The new Premier League season is back in full effect. Unfortunately there are no fans allowed in the stadiums yet to witness things first hand, but we are thankful to still be able to watch the sport we love. In a short introductory month to the campaign; we saw four teams only play twice, and the rest of the division play three times. Here is the MFF September team of the month. An attacking side takes on a 4-3-3 formation with two wingers in the midfield. The four-man defence includes three fullbacks.
Karl Darlow (Newcastle)
Many Newcastle fans feared the worst when their number one keeper Martin Dubravka suffered an ankle injury, but Darlow has done a good job in his absence. The Magpies have picked up four points from a possible nine to start the season, and if it were not for Darlow’s contribution, then this would not be the case. Darlow started off with a clean sheet, as the Magpies won 2-0 away at West Ham. There was not much however that he could do as Newcastle were swept aside 3-0 in their next encounter at home to Brighton. He saved his best performance of the month for the last game against Tottenham, as Steve Bruce’s men gained a point very late on. Darlow made a plethora of saves to deny Spurs the three points. This included a great double save in the first half to deny Giovani Lo Celso and Harry Kane. Darlow is the keeper with the most saves in the league with 18.
Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)
Lamptey left Chelsea in the winter transfer window back in January in order to gain first team football, and it was a very good decision. Brighton manager Graham Potter is being repaid for his faith in him, as Lamptey continues to impress. Brighton were beaten in their first game at home to his former club Chelsea, but their goal by Leandro Trossard was assisted by Lamptey. He than produced what would have been a man of the match performance as the Seagulls won 3-0 away at Newcastle. Lamptey’s match was cut short as he took a knock and had to come off after just 56 minutes. He had been terrorising Newcastle in a ubiquitous performance, which included winning a penalty. He won another penalty in their last match of the month, as they were very unlucky to lose 3-2 at home to Manchester United. His marauding runs will give many a team difficulty throughout the season.
Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)
After staying in the Premier League by the skin of their teeth last season, Aston Villa have made a solid start to the 2020/21 campaign. They have won both their games to start off, and also very importantly they have not conceded a goal. This is welcomed considering the struggles they have previously had defensively. Mings is Villa’s defensive leader, and has started off well, he ahs in fact impacted on both ends of the pitch. In their opening game he assisted the winning goal against Sheffield United for Ezri Konsa. Mings was among the scorers as Dean Jones’ men won their second match away at Fulham. Mings timed his run to perfection to slot in their third goal from a Conor Hourihane free-kick. With the additions the Villans have made, if they can continue to better at the back now they have a new keeper in Emiliano Martinez, then they will not have nearly as much trouble as they did last season.
Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
Liverpool had what could have been a quite tricky start to the season, with Chelsea and Arsenal within their first three games. They were in the end able to come through them unscathed to be level on points at the top with Leicester and local rivals Everton. They avoided a potential banana skin at home to Leeds first of all, as they won 4-3, and Robertson’s corner was headed in by Virgil van Dijk to give the Reds a 2-1 lead. Robertson was heavily part of a much more controlled Liverpool defensive performance in their only clean sheet of the month as they won 2-0 away at 10-man Chelsea. In their last game of September; they came from behind to beat Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield. Robertson caused the Gunners numerous problems with his energy up and down the left hand side. The Scotsman scored the hugely important second goal, just six minutes after Sadio Mane’s equaliser.
Timothy Castagne (Leicester)
Leicester’s new Belgian international signing has taken to Premier League football like a duck to water. Castagne has already shown he is more than capable of filling the void left by Ben Chilwell who departed for pastures new at Chelsea. He scored the Foxes’ opening goal of the season with a header as they beat West Brom 3-0 at the Hawthorns. He was the supplier in Leicester’s first home game as he laid on the leveller for Harvey Barnes, as they came from behind to beat Burnley 4-2 at the King Power stadium. In Leicester’s shock 5-2 away win at Manchester City; Castagne produced another solid display and assisted once again. Castagne found Jamie Vardy who completed a lovely team move to put Brendan Rodgers’ men 2-1 up. If this vain of form continues for the 24-year old then the £21.6m Leicester paid for him will end up being a real bargain.
