Garth Crooks's team of the week

This weekend's reduced Premier League programme saw Manchester United extend their lead at the top of the table and Swansea go eighth with an impressive victory at Fulham.

So I've decided to introduce the FA Cup into my team for the first time as Liverpool and Chelsea breeze their way into yet another semi-final. It also gives me an opportunity to acknowledge the magnificent work of the emergency services at White Hart Lane in light of such difficult circumstances surrounding Fabrice Muamba. We wish him well.

Take a look my Team of the Week and see if you agree with my picks. Join the debate on Twitter using #BBCFootball

Garth Crooks


Simon Mignolet

Shades of Jim Montgomery in the FA Cup final in 1973. Mignolet's heroic double save against Everton may well prove to be the turning point in this tie and could help them on their way to the semi-final. That, coupled with Andre Marriner's decision to ignore Craig Gardner's blatant foul on Royston Drenthe in the box, suggests Sunderland have luck on their side. With Lee Cattermole and Stephane Sessegnon back for the replay, you have to fancy the Black Cats.

Did you know? Sunderland have won 40% of the league games Mignolet has played in this season but just 25% when he has not featured.


Jonas Gutierrez

Here is a player who, when I saw him play left-back for Argentina in the 2010 World Cup, made me think I was seeing things! Against Norwich he produced another sparkling performance in this unfamiliar role. He provided the cross for Papiss Demba Cisse to convert and was a constant thorn in the side of the Canaries.

Did you know? Has played 2,498 minutes of Premier League action this season, only two other midfielders in the league have notched up more time on the pitch than this.


Jonny Evans

One has to be concerned about the direction Wolves are going in at the moment. Getting a man sent off when you need all your players on the pitch against the Premier League champions is hardly a ringing endorsement for common sense. That said I don't think that Wolves would have got much out of Jonny Evans anyway. He played with great assurance and never looked under the slightest bit of pressure.

Did you know? Waited 7,092 minutes for his first Premier League goal, failing to score in his first 84 appearances in the competition.


Steven Caulker

The Swans have had some memorable defensive displays this season. Against Fulham it was Steven Caulker who held the fort and he was largely responsible for the Swans keeping their third consecutive clean sheet. Against an in-form Pavel Pogrebnyak, the centre-back always looked in control. At times it was like he was shelling peas!

Did you know? Of players to have made 10-plus appearances in the Premier League this season, only the Manchester City trio of Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart have a higher clean-sheet ratio than Caulker (44% - eight from 18 games).


Phil Bardsley

If you have to wait a year to score a goal, then an FA Cup quarter-final away at Goodison Park is not a bad way to end the drought. Protecting the goal has to be the major priority of any defender but when you can strike a ball in the way Bardsley did to give Sunderland the lead you have every right to get forward and try to influence the game.

Did you know? Has played 480 minutes in the FA Cup this season - no player to reach the quarter-finals has played more minutes in this year's competition.


Joe Allen

At last I've found a place in my team for a player who is having a superb season with the Swans. Against Fulham he combined beautifully with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Leon Britton, who together collectively ripped the Cottagers to shreds with their controlled possession. Allen took his goal with the same relaxed manner in which he played the game. He has a touch of Barcelona's Andres Iniesta about him and the bottle to go with it.

Did you know? Allen is one of just four players in the Premier League this season to have made over 1,500 passes and maintained a passing accuracy rate of at least 90%.


Gylfi Sigurdsson

What a find by Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers worked with him at Reading and the Icelander looks like he's played for the Swans all his life. His first goal against Fulham was simplicity itself and it was only a matter of time before his runs into the opposition box were going to pay off. His second was brilliantly taken and was his fourth goal in three matches. Not bad for a midfield player on loan!

Did you know? All five of his Premier League goals for Swansea have come away from home, while his last two Bundesliga goals for Hoffenheim were also on the road.


Tim Cahill

Everton are often at their best when they have Tim Cahill firing on all cylinders. His goal against Sunderland gave the Toffees a lifeline as the game seemed to be slipping from their grasp. Once they were level it looked like Cahill might be the difference and it took some fine saves from Simon Mignolet to stop Everton from progressing to the semi-final. It will take another inspired performance by Cahill in the replay, otherwise I don't fancy them.

Did you know? Has scored five goals in the FA Cup for Everton (never more than one a season) with all five coming at Goodison.


Stewart Downing

For me, Stewart Downing's display against Stoke was his best game for Liverpool since his big-money move from Aston Villa in the summer. He looked assured, composed and not overawed by the Anfield stage.

Against Stoke he looked like the player capable of forging a formidable partnership with Steven Gerrard in Liverpool's midfield, while his goal was crafted and taken brilliantly. I have to say, though, that this performance was not before time!

Did you know? Has had 36 shots without scoring in the league this season, only two players (Shaun Wright-Phillips and Adel Taarabt) have had more without finding the back of the net.


Fernando Torres

We saw the shoots of recovery on Wednesday night against Napoli. Against Leicester he continued to make the runs and hunt the ball with a hunger I've not seen since his best Liverpool days. His two goals were fitting reward for his two further assists and the perseverance and hard work he has put in over the past two games. OK, Leicester were Championship opposition but he is starting to look like a top-class centre-forward again.

Did you know? Had exactly 50 shots (including blocked attempts) during his goal drought for Chelsea in all competitions.


Antonio Valencia

Whenever this lad plays well for United the team look capable of scoring goals in abundance. That's precisely what they did against a Wolves side completely overwhelmed by the champions. To be fair, once Ronald Zubar was sent off the game was over. With the United treatment room starting to clear and their big-name players returning, is it any wonder that they have stretched their lead at the top of the table and thrown the gauntlet down to rivals Manchester City? It's hardly surprising City fans are biting their fingernails!

Did you know? Only David Silva (12) has provided more Premier League assists than Valencia (11) this season. Prior to this campaign he had recorded nine assists in 44 Premier League games for Manchester United.

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