Andy Warrant’s Manchester United End of Season Awards
Signing of the Season – Nemanja Matic
This is a close one between Lukaku and Matic. I am going to give it to Matic just, purely because of all the bad performances we have had, he is very rarely singled out by anyone. Apart from a 4 or 5 game blip around Christmas where I think the number of games were catching up with him and rumours he was carrying a slight injury, he has been an absolute rock in the midfield. He has had to put up with an ever-changing formation, playing alongside the erratic Paul Pogba and at times been left exposed because of this fact. Why Chelsea let him go is a real head-scratcher, but certainly to United’s gain.
Most Improved Player of the Season – Romelu Lukaku
This has to go to Romelu Lukaku. Started his United career like a train, scoring every week, then went through a bad spell where the goals dried up, his performances dropped off and he was getting relentless scrutiny from all angles. The way he has performed as a lone striker since Christmas has been a huge improvement. With the lack of attacking intent the team plays with and the lack of creativity that is obvious most weeks, getting to 27 goals is testament to how good he is in front of goal. I expect him to be one of, if not the leading goal scorer in the World Cup.
Player Who Should Leave the Club – Matteo Darmian
Take your pick, but if I had to choose, probably Matteo Darmian because he is useless. How he played another game after his performance against Bristol City in the League Cup is nothing short of miraculous. He has been poor for some time and I actually thought he was our answer to the right back problem when he first joined. Just proved how wrong first thoughts can be. But he should have left the club last season and only Mourinho’s love of defending and injuries prevented it happening. Hopefully, he will be used in any deal to bring in a world-class player from Italy, but won’t be adding much to the deal.
Goal of the Season – Matic vs Crystal Palace
Purely down to the strike and the situation, it has to be Matic’s winner versus Crystal Palace. It wasn’t a vital win, but it kept United’s points tally ticking over and it gave the team some added momentum to finish the season. Being 2 down and winning 3-2 is always a great occasion and to score a winner like that is something special.
Match of the Season – City away
The Palace game should be up there, but it is another 3-2 away win that is my pick. The City victory was huge for a number of reasons, no more so than stopping them win the league, at home against United. The fact we then turned in that shocker against West Brom the weekend after will be overlooked on this occasion. United were lucky to only be 2 down in all honesty and had it been 5 or 6 at half-time, I don’t think there could have been any complaints. I was writing them off completely, as were most I’d imagine, so to come back like they did shows exactly what this side is capable off if they play with fewer restrictions. Brilliant win and brilliant occasion to witness.
Worst Match of the Season – Spurs away
There are a few to choose from but the one that sticks in my head is the away fixture against Spurs where it was evident that this United team were not anywhere near the others in the top 6. The second-place finish does not reflect the actual standing of this team and this game proved that as United were at full strength and Spurs played them off the park. The City home game was similar, but City were already doing this to every team they came up against, Spurs were supposedly inferior to United, but this was a stinker. Probably Pogba’s worst game in a United shirt after looking disinterested with playing as a 2 with Matic. It showed United could not control a game against a top side and this was not the only time it happened.
Rating for this Season – 5/10
I am struggling to give more than 5. Second place finish and no trophies is not an ok season. As I said, the league position is a false representation of their actual standing amongst the top 6. United were poor in the Champions League knockouts and the majority of the performances have been reminiscent of the Louis van Gaal days and there is a real worry for me as to where this club is heading under Mourinho, especially the younger members of the team.
Hopes for the Summer –
It is a huge summer. Mourinho will get backed for the 3rd summer running and the board will expect better results than the last 2. The excuses will have to stop here if things do not improve on the pitch. I hope the rumours of Martial leaving are false and he stays and plays a big part in improving the United attacking threat, although I am not optimistic. I hope we can bring in a top quality centre-half to play alongside Eric Bailly and a creative central midfielder. The position we desperately need to target is the right-wing area and Mourinho needs to get this right.
Player of the Season – David de Gea
Definitely not as easy to choose as worst player as there are, unfortunately, many more candidates. Matic and Lukaku have been good but the most consistent and by a long way, United’s best player once again has been David De Gea. It probably is all the proof you need that United have been poor this season if the goalkeeper wins this award, but it is sadly a fact. He has kept United in so many games this season and without him, Mourinho would surely have been out of the door as his side would have been outside the top 4. A quite brilliant goalkeeper that in my opinion will go down as the greatest in the club’s history.