Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ten Reasons Why Manchester United Are Premier League Champions

1. Captain Fantastic- From the streets of Serbia, to the greatest stage in world football, it has been Nemanja Vidic that has provided the foundations for United's march to victory. Replacing the injury plagued Rio Ferdinand as captain, Vidic has led by example, fighting for every ball in both boxes and refusing to accept defeat. Vidic has been a virtual ever present in the team for United, a rock at the back, consistently performing along side a variety of defensive partners. This term, Vidic has surpassed himself, and deserves to lift the Premeir League trophy next Sunday.
Wayne Rooney
2. The Prodigal Son- Loved, hated and then loved again, such is the story of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. After handing in a transfer request, the striker looked to be on the verge of a move to pastures new, until a shock turnaround saw him stay at Old Trafford. Suffering from personal problems, as well as form and fitness concerns, Rooney was a bystander for most of the first half of the season, before lighting it up when it mattered most. A hat trick at West Ham, a bicycle against City and a plethura of performances just dripping with class have helped Wayne Rooney to move back onto the radars of football fans everywhere. The Englishman has answered his critics in the best possible way, and he is set to finish the season with a highly presentable goals tally.

3. The Little Pea- With Berbatov inconsistent, and Rooney absent for large portions of the season, the goalscoring responsibilities have so often fallen on Javier Hernandez. Dubbed "Super Sub" from early on, Chicharito has scored goals when it mattered, against Liverpool, Chelsea, Marseille and Everton. By far the signing of the season, Hernandez managed to usurp Dimitar Berbatov's starting spot at Manchester United, and has a great chance of finishing United's top goalscorer. Chicharito has earned admirers from all corners this season, garnering praise for his intelligent running, ability to finish, and work ethic. Certainly, the Little Pea is one for the future.

4. The Ageless One- At thirty-seven, it is remarkable that Ryan Giggs is still churning out high class performances in arguably the most demanding league in Europe. Giggs has been absolutely inspirational for the Devils, providing a penetrative pass in the tightest of circumstances, and using his experience to guide United through the final minutes of close contests. Once again, Giggs has extended his record of scoring in every single Premier League season, a remarkable achievement from the "Ageless One."

5. The Other Ageless One- The Ginger Magician, United's number 18, and the world's greatest exponent of the sixty yard diagonal pass, Paul Scholes has once again been magnificent this season. A night of virtuosity against Newcastle set the tone for an impressive season's showing, one which unfortunately may be the last of his career, word is that Scholes is set to retire. Perhaps too often this term, Scholes has been the inspiration behind a United recovery, quietly running affairs from the center of midfield, pinging the ball this way and that, and forcing others into the game, a particularly potent weapon with two wingers on the field. If only he was available for England...

6. The Retiree- We did wonder you know, when Edwin Van Der Sar dropped an easy catch in United's only Old Trafford draw of the season, allowing West Brom's Tchoyi to find an equalizer, but since then the Dutchman hasn't put a foot wrong. So reliable between the sticks, Van Der Sar has remained injury free despite entering into his forties, and his composure has done much to help steady the United rear guard. Arguably the finest goalkeeper still plying his trade, Van Der Sar is set to retire at the end of the season, leaving Sir Alex with the ultimate conundrum, how best to replace the world's greatest goalie.

7. The Next Ronaldo- Snubbed by the PFA, but he won't care a jot, Nani has been terrific this term, and he will end the season with more silverware than even the mighty Gareth Bale. Derided for much of his career at United, Nani finally came into his own this season, scoring nine goals, and contributing a massive eighteen assists, three more than second best assist maker Didier Drogba. Nani's skill and pace on the flanks has been complemented by improved decision making and crossing, while the Portuguese international has also contributed some wonderful goals (see under Bolton away and Stoke at home).

8. The Record Signing- For Dimitar Berbatov, 2010/11 has been a fabulous renaissance, a season of performances that lived up to a hefty price tag. With twenty-one league goals, Berbatov is odds on to claim the golden boot, a remarkable achievement considering the criticism he has faced in past seasons. The Bulgarian has benefited from his international retirement, and has managed to provide goal heavy performances against Blackburn (5), Liverpool (3), and Birmingham (3). Towards the end of the season, his starting spot was taken by Hernandez, but nevertheless, it has been a fantastic year for the former Spurs man.

9. The Rivals- United have been the best team in England this year by some distance, though they will win the title with quite a insubstantial point tally. However, despite such a frugal offering, United are champions, and part of that must be attributed to the failings of their rivals. Chelsea's mid season fall from grace and Arsenal's mental capitulation have helped United on their way, though next season Sir Alex will know that his team is unlikely to receive such generous offerings.

10. The Gaffer- It's been more than twenty years since Sir Alex arrived at the helm of Manchester United in 1986, back then United were struggling to stay in the old first division, making their progression all the more remarkable. With twelve Premier League winners medals, Alex Ferguson is by far the most decorated manager in English football, and it is his inspiration that has helped United to number 19. The seeds of this great season were sown a year ago, when Sir Alex bought Javier Hernandez on the cheap, and since then the gaffer has done everything right, balancing his team well throughout several competitions, and squeezing the last ounces of energy out of his older troops. Ferguson has already stated that he plans to stay on into next season, and it is difficult to see United not challenging for the title with him at the head.

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