English Premier League Team of the Month January 2017

What an enthralling month of action January turned out to be in the Premier League! Chelsea’s incredible winning streak finally came to an end but lasted long enough to tie Arsenal’s record, Manchester United’s unbeaten run continued and the roller coaster of a ride over at Manchester City continued for Pep Guardiola. It truly was a spectacular month of action and through all the amazing moments there were some amazing players. These are the eleven best players for the month of January, a few substitues and The Mastermind’s official Player and Manager of the Month award winners. Enjoy!

Goalkeeper: Joel Robles

joel-robles
Team of the Week Appearances: 0
4 matches, 3 clean sheets, 9 saves per goal, 100% claim success, 0.25 goals conceded pg

Joel Robles had not made a single appearance in the Premier League this season until Maarten Stekelenburg picked up an injury in the Merseyside derby on the 19th of December. But the Spanish goalkeeper has been so good in goal that even though Stekelenburg has made a full recovery, he can’t get back into the team. Without even making the Team of the Week one time, January was probably the best month that Robles has ever had in goal. The 26-year old was brilliant in keeping 3 clean sheets in 4 matches and only conceding 1 goal, leading Everton to three victories and a draw. In that 1 match he conceded in, a 1-1 draw with Stoke, he was still one of the best players on the pitch and was a primary reason as to why the Potters weren’t able to claim victory. The Spaniard’s incredible record ensured he made 9 saves per goal conceded this month while claiming 100% of the crosses he attempted wasn’t bad at all either. With his performances in January, Joel Robles might have just nailed down the number one spot in goal for Everton for the rest of the season. Rating: 9.5/10.

Right Back: Seamus Coleman

seamus-coleman-everton
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
4 matches, 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 chances created, 7 clearances

Don’t worry, this won’t be an XI of Everton players; Seamus Coleman is in fact the only other one who joins Joel Robles inside of the best 11 for January. However, Everton were magnificent this month and one of their best performers was undoubtedly Irishman Seamus Coleman. The 28-year old defender is having a superb season at the back for Everton and despite not receiving as much attention for it is playing equally stellar to that incredible 2013-14 season he had in Martinez’s first season in charge when he made the PFA Team of the Year. With competition from the likes of Moses and Walker, Coleman might find it hard to make the Team of the Year this time around but one team that he is definitely a part of is the Team of the Month for January. With a goal and an assist in 4 matches, Coleman stood out from the pack of right-backs in the league this month, while 5 chances created and 7 clearances didn’t do him any harm either. He might not be getting the attention that the likes of Victor Moses, Kyle Walker or even Antonio Valencia have all received this season, but Seamus Coleman is having an incredible season and might be the best right back after 23 games in 2016-17. Rating: 9/10.

Centre Back: Phil Jones

phil-jones
Team of the Week Appearances: 0
4 matches, 30 clearances, 5 blocks, 13 duels won in the air, 8 tackles, 90% pass accuracy

Who would’ve thunk it? Phil Jones has made his first Team of the Month appearance in two and a half years; his last coming in the inaugural month of the 2014-15 season. You may be inclined to think that Marcos Rojo has been the standout of Manchester United’s surprisingly solid central defense pairing these past few months, but The Mastermind disagrees. January was an excellent month for Jones, helping Manchester United maintain their fantastic unbeaten run and concede just 2 goals in 4 games. On top of that, Jones made an incredible 30 clearances on his way to helping Manchester United see out any kind of danger. In addition to those 30 clearances came 8 tackles, 6 interceptions, 5 blocks and 13 duels won in the air, proving to be effective in every aspect of defense. The 24-year old defender was also fantastic in possession of the ball, completing 90% of his passes to achieve a total of 187 this month. When he’s fully fit, Phil Jones has the potential to be one of the best centre backs in the league and with more appearances already this season (12) than he managed in the horrors of last season (10) this might be the year that he can establish himself in that regard. Rating: 9/10.

