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Player Of The Last Ten Years Poll, Round Two: Simon Mignolet Vs Stephane Sessegnon

Two teammates up until recently we reunite them. However, you're about to break them up again as only one can go through to the next round. But who? Here's the arguments, now go and vote!

Mike Hewitt

Simon Mignolet

Having spent the opening round praising Simon Mignolet's ability as a whole, it's time to take it up a notch. Big players, the ones few-and-far-between during the period in question but ones this fictional competition is judging, do not wilt under pressure, but thrive. And since Mignolet's first season as largely an unknown, he has simply had to, or face the prospect of a Premier League career finishing almost before it had began.

Imperious on the three occasions he faced Manchester City at home - from the reflex save to deny Emmanuel Adebayor to the sheer bloody-mindedness not to concede on New Year's Day in 2012 - Mignolet, time and again, proved dependable almost beyond measure. In the most heated of occasions, ‘Our [former] Belgian ‘keeper' stood tall - his penalty save against Papiss Cisse and Newcastle ensuring that his performances in such clashes will be remembered.

Statistically, Mignolet averaged 30 clean sheets in his three seasons at the club (8 in his debut season, 11 in his last two), a number that he in no small part helped preserve - and in some cases extend. That he was able to record a double-figure tally last season highlights his quality; Sunderland were one of the most lacklustre attacking team in the division, and their 16.8 shots conceded per game was only ‘bettered' by Reading. Whilst Sunderland are rebuilding this summer, it is safe to say they wouldn't have had the opportunity to do so - at Premier League level at least - without Mignolet's exploits last term. (KJ)

Stephane Sessegnon

In the last round I promised that Sessegnon's true highlights were yet to come in this competition, and those are what I'm trotting out now. Yes, it's time for the big guns. Cast your mind back a few months to when Sunderland were in dire straits, desperately in need of some points to secure Premier League status for the next season. In front of the Lads stood an intimidating pair of fixtures; Newcastle away, and Everton at home. Hardly a pair of bankers (though the Newcastle team is replete with merchant bankers). Paolo Di Canio said we needed miracles to stay in the League, and Sunderland's miracle man on the pitch turned out to be, of course, the Beninese Gandalf, the Dumbledore of West Africa, Messi & Pele himself - Stephane Sessegnon.

It was Sess who opened the scoring against the Mags with the goal that was, for me, the pick of the bunch. Johnson and Vaughan may have found the top corners, but it was Sess who charged bull-like at the heart of Evil. Unable to stand against him, the Newcastle defence broke and fled before him, much like the Uruk-Hai when faced with the charge of Gandalf at Helm's Deep. Sessegnon finished this solo attack brilliantly as he drove a low shot into the bottom corner of Tim Krul's net.

What a goal, what a moment. Breaking the Mags first, and so magnificently, was key to a victory that we'll all remember for a long long time. But Sess wasn't finished yet, oh no.

Having landed his haymaker on the glass jaw of Newcastle, Sess had a new target in his sights - Everton. Determined to prove that Sunderland's Everton curse was Much Hoodoo About Nothing (yes, that is the third time I've used this line - I refuse to apologise), Sess again scored, this time in front of a rapturous home crowd, in order to seal an equally impressive victory over Sunderland's supposed bogey team.

Twice Sunderland needed a hero at the end of a desperate season, and twice this beautiful man stepped up to the plate when he was most needed. Paolo sent up the Bat signal, and Sess answered the call. (NH)


Be sure to make your vote count and send one of these two through to the next round. Make your voice heard below, because you only have until 11pm (GMT) tonight to get your vote in...

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