Tottenhamâ€™s new manager has had a rocky start for Spurs according to the media after taking over from Redknapp at the start of the season. Our resident Spurs fan Andre Dack takes a look at how he is getting on.
Manchester City really canâ€™t handle Europe it seems. For the second year running they have failed to make it out of the group stages of the Champions League. Man City season ticket holder Rob Wilson discusses the reasons for his teams failure to progress on a European stage.
With Craig Levein gone, Scotland are now looking for a manager to finally take them to a major tournament. Jordan Downie expresses his opinion on the issue and whether or not it was fair to sack Levein after his terrible start to the 2014 World Cup campaign.
Jordan Downie gives us his Premier Leauge Team of the Month. Do you agree with some of his controversial choices?
Go back a mere sixteen months and André Villas-Boas was the talk of the town; one of the most exciting, promising managers in Europe. The Portuguese coach had just achieved wonderful things with F.C Porto, leading them to an undefeated season in the Primeira Liga whilst winning an impressive three trophies, including the notable Europa League. Fast forward to present day, and his reputation isn’t quite as acclaimed as it once was. After the alleged “failure” at Chelsea last season, Villas-Boas now finds himself in charge at Tottenham Hotspur, and one could argue the man is destined for more disappointment unless he receives the time and patience required. Perhaps it was specifically the success Villas-Boas and
F.C Porto achieved in Europe that appealed to Roman Abramovich – the owner of Chelsea Football Club has made it extremely clear that success in the Champions League is his top priority (or at least it was, before the famous victory in Munich earlier this year). Villas-Boas became the youngest manager in history to win a European title, so although it was a risky choice for Chelsea, in actual fact it was no real surprise that he was appointed. The club paid just over £13 million in compensation, so it was clear that Chelsea were eager. There were positive signs during the early stages of the season for Villas-Boas and the club, and although Chelsea were defeated by Manchester United at Old Trafford, they put in a spirited, focused performance which was highly commenda-
ble, showcasing good attacking football. But after a good start, results turned poor and performances were dropping in standard, and after falling to defeat to two London rivals in QPR and Arsenal, questions were being asked. Many fans weren’t in favour of the methods and tactics deployed by Villas-Boas, and journalists were keen to comment on his preference in youth, rather than established, experience players. Specifically, Frank Lampard was frequently left out of the side. On the surface, one’s natural reaction is to question his exclusion, but there’s more to it. No doubt Lampard is an extremely good footballer, but he has his limitations; he’s by no means the most mobile of players, and to a certain degree he slows down the attacking play. From then
“go back a mere sixteen months and André VillasBoas was the talk of the town; one of the most exciting, promising managers in Europe. ” on Villas-Boas was vulnerable to criticism from both the fans and the media, and ultimately he paid the price. Rumours of a player revolt turned out to have elements of truth, as several senior players questioned his tactics (in the presence of Abramovich), and when Villas-Boas left the likes of Ashley Cole and Michael Essien on the bench in their crucial Champions League tie at Napoli, the Chelsea owner decided enough was enough. Villas-Boas was relieved of his managerial duties at Chelsea in March. The sacking of Villas-Boas raised various issues; the significance of player power in football, protection of ‘the old guard’, the importance of keeping key players happy. Furthermore, are both players and fans afraid of change? Matters that still divide opinion and don’t have a conclusion. But in the end results are what matter, and Chelsea were outside the top four in the Premier League and heading towards the exit of the Champions League. As it turned out, it proved to be a good decision for Chelsea. Although they still failed to finish in the top four, they beat both Barcelona and Bayern Munich to win the Champions League, which also secured their place in
the competition the following season. In the end, the time Villas-Boas spent at Chelsea is considered a “failure” by many. But this could be considered highly unreasonable, especially as a few of the signings he made as manager have turned out to be fantastic servants to the club, notably Juan Mata, one of the finest players in the Premier League. Additionally, several senior Chelsea players weren’t happy with his methods and even made it public, revealing extreme unprofessionalism, an issue which has disappointingly been shoved aside. Instead, Villas-Boas has become an easy target, and like it or not, the Chelsea players escape with little to no blame. One could argue they were correct. After all, there’s no better way to prove their point than winning the
most elite competition in club football. However, Chelsea’s win percentage in the Premier League after the sacking of Villas-Boas was actually lower than when the Portuguese coach was in charge. An interesting statistic, but one which matters little after the victory in Munich. Whilst it was inevitable that VillasBoas, constantly being linked with top European sides, would land himself a job for the new football season, it was a surprise to many that his ultimate destination was North London. For reasons still heavily debated today, Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy relieved Harry Redknapp of his duties in June, and after days of successful negotiations Villas-Boas signed a three year deal with the club. The reaction of the appointment was mixed, but generally negative – whilst some were willing to look past the disappointment at Chelsea, most fans were apprehensive. Redknapp guided the club to another fourth place finish and was the most successful manager in Tottenham’s Premier League history, so the question was asked: why replace an experienced manager who achieved such great things with someone who “failed” at their first Premier League club? It became increasingly obvious that a minority of fans were not on board with the Portuguese coach from
