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Premier League Monthly Awards for December: De Bruyne's class shines through

It’s time for the Premier League Monthly Awards, where The Football Faithful reward the very best and worst of England’s top flight from the month gone by.

Moment of the Month

I present to you all-round good guy, Sadio Mané.

Player of the Month

Kevin De Bruyne looked back to his best in December, providing three goals and four assists over six games in Manchester City’s (likely futile) attempt to claw back Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table.

The Belgian also had the second most attempted assists (20), the most passes in the final third (152), and the most big chances created (6) of any player in the league during that period. Oh, and he scored this golazo for good measure.

Could he still make a charge for Player of the Year contention come the end of the season?

Runners-up: Adama Traore (Wolves); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).

Goal of the Month

Spurs had their own little Goal of the Year contest in the month of December, with Lucas Moura and Dele Alli scoring wondrous goals, but Heung-min Son takes the biscuit for his brilliant 80-yard run and finish against Burnley.

Runners-up: Lucas Moura, Spurs (vs Wolves); Dele Alli, Spurs (vs Man United); Jack Grealish, Aston Villa (vs Southampton); Jordan Ayew, Crystal Palace (vs West Ham United); Kevin De Bruyne, Man City (vs Newcastle United).

Pass of the Month

Liverpool‘s third goal in their 5-2 drubbing of Everton was absolutely sublime. Divock Origi’s first touch and finish were top class, but the length-of-the-pitch pass from Dejan Lovren could hardly have been more precise.

Save of the Month

Paulo Gazzaniga was poor for Marcus Rashford’s first goal when Manchester United defeated Tottenham Hotspur in December, but he made a couple of terrific saves on the night as well.

Miss of the Month

Can you believe David McGoldrick missed from here? The Sheffield United striker is having a good campaign to be fair to him, just not in front of goal; he’s missed 15 big chances in 15 league matches this season.

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Runner-up: Jesse Lingard, Man United (vs Watford).

Howler of the Month

Paulo Gazzaniga picks up his second gong of the month, although he won’t be too pleased with this one. The Argentine made a calamitous error against Chelsea, as he came flying out of his goal to almost kick the head off of Marcos Alonso and give away a penalty.

It might be the most bizarre howler of the year though, as Gazzaniga could have easily caught the oncoming ball or let it go out for a goal kick. On top of that, referee Anthony Taylor actually gave a free out rather than a penalty at first, and VAR had to intervene to give the correct decision.

That was despite the fact that Spurs defender Davinson Sanchez put his hands on his head immediately after it happened knowing full it should’ve been a penalty, while Blues forward Tammy Abraham was jumping up and down in protest like a mad man.

Donkey of the Month

West Ham United sacked their manager Manuel Pellegrini last month, which, given their rotten run of form at the time, was probably fair enough. But when you look back at the club’s overall decision-making process these past few years, then you see why they’re in their current predicament.

David Moyes was hired just over two years ago in a bid to survive relegation, which they did. The former Everton manager apparently wanted the club to improve their recruitment division, but they disagreed and he left in the summer of 2018. They subsequently hired Pellegrini and gave him all the spending power, putting him pretty much in sole charge of transfers.

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Mario Husillos, who previously worked with the Chilean at Malaga, was hired as Director of Football. Under the pair, the club spent £155m on transfers, breaking their record fee on two occasions. They bought some very talented players, but the squad was dreadfully imbalanced – especially once Lukasz Fabianski suffered a serious injury – which was painfully obvious for a large tranche of this campaign.

Now that they have realised the error of their ways, the Hammers have rehired Moyes. The Scot did well during his previous spell and he guided them to a 4-0 win over a terrible Bournemouth side in his first game, but really? With all that lovely Premier League money you’ve got, you make the least inspiring appointment possible? That might be harsh, actually: Tony Pulis was the other candidate for the job.

It’s worth remembering that joint-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold oversaw the financial deterioration of Birmingham City, leaving the former Premier League club in a heap when they sold it a decade ago. West Ham were meant to be entering a brave new world, which their new stadium and major investment in the squad would lead to, but instead, they are a complete mess.

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