It is time for the MFF November team of the month. November oversaw the last international break until March, so a few sides only played three league games, whilst many others had four. As always we bring you 11 of the best performers of the month for our team. This month the team takes on a 3-2-3-2 formation that could actually could play as a 3-4-3 too.
Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)
Fabianski is a far cry from the keeper he was at Arsenal when he first came to the country. He is dependable and assured now, and his presence helped West Ham to win all their three league games in November. The Polish international kept two clean sheets in those three games, making 13 saves in the process.
In their first game, they won 1-0 at home to Fulham, and Fabianski telegraphed a poor late penalty by Ademola Lookman. Lookman’s poor attempt at a ‘paneka’ was easily grasped. In their 1-0 away win at Sheffield United he made two key first half saves from Oliver McBurnie to secure another clean sheet. The Hammers ended the month with a 2-1 home win over Aston Villa where Fabianski’s save from Trezeguet in the second half ended up being vital. This was as Villa missed a late penalty and had a goal ruled out by VAR right at the death. Fabianski’s form just kept Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris out of this month’s team.
(West Ham’s Lukasz Fabianski saves Ademola Lookman’s pena;ty as the Hammers hung on to beat Fulham 1-0 at the London stadium. Image from ‘Getty Images’/’bbc.co.uk’.)
Eric Dier (Tottenham)
Dier has been maligned in his last few seasons at Spurs, but has found new life recently under Jose Mourinho. Dier has mainly played in midfield since being at the club although he came originally as a defender. But he has been moved back into the defence to start this season, and after Heung-min Son and Harry Kane, he has debatably been their best player thus far.
Dier’s consistency helped Mourinho’s men to 10 points from a possible 12 in November, and they ended the month top of the league on goal difference from Liverpool. Their solidity at the back has been a lot down to Dier and keeper Hugo Lloris. In their away win at West Brom; Dier produced a crucial clearance off the line in the first half from a Callum Robinson ball in as Spurs won 1-0. Mourinho’s men only conceded one goal in their four league games in the month. Dier is joint second in clearances in the league overall this season with 47 so far.
Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
It was evident that Chelsea had attacking prowess, but we waited to see how good that they would be defensively. With new keeper Edouard Mendy making a good start they have looked better. Zouma is flourishing having an experienced man next to him in another new signing the experienced Thiago Silva. Silva’s leadership and organisation has Zouma looking more composed, and Silva himself was unlucky to not be included in this team of the month. Zouma is now showing the form that made him so sought after when he was a youth player. Chelsea took seven points from a possible nine in November. They concluded the month with a creditable goalless draw at Spurs, where Zouma had a commanding performance and was Chelsea’s best player. Zouma is fifth in clearances in the league so far with 43.
Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)
Chilwell has continued his great start to life at Stamford Bridge and has secured back-to-back appearances in our team of the month. The Blues’ other full back Reece James had a strong claim also, but Chilwell has just edged him out. The England international looks as if he has been there a year or two already with how easily he has slotted in, giving Chelsea great width on the left hand side. He has also not shied away from his defensive responsibilities, as it was thought that he could be exposed when Frank Lampard used a back four. Chilwell got on the scoresheet to start the month, seizing on a misjudgement by Sheffield United keeper Aaron Ramsdale to put Chelsea 2-1 up en route to a 4-1 win. Next up he pressured Federico Fernandez into an own goal as Chelsea took the lead before going on to beat Newcastle 2-0.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Tottenham)
Once he took over at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, it was no secret that Jose Mourinho wanted Hojbjerg to shore up his midfield and you can now see why. Spurs’ new signing’s no-nonsense approach has helped the team contain their opponents and driven them to the top of the table. His box-to-box presence has allowed them to manage games efficiently and he has perfectly slotted into Mourinho’s tactical plans.
The Danish international is the only Tottenham outfield player to have played every minute of the season. He has now also managed to be more disciplined, as he was well known for getting regularly booked when he was at Southampton. So far he only has one yellow card this campaign. Hojbjerg’s 752 passes are the most made by any player in the Premier League in the 2020/21 season. His 31 made tackles rank third, and his 871 touches are third also, and the most of any midfielder.
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Ward-Prowse is Southampton’s heart and soul of the team. Whether it be his tenacity, range of passing or set piece delivery, he is very rarely not involved in anything good that they produce. Ward-Prowse began November by marking his 26th birthday with a double away at Aston Villa in a 4-3 triumph. Before his brace of sublime free-kicks, his corner made the first goal for Jannick Vestergaard.
