Roker Report's Player Of The Month: Nicklas Bendtner

Nicklas Bendtner takes the honors this month.

Hard to think it's time for a second player of the month, but it's that time again by my calculations. This month covers from the magnificent win against Stoke to the defeat at Arsenal only days ago.

Once again, the selection of player of the month is decided not by picking out of a hat, but basing on our ratings we've dished out after the game in our match reports, then averaged over the amount of games the player has played this month. It's a fair system.

Now then, on to crowning Nicklas, hearing from my fellow Roker Reporters, and seeing who's been better and who's been worse throughout the month....

Once again, we've been left with a fairly obvious choice for our Player Of The Month, but with all due respect to the rest of the squad, it's been fully deserved.

Despite only playing three games in the month for us, Bendtner has been consistently of a high standard, with one of the main difference makers in the squad being the away day horror show at Norwich, in which Bendtner was the only one to to come away that night with a performance of note.

Bendtner nicks the award from Wes Brown, who comes in at a respectable second having won last month, and we have early pace setters towards the Player Of The Season award.

I think many of us have been surprised by his high level of play after he was so often derided at Arsenal. I for one have been massively impressed with the way he leads the line, wins things in the air and has possibly the best first touch of anyone in the squad. Dare I say it, reminiscent of Niall Quinn.

Here's what my fellow Roker Reporters had to say about the Great Dane...

Chris Weatherspoon: "An impressive start to his Sunderland career, though, unsurprisingly given what he's been surrounded by in the past month or so, we can't exactly say he's set the world on fire either. Displays a first touch that is infinitely better than the rest of the side, except perhaps Sessegnon, and his partnership with the latter looks promising already. Need him to really step up in the next month or two and lead from the front in both style of play and goals; though if tactics continue in the same vein as they did yesterday, he may not get the chance."

David Boyle: "Having arrived with a somewhat chequered reputation, Nicklas has certainly proved his doubters wrong and has thrived on the new challenge having left the relative comfort of Arsene's bosom. Bendtner 's form and blossoming partnership with Sessegnon has been a highlight during this stuttering start to the season and should it "click" then there might be some glimmer of hope for the rest of the season. The Dane's ability to lead the line has impressed me the most and his deft first touch makes him stand out head and shoulders above anyone else in a red and white shirt so far this term."

Michael Graham: "I must admit, Nicklas Bendtner would not haver been my choice for Roker Report Player of the Month. I'd have given it to Phil Bardsley. I can honestly say that I haven't been able to fault Bardsley over the last 4 games and he has been doing exactly what I have ever wanted from him. I know I get a little stick for my opinions on the Salford Scot, but I am hoping that in following the example set by my detractors from last season and advocating him for an award on the basis of doing absolutely nothing, I will be gleefully welcomed on to the Bardsley bandwagon as one of their own.

But from the players who have actually kicked a ball for Sunderland this month, it could only have been Nicklas Bendtner deemed worthy of recognition. He has provided a rare beacon of genuine quality in a team clearly struggling for both form and finesse. Given that the management seem to look upon Stephane Sessegnon with the same level of bemusement as they would a broken rubix cube and the apparent reluctance to let Ji and Wickham work up a sweat on a weekend, the club's fortunes this season look inextricably linked to the big daft Dane's success here, so seeing him start so well has been very encouraging."

Dan Williams: "Nicklas has been excellent in the last month, although I would argue that few of our team deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence of player of the month. His first touch is magnificent, and though we would all be delighted if he had hit the net more than the once that he has managed, his importance to the team has already become apparent.

Unfortunately, if the team doesn't pick up, I honestly don't think that we'll be able to persuade him to stay for the long-run, but while we have him, we would do well to build the team around him and Sessegnon, who are starting to look like they could be an exciting partnership.

Questions will be asked as to whether Bendtner has enough goals in him, but he has shown a number of times throughout his career that he's an excellent finisher, and if he gets a couple of goals, his confidence will soar and I think we will see an even better player than the one that we've witnessed so far."

As for Nicklas' teammates, well here's how they got on this month in our eyes, and you'll be able to see any differential from last month too, showing who has improved or most likely, got worse...

Player Average Score Games Played 11/09 - (16/10) Differential From Previous Month
Nicklas Bendtner 7.6 3 +0.6
Wes Brown 7.0 4 -0.4
Jack Colback 6.6 3 0
Sebastian Larsson 6.5 4 0
Titus Bramble 6.5 2 +0.5
Stephane Sessegnon 6.25 4 -0.5
Simon Mignolet 6.25 4 -0.25
Ji Dong-Won 6.25 4 +0.5
David Vaughan 6.0 3 -0.5
Michael Turner 6.0 2 N/A
Connor Wickham 5.6 3 -0.4
John O'Shea 5.5 4 -1.5
Ahmed Elmohamady 5.5 4 +0.1
Lee Cattermole 5.5 2 -0.9
Craig Gardner 5.25 4 -1.0
Kieran Richardson 5.0 4 -1.2
David Meyler 5.0 1 N/A

And that's the rest of them. Quite clearly there's several of the squad who need to buck their ideas up a little. Notable fallers from last month including Kieran Richardson, John O'Shea, Craig Gardner & Lee Cattermole, whilst the likes of Wes Brown and Stephane Sessegnon also have a little bit of a blip. 

It's quite obvious that even without the aid of this table, that everyone at the club needs to start performing, - and sharpish, as we can't expect to compete with so many playing below par. 

Here's hoping for a better month next time around, but well done to Nicklas Bendtner nonetheless as he rose above the chaff around him to take the prize.

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