Premier League – Team of the Month: February 2022

The seventh month of the season has now been and gone, with February taking us a great deal closer to the Premier League’s conclusion following a January that was sorely lacking in fixtures. Usually revered as the point in the season when the Champions League re-fires up at the knockout stage, the lack of January action meant that February was as much about playing Premier League catch-up as it was about the Champions League’s return.

Picking a fair and balanced monthly XI was difficult in December and January due to the fixture inconsistency, and this challenge has now re-emerged for a third time, with some teams playing as much as six games in February and others playing just three.

Despite there being a lot of matches in a relatively short space of time, the fixture inconsistency meant that few players were able to stand out significantly in February. But regardless, the Premier League is always great at showcasing heroes, even in the short term, with a number of revitalised stars making up our monthly XI.

Team of the Month in Premier League – February 2022

Formation: 4-2-2-2

GK: Alisson (Liverpool)

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker

Starting off between the sticks, our eye is immediately drawn towards red-hot Liverpool, the in-form team of the moment. Despite seeing some rotation and a new face in the attacking areas, things have changed very little at the back, due first and foremost to goalkeeper Alisson.

Liverpool’s number one played four times in February, keeping three clean sheets and conceding just one goal as the Reds maintained a 100% record throughout the month. As well as making eight saves in February, Alisson also contributed with a rare goalkeeper assist in the 3-1 victory over Norwich, showcasing his excellent distribution abilities as well.

RB: Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton)

Southampton enjoyed a terrific February in which they climbed to the top half of the table, with the Saints achieving a near-perfect record of three wins and a draw. In that strong run, fullback Kyle Walker-Peters produced some of his best form of the season.

A versatile defender, Walker-Peters shone on both flanks for Southampton this month, with his efforts helping the Saints achieve two clean sheets. Nine tackles and ten interceptions throughout the month highlight just how solid he has been defensively, and his runs down the wing have been a consistent asset going forwards as well.

The former Tottenham man seems to be the latest talent developing superbly on the South Coast.

CB: Joel Matip (Liverpool) (C)

Out of Liverpool’s four primary defenders, it’s fair to say that centre back Joel Matip is often overlooked in favour of his three, more illustrious colleagues. In February though, the former Cameroon international was at the centre of some long overdue praise with some top class performances.

The centre-back played every minute of Liverpool’s four fixtures in February, helping his team achieve three clean sheets and chipping in with an assist against Leicester. Not only that, Matip later burst through to score an unexpected goal in the 6-0 drubbing of Leeds United to further amplify the hype surrounding his recent performances.

A fine run of form sees Matip deservedly named as our player of the month.

CB: Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)

Virgil van Dijk liverpool

Joel Matip may have surprised a few with his brilliant form of late, but he’s not the only one to hit top form for the Reds in recent matches, with Virgil Van Dijk following suit with some equally commanding displays.

The Dutch colossus played every minute alongside Matip in Liverpool’s recent run, helping his side achieve a near-perfect defensive record. With 11 interceptions throughout February, Van Dijk was typically solid at the back, and also got back on the goal trail with a bullet header in the same annihilation of Leeds United.

In this imperious vein of form, getting past this centre-back duo is a fearsome task indeed for Liverpool’s opponents.

LB: Matt Targett (Newcastle United)

Matt Targett

Newcastle’s first transfer window under new ownership predictably saw a flurry of activity in the market, with several players brought to the North East to try and help the Toon escape the threat of relegation.

The signings have generally had a positive impact on the club so far, and left back Matt Targett has been no exception to that trend. Brought in to try and shore up Newcastle’s soft flanks, the on-loan Aston Villa fullback has adapted well to life on Tyneside, helping his team achieve a clean sheet away at Brentford and contributing to strong defensive performances throughout the month with nine interceptions and six blocks.

For now, Targett is doing exactly the job he was brought in to do, and is looking like a great recruitment by Newcastle as they gradually climb the Premier League table away from danger.

RCM: Joe Willock (Newcastle United)

willock newcastle

After a busy January in the transfer market, a new-look Newcastle United had a season-defining February, the Magpies hurtling away from the relegation battle and towards lower-mid table safety with a brilliant run of three wins and a draw.

Amongst all the new signings, it was actually the familiar face of Joe Willock who had a considerable impact on Newcastle’s form this month. The former Arsenal man re-found his goalscoring touch by opening his account for the season in the 1-1 away draw with West Ham. He was at it again in the very next match, clinically finishing off a counter attack in the clash with Brentford to help Newcastle to another priceless three points.

