English Premier League Team of the Month March 2017

The Premier League is beginning to wind down with Chelsea all but walking away with the league title, but as March would have it, the race for relegation, top four and more are just heating up. March was another strange month in the Premier League in the sense that some teams played twice, some played just once and others played all three times, due to the FA Cup disrupting the regular schedule. Nonetheless, these are The Mastermind‘s picks for the best eleven players in England’s top flight for the month of march. Enjoy!

Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel  

kasper-schmeichel-2017
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
2 appearances, 6 saves, 75% claim success

Artur Boruc may have pulled off more saves and managed to put an incredible performance that single-handedly won his side a point against Manchester United, but Kasper Schmeichel could not be overlooked as March’s goalkeeper of the month. Schmeichel was phenomenal throughout March in both the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League, where he made several impressive saves to win his team some very impressive results. Some of the saves that Schmeichel managed to pull off were just miraculous and without him in the back of the net, Craig Shakespeare’s start to life as Leicester City manager might not have been so splendid. Rating: 9.5/10.

Centre Back: Bruno Martins Indi 

Bruno Martins Indi Stoke
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 95% pass accuracy, 13 clearances, 7 interceptions, 3 blocks

Bruno Martins Indi hasn’t had too many noteworthy performances in a Stoke City jersey since joining on loan in the summer, but came up big in the month of March as the Potters enjoyed a decent month of action in the Premier League. Stoke oversaw a win, a draw and a very narrow loss to league leaders Chelsea, making March an impressive month for Mark Hughes’ men. Martins Indi was integral to their defensive resilience as he racked up the numbers in both clearances (13) and interceptions (7). The Dutch defender was also great in possession, completing 100% of the take-on’s he attempted and 95% of his passes. Bruno Martins Indi has had a very solid month of football with Stoke City in the Premier League and the Potters will do very well to secure his signature for another year. Rating: 8.5/10.

Centre Back: David Luiz 

David Luiz Chelsea vs. Stoke
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
2 appearances, 18 clearances, 9 interceptions, 100% shot accuracy

Continuing the trend that he’s set all season long as being the best defender in the Premier League, David Luiz had another fantastic month of football for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea. The solid centre back is just so positionally aware this season and has gone about his business effortlessly, making everything he does look easy. In addition to leading Chelsea to two wins from two while conceding just two goals, Luiz also made 18 clearances and 9 interceptions, continuing to make Chelsea’s back-line the most formidable in the league. The Brazilian defender also won 5 duels in the air, created 1 chance and had 100% of his shots on target this month, highlighting his improved abilities in all areas of the game. David Luiz has arguably been the best defender in the Premier League this season and has played such a crucial role in helping lead Chelsea to the 2016-17 Premier League title that they now have all but sewn up. Rating: 9.5/10.

Centre Back: Aleksandar Kolarov 

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
2 appearances, 90% pass accuracy, 10 clearances, 5 interceptions, 4 tackles

Manchester City’s defense has looked shaky at best this season but perhaps the best performer in their ever-changing back-line has been Aleksandar Kolarov. The Serbian international had hardly ever played a game at centre back in his life until Pep Guardiola came along and now he looks like the most solid option they have among fit defenders. He only made 2 appearances this month but he still made an important impact on maintaining Manchester City’s unbeaten streak of 7 games. The Serbian defender was always solid defensively in March, making 10 clearances, 5 interceptions and 4 tackles, and in completing 100% of his take-on’s and 90% of his passes, impressed Guardiola with his prowess in possession. Aleksandar Kolarov is not the most decorated defender at Manchester City but he continues to play an integral role in their squad as they look to the transfer market to strengthen for next season. Rating: 9/10.

Defensive Midfield: N’Golo Kante 

N'Golo Kante Chelsea vs. Stoke
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
2 appearances, 5 interceptions, 8 tackles, 100% successful take-on’s

After a wonderful month of football, N’Golo Kante has now eclipsed Eden Hazard as the favourite to win the Premier League Player of the Year. It’s entirely deserved as coming off of the back of a season in which he led Leicester City to the Premier League title and played an important role in France’s Euro 2016 2nd place finish, many would have expected Kante to come into this season a little bit tired. Instead, he’s been the most productive player in the league and has consistently been Chelsea’s key man throughout. As other players are beginning to tire, Kante is just heating things up and continues to lead Chelsea to some very impressive results. Chelsea weren’t brilliant this month but Kante certainly was and the Blues might not have been able to claim victory without him. Statistically speaking, the defensive midfielder continued doing all the things that he is best known for; running around like a gazelle and making stellar defensive plays. In total, the Frenchman made 5 interceptions, 3 clearances and 8 tackles this month while going the other way also completed 100% of his take-on’s, created 1 chance and had a higher pass completion rate (89%) than any of his teammates. N’Golo Kante is Chelsea’s most crucial player and has played a phenomenal role in helping them claim what we all know they are going to achieve at this point, the 2016-17 Premier League title. Rating: 10/10.

