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Roker Report Player Of The Month 16/17: August - Jermain Defoe

Each month we tot up all our player ratings and reader's votes from our man of the match polls to see who has been Sunderland's top performer. This month, the award goes to Jermain Defoe.

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How Have We Fared?

Not great - it was yet another August without a league win for Sunderland, and with just one point on the board it would indicate that we are in for yet another season of struggle if we don't somehow turn around our fortunes quickly in September.

The opening game against Manchester City wasn't the worst that Sunderland have ever played but two pieces of poor defending cost us on a day when we probably should have came away from the game with a point.

Then next was a defeat at home to Middlesbrough, who won at a canter after a patch-up Sunderland side just couldn't deliver a win. Despite playing well in the second half we were awful in the first and were undone by two quality Cristhian Stuani goals.

We followed that up with an unconvincing home victory over Shrewsbury Town in the League Cup which sees us progress to the next round to face QPR, whilst rounding off August was an away draw at Southampton in a game that we really probably should have saw out for the three points.

Who Were The Reader's Picks?

Younes Kaboul's monster performance at the Etihad earned him the man of the match award, garnering 498 votes - 45% overall. Big Younes was colossal at the back that day and it made the fact he left us in the days that followed to join Watford feel even worse.

Against Middlesbrough it was youngster Lynden Gooch that took home the bacon, earning a whopping total of 825 votes, which was 60% overall. Gooch didn't put in a perfect performance but he was calm and assured alongside Steven Pienaar in an unfamiliar position, giving us hope for the future that we have a good player in the United States native.

The performance against Shrewsbury wasn't vintage but Jordan Pickford did enough to earn man of the match from our readers with 248 votes (26% overall). Pickford was solid all night and his kick upfield led to our goal.

Rounding off the month against Southampton was a solid debut from Javi Manquillo and he got your man of the match with 30& of the votes.

Who Has Had A Bad Month?

Paddy McNair was Sunderland's lowest scoring performer for the month, earning an average mark of 3.6 across the three games that he played in. McNair cost Sunderland around five millions pounds and has alot to prove if he is to become a success here, but having seen him play in midfield I'm not sure he has what it takes just yet.

Who Has Had A Good Month?

Steven Pienaar has perhaps been Sunderland's most consistent player across the three games that he has played in and it has reflected in his scores, earning an average of seven - not bad. Despite not being quite fit enough yet having come in from the free agents market, Pienaar has stepped straight in to play in the centre of midfield and has done very well all things considered. Despite being initially skeptical about signing him, I've been very pleased with what I have seen thus far from the South African and he has proven he can be an asset to us for the next season.

Player Of The Month - Jermain Defoe

I've decided to change it up this season - I've taken the four highest scoring players and put it to a Twitter poll to allow our followers to decide who takes home the award each month.

Jermain Defoe walked away with the award this month and it's clear to see why - his two goals from three games in August have come as a relief to Sunderland supporters who feared that Jermain might not have been able to continue on from the good form he showed last season under Sam Allardyce.

His first against Manchester City was a great move and finish, and his second - a well-taken penalty down at Southampton - came as a result of him winning the spot kick after being brought down in the area by Jose Fonte.

Sunderland's success this season hinges on Defoe continuing to stay fit and score goals, and now that we have brought in Victor Anichebe to provide cover and support for him in means that we could yet see another fruitful season from the evergreen ex-England international.