Date: 27th May 2011 at 10:32am
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Alternative End of Season Awards

It`s interesting that end of season awards happen no matter what has gone on in the preceding season. Has your club been relegated? They`ll still have an end of season ceremony where players are praised. Imagine if a bank lost all its money then gave huge bonuses to those who led it to its demise. We just wouldn`t put up with it.

The season at Arsenal has been one of near misses. Like the bay window at Alcatraz; always so close. With that in mind I`ve put together a Vital Arsenal Alternative End of Season Awards Ceremony.

Goalkeeper of the Season

Enough have been used this season to warrant a lone award. I don`t know if Almunia actually qualifies as a goalkeeper anymore, as with each passing game he plays more and more like he`s just found himself the nearest to the goal in a game using schoolboy fly keeper rules.

Fabianski is decent enough, until a cross comes in and he looks like a man trying to swat a wasp with his palms.

Vito Mannone seems unable to walk more than five yards without a finger breaking, a thigh tearing or his head dropping off, so that leaves the winner as Wojciech Szczesny. My spell check hates him, but the young Pole is looking like he could be a very good keeper for a very long time.

Comeback of the Season

Jens Lehman turning up again was about as likely a story as Ryan Giggs being allowed to sue Twitter and all of its users (just imagine 10 million stood in the dock at the Old Bailey), but it did raise a smile. The Incredible Hulk of football gave a dressing room speech and generally walked around with the authority of a man who would knock out your teeth if you questioned him, before explaining calmly how best to have them fixed. Sadly though his comeback was all too brief and so the award goes to Johan Djourou.

The Swiss centre half had us all believing he was a Man United spy before this season; taking money out of the club without ever playing. Arsenal`s very own Michael Owen. However he showed why he was worth the wait with a series of composed performances. His distribution is good and not many will sprint past him without tripping him up first. Put him next to an organiser like Phil Jagielka and Djourou could be world class.

Petulant Brat of the Season

No contest on this one as soon as Denilson uttered the words: ‘I am a winner and I came here to win trophies but I’ve been here for five years and won nothing.`

Wenger`s response could and should well have been, ‘you were a nobody when you came to this club and we made you a somebody, albeit a lightweight, largely immobile somebody, but a somebody none the less.`

Denilson went to the press in January to deny reports that he was ‘going to Barcelona for £10 million.` In the same week Robbie Fowler released a statement denying that he was going back to Liverpool for £52 million and a kangaroo.

Worst Opponents of the Season

Barcelona win this one hands down. Not in the sense they`re a bad team to watch; their football is stunning, and their work rate staggering, but in the way they win.

If ever anybody wanted to produce a pilot for a ‘football on ice` TV show, then they should look no further than a Barcelona fixture. It`d funny if it wasn`t such obvious cheating.

A winning team they may be, but to be truly great they have to learn to play without gamesmanship, racial abuse of opponents and diving. Only then can they justifiably claim to be ‘more than a club.`

The Ha ha ha you`re relegated Award

Barry Ferguson. It`s important to say at this point in no way do I find the relegation of Birmingham City amusing. Well not that much. OK a little. But not as funny as the tears that ran down Barry Ferguson`s cheeks when the last game finished. All it needed was Laurent Koscielny to return the Carling Cup favour, jog past and push his face as he sobbed. The Premiership will be a better place without the little thug.

He wasn`t that bad Award

Andrei Arshavin came joint top of the Premiership assists table, not bad for a player who according to the press has spent the entire season sat down in opponents` areas complaining about the weather. He might not have played as well as last season, but he still managed to set up 3 times as many goals as Gareth Bale. Although to be fair, Bale was busy converting water to wine, strapping black tape to his legs and sending love hearts to his girlfriend.

It`s worth repeating Arshavin came top of the league for assists. Nobody set up more goals than him. If that`s underachievement then it`s not possible to achieve.