September player of the month: Craig Bellamy

There were four games this month, and Bellers made an excellent contribution in all of them.  They were:

Against Arsenal it was initially his work-rate that impressed as we sought to keep Arsnal’s passing moves at bay. There was a decent opportunity where he turned and hit the ball at Almunia. This proved to be a warm-up as he took a second chance with a better connection to score his first of the season.

Arguably his contribution to the fourth goal was even more impressive. Tracking back and dispossessing Clichy with an excellent challenge, he turned defence into attack, sprinted upfield before laying the ball off for Wright-Phillips to score.

His goals against United have already passed into legend. It was particularly cruel on Bellers and Shay Given to come away with nothing. Let’s not kid ourselves, we didn’t play well in that second half, and when we went behind to Fletcher’s goals, it was difficult to see us coming back.

It took two fantastic individual strikes to take us within touching distance of a point. For the second, I didn’t believe that, going at that pace, Bellers would have the control needed to turn the ball in from near the touchline. He did, and what happened afterwards shouldn’t detract from that moment of brilliance.

The Fulham and West Ham games didn’t produce any goals, but he did manage an assist in each one. Firstly from a corner, then a free-kick against the Hammers. Scoring from set-pieces is one of the biggest changes from last season, and proving crucial in getting results. The increasingly consistent delivery has been a major factor, and Bellamy has played a role here as well.

The West Ham game saw Bellamy back in a central striking role after starting on the left in the previous games. He can also play on the right, and this versatility proved a great asset as he did an excellent job in each position.

Alongside Bellamy, honourable mentions go to Nigel de Jong and Shay Given. De Jong in particular has come into the side and put in four outstanding performances. While the league games were all high-profile, Nigel deserves a lot of credit for a wholly committed performance against Fulham in the Carling Cup when everyone else (including the crowd) were a little subdued after the derby defeat.

Hughes on Bellamy:

“Craig has been one of our stand-out performers. He’s a great outlet for us – he shows huge endeavour and a fantastic ability to drive with the ball and take the fight to the other end of the field when you are under pressure.

“That quality is invaluable, certainly away from home where you are more likely to be under sustained pressure. There has to be an outlet there to relieve the pressure so you can change the momentum of the game. Craig has done that in a number of games this year.”

Mark Bowen on Bellamy:

“He’s very demanding on the training ground and will always be that way because he wants the best from everybody around.”

  • Any thoughts on Bellamy in September? Or any views on the other contenders?
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Cue the celebration for Adebayor at Villa Park

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