The FA Cup semi-finals take centre stage this weekend as four of the top Premier League teams compete at Wembley in two mouthwatering games.
Firstly, the top two teams in the league, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, face each other on Saturday while on Sunday at 3pm BT Sport will show the second semi-final, as under pressure Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal take on Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola desperate to land a trophy in his first season in charge.
With the two games in mind, let’s take a look at a potential XI between the four teams involved, which will help us distinguish who the key players could be in both games.
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
Manchester City have had their well documented goalkeeper issues while Petr Cech has gone off the boil with Arsenal this season.
This left it between arguably the two best goalkeepers in English football outside of David de Gea. Chelsea shot stopper Courtois edges out Hugo Lloris.
Defence: Cesar Azpilicueta, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Marcos Alonso
Azpilicueta has been one of the unsung heroes in Chelsea’s title quest. The Spaniard has operated as the right sided central defender in Conte’s back five but plays in the familiar right-back position in a back four here.
Eyebrows might be raised at a Manchester City defender being involved but the City defence has been a mess without their injury-stricken captain and his performance against Southampton reminded people what a good defender he is.
Toby Alderweireld is probably the best centre-back in the Premier League so his inclusion is no surprise while Marcos Alonso, who has been a revelation this season gets the nod ahead of Tottenham’s impressive Danny Rose at left-back.
Midfield: Alexis Sanchez, David Silva, N’Golo Kante, Dele Alli, Eden Hazard
The formation can be seen as an attacking 4-1-4-1 system, which is something Guardiola has used a lot with City this season. Kante is the obvious defensive midfielder whose mobility around the pitch and ball-winning ability would be crucial in allowing the four players in front of him the freedom they need.
Sanchez and Hazard in a team is a frightening prospect and who knows if that could become a reality next season with Chelsea showing an interest in the Chilean, as have Manchester City. A tough summer for Arsenal awaits. David Silva’s creativity and Alli’s goals from midfield would ensure this team would be almost unstoppable.
Striker: Harry Kane
Diego Costa has gone off the boil with Chelsea since Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian have displayed interest in his services and it looks likely that the striker could leave the club.
Sergio Aguero is the best all round striker in the Premier League but Harry Kane wins out here based on another stellar season. Kane has 20 Premier League goals and is just behind Everton’s Romelu Lukaku in the golden boot race. The England striker guarantees goals.
This team includes five Chelsea players, three from Spurs, two for City and just the one Arsenal player. This might indicate the winner of Chelsea vs Tottenham will be favourites in the final but City have the talent to beat anyone. Arsenal have it all to do if they are to regain the FA Cup.
Starting XI: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Kompany, Alderweireld, Alonso, Kante, Sanchez, Silva, Alli, Hazard, Kane.
Vincent O’Shea, Pundit Arena