Players of the season … so far

November 25, 2009 Tags: Opinion 23 comments

With Christmas just around the corner, Manchester United must hit a rich vein of form over the next few weeks. Five points adrift, Sir Alex Ferguson has urged his team to leapfrog Chelsea and seize pole position in the Premier League title race. But a third of the way into the campaign, which players have shone for United and which have failed?

Darren Fletcher is an obvious candidate, with a string of exceptional performances this season. For years the Scot, labelled as inadequate by many critics and supporters alike, struggled to make the grade. But Fletcher has proven the doubters wrong with his inspiring and at times jaw dropping performances. One of the most improved players in world football.

While Fletcher is not prolific in front of goal, the 24-year-old midfielder has chipped in with crucial strikes against Manchester City and Everton. The Dalkeith-born player’s recent goal against the Merseysiders was reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo at his very best, such was the technique involved. And despite the player’s disappointment on the international front, Fletcher has been one of the key performers for United this season. Perhaps most of all, Fletcher has made the supporters believe in him again.

The old stalwart Ryan Giggs has once again surpassed all expectations of what a 37-year-old player can do. The Welshman recovered from an un-characteristically poor performance against Arsenal at Old Trafford to become the catalyst for United’s turnaround against Spurs. At Stoke, Giggs was superb in United’s win.

It has been a productive season for Giggs as well. The Cardiff-born winger is United’s chief contributor with nine assists. Although Giggs’ best role is less certain than in the past, there will always be a place in the team for the maestro.

Ronaldo’s departure to Real Madrid required a goalscoring replacement. Although Wayne Rooney has not quite hit the net at the Portuguese’s rate, the Scouser has certainly risen to the challenge. With just 13 league games played, Rooney is on course to beat his previous season’s best of 16 Premier League goals.

Rooney is, of course, heavily involved in United’s creative play too. This duality is what makes the former-Evertonian ‘the complete all-round player’, according to Harry Redknapp. With better players around him, United might be able to get even more out of England’s most consistent performer.

An early shout for Edwin van der Sar is by no means out of the question. The Dutchman’s influence is clear, especially while Ben Foster is yet to prove whether he will live up to his early promise. United’s number one has been superb in recent fixtures – the player’s experience, not to be underestimated, means that his role in the team remains essential.

Despite the positives there have been a number of disappointments within Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad. Fergie will certainly demand bigger and better things from Michael Carrick, Dimitar Berbatov, Anderson and of course Nani as the season edges towards its second half. If Nani is still at Old Trafford in February, it’ll only be if the ex-Sporting winger finally steps up to the plate. The £17 million player owes it not only to himself but every single United fan too.

And while last season United based the team’s success on defensive stability,  with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand un-breakable, this has not been the case so far this campaign. Few if any of Ferguson’s defenders have done themselves justice.


Wahome - November 25, 2009 Reply

Best players in order;
1. Fletcher
2. Evra
3. Giggs

ziggy - November 25, 2009 Reply

What about Evra??!!

Sam Perry - November 26, 2009 Reply

Surprised at the mention of Berbatov in the ‘disappointments’ list – he’s been outstanding in his last couple of outings for the club. Yes, he’s missed the last few games through injury, but when on the park he’s looked better and better as the seasons worn on.

Other than that a pretty fair assessment I think.

Farrukh - November 26, 2009 Reply

for me they are evra, fletcher and giggs.

GH - November 26, 2009 Reply

Fletcher and Evra have stood out a mile from the rest. Giggs and Rooney have been excellent at times, but inconsistent. Disappointments of the season so far: Rio Ferdinand, Carrick, Anderson and Nani.

bchilds - November 26, 2009 Reply

Evra has to be there, along with Fletcher he has been our best player this season

Sam - November 26, 2009 Reply

As has been said already, where is Evra?! He has been outstanding, to the extent that he is one of our main and most consistent attacking threats and is considered a game changing substitution (e.g. last night).

I would also disagree with the placement of Anderson and Berbatov in the disappointments list. I think both have been very good, though I suppose you are right to say that there is hopefully more to come from both. Goals springs to mind in both cases.

Mancunian Republik - November 26, 2009 Reply

What about scholes? he was uniteds best player against birmingham, spurs, besiktas, both moscow games and he was outstanding against stoke

Nagraj - November 26, 2009 Reply

Wow…unbelievably racist this is…

No mention of Evra, Valencia…and of course Nani

Ed - November 26, 2009 Reply

Oh come on. His list nothing to do with race. And seriously, are you suggesting Nani is one of United’s players of the season?!

The Scottish Wonder - November 26, 2009 Reply

Did you just forget about Evra?

1-2. Fletcher
1-2. Evra
3-4. Giggs
3-4. Rooney

Nagraj - November 26, 2009 Reply

naa I was baked when I wrote that

poopy joe - November 26, 2009 Reply

evra has been immense this year both in attack and defence!! fletcher and him are DA BOMB!!

Kei - November 26, 2009 Reply

In un-scientifically decided order

Fletch, Paddy Evra, Wazza, Giggsy, Berba, Valencia, VDS, Evans, Vidic, O’Shea, Scholes, Carrick, Rio, Park, Brown, Owen, Anderson, Gaz, Obertan, Nani, Rafael, Fabio, Wellbeck, De laet, Gibson, Foster, Kuszac, Macheda.

Fletch by a mile: He is a leader on the pitch, even down to vocally encouraging those around him.

Evra: has been our main attacking force down the wings, as well as his great defensive displays.

Rooney: Goals, team commitment and high levels of skill.

Rhystiano - November 26, 2009 Reply

Fletcher without a doubt. Rooney and Evra would walk into any team in the world…..incredibly consistent.

LAURE - November 26, 2009 Reply

1 evra
2 fletcher
3 giggs

Evra is stunning!

Dave Mack - November 26, 2009 Reply

Evra & Fletch must be the front runners. But Evera is my choice based on the number of games he has played and the fact that he is the secret engine behind our attack. It’s noticeable that when he’s been on the bench and we need a goal, Fergie is as quick to bring him on as any forward!

Rahul - November 27, 2009 Reply

Fletcher no doubt deserves to be there.

Why was Evra left out?? The guy has simply been playing almost 2 positions by himself, defender & winger, and done outrageously at that!

vishwa - November 27, 2009 Reply

Fletcher Berba Evra Giggs- Excellent

Valencia- Good.

Carrick Neville- back on track

Rio- Divided opinion.

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Onkar - November 27, 2009 Reply

Evra should have been on the list… and a mention should have gone for Valencia as he is looking more and more a part of the team….

Tom - November 28, 2009 Reply

According to the Premier Leagues offical stats
The best 3 players have been 1) Evra 2) Giggs 3) Berbatov, my choice is 1) Evra 2) Fletcher 3) Rooney.

Jo - December 5, 2009 Reply

No mention of Evra implies you don’t watch United very much.

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