English Premier League Team of the Month: November 2016

What an enthralling month of action it was in the 2016-17 English Premier League. In the month of November we saw a Sunderland side that looked down and out for the first ten games of the season win 2 on the spin and finally look like Premier League quality again, Crystal Palace slump towards the relegation zone with three horrible defeats and witnessed Chelsea’s continued rise towards the top of the table, now sitting on 31 points from 13 matches. Through all the excitement that the league produced in November, these were the 11 best players from Matchday 11 to Matchday 13 in England’s top flight.

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford 

jordan-pickford-vs-hull-city
Team of the Week Appearances: 2
3 appearances, 1 clean sheet, 15 saves, 100% cross claim success.

One of just two players to make 2 Team of the Week appearances this month, Jordan Pickford was absolutely sensational as Sunderland won their first two matches of the season. Pickford has been a silver lining in Sunderland’s side up until this point in the season and with everybody else starting to get their feet off the ground as well, David Moyes’ side could be set to continue to flourish these next few weeks. Many Sunderland players were fantastic in providing Moyes’ with his first home win and first away win in the league as Sunderland manager but Pickford was certainly one that stood out from the rest yet again. The British goalkeeper who says he wants to emulate Joe Hart made 15 stunning saves, claimed 100% of the crosses that came his way, had more touches on the ball than several Sunderland outfield players and deservedly picked up his first clean sheet of the season against Hull. Jordan Pickford has been brilliant so far this season and with his stunning performance against Hull and Bournemouth he has now made more Mastermind team of the week appearances than any other goalkeeper in Europe. Rating: 9.5/10.

Right-Wing Back: Victor Moses

victor-moses-goal-vs-spurs
Team of the Week Appearances: 2
3 appearances, 1 goal, 5 successful dribbles, 120 passes

Victor Moses was fantastic for Chelsea in the month of November as the Blues continued their fantastic rise to the top and Moses made 2 Team of the Week Appearances. The Nigerian international was a constant threat down that right-side for Chelsea, always involved in a large number of their attacks. Although he hasn’t had too much to do defensively and has been able to focus on the attacking side of his game a lot more this month, when he’s been called upon in a defensive sense he’s been excellent and as helped Chelsea concede just 1 goal in 3 matches. Moses has been a revelation at right-wing back and continues to be one of this season’s standout players. The Nigerian international has already won the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month award for November and might be able to scoop up the actual Player of the Month award as well. Rating: 9/10.

Centre Back: Cesar Azpilicueta  

cesar-azpiluceta-totm-nov
Team of the Week Appearances: 0
3 appearances, 92% pass accuracy, 201 passes, 11 clearances, 8 duels won in the air

With his calmness in possession of the ball, flawless defensive awareness and exemplary knack for defending in 1v1 situations, moving Cesar Azpilicueta to centre-half has proved to be one of the best moves of the season. The Spaniard has made September Worst Team of the Month members David Luiz and Gary Cahill look like supreme defenders again and has been one of Chelsea’s best players in their rise to the top of the table in which they have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 7 matches. In the month of November, Azpilicueta made 201 successful passes (92% of those he attempted) which was the third highest tally in the Premier League behind only Pogba and Henderson. The Spanish defender also made 11 clearances, 6 interceptions, 6 tackles and won 8 duels in the air, proving to be a sturdy barricade at the back for the Blues. Antonio Conte says that Cesar Azpilicueta is thriving in his new centre-back role and The Mastermind could not agree more. He’s been brilliant this month and despite missing out on all 3 Team of the Week’s he still fully deserves his spot on the Team of the Month! Rating: 8/10.

Centre Back: Virgil Van Dijk 

virgil-van-dijk-november
Team of the Week Appearances: 0
3 appearances, 8 interceptions, 8 clearances, 2 chances created, 19 duels won in the air

There have been plenty of fantastic defensive performers around the league so far this season but few have received as much attention as Virgil Van Dijk. I still have no idea how a bigger club hasn’t snatched him up already but if the Dutchman continues to put in performances like this at the back for Southampton the Saints will have a very difficult time at keeping hold of him for another year. This month Van Dijk made 8 clearances and 8 interceptions which of course are not the highest of numbers but he did win a fantastic 19 duels in the air, the highest of any defender in the league. The Dutch defender also created 2 chances and was the key man in helping his side keep 2 clean sheets from three matches. Virgil Van Dijk is a brilliant defender, had a brilliant month of action and will very soon make a move to one of England’s elite clubs. Rating: 8/10.

