The festive fixtures finally arrived and they brought with them plenty of drama and action. Find out who made the team of the month for December.
The hectic Christmas period was packed full of excitement as the teams at the top stumbled in the race to catch Manchester City. Meanwhile at the bottom, Roy Hodgson led Crystal Palace out of the relegation zone after a fantastic revival.
Unlike the previous months there was just one managerial change in December. Swansea City sacked Paul Clement with their side languishing at the bottom of the table. His replacement was Carlos Carvalhal who had been sacked at Sheffield Wednesday just four days earlier.
With January fast approaching the Premier League clubs were already getting their transfers prepared. Virgil van Dijk finally made his move to Liverpool after a complication in the summer. At £75m he became the most expensive defender in history.
On the pitch Manchester City continued to storm their way towards the title. They ended December with a 14-point gap to Chelsea in second as well as celebrating victory in the Manchester derby earlier in the month.
Harry Kane finished as the top scorer in December with eight goals. He ended the month with back-to-back hattricks which saw him break Alan Shearer’s record for goals in a calendar year. Kane managed 39 Premier League goals, beating Shearer by three.
At the other end of the pitch Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton had the best defensive record in December. They all managed an impressive four clean sheets although Everton conceded one more goal with four in total.
So here is our combined Premier League team of the month for December;
Goalkeeper – Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Sam Allardyce’s Everton revival began at the back as he made the Toffees one of the most formidable defences in the Premier League. Pickford has been at the heart of that making some stunning saves throughout the month. He conceded just four goals and kept four clean sheets.
Right Back – Jonjoe Kenny (Everton)
In the absence of Seamus Coleman, Jonjoe Kenny has been a revelation for Everton. Whilst providing strong defensive cover, he also managed an assist against Swansea. The young Englishman has a strong future ahead of him but will have his work cut out to keep Coleman out of the team.
Centre Back – César Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
The Spaniard has been a rock at the back for Chelsea and is fundamental to the joint best defensive team for December. He now has four clean sheets in a row whilst also managing to get an assist for his compatriot, Álvaro Morata, against Brighton.
Centre Back – Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City)
Just like Azpilicueta, Otamendi is at the heart of Manchester City’s defence. Whilst his defensive partner is constantly changing he manages to be consistently excellent in the City defence. He even managed back-to-back goals at the start of the month against West Ham and rivals Manchester United.
Left Back – Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Marcos Alonso is crucial to the way that Antonio Conte sets up his Chelsea side. Alonso provided an excellent offensive option for Chelsea when going forward whilst managing to not be a hinderance to their outstanding defence. Offensively he managed two goals and one assist meanwhile he was also part of the best defence in December.
Right Wing – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Another excellent month for the Egyptian as he notched up five goals and two assists. In what has been an outstanding debut season he has forged a permanent place in the team of the month so far.
With 17 goals already this season, he is producing something special from the right-wing position. At the half-way stage of the season he has to be a serious contender for player of the year, rivalled only by the Manchester City midfield and Harry Kane.
Centre Midfield – Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)
Tottenham Hotspur have hit an upturn in form recently partly due to Eriksen’s brilliant performances. The Dane has managed two goals and three assists and has been the inspiration for some of Spurs’ excellent football.
Centre Midfield – Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Amidst constant speculation that Coutinho will soon be a Barcelona player he has had an incredible December. The Brazilian got himself four goals whilst also managing five assists including a hattrick of assists in a 5-1 win over Brighton. Whether he has played in midfield or deputised for Mané on the left-wing Coutinho has been consistently excellent.
Left Wing – Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)
Son Heung-Min has been criticised at times for not being involved in enough goals for Spurs but that wasn’t the case in December. With four goals and four assists their can be no complaints over his goal involvement. The South Korean has been another part of Spurs’ upturn in form but he’ll need to maintain it if they are to beat Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley to the Champions League places.
Striker – Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Another player that is sometimes criticised for not registering enough goals is Roberto Firmino. However, he managed to bag himself six goals in December which is second only to Harry Kane. As well as that he also provided two assists and was the heart of the excellent offensive December that Liverpool had.
Striker – Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
What an incredible December and 2017 it was for Harry Kane. With eight Premier League goals in December, 39 in 2017 and 56 in all competitions it’s hard not to sing the praises of the Spurs frontman.
Kane rounded off 2017 with back-to-back hattricks and is the reason Spurs have become real contenders for the top four. With 18 goals so far this season, Kane should be targeting at least 30 goals this season. In his current form he could probably get closer to an incredible 40 goals.