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Player of the Weekend

Photo by Jed Leicester for The FA/REX/Shutterstock

It is a magical time of year for domestic football, as each game becomes more and more important.

Bayern Munich leap-frogged BVB to go back to the top of the Bundesliga following a five-nil demolition of their great rivals. In the Netherlands, Ajax’s similarly emphatic victory over Willem II put them back on top and in England, Liverpool left it late on Friday night to beat Southampton, returning themselves to the top of the Premier League. It is there where they have stayed all weekend, as Man City’s quest for the quadruple kept them out of league action and occupied by an FA Cup semi-final.

It is from this famous old competition where our Player of the Weekend excelled, but not in what was a fairly underwhelming victory for City over Brighton & Hove Albion in the first semi-final. Rather, from a stunning cup tie the following day at Wembley, where two of the best-performing sides in the Premier League met; Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford. 

Far from the biggest clubs in the modern football landscape, it is occasions like this that give the likes of Wolves and Watford a chance to taste the big time, with only one team able of reaching the final. And it looked like, for 79 minutes at least, like only one team was going to make final; Wolves.

2-0 they led, with Giminez scoring what was the goal of the round until our Player of the Weekend entered the action. Gerard Deulofeu would have been gutted when the teams were announced, to find his place on the bench. But, watching from the sidelines, it seemed like his frustration was vented into his eventual performance.

Seemingly operating both wings at the same time, such was the energy and adrenaline he shot into his depleted teammates, it was almost out of character when he calmly clipped the most calculated of finishes over the Wolves goalkeeper to pull a goal back. It was this moment of genius that gave Watford momentum, proving that the comeback was on.

An injury-time penalty later, scored with power by their captain, Troy Deeney, and suddenly there was, yet again, only one team that was going to win. It was now Watford with the wind in their sails and, that man again, Gerard Deulofeu broke free in extra time and provided a different kind of composed finish to win the tie in style. A stunning performance to win a stunning cup tie, Deulofeu didn’t even finish the match, coming off injured before the end.

Not bad for around half an hour’s work.