Dean Smith has won the Premier League Manager of the Month award for December 2020.
The Aston Villa boss scoops the prize for the first time since entering the Premier League in 2019. His side picked up 11 points from five games, conceding just once.
The Villans began the month with a win against Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers through Anwar El Ghazi’s injury-time penalty. Both sides were reduced to ten men following the dismissals of midfielders Douglas Luiz and Joao Moutinho. This result was followed by a 0-0 draw at home to Burnley.
Smith guided his side to more Midlands derby success on December 20, crushing rivals West Bromwich Albion 3-0 at the Hawthorns. El Ghazi netted a brace, while Bertrand Traore also got his name on the scoresheet.
Boxing Day brought about another convincing victory, this time against Crystal Palace. Despite Tyrone Mings’ first-half red card, Aston Villa won 3-0. El Ghazi and Traore notched again, with centre-back Kortney Hause bagging his first of the season.
They finished the month with a draw versus Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The home side took the lead in the first half when Olivier Giroud headed home from Ben Chilwell’s cross, but the visitors hit back through El Ghazi’s fifth goal of the month.
Smith came out on top from the list of four nominees, beating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Carlo Ancelotti and Sean Dyche to the prize.
Elsewhere at Villa Park, Anwar El Ghazi and Emiliano Martinez were both nominated for the Player of the Month award, but missed out to Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes.