Sunday, 22 March 2009

TLDORC March Awards

A month that mirrored many others this season: two impressive home league wins, two flaccid away league defeats, and continued progress through the UEFA Cup. It was quite busy - six games in total, four in the last ten days - but the international break brings it to an early end.

West Ham (a) 0-1 (thoughts, ratings)
Aston Villa (h) 2-0 (thoughts)
AaB (h) 2-0 (thoughts, ratings)
Chelsea (a) 0-1 (thoughts, ratings)
AaB (a) 0-2 (thoughts before and after penalties, ratings)
Sunderland (h) 1-0 (thoughts)

Player of the Month

No obvious winner, but a difficult choice between two very good candidates: Shay Given and Nedum Onuoha. One of the best things about the second half our season has been the discovery of basic defensive competence. An unfortunate dip in form for both of last season's centre backs, never mind the occasional presence of Tal Ben Haim and Michael Ball in the side meant that August-December was a time of some calamity. The coinciding of three factors in January, though, rescued the situation. The return to form of Richard Dunne, after his four game ban, the signing of Shay Given and the introduction of Nedum Onuoha at centre half combined to turn us from an incontinent and incompetent defensive unit into a really quite successful one. And while Dunne and Given have over 600 Premier League appearances and 139 Irish caps between them, Onuoha has only four injury ravaged years behind him. And so for producing his most consistent and successful spell in a City shirt, and for proving quite a few people (myself included) wrong - Nedum Onuoha is March Player of the Month.

Individual Performance of the Month

Shay Given v Aalborg (away)

As good as Wright-Phillips was against Aston Villa, I think it has to be Shay Given against Aalborg. Were it not for his two penalty saves, we'd be cursing another messed up cup run. But thanks to him we're still in with a real shot.

Goal of the Month

Wright-Phillips against Aalborg - reminiscent of some of those strikes in his first spell when he'd beat men at will and then smash it in from twenty yards. Honourable mention for Wright-Phillips against Aston Villa too - a good finish but some fantastic interplay with Evans, Bozhinov and Ireland in the build-up.


Gary Nolan said...

Nedum has been excellent, good choice. Zabaleta could have also been considered.

JPB said...

Yeah Zabaleta's consistency and versatility are just fantastic. This month alone he played three positions (holding midfield, right back, left back) with ease, never needing a rest and basically error-free. Probably number two behind Ireland for Player of the Season?

Philip said...

I think a factor that you miss in our discovery of basic defensive competence is the signing of Bridge, which - fitness permitting - has banished Ball and Garrido from the side.

He's looked the shakiest of the January 09 vintage, but that's because he has the hardest job. Robinho is ineffectual defensively, to say the least.

I agree with the choice between Nedum and the Gibbon. They've both been excellent. I'll go for Shay, just to be contrarian.

Gary Nolan said...

I think there is to much made of Robinho not getting back, he is always going to be afforded that luxury, he also gets back a lot more than he gets credit for. You also buy a good left back to deal with more pressure than an average one, don't you?