Team of the Weekend: January 26-27
GMF picks out the best 11 players from FA Cup fourth round weekend
The Premier League took a back burner for the weekend as the oldest cup competition in the world took over.
This didn't mean there weren't some terrific games to be witnessed and the FA Cup proved there is still a little bit of magic left in it.
It was an exhilarating couple of days for most football lovers, except perhaps those fans of the Premier League clubs that crashed out to opposition from lower divisions.
There were some unexpected results and Sunday proved to be especially fertile for giant-killing as both Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool fell to opposition outside from the Championship and League One respectively.
Here is the GMF Team of the Week for January 25-26 - don't forget to join the debate in the comments section, as we want to hear who you think should be in the team of the week…
GK - Mark Schwarzer, Fulham
Martin Jol's side were abysmal for most of the 4-1 defeat to Manchester United but goalkeeper Schwarzer comes away with some of his pride still intact, despite shipping four goals. The Australian made four or five incredible saves in the first half as Wayne Rooney and his teammates peppered the away goal at Old Trafford - he even got a hand on the early Ryan Giggs penalty.
RB - Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City
Vincent Kompany's removal due to injury meant that Argentinean right-back was handed the armband and he lead the team effectively again. Zabaleta is all heart and the sort of player you love to have on your team. Another brilliant performance summed up by the 70-yard dash he made before scoring the late winner at Stoke City.
CB - Chris Smalling, Manchester United
Playing against his former club, Smalling showed why Sir Alex Ferguson was willing to pay a sizeable transfer fee to secure his signature. Presented with the danger of former Old Trafford star Dimitar Berbatov, the 23-year-old was faultless.
CB - Phil Jones, Manchester United
While Fulham's threat up front is inconsistent but they did not have much chance to establish themselves with Jones in the form he was. It was a very encouraging performance for Old Trafford fans as his solidity alongside Smalling bodes well for the future.
LB - Leighton Baines, Everton
Rather than being the favourite to succeed Ashley Cole to role of first choice left-back for England, Baines is now a legitimate rival for the Chelsea man. Everton needed a very late winner to see of Bolton Wanderers, but you feel an in-form centre-forward would have seen David Moyes' side avoid such drama.
CM - Ramires, Chelsea
A trying afternoon for Chelsea was saved late on by a bit of Fernando Torres quality, but most of the Blues performance was lacklustre and disappointing in the extreme. However, Ramires was could not be accused of a lack of application as the Brazilian was working hard all afternoon, providing most of the rare flashes of drive and quality in a Blue shirt.
CM - Javi Garcia, Manchester City
The Spaniard has not settled into English football as well as many expected, but he showed some of his promise against Stoke City. Garcia was on the end of a nasty challenge from Potters midfielder Glenn Whelan but didn't let it shake him and he was dictating the game for long periods, dealing well with Stoke's physical style.
CM - Abou Diaby, Arsenal
Gunners fans will be encouraged at the sight of the rangy Frenchman getting games again and will be hoping he avoids another breakdown. Diaby was all over the pitch in the exciting win over Brighton and Hove Albion, but his best moment was a delightful chipped through ball for Olivier Giroud to set up Arsenal's second goal. Arsene Wenger will be desperate to have him back to his best and he gave good signs at the Amex Stadium.
FW - Javier Hernandez, Manchester United
The Mexican continues to push for a place in the United starting XI and it will soon be difficult for Sir Alex Ferguson to bench him. While his second goal got a fortunate deflection, his first was down to exquisite movement and fine finishing - it was no more than he deserved on an evening where he was a constant danger.
FW - Olivier Giroud, Arsenal
The big French striker has begun to look more like the real deal in recent weeks and he was a handful for Brighton's defenders all afternoon in a frantic match. Giroud took his season's tally to 13 with a fins brace; the first was beautifully curled into the top corner form the edge of the area and the second displayed shrewd movement, great strength and beautiful control. A hat-trick was on the cards late on if Theo Walcott had looked up instead of shooting from a tight angle.
FW - Matt Smith, Oldham Athletic
Another bog striker to make his mark, Oldham's Matt Smith was playing part-time 18 months ago while finishing his university degree. Liverpool's defenders got a proper going over in the first half of this huge cup shock and it was not a little to do with Smith. He was a constant threat in dominating Martin Skrtel and Sebastien Coates - his two goals were well deserved.
What would be your Team of the Weekend? Leave a comment below to let us know…