Opta Player of the Month
By Paul Townley
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Frank Lampard claimed Opta's player of the month for September.Frank Lampard produced the perfect retort to the criticisms of his early season form by claiming Opta's player of the month accolade for September.
Last season's Player of the Year has been ever present for The Blues this term as they have become the first team to win their opening seven games of a Premiership campaign. Lampard's three appearances last month took his tally of consecutive Premiership games to 154, just five behind the record held by David James while at Liverpool.
After The Blues' defence was finally penetrated 584 minutes into their league campaign, a Premiership record, Lampard fired in two goals to preserve Chelsea's faultless start. Lampard led his record-breaking side in shots (eight), passes (195) and crosses (20) during September and conceded just one foul in the process.
Lampard's biggest disappointment in September came with England's capitulation in Belfast and one name staking a claim to reignite England's World Cup campaign is Charlton Athletic's Danny Murphy. Last month saw away wins at Birmingham and West Brom, with Murphy scoring a brace of goals at The Hawthorns, including the first league penalty that Charlton have been awarded since he arrived from Liverpool. Murphy also did his share of defensive duties making 16 tackles over their three games last month.
Third place in September's rankings goes to the most expensive player to arrive in the Premiership this season. Michael Essien has quickly installed himself as a key member of Chelsea's midfield trio and along with Lampard, John Terry and William Gallas was the only outfield player to play every minute of Chelsea's September league schedule. The French midfielder made 136 passes last month, completing 88 per cent, which is more than both Lampard (86 per cent) and Claude Makelele (87 per cent). Essien also made more tackles (22) than any other Premiership player in September, which is an ominous sign that he has quickly adapted to England's top division.
Jussi Jaaskelainen takes fourth place in September's standings as a result of saving all nine goalbound efforts in the month and ensuring the Bolton goal remained unblemished over their three fixtures.
September's top five is completed by Steven Gerrard who led his side in shots (seven) and tackles (14) and still found time to create eight scoring chances for his team mates, the most of any Liverpool player.