Centre Back: David Luiz 

david-luiz-is-crazy-but-amazing
Team of the Week Appearances: 2
4 matches, 1 goal, 10 duels won in the air, 25 clearances, 12 interceptions

Another player that you might have been surprised at the start of the season to see making the Team of the Month in January, David Luiz has been insanely good for Chelsea so far this season. The Brazilian defender has hardly put a foot wrong since that 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in September and has been in unbelievable form as the Blues have won 15 out of 17 games since that defeat. His best month of action this season though came this past month, January, as he was arguably the Blues’ most important player as they claimed two wins and a draw from four matches. Luiz was responsible for taming Jamie Vardy in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Leicester City, gave Hull City’s centre forwards no time on the ball in their 2-0 win and then picked up his first Player of the Week award last time out for his amazing performance against Liverpool in the Blues’ 1-1 draw. One of the most impressive things about David Luiz’s game this season has been how mature he has looked at the heart of Chelsea’s 3-man defense, especially when you compare him to the last time he was at the Bridge. Luiz has been an integral leader in that back-line and playing as the sweeper has acted as the last resort if all else fails, always stepping up to the task and dealing with any form of danger wonderfully well. His discipline has also been magnificent this season, picking up just 3 yellow cards in his 19 appearances, none of which came in January. All and all, it was a fantastic month for David Luiz even if Chelsea couldn’t match their amazing standards that they set in the previous three months of play. The Brazilian born free-kick taking legend has now established himself where he always should have been, as one of the best defenders in the world. Rating: 10/10.

Left Back: Chris Brunt

chris-brunt
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
4 matches, 2 goals, 3 chances created, 16 clearances, 8 interceptions

Chris Brunt has come into his own this month, playing two different positions to equal effect as West Brom have only lost 1 match from 4. With 2 goals and 3 chances created, Chris Brunt was a constant presence for West Brom down that left-hand side and caused opposing defenses all sorts of problems with his stellar ability to cross the ball and strike at goal. But that wasn’t all, he also handled his defensive responsibilities excellently well, clearing the ball 16 times and making 8 interceptions as well. Whatever position he’s playing in, Chris Brunt always seems to have an effect on West Bromwich Albion footballing matches and since he’s become fully fit, the Baggies have been on a real roll and are looking set for a surprise top eight finish. Rating: 8.5/10.

Defensive Midfield: Ander Herrera

ander-herrera-manchester-united-vs-stoke
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
4 matches, 1 assist, 6 chances created, 17 interceptions, 87% pass accuracy, 288 passes

Ander Herrera has arguably been Manchester United’s star performer this season and with the Red Devils now extending their unbeaten run in the league to 14 games, the Spanish midfielder is really starting to get the recognition that he deserves. Herrera, not Pogba, has been the controlling force in United’s matches this month, filling the Carrick role when the 35-year old midfielder isn’t in the team and making the right side of the three his own when he is. In January, Manchester United had a tough time seeing out games, drawing 3 out of their 4 matches; but it was never the fault of the Spanish midfielder who was always involved in the good and not the bad from Mourinho’s side. Herrera appeared in all 4 matches this month, playing every single minute and assisting 1 goal from 6 chances created. He also dominated the midfield with 288 successful passes, 87% of those he attempted and was crucial for United in defense, making 17 interceptions and 6 clearances. He even had 100% of his shots on target in January, proving to be effective in every aspect of the game without scoring a goal or making the headlines. Ander Herrera is an amazing player, is soaring to new heights under Jose Mourinho and just could not be left out of January’s Team of the Month! Rating: 9/10.

Right Wing: Roberto Firmino

roberto-firmino-4-1-stoke-city
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
4 matches, 2 goals, 4 chances created, 10 tackles, 13 successful take-on’s, 67% shot accuracy, 81% pass accuracy, 10 duels won in the air

January just was not Liverpool’s month. The Reds were dreadful, drawing 3 of their 4 matches and losing the other to Paul Clement’s Swansea City. But one man, perhaps the only man in the side, who wasn’t dreadful was Roberto Firmino as the Brazilian became Jurgen Klopp’s key man in the absence of Sadio Mane. Firmino was excellent in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland, although he couldn’t find his name on the score-sheet, and in fantastic circumstances became the first player this season to win the Player of the Week award from a match that his team lost, as he put in a stunning display against Swansea City. Those two matches carry Firmino into the Team of the Month even despite Liverpool’s terrible run of form as perhaps no other player had a better match this month than Firmino’s performance in his team’s 3-2 loss against Swansea. With 2 goals, 4 chances created, 13 successful take-on’s, 10 aerial duels won and 10 tackles it was a stunning month for Firmino in all aspects of the game and was nearly good enough to earn him a nomination for the Player of the Month award as well. Even when Liverpool haven’t managed to perform to their best, Firmino has risen to the occasion and that is exactly why he earns a spot on January’s Premier League Team of the Month! Rating: 9/10.

