MFF November Premier League Team of the Month
November has concluded so it is time for the MFF picks for the team of the month. An unbalanced month in terms of fixtures played saw some teams play four times and over half of the league play three times. Burnley and Spurs’ game was called off due to the snow so they only palyed twice. All this means attacking players have been favoured, meaning the formation of the team is a 4-1-3-2 that axed Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have been proud of. Two spoilers are that the Premier League’s top scorer did not make the team for the first time, and the Premier League leaders do not have any representation either.
Jose Sa (Wolverhampton)
Wolves’ Portuguese stopper makes his second appearance of the season in the MFF team of the month, benefitting from the fact that Bruno Lage’s men played four times in November. Sa made 15 saves in their four outings taking him to 42 saves overall, which had him in 4th place at the end of the month as Wolves gained 7 points. Wolves began the month with a 2-1 win against Everton and it took a clutch save from Sa to deny Richarlison to get the three points. Wolves then lost 2-0 away at Crystal Palace, before Sa got his first November clean sheet as they triumphed 1-0 at home to West Ham. Sa was the man to thank for them not concluding the month with a defeat as he made vital saves in a goalless away draw with Norwich. In the first half he denied Max Aarons well with his legs and in the second period he used his legs again to deny Teemu Pukki from point blank range.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Liverpool’s November opened with a 3-2 loss to West Ham at the London Stadium but without their right back it would have been worse. He equalised with an aesthetically pleasing free-kick in the first half as he got it up and over the wall with ease. He then setup Divock Origi’s goal to pull it back to 3-2. The Reds redeemed themselves with a 4-0 disposal of Arsenal and Alexander-Arnold assisted twice. First his free-kick was headed in by Sadio Mane for 1-0. His second assist was from a good Liverpool team move and he played the ball across the face of goal for Takumi Minamino to score an easy tap-in for 4-0. Jurgen Klopp’s men scored 4 again to end the month as they beat Southampton and Alexander-Arnold’s corner was volleyed in by Virgil van Dijk for the 4th. Alexander-Arnold ended the month in 3rd place in through balls with 9 and he was also 3rd in crosses with 91.
Grant Hanley (Norwich)
Norwich had looked confined to relegation, but they are certainly not giving up without a real go at it. Their captain Hanley illustrates their recent fight and he was a stalwart at the back for them in November. The Canaries got their first win of the season as they got a 2-1 victory at Brentford. This unfortunately did not stop them from axing manager Daniel Farke. Former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith came in, and they earned back-to-back victories as they beat Southampton 2-1. It was Hanley who won the game with a 79th minute header from Billy Gilmour’s corner. Norwich then drew their last two games against Wolves and Newcastle to take 8 points from a possible 12 and move off the bottom of the Premier League. Hanley ended the month 3rd in the league in blocks with 16, 4th in clearances with 60 and second in headed clearances with 38.
Max Kilman (Wolverhampton)
Little was known of Kilman but he made his breakthrough into Wolves’ first team last season, and now despite working under a new manager he has kept his place so far this campaign. Kilman’s form means that when fit Willy Boly who was a mainstay under Nuno Espirito Santo in the previous regime has had to warm the bench. Now Boly is injured Kilman will be depended on even further. Kilman exploited Everton’s poor making on set pieces to give Bruno Lage’s men the lead in a 2-1 win at Molineux to start November off. It was Kilman’s first Premier League goal underlining his prowess in the air. Wolves then had a setback at Crystal Palace before taking 4 points from the last two matches in the month and Kilman did a stellar job at the back. Kilman ended November 15th in the league in tackles with 31 and 20th in clearances with 44.
Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)
Cancelo has been the most consistent full back in the league thus far and has become Pep Guardiola’s first name on the teamsheet out of his defenders. Whether he plays on the right or left hand side of the back four he seems to impress and November again underlined how imperative he is. The Cityzens started off with a stroll in the park as they won 2-0 at an inept Manchester United. Cancelo’s cross saw Eric Bailly turn the ball into his own goal for 1-0. Then Cancelo’s enticing ball towards the far post was put in by Bernardo Silva for 2-0. After a tricky start at home to Everton, Cancelo played an outrageous ball with the outside of his foot to Raheem Sterling to put City ahead as they went on to comfortably win 3-0 in the end. City won 2-1 at home to West Ham in their last outing in the month. November concluded with Cancelo having completed the most passes in the league with 1,049 and he was 2nd in through balls with 11, mesmerising stats for a full back.
