Wow, what a month of action it was in the English Premier League. This month we saw an almost broken Chelsea side turn things around and win 4 on the spin, Leicester City starting to reclaim their form of last season, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City starting to falter, and Liverpool really start to make a claim for why they could be the champions of this Premier League season. But the month of October would not be complete without another edition of what is the most popular publication on this very site, the Team of the Month! Below are the best 11 players in the Month of October, as well as The Mastermind’s choice for both Player and Manager of the Month. Enjoy!
Tom Heaton is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. Don’t believe me? Just look at the stats. Heaton has made more saves (41) than any other goalkeeper in the league and in 10 games so far despite playing for Burnley, has only conceded 13 goals. He is also the Premier League’s Fantasy Leader in points for goalkeepers with 50, eleven more than the next highest keeper. In the month of October, Heaton made 1 Team of the Week appearance, an incredible 29 saves, 9 cross claims and made probably the best save of the season so far against Manchester United this past week. Heaton is a brilliant goalkeeper and as long as he keeps performing to his very best, Burnley will continue to frustrate the best of teams and will have no shot at being relegated this season.
Tom Heaton isn’t the only Burnley player in the Team of the Month for October, ex-Manchester United defender Michael Keane also makes an appearance after a string of staggering performances at the back for Burnley. Keane made an incredible 45 clearances and 15 blocks this month, more than any other player in the league. He also achieved 13 interceptions, created 3 chances and helped his side to two massive results, a win against Everton and a 0-0 draw against Manchester United. Michael Keane is an amazing defender, one of the most underrated in the league and could soon be a star in the making for the England national team. The Burnley defender had a superb month and looks set to play a massive role in Burnley’s survival this season.
If there is one defender that has stood out above the rest in the 2016-17 English Premier League season than that man is Laurent Koscielny. The French defender has been superb for Arsenal this season and has been their most prized possession as they sit just below the top of the table. Defensively, few were better than the Frenchman in October as he made 23 clearances, won 18 duels in the air and made 12 interceptions, helping the Gunners to 2 clean sheets and three wins from four matches. He also scored the game winning goal against Burnley, only mistimed one tackle the entire month and made two team of the week appearances as Arsenal continue to look very impressive. Laurent Koscielny has been the best defender in the Premier League so far this season and fully deserves another appearance in The Mastermind‘s Team of the Month!
After a poor start to the season, West Ham United have turned things around for themselves this month and perhaps one of the key reasons why has been Winston Reid’s return to form. Winston Reid has been a defensive beast in October for Slavan Bilic’s side and has hardly put a foot wrong helping them to two big wins this month. With two team of the week appearances, a goal and an assist, Reid deserves a lot of credit for the way that West Ham have played recently and he was undoubtedly the key man in their 1-0 win over Sunderland. From a defensive side of things he has been absolutely superb, making 41 clearances (only Keane and Vertonghen had more), 17 interceptions (only Kante and Herrera had more) and 8 blocks (only Mee and Keane had more). The New Zealander also won 8 duels in the air, and completed 105 passes with an 85% accuracy rate. On his day, Winston Reid has the ability to be one of the best defenders in the league and is going to need to keep performing to this same high level if the Hammers are going to have any shot at finishing in the top ten this year.
Victor Moses has turned his career around at Chelsea this month, being given the freedom by manager Antonio Conte to roam forward in his new-found right-wing back role. Moses was excellent for the Blues in both attack and defense this month, doing everything that a wing back should do and proving the perfect outlet for Chelsea down that right-hand side. From an offensive side of things, the Nigerian scored a goal with an assist, created five chances, completed 13 take-on’s and had 100% of his shots on target in October. From a defensive side of things, Moses made 9 tackles, 9 interceptions and 15 clearances, helping Chelsea keep four clean sheets from four matches. Victor Moses continues to be the perfect right-wing back that Antonio Conte needs in his Chelsea side and at the moment is having his best ever season as a professional footballer.
If there is one man that you can pinpoint as the pinnacle to Chelsea’s success this month than that man has to be N’Golo Kante. Offensively and defensively the former Leicester midfielder was brilliant this month and had his best string of matches since arriving at his new club. Kante made two team of the week appearances in October, dominating against his former team in a 3-0 win and then controlling the midfield and taming Paul Pogba and co in a 4-0 win against Manchester United. On top of his exceptional performances he has also managed to post incredible statistics such as making more interceptions than any other player in the league this month with 21, (that’s an average of 7 per game) and completing the 5th most amount of passes in the league this month with 248. N’Golo Kante is one of the very best players in the Premier League, is possibly the best defensive midfielder in the world and could end up being the difference this season for the Blues as they look to win their 5th Premier League title.
Marcos Alonso has been absolutely brilliant since coming into the Chelsea side this month, winning 100% of the matches that he has started so far for his new club and in the process helping the Blues keep four clean sheets. Alonso created 5 chances this month and assisted 1 goal, but was also brilliant defensively, only losing one duel in the air, making 18 clearances and 10 interceptions. Make no mistake, Marcos Alonso is not the best left-wing back that Antonio Conte could have his side right now, but he is the perfect player for Antonio Conte’s system and is doing everything that his manager has asked of him. This new 3-4-3 formation has been working to perfection so far for Chelsea and Marcos Alonso has coutan instrumental piece to the puzzle.
