MFF August Premier League Team Of The Month – 2022/23
After a short break due to upcoming December winter World Cup, we are back for the 2022/23 season meaning it is time for our first MFF team of the month. August’s team takes on a 3-4-3 formation. With the rapid growth of FPL (Fantasy Premier League) some of you may look to get some of these players into your team, therefore to make things more straightforward we will now list players in the positions they are listed in FPL. This means for instance though Mo Salah plays as a forward for Liverpool, he is listed a midfielder in FPL, so would therefore be named as a midfielder in an MFF team of the month.
Nick Pope (Newcastle)
Pope arrived early in the summer transfer window from Burnley for £10million, and it was thought he may start the season as Martin Dubravka’s backup, but Eddie Howe put him straight in as the number one. Pope who will be looking to cement a place in England’s World Cup squad had a quiet debut as he did not have a save to make in the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest. His second appearance however was in stark contrast to the first, as he was kept busy making a plethora of stops to salvage a point away at Brighton. His two best saves coming from an Adam Lallana header and when he used his legs to deny Solly March. Next up; Pope had no less than seven saves to make when the Magpies drew 3-3 with champions Manchester City at St James’ Park or they could have seen defeat after leading 3-1. Pope tried his best making another four saves to end the month but could not stop Liverpool stealing 3 points in injury time. Pope just ousted Robert Sanchez from the team of the month despite Sanchez keeping one more clean sheet as Pope faced more difficult opposition in August.
William Saliba (Arsenal)
Since signing for Arsenal Saliba had literally spent all his time back in his native France on loan, but now he has been given his chance he is shining. His debut came away at Crystal Palace and he looked assured, timing his challenges and he also looked comfortable on the ball. He was then to have a very minor setback as he scored an own goal in the Gunners’ 4-2 home win over Leicester, but he bounced in the best way possible. Saliba scored a delicious strike with his weaker left foot to grab the third goal as Mikel Arteta’s men cruised to a 3-0 win at Bournemouth. Arsenal’s growing fighting spirit was compounded with a comeback win against Fulham at the Emirates Stadium. Saliba was to assist the winning goal as his physicality in the box from a corner saw his touch find Gabriel to knock the ball into the net. There was criticism of the way he had been treated by the club but it looks like he is more than ready now and the club have made the right call with his loans.
Joel Veltman (Brighton)
Dutchman Veltman now in his third season at Brighton continues to produce stellar performances at the back. You may not always notice his importance unless of course you are a fan of the football club. His versatility has made him a key figure for Graham Potter whether he is used as a centre back or a full back. This campaign he has started all of the Seagulls’ matches as the right sided centre half in a back three and he has been as consistent as ever. Brighton kept the joint-most clean sheets in the Premier League with three in their five outings, and Veltman contributed heavily to this. Veltman ended August joint-8th in blocks in the league with 5. He led Brighton in clearances with 17 along with Lewis Dunk and his 9 tackles won rank him 3rd for Brighton. A no-nonsense solid player.
Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)
Cancelo now dons the number 7 shirt at Manchester City and he lived up to the shirt number with his start to the campaign. City ended the month with three clean sheets but Cancelo’s forward play was just as vital as his defensive work. After doing well in the away win at West Ham, he helped City to another clean sheet in the 4-0 victory over Bournemouth. From an attacking standpoint Cancelo contributed to the fourth goal as his driven ball across the box was turned into his own net by Jefferson Lerma. Cancelo’s toughest game came in the 3-3 draw away at Newcastle as the Magpies’ pace on the counter attack troubled City’s full backs and he was also booked. The Portuguese international found the back of the net in the last game of the month for Pep Guardiola’s men. In the 6-0 hammering of Nottingham Forest, Cancelo scored the fourth goal with a sweet right footed strike into the top corner.
Rodrigo Moreno (Leeds)
Now in his third campaign at Elland Road; Rodrigo has only sporadically displayed his ability but he has began this term with a point to prove. With Leeds’ talisman Raphinha departing for Barcelona Rodrigo has stepped up. The Spanish international was on fire before sadly looking like he dislocated his shoulder in August’s last outing against Everton. He levelled things up in Leeds’ opening match at home to Wolves with a low right foot shot that beat Jose Sa on his near post before Leeds went on to win 2-1. Then he followed that up with a brace away at Southampton. His first an excellent finish with his left foot, the second a header basically on the line. Jesse Marsch’s team then surprised Chelsea with a 3-0 win. Rodrigo headed the second goal in from a free-kick. He also added an assist as Jack Harrison scored the third from a few yards out. He will be ruing his luck that he has sustained an injury while in his best form for Leeds.
