FPL tips! March premier league team of the month – by Dan Dwamena
It is time for the MFF March team of the month. March was an extremely short month for Premier League football as it was the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup. As well as that March oversaw the return of international football, meaning a vast majority of the teams only participated in three league games. This months team takes on a 3-4-3 formation.
Dean Henderson (Manchester United)
Henderson is in a real battle with David de Gea to be the number one keeper at Old Trafford, and March gave him the perfect platform to stake his claim. David de Gea missed all of United’s three March league games after the birth of his first child, and Henderson took full advantage of his chance. The England international did not concede a goal in the three games as the Red Devils took 7 points from a possible 9. To start the month; in the goalless draw with Crystal Palace he made an important late stop with his legs to deny Patrick van Aanholt. He then made six saves as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men won the Derby 2-0 against Manchester City. His best save coming from a long-range effort from Olexandr Zinchenko. He ended the month with a quiet game in the home win over West Ham.
Joel Veltman (Brighton)
Veltman arrived in the summer from Ajax for a mere £900k and had to wait to get a run in the team. Tariq Lamptey’s very good start to the season meant that Veltman had to wait for his chance. But then Lamptey picked up a hamstring injury in late December, which unfortunately ended up ruling him out for the campaign, since Lamptey has been absent Veltman has seamlessly stepped in. The versatile Dutchman capped his month by assisting Leandro Trossard’s opener in the critical 3-0 triumph over Newcastle as Brighton won two of their three March encounters. Despite not starting a Premier League game for the Seagulls until October; Veltman’s 58 tackles won have him 11th among defenders and 23rd in the league. Brighton have a contender for the shrewdest purchase of the season.
Andreas Christensen (Chelsea)
Danish international Christensen started the season in the side under Frank Lampard, but then came out of the team in October. Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva formed a partnership that Lampard seemed to prefer at that stage. Now Lampard has been relieved of his duties, with Thomas Tuchel now at the helm Christensen came back into the side late in February. Christensen helped the Blues to three consecutive clean sheets in March and shone whether Tuchel chose to play with two or three centre halves. It will be interesting to see who the German coach goes with when Thiago Silva is fit again as Antonio Rudiger has been good recently too, but any Chelsea fan will tell you that is a good selection headache to have.
Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
After making the MFF February team of the month, the ‘Shaw-shank’ redemption continued into March. Shaw’s renaissance has got him back into Gareth Southgate’s plans as he continues perform well defensively and going forward. United did not concede a goal in March as they remained second in the Premier League behind runaway leaders bitter rivals Manchester City. United ironically ended City’s 28-game unbeaten run as they won 2 -0 at the Etihad in their second March game. Shaw almost put United 2-0 ahead in the first half before indeed getting the vital second goal. In the second half his low shot nestled in the corner after the Red Devils broke quickly on their neighbours. There is definitely an argument that he has been the best left back in the league thus far in 2020/21.
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester)
Ndidi’s importance to Leicester was partly shown last season when he amongst a few others missed a period and they dropped points so many points they failed to make the top four. This campaign with the continued injuries they had, Ndidi started the season as a centre half, but now with men back he is now back in his natural central midfield position. Ndidi’s positioning and presence is a key to how Leicester tick over and March was a very good month from him. He assisted Kelechi’s Iheanacho’s volley against Burnley to start the month in a 1-1 draw. He funnily enough had to fill in at centre back in this game before resorting back to midfield for their remaining March matches. Ndidi is currently joint 14th in the league in tackles with 61. If he can stay fit the Foxes will make amends and finish in the top four this time around.
Leandro Trossard (Brighton)
Brighton fortunes are starting to change and Belgian international Trossard has recently been one of their key men. He was prominent as the Seagulls recovered from losing their first game of the month at home to Leicester. Trossard’s clinical finish into the top corner gave Graham Potter’s men a crucial 2-1 away win at Southampton. He was to score another good goal as he opened the scoring as Brighton won their relegation six-pointer 3-0 at home to Newcastle. Trossard controlled Joel Veltman’s ball with ease before turning and bending a shot into the bottom corner from just outside the box. Brighton still sit in 16th but are 4 points clear of the relegation zone and more importantly have the best goal difference of the teams around them. If Trossard keeps up this form there is no way they will go down.
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Mahrez’ quality cannot be denied and after starting three of City’s four games in March he did his part to help them to two wins in those matches. First up at home to Wolverhampton his cross was headed in for an own goal by Leander Dendoncker to open the scoring. He later on got the third goal in the 4-1 win. After the Cityzens defeat at home to Manchester United, they won 5-2 at home to Southampton and Mahrez helped himself to a brace here. His first was a lovely curled effort to put them 2-1 ahead. He then went on a solo run before hitting the post, but Ilkay Gundogan netted from the rebound. His second was again well taken as he turned away from two Saints men before firing low into the corner.
Jesse Lingard (West Ham)
Lingard has basically been living a fairy tale since joining West Ham in January. His career was looking in a terrible state, but David Moyes gave him a lifeline and he has grabbed it with both hands. After an excellent February he followed it up with a solid March and now finds himself back in the England squad. In the Hammers’ first March game he won a penalty at home to Leeds. He took the penalty himself, missed it but then put in the rebound to open the scoring as West Ham went on to win 2-0. Lingard ended the month giving Moyes’ men the lead against Arsenal with a tremendous strike into the top corner. His quickly taken free-kick two minutes later then provided the second goal for Jarrod Bowen before West Ham surrendered their 3-goal lead to draw 3-3 at the London Stadium.
Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)
Lacazette’s goal return since joining Arsenal has been mostly been quite underwhelming. Now however in his fourth season at the club he is on course to have his best goalscoring campaign. He now has 11 goals overall, with his highest total being the 14 he got in his first season with the Gunners. Lacazette did not start the 1-1 draw with Burnley, but started the north London Derby with Tottenham. The Frenchman won a controversial penalty that he dispatched to secure a 2-1 win as Mikel Arteta’s men came from behind. Arsenal looked doomed when they went 3-0 down away at West Ham, but Lacazette spurred them on to salvage an unlikely point. His shot deflected in for an own goal by Tomas Soucek for 3-1. He then in the second half had a lobbed effort cleared off the line, before heading home the equaliser in the 82nd minute.
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
From what should have been a burden, Manchester City have found a way to be very effective without having a recognised centre forward on the pitch in the last few months. Despite Sergio Aguero’s fitness issues, Gabriel Jesus was sometimes not used even when fit, but in March he was given starts and got the goals to help City kick on towards an inevitable third title in four seasons. He got a brace in City’s first March game; a 4-1 win over Wolves, including the vital goal to put them 2-1 ahead when the game was in the balance. Jesus then bounced back from a poor showing against Manchester United where he conceded a penalty with a goal in the 3-0 away win at Fulham. He ceased on poor play at the back by the Cottagers, and showed great composure to round the keeper and smash the ball in.
Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester)
Since Iheanacho joined Leicester in 2017 he has been very unpredictable, however as Jamie Vardy’s goals have dried up, he has lately more than stepped up to the plate. With James Maddison and Harvey Barnes out, the Nigerian international is enjoying his run of starts by producing his best form, and he was the league’s leading scorer in March with 5 goals in just 3 games. He scored an emphatic volley for the equaliser away at Burnley to begin the month. After a sublime pass by Youri Tielemens, he grabbed another leveller with a lovely finish as the Foxes won 2-1 away at Brighton. Iheanacho ended March with a hat-trick as Leicester ran riot in a 5-0 win at home to Sheffield United. The pick of his goals was the third as he drove in from 25 yards.