The turn of winter is, ironically, when the Premier League really starts to heat up. Indeed, the temperature may cool after November but the top flight action only becomes more intense as the fixtures come thick and fast, forcing surprise selection calls and even more surprising results. But which individuals have taken the Premier League’s festive period by storm, and who has shied away from the cold? Recognising those belonging in the former category, here’s Bristol Street Motors’ PFA Fans’ Player of the Month nominees for December.
Kevin De Bruyne’s made himself a permanence amongst the monthly nominations this season and with Manchester City still awaiting their first defeat of the campaign, it’s no surprise to see him put forward for December’s award as well. The Belgium international laid on a whopping 20 key passes during his seven outings last month, while bagging two assists and two goals to help City’s cause. Perhaps most impressively though for the attacking midfielder, he also made 13 tackles.
It remains to be seen if Philippe Coutinho will be around long enough to earn a January nomination but he’s certainly in the mix for December’s award. Liverpool’s chief playmaker was in scintillating form ahead of the transfer window, claiming an incredible four goals and four assists – including a strike in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Arsenal. That means the Brazilian magician was directly involved in one Premier League goal every 68 minutes throughout December.
2017 saw Harry Kane set a new record for most Premier League goals in a calendar year while outscoring a certain Lionel Messi and that owed much to an incredibly potent December, netting eight times in the top flight. Strangely though, all of those goals came in just three games; after grabbing a brace in a 5-1 demolition of Stoke City, the England international clinched back-to-back hat-tricks against Burnley and Southampton.
Nicolas Otamendi has been one of the unsung heroes behind Manchester City’s season. While their defensive performances haven’t been of great note in comparison to their relentless attacking displays, the Argentine’s ability to win the ball high up the pitch has been pivotal in snuffing out counter-attacks and ensuring Pep Guardiola’s side remain on the front-foot. In addition to impressing at the back, he’s popped up at the other end with two goals.
With Joe Hart stuck on the bench and Jack Butland restricted by the porous defence in front of him, Jordan Pickford is making significant strides in the race to become England’s World Cup goalkeeper. Despite being kept busy himself by an inconsistent Everton defence, the summer signing kept an impressive four clean sheets in seven appearances last month while averaging just over three saves per match. He did, however, also concede four goals.
Unquestionably the front-runner for signing of the season, Mohamed Salah has been a constant in this season’s monthly nominations as well. December witnessed another fine run from the speedy Egyptian, who finished up with five goals and three assists from seven appearances – most notably strikes against Merseyside rivals Everton and away at Arsenal. Also emerging as one of the Premier League’s most proficient dribblers, he averaged more than three successful take-ons per match in December, while laying on two key passes per game.