The England international worked tirelessly as the Saints won 2-0 at home to Newcastle in their next game. His set plays were then not at their normal high level as the Ralph Hussenhuttl’s men were denied a win at Wolves in a 1-1 draw. Southampton’s month ended poorly as they let a 2-0 lead slip to lose 3-2 at home to Manchester United. Ward-Prowse’s corner was headed in by Jan Bednarek to open the scoring, he followed that up with another free-kick that although had quality, David De Gea should have done better on his near post.
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Fernandes did not do much in the Red Devils’ opening game at home to Arsenal, as they lost 1-0 to a disciplined performance from Mikel Arteta’s men. He and the rest of the United team bounced back however to win their next three games. Despite only arriving in January, he has quickly become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s talisman, scoring the most goals of any United player in all competitions.
They came from behind to win 3-1 at Everton’s thanks to a double from the Portuguese; he also provided the third goal for Edinson Cavani. Second up; he scored the only goal as he put away a retaken penalty at home to West Brom for three more points. United concluded with a comeback from 2-0 down to win at Southampton, and it was Fernandes who finished well for the first goal of the turnaround. Even when he is not at his best, he still somehow manages to have an impact.
(Bruno Fernandes tucks away retaken penalty for Manchester United to overcome West Brom. Image from ‘sportskeeda.com’.)
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Grealish just missed out on October’s team of the month, but there was no stopping him this time around. Firstly, Villa looked set to lose 4-0 to Southampton, when Grealish sparked a mini-revival. He crossed for Tyrone Mings to make it 4-1. He then won the penalty that Ollie Watkins dispatched for 4-2, before scoring himself from long range as they lost 4-3. Villa next went to Arsenal and shocked many as they easily won 3-0.
Grealish was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. He assisted the third goal for Watkins after a great run, in which he barged Hector Bellerin off the ball like the Spaniard was a child. Grealish could have had a couple of goals himself as he had a volley blocked and a shot cleared off the line. He struggled after Ross Barkley went off early on in the 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton. He scored from outside the box again as Villa just lost out 2-1 to West Ham. Grealish is joint second in the league with five assists this season.
Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton)
It is easy to see why Adama Traore has only started five of Wolves’ ten league games when you have seen how well Neto has been playing. The 20-year old has now broken into the Portuguese squad due to his good form. He scored his first international goal against on his debut against Andorra in November’s international break. Wolves began November with a 1-0 defeat at Leicester. They got a late point in their home game with Southampton thanks to a goal from Neto.
Neto was the most alert to the rebound after Raul Jimenez’ shot struck the post. The winger then produced a great performance as Nuno Espirito Santo’s men beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates. Wolves unleashed Neto and Traore together on the Gunners, as they switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation. They were both involved in the first goal, as Leander Dendoncker headed Traore’s cross against the bar. Neto scored from the rebound and continued to torment them with his pace as his run then saw Bernd Leno save his shot. However, his compatriot Daniel Podence was on hand to win the game.
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
You can say what you want about Harry Kane, but the man gets goals. He will do whatever it takes to help his team win. And this was embodied in Spurs’ first game of November. He backed into Adam Lallana to win a controversial penalty, when it actually looked like he committed the foul. He nevertheless tucked the penalty away as Spurs went on to win 2-1 in a game they were largely outplayed in.
Jose Mourinho’s men looked like they would have to settle for a point away at West Brom before Kane’s 88th minute header got them all three points. Spurs’ biggest win of the month came as their dogged display got them a 2-0 home win over Manchester City. Despite not having any goal contributions, Kane was the best player on the pitch. His movement and link up play caused City problems throughout. The month ended quietly as Spurs and Chelsea had a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.
Callum Wilson (Newcastle)
If it was not for numerous injuries then Wilson would have left Bournemouth much earlier. So, Newcastle are more than thankful they got him this summer. The Magpies’ fans continue to have major discrepancies with Steve Bruce’s style of play. That has not stopped Wilson from getting to seven Premier League goals. Three of those seven goals came in November as they took six points from their four games.
They began with a 2-1 home victory over Everton. Wilson scored a brace here. The first was a soft penalty that he won. But there was contact so it had to be given and he duly dispatched it. The second goal was an easy tap in as he followed in after Ryan Fraser’s effort was deflected. Wilson did not get any real service as Newcastle were next beaten 2-0 by Southampton. He missed the 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea with injury, but returned to get the late opener as they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park.