It's about that time when we have to crown a Player Of The Month. In what was supposed to be a relatively joyful and uplifting feature in the build up to the derby on Sunday, it's actually much more of a chore and sorta "that thing that needs to be done".
Anyway, Lee Cattermole won it by virtue of being the least shit player this month, comfortably ahead of all his teammates.It's probably the right decision in all honesty. Can't complain too much. Here's what some of our other writers had to say on the matter;
Nick Holden: Since he returned to the side versus West Brom Cattermole has been noticeably above the level of most of his team mates. He's generally looked diligent in his defensive duties, and has seemingly added the ability to play some rate tasty long balls to his play (the chance created for Borini against Swansea being a prime example).
By himself he isn't going to be able to turn this disaster of a season around, but (at least on the field) he isn't part of the problem. Frankly at the moment that's almost worthy of an award in of itself. Unlike a lot of the players at the club he wears the red and white stripes with pride, rather than wearing them like a jester's motley.
Michael Graham: It feels almost wrong to say anything nice about a Sunderland player at the moment. You almost feel like one of those women you read about who are locked in an abusive relationship yet still love and support the person who pummels them so mercilessly on a weekly basis.
But, on the other hand, Lee Cattermole represents the kind of story that we need to cling on to. A player who was openly derided and told he had no future here, yet refused to accept it and fought back into contention with his dignity and integrity in tact. If we had a few more with his attitude, we'd all be finding it a lot easier to relate to our club right now.
Craig Clark: One of Di Canio's biggest errors was freezing Cattermole out of the side. Since returning he has been by far and away our best player and is one of a handful to come out of this month with any credit whatsoever. He's not only shown his usual drive and commitment, he's also displayed once again that he has a great deal of quality on the ball. If one or two others could take a leaf out of Lee's book, we might actually have a fighting chance of survival. He's also shown who the real leader on the pitch is, while the experienced man wearing the armband has floundered.
Luke Bowley: I have a confession to make. I was not in favour of Lee Cattermole returning to the first team at the start of the season. This was less because I thought the Teesider wasn't a capable footballer when he played, and more down to the fact that he very rarely played, due to a poor injury and suspension record. At the time it also felt like a step backwards. We'd signed fourteen players that were supposed to take us onto the next stage, and now we were considering playing someone who'd been frozen out.
Of course, I've been proved wrong on several counts. The midfielders we signed weren't good enough, and playing Cattermole has proven not to be a step backwards at all: in fact he's comfortably our best midfield player. His pressing game was perfect for the high tempo game played under Kevin Ball, and he's also been the most likely to unlock defences with his strong passing ability (for example his ball for Borini against Swansea). He may not have had the best competition, but he's a worth player of the month winner, and would be even if the team were playing a lot better.
Chris Weatherspoon: LEE LEE LEE! Intriguingly, given his eminently dislikable nature, Lee Cattermole is one of the few players of our 'old guard' (perhaps more aptly known as our 'old greeters' given their willingness to let people past them, ho ho) that I don't loathe. He's given me plenty of reason to, but i supposed it's tempered by how - in the limited time he manages to be on-field - he does genuinely give his all to the cause.
Over the past month he's been pretty much the only positive. Against Liverpool and Manchester United he put in swashbuckling displays (let's not talk about Swansea City, for neither Cattermole nor anyone else) and once again proved that he can be an excellent defensive midfielder on his day. In addition, the passing ability that has eluded him for much of his Sunderland career has come to the fore once more, a more vivid range this month including his assist against Peterborough in the cup. There haven't been a lot of things to shout about this month, but Lee Cattermole has led from the front. It's a shame the rest have been trailing quite so far behind.
Anyway, here's the full table for your perusal;
So as you can see everyone is pretty shit. Press-stopping news I know. More of the same next month.