MFF October Premier League Team of The Month 2023/24
MFF’s Premier League team of the month for October is here. Due to the international break, there was only a small sample size of league games, but as usual we have an alternative XI for you. This month’s team has a 3-5-2 formation. Remember, the players are in the positions they occupy in the Premier League’s Official ‘Fantasy Premier League’.
Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham)
Vicario had big shoes to fill as he took over the first-choice keeper role from Hugo Lloris, but the Italian has started Premier League life very well. In Spurs’ three October games he kept two clean sheets, meaning he is now one of five keepers who top the league with four clean sheets so far this season. Vicario’s highlights of the month were the important saves he made from Joao Palhinha and Raul Jimenez in the 2-0 home victory over Fulham, as he made seven saves overall in October. His 34 saves this campaign rank him 9th, and his alertness is underlined with the fact he is 2nd with 12 sweeper clearances amongst keepers.
Ethan Pinnock (Brentford)
Pinnock, has worked his way from non-league football to the Premier League, and has been a mainstay in Brentford’s team since they gained promotion in 2021. Pinnock dominates aerially at both ends of the pitch for them. He is a colossus when defending set pieces and this is shown with him being first in the Premier League in clearances with 67, which include 29 headed clearances which has him second. His 16 interceptions are joint-5th in the league (joint 2nd amongst defenders), and only Luton’s Carlton Morris has won more ariel battles than Pinnock’s 44. He ended the month in grand style opening the scoring as Brentford won 2-0 away at Chelsea.
Micky van de Ven (Tottenham)
The Dutch centre back arrived from the Bundesliga and after a tough introduction to life in England against Brentford in August, he has gone from strength to strength. At 6’4” he is deceptively quick and is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet making him perfect for Ange Postecoglou’s style of play. His month began with him netting the winner at Luton, on his weaker right foot as Spurs had to grind out a win with ten men. Spurs kept a clean sheet at Fulham and then ended October with a 2-1 win away at Crystal Palace. Despite conceding, van de Ven defended well and battled for every ball otherwise the Eagles may have been able to salvage a point.
Vitalii Mykolenko (Everton)
Mykolenko, just did enough to keep his teammate James Tarkowski out of this month’s team. The Ukrainian has made the left back spot his own since arriving last season as Lucas Digne ended up moving to Aston Villa. The Toffees kept their first two clean sheets of the season in October and Mykolenko more than showed his worth against Bournemouth and West Ham. He is now joint-2nd in tackles amongst defenders with 27. In Sean Dyche’s side’s other October fixture they defended gallantly with ten men against Liverpool but fell to a 2-0 defeat. Mykolenko had a good game up against Mo Salah and kept him relatively quiet until he scored a penalty, but the Reds killed the game in injury time when Mykolenko had already been substituted.
Scott McTominay (Manchester United)
The Red Devils are enduring a miserable season, but McTominay’s October exploits prevented them from being in the bottom half of the table. United’s first game of the month saw them behind 1-0 at home to Brentford, and McTominay came off the bench in the 87th minute. The Scotsman pounced on a rebound to level things up in the 93rd minute. He then scored a header that Thomas Strakosha could only push onto the post before it found the net to steal three points for Erik ten Hag’s side. United then travelled to Sheffield United and in a 2-1 victory, McTominay opened the scoring with a smart volley into the corner after being found by Bruno Fernandes. He could not do much as they were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City in their last match but he had already made his mark.
