What a season it has turned out to be! Manchester City turning out to be eventual winners within literally the last few seconds in the season. Arsenal managed to qualify for the Champions’ League by the skin of their teeth with a win against West Bromwich Albion, while Newcastle failed to qualify for the Champions League, but have ended up in the respectful Europa League. Wigan played brilliant football towards the end of the season, ensuring their survival, while Wolves, Blackburn and Bolton will have to spend a season rebuilding their teams in order to play in the Premier League again.
Members of our Boardroom have grouped together to provide answers to key questions about this very entertaining season…
Who was your Player of the Season?
James – very tough call. Many will say Van Persie or Yaya Toure, but my vote is for Manchester City defender and captain: Vincent Kompany. The guy has been absolutely pivotal at the back for City this season in terms of reliability and leadership. When Savic replaced him due to his suspension, City looked fragile. Once he was back in the team, his consistency has helped them achieve a lot this season.
Salim - Robin van Persie.
Sagar - Vincent Kompany. The City defender has been rock-solid the entire season and for all the plaudits their attacking players receive, he was paramount to their league success this season.
Joe - Robin Van Persie. Couple of close contenders but to my mind no other player has performed at such a high level with such consistency over the course of the season. The ‘one man team’ label may not be accurate, but the Dutchman’s contribution to Arsenal this season cannot be undervalued.
Ahmad - Kompany, as an Arsenal fan, I would generally be inclined towards RVP and trust me it was close but Kompany put in performances to match those of RVP this season but unfortunately Football is a game in which the attackers get the limelight. Man City is a team with players who had no connection to each other or the club and it showed many times during the season on and off the pitch but he was their focal point, a player everyone respected and he provided an anchor from which the team built upon.
Youth deserve a mention. Young Player of the Season?
James – David De Gea. A lot of pressure on him because he had to replace Edwin Van Der Sar, which was not helped by mistakes and lack of confidence in the early stages of the season. Since then, he has become more calm and composed, making crucial saves when necessary, the most notable saves came against Chelsea. Next season he has the perfect opportunity to shine
Sagar - Sergio Aguero. The final piece of the jigsaw was bought last summer for £35m, and has performed consistently from scoring on his debut to slotting the infamous winner on the final day of the season.
Joe - Kun Aguero. Having made his top flight debut almost a decade ago it seems wrong that he should even be considered for such an award, but at 23 the Argentine still qualifies as ‘young’. I don’t think anyone else really comes close to him in the category; his consistent goal scoring throughout the season has played a major part in City’s title win and his last gasp winner epitomized his importance.
Ahmad - There hasn’t been an outstanding “young player” not because of a lack of quality but rather because of the amount of competition. I feel like this title is misconstrued as this award is usually given to the young player who has made the biggest strides rather than the best young player all-out. I think Aguero with his goal tally and that last minute title winner deserves it and the fact that most people don’t even consider him “young” speaks volumes of his ability.
Aside from the players you have mentioned above, who were the best players in each position (attack, midfield, defence and between the sticks) this season?
James – GK: Tim Krul, DF: Branislav Ivanovic, MD: Alex Song, ST: Robin Van Persie.
Salim - Between the sticks: Joe Hart. Made some game-saving/game-winning saves. He’s not the finished article but seems very level headed and should be one of the cornerstones of the Man City’s ambition to dominate world football.
Defence: Vincent Kompany. I think he has been the difference between Man Utd and Man City. It all came down to goal difference and with Kompany at the heart of their defence Man City were very hard to break down, without him they were a mess. Man Utd, meanwhile, missed someone like Kompany – as good as Evans and Ferdinand were, they weren’t as aerially supreme as Vidic, leaving Man Utd vulnerable in the air.
Midfield: Yaya Toure. He is just the complete player. Criticism against him is that he visibly tires towards the end of games but his performance against Man Utd was imperious and his goal against Newcastle came as the game was heading into the final 10 minutes.
Striker: Robin van Persie for his game-winning goals, gained Arsenal a lot of points this season. And yes, I had to mention him again!
Sagar - GK – Joe Hart; Defender – Fabricio Coloccini; Midfielder – Antonio Valencia; Striker – Robin Van Persie
Joe - Keepers: Michel Vorm has been a fantastic signing for Swansea this season whilst Joe Hart has done a great job for City.
Defence: Despite what has been a generally low standard of defending in the league this season there have been some stand out top performers. Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny has proven doubters wrong, playing a vital part at the heart of the Gunners’ defence, Jonny Evans has had a great season for United and Vincent Kompany has been a superb leader for City throughout.
Midfield: Yaya Toure’s incredible power has been the heart of City’s side so he’s more than deserving of a mention and the unfaltering threat that Antonio Valencia has been to left backs up and down the country earns him a shout, too.
Forwards: Rooney’s goals and versatility have been crucial in United’s challenge, once again he’s provided the main threat for them and had an impressive campaign.
Ahmad - RVP, Yaya Toure, Kompany, Hart
Now this one is about the men on the touchline: who was the Manager of the Season?
