It has been a difficult month for English football. Though there have been some fascinating results and incredible individual performances, the on-field action over these past few weeks pales in comparison with the tragic death of Leicester City’s beloved owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
Although heartbreaking for the city of Leicester and for the English game in general, the football family, as it so often does, has come together to offer comfort and support to everyone associated with Leicester City. In such solemn times, football unites and carries on, and whilst it may have been overshadowed, the last four weeks of Premier League action has certainly thrown up its fair share of magic, drama, and talking points.
GK: Mathew Ryan (Brighton)
Three matches, three wins, three clean sheets. It has been a magnificent month for Brighton and Hove Albion, who for the time being at least have seen themselves pull far away from the relegation zone. Goalkeeper Mat Ryan has been a big part of this, and in the Seagulls’ 1-0 over Wolves he was virtually a one man show. The Australian’s steady improvement has been of huge value to Brighton ever since their Premier League debut last season, and he is undoubtedly becoming one of their key players.
RB: Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)
Although the Arsenal defence looks as leaky as ever and their seven game league winning run has come to an end, Hector Bellerin has enjoyed a huge rejuvenation under new boss Unai Emery. The young Spaniard is fixing his game defensively and is starting to offer much more going forward, as evidenced by his three assists in the past month alone.
CB: Shane Duffy (Brighton)
Whilst the man between the sticks will deservedly take most of the credit for Brighton’s recent form, Shane Duffy has surely earned his fair share of plaudits too. The centre back has also been on a path of steady improvement for the Seagulls, and is emerging as somewhat of a star in the Brighton backline, as well as an unlikely goal threat.
CB: Steve Cook (Bournemouth)
From League One struggler to Premier League regular. Whilst his more illustrious centre back partner Nathan Ake gets his fair share of the limelight, Bournemouth centre back Steven Cook has stood out brilliantly over the past few weeks. His efforts have helped the Cherries to three wins from four in October and three clean sheets, with the south coast side now sitting in the lofty position of 6th in the league. They will surely reach the 40 point safety mark soon enough.
LB: Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
Possibly the best defender in the Premier League at this moment. Manchester City have faced two huge tests this month in the shape of Liverpool and Spurs away from home, but weathered both matches without shipping a goal. Aymeric Laporte has been a rock at the back for the citizens in such games, and his partnership with John Stones is rapidly becoming the most formidable in the league. How he still hasn’t been capped by France is simply a mystery.
LDM: Fernandinho (Manchester City)
From one of the best defensive players to one of the most underrated. At 33, Fernandinho still looks as powerful as ever and his abilities to shield the City backline and kickstart counter attacks at the other end are vital to the champions’ style of play. Whilst he was a model of defensive tenacity and discipline against Liverpool and Spurs, the Brazilian also nabbed a rare goal with a thumping strike in the 5-0 victory over Burnley. A truly world class midfielder.
RDM: Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth’s answer to N’Golo Kante. Having enjoyed a stellar World Cup with Colombia, Lerma joined the Cherries for a club record fee. Having forced his way into the starting XI, the midfielder has quickly become the reliable anchor in Bournemouth’s midfield four, and has played a large part in their significant defensive improvement. At just 24, it could only be a matter of time before bigger clubs come calling.
LAM: Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Finally, something for Manchester United fans to cheer about. With Romelu Lukaku misfiring and Alexis Sanchez struggling, the Red Devils have once again turned to Martial for inspiration, and the Frenchman has answered the call with four goals in his last three games. Slowly but surely he is dragging United away from their poor early season form, and if he keeps up these kinds of performances, he might just dislodge Lukaku permanently.
RAM: Ross Barkley (Chelsea) (C)
The arrival of Maurizio Sarri has already led to several success stories for Chelsea this season. The improvement of Hazard and the additions of Jorginho and Kepa are certainly big steps forward, but perhaps the greatest step forward so far is the rebirth of Ross Barkley. Just a few months ago the 24 year-old was looking like a wasted talent, but he has made a remarkable comeback and has contributed an impressive three goals and three assists in his last three games. The young Englishman therefore captains our team.
LS: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Three games, ten goals scored. Whilst question marks remain over Arsenal’s defensive capabilities, there is no doubting their quality going forward. Although Ozil and Lacazette have been impressive, Aubameyang is undoubtedly the jewel in the Gunners’ crown, with five goals in his last three Premier League matches including back to back braces against Fulham and Leicester. Can the star striker fire Arsenal towards being serious title contenders?
RS: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)
We round off our team with another Bournemouth regular, which is unsurprising given the fantastic form of Eddie Howe’s team. This time it is striker Callum Wilson who gets the nod, having registered three goals and two assists in October. Howe himself has stated that he believes an England call up is on its way for Wilson, and if he carries on like this, Gareth Southgate will struggle to ignore the striker.