Papa is the daddy for Opta
By Rob Bateman
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Opta reveal their player of the month plaudits for January.January was a profitable month for West London with Chelsea cementing their position at the head of the table with four victories and Fulham picking up 10 points to ease themselves away from the battle developing at the bottom of the table.
Inspirational as 2005 got underway, Papa Bouba Diop has led Fulham by example with some excellent performances and grabbed goals in each of his last three Premiership games. The 'Wardrobe' has become a cult hero at Craven Cottage, especially as his last two strikes have proved to be winning goals, securing the three points against Midlands sides West Brom and Birmingham City.
Diop's three goals came from just four shots on target and have raised his tally for the season to five making him The Cottagers' joint-second top scorer behind Andy Cole.
Another midfielder making the headlines during January was Shaun Wright-Phillips. Kevin Keegan has hailed the diminutive wide-man as the best young player in the country and his performances during the month certainly added weight to his manager's claims. Four goals - including a stunning strike against Arsenal - have boosted his claims to a starting berth against Holland for his country next month.
Frank Lampard continues to enhance his credentials as the division's player of the season as Chelsea continue their seemingly inexorable march towards the Premiership crown. Two goals during January along with three assists (taking his tally to a league-high 14) meant he was involved in five of the eight goals The Blues netted during the month.
Bolton returned to form during January and so did goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. Boss Sam Allardyce picked the Finn out for special praise as The Trotters beat Arsenal 1-0 at The Reebok Stadium and Jaaskelainen followed that up with a first clean sheet away from home this season in the next game against Blackburn. His 15 saves meant that the highly-rated shot-stopper repelled 94% of accurate shots fired at him during January.
In fifth place in Opta's rankings during the month was Chelsea's Didier Drogba. The Ivory Coast international found his Premiership feet with a vengeance during the month, firing in four goals to double his tally for the season. After a settling in period, Drogba now looks to have rediscovered the form that convinced Jose Mourinho to spend so much money on securing his services this summer and that can only be bad news for the rest of the league who are currently trailing in Chelsea's wake.
|Papa Bouba Diop||Fulham||1861|
|Shaun Wright-Phillips||Manchester City||1846|
|Jussi Jaaskelainen||Bolton Wanderers||1594|