Monday, 16 April 2012

Player of the Year 2011-12

So the voting for City's Player of the Year award is now open and we have not 5, but 6 players to choose from, such has been the level of performance this season.

Who gets your vote? I've no idea at the time of writing this who will get mine but here are the nominees in full to start with.

Joe Hart, Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero

6 players, 6 different positions, 6 different ways to measure their worth to the team. For someone who has a tendency to second-guess himself and who likes to analyse a player's individual performances you can see why this could be, and is, such a difficult thing for me to decide.

We will take a look at each of the nominees and believe me, if you haven't already cast your vote, this is as much a benefit to myself than it is to anyone in deciding who to vote for. Of course any statistical input can only be to the time of writing this. For example when I mention appearances, I'm no psychic so they are the number of appearances up to the point of publication.

Age: 24
Position: Goalkeeper
Season Apps: 46 (34 league)
Total minutes: 4230

Still a baby in goalkeeping terms and already a nailed on first choice pick for club and country, and has been for the last 2 seasons.

For the most part of this season, Joe freely admits that he hasn't had much to do. When you look at the number of saves he's had to make compared to other keepers, you'll see that he isn't anywhere near the top because City have conceded so few chances to start with. Only Arsenal have conceded fewer shots on goal.

But here's the thing, when he does have to make a save he's ready. For a player who's concentration levels were being questioned only 2 years ago, it is one of the strongest parts of his game. It's easy to concentrate when you're having shots fired at you from all angles and right in the thick of it. It's when you're only called upon a few times per match that you really have to be alert and he hasn't disappointed, pulling off world class save after world class save.

Joe has got to be the best £600k (or so) that City have ever spent, quite possibly the best bit of business full stop. Now ranked among the best in the world by pundits and even neutral fans. There are still areas of his game that need a bit of work, his distribution being the main one, but at just 24 he has a long time to learn.

Age: 23
Position: Right-back
Season Apps: 32(4) (23(4) league)
Total minutes: 2750

Micah upped his game last season which drew cries of disbelief whenever he wasn't included in the England squad. Those cries turned to deafening roars until Capello finally left the post and Stuart Pearce recalled him.

He has improved greatly since Mancini arrived and has once again become a regular feature of the first team and almost integral to the way City play. His pace and power to exploit the space out wide created by others has been a big part of his game this season.

His contribution early in the season saw him quickly rack up 5 assists, which he unfortunately hasn't added to. Even so, he still the 2nd highest number of assists for a full-back in the league, behind Ashley Cole (6). A little more composure in front of goal could have also seen him bag a couple more than his 1 goal.

Of course as a defender you would expect him to have to do at least a little defending, and he has done this superbly too. Micah's 53 tackles, 35 interceptions, 90 clearances, 12 shots blocked and 53/72 aerial duels won aren't figure to be sniffed at.

Age: 26
Position: Centre-back
Season Apps: 37 (27 league)
Total minutes: 3247

Last year saw VK walk away with the fan's and players' player of the year awards. He instantly got my vote, such was his attitude and contribution both on and off the pitch and many others quite clearly agreed with me.

He didn't get off to a flying start this season though, a hugely mistimed tackle lead to a goal in the Charity Shield and there were a number of slightly below par performances to follow. I say below par, when in reality he was still playing better than about 90% of players in the same position.

But those are the standards he sets, a model professional who isn't happy with anything but the best from himself and his teammates. That is part of what makes Vinny, well, Vinny and quite possibly the best club captain I've witnessed in my lifetime.

He worked his way back to his imperious best after the first couple of months of the season and has stayed there, proving himself to be one of the very best centre-backs, not just in the league, but the world. Not bad considering that we wont see the best of him for nearly another 4 years.

Age: 28
Position: Midfiled
Season Apps: 37 (1) (27(1) league)
Tota minutes: 3202

Although there are parts of his game that annoy me to high heaven, not least the amount of complaining he does, he is an integral part of the squad Mancini has assembled.

Playing ahead Gareth Barry or Nigel De Jong, Yaya can cause havoc in opposition defences with his strength and bursting runs. He has also become the fulcrum of the team, with the majority of the passing in midfield played to and through him.

Even after missing a month due to international duty he has still notched up the 3rd most attempted passes in the league behind Mikel Arteta and Ashley Williams, with a success rate of 90.2%. Yaya also has 7 goals and 10 assists in all competitions this season. Incidentally he scored 10 and assisted 7 in all competitions last season.

His contribution in defence is questioned and the number of needless goals City were conceding earlier in the season were partly down to a lack of defensive cover compared to last season when both Barry and De Jong played in the centre. But that's the price you pay if you want a more attacking side.

Age: 26
Position: Attacking-midfield
Season Apps: 40 (3) (29 (3) league)
Total minutes: 3542

There's not much that I could say that hasn't already been said about David Silva. It's unfortunate it took an actual injury for him to be given the rest he needed to gather himself and rest his ankle.

Even with a large dip in form in the last 2-3 months he was hardly useless, and created almost as many chances as he was when he was playing at his best.

Silva has had more game time than any other City outfield player and that was beginning to take its toll on the diminutive Spaniard and the ankle that needs constant attention. But having had a week off, he has come back reinvigorated and looks to be back to the form he showed before January, scoring 1 assisting 1 and instrumental in several of the 10 goals in the last 2 games.

He has created 90 scoring chances for teammates, 2nd only to Juan Mata, and considering such a dip in form you begin to see just how good he was when on song. He has 13 assists in the league and 4 in other competitions and 8 goals in total. Despite a difficult few months, Silva has been simply outstanding.

Age: 23
Position: Centre-forward/Attacking-midfield
Season Apps: 36 (9) (27 (3) league)
Total minutes: 3099

I think it's fair to say that Aguero has proved any doubters to be talking out of their backsides. Some areas of the media questioned whether Aguero was going to be worth the £35m City shelled out on him but 28 goals in all competitions with 4 games left to play suggests he was.

For his first season with the club and a brand new league, he didn't take long to settle in. In fact it took a few minutes after he walked onto the pitch against Swansea, and he hasn't looked back.
Consider that Tevez at his peak has averaged a goal every 132 minutes after having 3 seasons in England prior to coming to City. Aguero, at 5 years Carlos' junior, is currently scoring a goal every 110 minutes. That is quite simply staggering.

As well as the goals, he is also providing for others, having 11 assists so far and has created 50 chances in the league alone. This all adds up to one hell of a player having one hell of a debut season.

You know what? I'm not much closer to deciding. Who gets your vote?

Twitter: @MikeWalshMCFC or @mcfcDSLeftFoot
Facebook: David Silva's Left Foot


  1. I like YaYa more than you do and personally, I think the most valuable players for City in order are YaYa, Kompany, Silva and Hart.

    Aguero gets my player of the year vote, though. No one has a better attitude, no one works harder on the pitch and while the above players all have flaws (well, no so much Hart), Aguero simply doesn't have any as a striker other than his height. YaYa demands the ball and control of the game and at times, that's to the detriment of the team. Kompany has been magnificent but he did get suspended and hurt. Silva was played into the ground and simply wore out. If given the choice between Joe Hart's wonderful year and Aguero's, I'm taking Kun.

  2. david silva is kinda good but sergio aguero is ammmazing good


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