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Most Improved Player

May 10, 2010

This season for me has been notable for the number of players at clubs showing vast improvements in their game compared to the previous season. Below I list my personal top 5 who has been crucial to their teams this season more than ever. In the comments, please list down your own top 5 players who you feel have improved the most.

1. Florent Malouda – Signed by the Special One in 2007 but never played a game for him, Scolari and Grant never got the best out of him. It was only Hiddink’s arrival at the latter part of last season did Malouda showed the Chelsea fans why he was such a prized asset when he wanted to leave Lyon. This season, he played a more telling part in Chelsea’s successful title run and Chelsea fans will want him to stick around much longer.

2. Nani – Much maligned and equally frustrating and brilliant at the same time, the Portuguese winger was always expected to do much better this season with the exit of the Winking One. Performances such as the one against Arsenal and the killer goal against Spurs at OT showed why SAF was willing to let Ronaldo go. He will be on the radar again come the World Cup but United fans would be more interested to see if this season was the real deal or a one-off.

3. Gareth Bale – So maybe he was always expected to improve since he was signed from Southampton as a teenager, but Bale started the season with THAT record. Yes the one where he was never to have been involved in any Spurs victory, which was finally broken against Burnley. Who knew that this same player would have been the key player that secured goals against Arsenal and Chelsea at the difficult end of season run-in and eventually secured Champions League qualification for the first time.

4. James Milner – Having been considered a winger, and occasionally an emergency fullback for most of his career, his switch to central midfield saw him influence more and more games for Villa. Whether it was by the genius of Martin O’Neill or by luck, the change allowed Milner to express himself more and was involved in the late surge by Villa in their failed attempts to get into the Champions League. One can only wonder where Villa would have finished had he played in central midfield the entire season/

5. Hugo Rodallega – This may come as a surprise to many readers but I personally felt that it wasn’t Roberto Martinez’s free flowing football that saved Wigan’s behinds from relegation, but the contribution of Colombian striker Rodallega. It was either him or Everton’s Steven Pienaar, but considering the importance of staying in the Premier League, I felt Rodallega’s contribution was more crucial to his team than Pienaar. Perhaps it wasn’t fair for him to be on this list, as he only played in the 2nd half of last season, and was only just adjusting to life in England, but based on what I’ve seen so far, he can still improve further and will most likely be the subject of some transfer speculation in the coming window.

Other notable mentions include Everton’s Steven Pienaar (as above), Heurelhmo Gomes (but I can’t show too much favourtism for Spurs can I?), Bobby Zamora, and Lee Bowyer, who should win the “Best use of 2nd chance” award, with meek challenges from Gary Neville and Sol Campbell.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2010 9:29 am

    I agree with your list and I’m adding Darren Bent

  2. Rite$h permalink
    May 13, 2010 4:12 pm

    How I wish Malouda was brought to Man Utd when he was for sale… sure would light up the games during the world cup as well

  3. George permalink
    May 13, 2010 8:33 pm

    Totally agree. The first four have all been outstanding for their respective clubs, and I believe if Rodallega was surrounded by better footballers he’d be twice the player he is. Arsenal have showed interest recently, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up at the Emirates for the start of 10/11. With a decent price to his name as well.

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