It was, ultimately, a happy Sunday to culminate the emotional roller coaster that was the English Premier League this year. Arsenal went out with some flare to finish third, ManUnited failed to win a record 4th consecutive domestic title, and Chelsea forced Wigan to reenact 2-girls, 1-cup while they celebrated in front of their fans. At the beginning of the year it seemed obvious that Chelsea would win the trophy but that in no way diminished the ride. Here are the end of the season awards for the EPL:
Coach of the Year
Alex Ferguson (ManUtd) - He sold Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez - only 33% of his offensive output from the year before - and managed to increase United's total number of goals this year by 27% (68 last year to 86 this year). It makes no sense to me either. Valencia and Nani blossomed while Wayne Rooney performed criminal acts with his finishing. Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes returned from the dead and even Michael Owen earned his manager 3 points, albeit well into Fergie-time. This team was supposed to struggle this year. Instead they finished 1 point from a record breaking 4th consecutive Premier League title.
Rookie of the year
Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal) - This was the easiest pick of the bunch. Vermaelen started 33 games at center-back for Arsenal, scored 7 goals and even had one assist. His goals weren't exactly all headers either. The cold dead eyes of the dutch assassin carried Arsenal's porous back-line before finally getting injured much the same way an engine breaks down when you ask it to tow 4 thousand pounds of dead weight up a mountain. Welcome to the EPL Thomas, er, I mean, EPL, welcome to Thomas Vermaelen.
Super-Sub of the Year
Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham) - he had 6 goals when used as a substitute including a stretch in February where he complained about playing time, got some playing time, scored 3 goals in 2 games as a sub, then scored 2 more when allowed to start. 'Appy 'Arry Redknapp isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.
Defensive Player of the Year
Patrice Evra (ManUtd) - Ivica Olic begs to differ but these aren't the Champions League awards. United conceded the least amount of goals in the Prem and with Rio, Vidic and Wes Brown all missing significant chunks of time and footballing skills, Patrice played 38 of 38 games. He's from Senegal so that means he gets to play for France in the World Cup.
Most Improved Player
Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) - Now before you accuse me of being biased, take a look at the numbers. Last year he recorded 3 goals and 8 assists in the Prem and this year he scored 15 goals and had 13 assists. He did play 4 more games this year but that's still quite a jump in statistics with arguably less proven talent this year than last. The only players close to those improvements is Flourent Malouda with 12 goals and 8 assists this year compared to 6 goals and 5 assists last year and of course Mr. Wayne Rooney, 26/3 this year vs 12/7 last year.
Most Valuable Player
Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) - No player accounted for a bigger percentage of their team's offensive output this year than Wayne. He scored 27 of their 86 goals, and if you go by the book, he technically accounted for 8 game-winning-goals earning united 24 of their 85 points. He carried the team during the dog days of the year and more so than Didier Drogba was Rooney the most valuable player on his team. He leaves the season with a gimpy groin, a touchy ankle and the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders going into the World Cup. Without David Beckham, TLOCA wonders who England will blame for their World Cup failures. Until then.
Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.