October has ended, so it is time for another MFF Premier League team of the month. This months’ team takes on a 3-4-3 formation and the defence is dominated by full backs.
Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
Little was known of Mendy when Chelsea purchased him from Rennes in 2020, but since arriving he has been the most consistent keeper in the Premier League. Not only is Mendy a great shotstopper, he commands his box well and is very accomplished in spreading himself. The Senegalese international kept three clean sheets in Chelsea’s four October outings as Thomas Tuchel’s men opened up a 3–point lead at the top of the table. The only goal he let in was a penalty, as he now leads the league with six clean sheets in the nine apperances he has made. Mendy’s standout performance came as the Blues won 1-0 away at Brentford. His second half heroics allowed them to hang on for the three points as the Bees relentlessly attacked their goal in the last 25 minutes. Mendy’s six saves against Brentford were two thirds of the saves he made in the month, the pick of them came when he tipped over Christian Norgaard’s overhead kick.
Reece James (Chelsea)
James is fast becoming one of the best full backs in the Premier League. After beginning the campaign in and out of the side due to injury and suspension, it is now looking more likely that he will be a permanent fixture in Tuchel’s plans. In the form he is in it is complex for Tuchel to leave him out now. James only featured in three of the Blues’ four October games, but he contributed heavily. He came on as very late sub in the 1-0 win over Brentford, before starting against lowly Norwich and Newcastle. Chelsea battered Norwich 7-0 and James chipped the 3rd goal in over Tim Krul. The league leaders then won 3-0 away at Newcastle and James was at the double, and both goals were taken like someone well beyond his years. The first was a sweet strike into the top corner on his weaker foot. The second was an empathic right foot hit that two keepers would not have had trouble stopping.
Valentino Livramento (Southampton)
Livramento was highly sought after due to his performances as part of Chelsea’s outrageously dominant youth team. He signed for Southampton in the summer, and due to his clear talent despite not agreeing a new deal with him, they inserted a back-buy clause. Ralph Hasenhuttl had no hesitation in putting Livramento straight into the Saints’ starting XI and the 18-year old is delivering. He has started all Southampton’s 10 league games at right back and has forced Kyle Walker-Peters to move to left back. The month opened with Livramento winning a penalty against his old club which James Ward-Prowse scored before Chelsea went on to win 3-1. The England Under-21 international scored his first senior goal in the 2-2 home draw with Burnley; leaping to head in from Nathan Redmond’s corner. Livramento had almost scored before the goal when his shot struck the post. He is joint 11th in tackles in the league currently with 24, which is joint-2nd amnsgt defenders.
Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)
After spending the whole of August and September on the bench, Chilwell started all Chelsea’s league games in October and grabbed his opportunity with both hands. In Chelsea’s four games in the month the left back amazingly netted three times. It now looks like he now may be the man Thomas Tuchel will stick with rather than Marcos Alonso. The Blues began October with a 3-1 home win over Southampton and the England international scored the third goal. His most important contribution was in the next game as Chelsea won a tough away game at Brentford. Chilwell got the only goal in the game with a perfectly executed half volley that Bees keeper David Raya had no chance with. Chilwell was at it again as the league leaders crushed Norwich 7-0 at Stamford Bridge as he netted the fourth goal.
Youri Tielemens (Leicester)
Tielemens has been an integral part of Leicester’s team since arriving in January 2019 on loan before then signing permantly later that year in the summer. His versatility has meant Brendan Rodgers has really relied on him and he has played every minute so far in the league for the Foxes. Leicester started the month with a 2-2 away draw at Crystal Palace where they surrended a 2-goal lead. Tielemens stepped up in their second fixture with an audacious equaliser in their 4-2 home triumph over Manchester United curling the ball over the head of David De Gea. He then was to have a goal of the season contender to open the scoring in their 2-1 victory at Brentford. Tielemens is 5th amongst midfielders in passes with 604 completed so far this season. He is 3rd in through balls with 8, as well as being joint-8th in touches with 786.
Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)
21-year old Smith Rowe is really maturing quickly. Mikel Arteta is showing real faith in a player who is dubbed the ‘Croydon De Bruyne’ and he is not letting his gaffer down. The Gunners started the month with a stalemate away at Brighton, but Smith Rowe was denied the winning goal as Robert Sanchez saved with his legs. Arsenal won their last two games in October and Smith Rowe was a large part of why. They beat Aston Villa 3-1 at the Emirates, and the England Under-21 international’s ball in provided the first goal for Thomas Partey. Smith Rowe then got the third goal to put the game to bed as he raced through and finished in off the post from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pass. Arteta’s men concluded the month with a 2-0 triumph over Leicester at the King Power Stadium. Smith Rowe scored the second goal passing the ball into the net once it broke free after Alexandre Lacazette was challanged.
