The second month of the new Premier League season has come to its conclusion, so therefore it is time for another MFF team of the month. September’s team takes on a 4-3-3 formation, and due to some very important contributions by fullbacks, all the defenders in our ‘fantasy’ team of the month are indeed full backs.
Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)
Fabianski, is far detached from the error prone keeper we once knew at Arsenal. He has been so good since leaving north London, firstly at Swansea, and now at West Ham, that he is actually regarded by some, as being the best keeper outside of the top six clubs. He produced a man of the match performance in West Ham’s first game of the month away at Aston Villa, making save after save as West Ham gallantly fought to hang on for a point with ten men in a goalless draw. Fabianki, got consecutive clean sheets, having another shutout as the Hammers won 2-0 at home to Manchester United. Unfortunately for the east Londoners, Fabianski came off injured in their last match away at Bournemouth, and he will now be out for two months, a massive blow for them ain their challenge for European football.
Ricardo Pereira (Leicester)
The flying Portuguese right back, makes it back-to-back appearances in the team of the month, as he contributed heavily for Leicester, as the 2015/16 champions ended the month in 3rd place, with the joint best defence in the league. As well as helping keep things tight at the back, something that a Brendan Rodgers side is not necessarily associated with, Pereira has helped out attacking wise greatly too. He got the Foxes level against Tottenham, before they went on to win 2-1 at home. He also scored a sensational individual goal to give them the lead, as they thumped ten man Newcastle 5-0 at the King Power Stadium. Arguably no full back in the league has been on the same level as Pereira thus far in terms of what he brings to both ends of the pitch. Pereira’s 33 tackles won is joint top this season with his teammate midfielder Wilfred Ndidi.
Joel Ward (Crystal Palace)
The versatile defender has been the man chosen by Roy Hodgson, to fill the void that was left by Aaron Wan Bissaka departing for Manchester United, and it has been so far, so good from Ward. Where Palace have had their usual issues in front of goal, their defence has mainly stood firm, and they would be in some early trouble if it was not for their stubbornness at the back. The Eagles currently lay in the top half in 9th place, despite only scoring six goals. Palace have let in 7 goals, which is the joint 2nd least in the league thus far, and Ward has been a pivotal part of that. Palace, started September with their only really poor defensive performance this season in a 4-0 defeat away at Spurs, but bounced back with four points in their 2 following home games. Ward’s deflected shot gave them the lead against Wolves, before they were denied 3 points late on, they then kept a clean sheet as they beat Norwich 2-0 to end the month.
Aaron Cresswell (West Ham)
Cresswell, was not in the West Ham side when the month started, but after Arthur Masuaku was sent off in the Hammers’ draw with Aston Villa, he returned to the side and was a huge part of their two remaining games. Masuaku, may now have to be content with a spot on the bench, as Cresswell is showing no signs of letting up. Firstly, they beat Manchester United 2-0 at the London Stadium and Cresswell scored a delicious free kick to seal the three points. He was not done there however, as he grabbed another big goal as he scored late on to rescue a point for West Ham in a 2-2 draw away at Bournemouth. One thing for sure is, West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini now has what can only be described as a nice selection headache.
Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
Robertson, and his teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold have a competition every season to see who can get the most assists, Alexander-Arnold finished ahead in August, but Robertson levelled things up in September. Scotland’s captain set up Sadio Mane’s equaliser at home to Newcastle, before Liverpool went on to win 3-1. In the following game, he crossed for Roberto Firmino to head in as the Reds won 2-1 at Chelsea, as they undone the Blues with a nicely worked free kick. Liverpool, ended the month with an extremely hard fought 1-0 victory at Sheffield United, where Robertson was once again solid. Robertson, is one of the most consistent players in the league, and he is so vital to Liverpool with his energetic nature, marauding up and down the left flank. The left back currently leads the league in completed passes with 537, showing how integral he is to Liverpool’s play.
Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal)
For a man of just 20 years, Guendouzi’s presence in games at such a young age is commendable. He never goes in to hiding and is coming of age quicker than most players do when they come to the Premier League. When he arrived as a 19-year-old last season, it was thought he would be rotated regularly, but his performances have demanded much more game time than first expected. Arsenal clawed back from 2-0 down to draw with Spurs, and Guendouzi’s sublime assist to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, had many in adulation. Arsenal to managed come back with 10 men to get a 3-2 win at home to Aston Villa, and Guendouzi was a key figure, putting the team on his young shoulders, winning a penalty for Arsenal’s first goal. With Paul Pogba pulling out of the French squad with injury, Guendouzi received his first call-up in September, though he was not capped, if he continues to progress at this rate, many French caps will come his way in the future.
John McGinn (Aston Villa)
McGinn, makes it into the team of the month again. If August’s entry was more about his all round contribution, then September was more about what he offered from an attacking perspective. The Scotsman grabbed himself two goals in September, meaning he is now the joint second highest scoring midfielder in the league. In Villa’s 3-2 loss to Arsenal, McGinn was prominent despite the result, sneaking into the box to put them ahead. He could have found the net on three or four occasions here but for Bernd Leno’s heroics in the Arsenal goal. McGinn, produced a man of the match performance in their last match of the month against Burnley, he had a goal disallowed, before scoring a tidy volley, but a late goal by Chris Wood deprived the Villans of three points.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
City’s first game of the month, was a surprising 3-2 defeat at Carrow Road at the hands of Norwich, De Bruyne was left on the bench, and many believed they lost because of this. Though Norwich have only just been promoted, this is significant the Belgian is to the champions. City, should be able to beat newly promoted teams without him, but he gives so much to the team, some were outraged that he did not start. De Bruyne, returned to the starting xi to get a goal and two assists as City romped Watford 8-0 at the Etihad the following week. The month ended with him producing another magnificent assist for Gabriel Jesus to score a header as City eventually got past Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park. With David Silva not getting any younger, it is imperative for Guardiola that De Bruyne stays fit if they are to win the league for a third consecutive season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Arsenal, have scored 12 times in the league this season, and the prolific Gabonese frontman has 7 of them, which is 58%, this is only bettered by Teemu Pukki of Norwich, who has 67% of the Canaries’ goals. Regardless of what some people say of him, especially on social media, without Aubameyang, Arsenal would be in serious trouble. Aubameyang was the leagues’ top scorer in September with 5 goals. His month included getting the equaliser to get a draw at home to Spurs, and a brace as Arsenal let go of a two-goal lead away at Watford. He scored a lovely free kick for the winner at home to Aston Villa, as Arsenal came back to win 3-2 with 10 men at the Emirates. He ended his impressive month dinking a vital goal past David De Gea to grab a point away at Manchester United, his first away goal against a top six side since coming to England.
Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)
Wilson has been plagued with injuries since coming up with Bournemouth to the Premier League, but when he is fit, his numbers stand out. He is a dream for players of fantasy football, as he promises assists as well as goals. Only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bettered Wilson’s four goals in September, and his inclusion in the England squad was justified. He began the month with a brace as the Cherries took care of Everton at home 3-1. A mix-up at the back by Southampton handed him an injury time goal, as Bournemouth won 3-1 again away at St Mary’s in their next match. He put Bournemouth ahead 2-1 against West Ham to finish the month, but Aaron Cresswell scored to deny them their third straight win. Rumours are that Manchester United want him in January, and with him now being 27, it will be interesting to see if his head can be turned by a bigger club.
Chris Wood (Burnley)
New Zealand international Wood was going through a barren spell, but came good just in time to help Burnley get on track after a difficult start to the season. Wood, is always a threat, and he and his strike partner Ashley Barnes, are a duo that defences would prefer not to come up against, but Wood needed goals as his place was under threat from Jay Rodriguez, who recently returned to the club. Burnley’s second game of the month, at home to Norwich saw Wood score two early close range goals in a 2-0 triumph. Burnley, completed the month with a 2-2 draw away at Aston Villa, thanks to an 81st minute header from six yards by Wood, to make it three goals for him in September. His welcome return to form has lifted Burnley to 11th in the table, and the Clarets’ manager Sean Dyche will hope that Wood can continue in his vain of form.