Having gone off the boil since reaching red-hot goalscoring form towards the end of last season, it’s looking like Willock can re-establish himself as a key man to help Newcastle leave the relegation battle behind for good.

LCM: Josh Brownhill (Burnley)

Of all the teams in the Premier League, February was even more of a catch-up month for Burnley than for anyone else, with the Clarets playing six games in the month.

Despite the fixture congestion, Burnley enjoyed a relatively strong month, with central midfielder Josh Brownhill enjoying some excellent performances in the middle of the park. Brownhill played five times in February, helping his side achieve nine points and contributing with a first goal of the season in a 3-0 win over Brighton and an assist for Ben Mee’s winner in the 1-0 triumph over Spurs.

With 14 tackles and 16 interceptions, Brownhill also demonstrated a defensive robustness in the Burnley midfield, with his performances helping to fuel some impressive results and potentially the belief that they can still escape from the threat of relegation.

RAM: Ryan Fraser (Newcastle United)

Ryan Fraser of Bournemouth

Newcastle United’s excellent February form saw the club transform amazingly with players old and new looking revitalised, and going forward for the Toon attacking midfielder Ryan Fraser joined the likes of Joe Willock in re-finding their best form.

The Scotland international really stepped up for Newcastle, particularly in the absence of Allan Saint-Maximin during the second half of the month, contributing a goal in the crucial 3-1 victory over Everton and an assist in the 2-0 win at Brentford.

The former Bournemouth man seems to have come alive since being reunited with former boss Eddie Howe, and it’s no wonder he’s getting recognition in the midst of Newcastle’s battle to beat the drop.

LAM: Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)

Enduring a mixed month of form is pretty common for most Premier League sides, but for Tottenham in February it really was a strange period, with the North London team defeating Manchester City and Leeds United whilst also succumbing to three defeats in games where you’d generally be expecting more from them.

Amidst the patchy form, there were some somewhat less surprising strong performances from the established attacking duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min. The latter played five times in February, registering goals against Southampton and Leeds to take his seasonal tally into double figures.

Son was also part of a truly special attacking performance that saw Spurs snatch an incredible victory at Manchester City, contributing two assists and showing what Conte’s Tottenham are capable of when they’re on top form.

ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

harry-kane-england-celebrate-goal-euro-2020

From Son to Kane then, and it finally seems like Kane has shaken off his poor early season form and is once again looking like the sharpest striker in the Premier League. His brace against Manchester City, including that dramatic late headed winner, seems to have revitalised his entire season, with Kane later going onto score a sublime volley against Leeds United before picking out Son with a pinpoint pass to add another assist to his tally as well.

With the England Captain now back in top form, Spurs will surely have the belief that they can still push for a top four finish.

ST: Che Adams (Southampton)

Despite there being a number of outstanding attacking performances in the last month of Premier League action, few players managed to demonstrate consistency across the entirety of the month. For Southampton’s Che Adams, however, this was not the case, with the striker enjoying a fruitful February and helping his team to some highly impressive results.

Southampton’s number ten began the month with an exceptional late header to help his side claim a memorable win on the road against Tottenham, and then scored again via the post a week later as the Saints also walked away from Old Trafford undefeated. Adams then assisted Stuart Armstrong for the opener against Everton, and rounded off the month with another goal in the 2-0 victory over Norwich.

In the absence of Danny Ings, Southampton’s other forwards are really beginning to step up this season, with Adams going from strength to strength in an impressive run for the St Mary’s side.

Manager: Eddie Howe (Newcastle United)

Eddie Howe

With Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta both achieving a 100% record in the league in February, it feels very harsh and virtually unprecedented to give the manager of the month award to neither of them. For Newcastle’s Eddie Howe, though, this award is fully deserved following a stunning turnaround in form.

The Magpies didn’t quite achieve a perfect month, earning three wins and a draw, but hit a new level of performance under Howe that had been missing all season up to that point. With a newfound defensive solidity and efficiency going forward, Newcastle managed more league victories in February than they had in the entirety of the season from August to January.

The contrast in their recent form compared with what it was beforehand has been like night and day, with Eddie Howe taking Newcastle from the heart of the relegation battle to a much healthier position in mid-table.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

15 − 11 =