Premier League Player of the Year: No one
You what? Seriously. Rafael van der Vaart and Samir Nasri were quite brilliant at the start of the season. Nasri in particular is a perfect example of the normal foreign import that takes time to settle. When fans are quick to dismiss a new signing, such as Dzeko, it is to Nasri that one should look.
Gareth Bale was spectacular but often injured, Rooney showed the occasional flash of rounding back into form. Scott Parker won the accolades after the season, however a player of the year keeps his team in the Premier League and Parker didn't. Liverpool and Chelsea had no one play a consistently high level, Charlie Adam highlighted Blackpool's year but no one stood out.
City Player of the Year: Carlos Tevez
Neither City's best nor most important player which we'll get to below, but Tevez and his goals drove the club to the Champions League. More importantly and something to remember when he leaves is that Tevez is the bridge. The club's expectation moving forward will be to always be in the Champions League and battling for honours. However to get to that, and I suppose technically this, point you have to have a player who takes you from where you were, to where you want to be. That's Tevez and regardless as to how acrimoniously I suspect his departure will be, we should always remember who got us to the Champions League and the FA Cup.
City's Best Player: David Silva
And it's not even close. Silva is well on his way to being the best player the club have ever had on their books. Tevez is good, very good, but Silva is the one truly world-class player that is on the team. The single most important task this off season is for City to make sure that they have a capable back up.
City's Most Important Player: Nigel de Jong
Everything that City has accomplished is because of Nigel de Jong. Everything. As good as Tevez has been as a goal scorer and as lethal as Silva is as a passer, de Jong is the key to both the midfield and the defence. City had, along with Chelsea, the stingiest defence in the Premier League. Vincent Kompany was lauded, and rightly so, for a lot of that, but it was de Jong that laid the foundation. As an immovable object parked in front of the City defence, opponents had to go over de Jong or down the wings to attack. This predictability allowed the City defence to play to the expected and therefore play to the maximum of their ability. In midfield, de Jong not only broke up the opponents forays should they be unwise enough to challenge him directly, he also then started the attack. Utterly indispensable and Mark Hughes' greatest signing.
City Player Most Overly Praised By People For The Wrong Reasons: Vincent Kompany
This is not a slam against Kompany. On the contrary his performances this year were exemplary but you could tell which TV Talking Heads only watched an occasional City game or just the highlights by the ones who praised Kompany without understanding why he was playing so well. A central defender has to worry about many different factors in a game not least are runs in behind them by attackers as the opposing midfield moves forward. It's the ball into space that kills a defence. Nigel de Jong prevents that ball from being played from in front of the box. Instead attacks usually are pushed out to the wings where crosses can be picked off and the runs of forwards into the box more easily read. Kompany as a defender essentially had to focus on being brilliant, which he was, on maybe 50-60% of a normal defenders responsibilities from a positioning standpoint. By contrast we saw when de Jong didn't play that City struggled at the back with a straight back four as neither Kompany or Lescott are world class in their initial positioning. The home defeat against Everton is a perfect example of this.
Manager of the Year: Roberto Mancini
Really. Despite the cries of the uninformed that City somehow have failed if they don't win everything because of the money that has been spent, the reality is that money can buy players, it doesn't buy a team. Mancini is at least a year ahead of schedule with the remarkable double of FA Cup win and Champions League qualification. You just shouldn't be able to win when half your team are either new to the club or starting for the first time.
Manager I wanted to be Manager of the Year: Ian Holloway
Ultimately I was right that Blackpool would go straight back down, but never ever have I wanted to be more wrong. I understand that Ian Holloway is not particularly enamoured with the reputation that he has; one of a delightful eccentric who also happens to be a football manager. After last season no one will ever doubt the coaching, tactical or managerial chops of Ian Scott Holloway. Once and only once Holloway got it wrong when playing Chelsea. the Blackpool manager played five at the back to limit the damage and got smacked around 4-0 by half time. Holloway reverted to his normal attacking instincts in the second half and Chelsea ended up on the back foot. Other than that week in and week out Holloway threw everything at the opposition and so very nearly pulled it off. I'd not wish Mike Ashley on anyone, but Holloway's style and transfer market smarts would make a fascinating fit for Newcastle one day. West Ham too for that matter.
Manager of the Year other than Mancini: Carlo Ancelotti
I judge a manager, and manager of the year, relative to the expectations at the start of the season. Mark Hughes, for example, ultimately did well at Fulham while Avram Grant certifiably did not at West Ham. Far and away the best managerial job of the year was Chelsea's Carlo Ancelotti. Chelsea are old, injury prone and lacking in depth. That Ancelotti coaxed a title out of them the year before was, frankly, amazing and to end up second in the Premier League this past year was remarkable.
Manager of the Year if you take into account all the predictions as to how badly they would do: Alex Ferguson
Yes I know. Old Purple Nose himself. However if you go back to the start of the season more than a few experts were predicting that United would miss qualification for the Champions League entirely. Personally I went against the grain and projected United to win the Premier League because they had the best squad. Therefore that United won is not a surprise to me and I thought Ferguson produced a competent job in getting them to the title.
Premier League Goal of the Season: Cheik Tiote Newcastle United vs. Arsenal
What is a goal? Is it an individual performance devoid of any connection to the greater whole or is it intrinsically linked to the circumstances of the game? I'd argue that both positions have merit, but my goal of the season is from the latter rather than the former. Leading 4-0 at St. James Park, Arsenal had Adou Diaby sent off and completely fell part. A couple of Joey Barton penalties, the second of which was beyond dubious, and a Leon Best strike set the stage for Tiote's to score with a stunning left foot volley from 25 yards with three minutes to play. Cue complete and utter bedlam as St. James Park, not to mention a couple of commentators went potty!
Premier League Goal of the Season that everyone else will pick. Wayne Rooney United vs. City
A bicycle kick of superb skill, but did Rooney have to do it against us?
City Goal of the Season: Yaya Toure City vs. Stoke City
There were at least a dozen goals better in terms of quality, but in terms of history this is the one. When we look back in five or 10 years at City and hopefully there is a lot of silverware to show we will always have the first piece of silver and that was courtesy of Yaya Toure. A man I called Small Berries for Buckaroo Banzai reasons, but who came up oh so big when City need him most. That reported 200k a week became quite palatable after that.
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