James – Alan Pardew. Defied almost everyone’s predictions this year by landing Newcastle in a position to play in Europe. His scouting staff also deserve a mention for identifying French and African players who have played a key art in Newcastle’s success this season.
Salim - Alan Pardew. Pre-season didn’t seem ideal with Joey Barton, Jose Enrique and Kevin Nolan all leaving, but Pardew has done brilliantly to galvanise the team (with the help of superb scouting by Graham Carr to bring in the likes of Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Cisse, etc), despite fading towards the end of the season. Pardew’s arrogance has been mirrored in the way Newcastle have played this season, it’s just great to see an English manager who seemed destined to loiter in the football league doing so well.
Sagar - Roberto Martinez. Mancini, Pardew, Rodgers. Lambert.. there are other contenders but personally, the way Wigan continuously avoid relegation is no fluke. Martinez is definitely destined for bigger things and it is simply a question of ‘when?’ His decision to play 3-4-3 when it so easily could’ve backfired is highly commendable.
Joe - Alan Pardew. Tough decision here with a few names worthy of consideration but given some of the players Newcastle sold in the run up to the season I actually wondered at one point whether they may be an outside shot for relegation. Pardew’s buys and management didn’t merely keep them safe, but somehow allowed them to contend for a Champions League spot right up until the final day. He deserves a great deal of credit for that.
Ahmad - Paul Lambert.
Money doesn’t buy you love, but it sure as hell can improve your position in the league. Who was the best purchase of the season?
James – Jelavic for Everton. I know there have been other great signings, but given the tight budget at Everton, Moyes has got this decision right and is reaping the rewards from such a good purchase.
Salim - Hard to pick one outstanding signing, there has been so many. I’m going to go for Nikica Jelavic just because he is the striker Everton have craved for since the Yakubu of about 3-4 years ago. Jelavic has propelled Everton up the league, scored in key games and played an important role in Man Utd’s crumble with 2 goals.
Sagar - Demba Ba. Bought on a free and had a fantastic first half of a season. Taken a backseat to Cisse in recent months but his contributions should certainly not be overlooked as Newcastle exceeded all expectations.
Joe - Papiss Cisse. Spoke before about Pardew’s buys and he’s had many turn good this season, Cisse’s devastating effect on the league makes him the pick of the bunch for me, though.
Ahmad – Tough one, it will have to be between Arteta, Ba and Cisse.
Don’t be shy, which player was the biggest flop of the season?
James – It would be easy to say Andy Carroll, but I think people have been quite harsh on him. My vote goes to Charlie Adam. Played excellently for Blackpool with a team that was build around him in order to extract the best out of him. Since putting on a Liverpool shirt, he has been awful. Don’t forget his rugby punt in the Carling Cup final vs Cardiff City.
Salim - Stewart Downing. He simply hasn’t shown the confidence to be a Liverpool player at any point in the season, bar in the Carling Cup final v Cardiff. The fact that he hasn’t scored or assisted any goals is astonishing.
Sagar - Stewart Downing. Had he flourished this season, the general consensus on Andy Carroll may well be different. £20m, 0 goals and 0 assists. Should be given another season to prove himself, however.
Joe - Stewart Downing. Feel somewhat sorry for him, as, like Carroll last season, his unjustified price tag only set him up for failure. But regardless of that, Liverpool have seen a shocking return from him the winger this season
Ahmad - Stuart Downing because of his dismal stats or N’Zogbia because of his dismal performances.
Good goals are easy. But who netted the best goal?
James – Easy: Papiss Cisse vs Chelsea. Do I really need to explain why?
Salim - Papiss Cisse’s second goal v Chelsea.
Sagar - Cisse’s second vs Chelsea.
Joe - Papiss Cisse’s 2nd vs Chelsea. Have to go for the Senegalese star again and it’s testament to his quality that I have to specify which goal within the game I’ve gone for – his first being a stunner, too. There’s a temptation to call his effort a ‘hit and hope’ type, but given the frequency with which he’s delivered since arriving, I feel he’s deserving of any credit he gets for that spectacular strike.
Ahmad - Hard one to call, it will have to be either RVP VS Everton or Cisse VS Chelsea.
Name a team and a player who you think will shock the League the next season
James – Team: keep a close eye on Everton next season. Expect them to increase the competition for those attractive CL and Europa League places. Player: Adam Lallana of Southampton.
Salim - Assuming Roberto Martinez stays, Wigan and Franco Di Santo! As I’ve previously written their 3-4-3 system is a revelation, their end-of-season league form is no coincidence.
Sagar - Team: Southampton/Player: Moussa Dembele
Joe - Fulham and Kerim Frei. In spite of the added games their Europa league campaign brought about, Fulham have impressed this year. If they’re able to keep hold of key players and make a few additions over the summer, I think the lack of European football could see them have a very strong season. A potential star in their success may be Kerim Frei; the young Swiss forward has seen increasing time on the field this year and continued to impress – next year may see him really break through.
Ahmad - Everton, I think they’ll push on and finally advance upwards and start to challenge for the top 4/5 spots. I can’t for the life of me decide on a player!
And that’s that! Hope you had a good read. Also, follow us on Twitter if you haven’t done so already!Follow @Sandal4Goalpost