Another month of Premier League matches is coming to a close, with the last third of March taking an underappreciated international break, but nonetheless crucial in determining the many teams that will compete in the World Cup in Qatar later this year. Regardless of the internationals, the three weeks of domestic action in this late month of the season have almost perfectly defined the last few wonderful weeks of the season on both ends of the table.
At the top, another slight falter for Manchester City combined with Liverpool extending their win by two months means the title race remains as fierce as ever, with the gap at the top now reduced to just one point.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have made a promising case for themselves to claim a coveted four-way spot, although Spurs remain in hot pursuit, with both teams in north London enjoying strong runs. At the other end of the action, the battle to beat the drop has changed from being between six or seven teams to possibly under four, with Brentford and Leeds United both suffering from a much-needed increase in level.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered, but with so little time left of the season. This is our eleventh star for the month of March.
A rocky February transitioned into a slightly improved March for Aston Villa, who climbed to the top half of the table after a month with two draws and two losses.
Their improved form went hand in hand with a better defensive record, and goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was key to that. The Argentine helped Villa achieve a clean sheet against Southampton and Leeds United, making stunning saves from the likes of Che Adams and Michel Antonio throughout the month.
In the eyes of many, the goalkeeper was unable to reach the heights of last season, but this month he has served to remind everyone of what Martinez can do at his best.
It’s been some years since Matte Kasch has been so far – first he became an unexpected icon for the Polish national team, and now he’s enjoying some great form in his footballing career with Aston Villa.
The right-back has been a strong contender for the Aston Villa winger since his arrival at the club in 2020, and he continued to emphasize that in March, racking up a total of 12 interceptions and 12 blocks in the four games to help his side pull off a clean sheet. Not only that, Cash is now starting to make an impact at the other end of the action as well, hitting a goal and two assists in the first part of the month.
The defender appears to be on a steady path of improvement, and it has been a big part of Villa’s recent rise to the top half of the table.
Crystal Palace may have only played on the field twice in March, but during those matches he showed his strength in defense with clean sheets and four points. In those matches, defender Mark Guehy emerged as the star of Palace’s defense with his outstanding performances.
The centre-back was impressive during his first season in the Premier League, playing every minute of the two matches in March as Palace beat both Wolverhampton and league leaders Manchester City. The 21-year-old has seen so well recently in the league that he earned his first England call-up for the March International, and he totally deserved it at the time.
What a start 2022 was for Joel Matip. Having been the cornerstone of Liverpool’s stellar winning streak and being named Player of the Month for February, the defender showed no signs of slowing down in March as he put in another set of excellent performances.
The former Cameroon international has been a rock in the back in both of his appearances during the month of March, starring in a steady line of defense and coming clean sheets in tough matches at Brighton and Arsenal. His long, precise pass to Luis Diaz also led to the opening goal in the Brighton match, with Matip earning his second assist in the league this season.
He is undoubtedly in the best form of his career with Liverpool, leading the team’s accelerating title challenge.
Matip may have shone in Liverpool’s recent winning streak, but he certainly wasn’t alone in that regard, as fan favorite Andrew Robertson went on to play a key role in Liverpool’s left-back form.
The Scottish captain appeared in all of Liverpool’s Premier League games in March, playing every minute as the Reds set a record 100% with no goals conceded. In addition to being a strong player in the back line, his ability to win is very well known now and he has demonstrated that ability by getting assists in the Emirates as Liverpool beat Arsenal.
That’s Robertson’s 10 assists this season, with teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold currently the only player in the Premier League.
A strong run was exactly what was required of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, a point in the season at which Arsenal have struggled a lot over the years. It wasn’t quite perfect, but it was good enough to see the team confirm that they are a potential candidate for the top four.
Midfield dynamo Thomas Partey has been the engine behind Arsenal’s recent success, having put in some exceptional performances in the middle of the park. Playing in all four of Arsenal’s games in March, Barty protected the four defenders superbly, making 15 tackles and nine interceptions as Arsenal netted three wins and one clean sheet.
