Gareth Bale is one of the favorites, if not the favorite, to win English football’s Player of the Year Award. As a Spurs fan he has been great to watch, but only since the turn of the year. Before Christmas, Spurs best players were Aaron Lennon, Sandro, and Jan Vertonghen. Two players – Michu and Robin van Persie - are more worthy of consideration for the award than Bale. Michu’s goals helped Swansea City consolidate their Premier League status and also helped the Welsh club win the League Cup. However, the player of the year should be Robin van Persie whose goals have helped Manchester United regain the Premier league title. Where would United have been without him? And where would Arsenal be with him in their line up?
Manchester United won their 20th English League title and in the process silenced their neighbors Manchester City. From the moment United relinquished their title last May it was obvious that Alex Ferguson was determined not to allow City to win it twice in a row. Ferguson is a master motivator and his players have really responded to his desire to win the title. They are worthy champions.
United will head to The Emirates at the weekend to face Arsenal who must perform an honor guard to welcome the new champions and former player, van Persie, on to the field. Arsenal fans are not happy about this and many are still critical of the Dutchman leaving their beloved club. They didn’t seem to have a problem when Sol Campbell left Spurs under similar circumstances. They don’t do irony in Woolwich, do they?
Sunderland has won two games in a row for new manager Paolo Di Canio. The Black Cats have turned in impressive performances to beat Newcastle United at St. James Park and Everton at the Stadium of Light. The two performances were full of desire and commitment, traits that were sorely lacking in the latter stages of Martin O’Neill’s reign. Are the wins an indictment of O’Neill’s managerial skills, or did the players stop playing for him?
If players are not allowed to transfer outside of the transfer window then why are transfers allowed to be announced during the season? The announcement of Mario Gotze’s summer move from Bayern Munich to Borussia Dortmund was timed to coincide with both club’s Champions League semi-finals and possibly to undermine the latter. A case could be made that Bayern have brought the game into disrepute with their announcement. UEFA/FIFA should stop this practice. They won’t.
Rafa Benitez has been poorly treated by the fans of Chelsea since he took over as interim manager of the club. He took the blues to Anfield to play Liverpool at the weekend and received a hero’s welcome from the Reds supporters. Liverpool is a club with a proud tradition, a very successful club, a truly global support and a history of doing things the right way, Luis Suarez notwithstanding. They are everything Chelsea are not and Benitez deserves better from an ungrateful support.