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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Premier League’s Best and Worst of 2010-11 Season

Signing of the Season

Javier Hernandez ‘Chicharito’ (Manchester United)
Simply the bargain of the season. A daylight robbery that Sir Alex Fergusson committed with pleasure and one that has paid off, overwhelmingly. The ‘Little Pea’- the quickest player in World Cup 2010 – arrived at Old Trafford from Mexican club Chivas at a small fee of £6m. However, his performances especially in big games have simply been jaw-dropping. Although Dimitar Berbatov has hit the back of the net more times than the Guadalajara-born 22-year-old, his speed, trickery and slick movement has seen him form an effervescent attacking partnership with Wayne Rooney, one that has won the Red Devils a record 19 premier league title and put them on the Champions League final. My pick for signing of the season.

Raul Meireles and Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
Meirele’s (PFA fans player of the season) and January signing Luis Suarez are two players who have spearheaded the Kenny Dalglish renaissance that has seen Liverpool make the big leap from a relegation position in January to strong contestants for a European spot. Even if the Reds fail to qualify for Europe, the kind of quality, belief, optimism and momentum that these players brought to Anfield has been immeasurable.

Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham)
The September 2011 £8m signing from Real Madrid has been scintillating this season.  Nagging injuries have seen him participate in only 17 premier league games for Harry Redknapp’s side but he has scored 13 goals making him Tottenham’s topscorer by a country mile. His latest goal was in the 2-0 win against Liverpool, a victory that might just have helped Spurs qualify for the Europa League.

Cheick Tiote – Newcastle
Darren Bent – Aston Villa
Peter Odemwingie – West Brom

Manager of the Season

Kenny Dalglish
A look at the form table and the number of points garnered since King Kenny took over the reigns at Anfield in January shows he’s only second to Carlo Ancelloti of Chelsea. But judging the ‘King’ by looking only at the points he has won would be a disservice. He has brought enthusiasm back to Anfield. The players are now playing with a smile on their faces. The goals are getting in, the midfield is getting into shape and the boardroom is stable and fully behind him. How about the fans? Their vociferous and intimidating chants are doing more than the Vuvuzela could ever accomplish. They just can’t get enough of the club legend. You get the feeling that Anfield will be not a, but THE fortress next season. You get the feeling that the Kops will be celebrating a title next season. You have the feeling that the King is Back!

Sir Alex Fergusson
19th title, a Champions league final berth, FA Cup semi-finalists, FA Community Shield winners, fifth round in the Carling Cup, Premier League Manager of the Year for January and the manager who made the signing of the season. What else could a manager accomplish in a season?

Winner – Kenny Dalglish - I know the Mancunians might feel hard done-by this and perhaps they have a point since it is Sir Alex Fergusson who is the Barclays Premier League winner and a Champions League finalist. But Dalglish wins it for the simple reason of, actually, putting Liverpool back to their path on their quest to gaining back their perch (if they have lost it). With the King, everything is possible.

Roy Hodgson – He may have had a torrid time at Anfield but the face-rubbing specialist is one of the best homegrown managers England has to offer. He took over at West Brom on 11 February 2011 when the Baggies had lost 13 of their previous 18 matches. Fast forward to three months later and his team sit 11th with 46 points.

Tony Pulis - Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal and Newcastle (twice). These are just some of the teams that have suffered at the hands of the Potters in the premier league this season. Stoke also dismantled Bolton Wanderers 5-0 in the FA Cup semi-final and fought hard in the final losing to a well-struck Yaya Toure goal. Tony Pulis’ side will participate in the Europa league next season by virtue of reaching the final of England’s second most prestigious domestic title.

Flop of the Season

This is a hotly contested category which surprisingly involves current and ex Liverpool players. Joe Cole, Christian Poulsen, Milan Jovanovic, you are some lucky boys. I mean, flops. Former teammate Fernando Torres wins this very easily.

How could you possibly explain a £50 million player, a British transfer record and the fourth most expensive footballer in history, scoring only one goal with the help of some mud on the pitch? Wasteful.

Goal of the season

Wayne Rooney against Manchester City
The more I watch it, the more I love it. Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick against rivals Manchester City outdoes every goal for me this season. Have another look…  

Worst Owners

Tom Hicks and George Gillet – The storm and the darkness of Liverpool. But at the end of the storm came the golden Fenway Sports Group.

When you walk through the storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There's a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark

Do you agree? Drop your comments below.

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