It's time to crown yet another Player Of The Month here at Roker Report. Quite a month it's been too with not only a change of manager, but also a change in fortunes on the pitch too.
Martin O'Neill has us playing much, much better, and it's been reflected in the scoring throughout the second half of this month. There's also been some new names to add to the proceedings too as the likes of James McClean have emerged and Titus Bramble returned, whilst the likes of Craig Gardner has managed to get on to the pitch more regularly after a month without a game.
This months Player Of The Month however is Stephane Sessegnon, so let's reflect on his glory...
Sess has had a pretty good month, and perhaps what sealed it for him was being able to rise slightly above the mediocrity in the awful games with Wigan and Wolves. Against Blackburn during Martin O'Neill's first game in charge, Sessegnon looked a handful for the defence all afternoon, whilst the 3-2 win at QPR was perhaps his finest game of the season. In which he not only grabbed a lovely, lovely goal, but also just made absolute mugs of the Londoners backline all day long. Against Everton he was the only outlet during a grinding draw. Perhaps the only player looking likely to do anything special.
Spurs away was perhaps his only 'down' game, in which he was relatively anonymous and looked a little lost, but aside from that, I don't think Sess's performance over the last month can be faulted.
Here's what the rest of of Team Roker Report had to say about this month's winner...
Michael Graham: Stephane Sessegnon is becoming frankly too sexy for words. Serious man-crush ensues when his brooding stare catches a hold. I have no shame about it. He is probably the most technically gifted player the majority of us have ever seen in red and white and in the last month his immaculate first touch has been put to fine use further up the pitch. I always maintained he was wasted in a wider position, certainly in a midfield 4, as the very last place you want to see him is tracking marauding opposition full backs to edge of his own area, so I am delighted to see him really starting to find a home for himself up front. His form in the past month has been consistently good and he is finally becoming the fulcrum of our team as we always hoped he would.
Dan Williams: What to say about our little Benin international? Admittedly, at times, Sess can be wholly frustrating. He is clearly the most technically gifted player in the squad, but ever since his arrival, we've struggled to find him a home within the team. Thankfully, over the last few games under Martin O'Neill, he has looked every bit the player that we know his is capable of being. Highlighted by a terrific performance away at QPR, and a wonderfully taken goal, Sessegnon is a worthy winner of player of the month, and I sincerely hope he is capable of continuing this form into the new year.
David Boyle: Stephane Sessegnon, a worthy winner of POTM I'm sure everyone would agree. Sess is at times an absolute joy to watch and is capable of changing, even winning, a game himself thanks to those magic feet. That said Stephane can often frustrate in equal measure, usually on the days when he had left his shooting boots at home and only the fans behind the goal are concerned when he pulls the trigger as apposed to the opposition goalkeeper. This month however the good has far, far, far outweighed the bad with his eye-catching performance at Loftus Road being the pick of the bunch, his sidestep of Paddy Kenny before slotting home was simply breathtaking. Here's to many more moments of magic to come from the little fella!
Chris Weatherspoon: Ah Sess. It is no coincidence his name sounds ever-so-slightly like sex, another wonderful thing. Especially this past month. Looking lost and misused under Monsieur Brucey, our little Beninian (that's definitely not a word) has been revitalised under Martin O'Neill. Given a freer, more advanced role, the diminutive frontman showed all his class with a superbly taken goal at QPR - just one highlight in a fantastic month for him. At Spurs he looked sharp, and would perhaps had seen some return for his efforts were it not for the ineffectual display of Nicklas Bendtner that day. At QPR, that goal capped an excellent performance, while against Everton it was he who made Jack Colback's opening goal. An excellent month for him, though, it has to be said, the entire team looks more confident under MON. Lee Cattermole in particular seems to have been given a new lease of life. Long may it continue!
And now we'll take a look at just how everyone else did this month, and who's been better or worse from the previous month...
24/11 to 26/12
So as you can see now we've done a few of these, that there's some familiar patterns forming. Kieran Richardson has maintained a relatively high level all season long, whilst you'll notice from Jack Colback's score and differential that he's been stuck on 6.7 for the majority of the season. At least we know that these two are dependable now.
Nicklas Bendtner's drop off has been somewhat alarming, as had Phil Bardsley's whilst the likes of Connor Wickham see's his differential swing drastically through a lack of games rather than lack of form.
There's certainly cause for optimism though with new faces on the list too. Titus Bramble, Craig Gardner & James McClean all have come in from the cold of last month and done well.
Whilst Lee Cattermole doesn't have any differential, this time it was over twice as many games for the Teesider. All very encouraging I'd say, well, once Bendtner and Bardo pick it up anyway.