December was a chock-a-block month in the Premier League with some teams playing a whopping seven games and a staggering 168 goals scored in total. Fortunes were greatly contrasted as Liverpool picked up maximum points from five games whereas Norwich could only muster three from seven, but the PFA Bristol Street Motors Fans’ Player of the Month award takes the emphasis away from the teams and focuses on which individuals stood out the most.
So here’s a rundown of the six Premier League nominees for the December gong…
Ben Foster’s been battling all season to keep Watford afloat and now the appointment of Nigel Pearson has given the Hornets a much-needed uplift in fortunes, the former England goalkeeper is reaping the rewards. He conceded just five goals in six appearances in December, keeping three clean sheets – including one against Manchester United – and making 20 saves. That helped Watford to eight points last month, and they are now potentially just one win away from escaping the relegation zone.
A real dream of a full-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold has been helping Liverpool keep a spate of clean sheets while making telling contributions at the other end. He was part of a Reds backline that finished December with four clean sheets from five games, but also weighed in with one goal and three assists. Three of those goal involvements incredibly came in one match, the England man stealing the show as Liverpool easily dispensed of title-rivals Leicester City in a 4-0 win. Alexander-Arnold laid on two setups before scoring a gorgeous strike of his own from the edge of the box.
He’s perhaps the most improved player we’ve seen in the Premier League this season, considering last term saw him make only eight starts compared to 21 substitute appearances. Indeed, there may not be a more feared attacker in the Premier League right now than Adama Traore, who made a staggering 53 dribbles throughout December – an average of over seven per match. The Wolves winger has provided end product too, most notably bagging a goal and an assist as his side produced an incredible 3-2 comeback against reigning champions Manchester City. He also found the net against Spurs.
Kevin De Bruyne is just the gift that keeps on giving. With seven goals and twelve assists already this season he’s been nothing short of sensational and December was no exception, notching up an incredible three goals, three assists, 22 shots and 19 key passes. In fact, from six December outings there were just two in which the Belgium international failed to directly contribute to a Manchester City goal, while a 3-1 win over Leicester saw him create seven goalscoring chances alone.
Now 13 points above their competitors with a game in hand, Liverpool are a shoo-in for this season’s Premier League title and Sadio Mane has been a fundamental part of that as the Reds’ top scorer in the top flight. December was another potent month for the Senegalese star as he netted twice and provided a further four assists. He played a hand in at least one goal during all four of his December outings, including a winner against Wolves and one goal and two assists in a 5-2 demolition of Everton.
Manchester United may have only managed to win four of their seven games in December, failing to beat relegation-threatened duo Aston Villa and Watford as well as Newcastle, but no player in the division scored more Premier League goals than Marcus Rashford with a very impressive five. Most notably, that included two goals against Spurs and a strike in United’s 2-1 away win over Manchester City, while the England man saw out the month by scoring in two consecutive games.