the day he arrived at the club. And after a poor start to the league campaign with only two points from three games, Villas-Boas came under immense scrutiny from the media, and was an easy target for tabloids. Fast forward slightly to present day, and the situation remains largely the same. Despite a famous victory at Old Trafford, Tottenham have had an underwhelming season thus far, sitting above mid-table and failing to dominate matches at home. Naturally, the blame has fallen on the manager, and Villas-Boas has become an extremely vulnerable figure – fans have made their concerns audible at White Hart Lane, whilst journalists and pundits have been eager to excoriate. However, when analysing the situation it’s difficult to understand why Villas-Boas receives so much criticism. Tottenham had a difficult transfer window in the Summer, losing two of their finest players (arguably the most creative players at the club). The departures of Luka Modrić and Rafael van der Vaart have hit Tottenham hard, the absence of creativity in midfield
“It’s hardly a surprise that the quality of football has decreased when the club sold the two creative sparks that were vital for tottenham during redknapp’s managerial spell.” being one of the most notable flaws in their game this season, and one could argue the two playmakers were not replaced sufficiently. Villas-Boas constructed a list of wanted players, some going public in the form of F. C Porto’s João Moutinho and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Willian, but in the end only obtained one player on the list (Moussa Dembélé, formally of Fulham). Tottenham signed other players of course, but upon closer inspection, it’s tellingly obvious that they were not signings made by Villas-Boas: the Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurðsson deals were underway before he became manager, Hugo Lloris was Levy’s ideal replacement for senior goalkeeper Brad Friedel and Clint Dempsey was the distinguished ‘panic purchase’ of the Summer.
Despite spending a considerable amount of money, Tottenham made a profit in the transfer window, and the manager was to make do with just two recognisable strikers (until January at least). With these observations in mind, it could be concluded that Levy did not back Villas-Boas to the necessary extent, leaving the Portuguese coach with a tough task on his hands. A sense of perspective is needed for Tottenham fans. It’s hardly a surprise that the quality of football has decreased when the club sold the two creative sparks that were vital for Tottenham during Redknapp’s managerial spell. It seems too easy to point the finger at the manager when there are underlying issues which fans neglect. In the defeat at home to Wigan, Villas-Boas took off Jermain Defoe for fellow striker Emmanuel Adebayor, a decision that led to a chorus of jeers and further controversy. It’s generally assumed that when trailing, it’s beneficial to have as many offensive players on the pitch as possible, but when taking into consideration the counter attacking ability of the opposition, it’s an understandable decision to make. As previously mentioned, Villas-Boas was an easy target for the media, and the reaction that followed this decision was predictably ignorant. The words “clueless”, “naive” and “weak” were frequently used, and the articles were unbalanced, focusing purely on nega-
tive factors. The legitimacy of some criticism is seriously questionable, with a distinct lack of professionalism. After the latest defeat to Arsenal, a certain tabloid devoted an article to Villas-Boas’s use of a notepad during matches, in attempt to further undermine his managerial credentials. You certainly get the feeling there are people out there simply waiting for the man to fail. Villas-Boas is an intelligent, charming man. He receives compliments both as a manager and as a person from many of the top figures in World football. His reputation abroad remains impressive, but in England there are many who simply don’t rate him due to his period at Chelsea. This logic alone is flawed, as the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, José Mourinho and Luiz Felipe Scolari have previously been dismissed by the club. At the age of 35, Villas-Boas clearly lacks experience and still has a lot to learn. He’s by no means perfect and his tactics are of an acquired taste, but to dismiss him immediately is unwise. From the initial appointment to the struggling position Tottenham currently find themselves in, Villas-Boas simply hasn’t had the backing from both the fans and those in the media. One of two eventual outcomes are likely: either Villas-Boas receives the patience and financial backing from Daniel Levy and continues to build his own team
at Tottenham, or he receives the boot, ending his time at Tottenham prematurely. At the moment, the latter seems more likely due to Levyâ€™s reactionary methods showcased in the past, but optimists will point to the slow start made by Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson first took charge back in 1986. The Tottenham manager is at the perfect age to lay down his legacy. Though for now the question remains: is AVB destined for further disappointment?
