In our series of The Busby Babe awards, there will certainly be a few obvious choices - but one of the more difficult voting choices may be for Manchester United striker of the season. Here are the candidates:
Dimitar Berbatov: Despite falling out of favor for first-choice selection at season's end, the silky Bulgarian striker put together a stellar season during the 2010-11 championship campaign for United - one that saw him as the co-Golden Boot winner in the English Premier League. In all competitions, Berbatov scored 21 goals (20 in the Prem) and provided 6 assists in 42 appearances - including hat-tricks versus Birmingham City, Liverpool FC, and a Premier League record-tying 5 goals versus Blackburn Rovers. In the early portion of the season when many claimed that United lacked "fantasy," it was Berba, along with Nani, that provided the attack with the necessary ammunition to keep United in the title race.
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez: Quite honestly, there isn't much more original content to be said about our "little green pea" than has already been spewed. The young Mexican striker arrived at Old Trafford this past summer for a mere £6 million - no one was quite sure what to make of the deal at the time. During the summer tour through the U.S. prior to the season, the modest Paul Scholes exclaimed to Sir Alex Ferguson that the new striker would bag 25 goals this season - however, he only netted 21 in his debut season during all competitions. During the run-in, Hernandez became the first-choice striker in Fergie's 4-4-1-1 lineup and he flourished as United won title number 19 while reaching the finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Wayne Rooney: During the 2009-10 season, Wazza removed himself from the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring 34 goals for United - mostly as the lead striker in Fergie's 4-3-3/4-5-1 shape. However, after suffering an injury in March 2010 versus Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final, Rooney struggled to regain health, fitness, and form - an ugly transfer/contract dispute even occurred this past October. During the past season's run-in, our number ten valiantly returned to form and once again became a true talisman - this time in a different role as a central playmaker. One could even argue that his play in the past few months put Rooney in the form of his life. Despite his early season struggles, which was never as poor as the media and many others proclaimed, he finished the season with 16 goals and 13 assists in all competitions.
After the jump, see who those of us from TBB picked...
Gene: Berba (OK... I'm essentially undecided but because I'm afraid that years down the road, when we all reminisce about title #19, I'm worried that we'll forget the vital contributions of Berba. When Rooney was struggling to find form and Chicharito was getting acclimated to the Prem, it was the Bulgarian who was helping us grind out points with his brilliant displays... therefore, a vote for remembrance!)
Have at it!