Many of the Premier League’s key races at both ends of the table unfolded during the month of April.
Fulham’s failure to win a single game since a 1-0 win over Liverpool on March 7 has all but consigned them to relegation, while Manchester City know that a win over Crystal Palace on Saturday could see them wrap up the Premier League title by the end of the weekend.
The race for the top four is the last remaining sub plot containing a serious competitive edge, with Leicester City, Chelsea, West Ham United, Liverpool, Spurs and Everton all still in contention for Champions League qualification.
As the season reaches a crescendo, the month of April is a time when players can write themselves into club folklore.
With proverbial six-pointers arriving thick and fast, a series of fine displays around this time of year can define an entire campaign and, despite the tumultuous nature of this pandemic-hit campaign, the 2020/21 season has been no different in that respect.
It’s been another captivating month of football, and here at GIVEMESPORT we’ve found it challenging to whittle down the nominees for April’s GMS Fans’ Player of the Month award to just six candidates.
However, after analysing the statistical data and scouring our memories we’ve drawn up a shortlist of the best the Premier League has had to offer this month.
Take a look at the six candidates below, with all stats courtesy of WhoScored.
The goalkeepers: Illan Meslier
Honorary mentions must go to Brighton & Hove Albion’s Robert Sanchez and Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper Rui Patricio, both of whom kept two clean sheets in four appearances.
However, it was impossible to look beyond the ever-impressive Leeds United youngster Illan Meslier. The 21-year-old has firmly stamped his name on the number one shirt at Elland Road this season and his last four outings have firmly vindicated Marcelo Bielsa’s enduring faith in his ability.
Meslier played a starring role in Leeds’ stunning 2-1 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium this month, while his elastic shot-stopping ability helped the Whites to restrict Man United and Liverpool to just one goal between them.
No goalkeeper that started four games has conceded less goals (3) than the prodigious Frenchman.
The defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold
West Ham United’s Vladimir Coufal can consider himself hard done by to miss out on a nomination having provided three assists from full-back, while Jan Bednarek finds himself in a similar bracket after topping the interceptions charts (14) and ranking second for aerial duels won (19).
However, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s performances in the face of adversity have tipped the balance. The Liverpool academy graduate has faced intense scrutiny this season and was dropped from Gareth Southgate’s most recent England squad.
But Alexander-Arnold has proven that Jurgen Klopp’s claim about Liverpool’s “mentality monsters” was more than just a fluffy headline generator. The 22-year-old provided the perfect answer to his critics with a typically devilish assist for Diogo Jota during a 3-0 win over Arsenal at the start of the month, and he followed up that moment of genius with an emphatic injury-time winner against Aston Villa.
He finished the month with one goal and a pair of assists to reaffirm his England credentials ahead of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
The midfielders: Matheus Pereira, Jesse Lingard
Christian Pulisic has endured a frustratingly injury-hit campaign but he capped four eye-catching displays with a total return of three goals during April to give Chelsea a much-needed boost in the race for the top four.
Up in the North East, meanwhile, Joe Willock has displayed a Frank Lampard-esque tendency to arrive in the penalty area at exactly the right time, helping Newcastle pull away from a relegation dogfight with three goals in three appearances.
However, this month’s nominations go to West Brom’s Matheus Pereira and Jesse Lingard, two more goal-hungry players who topped the midfield goalscoring charts with four a piece.
Pereira set the tone for his most productive month in the Premier League to date with a pair of goals and assists against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which included a sumptuous lob over a stranded Edouard Mendy.
He finished April with six goal contributions in four games as Sam Allardyce’s side gave themselves a slither of hope in a seemingly impossible mission to beat the drop.
As for Lingard, the hype train steaming through east London continues to gather pace. The England international has been in unrelenting form since signing for the Hammers and further sharpened his chances of earning selection for Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad with four goals and one assist in four starts for the Hammers.
The strikers: Kelechi Iheanacho, Mason Greenwood
Four strikers – Chris Wood, Harry Kane, Kelechi Iheanacho and Mason Greenwood – managed to average a goal per game in April, and Wood is particularly unfortunate to miss the cut having also provided three assists in an incredible month for the New Zealand international at Burnley.
However, Greenwood had only scored one goal and provided one assist all season prior to the turn of the month and added five goal contributions to his tally in just four appearances for Man United. The juxtaposition between his form pre and post April earned him selection over Wood, but there is no disputing Iheanacho’s place here.
The Nigeria international has taken the limelight off Jamie Vardy in stunning fashion and provided a regular source of goals at a crucial juncture in the season for Leicester.
His fizzing 80th minute strike to secure the Foxes a priceless three points against Crystal Palace on Monday was his fourth in as many games, while his poise, patience and precision were key in providing the assist for Timothy Castagne’s equaliser in the same game.
Inheanacho’s credentials are as strong as any.
Cast your vote for April’s Player of the Month now by clicking here.