Left-Wing Back: James Milner 

Liverpool's James Milner celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 1 goal, 4 chances created, 83% shot accuracy, 147 passes, 9 clearances, 5 tackles

James Milner has been fantastic at left-back this season despite never really playing in that position before. The ex-England international has played some of his best football ever under Jurgen Klopp at left-back and continued his fine run of form in the month of November has Liverpool won 2 out of their 3 matches. The attack-minded fulback made 147 passes this month, had 83% of his shots on target (5/6) including 1 goal, and he created 4 chances for his teammates to score. He was also very solid defensively as Liverpool kept 2 clean sheets and conceded just 1 goal in 3 matches. The unorthodox defender made 9 clearances, 5 tackles and only committed 2 fouls this month. James Milner has never been a fullback at any point in his career and even if he still isn’t truly a defender now, he is flourishing in that position and is playing some of his best football ever. Rating: 8.5/10.

Defensive Midfield: Jordan Henderson 

jordan-henderson-legend
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 1 assist, 8 chances created, 258 passes, 8 interceptions, 10 tackles, 37 long ball passes.

Few players have been more influential to their team this season than Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson. The Reds’ captain has been fantastic in the first thirteen games of the season, and with his ability to create goals, keep possession of the football and defend well in any situation he has looked like one of the most complete midfielders in Europe. Henderson just could not be stopped this month, completely dominating over every single opposing midfielder he came up against and always dictating the tempo of Liverpool’s attacks. The central midfielder created 8 chances this month with 1 assist, made an exemplary 258 passes, more than second place Pogba by 53! Henderson was also amazing when called upon in defense, completing 10 tackles and making 8 interceptions, more than any other Liverpool player. The ex-Sunderland playmaker is flourishing under Jurgen Klopp as a deeep-lying midfielder right now, had a fantastic time with the Reds in November and has been one of the standout players of the season so far. Rating: 9/10.

Centre Midfield: Paul Pogba 

paul-pogba-assist-to-zlatan-vs-west-ham
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 chances created, 204 passes, 90% pass accuracy, 7 interceptions, 10 duels won in the air, 10 successful dribbles

After being heavily crititicized unjustifiably for what some presumed to be poor performances earlier this season, Paul Pogba has silenced his critics this month with a string of impressive displays. Pogba had the perfect start to November in United’s 3-1 win over Swansea City in which the Frenchman scored his first goal in six matches before that, completed 96% of his passes, making 94 in total. Although the central midfielder couldn’t have as much of an impact against Arsenal as he would have liked he was absolutely instrumental to United’s 1-1 draw against West Ham United. Against the Hammers Pogba created 2 chances including assisting Ibrahimovic with a wonderful long pass, completed 4 take-on’s, made 4 interceptions, won all 3 of his duels in the air and completed 87% of his passes. It has been a fantastic month of action for Paul Pogba and he is finally starting to show the kind of form that earned him this big money move from Juventus in the first place. Paul Pogba is one of the best midfielders in the league and is finally showing it again with Manchester United. Rating: 9/10.

Right Wing: Pedro Rodriguez 

pedro-vs-everton-1
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 2 goals, 2 assists, 3 chances created, 86% pass accuracy, 6 successful dribbles.

Who would have thought that Pedro Rodriguez would be one of Antonio Conte’s star performers this season? The former Barcelona man had a reasonably poor season by his high standards last year in his first ever season at the club, scoring just 7 goals with 2 assists in 29 appearances in the Premier League. But this season, the Spanish winger has been a transformed man and is looking like his old self again with 3 goals and 5 assists so far this season in just 12 games. He has been particularly brilliant ever since coming into the starting 11 against Manchester United and in the month of November stood out above almost any other player in the league. Pedro scored 2 goals with 2 assists in 3 matches this month, tied with Costa and Sigurdsson for most goals + assists in November. Pedro also completed 86% of his passes, completed 6 dribbles and continued to be the perfect right winger Antonio Conte needs in his side. Pedro is a fantastic player but throughout his career has always had to play second-fiddle to better players. Finally, Antonio Conte has trusted him to be his main-man at right wing and is reaping the rewards. Rating: 9.5/10.

