Alternative Manchester United 2019/20 season awards
With no official restart day in sight, it’s time to have a look back over Manchester United’s season so far.
We have already taken a look at five contenders for the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Season award – and it’s now time to dig a bit deeper into United’s season.
Here’s a look through 10 categories as we take a trip back down memory lane from over the past few months…
Most improved player
Fred is a shoe-in for this award and may even win United’s player of the season award. He has gone from being regarded as an overpriced flop to a key part of the United first team.
The Brazilian has shown he was worth the money spent with a series of committed and commanding displays in midfield. He is always positive and trying to play forward, to get United on the front foot.
His fitness and reliability has been just as key as his good form. There is so much more to come from him too, and it’s exciting to see how he will continue to progress.
An honourable mention to Nemanja Matic, who bounced back from being surplus to requirements to becoming a must-pick once again in midfield. Marcus Rashford also deserves praise after the way he has kicked on.
Winner: Marcus Rashford v Chelsea
Any goal which gets compared to one scored by Cristiano Ronaldo is evidently pretty special.
Rashford’s free-kick at Stamford Bridge was reminiscent of Ronaldo’s against Portsmouth, with devastating whip and pace on the ball.
The goal was the winner too, which made it even more important. It answered questions over Rashford’s free-kick ability too, which had been growing.
Honourable mentions to: Scott McTominay’s long range goals against City and Arsenal, Anthony Martial’s outrageous individual goal against Watford, and Odion Ighalo’s recent effort from the edge of the box vs LASK.
Winner: Bruno Fernandes v City
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Bruno Fernandes features on this list already after just a handful of games.
His clever free-kick at home to City at the start of March set up Anthony Martial for a one-touch finish to open the scoring.
It demonstrated smart thinking from the Portuguese playmaker, and was a reward for his hard work on the training ground. He has struck up a connection with Martial, which paid off here.
Honourable mention to: Paul Pogba’s defence splitting pass for Marcus Rashford to score United’s third goal in the 4-0 opening day win over Chelsea. Just one game of Pogba and Fernandes together, that’s all we ask…
Winner: Aaron Wan-Bissaka v Rochdale
A bit of an unusual category, but if there was a moment to sum up Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s never give up attitude, this was it.
With the ball passing Sergio Romero and heading into the net, Wan-Bissaka produced a spectacular goal line clearance to prevent Rochdale taking an unlikely lead.
United went onto sneak a win on penalties and avoid a humiliating upset, thanks to Wan-Bissaka’s moment of improvisation.
Honourable mention to: Eric Bailly for his dramatic sliding block to deny Mateo Kovacic a shot at goal in United’s win over Chelsea.
Best young player
Winner: Mason Greenwood
After his outstanding contribution in pre-season with goals against Leeds and Inter Milan, it was fairly predictable Mason Greenwood would win this award.
Making a prediction is one thing though, seeing it come to fruition is something else. Greenwood looks phenomenal at times, displaying an ability to score with both feet, and is just as dangerous from outside the box as he is from six yards out.
He has scored 13 goals already this season in all competitions and he will be a huge part of United’s future. It’s remarkable he is just 18.
Honourable mention to: Brandon Williams has looked like United’s best left-back at times and he is a key part of the first team squad. He has been a pleasant surprise.
Best under-23 player
Winner: James Garner
James Garner has been a class apart every time he has played for the under-23s. At this stage he looks too good for this level.
Garner has become a regular goalscorer at under-23 level this season, frequently driving forward and getting into position to take shots from the edge of the box.
He has also continued to display a strong passing range and it is a shame he has not been given more first team opportunities beyond his four Europa League starts.
Honourable mentions to: Largie Ramazani was impressive in the first half of the campaign, netting nine goals in 13 games. Tahith Chong has also looked a class apart when he has dropped down.
Best under-18s player
Winner: Teden Mengi
Mengi has been so good that he has frequently stepped up to play under-23 football this season.
He remains part of the under-18s for the Youth Cup and he has been a dominant and imposing figure in central defence.
It looks like we have a real gem on our hands and it is only a matter of time before Mengi makes the step up to play first team football.
Honourable mention to: Summer signing Hannibal Mejbri looks special in midfield and has also stepped up to play under-23s. Anthony Elanga and Deji Sotona also continue to impress on the wing, and in the latter case, up front of late.
Winner: 2-0 win v Manchester City
The first of two team categories, this was an easy selection to make despite there being strong competition.
United’s win over City had a bit of everything, superb individual perfrmances all round, outstanding defences, and moments of magic for both goals
It came in front of a roaring crowd for one of the best days at Old Trafford in the post-Fergie era, for our third win over City this season.
Honourable mentions to: There are quite a few here. The two away wins over City, the three victories over Chelsea, and the home victory over Tottenham. While this season has had some low moments, the highs have been pretty special.
Winner: 3-3 v Sheffield United
While this game had a sting in the tail for us, United pulled out a comeback from nowhere to rise from the dead in this game.
2-0 down against a resolute Sheffield United side with one of the league’s best defensive records, Solskjaer’s side pulled a comeback right out of the Sir Alex Ferguson playbook with three goals in a 10 minutes spell, through Brandon Williams, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
To see all three academy graduates play a role showed the character in this United team. The day ended on a sour note with a controversial VAR awarded penalty to end in a draw, but the fightback gave us plenty of reason to be proud.
Honourable mention to: Coming back from trailing hasn’t been this United side’s strong point, and lately we haven’t been conceding much at all to need to come back. The way we rallied from 3-0 down to City after a terrible start in the Carabao Cup semi-final to end the time at 3-2 at least showed character at a very low moment.
And how about the way we bounced back after the terrible home defeat to Burnley, to go on an unbeaten run, conceding only two goals in the process. They have given us reason to be hopeful again.
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