Attacking Midfield: Dele Alli

dele-alli-goal-vs-chelsea
Team of the Week Appearances: 2
5 matches, 5 goals, 1 assist, 71% shot accuracy

5 goals from 5 matches is unbelievable for any player at any level, let alone from a 20-year old. Dele Alli is probably the best under-21 footballer in the world at the moment and it shows in the fact that he scored more goals than shots he missed this month. 5 goals from 5 games was only matched by Harry Kane in January, as Alli continues to stun Premier League fans around the globe. He was single-handedly responsible for Chelsea’s shocking 2-0 defeat at the start of the month and was also in full flow against Watford, grabbing a brace in that match as well. The one criticism that I will harshly make of Dele Alli right now is that he is the only player on this list to have just 3 noteworthy statistics. His passing percentage of 73% wasn’t great and neither was his failure to register a single interception this month. This suggests that the 20-year old still needs to expand his game and go beyond scoring fantastic and important goals for Spurs. However, his work rate and goal record is unbelievable and it cannot be denied that Dele Alli is the best under-21 footballer in the world at the moment. He had a fantastic month, he’ll probably win the Premier League’s Player of the Month Award and he definitely could not be omitted from this star-studded January XI. Rating: 9.5/10.

Attacking Midfield: Gylfi Sigurdsson

gylfi-sigurdsson-swansea-2-1-southampton
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
4 matches, 2 goals, 2 assists, 6 chances created, 10 clearances, 6 interceptions

Paul Clement undoubtedly deserves a lot of credit for turning Swansea’s poor form under Bob Bradley completely around, winning three matches from four games this month. But it also cannot go unnoticed how spectacular and important Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson has been to that run as well. The former Tottenham man has been integral to Swansea City in recent months and picks up his second consecutive Team of the Month appearance after a series of impressive January displays. Sigurdsson was Swansea’s key man in attack, scoring 2 goals with 2 assists from 4 matches, while also creating 6 chances. But he also held his defensive responsibilities excellently well, completing 10 clearances and 6 interceptions, the same amount of ball recoveries as fellow Team of the Month member Phil Jones. He’s directly contributed to over 50% of Swansea City’s goals this season, and with his fantastic performances in January continues to lead the way in their bid to survive relegation from the Premier League. Rating: 9.5/10.

Left Wing: Alexis Sanchez

alexis-sanchez-arsenal-january-2017
Team of the Week Appearances: 0
5 matches, 3 goals, 2 assists, 14 chances created, 17 take-on’s, 6 tackles

He might not have made any team of the week appearances this month, but Alexis Sanchez was good enough to make the substitutes bench nearly every single gameweek and had one of his best months of action this season. One could argue that the Chilean forward has been the best player in the league this season and with a fantastic month of football in January that notion was only magnified. Sanchez was just a constant worker bee for Arsenal, regardless of where he was playing and really acted as an unstoppable force in every single game he played in. The Arsenal man scored 3 goals, completed 17 take-on’s and his tally of 2 assists does not even begin to do justice to his stunning total of 14 chances created this month. The aforementioned worker bee also showed fantastic defensive resilience, getting back to make 6 tackles and 3 interceptions. Alexis Sanchez is always on the move and when he’s in this kind of form is nearly impossible to stop. For his fantastic January displays, Alexis Sanchez now becomes the only player in Europe’s top 5 leagues to be involved in every single Mastermind Team of the Month this season, making 2 substitute appearances and earning a selection to the best 11 in the other 4. Perhaps he is now on his way to winning his first ever Premier League Player of the Year award. Rating: 10/10.