Not only that, but the midfielder opened the scoring in the win over Leicester with a powerful header. Since giving a brutal self-evaluation of his time at Arsenal thus far in an interview earlier this season, Barty has improved dramatically.
Arsenal may have enjoyed a solid career but they are not alone in this regard, with north London rivals Tottenham in hot pursuit, setting an Arsenal-like record with three wins and one defeat.
While new boy Dejan Kulusevski has already made waves in the Premier League since his arrival in January, new teammate Rodrigo Bentancur’s performance has been equally impressive. Despite being somewhat under the radar, Bentancur has proven to be a huge midfield upgrade for Spurs, putting in an impressive performance in victories over Everton and Brighton in particular, gaining an assist in the latter.
The Uruguayan midfielder has certainly been a smart signing from Antonio Conte’s first transfer window.
With their relegation battle ever more desperate, a new champion suddenly emerged at Watford, in the form of Cucho Hernandez.
The young striker has shown flashes of his talent at times this season, but has risen to a new level with a goal and an assist against Arsenal, including a superb goal from an over kick. Although that wasn’t enough to prevent Watford’s defeat on that occasion, it was a sign of things to come from Hernandez, who later scored a brace against Southampton to help the Hornets win a truly priceless win.
His advances in form have made a huge difference to this Watford team, and if he is somehow able to inspire his teammates in an unlikely survival story, he could become a true icon of Vicarage’s path.
It wasn’t the season many at Chelsea expected, but the Blues managed to win all three of their matches in March to cement their hold on third place. Champions League champion Kai Havertz may not be at his best all season, but the German cut his stride completely in March with some performances up the stairs.
Havertz scored four goals and one assist during the month of March, including a clinical brace at Burnley and a late late goal to beat Newcastle at Bridge. The attacking midfielder is now more influential than ever in this Chelsea squad, playing every minute of play in March. Some other shows of this type will see his stock rise even higher.
The early months of 2022 are becoming increasingly worrisome for Brentford, who appears to be fading and sleepwalking towards the relegation zone. However, the bees looked rejuvenated in March, and who would have led them to safety other than Evan Toni?
Having endured something of a hit-and-miss season, Tony was simply outstanding in March, helping his team to two very important wins and scoring five goals in the process. The Brentford star scored a hat-trick at Carrow Road to defeat relegation rivals Norwich City, then scored two late goals against struggling rivals Burnley en route to another victory.
The month saw Tony nearly double his Premier League tally from six to eleven, and if he can maintain that level, Brentford will be safe and sound in no time.
As is often the case with our Team of the Month we happened to save the best until the end, and that was the scenario again with Harry Kane of Tottenham our captain.
Talisman Tottenham have been in great shape for the past few weeks, scoring twice in the 5-0 win over Everton before scoring more goals in back-to-back matches against Manchester United and Brighton. The England captain then wrapped up the month with two assists in the crucial win over West Ham, and also contributed to Kurt Zouma’s early own goal.
From overshadowing himself early in the season, Kane could be the man who steered Spurs back to the Champions League positions.
As we’ve explained, March has been a very strong month for a number of London teams, putting what could be an exciting end to the season across the capital.
However, the Coach of the Month award is not owned by London, but by Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp worthy of the sole winner of the March award. From a seemingly inaccessible position at the turn of the year, Klopp’s Liverpool slowly faltered at Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, and March finished one point clear of the champions.
Even given the Reds’ difficult level, facing West Ham, Arsenal and Brighton is certainly not an easy set of matches by any stretch of the imagination, but Liverpool beat all three without conceding a goal. Joel Matip’s rejuvenation and the addition of Luis Diaz have taken this squad to a higher level, and it’s hard to see anyone slowing down on Klopp’s and Liverpool’s performance now.
Manchester City and England fan. Opinion and feature writer on everything related to the Premier League and beyond.
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