No player was better in the month of October than Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian midfielder has been absolutely unstoppable this season and in nearly every area of the game has been second to none. In the month of October, Coutinho made two team of the week appearances but could honestly have made all four. He made 180 total passes, had seven shots on target from nine attempted, scored a fantastic goal and assisted two more as Liverpool won three out of their four matches. The Liverpool man also completed a stunning 14 dribbles and created 11 chances (only Payet and Silva created more this month). Philippe Coutinho is an absolutely unreal asset for Liverpool and could be on his way to leading his side to their first ever Premier League title.
Who would have thought that Joe Allen would be one of this season’s standout stars? He has been absolutely incredible for Stoke City since arriving from Liverpool in the summer and the month of October was perhaps his best ever as a professional footballer. Allen netted a phenomenal 3 goals with 2 assists in 4 matches this month, creating 6 chances and having 100% of his shots (7/7) as well. The Stoke City midfielder also played a key defensive role for the Potters by making 10 tackles and 5 interceptions and he completed 87% of his passes for a total of 119 passes. His movement, his energy, creativity and defensive willpower have all been second to none in Stoke City’s lineup this season and with goals added to his game now as well, the Welsh midfielder has become one of the very best midfielders in the league. Joe Allen is a superb asset for Stoke City, their most prized possession so far this season and could be on his way to leading the Potters to a fourth ninth place finish in a row.
Of course Antonio Conte deserves a lot of credit for getting the most out of Eden Hazard this season but we cannot ignore how brilliant the Belgian winger has been on his own, looking a completely different player than last season and looking like his best again. The Belgian winger just looks full of swagger and confidence at the moment and in October scored 3 goals with 1 assist in 4 matches, completely running the show in all four of Chelsea’s matches this month. On top of his 3 goals, Hazard also created 7 chances, completed 16 dribbles, and was excellent at linking up with his teammates, making a total of 144 passes this month. When Hazard is in this kind of form there is just no stopping him and if he continues on like this, Chelsea might just be on their way to another Premier League title.
There have been plenty of standout centre forwards in the month of October, Diego Costa and Romelu Lukaku to name a few but the man that has stood out above the rest is a man who isn’t even playing in his natural position, Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean has given Arsene Wenger everything he needs up front so far this season, with his mobility and ability to always be in the right place at exactly the right moment causing problems for defenders all over the league. This month saw Sanchez score two goals, assist another and look totally dominant in every single match he played in. He also completed the second most amount of take on’s with 17 (behind only Aguero), created 10 chances and helped his side win three matches from four. Alexis Sanchez has always been one of the best players in the league and at the moment is in the form of his life, making his second Team of the Month appearance in a row.
Substitutes: Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Virgil Van Dijk, Nemanja Matic, Dimitri Payet, Roberto Firmino, Diego Costa
Player of the Month: Philippe Coutinho
After scoring more goals than anyone this month, Eden Hazard will almost certainly win this month’s official Player of the Month Award. But I believe that the Player of the Month should not always go to the player that scores the most goals but should instead go to the player who plays the absolute best. Not that Hazard hasn’t been brilliant this month, he’s been outstanding, but Philippe Coutinho for me has been second to none and has been better than any other player this month. The Brazilian could have made every single team of the week in October and was unlucky to only feature in two. He may have only scored 1 goal in 4 matches, but he also added a further two assists, created a stunning 11 chances and completed 14 dribbles. The Liverpool man was just on a different planet this month and nobody can stop him at the moment. Philippe Coutinho is in better form than anyone in the Premier League at the moment and is The Mastermind‘s Player of the Month for October!
Honourable Mentions: Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante
Manager of the Month: Antonio Conte
Since changing to a 3-4-3 formation on the first of October, Chelsea have gone on to win all 4 of their Premier League matches, keeping a clean sheet in every single one of those matches. Antonio Conte deserves massive credit for this as his tactics, man-management and trust in players who were disregarded by previous Chelsea managers have all been unbelievably good. Antonio Conte’s side smashed every single team they came up against in October, beating Hull 2-0, smashing the Champions Leicester City by 3-0, recording one of their best ever wins against Manchester United, a thumping 4-0 victory and then topping it all off with a commanding 2-0 win over Southampton. Cesar Azplicueta has been brilliant as a right-sided centre half, while Victor Moses looks like one of the best wing-backs in the world at the moment, positions that these two had rarely ever played before this season began. Pushing the Chelsea wingers further forward has also proved to be the perfect way to get the most out of Eden Hazard as evidenced by the Belgian’s recent performances in which he has now scored three goals with one assist in his last three Premier League matches. Everything about Chelsea right now is just ticking on all cylinders and his 3-4-3 formation continues to be a massive success. Antonio Conte is perhaps the first man to ever make a 3-man defense work well in the Premier League and is The Mastermind‘s Manager of the Month for October!
Honourable Mentions: Sean Dyche and Jurgen Klopp
So there it is! The Mastermind‘s Premier League Team of the Month! What are your thoughts? Who’s missing? Who do you think deserves October’s Player and Manager of the Month awards? Let The Mastermind know in the comment section below!