Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has become the first man in the history of the Premier League to be named Barclays Manager of the Month on three consecutive occasions. The Italian was awarded the gong for December following his victories in October and November, the Premier League confirmed on their official website. He beat off competition from Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino.
The Blues won all their 6 matches in December, starting with a come-from-behind triumph away at Manchester City. This was followed by victories against West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Stoke City. In all, they scored 10 goals and conceded just 3 during the month.
These successes during December saw Chelsea extend their winning streak to 13 in the league, and they now have a 5-point lead at the top of the table. This hardly seemed possible in late September when they were humbled 3-0 away at Arsenal. The turnaround since then has been incredible, and Conte has been at the centre of it. The former Juventus man switched things around tactically, going with a 3-4-3 system that has worked to a tee thus far.
Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic won the EA Sports Player of the Month award for December. The Swede scored 5 goals and assisted 3 during a brilliant month for both him personally and the club. The Red Devils won all their games in December and have closed the gap on the top 4. Ibrahimovic scored a host of important goals during the month, including a late winner at Crystal Palace and a brace in a 2-0 win at West Brom. He now has 12 in the league this season.
Ibrahimovic’s teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan won the Carling Goal of the Month award for his outrageous scorpion kick against Sunderland at Old Trafford. The Armenian made it 3-0 to the Red Devils when he met an Ibrahimovic cross in the most innovative and audacious fashion imaginable.