Then: Yet another “new Messi”–turned–moldy; now: Leading Wolves’ Champions League charge. Then: Not good enough in Dutch Eredivisie; now: On course to win his first Premier League. Then: Dime a dozen among Old Trafford scraps; now: Back on Man Utd’s transfer radar. The best stories, comments, and highlights from Premier League 2019/20 November highest-rated eleven.
4-4-2 | Tim Krul (8.68, Everton vs Norwich); Martin Montoya (8.67, Brighton vs Norwich), Steve Cook (8.59, Bournemouth vs Wolves), Virgil van Dijk (8.89, Liverpool vs Brighton), Jetro Willems (8.20, West Ham vs Newcastle); Adama Traore (9.23, Wolves vs Aston Villa), Kevin De Bruyne (8.70, Newcastle vs Man City), Wilfred Ndidi (8.58, Leicester vs Arsenal), Dwight McNeil (9.05, Burnley vs West Ham); Alexandre Lacazette (8.95, Arsenal vs Southampton), Dele Alli (9.54, Tottenham vs Bournemouth)
Player rating: 8.68
Team score: Everton 0–2 Norwich
Individual highlights: 7 total saves
Player rating: 8.67
Team score: Brighton 2–0 Norwich
Individual highlights: 1 assist, 4 interceptions
Player rating: 8.59
Team score: Bournemouth 1–2 Wolves
Individual highlights: 1 goal, 1 clearance off the line
VIRGIL VAN DIJK
Player rating: 8.89
Team score: Liverpool 2–1 Brighton
Individual highlights: 2 goals, 4 aerials won
Virgil van Dijk was a strong character, great passer but a bit nonchalant now and then.
I think that cost him a transfer to PSV among others; he made mistakes in a couple of games when the big clubs' scouts were watching. Virgil has got the talent, he wasn't expensive, just not the luck to break through at that time."
– Rob Maaskant on Virgil van Dijk eluding the top clubs back in Dutch Eredivisie
🇳🇱 @VirgilvDijk in 2019:— SPORF (@Sporf) December 2, 2019
🏟 54 Games
⚽️ 10 Goals
🧤 17 Clean Sheets
🥇 UEFA Men's Player of the Year.
🥈 2nd in Ballon d’Or & FIFA Best Men's Player.
🏆 Won the UCL & UEFA Super Cup.
🥇 @PremierLeague Player of the Season.
🏅 @PFA Player of the Year.
🙌 What a year. pic.twitter.com/IWgaRGb16h
Player rating: 8.20
Team score: West Ham 2–3 Newcastle
Individual highlights: 1 assist, 4 key passes
Player rating: 9.23
Team score: Wolves 2–1 Aston Villa
Individual highlights: 1 assist, 11 dribbles
I remember Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez always being in hungry mode.
Most players win something and then they relax. Not them. Whatever the game or competition, even if it's a casual bout of table-tennis, they want to win; they're desperate to win. That’s why they’re at the top and that's the mentality I’m working on now.”
– Adama Traore on the biggest takeaway from his time at Barcelona
KEVIN DE BRUYNE
Player rating: 8.70
Team score: Newcastle 2–2 Man City
Individual highlights: 1 goal, 6 key passes
Player rating: 8.58
Team score: Leicester 2–0 Arsenal
Individual highlights: 6 tackles, 4 interceptions
Player rating: 9.05
Team score: Burnley 3–0 West Ham
Individual highlights: 1 assist, 6 dribbles
To get let go by Man Utd was, in hindsight, character-building.
Obviously I was disappointed and hurt at the time—I was at the club since 5 and worshipped Ryan Giggs growing up—but everyone has setbacks in life and that experience spurred me to be more demanding of myself, to prove what I could become with this second chance at Burnley. I've never looked back since."
– Dwight McNeil on being released on a free from the Theatre of Dreams
Player rating: 8.95
Team score: Arsenal 2–2 Southampton
Individual highlights: 2 goals, 4 dribbles
Player rating: 9.54
Team score: Tottenham 3–2 Bournemouth
Individual highlights: 2 goals, 5 shots