Best Player – In a season where United have won the title, its always difficult to select one outstanding player who deserves more praise than any other. Wayne Rooney for instance has to be overlooked for his early season form, but from January onwards, he was sensational for United scoring and providing goals like we all know he can. Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov too have banged in priceless goals throughout the season, with the Bulgarian winning the golden boot, yet neither of these players in my opinion have been as consistent as my main three contenders. Nani, Nemanja Vidic and Edwin Van Der Sar all have consistently put in great performances for the reds week in week out, making it very difficult to distinguish between them. But for me, Nani wins the award, not just for his consistent delivery of goals and assists throughout the season, but for his ability to excite and entertain. For me, this is what Manchester United are all about, and although Nani can sometimes be a frustrating figure, he also can get you off your seat with his amazing skill, and wonderful long range goals with either foot as he has demonstrated this season. Here’s hoping he can continue to develop into a top player that we all know he can become.
Best Goal this season – For me, this is an absolute no brainer. Dimitar Berbatov’s overhead kick against Liverpool is my favourite goal of the season, even ahead of Rooney’s bicycle kick v City. I love this goal for several reasons, firstly, the way Berbatov keeps his eye on the ball despite the distraction of Rooney jumping infront of him, secondly for the way he effortlessly controls it, and then finally he superbly finishes with the bicycle kick off the underside of the bar, always my favourite kind of goals. Not to mention it was part of a magnificent hat trick against Liverpool!
Best Moment – Unfortunately I’m going to have to somewhat copy my co-writer Tom here by selecting the game against Blackpool, and in particular Berbatov’s winner, as my favourite moment of the season. At half time at Bloomfield road, I sat in my seat, head in my hands trying to clear it after plenty of alcohol, sea air and chips and comprehend what I had just witnessed. United were 2-0 down against Blackpool, having offered up virtually no resistance whatsoever and the home fans were absolutely loving it. I simply couldn’t see a way back for the reds in this one, not this time. Enter Ryan Giggs. The welshman single handedly dragged us from the brink of despair, to the giddy ecstasy of a last minute winner, courtesy of Dimitar Berbatov, with a classic display of passing and ruthless determination to win. Berbatov’s winner left the United end looking and feeling like a warzone, with people running everywhere on the concourse trying to get a close up glimpse of the celebrations, and people toppling over rows of seats after over exuberant celebrations. Upon reflection leaving the ground, I had the over riding sense that what I had just witnessed was special to Manchester United, and that no other club has the mental toughness to do what we did that night at Bloomfield Road.
Best Match – A tough choice this one, as United have been involved in so many brilliant encounters this season. However, if I had to choose it would be the 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the league. It was ultimately a title decider, and such a stern test of our bottle and ability to rise to the big occasion. In that first 20 minutes, we showed how badly we wanted to win number 19, and really played some fantastic football demolishing a very on form Chelsea side, whilst they wilted at the opportunity to win the title. Only tears from John Terry would have made the occasion even sweeter.
Special Mention award – Javier Hernandez has taken most of the plaudits this season for being an excellent piece of business for the club, and returning the small investment with a very impressive 20 goal return. However, I think Chris Smalling deserves a special mention for his efforts this season, deputising superbly in place of the injury prone Rio Ferdinand. Smalling had many critics when he signed for £11 million, me included, who thought that this was another example of average English players attracting ridiculously inflated fees. Smalling though has proved the doubters wrong this season, looking assured on the ball, strong in the tackle and very dominant in the air, establishing himself as the heir to the Ferdinand throne. When you consider Joleon Lescott signed for city for £24 million (arf), Smalling at half that price looks like an absolute steal, and could be a regular in the United first team for many seasons to come.