Time once again for Player Of The Month, and this month it goes to yet another midfielder.
While Ki Sung-Yeung came in with a great shout, as did Wes Brown, the numbers go to show that Lee Cattermole is the winner of our very much inexact science.
That's not to say Cattermole isn't entirely undeserving. He's been really rather magnificent since he came back into the side, and has added a further dimension to our play in dropping back very deep into defence when we're under the cosh.
The two games against West Ham and Chelsea have proven there's a great player there somewhere, and after countless managers perhaps Gus Poyet is the one who has figured him out.
Here's what a few of our other writers had to say on this months ratings and of course, our champion...
Luke Bowley: Paolo Di Canio made a great number of mistakes during his brief time as Sunderland manager, but none greater than freezing Lee Cattermole out, apart from maybe letting Sess go, not selling Ji, taking Ji off against MK Dons as an act of humiliation, hammering his players after every game, playing a two man midfield of Vaughan and Larsson in one match, telling the referee to send him off, confronting Sunderland fans after the West Brom defeat and just generally being a total arsehole. But especially freezing out Lee Cattermole.
Since his return Cattermole has done everything possible to prove his old boss wrong, putting in consistently good displays. He adds a tenacity in midfield which was lacking beforehand, along with a under-rated passing ability, and a new found sense of discipline (ahem, his red card against Hull aside). If we can just find a third man to play alongside he and Ki in the middle, then maybe, just maybe, we have a chance of staying up.
Craig Clark: Whenever Cattermole comes back into the side, he ends up as our player of the month. The simple reason is that his contribution on the pitch is invaluable to the side. Since returning this time, he has taken over from Ki as the holding midfielder, adding tenacity to the role. Allied to his tigerish play off the ball is his underrated passing ability, exemplified by his performance in the League Cup victory over Chelsea. His presence in the team has also allowed Poyet to move Ki further forward, which will hopefully play dividends as the two become more accustomed to each other's games. A fit, suspension free Cattermole has once again shown why he is an asset to Sunderland. Long may it continue.
Nick Holden: Since he came back into the team Cattermole has been a solid presence, with most of his performance against Chelsea emphasising what he can do for the side. By staying disciplined and sitting deep, and sometimes dropping into a back three, Cattermole allows midfielders like Ki and the full backs to push on and be more attacking. This will be a vital feature of Sunderland's play under Poyet if we can get a decent run going.
Cattermole now needs to make sure that his tackling becomes as disciplined as the rest of his play is at the moment. He must he cut out the reckless tackles born out of frustration that so often have resulted on Sunderland losing him at vital times.
And now to see how each player did this month, and how they did in comparison to last...
Perhaps one of the most interesting things isn't the scores, but the fact Gus only used 16 players over a 5 game span. Key positions such as central midfield and defence are leading the way, which bodes well for the team but the likes of Jack Colback and Adam Johnson really, really need to up their games.