Telles among five under-the-radar Premier League players who stepped up in December

The last month of the calendar year can often get quite hectic with Premier League fixtures taking place left, right and centre. Here are five players who are in impressive form heading into 2022.

From COVID postponements to threats of strikes, there's certainly been a lot of talking points around the Premier League this month.

Due to all this noise away from the field, many players have gone under the radar despite stepping up in recent games.

Here, we take a look at five players who have impressed in December.

Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli during the Premier League match at Elland Road, Leeds. Picture date: Saturday December 18, 2021.

Ronaldinho once compared Gabriel Martinelli to fellow Brazil great, Ronaldo. However, after a slow start to life at Arsenal, some had their doubts about the 20-year-old.

During the last few weeks though, the striker has begun to justify his high-profile comparisons.

Martinelli's first goal of the season came in a 2-0 win over Newcastle towards the end of November. The Brazilian youngster only played 26 minutes of that game, but his performance earned him a place in the starting line-up for the following match with Manchester United.

Martinelli produced one assist and enjoyed a very positive showing during the 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford. Another assist followed nine days later during a league clash with Southampton - a 3-0 win at the Emirates.

His growing confidence quickly led to more goals. The player got on the scoresheet in the 2-0 win over West Ham before scoring a brace in a 4-1 thrashing of Leeds. The Brazilian was also man of the match during that away trip to Elland Road.

With Martinelli improving by the game, prepare to see a lot more of him as we enter 2022.

Lucas Moura

Tottenham Hotspur's Lucas Moura in action during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday December 5, 2021.

One of the Premier League clubs which has gone under the radar during the festive period is Tottenham.

Spurs are unbeaten in December having won four of their five games and one man who has played a big part in that run is Lucas Moura.

The 29-year-old has been man of the match in three of his last four appearances - including in Spurs' 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.

The Brazilian has scored three goals in December and has also produced two assists as Antonio Conte's men moved up to sixth in the league standings and booked a spot in the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Alex Telles

Premier League Newcastle United v Manchester United, ManU Alex Telles 27 of Manchester United during the game.

Since moving to Manchester United from FC Porto back in October 2020, Alex Telles hasn't been given many opportunities to shine at Old Trafford - he's not alone.

In the few games that he has played, the 29-year-old has produced average performances. Then again, it's hard to build much rhythm when you're only playing once or twice a month.

However, since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's departure and Luke Shaw's injury, Telles has finally had the chance to have a steady run of games.

His outings in late November against Villarreal and Chelsea were pretty standard but as time went on, the Brazilian steadily improved.

During Ralf Rangnick's first game in charge of the Red Devils, Telles enjoyed arguably his best game since joining Manchester United.

The player produced 64 passes in the game against Crystal Palace, seven tackles, two interceptions and even enjoyed a couple of shots.

Six days later, Telles enjoyed a similarly impressive outing against Norwich - a game which the Red Devils won 1-0 at Carrow Road.

Most recently, Telles put on another solid display during United's 1-1 draw at Newcastle. With the way he's going, prepare to see a lot more of the Brazilian in Rangnick's starting XI.

Rayan Ait-Nouri

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Rayan Ait-Nouri (right) and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton. Picture date: Saturday December 4, 2021.

Wolverhampton may have only won once in December, but Bruno Lage's men deserve some credit for giving the Premier League's top two sides a good run for their money.

The team started the month with a drab 0-0 draw against Burnley before enduring consecutive 1-0 defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City.

Considering these two super powers have been scoring bags of goals against other clubs, Wolves' defence deserve praise for only conceding twice.

One man who is at the heart of that defence is 20-year-old Frenchman, Rayan Ait-Nouri.

The France U21 international was Wolves' best player in both those games having produced 12 tackles, four interceptions, six clearances and 62 passes.

The player missed following games with Brighton and Chelsea, but considering Ait-Nouri's impressive performances this season, we can expect to see him back in the startling line-up once he returns to full fitness. That is of course, if he isn't snapped up by a bigger club in January.

Max Kilman

Wolverhampton Wanderers Maximilian Kilman during the pre-season friendly match at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton. Picture date: Saturday August 7, 2021.

We end the list with another Wolves defender - Max Kilman.

The 24-year-old has played every minute of every Premier League game for Wolverhampton this season, and it's easy to see why.

Despite still being a relatively young player, Kilman is a consistently strong pillar in the heart of his team's defence.

Wolves have had some tough games in December but despite taking on Burnley, Liverpool, Man City, Brighton and Chelsea, they have only conceded two goals.

Kilman has averaged a seven rating throughout the month according to WhoScored - that's despite taking on the three best teams in the Premier League.

Should the centre-back continue to churn out these high-quality performances, he won't have to wait long for a phone call from Gareth Southgate.

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