Wenger has won the Barclays Manager of the Month Award for December after guiding his team to the top of the table at the halfway point in the season, having lost only one league match since August.

The award comes at the end of a month that started with a 2-1 away win over Aston Villa and ended with a convincing 4-1 victory at Everton, during which the Gunners scored 11 goals and conceded just six.

This is the 10th Barclays Manager of the Month award for Wenger, who last won the accolade in September 2007 following Arsenal's unbeaten start to the season.

He previously scooped the Barclays Manager of the Season Award in 2004 after leading his team of 'Invincibles' to the Premier League title; a feat he will be hoping to repeat in 2008.

eight-goal thriller

Santa Cruz has claimed his first award in English football after being voted the Barclays Player of the Month for December.

In what was a mixed month for Blackburn Rovers, Santa Cruz shone as he scored six goals in six Barclays Premier League appearances during the month.

The 26-year-old became the first player in over 10 years to score a Premier League hat-trick in a losing cause as Blackburn were defeated in an eight-goal thriller at Wigan Athletic (5-3).

Santa Cruz continued his goalscoring form with a brace in a draw at Eastlands which ended Manchester City's 100 per cent home league record (2-2), before scoring in the win against Derby County at Pride Park (2-1).

The Paraguayan international becomes the first Blackburn player since Chris Sutton a decade ago to win the Player of the Month award, as he took his goalscoring tally to 10 goals in 20 Barclays Premier League appearances this season.

The decision was made by the Barclays Awards Panel, which includes representatives from football's governing bodies, the media and fans.