Manchester United have today won a record 19th English league title.
A poor 1-1 draw at Ewood Park saw the team take the Premier League trophy for the 12th time under Sir Alex Ferguson's reign. The game itself saw Tomasz Kuszczak make a handful of mistakes, and inevitably given his notice by Fergie for the end of the season. Wayne Rooney scored the goal from the penalty spot, and the rest of the game was a bore to seal the title.
A season full of ups and downs, with Wayne Rooney having personal problems off the pitch, then handing in his transfer request, gettign what he wanted ( a £200k per week salary ) and returning to form against Man City, scoring the goal of the season. This helped United in a manner of ways, not just helping Rooney return to his former self on the pitch, but lifting the team through a tough season. The team themselves admitting they have not played well all season, and the facts show how poor United were away from home, dropping points, losing silly goals and not sealing games out.
A few highlights of the season for me were, No.1. Edwin Van Der Sar.... who will be sorely missed after his announcement to retire at the end of the season. He is in my opinion, the only goalkeeper to have ever replaced Peter Schmeichel at Old Trafford, this summer will be very important for Fergie to sign a replacement... with the Schalke youngster top of my list, Manuel Neuer, after his amazing display against the Reds in the Champions League this year.
Javi Hernandez needs to get a mention, because in my eyes, he has been the buy of the season. With a £6 million price tag, and 20 goals in his first season to date, is a bargain. Full of energy, options, athleticism, and the ability to finish a ball as good as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will do for me. Having broke his ankle early in the year, Antonio Valencia came straight back into his stride within the first 11, and played exceptionally well from the start. He for me, is a very important player for United, being the closes we've ever come to replacing Andrei Kanchelskis.
Ryan Giggs.... well..... he's a one-off. I admit that I criticised Giggsy 3, 4, 5 years ago ?! Saying he had lost it, but by gosh was I wrong... this season ( and last ), in the heart of midfield, he has shown his professionalism, athleticism, energy for the game and drive to win, as well as his footballing ability to be the best in the game. His accolades speak for themselves, literally breaking a different record every week he plays now. And at 37 years old, he's probably been one of the best central midfield players in the Barclays Premier League.
To try and keep this short, I'll talk about the future now..... with this summer being very important in United's next step in development. With Neville, Van Der Sar ( probably Brown, Owen and Hargreaves ) leaving Old Trafford, we need to fill those experienced head and shoulders with world class talent. Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher will step into those shoes admittedly but we need possibly 2 outstanding players to walk straight into the team. Here are my initial suggesstions for Fergie if you're reading mate, Manuel Neuer ( certainty - pay whatever they want ), Wesley Sneijder ( Obvious successor to Paul Scholes ).
The youngsters coming through United are good, but not in abundance, the ones I'd personally pick out to shine over the 2012 - 2013 season would be Chris Smalling, who's had an outstanding season stepping into Rio's role on many occasions throughout the season and coping tremendously under pressure. Rafael and Fabio are undoubtedly the most exciting full-backs in the premier league, but need to learn to stay on thier feet ( Raf, you're not Jaap Stam, you can't win every tackle ). Obviously, Hernandez, Anderson and Gibson will play more important roles next season. But for me, the most exciting prospect for the next 5 years, is Paul Pogba, he really is a talent. Every time I watch the lad play, he reminds me of a skillful Patrick Vieira, the way he runs, passes the ball, controls every ball dead, scores free-kicks from a million miles out, smashing volleys top corner, does a step over better than John O'Shea in his hay day. I can't wait for him to break through into the First Team.
Anyways, that's my quick opinion on the season successes, I could have gone on for another 2 days talking about it, but I'll save it for the pub later.
Bring on Barca !!!!