Pascal Gross (Brighton)
German Gross started life well in the Premier League back in 2017, but he has not always been a regular since then. Now in his sixth season at the Seagulls he is having a rebirth just in time for Graham Potter’s men to start things off in good fashion. Brighton won for the first time at Old Trafford as Gross timed his bursts into the box perfectly for them to triumph 2 -1 over Manchester United. Gross’ brace was complied by two close range finishes. After a goalless draw at home to Newcastle Gross was back turning the screw. He assisted the second goal as Brighton took all three points at West Ham. His lovely pass found Leandro Trossard in acres of space to net. Gross timed another run into the penalty area to perfection to edge out Leeds 1-0 in Brighton’s last home game of the month. He calmly slotted in Trossard’s ball for his third of the campaign. There is not much chance of Potter dropping the 31-year-old in this form.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
The Belgian international continues to be Pep Guardiola’s main creative force. At 31 he is still as important as he ever was for them. In the season opener at West Ham he provided Erling Haaland with his second goal. The Hammers pushed up and De Bruyne punished them as he set Haaland away with a perfectly weighted ball. The Cityzens then thumped Bournemouth 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium; and De Bruyne scored the second goal with a great individual effort that had the crowd on their feet. He finished off his run coolly guiding the ball into the corner with the outside of his right foot, making a difficult technique look easy. De Bruyne then laid the third goal on for Phil Foden. City had their hardest test of the campaign thus far away at Newcastle where at a stage they found themselves 3-1 behind. After Haaland made it 3-2, De Bruyne thread a needle with a pass to Bernardo Silva, that was so perfectly done it actually went through a Newcastle defenders’ legs for Silva to get the equaliser.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Zaha seems to be linked with a move away from Selhurst Park in every summer transfer window but he is still plying his trade at Selhurst Park at a high level. The Eagles lost at home to Arsenal it the opening game of the Premier League season, and Zaha was arguably their best performer in defeat. He got at Ben White several times out wide and was unlucky not to assist when his great through ball found Eberechi Eze but he could not beat Aaron Ramsdale. Patrick Vieira’s men then produced a very disciplined display away at Liverpool, and Zaha put them ahead with a superb finish in off the post in a 1-1 draw. Zaha was at the double in the next game as Palace came from 1-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-1. His first was another good finish on the break, and then he had a penalty saved by Emiliano Martinez but he was able to score from the rebound. He missed the 4-2 loss away at Manchester City with a knock but came back to score an outstanding goal at home to Brentford in a 1-1 draw.
Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)
It did not take long for Jesus to show that he was undervalued for a decent portion of his time at Manchester City. He has all the attributes of a number 9, but he was moved out wide by Pep Guardiola to accommodate a false 9. It worked of course as City won back-to-back titles but in terms of Jesus individually he had so much more to offer. Leaving Champions League football is a step-down, but the Brazilian is thriving being used in his favoured role. Despite not scoring on his debut he was a constant pain for Crystal Palace’s defenders. In his home debut he opened his Arsenal account with a sublime finish against Leicester into the far corner in a 4-2 win, before scoring a second with a close range header. He added two assists to those two goals in a man of the match display. Arsenal’s new frontman got his third assist of the season in the victory at Bournemouth, as Martin Odegaard stole the ball literally off of his toe. He concluded the month by being the most alert to a deflected shot that was saved to open the scoring in the 2-1 success over Aston Villa.
Alexsandar Mitrovic (Fulham)
Last time out with Fulham in the Premier League Mitrovic started well before fading into obscurity as he spent a lot of time on the bench, and he has started well once again. He will hope to maintain it this time around as his impressive August fired Fulham into the top half of the table. Mitrovic began proceedings with a double in the 2-2 home draw with Liverpool as he gave Virgil van Dijk a torrid time with his movement and power. Mitrovic forced the Dutchman to concede a penalty in the second half that he converted after he had opened the scoring with a towering header in the first period. After being the hero, he was the villain as he missed a penalty in the away draw at Wolverhampton. The Serbian however bounced back with 3 goals in 3 games. First he headed the winning goal in the 3-2 triumph at home to Brentford. He followed that with the opener at Arsenal, when his industry saw him disposes Gabriel and find the corner in a 2-1 setback. He was the right man in the right place to again open the scoring as Fulham beat Brighton 2-1.
Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
The Premier League is widely regarded as the best league in the world, but new signing Haaland is making it look well…quite easy. The Norwegian hitman has amassed an astounding 9 goals in just 5 August games as he became the fastest man to reach that number of goals in Premier League history. He bagged a brace on his debut away at West Ham, his second was a clinical finish after collecting a precise pass from Kevin De Bruyne. He did not score at home to Bournemouth, but was still able to register an assist. In the 3-3 draw at Newcastle he pulled it back to 3-2 with a typical poachers goal. He then ended the month emphatically with back-to-back hat-tricks in the home games against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Golden Boot race could be put to bed very prematurely if Haaland stays fit, and to think there were question marks over whether or not he could adapt to the English game. His instincts and great movement mean there will be a lot more goals to come.