EA SPORTS Player of the Month for December

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After strong performances in a busy month there are eight players shortlisted for the EA Sports Player of the Month for December, for which the public can vote.

Another impressive month for Chelsea means Diego Costa and Gary Cahill are nominated, Tottenham Hotspur’s rich vein of form has brought Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli to the fore, while Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are nominated for helping spark Manchester United’s resurgence.

With Liverpool enjoying another productive month Adam Lallana is nominated, and the outstanding displays of Alexis Sanchez have brought the Arsenal forward into contention.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s impressive form over the last month has been integral to Manchester United’s unbeaten December, with the veteran Swede moving to joint second in the goalscoring charts with 13 in the league. Ibrahimovic’s hot-scoring streak isn’t too surprising when his shooting is analysed, with Manchester United’s number ‘9’ registering the joint highest shooting accuracy of any player who took more than 15 shots over the course of the month (53%). The decorated striker has also demonstrated his creativity over the course of the month, registering three assists (joint second in the league) and creating 12 goalscoring chances over the course of the month – the second most of any forward.

December Key stats:

5 goals – top of the league
53% shot accuracy – highest of any player who took 15 or more shots
3 assists – joint second in the league
12 chances created – second most of any forward (Sanchez 16)
46 touches in opposition box – The most in the league

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez.

Alexis Sanchez has been arguably Arsenal’s Player of the Season this year, with the Chilean forward producing a number of outstanding displays to the benefit of his team. In the month of December, the former Barcelona forward maintained this rich run of form and kept up the pressure on Premier League top scorer Diego Costa in the race for the Golden Boot. Sanchez impressed with his shooting throughout the month of December, taking the fifth most shots in the league (19) and registering the third highest shooting accuracy of any player who had taken 15 or more shots (47%). Arsenal’s number ‘7’ was a constant threat to opposition defences, taking the third most touches in the opposition box of any player in the league (37) and also creating 16 chances – the most of any forward.

December Key Stats:

4 goals – tied second in the league
19 shots – tied fifth most in the league
47% shooting accuracy – third highest of any player in the league
3 assists – the joint second most in the league (Fabregas 4)
16 chances created – most of any forward
37 touches in opposition box – third most in the league

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba.

Manchester United had a superb December, with the Red Devils staying unbeaten throughout the month to crank up the pressure on the other contenders in the title race. Midfielder Paul Pogba has been central to this impressive run of form, with the French international playing every minute for Mourinho’s men and dominating the centre of the park. With two goals, Pogba demonstrated his increasing willingness to take on the ‘keeper whenever possible as he took the second most shots of any player in the league (27). With two assists, the former Juventus man has also been a creative force for ‘Utd over the month, completing the fifth most passes of any player in the league (357).

December Key Stats:

2 goals
27 shots – second most in the league
80% pass accuracy
357 passes completed – fifth most in the league

Diego Costa

Diego Costa.

Diego Costa has maintained his top form for Chelsea to see them retain top spot heading in to 2017. The bullish forward assisted one goal in December and netted four times in same month. Costa was also one of few players in the Premier League to net in the final month of the year with his right foot, left and head. Two of Costa’s goals came in 1-0 wins against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace, as the Spanish forward’s goals helped Chelsea prevent dropping points at a crucial stage of the season.

December Key Stats:

4 goals – tied second in the league
Converted 30.8% of his shots to goals
Scored with his left foot, right foot and head
Scored two match winning goals in 1-0 wins

Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen.

The Dane in the middle of the park has had an exceptional month for Tottenham as they finished 2016 with a bang. Eriksen has shown his influence in the opposition half, netting four times this month, including three times with his weaker left foot. Eriksen had more attempts on goal this month than any other Premier League player, showing his influence on the Spurs side. In addition to his finishing, he demonstrated his creative side by setting up two goals from the 21 chances he created. Eriksen’s ability to get on the ball in the opposition half has been crucial for Tottenham, as he has dictated the tempo of play with the 193 passes he has completed in the opposition half in December.

December Key Stats:

30 shots –1st in the league
4 goals – tied second in the league
Scored three of his goals with his weaker left foot
2 assists – tied fourth in the league
21 chances created – tied second in the league
193 passes completed in the opposition half – tenth in the league

Dele Alli Spurs

Dele Alli.

Last year’s PFA Young player of the Year has continued his form this year, and had another great month in the white strip of Tottenham. Alli netted three times for Spurs, converting with each of his head, left and right foot. Alli netted his three goals from 19 efforts on goal, the third most of any player in the Premier League. Alli completed 106 passes in the opposition half this month, which is 77.9% of his overall completed passes, which will please the fans to see him playing further forward.

December Key Stats:

19 shots – tied fourth in the league
3 goals
Scored with his left foot, right foot and head
77.9% of completed passes in the opposition half

Adam Lallana Liverpool

Adam Lallana.

Another month, and another great showing from Lallana. The England winger has proved himself a crucial piece in the puzzle for Jurgen Klopp, netting four times in December. The Liverpool starlet netted a goal every 86 minutes in December and scored with 44.4% of his attempts on goal, both of which are Premier League bests. In addition to his goals scoring prowess, Lallana also laid on two additional goals for his teammates.

December Key Stats:

4 goals – tied second in the league
Averaged a goal every 108.5 minutes – 3rd in the league (3 or more goals)
Scored 44.4% of his shots on goal – 2nd in the league (3 or more goals)
Scored with his left foot, right foot and head
2 assists

Gary Cahill.

Chelsea marched on throughout the month of December, picking-up where they left off in November to win every single match and cement their position at the top of the Premier League table. Central to this run was their rearguard performance, with the Blues only conceding four goals throughout the month and Englishman Gary Cahill was integral to these defensive efforts. Operating on the left side of Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation, Cahill showed his impressive heading ability – winning 67% of the aerial duals that he competed in and making a total of 14 headed clearances throughout the month.

December Key Stats:

70% aerial duals won
29 clearances – including 19 headed clearances
6 interceptions
3 blocks

Data Courtesy of EA SPORTS, the Lead Partner of the Premier League. To vote in the EA SPORTS Player of the Month Award, head to www.premierleague.comData Courtesy of EA SPORTS, the Lead Partner of the Premier League.

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