The shortlist for the Premier League Player of the Month award for December has been revealed.
Manchester United and Aston Villa are the two most heavily represented clubs, boasting two nominees each. This is unsurprising, as both sides went unbeaten in the league during December.
Manchester City, Liverpool, West Ham United and Burnley are also represented in the shortlist.
The winner will be revealed on Friday, January 15.
The Portuguese playmaker is almost beginning to form a monopoly on the Player of the Month award, having already won it three times in 2020.
In December, Fernandes scored three goals and registered a further four assists. He was influential in Man Utd’s dismantling of Leeds United, and dragged the Red Devils to a point against Leicester City.
The most likely to end the Bruno Fernandes reign of terror is Liverpool’s Egyptian king, Mohamed Salah.
The winger found the net on five occasions and recorded two assists as Liverpool went unbeaten during December. His 30-minute cameo against Crystal Palace showed him at his best, scoring a brace off the bench – including a fabulous curling strike into the top corner from the edge of the box.
The second Man Utd player to be nominated for December’s Player of the Month is English forward Marcus Rashford.
The 23-year-old was influential in the Red Devils’ victories over Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, bagging a brace in the former, and an injury-time winner in the latter. On top of this, he found the net in the fixtures against West Ham United and Leicester, taking his tally for December to five.
Once on the fringes at Manchester City, John Stones has reignited his career at the Etihad Stadium, ousting Aymeric Laporte from the starting XI.
Alongside the mightily impressive Ruben Dias, Stones kept four clean sheets out of a possible four in December, achieving shut-outs against Fulham, Man Utd, Southampton, and Newcastle United.
West Ham have spent a fortune on forwards in recent years. Little did they know that the goalscorer they needed was Czech defensive midfielder Tomas Soucek.
The former Slavia Prague man scored goals against Man Utd, Leeds and Brighton & Hove Albion in December, and also got on the scoresheet in the 1-0 win against Everton on New Year’s Day.
Anwar El Ghazi
Having been restricted to substitute appearances and Carabao Cup fixtures for the opening months of the season, Anwar El Ghazi came into Dean Smith’s starting XI and made an immediate impact.
The Dutchman converted a late penalty to defeat Wolves at Molineux, and added a double against West Bromwich Albion a week later in another Midlands derby. He followed this up with a stunning strike against Palace, and then an equalising goal at Stamford Bridge, finishing the month with five.
This time last year, Emiliano Martinez was nothing more than the little-known understudy to Bernd Leno at Arsenal, constantly out on loan. In 2020, a series of impressive performances for the Gunners saw his stock rise, and he hasn’t looked back since.
December was another successful month for the Argentine. He kept four clean sheets in five outings, conceding just once.
An injury kept Ben Mee out of action until November. During his spell on the sidelines, Burnley accumulated just one point in their opening six games. In the nine games since his return, the Clarets have lost just twice, keeping five clean sheets and picking up 15 points.
In December, Mee helped Sean Dyche’s side to three clean sheets in six, conceding only three goals. On top of this, he headed home the winner against Sheffield United last time out from Robbie Brady’s corner.