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Friday 06 January 2012

Ba and O'Neill win Barclays awards

Newcastle striker and Sunderland boss land Barclays awards after excelling in December

O'Neill has turned around Sunderland's fortunes since taking over from Steve Bruce

Newcastle striker Demba Ba and Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill have been named Barclays Player and Manager of the Month for December following their outstanding contributions in the Barclays Premier League.

Senegal international Ba netted five goals in six Barclays Premier League matches last month; two each against Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion and a fifth away to Bolton.

The 26-year-old has now scored 15 goals in 19 Barclays Premier League appearances this season and is second only to Arsenal's Robin van Persie in the League's leading scorers' chart.

It's the first time Ba, who joined Newcastle from West Ham during the summer of 2011, has won the trophy awarded by the Barclays Awards Panel, which comprises of representatives from football's governing bodies, the media and fans.

Wearside renaissance

Sunderland manager O'Neill, 59, has overseen a renaissance since taking over from Steve Bruce, presiding over two victories and a draw in his first four Barclays Premier League matches, guiding the club away from the relegation zone.

A 90th-minute Sebastian Larsson free-kick set up a last-gasp win over Blackburn Rovers in his first match in charge at the Stadium of Light on 11 December.

The Black Cats bounced back after a 1-0 defeat by Tottenham with a thrilling 3-2 away win at QPR before collecting a point in a 1-1 Boxing Day draw with Everton.

It is the eighth Barclays Manager of the Month award won by O'Neill, who has previously managed Leicester City and Aston Villa in the top flight.

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Key Points

  • Demba Ba scores four goals in five matches for Magpies
  • O'Neill guided Sunderland away from relegation zone
  • Northern Irishman wins Barclays award for eighth time