Here we go. The closing of the penultimate month of this Premier League season now means that the end of the campaign is just around the corner, and yet April’s results have left the league beautifully poised with so many possibilities still open.
Off the back of April’s action, we do now know at least one thing for certain – that Norwich City are the first team to be officially relegated, an outcome confirmed when the Canaries lost 2-0 at Aston Villa on the final day of the month. Other than that, everything else is still up in the air at both ends of the table.
Manchester City and Liverpool both came as close as possible to a perfect month by winning all of their games and drawing when they faced off against each other. Elsewhere, the big winners of this month were the likes of Brentford, Newcastle United, and Brighton and Hove Albion, who all surpassed the 40-point mark en-route to mid-table comfort.
With the title, top four, and relegation all still yet to be decided, we’re all set for a thrilling ending. Here is our Star XI from another exquisitely unpredictable month of Premier League action.
Team of the Month in Premier League – April 2022
GK: Nick Pope (Burnley)
Talk about a month of two halves. An April that began in a worrying fashion for Burnley in their relegation fight took a shocking turn midway through when long-serving manager Sean Dyche was sacked and then proceeded to see an incredible upswing under new caretaker boss Mike Jackson.
The team may be in rollercoaster form at the moment, but one constant has been the displays of Nick Pope, who has stood out once again this season in Burnley’s relegation dogfight. The England goalkeeper made a total of 24 saves in seven April fixtures, averaging nearly four per game, and achieved two clean sheets. His performances in the 1-1 draw with West Ham and 1-0 win over Wolves have been absolutely vital to Burnley gaining some hope in their battle to beat the drop.
Without Pope between the sticks, Burnley’s fate would likely have been sealed a long while ago.
CB: Nathan Collins (Burnley)
Whilst Pope was an authoritative figure for Burnley in a vitally important month, it was the added presence of a new man at the back that helped give the Clarets the spark that was needed to reach a new level.
Centre back Nathan Collins has, in a few short weeks, gone from being a virtual unknown to a crucial component of Burnley’s defence. The 21-year-old started six matches in April, playing every minute of those fixtures, and also helping Burnley to two clean sheets. Not only that, Collins has proven to be an unexpected asset at the other end of the pitch as well, scoring bullet headers in victories over both Everton and Southampton.
A new hero at Turf Moor right when Burnley needed it the most.
CB: Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)
Liverpool’s sensationally long winning run may have come to an end with the team’s thrilling 2-2 draw with league leaders Manchester City, but other than that, it was another fantastic month for the Reds, who still dream of making history with an unprecedented quadruple.
The centre-backs maintained their terrific form, and whilst a lot of attention has been on Joel Matip in recent months, what about the continuing excellence of Virgil Van Dijk? Liverpool’s leader at the back played every minute of Premier League action in March, helping his side earn four clean sheets from a possible five. The Netherlands international also achieved a passing accuracy of over 90% across the five games.
Still just as brilliant for Liverpool as he ever has been.
CB: Pontus Jansson (Brentford)
What an incredible month for Brentford. After a promising resurgence in March, the Bees were near-unstoppable in April, picking up ten points from four games against some illustrious opposition.
The team’s success was built on a strong defensive foundation, conceding just twice across the four fixtures, and Pontus Jansson stood out as a key figure at the back for Brentford. The central defender started three of his team’s four fixtures, helping them achieve victories over Chelsea and Watford in addition to a 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
The Swede’s last-gasp winner against Watford was a defining moment in ensuring that Brentford will indeed be a Premier League side again next season.
RM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
The penultimate month of the season was another strong one for reigning champions Manchester City, who ended April one point clear at the summit of the Premier League after a near-perfect run of matches.
Unsurprisingly, it was the genius of Kevin De Bruyne that once again drove the Citizens on to success. In four games, the Belgian midfielder chipped in with two goals and three assists, proving himself to be the attacking and creative heartbeat of the team. De Bruyne’s highlights included a goal in City’s titanic clash with Liverpool at the Etihad and two assists in just under an hour during the team’s 5-1 dismantling of Watford.
In recent months, very few have been able to match his incredible form.
CM: Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United)
After a slight wobble either side of the international break, Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United were on the march again last month, securing an excellent record of four victories and two defeats in the league, leading to their longest streak of home top-flight wins in nearly 20 years.
