Football Season Review

Champions: Manchester United

Manchester United finished the season as league champions for a record 19th time and Sir Alex Ferguson deserves enormous credit for steering a less than spectacular side to a great achievement. It was hardly a great start of the season with the team looking brittle and throwing leads away in a number of games early on. Wayne Rooney added to the turmoil by declaring he wanted out and only a hefty pay rise persuaded him that United are still ambitious enough for him. Despite all the problems, United remained unbeaten until the end of 2010, with the defence standing firm and Dimitar Berbatov coming up with the odd bit of magic from time to time. They kept grinding the results without playing well as the campaign progressed, pulling clear at the top in December following Chelsea's unexpected collapse. The unbeaten start of the season ended in early February against Wolverhampton and consecutive defeats at the hands of Chelsea and Liverpool looked to have knocked United sideways but Ferguson once again proved why he is the best as he galvanised the team to their most significant win of the season, a 2:0 victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup that immediately boosted the confidence. United really kicked in in April when a superb comeback at West Ham, winning 4:2 when two goals down at half-time, was followed by an accomplished display and a 1:0 win at Chelsea in the Champions League that left the door wide open for another final in Europe. Any hopes of a treble were ended by local rivals Manchester City though, losing 1:0 in the semi-final of the FA Cup, but United practically sealed the coveted league title with a 2:1 win over Chelsea at home with their best display of the season. This raised the hopes for the Barcelona re-match in the Champions League final but United repeated the mistakes from two years ago and at the end had to swallow the bitter pill of defeat after losing 3:1 at Wembley. United were clearly the best side in England but were found wanting against the best and Ferguson will need to do some serious rebuilding in the summer despite what can be classified as a successful season.

Player of the Season: Edwin Van der Sar