Left Wing: Eden Hazard

eden-hazard-vs-everton-1
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 2 goals, 8 chances created, 100% shot accuracy, 11 successful dribbles, 13 times fouled, 87% pass accuracy

Although Eden Hazard only found the net in one match this month he was still one of the standout players in the league yet again. In 3 matches this month, Eden Hazard scored 2 goals in 3 matches, both of them coming against Everton in that fantastic 5-0 win, but also created 8 chances for teammates to score, highlighting his misfortune at not picking up an assist or two this month. Eden Hazard also had 100% of the shots he took on target, a formidable feat for such an attack-minded player, and gave defenders around the league nightmares with his awe-inspiring close ball control, completing 11 dribbles and forcing 13 fouls. Eden Hazard was absolutely fantastic in Nobember and looks nearly destined to be one of the top nominees for PFA Player of the Month yet again. If Chelsea are going to continue this fantastic run of form than Eden Hazard is going to need to continue to play to this very high level as frequently as he can. Rating: 9.5/10.

Centre Forward: Gylfi Sigurdsson 

gylfi-sigurdsson-5-4-cp
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 2 goals, 2 assists, 5 chances created, 5 shots on target

Few players in the league have been as influential to their side’s results this month than Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic international had a fantastic month, leading Bradley to his first draw and win as Swansea manager with a string of stunning displays. Sigurdsson was one of just two players this month (the other being Diego Costa) to score or assist a goal in every single game this month, ultimately ending up with 2 goals and 2 assists with 5 chances created in just 3 matches. The former Spurs man also had 5 shots on target, leading Swansea to two impressive results and their first win under Bob Bradley as manager. On his day Gylfi Sigurdsson can be absolutely unplayable and now he just has to take this kind of form and do it on a consistent basis. Rating: 9.5/10.

Striker: Diego Costa

Chelsea v Everton - Premier League
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 2 goals, 2 assists, 10 chances created, 5 clearances, 2 interceptions

Diego Costa is one of many players that is playing some of his best football ever right now under Antonio Conte. The Spanish international has been magnificent so far this season and November was the tip of the iceberg for the former Atletico Madrid striker. In November Costa scored 2 goals with 2 assists in 3 matches, leading Chelsea to three straight victories. He also created 10 chances this month, surpassed only by Payet and Alexis Sanchez, and even helped out in defense with 5 clearances and 2 interceptions. Diego Costa is one of the greatest goal scorers the Premier League have ever had and if he carries on like this, the golden boot race won’t even be close. Rating: 9.5/10.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

EPL Team of the Month November.JPG

Substitutes: David Luiz, Joel Matip, Sadio Mane, Victor Anichebe, Roberto Firmino, Jermain Defoe, Sergio Aguero

Player of the Month: Eden Hazard

hazard-wee-flying-2

After snubbing him for player of the month in place of Philippe Coutinho last month, there was no way any one else was going to win the award this time around. Eden Hazard has been brilliant yet again for Chelsea, leading them to three straight victories in the month of November. Although he only scored in one game, he was a constant threat and presence in the two other games along with his fabulous performance against Everton to carry himself over the line as the best player for the month of November. Hazard was impressive in area of his game this month, scoring 2 goals, creating 8 chances, completing 11 dribbles and completing 87% of his passes. The Belgian international is the best player in the league and is showing exactly why right now.

Manager of the Month: Antonio Conte 

antonio-conte-vs-everton

Antonio Conte picked up two/three Manager of the Week awards this month making naming a Manager of the Month for November a very easy task. At this point you’re probably tired of hearing The Mastermind rave about Conte but he has truly been insanely good so far this season for Chelsea and with nearly the exact same squad that Mourinho left in 16th place and Guus Hiddink couldn’t get up to any higher than 9th, he has managed to take them all the way to the top of the table, winning 7 straight matches since the start of October. Moses, Pedro, Marcos Alonso and David Luiz are just a few of the players that have been transformed this season under Antonio Conte while the likes of Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic are playing some of their best football ever at the moment as well. Antonio Conte has just ripped apart every single team he’s played against this season, including a fantastic comeback win last time out against Tottenham Hotspur and there was simply no other option for November’s Manager of the Month.

Honourable Mention: David Moyes 


So there it is! The Premier League Team of the Month for November 2016! Like what you read? Click the follow button to the right for more articles like this sent right to your inbox or comment below to share your thoughts! See you in December for another fantastic edition of Team of the Month. 

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