MFF January Team Of The Month 2023/24 – by Dan Dwamena

MFF January Team Of The Month 2023/24

The first team of the month of 2024 is here. January oversaw the Premier League’s winter break, as well as the month being dominated by domestic cup football. Here at MFF however, we still have a selection of Premier League XI for you despite the imbalance the month produced. This month’s team takes on a 3-4-3 formation. Remember the players are now in the positions they occupy in the Premier League’s official ‘Fantasy Premier League’.

Goalkeeper

Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Two games and two clean sheets for England’s number one in January. Pickford has improved as the season has gone on, and now has the most clean sheets of any keeper in the Premier League with 8. He made seven saves over the two matches in the month. Against Aston Villa, he made a good save to deny Leon Bailey as it ended goalless. In another goalless away draw at Fulham, Pickford had a save of the month contender as he kept Tosin Adarabioyo’s header from going into the top corner.

Jordan Pickford makes a fine save to get Everton a point at Fulham. Image from ‘guardian.com’.

Defenders

Conor Bradley (Liverpool)

There were worries after Trent Alexander-Arnold got injured in Liverpool’s FA Cup tie against Arsenal, but they were put to bed as Bradley has excelled. The Northern Irish international came in for the Reds’ last two January fixtures and flourished. Jurgen Klopp’s men won 4-0 away at Bournemouth and Bradley assisted Diogo Jota’s second goal. Then the league leaders beat Chelsea 4-1 at Anfield. Bradley assisted Jota again, this time for the opener. A fine finish got him his Premier League goal, before a great cross gave him another assist as Dominik Szoboszlai headed in.

Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal)

After a rough December, Arsenal won both their January games. Gabriel got things going in their first win with two first half goals against Crystal Palace in a 5-0 triumph. The first saw him climb up like his life depended on it to head in Declan Rice’s corner. The second was another header from a corner, this time taken by Bukayo Saka. As the ball hit Dean Henderson, it was given as an own goal, but after an appeal the goal was rightfully awarded to the Brazilian centre half.

Fabian Schar (Newcastle)

The Magpies only played twice in January and lost their first match at home to Manchester City. They recovered however, to get a hugely impressive 3-1 win on the road against Aston Villa. Schar bagged a brace at Villa Park, thanks to his alertness attacking set pieces. The first was a well-timed finish that a striker would have been proud of as he lost his marker. The second came when he seized onto a shot that came off the woodwork. At the other end, Schar is 3rd in the league in blocks this season with 25.

Midfielders

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

The Belgian returned from injury to influence both of City’s Premier League games to begin the year. Pep Guardiola’s team found themselves 2-1 down at Newcastle, then De Bruyne entered the scene. He showed great composure to place home the equaliser. He then provided a sublime assist for Oscar Bobb who controlled the ball well, then his neat footwork got the winning goal. The champions then beat Burnley 3-1 at home. Quick thinking on a free-kick saw De Bruyne assist Julian Alvarez’s second goal.

Diogo Jota (Liverpool)

With Mo Salah away at AFCON, Jota stepped up to keep Liverpool’s title charge going. On New Year’s Day, he assisted Curtis Jones’ goal and won a penalty as Jurgen Klopp’s side won 4-2 at home to Newcastle. The Reds then travelled to Bournemouth and Jota was at the double. His first was a clinically dispatched after he was found by Cody Gakpo. The second saw him recover from slipping to fire into the bottom corner after being picked out by Conor Bradley. The month concluded with Jota powering in the first goal as Chelsea were beaten 4-1 at Anfield.

Diogo Jota celebrates his brace away at Bournemouth with Conor Bradley. Image from ‘Matt Impey/Rex/Shutterstock‘ via ‘guardian.com’.

Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)

If Eze and Michael Olise can avoid injury for the rest of the campaign, then Palace will have no problem surviving the drop. Roy Hodgson’s outfit were embarrassed at the Emirates Stadium when they lost to 5-0 Arsenal. When they did come anywhere close to scoring it was Eze who had two of their best efforts. He was not to be denied when Sheffield United came to Selhurst Park, however. A fabulous, improvised finish got him an equaliser. He then levelled the game again with a thunderous effort, before the Eagles went on to win 3-2.

Richarlison (Tottenham)

After a tricky first year at Tottenham, now Richarlison just cannot stop scoring. He found the net in both Spurs’ fixtures to begin the year as they took four points from a possible six. They came from behind twice to gain a point at Old Trafford, in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United. Richarlison made it 1-1 when he headed in Pedro Porro’s corner. Ange Postecoglou’s men then did just enough to edge out Brentford 3-2 after a tricky second half. The Brazilian international scored what turned out to be the vital goal, as he turned the ball in after James Maddison’s shot was blocked.

Forwards

Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)

Jesus left his mark on January, as the Gunners won both their matches. He assisted Leandro Trossard’s goal in the 5-0 demolition of Crystal Palace, as they hit the Eagles on the break. In the 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest, Jesus redeemed himself after a bad miss when he hit the post. He then went on to open the scoring with a goal from a tight angle past his former teammate Matt Turner. He then found Bukayo Saka for Arsenal’s second.

Ivan Toney (Brentford)

Toney gets the nod just ahead of his teammate Neal Maupay, Darwin Nunez, and Ben Brereton-Diaz for this spot. After being banned since last season, he came back to help Brentford to their first win since early December. Toney scored a free-kick to level the game up as the Bees edged past Nottingham Forest 3-2, the celebrations were epic. Thomas Frank’s men then lost 3-2 to Tottenham, despite Toney getting on the scoresheet again. He slotted home calmly after Spurs were caught out at the back. It was like he had never been away.

Elijah Adebayo (Luton)

The Hatters were unbeaten in their two January fixtures largely thanks to Adebayo. His presence was somewhat of the catalyst as they got an extremely late draw at Burnley. The Clarets’ keeper James Trafford tried to claim a cross but ended up jumping into Adebayo and Carlton Morris salvaged a point. Adebayo then made sure that was not his only impact in the month as Rob Edwards’ men shocked the league with a 4-0 win over Brighton. Adebayo helped himself to a hat-trick. The pick of the goals was his second, when he combined well with Ross Barkley before finishing past Jason Steele.

Elijah Adebayo heads in one of his three goals against Brighton. Image from ‘thetimes.co.uk’.

Daniel Dwamena

(@DubulDee)

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