Player of the Month curse to strike on Wearside
Steven Fletcher’s goal-filled spell is set to be at an end now he has been awarded the Premier League Player of the Month award for September.
The Scot well-warranted the accolade after a prolific month in Sunderland colours, where he picked up five goals in four appearances and has played himself into contention to be the top scorer at the end of the campaign. This can be backed at 25/1 with Ladbrokes.
However, if the turn in fortunes that have befouled recent winners of the award are anything to form a basis on, his goals are soon to dry up.
Nikica Jelavic was the previous winner of the prize after registering six goals in three Premier League starts in April 2012. He then failed to score in his next two outings as the season wound up and has only recently returned to form after one Everton goal in five prior to his club’s 3-1 win over Southampton.
Gylfi Sigurdsson required no acclimatising whatsoever to Premier League conditions when Swansea loaned him in from Hoffenheim. The Icelander won the award in March last term and was largely responsible for the south Wales sides’ great post-Christmas form that landed Brendan Rodgers the Liverpool job.
Once he was presented the award though, the Swans won just two of the last eight games and his threat as a goal-scoring midfielder soon diminished, reducing from four in four to two in eight. He’s now enduring a spell warming the Tottenham bench.
January’s Player of the Month was Gareth Bale and Harry Redknapp won’t thank the panel who elected him.
Spurs were flying around the winter period and looked nailed on to finish as London’s top club for an aeon, even being considered capable of mounting a title challenge at one stage. It all started to go wrong soon after the Welsh wingers’ crowning, however.
His team failed to win five of the next six league games and ended up having to settle for Europa League qualification when a top-three finish was nailed on. This, along with his bizarre comments about a contract extension, played a key part in ‘Arry’s end-of-season dismissal.
Demba Ba suffered one of the most significant cessations of form after being named Player of the Month for December 2011.
The Senegalese hitman was scoring for fun in the first half of his maiden campaign on Tyneside and, although he got on the scoresheet in the first game of the month that followed, he was on target just once more following his return from the African Cup of Nations, which he failed to notch in.
Sunderland fans should regard these instances with concern after their unspectacular start to the current campaign, knowing a bad couple of months could see them dragged into the relegation mire. Plus, without Fletcher’s goals the team would be six points worse off and bottom of the league right now; to say they can ill-afford his golden touch to fail would be a mammoth understatement.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date