dancing past attempted challenges, which set up Monreal.
Central midfield: Francis Coquelin
A player who has stepped up brilliantly since being recalled from a loan spell at Charlton in January, the Frenchman looked like a seasoned professional keeping Marouane Fellaini in check. Man-of-the-match as well, Coquelin is appearing more and more like the real deal for the Gunners, now odds-on favourites at 8/11 with Coral to retain the trophy.
Central midfield: Fabian Delph
Ran the show against West Bromwich Albion, even when most of his teammates looked lacklustre in the first half, Delph was always trying to dictate the pattern of play and took his goal very well in the second period to fire Aston Villa into the lead.
Left wing: Scott Sinclair
Along with Delph, the winger was perhaps the only other player who tried to make things happen with his direct dribbling. Sinclair’s first few attempts didn’t quite work out, though he kept on going and took Villa’s second goal like a seasoned striker.
Striker: Rudy Gestede
The Rovers frontman was an absolute handful against Liverpool, always putting his body on the line and didn’t give the Reds rearguard a moment’s rest. Definitely one to watch for the replay at Ewood Park.
Striker: Danny Welbeck
Classy and industrious on his return to Old Trafford, the Arsenal man was a very good value 11/4 with Coral to score anytime against his former club and delivered right on cue, pouncing on an uncharacteristic De Gea error with the keeper rushing out, and Welbeck chasing what looked like a lost cause. A great contribution throughout.