As David Silva punted the ball hopelessly in the direction of the North Stand of the Etihad Stadium another competitive season in the Champions’ League drew to a close for Manchester City - the club I’ve devoted a lot of my love and time to since the age of five. For those that care, I lost a girl to football and I cut my leg open celebrating Stephen Ireland’s volleyed last-minute winner against Reading in 2007, but it appears that the pain they’ve put me through (both mentally and physically) is starting to be rewarded. In the last two years I’ve seen an FA Cup victory, a last-gasp Premier League title victory and Champions’ League football - three things I never thought I would. But why am I sat here surrounded by an air of disappointment? I’ll tell you why, the glaringly obvious flaws running through our club that are preventing us from taking the next step in to the beyond - “the dynasty” to quote Martin Tyler, as he narrated over several replays of that Aguero goal back in May. To solve a problem, you first must identify that the problem exists. Then you must accept it exists and decide that something must be done to
change this. Then you can begin to systematically come up with plans that aim towards resolution and, finally, solving the problem. (And you must not fix what ain’t broke, which is exactly what we’ve tried to do defensively with our new defensive coach). So why have we failed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions’ League two seasons running? Two poor draws, admittedly (in which we have come across three former winners of this competition - Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Ajax) but that excuses the accumulation of points rather than the performances themselves. Rarely have we taken the game to the opposition in Europe, and have had to rely on copious amounts of luck in certain games to acquire maximum points against the so-called “whipping boys” of our groups. But the problem lies entirely with the philosophy, mentality and some of the players currently in place at Manchester City. Last night, as Karim Benzema stole in at the far post to divert home an Angel Di Maria cross after some awful defending from Kolarov & Maicon, a Manchester City fan applauded the goal and uttered the words, “I don’t care, me. It’s
Real Madrid. I don’t care if they get 4 or 5, I’m just happy we are playing them.” And while this appreciative attitude may add some sobering perspective to the Manchester City fans that may have left the Etihad Stadium disappointed last night, it certainly isn’t the attitude we’re going to want repeating if we want to take the next step and begin to dominate on the continent as well as domestically (which we still have to manage). This idea of looking back to where we’ve come from and appreciating what we’ve achieved is nice to do sometimes, especially as it allows some Manchester City fans to comprehend how much we’ve achieved in such a short space of time, but this attitude has disappeared from our view on our domestic performances so it has to disappear from our attitude towards European football if we are to succeed at all. If you look back to the early days of our gradual rise you notice that we always had a sense of expectation and jealousy, the need for more. None more so than when United scored three last minute goals in three games to win the three “important” derbies of the 09/10 season. We were disappointed, but the fact that we’d lost to United in such harsh ways
seemed to make us want everything that little bit more - an added incentive to get one over on United. Fast forward to May 2011 and even our FA Cup win was slightly overshadowed (in the press at least) by United’s Premier League win - more anger built up, more “Typical City” jibes. But when Aguero smashed home the goal that gave us the league title the entire stadium lifted off the ground in relief and elation - just one cathartic roar (okay, several cathartic roars) after just one strike of a football to end so many years of taunts, jibes and jokes and to rid ourselves of “Typical City” for good and to get one over on United properly. Now, had that goal not gone in, the game against QPR would have finished 2-2 and Manchester United would have won the Premier League title for the 20th time. Had that happened, I can assure you that, in the midst of the shock and disappointment, not one Manchester City fan would have said, “I don’t mind, me. I don’t care if we never win the title - I mean, we did just finish 2nd!” because as a club we have come to expect domestic success. I’ll admit that I cried when we won the FA Cup and I’ll admit that I cried when I realised we’d finish third and qualified for the Champions’
League, and I’ll also admit that I did look back to the only day that I have ever left a game early through frustration - it was a cold, rainy day near the turn of the year (2006/2007) and we’d just been battered 3-0 at home by a very poor Leicester side under Stuart Pearce - and I did think to myself, “Wow, we’ve come such a long way” but I didn’t think about stopping at just the FA Cup and third place - I wanted more. And so did everyone else. We wanted the Premier League title more than anything now we’d had our first proper taste of success. But all of a sudden the “I don’t mind, it is [insert difficult task here] after all” attitude that has occasionally defeated us since we were taken over by Sheikh Mansour seems to have
-versial problems, and therefore goes unnoticed.
