The poll results are now in for who your player of the season has been so far. Would it be Valencia after he dominated headlines by wonderfully re-finding his form? Would it be Wayne Rooney who has now notched up 16 Premier League goals this season? Would it be Welbeck who is bringing the Mancunian back to Manchester?
With 43.1% (150) of the votes, the runaway winner is Wayne Rooney. The recent form of Rooney has brought heaps of praise onto our talismanic striker as he finds the consistency that he has struggled so much to find. His token goal against Bilbao in midweek was just a prime example of what Rooney can single handedly do.
The thing I love the most about Rooney is the importance of his goals – Arsenal (H+A), Chelsea (H+A) and Liverpool (H) for example. He thrives on the importance of a fixture and saves his best football for when it is most needed.
Now that we are in the thick of the run-in, there are arguably no other players more important to our potential success. The times I notice how important he is to us is when he isn’t playing. We look toothless in the final third without the decisive and penetrating play that Rooney brings to our attack.
Sitting pretty at the top of the league is our reward for our consistency up until now. Will we be able to hold off City? Rooney will play a major role if we do.
Antonio Valencia was closest to Rooney with 25.29% (88) of the votes and got my personal vote. He was in absolutely blistering form since December and was our out-and-out most influential player for a few months up until he got injured.
Few could have imagined that Valencia would have ever returned to, let alone bettered, his form after his horror injury against Rangers last season but he is simply a tank. Boundless energy, powerful drives and fiercely accurate crosses all combine with his pace to bring a wingers game that defenders find it hard to defend.
If we can keep both Valencia and Rooney fit for the rest of the season, I would be confident at our chances of keeping number 20.
However, “clean sheets win trophies”. Michael Carrick has been absolutely superb this season and re-found his scoring boots after not scoring since City in January 2010 with a wonderful goal against QPR. It isn’t his goalscoring antics that have helped United as much as his almost impeccable midfielder game.
Completing 1230/1364 (90.2%) passes with an average 3.3 tackles and 2.9 interceptions per game, Carrick is our brick wall. He provides a calming sense of control that dictates the tempo of the game whenever he is on the pitch. When he isn’t, United lose that overwhelming domination of play.
He is the topic of much scorn and debate amongst fans but few can argue against his importance this season. I hope he can use this season as a springboard and bring back the Carrick of ’08 that we all grew to love. Onwards and upwards Mike.