Football

Presenting The Balls.ie FA Cup Team Of The Week

Presenting The Balls.ie FA Cup Team Of The Week

It was a brilliantly exciting weekend of FA Cup fourth round action.  It may be a competition considered by many to be on the wane, but it still holds the same capacity for surprising us. Minnows play out of their skin and take advantage of the arrogance or apathy of so-called 'big clubs'. And, as a result, a lucky few get the rare privilege of a spot in the Balls.ie Team of the Week, with the extra prize of an FA Cup fifth round place.

Here is the Balls.ie FA Cup Team of the Week.

Goalkeeper: Simon Eastwood (Oxford United)

Steady, calm, solid - all essential traits in a minnow's goalkeeper when the club is dreaming of an upset in the cup. Also saved a penalty at a crucial moment in the game, when Aleksandar Mitrovic had a chance to equalise for Newcastle, and kept Sutton in it in the first half when denying Mitrovic twice in one-on-one situations.

Defence: Matt Doherty (Wolves)

The Irishman was excellent at full-back, combining defensive nous with attacking threat. On a day when Wolves were heroic defensively, Doherty did his bit at the back and made Liverpool think at the other end. Helped start the move that led to Wolves' counter-attacking winner. Call him up, Marty!

Defence: Sean Raggett (Lincoln)

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You know what you're going to have to do if you're a minnow in the FA Cup. Defend your goal like your life depends on it, leap like a salmon for every header and treat the ball like a virus if it goes anywhere near the six-yard box. Raggett did all of this and more for Lincoln. Towering display.

Defence: Richard Stearman (Wolves)

When you play 247 times for a club you normally develop a certain affinity towards them and Stearman's passion flowed out from his man-mountain performance at the back for Wolves against Liverpool at Anfield. Richard Dunne (vs Russia)-esque.

Defence: Jamie Collins (Sutton United)

Yes, he scored the winning penalty and made the headlines as a result. But Collins' overall performance really stood out. He led like a true captain, heading, tackling and blocking like a proper old-fashioned British centre-half. A 'powerhouse', one might say.

Midfield: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Man United)

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The Armenian magician was too hot for Wigan to handle. Great goal in the second half for United but looked like a player really enjoying his football, moving freely around the pitch starting attacks, engaging in link-up play and running at defenders. A good sign for United moving into the season's second half.

Midfield: Alex Woodyard (Lincoln City)

His battle with Steve Sidwell was crucial to the outcome of the match and Woodyard acquitted himself brilliantly againt the former Chelsea man. Should really have been outclassed, but wasn't - and that was crucial to the Imps' victory.

Midfield: Richie Towell (Brighton and Hove Albion)

We're going to make no bones about it: even if Richie Towell spent the rest of the game standing at the side of the pitch smoking cigarettes and flicking the stubs at the fourth official, he would still have made this team after his fine finish put Brighton ahead away to National League side Lincoln City. Towell's first goal for Brighton, and hopefully the first of many. He's got a 50% scoring record in fairness, which isn't bad for a midfielder (OK, so he has only played two games).

Midfield: Theo Walcott (Arsenal)

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You can't really score a hat-trick and be excluded from a Team of the Week, can you?

Striker: Paul Hayes (Wycombe)

Along with Akinfenwa, caused a youthful Spurs defence plenty of problems throughout the game. Scored a delicious volley to put Wanderers ahead in the 23rd minute before slotting home a penalty thirteen minutes later. Also hit the bar with a header and was just a general nuisance all afternoon.

Striker: Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)

After 20 months battling against knee injuries - his last game before Preston away in the last round of the FA Cup was a home game for England against Holland last March - Welbeck's finishing ability seems to have actually improved, judging by the two exquisite goals he bagged here. His first finish when one-on-one with Harry Lewis in the Southampton net was particularly deft, flicking the ball over the keeper just when he seemed to have all angles covered. Welbeck's all-round display was excellent, his touch and link-up play really up to scratch.

SEE ALSO: The Five Most Memorable Stats From A Historic Weekend Of FA Cup Action

SEE ALSO: Schweinsteiger Emerges From The Wilderness To Please United Fans With Assured FA Cup Display

Conall Cahill

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