MFF January Team of the Month 2022/23 – by Dan Dwamena

MFF January Team of the Month 2022/23

The first MFF team of the month is here of the new year. An uneven month saw a few teams play five matches and some play four games, but generally it was three matches that were played by most of the league. As usual an XI has been carved out for you including some alternative picks. Remember since the start of this campaign the players are now in the positions that they are under in the official Premier League’s ‘Fantasy Premier League’. This month’s team takes on a 3-5-2 formation, and here is a spoiler the Premier League’s leading scorer is not within the eleven.


Nick Pope (Newcastle)

Pope fought off strong competition from Brentford’s David Raya to get the nod as the keeper for January. Pope just got the edge as he had three clean sheets in Newcastle’s three games to start the year. Pope will still think he can dislodge Jordan Pickford from England’s number one spot, made crucial saves to stop the Magpies from dropping points. They travelled to Arsenal to start the year and Pope made a vital save with his legs to deny Eddie Nketiah as they game ended goalless. Newcastle then beat Fulham 1-0 at home. They concluded January with another goalless draw away at Crystal Palace and Pope was key here again as he made a brilliant save from Jean-Philippe Mateta in the second half. Pope has kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League with 12 this campaign. Newcastle may have a lot of money at their disposal but signing Pope for just £10m last summer from Burnley was the shrewdest of buys.

Nick Pope saves well from Eddie Nketiah with his legs for Newcastle to secure a point at Arsenal. Image from ‘’.


Ben Mee (Brentford)

When Burnley were relegated last season, they were always going to have an issue keeping hold of their centre backs as they were both out of contract. James Tarkowski first went to Everton and then Mee was scooped up by Brentford. With injuries to Ethan Pinnock and especially club captain Pontus Jansson, Mee has been a mainstay since arriving and his experience has proved to be key. The Bees finished January in 8th place after an unbeaten month. They put Liverpool away 3-1 in their first home game. As well as defending quite well Mee caused havoc in Liverpool’s box from set pieces forcing an own goal by Ibrahima Konate for the first goal and Liverpool were fortunate that two further goals from set pieces were disallowed. Brentford then got back-to-back clean sheets against Bournemouth and Leeds. Mee currently lies second in blocks in the Premier League with 24 and he is also second in aerial duels won with 70. Mee was an astute acquisition.

Fabian Schar (Newcastle)

Schar has been excellent this season, forming a great combination at the back with Sven Botman. He is never shying away from dirty work but also contributes massively in helping the team play out from the back. The Swiss international showed his aerial threat as his flick-on almost set up a goal for Joelinton in their first January game as they had a goalless draw with Arsenal. Eddie Howe’s men then squeezed past Fulham at home with a late goal. Before the winner came, Schar hit the post with a freekick. Schar’s presence at the back is shown in several defensive categories. He is joint 6th in the Premier League this season with 29 interceptions and 7th in clearances with 74. On top of this he is joint-10th in aerial duels won with 47 and 14th in blocks with 14.

Dan Burn (Newcastle)

The Magpies dominate the defence this month being the only team not to concede in January. It is easy to point out Kieran Trippier’s leadership however the least glamorous name Dan Burn must be given his flowers. At 6’7” you are extremely unlikely to beat him in the air but what goes under the radar is composure and how good he is with the ball at his feet. Despite obviously naturally being a centre back, when he was at Brighton, his then manager Graham Potter used him quite a bit at left back. Now Eddie Howe has deployed him in the same role as new signing Sven Botman has linked well with Fabian Schar in central defence. Burn’s dominance has allowed Newcastle to take more risks going forward, mainly allowing Joe Willock to work box-to-box efficiently as the inside left midfielder of a 3. Burn is 11th in the league with headed clearances with 41 whilst being 16th in aerial duels won with 42.


Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)

As Arsenal’s impressive season rolls on, the club captain Odegaard continues to lead by example. Odegaard’s drive, creativity and work rate make him a key component of the Gunners’ title surge. The Norwegian could only hit the chance he had to break the deadlock against Newcastle over, but there were to be no such mistakes in the next game. Mikel Arteta’s men eased past Tottenham 2-0 in the North London Derby and Odegaard scored the second goal. He collected the ball from Bukayo Saka before bursting forward and unleashing an accurate low drive into the bottom corner of Hugo Lloris’ net. The league leaders were then to triumph in another big game to round the month off. They welcomed Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium and Odegaard assisted the late winning goal for Eddie Nketiah as they pulled off a 3-2 win. Odegaard just kept out Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes this month for his contribution to two massive results.

