Sunday, January 3, 2010
FA Cup Team of the Week, January 3, 2010
Peterborough keeper Joe Lewis stopped to retrieve the ball four times from his net against Tottenham Hotspur but he left with his head held high after a series of heroic stops kept the scoreline on the borderlines of decency.
Two saves in a first-half minute from long-range efforts by Gareth Bale and Tom Huddlestone were followed by a magnificent save from Niko Kranjcar as the England U-21 keeper starred for Posh at the Lane.
We had to wait until Sunday for the shock of the round but the reverberations of Leeds win against Manchester United echoed far beyond Old Trafford. A breathtaking taste of FA Cup vintage saw Leeds' defence under the cosh for large portions of the game with a head-bandaged Patrick Kisnorbo and skipper and boyhood Leeds fan Richard Naylor epitomising the blood and guts of their side's performance.
Kisnorbo and Naylor would have expected a busy afternoon and were soon throwing themselves around the Old Trafford turf in a desperate attempt to repel Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen with the moneyed United frontline getting no change out of a thrifty Yorkshire defence.
Chris Smalling was plucked from the lower reaches of non-league Maidstone United by Fulham and the young defender rose majestically above the personal disappointment of his own-goal against Chelsea last week to put in a man-of-the-match performance in place of the injured Brede Hangeland. Smalling and Aaron Hughes kept Swindon at bay as Fulham's defence securing a clean sheet and a solitary Bobby Zamora goal doing the rest for Roy Hodgson's side.
Charles N'Zogbia's commitment to the Wigan cause may have been cast into doubt of late but a second half Latics revival was sparked by the ex-Newcastle man's introduction against Hull. Trailing to Geovanni's first-half strike, Roberto Martinez called for N'Zogbia and two goals along with an assist for James McCarthy lifted Wigan in to the fourth round.
Shades of David Ginola at White Hart Lane as Niko Kranjcar cut in from the left, threw a shimmy then curled a delightful shot in to open the scoring for Spurs against Peterborough. Kranjcar bagged another as he linked up with fellow Croat Luka Modric's first outing together for Spurs saw them sail to a 4-0 win.
Jobi McAnuff gave Emiliano Insua a torrid afternoon as Reading raised their game for the visit of Liverpool and earned themselves a trip to Anfield after a 1-1 draw. McAnuff was their most effective attacking outlet and his trickery earned the free-kick that led to the Reading goal.
Tattooed pest and pro-Pompey-ite John Westwood's infernal pealing has ensured Portsmouth is at least top of the nation's league table of tinnitus cases but Coventry chimed to their own tune at Fratton Park on Saturday. The speed of David Bell's 25-yard shot evaded Asmir Begovic to put the Sky Blues in front before Kevin Prince-Boateng's second-half goal earned Pompey a replay, a result which sparked protests from the home fans.
Hulking goal-machine Jon Parkin's first hat-trick for Preston ended a barren run of ten games without scoring and a difficult week for Preston as PNE hit seven past Colchester. The sacking of manager Alan Irvine was greeted by fans protests but the post-Christmas blues were blown away by Parkin and co with the striker's second, a clever lob over the head of Ben Williams, the pick of the bunch.
Daniel Sturridge made the most of a rare start for Chelsea with his first, and second, goals for the club against Watford as the FA Cup holders swatted Malky MacKay's Hornets aside. Sturridge opened his account after four minutes, getting on the end of a John Terry volley and bookended the Blues 5-0 win with his second after good work from Ashley Cole.
Rickie Lambert sunk non-league Luton with a brilliantly-struck free-kick as the striker bagged his 20th goal in 30 games for Southampton. Lambert had already seen one free-kick saved by Hatters keeper Kevin Pilkington before a headed effort was cleared from the line by Kevin Nicholls but the non-league outfit had no answer to Lambert's deadly delivery shortly afterwards which fired Southampton through to the next round.
No prizes for guessing who walks away with the manager of the week award as Simon Grayson's Leeds overcame Manchester United in a win that will be gloated about for long to come. If his players were in any doubt as to the importance of this fixture to the fans lifelong Leeds supporter Grayson would have been quick to impress on his men what this game required from them. Leeds bravery and devotion to the cause overcame the gulf in class to beat a strong United team as Grayson's runaway League One leaders did enough to suggest a more regular resumption of this fixture is not long off.