It is time for April’s Premier League team of the month. With the league fixtures piling up after numerous teams’ runs to the latter stages of the FA Cup, it was a packed month. This has seen a few players be unlucky to make the team; as of course only 11 can make it. The team this month, is quite top heavy and will play out as a 4-1-3-2 formation. Three full backs have been shoehorned into the back four, as the best 11 players have been rewarded, rather than looking for great balance all over the pitch. Check out the March team of the month here.
Sergio Rico (Fulham)
Football is a funny old game; before April, Fulham had kept only two clean sheets all season, and now they have had three consecutive shutouts. Fulham fans will wonder, why they could not produce this form earlier in the season. Rico, has had some indifferent moments since taking over as number one in October, but recently his consistency has been why Fulham have not dropped many points. Rico let in 4 away at Watford to start the month, but since then he has been like a brick wall, making a plethora of important saves. His best performance was against Cardiff, making several stops to secure the three points. Rico is on loan from Sevilla, and it will be unlikely Fulham can secure his services, as they will be in the Championship next season.
Aaron Wan Bissaka (Crystal Palace)
Another solid month for the young right back. Wan Bissaka, stood out in Palace’s backline even when they lost away at Spurs and at home to Manchester City. Palace, enjoyed away wins over Newcastle and Arsenal, and the 21 year old provided great cover for his team. Wan Bissaka, has been dribbled past the least of any full back who has played more than 30 games in the league this season at 0.3 per game, (Source; whoscored.com), if he can become more assured going forward, then he will be complete. Palace, will have trouble holding on to him for much longer, and it is surely only a matter of time before he is in the England senior team frame.
Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
Laporte, stood firm in another very impressive month title City. They won all their games and only conceded one goal, which was a free kick against Crystal Palace. City, very rarely give up possession, but when they have been under any form of pressure, Laporte has done his job well. City had a busy April playing five league matches, and the Frenchmen was the only defender to start each time, showing his mass importance to his boss Pep Guardiola. After playing for France at every youth level, the strength the World Cup winners have is evident as he is yet to be capped at senior level. Last season’s champions have been so good as a team; Laporte is the only City player to make it into this months team.
Lucas Digne (Everton)
Everton had an impressive April, and Digne was at the heart of it, bombing on from left back, he gives them great width and is major attacking threat. The French international has not looked back since taking over from Leighton Baines and has made the role his own. The nadir of Everton’s month was a defeat away at relegated Fulham, otherwise their improvement defensively was evident and Digne’s activity helped that, along with the added protection from the midfield as manager Marco Silva sought better stability. Everton had major home wins over Champions League hopefuls Arsenal and Manchester United, the latter Digne scored a sublime left footed strike against.
Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
Robertson, just seems to go from strength to strength. No one in their wildest dreams expected him to be this good when he was first signed from Hull. Energetic and tenacious in defence, and he now with 11 assists has tied the most by a defender in Premier League history. That aforementioned assist came in the 5-0 win over Huddersfield to conclude Liverpool’s month, a game in which he assisted twice. Liverpool won all their games in April, to keep their title challenge alive and only conceded one goal in a 3-1 away win at Southampton. The Scotsman, was voted by his peers into the PFA Team of the Season, and deservedly so.
Youri Tielemens (Leicester)
Another solid month for the Belgian, who has adapted superbly to Premier League football. Tielemens’ link up play especially with Jamie Vardy has been a joy to watch and Leicester fans will hope that manager Brendan Rodgers is doing all he can to sort out a permanent deal for him as his loan from Monaco runs out at the end of the season. Tielemens, followed up his inclusion in my March team of the month, with 2 goals and an assist in April. He opened the scoring in the wins against Huddersfield (away) and to conclude the month in a 3-0 home win over Arsenal with a well-timed header.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Hazard, started off the season like a house on fire, since then he has been up and down, considering the high standard we expect of him. He showed in April however, that if he does decide to leave Chelsea in the summer, then replacing him could be a hopeless mission. The Belgian began the month with a goal and an assist at home to Brighton in a 3-0 win, and in the following game he displayed his individual brilliance in a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge over West Ham, his first a wonderful solo goal. In all, Hazard had 3 goals and 2 assists in April. The only negative about his month, was that he missed two good chances in the 2-0 away defeat at Liverpool, bar that it was vintage Hazard.
Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton)
Jota, since nailing down a starting role, has been great for Wolves, and they pounced to tie him up permanently, after he originally came in on loan from Atletico Madrid. His partnership with Raul Jimenez, has been pivotal and the midland outfit will look to them to spearhead their push to challenge the top six next season. Jota, hit the net three times; including goals in the home successes over Manchester United (2-1) and Arsenal (3-1), as well as getting an a goal away at Watford in a 2-1 win, a game he assisted in to. If he continues to play this way next season then it will only be a matter of time before he is rewarded with his first senior Portugal cap.
Ayoze Perez (Newcastle)
Newcastle, started the month poorly with two defeats, but then bounced back with two wins and a draw to confirm their Premier League survival. In their three game unbeaten run, all their goals were scored by?…you guessed it, Ayoze Perez. The Spaniard found the net with a lovely header in a 1-0 win at Leicester, before scoring a hat trick in a 3-1 home dispatch of Southampton. Perez, ended the month with an emphatic right foot strike in a 1-1 draw with Brighton. Those important goals took Perez’ league tally to 11, and he will hope the club can tie up Solomon Rondon on a permanent deal as they work so well together.
Mo Salah (Liverpool)
After having a very rough period, where he did not score for six league games, Salah got back in form at a vital time. His four April goals, were the key to not just keeping Liverpool in the title race, but also giving himself a great chance to still win the Golden Boot, as he now is top of the charts with 21 league goals. Salah, got the all-important second goal as Liverpool were drawing late on to start the month away at Southampton. The Egyptian, then scored one of the goals of the season with a scorching left foot hit from around 30 yards against his former team Chelsea. He concluded the month with a double in the 5-0 home triumph over Huddersfield, in which he also made the first goal. Salah, keeps out Southampton’s’ Shane Long who also had a great month.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
So just like his teammate Youri Tielemens, Vardy made it back-to-back appearances in the team of the month. Vardy, just like in March, finished as the top scorer in the league in April, joint on five goals with Ayoze Perez. Despite misfiring in the home defeat against Newcastle, Vardy continued to be prolific in all his other outings. The month started with two goals in the 5-1 win at Huddersfield. After the Newcastle defeat, he then produced a smart finish in the 2-2 draw with West Ham which got him back in rhythm. Vardy grabbed himself a brace in the 3-0 home demolition of 10 man Arsenal to end the month, and now has 18 league goals this season, with half of those coming in the last two months.
Written by Daniel Dwamena (@DubulDee)