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A new year means new hope and new beginnings, but before we all get carried away thinking about what the next twelve months might bring us, we need to address the not-so-small matter of the final chapter of 2020 first.
Christmas practices may have been significantly different this time, but there was one constant to keep us all entertained: Premier League football that, even during these difficult times, rarely fails to disappoint.
Indeed, December was quite an interesting month in the Premier League with all but two clubs, Crystal Palace and Burnley, ending the 31-day period in a different position than they started.
Spurs plummeted from first to seventh, while City jumped from eleventh to eighth and Burnley managed to escape the relegation zone at Fulham’s expense.
But away from teams and towards individuals. Here are the six players who so impressed us during the dying embers of 2020 that they earned nominations for the Premier League Player of the Month award from GMS fans in December.
All stats are courtesy of Who scored.
Nominated: Nick Pope
Goalkeepers kept 34 clean sheets in the Premier League throughout December, which is quite staggering considering the number of goals that came during the first months of the season. High-flying defenses have performed well and gloves are benefiting from that, although some inevitably more than others.
Nick Pope may not have been atop the clean sheet in December, but having come in a respectable second set while recording 24 saves and conceding just three goals, Burnley’s number one managed to score boxes on multiple fronts. .
Perhaps we have unfairly overlooked Emiliano Martínez, who made only two fewer saves than Pope while maintaining an extra clean sheet, but it should not be forgotten that Burnley entered last month in 19th place, while the Argentine has been a luxury for a Villa side forms playing in front of him.
Pope has been crucial to Sean Dyche’s team escaping the relegation zone, making six saves in their 1-0 win over Arsenal alone.
Nominated: James Justin
Before we start talking about individuals, the honorable mentions should go to the bottom line at Aston Villa and Manchester City – they conceded just one goal each over the past month, resulting in four clean sheets apiece in five games.
However, another defensive player has caught our eye for his efforts in December: the versatile Leicester City winger James Justin. Last month saw him weigh in with an impressive 21 tackles in six games, as well as 13 key passes and five dribbles.
However, more than impressive statistical returns, the 22-year-old gets the go-ahead for two particularly notable performances.
After completely embarrassing Dan Burn during Leicester’s 3-0 win over Brighton in which Justin posted his first assist of the season, his association with Marc Albrighton received praise from the Match of the Day. Dion Dublin and Micah Richards as Brendan Rodgers’ team expertly dispensed with the Spurs in a 2-0 win last month.
Nominees: Anwar El Ghazi, Tomas Soucek, Bruno Fernandes
Chances are high that November’s winner Bruno Fernandes will be on the shortlist for most of the monthly Premier League awards this season, which not only attests to his impeccable play-making skills, but also to his how much Manchester United trust their master midfield talisman.
December was another prosperous month for the Portugal international with three goals and four assists, including a double and a set-up in Manchester United’s 6-2 demolition of Leeds at Old Trafford. He also achieved Getting a record for the most key passes in a single game this season (eight) against West Ham, even though he only came at halftime to lead a glorious comeback for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.
However, Fernandes was overtaken by Aston Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi, whose incredible streak of five goals in as many appearances in December didn’t see him as the most joint number of any Premier League player, while few could. hold a candle with your return of 15 shots. on target either.
But we’re not just interested in scammers from the Premier League engine room, and thus this month’s final midfield nominee is particularly unique.
Tomas Soucek may not be the most fashionable player by modern standards, but his imposing 6-foot-4-inch frame is certainly effective – he won the most head butts of any midfielder in Europe this season by a mammoth margin of 34. That’s almost as many as he won. in December alone, while six starts last month yielded a three-goal comeback in the top flight.
Nominated: Mohamed Salah
Having equaled all five of El Ghazi’s goals, while enjoying the luxury of an extra appearance each, the strikers section of December’s GMS Fans’ award was always going to be a battle between two forwards on both sides of the famous Northwest rivalry: Mohamed of Liverpool. Salah and Marcus Rashford of Manchester United.
And while the Englishman will be aggrieved at being lost, in the end he can’t have too many complaints with Salah adding two more assists to the aforementioned strike team. Fernandes is the only Premier League player to match his seven goals in December.
Salah also produced one of the most powerful cameos you can see in the Premier League, the Egyptian enters with only 33 minutes to go against Crystal Palace and yet still scoring two goals and one assist to help Liverpool to an impressive 7-0 win.
It’s true that goals have completely dried up since then, but Salah had already done enough at Christmas to earn last place among this month’s nominees.