Welcome again to the ‘musicfootballfatherhood.com’ Premier league Team of the Month. The international break, and the FA Cup Quarter Finals, hindered the amount of league football that was played in March, nonetheless, here are the players who made the cut. March’s team again see us go with a 3-4-3 formation, just like we did in February’s one.
Bernd Leno (Arsenal)
Leno took a bit of time to settle in the Premier League, and he has now coming out of his shell. As the months have gone on there has been improvement, and despite Arsenal have got nowhere near as many clean sheets as they would like, Leno has made some vital saves to help gain points, and put them not just in the top4 race, but maybe even in top 3 contention. March, saw Arsenal draw away at Tottenham, a game that he made a great first half double save to deny Christian Eriksen and Moussa Sissoko respectively. The German also made a huge save from Romelu Lukaku, at a vital time to see Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0. Leno’s shot stopping has been crucial, and just gets him in the team ahead of Everton’s Jordan Pickford.
Yann Valery (Southampton)
Since Southampton decided to sell right back Cedric Soares to Inter Milan, the just turned 20 year-old Frenchman has at times looked like a seasoned veteran, whether he has been deployed as a wing-back, or a right back in a four man defence. Full of exuberance, he netted his first goal in an unlucky 3-2 away defeat at Manchester United, and he netted again as the Saints came from behind to beat Tottenham at home. Southampton finished the month with a clean sheet away at Brighton in a 1-0 win, and Valery looks a real prospect for the future, they may have trouble holding on to him if he continues to grow.
Wes Morgan (Leicester City)
Captain Morgan could not get in the Leicester team at the back end of Claude Puel’s tenure, but March saw new manager Brendan Rodgers, mainly adopt a 3-4-3 formation, and Morgan saw a lot more playing time for the Foxes. Leicester bounced back from a defeat to Watford, to win at home to Fulham, and then beat Burnley 2-1 away, where Morgan came off the bench to score an injury time winner, when Leicester only had 10 men on the pitch, after Harry Maguire’s early sending off. Leicester rounded off the month with a home win against Bournemouth, and Morgan notched yet again. He may be coming towards the end of his career, but his leadership, experience and aerial ability is still important to the team.
Michael Keane (Everton)
Keane, has not enjoyed the best of times since joining Everton from Burnley last season, but recently there has been some improvement. Everton kept three clean sheets in their four games in March, as they looked much more assured at the back, as Everton Manager Marco Silva deployed slightly more refrained tactics than his usual attacking style, Keane thrived on being better protected and led by example. Everton beat Chelsea (home) and West Ham (away) and started the month with a draw at home to Liverpool, in which Keane made a huge block to deny Mo Salah from what looked a certain goal (then again we do not know with the way Salah has been finishing recently). Everton may finish the season strongly if they continue to keep it tight at the back.
Youri Tielemens (Leicester City)
On loan from Monaco; Belgian international Tielemens has been in fine form, linking especially well with Jamie Vardy, a lot of Leicester’s good play is running through him and he is enjoying his football after things turned a little sour at Monaco before his loan move. Tielemens, finished the month with four goal contributions; two goals and two assists, and he looks like his been playing in the Premier League for much longer than he has. Rodgers is a good manager for him in regards to letting him express himself. Leicester, will need to try their best to bring him in permanently, but they may have their work cut out, as numerous teams will surely contact Monaco for his services.
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Bernardo Silva was used heavily in his first Premier League season, but this was mainly from the bench. However, this season he has started a majority of the games, as he has laid a huge claim to be Man City’s most consistent performer this campaign. His versatility, range of passing and tenacity has been prominent all season, and this continued as City won all of their 3 games in March. The Portuguese international completed the month with a goal and an assist in the 2-0 away win at Fulham, and was one of the few constant starters throughout Manager Pep Guardiola’s tinkering, which has long upset fans of Fantasy Football. Silva’s reliability and work ethic have been immense. Pep’s changes to the team mean Silva, is the only City player in March’s team.
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Set piece king Ward-Prowse has been in fine form and has helped push Southampton towards Premier League safety after things had looked very awkward for them before Austrian Ralph Hasenhuttl took charge. Ward-Prowse has flourished since starting regularly, and has been key to play running through the midfield, as Hasenhuttl’s like for high pressing and getting forward quickly, has been integrated well by the Saints. Ward-Prowse, scored a free kick in the 3-2 defeat away at Man United, and then scored another free kick to complete the comeback against Tottenham, 3 points that will go a long way to helping them survive. Ward-Prowse rightfully earned an England call-up after there were some withdrawals from the squad.
Dwight McNeil (Burnley)
The 19 year-old has come from nowhere and has produced some pieces of magic. The youngster gives Burnley an attacking and creative edge that they have extremely lacked, he stands out like a sore thumb as their style of football is not easy on the eye by any means. McNeil’s ability to beat a man, along with the fact he is not bashful around the box, and will have a shot at goal when possible has made him a key figure of late. McNeil, scored in the defeat at home to Leicester, and then netted in the home win over Wolves to conclude the month. If McNeil continues to have good displays he will surely get himself into the England Under 21 picture, with the likes of Chelsea wideman Callum Hudson-Odoi, now a part of the senior squad.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
The Brazilian is an integral piece of Jurgen Klopp’s team, despite many thinking Liverpool would prosper with a natural number 9. His movement creates space for others and he gets himself into good positions in the box in the box, and that is why people would like him to put himself in the box more. March, saw Firmino get his tally up to 12 league goals, with an important brace at home to Burnley, a game in which he also assisted. Firmino, opened the scoring in the huge home win against Spurs on the last day of the month to keep the title race alive and kicking. A strong end to the season from him will give Liverpool a great chance at ending their league trophy drought.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Vardy has been revelling in Brendan Rodgers’ more attacking and assertive play, compared to Claude Puel’s system. Puel, left Vardy on the bench surprisingly in some games and now he knows he is starting every week, he is in sparkling form. Vardy popped up with four goals in four outings in March, making him the league’s top scorer for the month. He found the net in the away loss to Watford, got a brace at home to Fulham, in which he also got an assist, and he also scored at home to Bournemouth. The confidence is flowing again for Leicester, and they are a troublesome team to face right now, as they have absolute nothing to lose and Vardy is their energised talisman.
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Mane continued his hot streak, adding three more goals to get his league total to 17, he is just 2 shy now of top scorer Sergio Aguero. It has been important that Mane has been on form, as Mo Salah is in the midst of his biggest goal drought since signing for Liverpool last season, and if it was not for Mane’s recent contribution the league title race would be over already. March, saw Mane, bag a double at home to Burnley and he fired in the opener away at Fulham in a 2-1 victory. Mane, won the penalty that turned out to be the winning goal in the game at Craven Cottage too. Mane is making a huge case rivalling Salah, to being called Liverpool’s most important man.
Written by Daniel Dwamena (@Dubuldee)