Relegation dogfights? Check. Managers complaining about the hectic fixture schedule? Check. Title Race? Hmmm, perhaps not, but that shouldn’t detract from what has been a magnificent few weeks of Premier League football.
Despite Manchester City opening up a huge 14 point lead at the top of the table, the busiest month of the football calendar witnessed some individual brilliance, marvellous team football, and top class entertainment from teams throughout the league. Nevertheless, some players deservedly grabbed the headlines for their efforts, but who stood out enough to earn their place in the December team of the month?
GK: Ederson Moraes (Manchester City)
What a difference he has made to the Manchester City backline. Aside from being brilliant with the ball at his feet, a magnificent double save from Romelu Lukaku as well as a late penalty save from Luka Milivojevic could both prove so crucial to both City’s title hopes as well as their aspirational quest for an unbeaten Premier League season.
RB: Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Another massive addition to the Sky Blue backline, Walker’s solid tackling and ability to storm up and down his side of the pitch have played a huge role in City’s improvement. Having only conceded 3 goals in 6 December fixtures, Walker’s influence in the City backline has been telling.
CB: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Having been one of the league’s most solid defenders for a number of years now, Azpilicueta is now adding assists to his game. Like Manchester City, his Chelsea side conceded only three goals over the course of the month, and the Spaniard is beyond doubt the most important figure in Chelsea’s defence.
CB: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)
What a season it has been for Otamendi so far, who is finally beginning to look like the quality defender who Manchester City thought they were acquiring two seasons ago. Now much more comfortable in dealing with physical strikers, the central defender also popped up with goals against West Ham and Manchester United.
LB: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
A surprisingly important figure in Chelsea’s title charge of last season, Alonso is of crucial importance to Chelsea at both ends of the field. A set piece specialist, two goals and one assist from his left wingback position highlight an impressive December for the versatile defender.
CDM: Idrissa Gueye (Everton)
After early season horror shows under Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce deserves great credit for tightening up the Toffees defensively. Everton’s mr reliable Idrissa Gueye has played a huge part in their improved December form, and even grabbed a rare goal against Bournemouth.
LAM: Son Heung Min (Tottenham Hotspur)
It’s hardly been a stellar season so far for Spurs, but one player who hasn’t let his standards drop is attacker Son Heung-Min. With 4 goals and 3 assists last month from his usual position on the left hand side, the South Korean has added consistent end product to his industrious approach that had already made him a favourite with the Spurs faithful.
CAM: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Although rumours are suggesting his time at Liverpool may be coming to an end, what a way for Philippe Coutinho to potentially bow out of English football. 4 goals, 4 assists, and 3 man of the match ratings ensure that, should he be moving on, the Premier League will dearly miss a player of his quality.
CAM: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
One man who may ease the burden of losing Coutinho is compatriot Roberto Firmino. Like Coutinho, Firmino has lit up December with 6 fantastic goals and 2 assists, all taken with typical Brazilian flair and brilliance.
RAM: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Another player from the Reds’ frontline, a remarkable season for Salah continues to get better and better. The man in red hot form has added another 5 goals and 3 assists to his haul and whilst he may yet compete for the player of the year accolade, his importance to Liverpool as a collective could be so important in chasing that all important silverware.
ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) (C)
Who else could it be to lead the line? In an incredible year that ended with the breaking of Alan Shearer’s 22 year old goalscoring record and the surpassing of every other striker in Europe, there seems to be no limit to Harry Kane’s potential. In yet another incredible leap in form that culminated in 8 goals and back to back hat tricks against Burnley and Southampton, Harry Kane both leads and completes our XI.