December is no doubt one of the most important months of the Premier League season. With seven matchdays in total, the action comes thick and fast and fortunes can change in an instant – one injury or inspiring moment can completely transform a month that makes up just under one fifth of the whole campaign in terms of game-time.
But which Premier League stars stood out most as their clubs attempted to navigate the ever-problematic winter period? Here are the six stars who defied December’s unique demands to earn nominations for the PFA Bristol Street Motors Fans’ Player of the Month award…
A weight seems to have been lifted off Paul Pogba’s shoulders since Jose Mourinho’s dismissal as Manchester United manager. After being completely left out of the starting XI that lost to Liverpool at Anfield and the subsequent appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Frenchman bagged an incredible four goals and three assists in his final three Premier League outings in December – playing a pivotal role in demolitions of Cardiff and Bournemouth. Those three games alone saw him take 13 efforts at goal and create eight chances.
A month rarely passes without Eden Hazard receiving a nomination for this award and December only maintained that trend. Rightly so; the Belgium international racked up more goal involvements than appearances last month, with three goals and five assists in seven December appearances – including a stunning brace against Watford on Boxing Day. He also completed the most dribbles of any Premier League player, 22, enjoyed a run of assisting in four consecutive games and applied two setups in a massive win over Manchester City.
Marcus Rashford appears to be revelling in the Solskjaer effect too, but in truth his form throughout the whole of December – including prior to Mourinho’s sacking on the 18th – was exemplary. Along with two goals and one assist under his new manager, the Portuguese’s final few Premier League games saw the England international rack up one goal and four assists, most notably two setups apiece against Southampton and Fulham. In total then, his December record stands at exactly the same as Hazard’s – eight goal involvements from seven outings.
Perhaps the Premier League’s most underrated signing of the summer. Since joining the ranks at Leicester City, Ricardo Pereira has proved himself equally adept both offensively and defensively, splitting his time between full-back and wide midfield. As a consequence, December saw the Portuguese ace score once while racking up with the most tackles and interceptions of any Premier League player.
Mohamed Salah has been the driving force behind Liverpool’s title charge and December was another potent month for the Egyptian assassin. In fact, he ended 2018 with a goal and an assist in each of his last three Premier League appearances, after producing an incredible hat-trick against Bournemouth. Overall, that’s ten goals the Reds talisman was involved in last month as Jurgen Klopp’s side won all seven of their Premier League games, including wins over Manchester United and Arsenal.
Harry Kane’s been accused of lacking form at times this season but that certainly wasn’t the case last month, as the England skipper demonstrated not only his well-established ability to find the net but also his creative qualities as well. Indeed, in addition to netting six times in seven games, the Tottenham Hotspur striker laid on two goals for team-mates as well, with assists against Southampton and Burnley. That haul also included a run of scoring in three consecutive games at the end of 2018.