Football is quite obviously a team game and during a season where Manchester United won the English Premier League for a record 19th time, and also reached the final of the UEFA Champions League, there were many vital contributors. However, is there a United player that stood out above the rest to you? Let's examine the candidates for The Busby Babe's Manchester United player of the season:
* Edwin van der Sar: In his final season before retirement, the 40-year-old Dutchman appeared in 47 matches in all competitions while conceding 40 goals (0.85/match) and keeping 22 clean sheets. van der Sar was not only a popular selection for the "Best XI" in the English Premier League for many, he was also arguably the top goalkeeper in Europe this season. Whether it be David De Gea or another goalkeeper, these will be enormous gloves to fill.
* Nemanja Vidic: The United captain made 47 appearances in all competitions during the campaign while arguably being the standout player in the Premier League. The Serbia international was a rock in central-defense and he even contributed with 5 goals this season - mainly on set-pieces. Rio Ferdinand's stretch of absence this season was dealt with well by the emergence of Chris Smalling - but this was aided by Vidic's leadership, communication, and sound positioning.
* Ryan Giggs: The 37-year-old added on another stellar season to his already legendary career - one that saw him score 4 goals and provide 12 assists in 39 appearances. The Welshman no longer mazes through defenses with his sheer pace, but he still tears apart opponents with his technique and guile. As the season progressed, Giggs began to play a more prominent role in the center of the pitch - during United's successful run-in, he formed a strong partnership with Michael Carrick.
* Nani: Along with Dimitar Berbatov, it was the Portugal international that carried the attack in the early portion of the season while other's were struggling with either injury or form. In 50 appearances in all competitions, Nani tallied 10 goals while providing 15 assists. While able to play on either flank comfortably, it was on the right side where the winger terrorized opponents. He was capable of getting down the right touchline and whipping in a dangerous cross with his right boot, or he could cut inside and strike at goal with his left boot - 9 of his goals came from that dangerous left boot.
* Dimitar Berbatov: Despite falling out of favor by season's end as a first-choice selection, the Bulgarian striker still managed to be the co-golden boot winner in the Premier League. His hat-trick hero performance at Old Trafford versus rival Liverpool FC and his five-goal assault on Blackburn Rovers are particularly memorable in his 21-goal campaign. While Wayne Rooney struggled in the early portion of the season and while Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez got acclimated to the Premier League, the silky-smooth Berbatov was the striker that carried the load.
* Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez: What a debut season it was for young Mexican striker. When Chicharito arrived at Old Trafford this summer for a mere £6-million, no one was quite sure what to make of the deal at the time. It is quite obvious now though that it was the signing of the season in the Premier League. While Paul Scholes predicted to manager Sir Alex Ferguson during the summer tour in the United States that the new signing would bag 25 goals, Chicharito managed to only score 21 goals. By season's end, Chicharito had become first-choice over Dimitar Berbatov and he formed a terrific partnership with Rooney. The Mexican's excellent movement and finishing ability complimented Wazza's determination to find space and distribute.
* Wayne Rooney: Wazza's struggles with injury, personal issues, and form during the final 9 months of 2010 have been well documented by now. However, United's number ten valiantly returned as a talisman for the run-in. A strength of the England international has always been his versatility and once again, he (or Fergie did) re-invented himself - this time in a withdrawn and central playmaking role. Rooney was tremendous in the final months of the season and it could even be argued that he was in the form of his life. He finished the season with 16 goals and 13 assists in 40 appearances.
Here are our choices...
CPC - Vidic
Gene - Vidic
nolefansam - Vidic