COMMENTARY | There's little to be determined on the final day of the 2012-13 Premier League season, and thus it's not too early to look back at what was one thrilling campaign. I'm starting off by handing out my yearly awards. At least two of my picks are likely to surprise more than a few supporters, and some may claim that I was too sentimental when choosing the first award.
Spoiler alert: Fergie's earned it.
2012-13 Premier League end of season awards: Manager of the Year
This one wasn't as easy for me as it was for others. Alex Ferguson is the obvious emotional choice considering he's retiring, but you could also easily argue that many other quality managers could have won the league with that particular squad. Michael Laudrup guided Swansea City to League Cup glory, and Swans could have finished the campaign as high as seventh in the league table if not for that pesky cup hangover. There's also the Michu buy that cost the club only £2 million. What a bargain.
As good a purchase as that was, however, it wasn't as good as was United grabbing Robin van Persie. Plenty of people, myself included, didn't understand why Sir Alex felt the he needed the former Arsenal man last summer. I'd say it worked out rather well.
Winner: Alex Ferguson (Runners-up: Laudrup, Sam Allardyce, David Moyes)
2012-13 Premier League end of season awards: Player of the Year
It has been an absolute joy to watch Gareth Bale grow into the most sought-after talent in all of European football, and I'm not just saying that as a Spurs supporter. Taking my Tottenham glasses off for just a second, I clearly see that this year's award has to go to Luis Suarez. The controversial Liverpool striker was, when in-form, the best attacking player in all the league, and he was on his way to winning the Golden Boot until the second biting incident of his professional career ended his season early.
Suarez is so talented that he should routinely be mentioned in the tier of players located directly under Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Instead, Suarez's antics have him labeled as a cheat and a racist, and there are plenty of fans who would be just fine if he never played another minute of Premier League football. Those people may get their wish depending on what Liverpool decide to do this summer.
Winner: Luis Suarez (Runners-up: Gareth Bale, Michu, RvP)
2012-13 Premier League end of season awards: Goalkeeper of the Year
I prepared myself for any and all "homer" comments before getting to this point. The likes of David de Gea and Hugo Lloris were tremendous this season, and Petr Cech was also his solid self. With that said, Aston Villa would have been relegated if not for the solid play of two stars: Forward Christian Benteke and American goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Those of you who disagree with this pick should go back and relive some of the horror-shows Guzan had to put up with beginning last fall. Villa's defending was often somewhere between shambolic and "this is some kind of cruel joke on Guzan, yes?" The only reason Villa's minus-22 goal difference isn't worse is because of that 6-1 rout over Sunderland back on April 29.
Winner: Brad Guzan (Runners-up: De Gea, Lloris)
2012-13 Premier League end of season awards: Best surprise
While everybody has understandably been gushing over Swans, I feel like nobody is noticing that West Ham are on the verge of finishing in the top-ten of the table. They are essentially this year's version of 2011-12 Swansea. Make no mistake about it. West Ham aren't just back in the Premier League. They're staying up for the long run.
Perhaps most impressive about West Ham is that they would have finished even higher in the table if they could have avoided so many road defeats (12). Only relegated Reading (14) will end this season having lost more games when away from home. Sure, the Andy Carroll experiment didn't work out as planned. You can't win 'em all.
Winner: West Ham (Runners-up: Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion)
2012-13 Premier League end of season awards: Biggest disappointment
My first review of the season ends with what was the easiest award to determine. I don't care to hear or read about injuries or the fact that Demba Ba deserted the sinking ship as soon as he could in early January. I don't think a single analyst believed back in August that Newcastle United would be in a relegation fight on the second weekend of May, and Alan Pardew, last season's Manager of the Year, may be forced to have some uncomfortable discussions beginning on May 20.
This Tottenham fan will, of course, only have nice things to say about Newcastle in the future if they force Arsenal to drop points on the final Sunday of the season.
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, New York Red Bulls, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
- Sports & Recreation
- Luis Suarez
- Alex Ferguson
- Swansea City
- Brad Guzan