Roker Report's Player Of The Month: Simon Mignolet

Stu Forster

It's time for us here to crown our third Player Of The Month for the 2012/13 season. After pulling of some magnificent stops and firmly underlining himself as one of the league's best, Simon Mignolet takes the award. Come here and see how he and the rest of the squad stacked up.

This month's Player Of The Month on the site is a closely contested battle, and the tie-breaker of most points gained this season has to come into play to split the two top contenders. All in all, that means a big win for Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian stopper emerges as our top man, just as he himself seems to have emerged as one of the best 'keepers in the Premier League at the moment - and he's yet to even hit his peak.

The month started well for Mignolet, earning a decent mark in the 0-0 draw with Stoke City where he made a number of fine stops.

The break from action in the Capital One Cup seems to have been a blessing for him as nobody in particular emerged from the home defeat to Middlesbrough with any credit.

Back in action against Everton, Mignolet did what he had to well as there was little he could do about either goal, and the month was topped with a Man Of The Match performance against Fulham in our first away win for God knows how long.

Now I'll hand you over to the rest of team Roker Report to see how they feel about this month's winner...

Michael Graham: The idea of Sunderland 'finding one' is a difficult one with which to feel comfortable. Going to smaller clubs in relatively obscure leagues and grabbing a talented youngster for a modest fee and watching as he develops into a player of genuine top class potential is just one of those things that other clubs do. But if anyone is going to be that guy for Sunderland, then it is looking like it will be Simon Mignolet.

The big Belgian seems to have that hallmark of all top players that just when you think he can't get any better, he finds another gear. No one has probably won more points for Sunderland this season than Mignolet, and no one has been more consistent over the course of 2012. His taking home of the highly prestigious (it is, man!) Roker Report Player Of The Month award is long overdue and richly deserved,

Dan Williams: 'The Premier League's Best Kept Secret... The Most Under-rated Goalkeeper In The League' etc etc. The headlines about Simon Mignolet continue to write themselves. The spotlight is firmly on young Belgians at the moment, they are the talk of world football, and none more so than our goalkeeper. Proving on a match-by-match basis that he is an incredible talent between the sticks, he is not only just our player of the month, but our most consistent performer of the season.

Lee Cattermole is perhaps unlucky to miss our on the award, as the captain is beginning to show the kind of maturity on the field that could and hopefully will make him an incredibly important piece in the SAFC puzzle, but for now, we should concentrate on The Mig, and raise a toast to our Belgian stopper.

Karl Jones: A fully deserved winner this month. Actually, with Simon's science, it always is but Simon Mignolet has been Sunderland's stand-out player so far this season.

Having a settled centre-back partnership in front of him would have put him at ease, but his recent performances have displayed the qualities that have been almost ever-present since his arrival. His ability to anticipate danger and spread his 6"3 frame is only bettered by his reflexes. Two pivotal saves on Sunday preserved the team's two-goal lead whilst he was again dependable at Everton. As Mignolet continues to prove his worth, those who have been long critical of his distribution have diminished. It's fine time that we start appreciating just what a fine talent we have.

David Boyle: I'm absolutely delighted to see our Belgian keeper take the plaudits this month and thoroughly deserved the award is too. In my opinion Simon is an often underrated talent, not only by the rest of the league but often by a sizable number of our own support too. This assessment will never fail to astound me. Surely even the staunchest of Mignolet deniers will now have to take a closer look at our number one following a string of impressive performances.

Since suffering that facial injury, rather than lose confidence to effectively command his area, Mignolet has seemingly grown in stature and shows no fear when coming to deal with aerial threats into his area. Add this to his already impressive shot-stopping ability and it is obvious that Sunderland have a real talent on their hands, so much so that scouts from Old Trafford have been keeping tabs on the lad.

Mignolet's importance to the side has never been more evident than at Craven Cottage on Sunday where a string of vital saves provided a launch pad from which Sunderland could go one and grab the goals to clinch the three points.

Plus, that Lion King inspired chant is genius.

Chris Weatherspoon: As a former goalkeeper myself - before the Gods of human growth conspired against me and left me unable to touch the bar without a sizeable run-up and jump - I've always had a sort of knack for recognising a decent 'keeper early on. That's not me bragging, it's just something that becomes intuitive, other stoppers will agree, I'm sure. Simon Mignolet, though somewhat raw, always struck me as a player with all the basics in place.

This season we've seen those basics built upon in spades. Numerous times Mignolet has came to his team-mates aid, not least in Sunday's win at Fulham. His distribution still leaves room for improvement, but the arrival of Steven Fletcher has shown that, far from being a wayward kicker, Mignolet can pick his man out accurately. On crosses he looks more confident than ever, while his shot-stopping ability is there for all to see. Mignolet is part of a breed of Belgian youngsters who are really making their impact on top-level football, and is quickly developing himself as one of the league's best goalkeepers. Long may it continue.

Player
Average Score
22/10/11 To 19/11/12

Differential From
Previous Month
Season Total
Simon Mignolet 7.0 +0.34 67
Lee Cattermole 7.0 +3.0 58
Stephane Sessegnon 6.4 +0.65 78
Danny Rose 6.33 -1.17 54
Steven Fletcher 6.2 -1.13 73
Carlos Cuellar 6.2 +1.2 61
Jack Colback 6.0 +0.25 78
Seb Larsson 6.0 +0.34 63
Adam Johnson 6.0 +0.34 60
Keiren Westwood 6.0 0.0 18
James McClean 5.8 -0.45 77
Phil Bardsley 5.5 N/A 22
John O'Shea 5.4 -0.6 69
Craig Gardner 5.33 -1.17 69
David Vaughan 5.33 -0.92 41
Connor Wickham 5.0 N/A 5
Louis Saha 4.75 -1.25 59
Fraizer Campbell 4.5 -0.5 35

Performances generally seem to be up across the board, which is very pleasing indeed. Lee Cattermole came very close to pipping Mignolet to the top spot, but ultimately his suspensions earlier in the season seem to have gone against him.

Phil Bardsley comes in for the first time this season and finds himself plum in the middle of the pack. Danny Rose, Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon keep the heat on top spot for the overall end of season gong.

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