Everton hiring Carlo Ancelotti midway through last season was a big deal. They did not finish the campaign anywhere near where they would have liked, but the appointment was all about what they were going to do this time around in a new campaign. The status Ancelotti holds in the game means they have been able to acquire the likes of James Rodriguez, and the man in question here Brazilian international Allan. Ancelotti has worked with him before in his tenure at Napoli, and Allan has settled quickly to Premier League life. Allan plays box-to-box, but he is a no-nonsense player, and will be a big piece in changing the culture at Everton. He was arguably the best player on the pitch in the Toffees away win at Tottenham, as he helped control the midfield. Everton then won 5-2 at home to West Brom, before ending September with a 2-1 away win at Crystal Palace. Allan is currently joint 3rd in the league in tackles with 12 successful challenges.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Whether Zaha will still be at Selhurst Park when October 5th ends remains to be seen. While he is still there however, he is currently donning the captain’s armband and is producing match-winning performances. His clinical finish was the only goal as the Eagles squeezed a win in their opening game at home to Southampton. In his first game with the captaincy he was inspired, and the Ivorian exercised his ghosts. He bagged a brace; as Palace won for the second season in a row at Old Trafford, beating his old club Manchester United 3-1. After Jordan Ayew had initially missed, Zaha buried the retaken penalty for his first goal. He produced another good finish for his second, as he fired low past David de Gea. Palace lost at home to Everton to end the month, but Zaha along with Andros Townsend and keeper Vicente Guaita are the huge reasons why they already have six points so early on.
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Mane did not have greatest game in Liverpool’s opening win at home to Leeds to begin September. The Senegalese international bounced back though to be Liverpool’s talisman in their next two contests. With his energy, industry and guile, when in full flow only Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne is arguably a better player in the league. The winger was at the double in the second half as the Reds won 2-0 away at Chelsea, after the Blues went down to ten men. A placed header got him his first, after a tidy team move. He then closed down Chelsea’s keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to get a deserved second goal. In Liverpool’s final game in the season’s opening month; he levelled things up against Arsenal, before Jurgen Klopp’s men went on to win 3-1. Mane was in the right place to follow in after Bernd Leno could only parry Mo Salah’s shot.
Patrick Bamford (Leeds)
Many questions were asked of whether or not Patrick Bamford could cut it at the highest level, after being inconsistent in front of goal for Leeds in the Championship. The pressure was added when Marcelo Bielsa signed Rodrigo Moreno from Valencia for just under £30m in the summer. Bielsa has stuck with Bamford for now, and he has started the campaign like a house on fire. Leeds were only just beaten 4-3 on the opening day away at Liverpool, and Bamford scored to make it 2-2, as he seized on a Virgil van Dijk error to shoot in off Alisson Becker. Leeds were on the right side of a 4-3 result in their first home game, as they edged past Fulham. Bamford won a penalty that helped put them 3-1 up. He then passed the ball into net beautifully to put them 3-1 up, and set up Helder Costa after a nice run and pass to make it 4-1. He was at it again in their last outing as he scored a late winning header as they scraped past Sheffield United. Currently it would be very hard for Bielsa to drop him.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
If ever the phrase ‘he can’t stop scoring’ was necessary then it applies to Calvert-Lewin. He is has now scored the most goals in the Premier League since Carlo Ancelotti took charge of Everton towards the end of 2019. First up, his towering header complemented a sublime ball from Lucas Digne, to give Everton victory away at Tottenham. He was clearly only just getting started, as next up he scored a real poachers hat-trick to put away West Brom 5-2 at Goodison Park. The first two goals were more or less straightforward, but then the third showed some good movement from him as he escaped his marker to head home from a corner. He was in the right place once again as he netted to put them ahead at Crystal Palace. They went on to win the game 2-1 to end the month third in the table. Calvert-Lewin’s goalscoring exploits have finally got him a senior England call-up.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Last season’s Golden Boot winner has picked up where he left off. Leicester sits atop of the Premier League on goal difference, with Vardy joint top of the scoring charts with Dominic Calvert-Lewin on five goals. Yes, four of Vardy’s goals have come from the penalty spot, but spot kicks still need to be converted. Leicester won 3-0 at West Brom firstly, and Vardy scored twice from the spot in the second half. By his standards, he had a quiet time in their first home game; a 4-2 triumph over Burnley. The Foxes got the result of the season thus far, as they thumped Manchester City 5-2 at the Etihad, and here Vardy helped himself to a hat-trick. A lovely flick on the near post past Ederson, was sandwiched by two more composed penalties. His relentless running opens up space for his teammates and does not allow defences a minutes’ peace. Players usually decline in their 30’s, but he just seems to get better.