crept back in there. There seems to be a lack of desire amongst the ranks to shake things up in Europe in the way we have done over here in the UK. It is almost as if we are admitting defeat to ourselves before stepping out there and trying to get the job done. If we’d done that after United went eight points clear we’d be sat with red faces and we’d have been left trophiless. Admittedly, our squad is not as capable of winning in Europe as some football “experts” and fans would have you think – we lack pace both on and off the ball, we lack a midfield that’s capable of troubling the teams we’ve been
drawn against and, most importantly, we lack experience, as a club, in the Champions’ League. This is one of the reasons Ajax haven’t struggled as much as the “experts” thought they would – as a club they have a philosophy for success that they can dip in to for advice every now and then in tricky situations. But the attitude and mentality we’re almost punishing ourselves with is making the lack of experience and quality in the squad “shine through” more and more. One of our biggest problems is actually one of the most contro-
Yaya Toure has done wonders for Manchester City – he scored the goal that got them in to the FA Cup final, he scored the goal that won the FA Cup final and he scored the two goals that pretty much gave City the Premier League title – but only last night during the commentary of the Real Madrid game did anyone notice exactly what’s wrong with him, and, of course, it was Gary Neville – “Yaya Toure can’t get to grips with this competition.” And the truth is, he can’t. If you watch him closely in Champions’ League games you’ll see that he likes to take a little bit longer on the ball than most people in our team. It even happens in the Premier League, but isn’t noticed as no team really applies as much pressure off the ball as Real Madrid, Ajax and Dortmund have done. Only once has Toure
broken away this season and provided a killer pass or killer instinct to get us a goal (his breakaway and pass to set up Dzeko in the Bernabeau). As a player, Toure seems to invite pressure and then shake it off thanks to his strength – but it takes a lot more than just strength for that personal tactic to work in the Champions’ League. Yaya Toure does possess these skills, don’t get me wrong, but he’s failed to apply them this season. Our reliance on him has probably tired him out I can’t think of a league game he’s missed due to him “being rested”. Tiredness and general fatigue cause slowness, and slowness in the Champions’ League has caused both of our campaigns to come to a grinding halt. Maicon seems to have added some direct attacking to our play with his ability to move inside off the ball and create space not only for himself, but for others as well (especially Silva and Aguero) and it seemed to work quite well as we had Real Madrid on the ropes more
than a handful of times last night. I can’t put the blame on Yaya Toure’s shoulders, though. Throughout our squad we are lacking the quality that teams such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have been able to call on over the years. I go back to 2010, I go back to Emmanuel Adebayor and Craig Bellamy, I go back to Roberto Mancini effectively firing both of them by sending them out on loan, I go back to the fans that wanted Mancini sacked because he deemed Bellamy, Given and Adebayor surplus to requirements even though they’d been part of the squads that had helped us push towards the Champions’ League and FA Cup victory. Bellamy, Adebayor and Given, as good as they are, have never won the Premier League in their lengthy careers and nor will they. In this current team there are players such as Gareth Barry, Joleon Lescott and Aleksandar Kolarov, who, whilst being good enough to win a domestic title again and again, will most likely
not win the Champions’ League and need to be moved on and replaced with young players that we all expect to win something major in European competition - Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Eden Hazard, Ander Herrera, Mats Hummels and the player we actually did sign this summer: Matija Nastasic, who already looks to be a better option that poor old Joleon next to Vincent Kompany at the back. The players I have listed are merely examples that I believe we were enquiring about in the summer but failed to purchase. And so to conclude my deconstruction of our Champions’ League campaign: we don’t pass the ball fast enough, we enter games already beaten and ready with excuses and we don’t have enough skill compared to the teams we’re trying to beat.