Maxwel Cornet (Burnley)
Eyebrows were raised in the summer transfer window when Burnley completed the signing of Cornet from Lyon for around £13m. The Ivorian has a mass of Champions League experience and he has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water, scoring 4 goals in his 5 games for the Clarets. The month began with Sean Dyche’s men drawing with Norwich. They then were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City at the Etihad. Cornet then came to the fore to help them get 4 points from 6 in their last two games. He grabbed a brace as they drew 2-2 at Southampton. His first goal was taken like a striker as he popped up unmarked to head in off the post. He then rescued a point for them with a sharp left volley from outside the box. Cornet wrapped up the month with a brilliant strike on his weaker right foot into the top corner for Burnley’s third goal in their 3-1 win over Brentford at Turf Moor.
Jarrod Bowen (West Ham)
Bowen has impressed as West Ham sit in fourth place after bouncing back from a home defeat to Brentford to win their remaining three games in October. Bowen has demonstrated his power and pace as he continues to cause problems cutting in off the right flank onto his left foot. In that aforementioned home loss to Brentford he missed a guilt edged chance before scoring a more difficult chance for the equaliser, before Brentford won the game deep into stoppage time. David Moyes’ men then won 1-0 at Everton and Bowen’s inswinging corner was headed in for the winner by Angelo Ogbonna. West Ham edged out Spurs 1-0 at the London Stadium before ending October with an impressive 4-1 victory at Aston Villa. Bowen’s saved shot was put in by Pablo Fornals for 3-1, before Bowen grabbed the fourth goal after a rapid West Ham counter attack.
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
With City not buying Harry Kane, Foden has largely operated as a false 9 this campaign and he has been very good when he has started. October began with Pep Guardiola’s men getting a 2-2 draw at Liverpool and Foden was the best player on the pitch. He levelled the game at 1-1 with a fine drive past Alisson. His intelligent movement and dribbling caused the Reds problems. Next up the Cityzens won 2-0 at home to Burnley and Foden’s effort was saved by Nick Pope only for Bernardo Silva to score from the rebound. Foden was to bag a brace in City’s third game as they won 4-1 at Brighton. Foden slid in for his first goal after a swift counter attack. There was an element of fortune in his second goal as a shot from Gabriel Jesus struck him before hitting the net. Foden then laid on the fourth goal for Riyad Mahrez. City lost to Crystal Palace at the end of the month but Foden had made his mark.
Hee-chan Hwang (Wolverhampton)
Korean international Hwang scored on his debut off the bench back in September, and has not looked back. Arriving on loan for the season from Leipzig he has now worked his way into the starting XI, and head coach Bruno Lage is hoping his partnership with Raul Jimenez continues to prosper. October began with Wolves winning 2-1 at home to Newcastle and Hwang was at the double. He produced two tidy finishes, one in each half and both were set up by Jimenez. He made good runs for the goals and cooly passed the ball into the net on both occasions past Magpies’ keeper Karl Darlow. Wolves then won 3-2 away at Aston Villa but Hwang was not on the scoresheet. They ended the month with a 1-1 draw at Leeds, Hwang opened the scoring with a simple close range finish after some good work by Jimenez.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Mo Salah cannot be stopped currently. Salah ended October as the Premier League’s leading scorer with 10 and he is now second in assists also with 6. 5 of those goals and 4 of his assists came in the month as he showed why many believe on-form he is currently the best player in the world. Liverpool had been second-best to Manchester City before Salah’s great run and assist gave Sadio Mane the opening goal. Salah then scored a contender for the goal of the season thus far to put the Reds 2-1 ahead before City salvaged a point. Liverpool then won 5-0 away at Watford. Here Salah’s superb pass with the outside of his boot created the first for Mane. The Egyptian then outdid his goal against City with another individual effort to make it 4-0. Salah was the surge of Manchester United as Liverpool made it back-to-back 5-0 away wins, as he helped himself to a hat-trick. The pick of the goals was the his third as he controlled a sublime outside of the foot pass from Jordan Henderson before finishing into the corner. He ended the month assisting the opener for Henderson as Jurgen Klopp’s men gave up a 2-0 advantage to draw 2-2 with Brighton.