Stats Zone's European Team of the Month: Barça dominate as Real Madrid go missing
Alphonse Areola (Villarreal)
The French goalkeeper conceded just one goal in six matches in February, which was particularly good considering the level of opposition Villarreal faced. Atletico Madrid, Napoli and Athletic Club have all been thwarted by Areola, with Napoli's Marek Hamsik the only player to beat the Yellow Submarine’s No.1 (in the Europa League).
Areola is an excellent shot-stopper thanks to his magnificent reflexes, while his athleticism was more than evident as he spectacularly tipped Atleti forward Angel Correa's attempted chip just over the bar. He has kept an unbelievable 11 clean sheets in the last 14 matches since victory over Real Madrid in the middle of December, as Villarreal comfortably sit fourth in La Liga.
Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund)
Borussia Dortmund have defended superbly as a team in the last 29 days, while Piszczek has been a constant performer among the changes in Thomas Tuchel's backline. The Pole scored against Porto and assisted Adrian Ramos's goal in the 3-1 win over Hoffenheim, when the right-back created four chances, recovered the ball nine times and made two interceptions.
The German side have conceded just two goals in their last seven matches, although that might be tested a little more in the next fortnight as they come up against Bayern Munich and Tottenham. They might not be able to catch Pep Guardiola's Bayern at present, but Dortmund have more points than any other second-placed team at this stage of the season in Bundesliga history.
Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham)
Tottenham have the best defence in the Premier League, and the Belgian partnership of Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen has certainly been a huge factor. The former was rested in the FA Cup encounter with Crystal Palace, but the 1-0 defeat to Alan Pardew's team made Maurico Pochettino rue the decision to rotate the centre-back.
The defender is superb in the air, while his ability and distribution helps Tottenham move the ball from back to front quickly. Alderweireld made three tackles, two blocks and nine ball recoveries as Spurs beat title rivals Manchester City – who actually helped fun his move from Ajax to Atletico Madrid when they bought Martin Demichelis from the Spanish side for £4.2 million, even though Atleti had only just signed him for free earlier that summer.
Robert Huth (Leicester)
Leicester's attacking players have been grabbing all the headlines, but Huth and Wes Morgan have a rock solid relationship at the centre of Claudio Ranieri's defence.
The German made a phenomenal 15 ball recoveries in the 2-0 victory over Liverpool, and three interceptions as they defeated Norwich at the weekend. Huth was the unlikely hero as he scored a brace against Manchester City, and although they conceded two goals against Arsenal the Foxes were down to 10 men, with Huth contributing seven clearances and two blocks. His experience will be vital in the next few months.
Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)
The Brazilian left-back has been superb once again and is particularly brilliant in one-versus-one situations, as both a defender and attacker. There are very few players who get the better of him, with the former Chelsea defender completing an incredible 20 tackles in his last three league games for Atletico Madrid against Athletic Club, Villarreal and Real Madrid.
Against Villarreal, he side-stepped past Roberto Soldado before launching a 60-yard pass to the feet of youngster Oliver Torres. After his sending off against Barcelona last month, Luis has bounced back in style, being Atleti's best player in the matches since his return and assisting the winner in the Madrid derby.
Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
When Juventus lost Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo in the summer, it was naturally going to take time for their new-look midfield to become a cohesive unit. After a few months of teething problems, they are now looking stronger than ever, with the versatility of Marchisio an important factor in the rebirth.
Marchisio has mainly sat at the base of the midfield, but has looked comfortable in defence and attack in equal measure. He completed six interceptions against Genoa, four tackles against Frosinone and made 70 passes against Napoli, with the Italian's low effort almost giving the champions the lead in the top-of-the-table clash, as the huge deflection off Paulo Dybala nearly wrong-footed Pepe Reina.