I almost feel dirty pitting anyone up against Simon Mignolet after last season, but here we are. In all honesty, if I was going to go up against the brilliant Belgian with anyone I would pick Steed Malbranque with which to do it.
Last season Mignolet was generally brilliant, I think we all accept that. You can't take it away from him. Though neither should we forget the bad taste in the mouth his departure left. Everyone will have their own criteria for what makes a 'great' Sunderland player and that is the beauty of this feature, but for me someone who engineers a move away from the club at the earliest opportunity isn't really it.
Whatever your criteria, Mignolet certainly had a great season. Malbranque, however, had three years of thrilling the crowd and generally making Sunderland quite bearable to watch. With Steed you were promised entertainment and quality, week-in week-out. That was simply what he delivered.
There will be those who see fit to reduce football to numbers on a spread sheet and dismiss Malbranque. 'He didn't score goals' is an accurate criticism of him but it shouldn't be a defining one. He created plenty and he thrilled plenty.
So there we have it. One brilliant season against three good years of consistent quality. We are all winners here as we got to enjoy both. It's just a shame this match-up isn't the final in my opinion. Two fine footballers in a see of mediocrity. (MG)
It is a crying shame that this isn't the final in all honesty. We haven't had much to celebrate over the last few decades, and in this one, watching Steed trick and turn his way through a maze of opposition players brought rare moments of class amidst an abundance of inadequacy.
Unfortunately, the same can be said for Simon Mignolet - particularly last season. There is a good chance that his own ‘highlight reel' multiplied tenfold after his efforts in our ultimately successful attempt to preserve top-flight status.
Whilst it is difficult to extend the parameters for judgement on a goalkeeper - outfield players have several variables on which to quantify ability - it is impossible to not reflect on Mignolet's contributions last season, and to a lesser extent the rest of his time at Sunderland, as significant. (KJ)
Be sure to make your vote count and send one of these two through to the final. Make your voice heard below, because you only have until 11pm (GMT) tonight to get your vote in...