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Manchester United: Player Season Ratings (Part 2/3)

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Now that the dust has settled from another top season for us, I’ve thought it would be a good moment to look back 2010/11 and give my player ratings over the course of the season.

I thought it would be sensible to only give ratings to players who have made a minimum of 5 appearances for us, so sadly that means players who failed to play that many times such as Gary Neville or Owen Hargreaves (for instance) will not get a mention.

26 players played for us more than 5 times last season, so going on from the previous article – which you can read by clicking here – here are the next batch of player ratings for the season just gone, listed by squad number. Part 3 containing the remaining players not listed here will follow soon.

11) Ryan Giggs: Once again, this was a year where Giggsy rolled back the years by regularly starring for us in midfield. How at the age of 37, he is still able to put in these big-match performances every week is remarkable.

What’s even more remarkable is that we wouldn’t come to expect anything less of Giggsy who Sir Alex continues to put his faith and trust in.

His performances against Chelsea in the Champions League this year were nothing but brilliant as he set up our 3 goals scored past them in the tie and ran the midfield in both of those games. To play so well in central midfield and stand out as the best player on the pitch at his age was a beauty to behold. 

Last year Giggs played more than games than he did in 2009/10 and as well as scoring some great goals for us, he continues to really be the heartbeat for our midfield. It’s hard to remember a game this year when Giggs didn’t play well, that says something about the man. 8/10

12) Chris Smalling: Very few United fans would have imagined that Chris would have done so well for us last season. Most people in the media speculated that the ex-Fulham player would play for our reserves than for our first team. How wrong they were.

Chris had an excellent season and aside from a bad performance at Anfield (partly due to Wes Brown’s below-par performance) didn’t put a foot wrong in his first year at Old Trafford.

He had a tremendous game at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, which was only spoiled when Yuri Zhirkov dived into him to win a penalty which Frank Lampard converted, in a game that we deserved at least a point in.

The rate and speed in which Chris has developed and how towards the end of the year he had stepped past Jonny Evans to be our third choice centre back was a welcome surprise to say the last. The fact he’s a regular England U21 international shows how far he’s come so quickly. 7.5/10

13) Park Ji-Sung: Alot of eye-brows were raised back in 2005, when we signed the then litte-known Park from PSV Eindhoven.

Fast forward six years and even United fans who believed Park would be a decent player for us, would be a little bit shocked at just how good of a player Park’s come to be for us.

Despite missing a third of the season for us due to injuries and a month’s stay out in Qatar for the 2011 Asian Cup, Park had probably his best season for us yet. This year was his best goal-scoring one for the club (eight) and his energy and hunger in midfield helped set up lots of goals as well.

Yes he may have got overran in the Champions League final against Barcelona (who didn’t for us?), but he remains as well-liked by the fans and players than ever before.

He remains a key player in our squad and now that he’s retired from International duty, we will more out of our South Korean than ever before. 7.5/10

14) Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez: Arguably the signing of the season, Chicharito stunned everyone across Europe with just how quickly he adapted not to just to the Premier League but the Champions League as well.

12 months ago Chicharito was a little-known Mexican striker who Sir Alex Ferguson had signed to be a star of the future. Fast-forward to the present and Chicharito is a star of the team now.

It’s not just the fact he’s scored 20 goals for us this season, or the fact that he’s scored crucial goals along the way in our big-games.

Chicharito’s attitude, work-ethic and passion for the club has adhered him to the fans who voted him our Player of the Season and his fellow players, who recognise just how important he is to our success.

Right from pre-season our little Mexican was in form. His header against Chelsea in the Community Shield was just the start of things and his goals at Stoke and West Brom were vitally important for us at the start of the year.

It’s not often in football, especially in today’s transfer-market that you can really get ‘bargains’ but Chicharito is one of the best the Premier League has had in it’s history and if this season’s anything to go on, he could score even more this year. 10/10

15) Nemanja Vidic: In his first season as United’s skipper, Vida had a good season. His performances more than showed why Sir Alex made him our club captain on a permanent basis for the season.

Vida’s leadership and reading of the game was exceptional last year and particularly away from home where we struggled last season, his rock solid defending at the back helped us come away from some of those tricky grounds unbeaten.

Aside from his play at the back, Vida kept up his threat for us from set-pieces and he scored five very useful goals for us, including one stunning strike against Villa which was something out of Wayne Rooney’s books to say the least.

Aside from captaining us to the title, Vida was also crowned the Premier League player of the season for the second time, with his form and immense defending clearly winning over the Award’s panel  He is growing into an all-time great at Old Trafford. 9/10

16) Michael Carrick: Marmite is probably a good way of explaining how most United fans feel about our no.16, as they either love him or hate him.

To be fair to Carrick, his start to the season was rather lacklustre and there were even calls from fans to cash in on him in January. However after the New Year he started to improve and after signing a new contract in March, his performances kept getting better and better.

By the end of the year he was looking back to his form of his first 2 seasons at the club and his performance away at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League in holding midfield was perfect.

His cross field pass that led to Wayne Rooney’s goal that night was mesmerising and his all-round performance was one of the reasons why he came away from Stamford Bridge leading the tie.

Despite ending the year well, Carrick will need to start next season well to stop the doubters criticising him again.  7/10

17) Nani: Our Portuguese winger continued where he left off in the second half of the 2009/10 season and had by far his best year in a United shirt much to the delight of everyone at the club.

Yes occasionally he would over-dribble or not put in the right ball into the box, but there were few games where he didn’t play well – as he finally stepped out of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow and cemented himself in our team.

10 goals and almost double in that in terms of assists helped see Nani get crowned our Players’ Player of the Year and although he didn’t end the year in the same standards he started in, it could not take the gloss on his year.

Although it looks like Nani will have competition for his place in our team next year with Valencia and the incoming Ashley Young, there’s no doubt that he deserves to be starting for us next season. 8.5/10

18) Paul Scholes: This sadly for Scholsey was the year that his legs caught up with him, but he still contributed over the season despite not figuring as much as he would have liked to.

Yes there were lows this year for Scholes like his performance at Anfield and his sending off against Manchester City which he could have no excuses for.

Yes he might have only scored once this year away to Fulham in our second league game of the season – which incidentally brought up his 150th goal for the club – and played a bit/part for us this season.

 But he still gave everything for the cause and when he did play you knew that he was in the game and that he wouldn’t let us down.

His performance at home in the Manchester Derby was an important one as with City’s midfield looking dangerous he was on hand several times to win the ball back and set up our attacks, which is what he’s done for us throughout his career.

It was nice that he appeared in the final-stages of the Champions League final to bring his United career down with one more appearance which pleased our fans up despite us knowing the final was lost.

Scholsey will still be at the club next season in a coaching capacity and the fans will get one more chance to say goodbye at his testimonial in August against the New York cosmos led by a certain Eric Cantona.  6/10

By Adam Dennehey – @ADennehey87