Premier League Team Of The Month: September's Best XI Players
September was a strange month in the Premiership. Top teams plummeted, smaller clubs notched big wins, and the league is as wide open as ever.
That said, the league's best players came up with top-tier performances, and it's time to recognize them. If I were to pick a starting XI from the entire Premier League based on September form, these are the players that would make the cut.
Here it is, your Premiership team of the month:
Goalkeeper: Blackpool's Matthew Gilks
Gilks came up huge for Blackpool in September. Through three games, he notched 16 saves, including a seven-save shutout of Newcastle.
While Chelsea did drop four goals on him, it was by no fault of his own. In fact, Gilks came up with several big saves in the drubbing, as the Blues hurled 29 shots in his direction.
He also was victimized by an own goal, but in all turned in three outstanding performances worthy of recognition.
Defender: Manchester City's Kolo Toure
Toure was as exceptional as always, leading City's dominating defense in allowing just one goal all month.
The Citizens even shut out Chelsea's powerful offense, worthy of mention on its own. Toure and the City defense were so good, in fact, that Joe Hart was only forced to make five saves all month.
Defender: Wigan's Antolin Alcaraz
Wigan's defense was a positive surprise all month, allowing three goals in three games (albeit against underwhelming foes).
The offense was a different story. Alcaraz was a major part of the Latics' defensive strength and did what he could on offense, scoring their only goal in that span.
Defender: Tottenham's Gareth Bale
Bale's numbers weren't overwhelming, but he continued his spell of phenomenal form that has gotten him interest from the world's top clubs.
His blistering runs from the back have been a bright spot for Spurs despite their poor play to start the season.
Defender: Fulham's Brede Hangeland
Hangeland was the key cog in a Fulham defense that gave up two goals in three games.
He played the full 90 in each, and out-muscled forwards time and time again.
Teammates Aaron Hughes and Stephen Kelly deserve credit too, but Hangeland gets the nod for saving a goal by heading clear off the line against Blackburn.
Midfielder: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard
It's tough at Liverpool, but Gerrard keeps producing. Despite his teammates' poor form, the captain keeps playing the only way he knows how.
He had three of Liverpool's four goals in September, including a brace in the Reds' epic loss to Berbatov and United.
Midfielder: Manchester United's Nani
United scored eight goals in three games, and Nani played a huge part in the Red Devils' production.
While he only notched one goal of the eight, his playmaking resulted in three assists and countless attempts.
Midfielder: Chelsea's Florent Malouda
Malouda or Essien? Either would have been a fantastic choice from this dominant Blues side.
Both had a brace, both are in stellar form—so choosing between the two is largely subjective.
I'll give the edge to the Frenchman for his finishing menace (he had a couple chances narrowly diverted), but you can't go wrong with Chelsea's dynamic duo.
Midfielder: Aston Villa's Stewart Downing
Aston Villa had a decent month, but it was Downing's performance that should give the Villans hope.
The midfielder notched two goals while in spectacular form, timing his runs to perfection and delivering stinging shots. He could be among the Premier League's brightest rising stars, and is certainly a player to watch.
Forward: West Bromwich Albion's Peter Odemwingie
Odemwingie was a major force in each game, scoring two goals and proving to be a handful for opposing defenses all month long.
He may not be among the Premiership's biggest names, but the Baggies are certainly grateful to have such a dangerous option up top.
Forward: Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov
Berbatov scored four goals in September, three of which came in a hat trick against Liverpool.
Clearly, his intense training in the offseason has paid off in a big way. Berbatov even threw in a brilliant bicycle kick goal for good measure.
While this list was in no way ordered by merit, it's no stretch to say that I was saving the best for last here. He's earned it—Berbatov is the Premier League player of the month for September.