The Scottish national team. Built on pride, passion and an undying love of the sport. A team that has lived in the shadow of borderrivals England for much of its existence, the Scottish team have witnessed some dark times in their history. Scots would have to cast their mind back to 2004 to remember the last time they truly looked short of inspiration – the reign of Berti Vogts. Under Berti, Scotland fell to what remains to this day a record low in the FIFA world records, number 88. But with the arrival of Sir Walter Smith the dark days were soon forgotten and in came a new era of hope. For the first time in a long time, Scotland fans had grown optimistic. A foolish emotion, perhaps, for a nation so often on the wrong side of luck, some may say. But it would appear not. When Smith resigned from Scotland in 2007, Alex McLeish assumed the role of manager and a series of brilliant results – including the remarkable wins against France both in Glasgow and Paris – saw the once-mighty nation rise in to the top 20 once again, peaking at 13 (to put this into perspective, the current team at number 13 is five-time World Cup winners Brazil). The times were good, qualification for a major tournament since 1998 seemed within grasp. It was only a matter of time before the Tartan Army would be travelling to South Africa, or so we all thought.
Instead, in came George Burley and so the great form of Scotland plummeted. Failure to defeat the likes of Norway, Macedonia and Wales would eventually cost Burley his job and so the search for the 22nd manager of Scotland would begin. Choosing the right man was key; the team could not afford to be lead in the wrong direction for fear of failing to qualify for a major competition yet again. The man for the job – Craig Levein. Craig Levein’s recent tenure as Scotland manager is well documented. Many argue that he should never have been given the job in the first place; others argue he was the right man for the job but simply wasn’t given the time to get the team performing as he would have liked. Having taken up the role in December 2009, it is difficult to understand the claims that he wasn’t given enough time. He did have two different major championship qualification groups to progress and failed with both. Others have argued that he did the best he could with a poor group of players. It is hard to adhere to this argument, either. The list of
“Steven Fletcher who, after criticising the manager’s decision to leave him out of important qualifiers, did not play under Levein for over a year.” top quality Scottish players isn’t as long as World Champions Spain’s may be, but there isn’t a lack of quality. Allan McGregor, Darren Fletcher, Steven Naismith, Scott Brown, Gary Caldwell, James Morrison, Graham Dorrans, Alan Hutton, Lee Wallace… the list continues past this group of highly talented players who plied their trade (for the majority of the time Levein was in charge) at either side of the Old Firm or in the Barclays Premier League, regarded as arguably the best and most competitive league in the world. So what went wrong for Levein? Was he tactically inept? Did he have poor relations with players? Did luck not err on his side as previous manager’s of the team so often discovered? It was all of the above. October 8, 2010. The day Craig Levein may live to regret for the rest of his life. The day Craig Levein saw it fit to employ a 4-6-0 formation against Czech Republic in what many considered a must-win game for the Scots in which they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat. The decision to field no strikers was hit with major criticism and backlash – it signalled the beginning of a long and ultimately disappointing reign for Levein
as manager. Levein picked up only three wins out of 12 competitive games as the manager of Scotland, beating lowly Lichtenstein twice (ranked 155th in the world) and Lithuania once (ranked 110th in the world); nothing short of totally unacceptable. Levein’s sympathisers are quick to point out that the current crop of players isn’t what it once was and that compared to 2007, this team just does not compare. However, what the team of 2012 also lacks that the team of 2007 most certainly did not was passion, pride and the persistent determination to never give up. These characteristics, which define the Scottish national team, were gradually taken away following Craig Levein’s introduction to the national team. So often the players looked tired, laboured and downright uninterested – a team bereft of ideas and unwilling to play for a man who couldn’t inspire nor motivate them. None fit this description more than Steven Fletcher who, after criticising the manager’s decision to leave him out of important qualifiers, did not play under Levein for over a year.
It is sad, but it is also true, that Craig Levein’s tenure as Scotland manager was mired by playermanager fallouts, poor selection choices, questionable tactical decisions and the inability to stir emotion in his players. So was it right that Craig Levein should lose his job? It is much easier to agree with the decision to sack Levein than it is to condemn it. A costly decision, maybe, but a necessary one no doubts.
Strachan is a self-confident, assured manager who will travel to the likes of Serbia and play an attacking brand of football – an adventurous style bound to please the fans. All that is asked of the Scots is that total dedication and effort is given and they try to win the game. Playing with no strikers in the Czech Republic is not a sign of wanting to win a game, an issue the Scottish supporters did not take kindly to.
