Fans of English football were spoiled with having both the FA Cup and a splatter of Premier League fixtures taking place over the weekend.
Liverpool’s triumphs returned with a thumping 5-0 win against Watford, while we also found out who will be facing who in the FA Cup semi finals next month.
Here are five things that took place over the weekend:
Luke Shaw’s future hangs in the balance
After Luke Shaw was substituted at half time for Ashley Young, it looked as if José Mourinho’s faith in the 22 year old has finally diminished.
The Portuguese coach has praised Shaw on a number of ocassions this season, but actions speak louder than words, and Shaw’s minutes this season have fallen way short of what would be expected of him. The fact that a 32 year old Young is Manchester United’s starting left back should cause great concern to Shaw, who is now having his camp brief that he wants to leave the Red Devils this summer.
Shaw has not kicked on since arriving from Southampton in 2014, and with injuries hampering his growth, the club are beginning to lose faith in the once-promising left back. Mourinho has certainly expressed his opinion on the player through his unwillingness to use him in the bigger matches.
“Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming,” the Manchester United boss said.
“I was not happy with his performance.”
Mo Salah is the rightful Player of the year
Another game, another handful of goals for Mo Salah in the Premier League. By scoring four against Watford, who succumbed to the Egyptian’s brilliance, Salah is now leading the way in the race for the Golden Boot award as he stands top with 28 goals scored in 30 matches this season.
There has been debate over who deserves the Player of the Year award between Salah and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, but the former Roma forward must be the outright favourite given his performances continue to produce that ‘wow’ factor.
A mere £35million is what it cost Liverpool in acquiring the player from Roma last summer – a deal in which the Giallorossi will be feeling hard done by. No one could have predicted Salah’s outrageous brilliance this season, nor the consistency of his matches, but in today’s modern market, the deal looks like one of the greatest steals in recent history.
The Reds face the Citizens in next month’s Champions League quarter finals, and it will be a joy to watch who gets the better of whom between Salah and De Bruyne.
FA Cup Semi Final draw
Manchester United v Tottenham
Chelsea v Southampton
After years of questioning the FA Cup’s legitimacy with bigger teams not always putting out full strength squads, the shining light is starting to flicker back in the competition.
Two very interesting semi finals will be taking place at Wembley at the end of April, which should set up another glorious match in the final come the end of the season.
The Red Devils are hoping to win their only trophy this season in the FA Cup, while Spurs have not won the competition since the 1960s. Mauricio Pochettino should be vying for this trophy to simmer down the critics of his who claim that his team do not have the know-how of winning titles and important competitions.
Mark Hughes’ Southampton got off to winning ways in the quarter finals against Wigan, but Chelsea will be a different beast to take on at Wembley. While the Blues struggled at time against Leicester, they had enough in extra time to see the Foxes out and throw their name into the FA Cup hat.
Semi finals at Wembley are also an exciting prospect for fans of the clubs involved, and this year’s stellar match up will certainly be Manchester United against Tottenham.
Cenk Tosun finding his feet in England
It might have taken a few months to get up to scratch, but Cenk Tosun has found his feet in England and is regularly finding the back of the net for Everton.
Four goals in his last three games shows the Turkish international has hit a purple patch of form and is proving his worth to the Toffees. Tosun’s style of play is suited to the Premier League, hence why Steve Walsh, the sporting director of Everton, pulled the trigger in acquiring him, but he does need support runners off him.
Theo Walcott has helped massively in that regard and is playing at a higher level than some initially thought since arriving from Arsenal at the start of the season.
Tosun will be 27 years old at the start of next season, but he could be in line for a prolific season with the Toffees after using the time from January until May as his embedding period. There is no reason as to why he cannot kick on.
Who needs Harry Kane?
The gutting news for Tottenham in the past week has been the knowledge of Harry Kane’s ankle ligament injury that will see him out until, at the earliest, the end of April.
However, a convincing and effortless performance against Swansea in the FA Cup quarter finals showed that Spurs are still firing on all cylinders. Christian Eriksen has been one of the Lilywhites’ stellar performers this season, and the Dane found the back of the net twice against Carlos Carvalhal’s men.
Heung-min Son has come on leaps and bounds this season and it has been quite the indictment from Pochettino that he is willing to put the South Korean up front in Kane’s absence instead of Fernando Llorente.
While there will be difficult fixtures to overcome without Kane, there start could not have been more promising and they have found a way to still produce a flourishing and dynamic attack.