What We Can See From The Table
- Tottenham were the only side to win all of their games in April, with six victories from six closing the gap on Chelsea (who lost twice) to four points.
- Manchester United were the only other team not to lose in April, but still haven’t broken into the top four despite being on a 25 match unbeaten – a club record in one season.
- Leicester City were April’s biggest movers, as three wins and draw virtually secured their safety and saw them rise to 11th.
- Three wins and a draw lifted Hull City out of the relegation zone, with Swansea (who won just once) slipping into the bottom three. The Swans have a two point gap to close in three games.
- Sunderland and West Brom were the only teams not to win in last month, picking up just a point a piece. The Black Cats they were relegated on the 29th April bringing to an end their 10 year stay in the Premier League.
Player of the Month
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
Before this campaign, not a season had gone by on It’s Football Not Soccer without Sergio Aguero picking up a Player of the Month award from us. Yet this year looked likely to break that streak, until the Argentine popped up with five goals and one assist in six April games to claim the accolade for a record fifth time, moving clear of Harry Kane on four. Aguero netted in Manchester City’s first four games of last month, helping them pick up seven points in the process with wins over Hull City and Southampton and a draw with Arsenal. He then, like every other play on the pitch, drew a blank in a dire Manchester Derby that ended 0-0, before ending the month right back on form, scoring a penalty and setting up Gabriel Jesus’ goal in a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough. This hot streak means that he is now sitting on 18 league goals for the season, and with Pep Guardiola’s still fighting for Champions League qualification with four games to go, fans will hope that the 28-year-old will overcomes a slight knock picked up at the Riverside to spearhead their challenge, even if rumours about a move to Real Madrid refuse to go away. Aguero is the third different City player to pick up our player of the month award this season, following in the footsteps of Raheem Sterling (August) and Kevin De Bruyne (September). Incredibly, no player from champions elect Chelsea has won it.
2nd – Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)
3rd – Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Manager of the Month
Mauricio Pochettino – Tottenham Hotspur
In their last ever season at White Hart Lane, Tottenham Hotspur are playing some of their best football in years as Mauricio Pochettino continues to work his magic in North London. After chasing Leicester all the way before eventually finishing third in last season’s title race, many thought that Spurs would struggle to challenge for top spot again, but this year they have been even better, and sit on 77 points after 34 games, a tally already seven better than 2015-16. April was Pochettino’s side’s best month of the campaign yet, as they won all six games to move within four points of leaders Chelsea.
It began with away wins over Burnley (2-0) and Swansea (3-1), before a pair of 4-0 home wins over both Watford and Bournemouth. They then got past an inform Crystal Palace side 1-0 before ending the month in the best possible fashion with a 2-0 victory over North London rivals Arsenal to ensure that they will finish above the Gunners for the first time in 22 years.
Beating Chelsea to the title may a step to far for Pochettino this year, but there are a couple of stats that prove just how far the Argentine boss has taken Tottenham: the club have won nine consecutive league games for the first time since a run of 13 in a row in 1960, need just one more league win to get their 24th of the season, a total they last managed in the 1966-67 campaign, whilst they have earned 147 points since the start of last season, 15 more than any other team. They have also scored an unrivalled 140 goals.
2nd – Antonio Conte (Chelsea)
3rd – Jose Mourinho (Manchester United)
Goal of the Month
Xherdan Shaqiri vs Hull City
2nd – Pedro vs Everton
3rd – Sam Clucas vs Watford
Game of the Month
Everton 4-2 Leicester City
Everton registered their seventh straight home league win as Romelu Lukaku scored twice to check Leicester’s renaissance under boss Craig Shakespeare. Tom Davies poked in for the hosts after 30 seconds, before Leicester rallied with a slick counter-attacking goal from Islam Slimani and a superb free-kick from Marc Albrighton. Lukaku headed in a Ross Barkley cross to draw Everton level and Phil Jagielka was allowed too much space at a corner as the Toffees reached the break ahead. Lukaku drilled in from close range after the interval and the withdrawal of the bright Demarai Gray and striker Jamie Vardy seemed to signal Leicester’s attentions turning towards Europe. [Read the full BBC report here.]
2nd – Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal
3rd – Middlesbrough 2-2 Manchester City
Did You Know?
Arsenal have already lost twice in April, meaning they have been beaten in six league games so far in 2017, as many defeats as they suffered in the whole of 2016.
Games to look out for in May
As the title race goes down to the wire, the battle for Champions League qualification hots up and the fight to avoid relegation gets tighter, we at It’s Football Not Soccer feel that every game in May could well be crucial!