Barclays Premier League's Top Midfielders - 2010-11 Season
Paul Scholes is one of the greatest midfielders the Premier League has ever seen, and the Manchester United star is still going strong since making his debut 17 years ago. But this year, there were plenty of others who shone in the middle of the pitch. Continuing our end of season review of the league's top performers, FOX Soccer's Jamie Trecker picks the 10 best midfielders of the campaign.
Gareth Bale, Tottenham
What can be said about the Welsh winger that hasn't already been said? That he's the best in the league this season? That without him Spurs stand revealed as essentially a one-man team? That his blistering pace and acumen make him virtually impossible to stop? That Spurs had better hope they can hang on to him? All of these things are true.
David Silva, Manchester City
Arguably the most creative and technically gifted player in the entire league, Silva provided the silk to buttress Carlos Tevez's bull-rush. An incredible passer and nearly impossible to dispossess, Silva was one of the few City players to show up each and every game, and he was rewarded with the FA Cup for his labors.
Samir Nasri, Arsenal
Last year, Nasri looked like a fraud. This year, the Frenchman got his legs underneath him and became the single most valuable player on an Arsenal side desperate for creativity and leadership. His pin-point passes and long, dribbling runs carved opponents apart, and it wasn't for a lack of his service that Arsenal slumped in front of the nets late this season. One of the most improved players in the league.
Ryan Giggs, Manchester United
Ageless and agile, Giggs was the old head that United leaned on late to snatch their 19th title. A class act, Giggs remains a champion thanks to his merciless passing and ruthless vision. Who knows how much is left in the tank, but on the day that United wrapped up their crown, Giggs set a league record with his 573rd appearance, besting David James.
Scott Parker, West Ham United
Being the best player on a miserable team is sometimes a poisoned chalice. But Parker - the choice of the Football Writers as their player of the year - is the real deal. His movement off the ball may be the best in the league and his ability to win the ball and score important goals have been the difference all year long for the Hammers. Unfortunately, his teammates don't have the same desire or skill.
Rafael van der Vaart, Tottenham
One of the steals of the season, his $13m transfer from Real Madrid ignited Tottenham's brilliant Champions League run. The team's leading scorer and offensive sparkplug, van der Vaart was instrumental in key games before simply wearing out from the furious pace at the end of the season.
Raul Meireles, Liverpool
Raul Meireles' brilliant passing and willingness to provide defensive cover helped propel Liverpool's revival under Kenny Dalglish. A fan favorite for his tattoos and uncompromising style, Meireles' skills have made him a key player in Liverpool's swarming style. He's a critical component going forward.
Stuart Holden, Bolton
Injury cut the American's season short, but Bolton fans found a lot to like about the former Houston Dynamo man before he was injured in March. Irrepressible and willing to work end to end, Holden became a key creator for Wanderers while getting back to clean up messes. His injury led to a dip in Bolton’s form, and it’s no coincidence.
Nani, Manchester United
The wild Portuguese winger irritates many fans with his histrionics, but opponents have learned to beware his passing and harrying style of play. A key man in United's attack, Nani's ranging wide runs and willingness to dive in drove defenders crazy - and won United a lot of games.
Six to watch
It all comes down to this: Manchester City host Manchester United in a titanic clash that could decide the 2011-2012 Barclays Premier League title. United enter the Etihad holding a slim 3 point lead and if they can avenge the 6-1 thrashing they took at home in October, will likely win their 20th title. City led the league for most of the year until a late swoon but now have the horses and home field to get the job done. A win puts them on top by virtue of goal differential. Here’s the six men you must keep an eye on Monday afternoon.
What do you think?
What do you think about our top 10 midfielders from this season's Barclays Premier League? Is there anybody missing from the list who deserves a mention? Luka Modric and Lucas Leiva had great seasons but did they deserve to penetrate the inner sanctum? Whether you agree or disagree let us know your thoughts by using the poll (below) as well as the comments. Tomorrow, FOX Soccer's top 10 strikers of the season.