Saturday, April 9, 2011

United Right To Be Miffed, After Player Of The Year Debacle

Dimitar Berbatov (right) celebrates Manchester United's opening goal Following an utterly inept selection of nominees for this year's Premier League Player of the Year Award, Manchester United have the right to be irked.

Included on the list are Tottenham teammates Rafael Van Der Vaart and Gareth Bale, relegation strugglers Charlie Adam and Scott Parker, as well as title chaser Nemanja Vidic, Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez.

But it is the long list of eligible names that were left off which has stirred up all the controversy. Manchester United trio Nani, Berbatov and Van Der Sar have all been excluded, despite boasting superior statistics, and a place at the top of the Premier League table. Dimitar Berbatov is the leading goalscorer in the league, with twenty-one goals to his name, while Nani is the top assist maker in the league, with sixteen. Edwin Van Der Sar has been a stalwart in goal for United this term, an achievement made all the more amazing due to his age.

However, instead of that trio, the injury plagued Gareth Bale and Rafa Van Der Vaart have been selected. Bale in particular is an astounding choice, yes his form this year has been superb, but it has been in the Champions League where he has made his greatest impact. Bale isn't among the top twenty assist makers, or the top twenty goal scorers in the league, while Van Der Vaart is low down on both lists.

Two other strange choices are Scotty Parker and Charlie Adam. It is extremely likely that both Adam's Blackpool and Parker's West Ham will go down this season, rendering a player of the year nomination for both of them all the more absurd. Moreover, the contribution made by the two has been less than impressive statistically, Charlie Adam does have an impressive nine goal tally in the Premier League, but amazingly, all those goals came from set pieces, most of them penalties. Not known for his goalscoring, Parker has slightly improved that aspect of his game this season, but his paltry goal return pales in comparison with those produced by Berbatov and Nani.

Perhaps the most stunning of the player of the year selections, was that which saw Carlos Tevez claim a place ahead of Dimitar Berbatov. Tevez has enjoyed another fruitful season for City, and he does rest second in the goal scoring charts, but ahead of him is Berbatov, who wasn't nominated, and is likely to take home the Golden Boot award, becoming the first player to do so without taking a single penalty in several years. On the back of Berbatov's goals, United rest top of the pile in the Premiership, while City's Carlos Tevez has only managed to fire his team to the brink of Champions League football.

Two men remain on the list that have not yet been mentioned, United captain Nemanja Vidic and Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri. While Nasri no doubt deserves inclusion on this list, it's is simply farcical that he does so without the accompaniment of fellow midfielder Nani. Nasri was fantastic in the first half of the season, scoring goals for fun for Arsenal, but come the second half, the Frenchman has struggled with form, and his goal tally has begun to look less and less impressive. Nani meanwhile, has continued to go from strength to strength, scoring goals, and setting them up as well. 

Vidic has earned a deserved a place as the only defender on the list, performing admirably for United this term. Personally, I think Vidic deserves the award due to his consistency, but it is only on rare occasions that defenders win individual honors.

To be fair, all of the players included on this year's player of the year shortlist deserve credit for some outstanding performances, but you have to feel that at least three more than worthy candidates, have been slighted severely by the PFA.

Who will win the PFA Player of the Year award?

Who should win the PFA Player of the Year award?

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