Two months in, and the Premier League is looking more competitive than ever – who would’ve thought it? The ‘big six’ have been inconsistent at best, leaving the race for the title, and indeed for Europe, wide open to any team daring enough to challenge for them. With shock results galore and a fascinating unpredictability appearing week after week, the wide range of standout players really is a welcome breath of fresh air in these still-early weeks of the season.
Team of the month in Premier League – October 2020
GK: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
Even after Chelsea’s hefty summer spending spree it became clear that they still needed a goalkeeper, and boy do they seem to have found one. Edouard Mendy, signed from Rennes, has enjoyed a truly outstanding start to life in England, keeping a clean sheet in all three of his Premier League appearances in October. Like any great ‘keeper, Mendy just seems to inspire confidence in the defence in front of him, and the difference that has made to Chelsea already is monumental.
RWB: Stuart Dallas (Leeds United)
Leeds United’s return to the top flight certainly hasn’t been short of entertainment in their opening seven games, but they’ve crucially managed to demonstrate a bit more defensive solidity in recent weeks. Stuart Dallas has been key to that, with the Northern Ireland international putting in very strong performances against Manchester City and Aston Villa, as Leeds conceded just once across three October fixtures. A seamless transition to the top flight for the right back so far.
CB: Max Kilman (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
It was a strong month for Wolves in the Premier League, but few outside of the Molineux faithful would have known the name Max Kilman just a few short weeks ago. The young central defender came into the side at the start of October and performed brilliantly as Wolves kept three clean sheets in four fixtures and conceded just once. He even assisted Raul Jimenez’s winning strike in the victory at Leeds.
CB: Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton)
It’s been a season of the unexpected so far, and perhaps one of the biggest surprises has been Jannik Vestergaard’s revival at Southampton. The defender has struggled for form in his time on the South Coast, but has been superb lately as Southampton achieved two clean sheets out of a possible three and an unbeaten month in the Premier League. What’s more, the towering defender scored a dramatic late equaliser in the 3-3 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
CB: Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Whilst it was a great month for a young, upcoming Wolves defender in Max Kilman, it was also an impressive one for the ever-reliable captain, Conor Coady. The England defender has seen his stock rise and rise since his side were promoted to the top flight just over two years ago, and if he keeps up his recent form then there’s no doubt that Wolves will remain a very tough side to beat this season.
LWB: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s recent turnaround in defensive fortunes has depended not just on the introduction of Edouard Mendy, but also on fellow new signing Ben Chilwell. Although some eyebrows were raised when the young left back made the move to Stamford Bridge, Chilwell has improved the left-hand side of Chelsea’s defence immensely, playing a key role in their recent run of three clean sheets in four. Not only that, Chilwell has chipped in with a goal and two assists to demonstrate his value at the other end of the pitch as well.
RCM: James Rodriguez (Everton)
It was no surprise to see the early signing of the season contender James Rodriguez maintain his strong start to life in the Premier League, in spite of his side’s slight drop in form throughout the course of last month. The Colombia international contributed a further two goals and two assists for Everton in October, demonstrating even more clearly what an exceptional addition to the Premier League he has been.
CM: Oriol Romeu (Southampton)
During Southampton’s exceptional recent form, Jannik Vestergaard hasn’t been the only Saints player enjoying a revival. Defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu, who was forced to play second fiddle for much of last season, has come back into the team following the sale of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and has performed admirably, adding some much-needed grit and robustness to the Southampton midfield. To the surprise of almost everyone, Romeu also netted in the Saints’ 2-0 win over West Brom at the start of the month, and what a goal it was.
LCM: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Jack Grealish was a man with a growing reputation and popularity throughout the second half of last season, and there have certainly been no signs of that changing in the opening matches of this year’s competition. Having contributed an incredible two goals and three assists in Aston Villa’s stunning win over Liverpool, the attacking midfielder also put on an exciting display as his side secured a hard-fought win at Leicester. Really exceptional stuff from the Villa captain.
RS: Harry Kane (C) (Tottenham Hotspur)
Tottenham’s dazzling combination of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min were at it again last month, as Jose Mourinho unleashed the full talent of his two star forwards. England captain Harry Kane contributed with an exceptional four goals and three assists in just three games, astonishing numbers even for his sky-high standards. As Kane closes in on a landmark 150 Premier League goals, it’s pretty clear that any Tottenham title challenge this season will ultimately rest on him.
LS: Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)
Whilst Kane was simply the best player in the Premier League during October, it’s fair to say that Son Heung-Min comes in at a pretty close second. The South Korean forward chipped in with four goals and two assists of his own last month, including a vital late winner away at Burnley. Son may not have enjoyed the best season last time around, but he is now back amongst the goals and seemingly there to stay.
Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton)
It wasn’t a month of perfection for any team in the Premier League, but for the way in which Southampton turned around their early season woes so quickly whilst brilliantly navigating some tricky fixtures last month, Ralph Hasenhuttl and his side deserve a lot of credit. Despite the occasional blip, the Saints are improving all the time under their Austrian manager, and for him, a manager of the month award for October would be well deserved.