The 2011-12 Premier League season came to arguably its most dramatic end ever with the title being decided on a span of only two minutes. Manchester City piped defending champions and crosstown rivals Manchester United to the crown while Arsenal staged a remarkable resurgence to finish third ahead of Tottenham. Newcastle outdid themselves finishing fifth, Swansea entertained while Liverpool struggled and so did Chelsea who finished outside the top four for the first time in 10 years.
But who were the stars of the season?
The goalkeeping standards in the Premier League have never been the best in the world but we saw quite a number of keepers starring for their teams this season. Tim Krul was instrumental in goal for Newcastle, Michel Vorm impressed between the sticks for Swansea and Omani international Al Habsi saved Wigan time and again to help them avoid the drop.
However, none of all the keepers proved more deserving than golden glove winner Joe Hart. The 25-year-old is arguably the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and conceded only 29 goals keeping a season-high 17 clean sheets. He was a calming presence in Manchester City’s all-conquering squad and deserved his medal.
Hart’s teammate Vincent Kompany leads the back line without a doubt. If there was any captain that needed to win the premier league title on pure determination and leadership amidst adversity, look no further than the non-nonsense Uccle-born Belgian. The Barclays Player of the Season was severely missed during his 4-game suspension. City were on a roll but the captain’s absence allowed Manchester United to claw back into the title race. However, he was to have the last laugh as he returned and scored the winning header against United that put City in first place with only two games to go. City conceded the least goals during the season thanks to their No. 4 putting his body on the line.
Strong, powerful, and dominant in the air, Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel has had a season to remember, something that cannot be said of the whole Anfield squad. The Slovakian had his ups and downs alright including scoring an own-goal against Fulham but “Mr. Consistency” was the Merseyside club’s player of the season and one of the strongest performers in the league. Newcastle just missed on Champions League football next season but this will be rated as a season in which they overachieved thanks in part to their captain Fabricio Collocini. The Argy missed only three premier league games this season and was a rock at the back forming one of the most formidable partnerships in the league with Steven Taylor.
Leighton Baines had yet another blistering campaign for Everton and it surely won’t be long before he makes a move out of Goodison Park. His swift left-foot terrified defences when he made his customary runs down the left channel but he was barely beatable on one-on-one situations. It makes you wonder just for how long the Toffees will hold on to the Englishman.
David Silva is considered one of the best passers of the ball in the world and he did that reputation no harm this season. When he is on song, he is almost impossible to stop and Manchester United would attest to that if they dare remember the 6-1 demolition at Old Trafford. His goals and assists, although they faded a bit in the second half of the season, were key in Manchester City’s stellar campaign. Mentioning Silva without his partner in midfield Yaya Toure would be a crime. The Ivorian justified every little penny that was spent to sign him from Barcelona. His energy, composure and ability to get that important goal makes him truly world-class and Man City will be glad they are in the right side of Yaya. He is the only other player besides Kompany that City severely missed when undertaking national duties at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Injuries permitting, United’s Antonio Valencia is a player capable of winning any game by himself. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side always looks better, plays better and are definitely more threatening when the former Wigan winger is making his habitual runs on the left channel and combining it with his trickery and consummate skills. He showed flashes of brilliance at Wigan which compelled United to break the bank for him and has continued to scale the heights raking in 13 assists and 4 goals in only 27 matches this season and once again proving that he is one of United’s cream.
Clint Dempsey. Is he a winger, an attacking midfielder or a forward? That’s just how versatile the Texas-born American is. Based on what he accomplished this season, you wouldn’t argue that he might as well be an out and out forward. And with 17 goals this season, the 29-year-old might have just presented himself with one last chance to move to a top 4 club or thereabouts which will make his desire to claim a winners medal of any kind in English football all the more realistic.
If Arsenal don’t deserve playing Champions League football next season, Robin Van Persie certainly does. In a season that started in an appalling manner for the Gunners, one man rose to the occasion and single-handedly dragged his team toward the top of the table. A perfect definition of leading from the front. 30 goals and 9 assists not only earned him the golden boot but saw him collect both the PFA Players' Player of the Year and he FWA Footballer of the Year. Simply unstoppable.
Wayne Rooney may have scored four goals more than Sergio Aguero but the El Kun gets the nod ahead of Wazza by virtue of having scored the last and most vital goal of the whole season; the one that decided the destination of the title.
Kyle Walker, Steven Taylor, Joleon Lescott, Benoît Assou-Ekotto
Alex Song, Juan Mata, Yohan Cabaye, Samir Nasri
Emmanuel Adebayor, Papiss Cisse, Wayne Rooney
And That's thesteifmastertake!!