With Levein out of the way, Scotland can look to the future to try and get back to the dizzy heights of making FIFA’s top 20. They currently stand at 70 and getting back to the same place they were in five years ago may be extremely difficult. The new manager will not be without fan support though – and what better support is there than the Tartan Army? Billy Stark, the under-21 manager of the Scotland team, has temporarily taken up the role of Scotland manager and succeeded in his first match against Luxembourg – a narrow 2-1 victory. The task for the new manager is monumental and not one for the faint-hearted.
Joe Jordan, the former assistant manager to Harry Redknapp at Tottenham, is also being linked with the role. The former Scottish international gained 52 caps for his country and will no doubt prove to be an interesting choice but the lack of managerial experience may stand against him, unlike with Alex McLeish. The former Scotland, Rangers, Birmingham and Aston Villa manager is currently out of a job following disappointing spell with Aston Villa last season. Considering his exciting and very strong performance as manager in his first stint, it wouldn’t come as a shock to see the Scot come back to manage the national team once more.
Gordon Strachan stands as current favourite to take over the role permanently and understandably so. The former Celtic manager won the SPL title three years in a row and deserved more plaudits than he received with his time at Celtic.
Regardless of who is appointed as the new Scotland manager, they must learn from their predecessor’s mistakes and first and foremost, put on a show of passion and pride to be at the helm of the Scottish national team.
Joe Hart - Perhaps not the busiest goalkeeper in the month, but an impressive record of conceding only one goal in his five matches of the month make Joe Hart the top goalkeeper for November. Angel Rangel - The Spanish fullback has been an impressive fixture in a Swansea team, which failed to lose this month. Part of an impressive defence, Rangel deserves his spot in the team for consistent performances from right back. Sebastien Bassong - Norwich have sort of flown under the radar this month – not many people will realise they’re actually undefeated in the month of November. Including a clean sheet against Man United, the Norwich defence has impressed hugely this month and it is for this reason their most consistent defender features. He also bagged an important equaliser against Everton in the dying seconds. Matija Nastasic - The young Serbian centre back has started all eight of City’s previous games and has managed to replace the everdependable Joleon Lescott at the centre alongside Kompany. The young Serb has quickly adapted to life in the Premier League and following a string of impressive performances – notably against Chelsea at the Bridge – the youngster makes it into the team. Leighton Baines - The Everton fullback has continued to make waves at Everton and has impressed hugely. Despite Everton not having a great month, having won only one of their games in November, Baines currently stands as the player who has setup most chances for teammates in the PL (53 at the time of writing). Theo Walcott - After complaining about not being played in position enough, Theo Walcott’s recent run of form will no doubt be niggling away at Arsene Wenger as the Arsenal boss should now consider if Walcott has a point about not playing up front enough. Despite being clinical from the wing, nobody is sure if Walcott is capable of leading a Premier League team. Sandro - The Brazilian holding midfielder is beginning to prove to his ability following a series of consistent and highly impressive performances for Tottenham this month. Having missed Moussa Dembele for much of the month, Tottenham’s form dipped. However, impressive performances against the likes of Manchester City in a narrow defeat at the Etihad is why Sandro makes the team. Marouane Fellaini - The Belgian superstar bagged a total of 4 goals for Everton this month, making him one of the top goalscorers of November. Much like fellow Everton player, Baines, Fellaini was a major positive in a month Everton fans perhaps would struggle to take positives from. Andreas Weimann - The Austrian scored a delightful goal against Manchester United (albeit in a defeat at Villa Park) as well as a second in the same match. Despite his side only getting one win in the month of November, the young Austrian was their most impressive player by far. Peter Odemwingie - The enigmatic WBA forward was in contention with fellow striker Shane Long for this spot, as both put in many impressive performances to help guide WBA to 4 wins out of 5 for the month, including a goal each in a stunning victory over Chelsea at the Hawthorns. However, having scored one more goal than the Irish striker, Odemwingie takes the position. Luis Suarez - Following much criticism in the early fixtures regarding diving, Luis Suarez finally seems to have turned a corner in a Reds shirt and has also found scoring form, much to the delight of Liverpool fans. The Uruguayan forward is the current top goalscorer in the Premier League and after scoring four goals this month takes place in the side.