The Barclay’s Premier League season was full of outstanding performances, moments of brilliance, moments which made a mockery of football, and of course, the controversies. In a ten-month long season, there is a lot which goes unnoticed or is forgotten, and there is a lot which needs to be rewarded.
Here are some traditional, and some not-so-traditional categories to remind you of the season gone by…
Best manager of the season
Alex McLeish not only managed to keep Birmingham up this season, but has also secured a top half finish for the newly promoted side. Carlo Ancelotti has secured Chelsea’s first ever double, but with a team of superstars, that was well expected from him. The award, however, goes to a twitchy Harry Redknapp for finally breaking into the top four and earning Tottenham a first crack at the Champions League…qualifiers.
Survival act of the season
It is no mean feat to relegate two teams in the same season and still have a job. Eat your heart out, Jose! Brian Laws is the real miracle man.
Brian’s laws of football didn’t quite work..
Goal of the season
Thierry’s cheekyness, Xabi’s audacity and Becks’ execution – Maynor Figueroa‘s long-range wonder to catch Stoke keeper Sorensen out is head and shoulders above every goal this season. Ashley Cole’s Bergkamp-esque strike against Sunderland, Danny Rose’s debut screamer against the Gunners and Cesc Fabregas’s solo effort against Spurs were unlucky to miss out.
Best celebration of the season
The direction, the team-spirit, the humour and the stage – Jimmy Bullard‘s famous mockery of his own manager, at the very place he and his team-mates received a public rollicking one season ago, was up there with the best celebrations in football history.
Best impersonation of a football player
Andriy Voronin – you were fooled, weren’t you? Unfortunately for Liverpool, so was the man at the helm. With looks befitting a porn star, Voronin couldn’t find first base at Liverpool.
Fastest sprint of the season
No, not Lennon or Theo! This was a close contest between two men who play at the opposite ends of the field. Wayne Rooney’s seventy-yard sprint to finish off an attack he began in Arsenal’s half at the Emirates was spectacular. The award, however, goes to Pepe Reina‘s goal-to-goal dash to celebrate in front of the Kop. It took less than ten seconds and two camera angle changes for him to climb all over goalscorer Ngog, after he had scored against United. No other Liverpool player was in sight.
Most ground covered on the touchline
At times, Alberto Aquilani was like a neglected teenage girl doing everything possible to gain some attention. By Iain Dowie’s standards, he is pretty sexy as well. Unfortunately, a certain Spaniard has higher standards.
Worst use of technology
Ex-Hull manager Phil Brown preferred wearing a headset on the touchline to presumably communicate with the bench, instead of turning around and opening his mouth. Clearly, there was nobody listening at the other end. Phil lost his job and Hull were relegated.
Phil Brown – always on-line
Best missus grabber
John Terry. Contact Wayne Bridge.
Most influential merchandise
With a Liverpool crest on its heart, the beach ball sent Reina the wrong way to score the winner at the Stadium of Light. It also has the best goals-to-shots ratio in the league. BB for England!
Best Scouser of the season
A gentle reminder to United supporters who indulge themselves in anti-scouser chants. Wayne Rooney is a scouser – ironical, isn’t it?
Biggest debt of the season
David Bentley gets this one for ruining his manager’s three thousand pound suit in a post-match interview cum celebration at the Eastlands. The debt will be doubled if Tottenham don’t reach the group stages of the Champions League.
Bulls eye of the season
The accuracy of Lukasz Fabianski‘s drop on Bramble’s head would have made stealth fighter plans develop an inferiority complex. Somehow, Wenger wasn’t proud of this talent in his youngster.
Overrated goal of the season
Chelsea owns this category. The world has gone gaga over goals which didn’t go according to plan. Drogba’s opening day mis-directed cross in injury time gave Chelsea a victory over Hull – verdict: audacious! At Bolton, Deco and Lampard attempted to combine but Lampard’s back flick fortuitously found Drogba – verdict: simply stunning! But our winner comes from the visit of Stoke City, when Frank Lampard attempted to hook back a wonderful Hutchison cross, only to find the ball nestling in the far corner – verdict: Best player on the planet!
Frankly, was it intentional?
Worst performance in a supporting role
When Dimitar Berbatov was taken off at White Hart Lane, it energized Wayne Rooney into a completely different player. Rooney ran the Spurs defence ragged on his own, scored a fabulous goal beating both center backs and a ten-man United looked more likely to score.
Best Chelsea hammering
There is a wonderful symmetry to this – 7-0 against Stoke, 7-1 against Villa and 7-2 against Sunderland before routing Wigan 8-0 on the final day. A rampant Chelsea washed their hands with all off these opponents in some style at Stamford Bridge. But our winner is the Aston Villa hammering. Why? For the statement of intent, for making a mockery of the best defense in the league and for ‘devastating’ the overly-dramatic Martin O’Neill.
Best impression of Mark Hughes
Roberto Mancini – The City boss hardly proved to be an improvement on Mark Hughes both, in terms of managerial abilities and in terms of ‘losing the plot’.
Best London bus analogy
Arsenal‘s two quick-fire goals at the end of the first half after a long wait against bitter rivals Tottenham were a commentator’s delight. The phrase ‘Just like the London buses…..’ came into perfect use all across the world in this London derby. After Cesc embarrassed the Spurs defense, Tottenham’s players were praying for an actual London bus to help them escape Harry’s wrath at half-time.
Best backpass of the season
Steven Gerrard and Carlton Cole fought a close battle. Gerrard’s through ball to Drogba was a dream for conspiracy writers and possibly the most vital moment of the season. However, the way Carlton Cole sliced open his own defense by passing it to none other than the Upton Park villain Jermaine Defoe, it was a nightmare of the highest order for a Hammers’ supporter. The West Ham striker duly picks up this award.
Best welcome to Manchester
The noisy neighbours made some real noise! Carlos Tevez and the story of the bill-board that generated massive media hype, debates, discussions, press conferences and rants across the world. Manc humour at it’s very best! However, that was the only laugh they got against their city rivals throughout the season.
‘Gotham Knight’ of the season
Didier Drogba transforms overnight from a petulant seven-year old to become the world’s best striker to save the London Bridge. However, he was exposed on the last day of the season.
Wuss of the season
Robinho – couldn’t cut it in the premier league, went back home and forgot to take Lucas with him. Good for nothing, Brazilians!
“Off you go, son”
‘The Great Escape’ of the season
Leading by a goal in the 89th minute of a Manchester derby and playing in the last line of defence, Rio Ferdinand attempted a fancy scoop over Petrov, only to surrender possession and find himself chasing Craig Bellamy like his life was at stake, because it was. Fortunately for Rio, the hair-dryer treatment or Fergie’s personalized version – ‘the boot treatment’ – wasn’t called for, because of Owen’s ‘Fergie time’ bail-out.
Worst Nani impression
Nani 2009/10 – from failed skills to exquisite dribbling, from picking poor choices to brilliant decision making and from wasteful attempts at goal to top-class finishes, where is the real Nani and what did United do with him?
Ugly moment of the season
Iain Dowie. Just ugly.
Rafa’s ‘facht’ of the season
27,000. This fact was repeated by him the most number of times this season – eight times – in a single interview. In the most dreadful and bizarre use of sarcasm, Rafael Benitez decided to repeat the attendance at the Britannia Stadium to attack the referee in a post-match interview, to deflect away from his own team’s shortcomings. Step aside Kevin Keegan, there is a new showman in town!
Hope you enjoyed it. Until next season then…