FA Cup Team of the Week
Jamie Jones' reward for an outstanding display for Leyton Orient in their fine win over Swansea became evident when the draw for the Fifth Round was made on Sunday. Next up for Jones in the FA Cup will be Arsenal, after he kept the Swans at bay with a string of fine stops, the pick being a superb reflex save from Cedric Van der Gun.
That Manchester City didn't suffer an embarrassing defeat at League One outfit Notts County was largely due to Micah Richards. The 22-year-old epitomised the spirit required on a pudding of a pitch against a team who were more than happy to get in City's faces. He defended stoutly and was threatening going forward. It was his break and pinpoint cross that led to Edin Dzeko's equaliser.
If Richards was the main reason City escaped with a draw then Krystian Pearce played a big part in ensuring City's big guns could only find the net once. The centre back relished the test of shackling the likes of Dzeko, Jo and Toure, flying into tackles, breaking up countless attacks and putting his head in where it hurts. A typically battling display from a well versed defender.
Given that Watford had notched up 13 goals in their last four home games, League One leaders Brighton deserve a collective pat on the back for keeping a clean sheet at Vicarage Road. Inigo Calderon is a firm favourite with Seagulls fans and after his solid performance at the back it is clear to see why. He played his part in repelling a previously potent Hornets front line.
Danny Murphy celebrated signing a year's extension to his contract at Fulham by steering the Cottagers past a woeful Tottenham unit on Sunday. As Michael Dawson pressed the self-destruct button Murphy dispatched two excellent penalties to put the game beyond much doubt inside 14 minutes. A calming influence on the park, he is Fulham's chief string puller.
David Bentley hauled Birmingham back into their Midlands derby with Coventry in spectacular style. Showing glimpses of the form that once propelled him into the England squad, the former Blackburn player rifled in a 30 yard drive with the Blues trailing 2-0. That proved the catalyst for a spirited comeback, with Bentley dangerous throughout the 90 minutes.
Another hero in Notts County's draw with Manchester City was goalscorer Neal Bishop. The midfielder went toe-to-toe with Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira in the middle of the park and more than held his own. He popped up with the Magpies' goal with a near post flick on, and showed huge reserves of energy as he persistently hustled and harried City's expensive players from the first whistle to last.
Burnley ended Burton's brave run in the FA Cup and Chris Eagles was their chief tormentor. The former Manchester United winger popped up with two goals; the first was a fine solo effort as he collected Jack Cork's back heel, shimmied into the area and finished calmly. The second was a comedy of errors on Burton's part that led to a tap in from two yards, but they all count.
Victor Obinna was clearly so perturbed by the news that West Ham have tied up the loan signing of Robbie Keane that he thought he'd better pull his finger out against Nottingham Forest. The on-loan striker grabbed a hat-trick at Upton Park and registered his first after just four minutes, diverting Mark Noble's effort into the net. A penalty followed wrapped up the treble but before that he scored an audacious lob from the right touchline that may well have been an errant cross. Still, at the risk of repeating myself, they all count.
Matt Tubbs cemented his place as a Crawley Town legend with the winner against Torquay, but his legacy grew several sizes when the draw revealed the non-league outfit would be travelling to Old Trafford next. His intelligent run and smart finished settled a pulsating tie on the English Riviera against Torquay, and though he missed a penalty, he can forever claim to have set up a tie with Manchester United.
There's something about Chelsea that Louis Saha clearly likes. The striker netted his seventh goal in eight games against the Premier League champions and struck fear into the heart of John Terry, who was led a merry dance last time he ventured out at Goodison Park. The striker's header was a routine finish but his link and hold up play was formidable. When fit, he is club's best striker by a mile.
I'll wager that Glaswegian Steve Evans is the happiest man in England tonight. Not only did he steer non-league Crawley Town past Torquay but he was then handed a chance to test his mettle against the English game's most famous product of Glasgow, Sir Alex Ferguson. The other Red Devils gaffer isn't lacking confidence either saying: "We will approach the tie in a really positive nature." We're all with you, Steve.