With the 2010/11 Premiership season winding to a close, Gordon O’Callaghan looks at the five most impressive performers of the campaign
This season has been one of the most competitive, shocking and unpredictable Premier Leagues in recent years. So, who have been the shining stars? No doubt a difficult question and one that has thrown up the following five outstanding players of the year for debate.
Nineteen goals in twenty seven appearances is pretty impressive, but it has been his drive and hunger, as typified by his one man show against West Brom in February, that makes Tevez a must on this list. Despite a turbulent relationship with his Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, he has never given anything other than 110 per cent when he’s on the field.
Manchester City has the lowest goals tally of the top four teams. The bulk of the goalscoring responsibility has fallen on Tevez’s shoulders, and despite the odd strop, he has been the standout player of the season.
Rafael Van der Vaart:
It was a straight shoot out between Van der Vaart and Gareth Bale for a place in the list, but regardless of the fact that Bale made it onto the PFA Player of the Year short-list, Van der Vaart has been the better player over the whole season.
Ten league goals in 21 appearances, coupled with seven assists, have kept Spurs chasing that final Champions League spot. His technical ability and the fact that he can actually use both feet have added some much-needed guile to a Spurs team that can often appear naive.
Blackpool have added a significant degree of colour, bright tangerine to be exact, to the Premier League this season and Charlie Adam has been the heart and soul of a team that many predicted were a certainty for relegation.
The quality of his passing and his set-pieces have earned him praise from the likes of Daniel Alves, and has seen him shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year Award. Apart from Newcastle, Blackpool have scored more goals than any other team outside of the top four, and Adams’ contribution of seven assist and nine goals have meant that many football pundits may be eating their words come May.
Edwin Van der Sar:
The Dutch shot stopper has been the standout player at Old Trafford this season. Manchester United’s defensive woes have been well documented with the long-term absence of Rio Ferdinand, the retirement of Gary Neville as well as the fact that Jonny Evans and Wes Brown are not top class and the da Silva brothers are still young and somewhat inexperienced at this level, means that it has been left to the 40-year-old Van der Sar to marshal an often makeshift defence.
United may have conceded more goals then their closest rivals but the fact that they have not conceded even more and are looking comfortable at the top of the table is in no small part down to the Dutchman.
It might be a bit strange to have a player from a club that has consistently been in the bottom three all season on the list. It might be even stranger to find out that said player can’t be found on any of the goalscoring or assist charts, but the fact remains that Scott Parker has been an undeniable rock of reliability in the West Ham midfield, and perhaps the most important factor in their resurgence.
His tally of five league goals, a personal best, is a good contribution from a midfielder more known for his battling qualities rather than attacking prowess. Parker’s best asset has been his leadership skills. His manager, Avram Grant, has never been much of a leader and Parker has filled that void. His half-time speech at West Brom on February 12th, which teammate Carlton Cole described as a tear jerking, has given West Ham the drive and passion to perhaps stave off relegation.