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

We have seen glimpses down the years of Rashford’s greatness, but then his form dies down and things seem to balance out. Well, since the World Cup ended in December, he has been in scintillating form. We all knew about his pace and how powerfully he could shoot, but whilst it could only be temporary even his decision making looks to slowly be improving. To begin he wrapped up the scoring in the 3-0 home win over Bournemouth. United then came from behind in the Derby to beat Manchester City 2-1. He played a huge part in a highly controversial equaliser that Bruno Fernandes scored, before he grabbed the winner in the 82nd minute. Rashford slid in after good play by Alejandro Garnacho. Erik ten Hag’s men could only draw at Crystal Palace and then they lost 3-2 away at Arsenal. Rashford gave them the lead in that Arsenal game with a dazzling individual effort from outside the box.

Marcus Rashford slides in to win the Manchester Derby. Image from ‘

Solly March (Brighton & Hove Albion)

March rarely goes into hiding in games, the one thing he was scrutinized for however was his efficiency. Brighton under Graham Potter had a very high expected goals (‘xG ’), but their goal return never complemented the chances they made and March was unfortunately one of the main culprits. Since Potter left for pastures new, with Roberto De Zerbi now at the helm the Seagulls are now relentless in front of goal and the biggest improvement has come in March. He tiptoed his way through Everton’s defence to score the third goal in a 4-1 win at Goodison Park. His highlight of the month came as Brighton stunned Liverpool at the Amex Stadium with a 3-0 victory. March scored the first goal sliding in to finish after Brighton seized on a poor play by Joel Matip. He then scored a well taken second goal firing into the far corner after more slack defending. Brighton’s unbeaten month now sees them up to 6th in the table.

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

With Pep Guardiola’s random team selections, it is occasionally hard to gauge which Manchester City players have made the best contributions with the minutes that they have been given. There was no doubt who their standout performer was in January, however. Mahrez came off the bench to give City their first win of the year away at Chelsea. The Algerian slotted in after a ball from another substitute Jack Grealish. City then lost late on in the Derby with Manchester United but bounced back at home to Tottenham. Spurs went into a 2-0 first half lead but City responded superbly to get a 4-2 victory. Here Mahrez headed to Erling Haaland to level it up at 2-2. Mahrez then copped himself a brace. First his powerful shot on his weaker right foot took a slight deflection to beat Hugo Lloris. His second goal was expertly taken as he anticipated a long ball from Ederson, before deftly chipping the ball in. He ended the month assisting Haaland’s last goal in a hat-trick against Wolves.

Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

Saka continues to grow as a player. The ability he had was evident however he is now a much more polished finisher, and his ceiling is getting growing. He continues to give opposing left backs a hard time displaying the mass confidence he has. Arsenal could not get past Newcastle, but they followed up with an away win against local rivals Tottenham. Saka toyed with Ryan Sessegnon, before firing in a right foot cross that clipped Sessegnon and Hugo Lloris palmed the ball into his own net for the first goal. Saka, then played the ball into Martin Odegaard who burst forward and scored the second goal. Arsenal maintained their lead at the top with another win in a testing contest as they held off Manchester United to get another three points. After the Gunners fell behind, Eddie Nketiah levelled before Saka put them ahead with a fabulous strike from outside the box after cutting inside from the right.


Evan Ferguson (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Ferguson only turned 18 in October, but he is already showing he has a bright future ahead. Brighton have cried out for a lethal striker that will finish all the chances that they create, and young Ferguson is stepping up to the plate. Brighton romped Everton 4-1 at Goodison Park. Here, Ferguson clinical dispatched the second goal and followed that by finding Solly March for the third. Brighton then impressively took care of Liverpool at home and Ferguson laid on Danny Welbeck for a great third goal in a 3-0 win. Brighton’s last game saw them take the lead at Leicester, but the Foxes fought back to take the lead. Up stepped Ferguson after coming on for Welbeck to head a great equaliser in off the post with just two minutes to go, to salvage a point for the Seagulls. This young Irishman is one to watch out for.

Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest)

If Nottingham Forest are to prolong their stay in their return to the Premier League, then Johnson’s January form will need to be continued. The Welsh international got 16 goals and 10 assists in the Championship last season and all eyes were on him to see if he could do it at the highest level. After a tricky start for him and the team, January showed that Forest are showing signs of a resurgence. Forest won away at Southampton to begin the year and Johnson set up Taiwo Awoniyi for the crucial goal, as they hit the home side with a swift counter-attack. Steve Cooper’s men were to then win 2-0 at home against Leicester and Johnson scored both goals from passes by Morgan Gibbs-White. The first he rounded Danny Ward before finding the net, his second was finished like a man beyond his 21-years as collected the ball, ran and fired low into the far corner. Johnson was assisting again to finish the month as he setup Sam Surridge to get a point away at Bournemouth.

Brennan Johnson took his shirt off and celebrated with the fans after his glorious second goal against Leicester. Image from ‘’.

Daniel Dwamena


Leave a Reply