Right Wing: Riyad Mahrez 

Riyad Mahrez Leicester City
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
2 appearances, 2 goals, 2 chances created, 100% shot accuracy, 8 take-on’s

Riyad Mahrez is back! It’s taken him all season but Riyad Mahrez has finally made his first Team of the Week appearance and first Team of the Month appearance of the 2016-17 season. He was the Premier League’s best and most influential player in 2015-16 but this season just has not been up to par. But all that changed when Craig Shakespeare took over Leicester City boss and the entire side, Mahrez included began to flourish again. The Algerian winger was superb in March in both the UCL and the EPL, leading his side to the last eight in Europe while also scoring 2 goals with 2 chances created in 2 appearances in the Prem. In addition to his fantastic wing play, the Algerian also had 100% of his shots on target this month and completed 8 successful take-on’s, to which only Lanzini and King had more. Riyad Mahrez is a brilliant Premier League player. We are all very aware of that. But, this month was the only month he has truly shown what he is capable of achieving. Now that he is back to his best again, Leicester City quite coincidentally are as well. Rating: 9.5/10.

Attacking Midfield: Manuel Lanzini 

Manuel Lanzini WHU
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 apps, 2 goals, 5 key passes, 92% passes, 9 interceptions, 12 take-on’s

No player has benefited more from another player leaving a football club in a very long time than Manuel Lanzini has prospered since the departure of Dimitri Payet at West Ham United. The Argentinean midfielder has just flourished in Slavan Bilic’s side since his role change, making for the perfect number ten and doing everything he can possibly do to lead his side to glory. March was marvelous for Lanzini and despite not leading his side to any significant result, he might not have wanted it to end given the form he was in. The 24-year old midfielder scored 2 goals, created 5 chances, and somehow for an attack-minded player completed a stunning 92% of his passes in the month of March. He also helped out significantly in defense with 5 tackles and 9 interceptions and completed 12 take-on’s, to which only Josh King had more this month. Manuel Lanzini is in the form of his life at the moment and could be set for a massive season next year when he is given reigns to go on and be West Ham’s star player once and for all. Rating: 10/10.

Attacking Midfield: Dele Alli 

dele-alli-goals-vs-watford
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
2 appearances, 2 goals, 2 chances created, 7 fouls drawn

At the age of 20, Dele Alli has more than twice as many goals than Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard combined had at the same age. The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder is really just establishing himself as one of the best young players to ever live and if he continues on like this will be destined to become an all-time Premier League great. That is, if the Real Madrid’s and Bayern Munich’s of this world don’t sweep him up! It wasn’t even Alli’s best month of the season and he still managed to make the Team of the Month for March with ease. The attacking midfielder scored 2 goals from 2 appearances while assisting another, drawing 7 fouls and having 100% of his shots on target in March, leading Spurs to two great victories. He stepped up to the plate in the absence of Harry Kane, even scoring his first ever penalty kick. Dele Alli is a magnificent midfielder and one of if not the best young player in the world of football. He’s still only 20 years old and could seriously become an all-time great if he continues on the trajectory that he is going on right now. Rating: 9.5/10.

Left Wing: Gylfi Sigurdsson 

Gylfi Sigurdsson Swans
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 2 assists, 10 chances created, 12 shots, 3 tackles

Quiz time! Which Premier League player has more assists than any other so far this season? Is it Kevin de Bruyne? Christian Eriksen? Alexis Sanchez? Mesut Ozil? Nope, none of those! It’s Gylfi Sigurdsson! Since the departure of Dimitri Payet to Marseille, no player has created more chances in the Premier League than Gylfi Sigurdsson who continues to lead Swansea’s bid to survive this season. With 2 assists and 10 more chances created in 3 appearances this month (more than any other player), it was another phenomenal month of play for the attacking midfielder and he was yet again involved in two Mastermind Team of the Week’s, albeit one of those only enough to make the subs bench. The 27-year old also took on 12 shots in March, coming up unlucky not to find the back of the net, was his side’s star man in every single match, and even did his defensive work with 3 tackles and 3 interceptions. The Icelandic midfielder has been one of the Premier League’s star performers in 2017 and regardless of whether or not the Swans go down this season, Sigurdsson will certainly be playing for one of the league’s top clubs next year! Rating: 9.5/10.

