LIVERPOOL centre-back Virgil van Dijk has become the first defender to win the Premier League Play of The Month since 2013. Van Dijk made seven appearances for Liverpool in December, captaining the side on three occasions. Liverpool won all seven games as

Virgil van Dijk becomes first defender since 2013 to win Player of the Month

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  • 2019-01-11 23:50:10 11 months ago
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LIVERPOOL centre-back Virgil van Dijk has become the first defender to win the Premier League Play of The Month since 2013.

Van Dijk made seven appearances for Liverpool in December, captaining the side on three occasions.

 Van Dijkwon the Premier League Player of The Month award

Liverpool won all seven games as the Reds maintained their unbeaten start to the league, finishing the month top of the table.

In December Van Dijk featured in Liverpool's 1-0 win against Everton, 4-0 victory at home to Manchester United and 5-1 thumping of Arsenal.

However, Van Dijk could do nothing to stop champions Manchester City handing Liverpool their first defeat of the season at the start if January.

Not only did Van Dijk receive an award, Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp scooped the Manager of the Month.

Klopp said: "It's nice, the icing on the cake, it was a very successful but difficult month.

 Klopp won the Manager of The Month award
 Van Dijk is the first defender since 2013 to win the award
 The defender played in all seven of Liverpool's games in December

"Each game felt like the most important one of the season. It was unbelievable. The intensity was massive but that's what made it a special month.

"With the group I have here, if you can mix up the potential of the group with the best attitude you can get, you get quality. That's what we did in December."
Van Dijk’s performances in December means he becomes the first defender since Jan Vertonghen in 2013 to pick up the Player of The Month award.

Vertonghen picked up the accolade in March 2013, although Tottenham only won two of the four games they played when the Belgian picked up the honour.

 Vertonghen picked up the award in March 2013
 Tottenham won just four of their league games in March 2013

Tottenham would finish the season in sixth place as Vertonghen only missed four games in the league campaign.

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk can be the best defender of the Premier League era

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Virgil van Dijk becomes first defender since 2013 to win Player of the Month

Arsenal the sixth richest club in the world without a pot to p*** in… they are a laughing stock unless you are one of their fans

FOR years their lack of silverware made them the butt of a thousand jokes.

You know the ones…”what does an Arsenal fan do when they win a trophy? Turn off the PlayStation” and the like.

 Unai Emery does not have any money to spend to buy any players this month

About as funny as a fart in a spacesuit, admittedly, but you get the point of how it was until they finally won an FA Cup or two again.

Now, though, the Gunners are something of a laughing stock again, only you won’t find too many of their own fans splitting their sides.

This time it is because Arsenal, the club Forbes rated as the sixth richest in the world only six months ago, haven’t got a pot to p*** in when it comes to a January transfer kitty.

 Arsenal, owned by Stan Kroenke are the sixth richest club in the world, according to Forbes
 Arsenal are scratching around trying to cobble cash together to land Denis Suarez

The club with an annual turnover of £427 million, with an owner whose fortune is around £7 BILLION, with the costliest season tickets in the Prem won’t be spending a penny this month.

Too far fetched for words? Not a bit of it, Unai Emery admitted as much yesterday, albeit without spitting his dummy.

When Kroenke paid £600m to buy out Alisher Usmanov and become sole owner, it didn’t all come from his own pocket.

Very little of it did, in fact. All but £50m came from a bridging loan, and he hasn’t stumped up any of his own dough for new signings.

Indeed, the Gunners spend only money generated from their own revenue, claiming they want to do in a way which respects the club’s history, values and traditions.

All very virtuous. But when you consider a lack of Champions League football has cost around £35m in each of the two years they’ve been out, in a total drop of around £40m in matchday, broadcast and commercial revenue, it doesn’t leave much.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery explains this issues of signing Barcelona's Denis Suarez

In fact apparently, it doesn’t leave a bean. Not even a chance to sign Denis Suarez on loan as they won’t agree to Barcelona demanding a £20m commitment to buy in the summer.

The idea of speculating to accumulate clearly causes Kroenke to come out in a cold sweat, but that’s the truth of it.

Unless you’re a Man City, needing just one player, a Riyad Mahrez, a little tweak to what’s already in place, then you’re always going to be behind the eight ball.

Liverpool realised it, spending fortunes on the likes of Alisson, Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho.

 Liverpool needed a defender so they made Virgil van Dijk the most expensive defender in the world last year
 Ed Woodward back Jose Mourinho to the tune of £390million

United, for all they toiled under Jose Mourinho, knew they’d have to splash big dough to get back to anywhere near their former glories.

Yet Kroenke doesn’t see it like that, he wants the glory, the kudos of owning one of the game’s elite clubs without paying too much of his own cash for the privilege.

Like a footballing version of the Little Red Hen.

No wonder Gunners fans have accused him of killing the club.

Yes, there will be more money available in the summer, when new sponsorship deals with Adidas and Emirates kick in.

But unless Kroenke finally puts his hand in his pocket to throw in a few quid of his own – and there’s no sign of it, to be honest – they’ll be backing a Europa League club at best.

Thank Heavens no-one’s seriously threatening to do a Leicester or Burnley of last season, or even that might be beyond them.

It’s match week 22 of the Premier League as Tottenham welcome Manchester United and West Ham take on Arsenal

 

Cardiff v Huddersfield: match preview

It seems remarkable to think Cardiff are out of the bottom three despite leading for a total of 93 minutes this season. Neil Warnock would happily settle for another injury-time winner here as Cardiff host Huddersfield in a proper relegation scrap. Huddersfield have lost eight league games in a row and are eight points adrift of safety, making this a must-win game for them. Cardiff have enjoyed plenty of home comforts this season but their last two games in front of their own supporters were both heavy defeats. Stuart James

Saturday 3pm

Venue Cardiff City Stadium

Last season n/a

Referee Lee Mason

This season G11 Y39 R1 xx cards/game

Odds H 13-10 A 11-4 D 23-10

CARDIFF

Subs from B Murphy, Peltier, Mendez-Laing, Cunningham, Decordova-Reid, Ralls, Smithies, Damour, Healey, Harris, Connolly

Doubtful Harris (shoulder)

Injured Ward (head, 19 Jan), Zohore (thigh, 19 Jan)

Suspended None

Discipline Y33 R1

Form WLLDWL

Leading scorer Paterson 4

HUDDERSFIELD

Subs from Hamer, Stankovic, Depoitre, Bacuna, Durm, Löwe, Smith, Mbenza, Brown

Doubtful Smith (hamstring)

Injured Mooy (knee, 29 Jan), Sabiri (collarbone, 29 Jan), Williams (knee, Mar)

Suspended None

Discipline Y30 R3

Form LLLLLL

Leading scorer Jørgensen 3

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