Centre Forward: Harry Kane

harry-kane-tottenham-hat-trick
Team of the Week Appearances: 2
5 matches, 5 goals, 2 assists, 71% shot accuracy, 4 tackles, 8 fouls drawn

They might have tailed off towards the end of the month but it was a fantastic month of action for both Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur as they went unbeaten yet again. Kane was magnificent in front of goal in January, bagging 5 goals from 5 matches and adding 2 assists to the mix as Spurs won 3 out of their 5 matches. It seems as though he’s been around for quite some time but the Tottenham striker is still only 23-years old and the amount of goals that he continues to score on a regular basis continues to amaze. With 71% of his shots finding the target, 4 tackles and 8 fouls drawn this month, Harry Kane is showing that he’s about more than just the goals and is proving to be a complete striker. The Tottenham forward certainly seems to be the future of England and if he continues to score at the rate that he managed in January will be on his way to winning his second straight Premier League golden boot!

Formation: 4-5-1

team-of-the-month-january-2017

Substitutes: Leighton Baines, Ashley Williams, Harry Maguire, Ben Mee, Tom Davies, Alex Iwobi, Peter Crouch

Player of the Month: David Luiz 

david-luiz-goal-vs-liverpool-free-kick

Dele Alli was in fine form in front of goal scoring five from five while Alexis Sanchez was in equally good form and gave nightmares to Premier League defenders from five different teams. But one man just could not be overlooked this month and that is Chelsea’s Brazilian cult hero David Luiz who picks up his first ever Player of the Month award. The Brazilian defender has hardly put a foot wrong since that 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in September and has been in unbelievable form as the Blues have won 15 out of 17 games since that defeat. His best month of action this season though came this past month, January, as he was arguably the Blues’ most important player as they claimed two wins and a draw from three matches. Luiz was responsible for taming Jamie Vardy in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Leicester City, gave Hull City’s centre forwards no time on the ball in their 2-0 win and then picked up his first Player of the Week award last time out for his amazing performance against Liverpool in the Blues’ 1-1 draw. With 25 clearances and 12 interceptions Luiz was brilliant whenever he was called upon in January and had he not been in such good form against Liverpool then the match against Tottenham wouldn’t have been the only match that Chelsea lost this month. All and all, it was a fantastic month for David Luiz even if Chelsea couldn’t match their amazing standards that they set in the previous three months of play. The Brazilian born free-kick taking legend has now established himself where he always should have been, as one of the best defenders in the world.

Runners Up: Dele Alli and Alexis Sanchez

Manager of the Month: Ronald Koeman 

ronald-koeman-vs-manchester-city

Mauricio Pochettino can’t be ignored for his fantastic work in ending Chelsea’s unbeaten run while Paul Clement has also managed to turn around a struggling Swansea side into a side capable of winning matches again. But this month’s Manager of the Month award goes to Everton’s Ronald Koeman who led his side to three wins and a draw from four matches, keeping clean sheets in every single match they won and conceding just 1 goal in the match they drew. Koeman’s change of formation proved to be incredibly effective in getting the best out of his players while his reliance on youth proved to be another smart move for the Toffees’ manager this month. After bringing Team of the Month substitute, Tom Davies into the side it seems as though Everton have been unbeatable as the Toffees have now gone 6 games without a loss, making Koeman look like a genius and Davies look like the best 18-year old to play for Everton since Wayne Rooney. A 4-0 victory for his side over Manchester City was probably the best performance of any team this month, possibly even this season, and a 3-0 win over Southampton accompanied by a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace highlights just how dominant Everton have been this month. On top of a change in formation and his wonderful reliance on youth, Ronald Koeman has made a host of other smart moves in January including moving Kevin Mirallas to striker, alongside Romelu Lukaku, making sure that the big Belgian never gets isolated and moving Ross Barkley to a deeper role in midfield where’s been able to get on the ball more and effect football matches again. Relying on Joel Robles in goal despite Stekelenburg’s return from injury has also proven a smart move given that the Spanish goalkeeper has made his first ever Team of the Month appearance and has conceded just 1 goal in his last 4 matches. Koeman’s switch to a 3-5-2 formation has really proven to be the thing that has gotten the best out of Everton again and now the Toffees are in fine form as the Dutch manager looks set for his third consecutive top seven finish. Rating: 10/10.

Runners Up: Mauricio Pochettino, Paul Clement


So there it is! The Premier League Team of the Month for January 2017! Who was your Player of the Month? Who was your Manager of the Month? Comment below to share your thoughts and click below for more on all of your favourite players! See you next time!

More Team of the Month’s
David Luiz articles
Alexis Sanchez articles 
Dele Alli articles 
Ander Herrera articles
Top 200 Footballers (February Edition)

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