Hee-chan Hwang (Wolverhampton)
Hwang continues to shine and has been the man to step up since the club sold Raul Jimenez. The Korean international was on the end of another Pedro Neto assist to give Wolves the lead at home to Aston Villa in a match that ended 1-1. They next travelled to Bournemouth, and Hwang showed great composure at the death as he seized on an error by Neto in the Cherries’ goal to find substitute Sasa Kalajdzic to win the game 2-1. Gary O’Neil’s men were heading for a defeat at home to Newcastle, but Hwang was to the rescue as he redeemed himself after conceding a first half penalty. He produced a nice touch on his left foot leaving Dan Burn for dead after Toti Gomes played him in and expertly finished into the bottom corner past Nick Pope to quietly take him to 6 goals for the campaign.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Liverpool, will be glad they rebuffed any attempts by the Saudi Arabian league to lure Salah as he continues to efficiently be their talisman. The Reds drew 2-2 with Brighton at the Amex Stadium and after falling behind Salah levelled after a good team move, as he passed the ball into the bottom corner. The Egyptian then tucked a penalty away before Lewis Dunk got the Seagulls a share of the spoils in the second half. Salah by his standards was having a poor game against Everton at home, but he was still to be the difference maker. He put another penalty away and then in injury time coolly finished off a counter-attack to secure a 2-0 win. Jurgen Klopp’s men beat Nottingham Forest to end the month and it looked like Salah was not going to score in a home game for the first time this campaign, when Matt Turner misjudged a ball from Dominik Szoboszlai and Salah knocked the ball in with his right foot to make it 3-0 taking his seasons tally to 8.
Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton)
Neto’s form has many thinking a big bid will come in for him soon. He just keeps Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz out of the team with the fact he contributed in every October game. After a remarkable return from injury, he has forced his way back into the Portuguese national side and continues to light up Wolves’ matches. He assisted Hwang’s goal against Aston Villa after a fine run where he flew past Pau Torres in a 1-1 draw. Another mazy run saw him supply Matheus Cunha’s equaliser away at Bournemouth as they went on to beat the ten men 2-1. They shared the spoils with Newcastle to conclude the month, and Neto made it three assists in three October fixtures as his corner was headed in by Mario Lemina to make it 1-1 in an encounter that eventually ended 2-2.
Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford)
Mbeumo, had a slow start to October but finished it off in spectacular fashion. The Cameroonian was not at his best in their opening two matches as they drew at Nottingham Forest and lost to Manchester United, but he shone in their final two games. The Bees won 3-0 at home to Burnley, hitting them on the break for the first when Mbeumo fed Yoane Wissa. He then scored the second goal with an outstanding long-range effort into the top corner. Thomas Frank’s men then went to Chelsea and won for the third consecutive season. Mbeumo, provided the first goal for Ethan Pinnock and then he scored the second. It was a simple finish once Neal Maupay passed to him as Robert Sanchez had left his goal to try and help Chelsea score from a corner.
Darwin Nunez (Liverpool)
Nunez is ever improving his all-around game and he contributed in all three of Liverpool’s October games. In the 2-2 draw with Brighton, Nunez assisted Mo Salah’s first goal. The Reds struggled to break down ten-man Everton in their next game and it took a Salah penalty to break the deadlock or they did not really look like scoring. In injury time, they hit the Toffees on the counter and Nunez unselfishly passed to Salah instead of shooting for their second goal. The Uruguayan, saved the best for last as Jurgen Klopp’s men won 3-0 at Anfield against Nottingham Forest as his directness caused all types of issues. Nunez’s shot was saved, and the rebound was put in by Diogo Jota for the opening goal. A swift move saw Dominik Szoboszlai cut the ball back and Nunez made it 2 with a finish in the six yard box.
Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
The Norwegian marksman has had much better months but made the cut. He was kept extremely quiet by Arsenal as City lost their second consecutive away league game to start proceedings. He responded however in the best manner possible. Pep Guardiola’s men won 2-1 at home to Brighton and Haaland fired in the second goal with a pure strike into the bottom corner from outside the box. Next up, was the Manchester Derby and Haaland’s penalty gave the Cityzens the lead. He then added the second with a header after fine work by Bernardo Silva. When Rodri’s shot was saved by Andre Onana he could have gone for his hat-trick, but instead he played the ball for Phil Foden to make it 3-0.