Striker: Joshua King 

Joshua King BOU
Team of the Week Appearances: 2
3 appearances, 4 goals, 1 assist, 15 take-on’s, 8 tackles, 12 clearances

No player has been better nor more effective for their side in the month of March than Joshua King. Bournemouth were on a serious slope down towards the relegation zone before King was re-introduced to the side and took the Cherries back up to 11th place, the position they finished in after 38 games in 2015-16. King was just so significant for Eddie Howe’s side this month, scoring or assisting in every game and bagging 4 goals with 1 assist across the board. First he helped the Cherries secure a 1-1 draw with the always tough to beat Manchester United and then he led Eddie Howe’s men to victory with a hat-trick against West Ham in a fantastic 3-2 victory. That fantastic performance undeniably earned him the Player of the Week award for Gameweek 28 but he wasn’t done there as he continued to carry his good form into the next match, putting in another Man of the Match performance against Swansea City with an assist and three chances created. Impressively across the three games, the Bournemouth striker has also shown off his skill and prowess in possession, completing 15 out of the 18 take-on’s he’s attempted! King’s been just amazing this month, beyond his goals and assists as he’s also helped out significantly in defense with 12 clearances, 8 tackles and 4 interceptions. He may not be household name, but after three stellar performances and a fantastic month, King is now Bournemouth’s leading scorer and arguably their key man as well. Rating: 10/10.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku 

Romelu Lukkau vs. Hull
Team of the Week Appearances: 1
3 appearances, 4 goals, 2 assists, 4 chances created, 12 aerial duels won

Nobody can stop Romelu Lukaku at the moment. The Belgian striker is in the form of his life at the moment and is finally establishing himself as the striker that we all knew he could be. After two amazing months in which the big Belgian went on a non-stop scoring spree, Romelu Lukaku is finally recognized as one of the very, very best strikers on the planet. The Evertonian was key in leading his side to two victories from three this month, two 4-0 wins in fact as he netted 4 goals with 2 assists from just 3 appearances. In addition to scoring in every single game, Lukaku also created 4 chances, was a beast in the air with 12 headed duels won and had 70% of his shots on target. Romelu Lukaku truly is at this point in time one of the best strikers on the planet and it is going to take something special to stop him in this kind of form! Rating: 10/10.

Formation: 3-5-2: Schmeichel, Martins Indi, Luiz, Kolarov, Kante, Mahrez, Lanzini, Alli, Sigurdsson, King, Lukaku

Substitutes: Artur Boruc, Antonio Valencia, Leighton Baines, Georginio Wijnaldum, Ross Barkley, Michail Antonio, Jamie Vardy

Player of the Month: Joshua King 

King and Gosling Bournemouth

No player has been better nor more effective for their side in the month of March than Joshua King. Last month’s Player of the Month Romelu Lukaku certainly deserves another round of applause for his performances in March but is King who has certainly had the bigger effect. Bournemouth were on a serious slope down towards the relegation zone before King was re-introduced to the side and took the Cherries back up to 11th place, the position they finished in after 38 games in 2015-16. King was just so significant for Eddie Howe’s side this month, scoring or assisting in every game and bagging 4 goals with 1 assist across the board. First he helped the Cherries secure a 1-1 draw with the always tough to beat Manchester United and then he led Eddie Howe’s men to victory with a hat-trick against West Ham in a fantastic 3-2 victory. That fantastic performance undeniably earned him the Player of the Week award for Gameweek 28 but he wasn’t done there as he continued to carry his good form into the next match, putting in another Man of the Match performance against Swansea City with an assist and three chances created. King’s been just amazing this month, beyond his goals and assists as he’s also helped out significantly in defense as well. He may not be household name, but King is now Bournemouth’s leading scorer and arguably their key man as well. Joshua King is March’s Player of the Month!

Manager of the Month: Craig Shakespeare 

craig-shakespeare

No Premier League manager has ever won their first three games in charge after taking over at some point after the season had begun. That is, until Craig Shakespeare came along and turned Leicester City back into the dynasty they were last year. Craig Shakespeare has been magnificent as Leicester City boss so far, winning all four of the games he has taken charge of, including a massive win against Sevilla to send the Foxes through to the final eight in the UEFA Champions League. But his role in Leicester’s resurgence in form in the Premier League also deserves an immense amount of credit as we all would have thought the Foxes made the wrong move in sacking Claudio Ranieri who will forever go down as the club’s best ever manager. In hindsight now, Leicester were completely justified in sacking Ranieri and that is solely because of what Shakespeare has managed to achieve in his place. Since taking over as Leicester boss, Shakespeare has led the Foxes to three straight wins, scoring 9 goals (three in each game) and only conceding 4 in the process. He’s been smart in re-introducing Shinji Okazaki into the side while he’s also found a way to get the best out of Jamie Vardy, Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez again. Meanwhile the defence have looked a whole lot more sturdy again, even if they haven’t kept a clean sheet yet under the new regime, while Wilfred Ndidi who hadn’t had a good game in a Leicester jersey under Ranieri has finally started showing a lot of promise. Leiecester City have just been so impressive in the month of March and Craig Shakespeare deserves so much credit for that!


So there it is! The Team of the Month for all of March’s action in the Premier League. Who do you think should have made the cut? Comment below to share your thoughts! See you next time!

Pssss...you can check out previous team of the month’s right here! 

 

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