One third of the season gone, and we’re now getting to the point where the Premier League race is getting interesting and extremely competitive. Perhaps not so much in terms of the title race, which is gradually developing into a two-horse affair, but certainly at the other end of the table, where the bottom three seem to be changing on a weekly basis.
With several individuals and teams turning in surprising performances this month, certain sections of the Premier League table have shifted dramatically in the space of just three game weeks, leading to some intriguing inclusions in this month’s XI.
Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)
Three games, one goal conceded and several spectacular saves. In what has been a very difficult time for Leicester City recently, Kasper Schmeichel has been a credit to the club both on and off the pitch. Still in fantastic form going into his early thirties, the Danish goalkeeper has stepped out of his famous father’s shadow to form his own legacy, which shows no signs of coming to a stop any time soon.
Right Back: Seamus Coleman (Everton)
After suffering a horrendous leg breaking injury whilst on international duty last year, many fans feared the worst for Seamus Coleman. However, after a long recovery, the energetic Irishman is straight back into the thick of it and playing as well as ever. Solid in defence and dangerous going forward, he is part of a defence that have only shipped one goal all month, and he even managed to bag a rare goal in the victory over Brighton.
Centre Back (CB): Michael Keane (Everton)
Next to Coleman we have Michael Keane, his defensive team mate at Everton. After initially struggling on Merseyside following his big money move from Burnley last summer, the centre back has shown gradual signs of progress this season, playing a key role in Everton’s recent defensive solidity. An option for England in the near future, perhaps?
CB: Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)
It has been another stellar month for Virgil Van Dijk, whose leadership in the Liverpool backline has seen the Reds concede just 5 league goals all season. Although guilty of some poor finishing against Arsenal, the Dutchman’s fine defensive form has continued, with just one goal conceded in the Premier League this month. His monumental presence on the pitch has fixed the Liverpool defence almost single-handedly.
Left Back: Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
Completing an all-Merseyside defence is Liverpool fullback Andrew Robertson. Having gone from relative obscurity to stardom in the past 18 months, the Scotland captain is rapidly developing into one of the most effective fullbacks in the world, demonstrating stellar ability in all areas of his game. His endless running and pinpoint crossing are equally important to Liverpool’s game, with another great cross setting up Shaqiri’s goal against Fulham.
Left Defensive Midfielder: Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town)
What a month it has been from Huddersfield Town. The past three games have seen them go from being cannon fodder to an organised unit with a fighting chance of survival. Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy is still the undisputed talisman for the Terriers, and his magnificent work rate and accurate passing always give the team a chance. After his top class performance against Wolves which saw him grab his first two goals and his team’s first away win of the season, he has helped to give Huddersfield a real platform to build on in the coming matches.
Right Defensive Midfielder: Fernandinho (Manchester City)
For a long time, Fernandinho was the unsung hero of this unstoppable Manchester City team. Now, his contribution is finally being recognised. Versatile, dynamic and energetic, he continues to be the springboard upon which the league leader’s stunning attacking football can be launched. After another brilliant month at both ends of the pitch, finding an adequate long-term replacement for the midfielder looks increasingly difficult with each passing week.
Left Attacking Midfielder: David Silva (Manchester City)
Is there a better midfielder in the world right now? Having been a star in the Premier League for so many years, the magical Spaniard has somehow gone up another level under Pep Guardiola. The brilliant midfielder has now added more goals to his game, which is a deadly combination when paired with his pinpoint passing and ability to open teams up at will. Having scored a goal in all three of the Premier League matches he played in this month, Silva is still as important as ever to this Manchester City team.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Felipe Anderson (West Ham United)
Whilst West Ham have blown hot and cold so far this season, one man starting to show consistency is new midfielder Felipe Anderson. After taking some time to settle in to the pace of English football, the Brazilian bagged a brilliant double against Burnley and also netted against Huddersfield in recent weeks. Now living up to his big reputation, and with some very winnable fixtures coming up for the Hammers, you can only see him getting better as this new team gel.
Right Attacking Midfielder: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) (C)
Three games, three goals, three assists. It has been another superb month for Raheem Sterling, who is terrorising defences and finding the back of the net regularly. Lethal against both the small and big teams, his performance against Southampton was arguably the best individual display by a Premier League player this season. Still only 23, his rapid improvement continues to accelerate, and he is surely a shoo-in for player of the month.
Striker: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Completing our team is Sergio Aguero, another Manchester City attacker who has been tearing teams apart for fun. The legendary Argentine added another two goals and assists to his ever-growing tally in November. His thunderbolt against United to seal derby day delight was one of his best goals for quite some time, and defenders everywhere must be sick of the sight of him. Most frighteningly of all, after seven years in Manchester, the striker is still showing no signs of slowing down.