Among the stars in this brilliant run was Brazilian midfield dynamo Bruno Guimaraes. Having gradually adapted to the speed and style of the Premier League, Guimaraes is rapidly becoming an icon at St James’ Park. The midfielder scored three goals and assisted another one during Newcastle’s April fixtures, including a match-winning double in the narrow 2-1 triumph over Leicester City.
He may have only arrived in January, but Bruno Guimaraes is already a certified star at Newcastle United, and one who will surely spur them onwards next season.
CM: Rodri (Manchester City)
It’s no secret that Manchester City’s midfield is bursting with talent, and in the very heart of the pitch, defensive midfielder Rodri has continued to excel in recent weeks.
The former Atletico Madrid man played in all five of City’s league fixtures in April, helping the team achieve three clean sheets with his excellent work shielding the back four. Not only that, he also made a considerable contribution at the other end, smashing home a belting half-volley against Watford and heading in the opener against Leeds United.
Without a shadow of a doubt one of the league’s most consistent players this season.
CM: Christian Eriksen (Brentford)
We’ve already highlighted what a terrific month April was for Brentford, but at the heart of it all was one of the greatest stories of the football season.
We can all agree how amazing it is to see Christian Eriksen back playing football at the highest level again, and for Brentford, he has continued to demonstrate what an incredible player he is. The Danish midfielder completed 11 key passes for the Bees across their four April fixtures, scored in the stunning away victory over Chelsea, and assisted Pontus Jansson’s dramatic late winner at Watford.
What a story for both Eriksen and for Brentford.
LM: Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)
For Tottenham Hotspur, April also fell into the category of a month of two halves, with a blistering start eventually halted by blanks against Brighton and Brentford to leave the top four race hanging in the balance.
However, the form of forward Son Heung-Min in the first few games of the month alone are enough to see him earn a place in this XI. The Spurs star featured four times in April, registering four goals and one assist, including a clinical hat-trick in the 4-0 drubbing of Aston Villa.
With the end of the campaign drawing ever nearer, it may take one more push from Son to help Tottenham over the finish line and back into the Champions League.
ST: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
Whilst Manchester City did enjoy a great month in the Premier League, it was also a period filled with whispers of transfer comings and goings in the media, many of them surrounding the team’s Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus.
Amidst all of the rumours, though, Jesus picked the perfect time to remind his team just what he is capable of, with some clinical performances in front of goal. He netted with a fine lobbed finish against Liverpool, his first league goal since September, and went from strength to strength from that point onwards. A dazzling display complete with four goals and an assist against Watford was unquestionably one of the greatest performances from a forward in the league this season, and he rounded off April with another goal in the victory over Leeds.
In this kind of form, Manchester City must be rethinking their intentions to move him on in the summer.
ST: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) (C)
Where on Earth would Manchester United be without Cristiano Ronaldo this season? The Red Devils may have continued to struggle badly last month but Old Trafford’s Portuguese icon repeatedly did his very best to dig his team out of a hole, netting five times in just four matches.
Ronaldo’s magnificent hat-trick was just enough to see United over the line against Norwich City, and the forward also managed to find the net with clinical finishes against rivals Arsenal and Chelsea, even with his side slumping to a defeat and a draw respectively in those two games. With his excellent goal return in a struggling side, Ronaldo captains our XI as the player of the month.
Nothing is ever certain in football, but you’d certainly think that new Man United boss Erik Ten Hag will be keen to keep him around next season.
Manager: Thomas Frank (Brentford)
It almost goes without saying that there are plenty of Premier League managers worthy of being named April’s Manager of the Month, among them the likes of Mike Jackson and Eddie Howe. But this time, the accolade once again goes to a Brentford man, with Thomas Frank scooping the award.
Having just returned from an international break, Frank’s Brentford picked up where they left off in March, their stunning 4-1 win over Chelsea on April 2nd sending shockwaves through the league. From that, the West London side went on to secure 10 points from four games, achieving an unbeaten month in the top flight for the first time since August.
Hitting the 40-point mark before the end of April underlines what a fantastic season Brentford have had in their long-awaited return to the bigtime.
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.