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
It is hard to fathom that Manchester City were considering letting Bernardo Silva go as he was demanding more playing time during the 2020/21 campaign. The Portuguese international has been showing some of his best form as a City player and Pep Guardiola will be over the moon that he is still at the club. His versatility means he has even been used as a false 9 and his importance to City’s gameplan is immeasurable right now. He netted the second goal in what turned into a training session in the Derby against Manchester United. He was in the right place to round off a 3-0 victory over Everton with a simple finish late on. Silva’s tenacity along with his technical ability and eye for a pass make him one of the better all round midfielders the Premier league has to offer. He is 8th in passes completed amongst midfielders.
Raphinha has had better months since coming into the league last season, but Leeds took 5 points in November and 4 of them would not have been possible without his goals. He thrills and entertains nearly every time he steps onto a football pitch and is carrying Marcelo Bielsa’s men while striker Patrick Bamford remains sidelined. Leeds scored 3 goals in the month and Raphinha scored 2 of them in the 3 games he played in, he is now joint-6th with six goals this campaign. Leeds began with a 1-1 draw at home to Leicester; conceding straight from the kick-off after Raphinha gave them the lead with a free-kick into the bottom corner past Kasper Schmeichel. He then missed the 2-1 away defeat at Spurs due to illness. Leeds than had a stalemate at Brighton before a pivotal win in their last game at home to Crystal Palace. A handball by Marc Guehi in injury time gave them a penalty and Raphinha had the composure to fire past Vincente Guaita for the 3 points. How long can Leeds hang onto their talented Brazilian?
Diogo Jota (Liverpool)
Only his teammate Mo Salah can better Jota’s goal to minute ratio. Jota was joint 3rd in the league with 7 goals at November’s climax as he continues to impress with Roberto Firmino out injured. The Portuguese international netted 3 times in 3 games in the month. Liverpool lost 3-2 at West Ham but then they bounced back at home to Arsenal. Jota got the second goal as he calmly seizing on a poor back pass by Nuno Tavares ane he turned Ben White and then dummied keeper Aaron Ramsdale before slotting in. Jurgen Klopp’s men are the top scorers in the league and pumped 4 again this time at home to Southampton. Jota bagged a first half brace. His first he finished from 6 yards after good work by Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson. The second was an easy tap-in after Mo Salah found him unmarked after a quick breakaway.
Emmanuel Dennis (Watford)
Watford signed Dennis in the summer from Belgium’s Club Brugge and he continues to impress. If Watford are to stay up it will be due to their firepower, and Dennis along with another new recruit in Josh King are doing their best to give them a fighting chance of staying in the division. Dennis ended November with 5 goals and 5 assists in the league so far, as his industry means he causes defenders issues through the middle or out wide. After losing narrowly to Arsenal, Claudio Ranieri’s men won emphatically at home to Manchester United 4-1. Dennis laid the first goal on for King before finding the net himself with a low drive for the 4th goal. The Hornets ended the month with a 4-2 defeat at Leicester in terrible weather. The Nigerian international was involved in both Watford’s goals. Dennis won the penalty for their first goal which King scored, and he then scored the goal which brought the game to 3-2.
Raul Jimenez (Wolverhampton)
After suffering a fractured skull last season away against Arsenal we are thankful that Jimenez is able to still play professional football. The Mexican international’s importance to Wolves is immeasurable and his goals has seen them climb up to 6th in the table. Jimenez scored what turned out to be the winning goal first up as Bruno Lage’s men won 2-1 at home against Everton. Jimenez seized on a mistake by Ben Godfrey before producing a dink over Jordan Pickford. Wolves lost away 2-0 at Crystal Palace next up. It was then another three points at home as Jimenez’s super finish with a low drive from around the edge of the box gave them a 1-0 win over West Ham. November ended with a goalless draw at Norwich but Jimenez had already made his mark with his matchwinners.
Teemu Pukki (Norwich)
After some were predicting that Norwich or Newcastle may break the record for the lowest amount of points in a Premier League season, Norwich have responded in the right fashion. In four November contests the Canaries took 8 points and have lifted themselves off the bottom of the table. Daniel Farke’s last game in charge of the club saw them win 2-1 away at Premier League new boys Brentford. Pukki raced through and was fouled before picking himself up to net the penalty to make it 2-0 and that turned out to be the decisive goal. Pukki was at it again in their next game. His near post effort provided Norwich’s equaliser as they won 2-1 again this time at home against Southampton in Dean Smith’s first game in charge. Next Norwich drew with Wolves and ended with another draw to finish November. In a huge relegation six-pointer Norwich were looking like they were heading for a defeat at Newcastle when Pukki unleashed an unstoppable volley with his weaker left foot into the top corner to salvage a point.