Premier League: 20 year awards breakdown

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Best Goal – Wayne Rooney

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

A quite stunning moment of brilliance from Rooney in February 2011, as the England international helped push the Red Devils towards the title and City further out of the race for the trophy.

Chosen by the fans, the result was always going to be controversial, with so many great moments to consider over the past two decades.

Di Canio’s volley, Beckham’s chip, Yeboah’s wonder-strike, Le Tissier’s chip-and-shot and Bergkamp’s magic were all worthy contenders, but it was Rooney who won the day.

Best Celebration – Eric Cantona

Manchester United 5-0 Sunderland

A controversial choice from the people, given that Cantona did little but raise his arms in the air and move round in a circle.

Like a king surveying the scene, Cantona’s chip was quite brilliant in a comfortable win, although Lomana Trezor Lua Lua and Jimmy Bullard can feel aggrieved to finish behind the French legend.

Best Match – Manchester United v Manchester City

Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City

Another highly controversial choice from the public, as Manchester United’s fans got behind their side and voted the derby win in September 2009.

Michael Owen’s late winner in injury-time did add drama to an enthralling match that included great goals and furious managers, with ‘Fergie Time’ once coming to the rescue of the Red Devils.

Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Newcastle from the 1995-96 season was a controversial second, whilst the 4-4 draw between Liverpool and Arsenal in ’09 came third. Arsenal’s 4-4 draw against Spurs could also have been a contender.

Best Save – Craig Gordon

Sunderland 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

The Scot was definitely not the biggest name on the list, but was rightly recognised for a quite wonderful save to deny Zat Knight at the Stadium of Light.

The defender appeared to poke home from close range after a Trotters corner, but Gordon showed great reflexes to get a hand to the shot, and better still tip the ball over the crossbar.

Peter Schmeichel came second for his save against Newcastle in ’97, with Jussi Jaaskelainen third for a double stop against Manchester United in 2001.

Best Player – Ryan Giggs

Manchester United

Was it ever in doubt? A panel of experts voted Welsh wing wizard Ryan Giggs the winner in what is likely to have been one of the more one-sided debates at the table.

Giggs has played – and scored – in every single Premier League season over the past two decades, a feat unmatched by any other player. He’s also won the division 12 times at Old Trafford.

Other contenders included Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Paul Scholes, but Giggs was always going to win this one.

Best Manager – Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United

Much like the above, it would have been impossible to give the award to anyone else after winning the league 12 times out of a possible 20.

Ferguson has grown several great teams, most notably the treble winning side of ’98-’99, and constantly proved the critics wrong when bouncing-back from defeat to Blackburn, Arsenal and Chelsea.

His only competition in this category was Arsene Wenger, and whilst the French professor has revolutionised Arsenal, he hasn’t won enough trophies to compare.

Best Team – Arsenal 2003-04

Will their achievement ever be matched in a single season again? Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ went undefeated over a 38 game season, winning 26 matches to claim the league title by 11 points.

Lehmann in goal; Campbell, Cole and Toure in defence; Vieira, Ljungberg and Pires in midfielder; Bergkamp and Henry up-front. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Manchester United’s ’98-’99 treble winners would have been in contention, as would Chelsea’s first title winning side under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05.

Best Season – 2011/12

Given the quite incredible finish to the season, it should come as no surprise to learn that the 2011/12 campaign was judged to be the best campaign ever.

With regular goal-fests between the top teams in the division, as well as upsets aplenty during the nine months of action, the final day of the season truly cemented this season’s place as the best over the past two decades.

The 1995-96 campaign would have been considered, given the rivalry between Manchester United and Newcastle under Ferguson and Kevin Keegan.

Best Quote – Kevin Keegan

“I will love it if we beat them”

It will come as little consolation to Keegan that his quote has been voted the most memorable in Premier League history.

With the title on the line, Newcastle threw away a huge lead at the top of the table, as Manchester United’s pressure both on the pitch and off it began to tell on the Toon boss.

And, after dropping points against Leeds United, Keegan lost his rag at Ferguson, falling to the Scot’s infamous ‘mind games’ as the Magpies ended up in second.

Keegan beat Eric Cantona’s ‘the seagulls follow the trawler’ press conference and Alan Hansen’s ‘you can’t win anything with kids’ speech on Match of the Day.

Fantasy Team


Goalkeeper - Peter Schmeichel

Left-back - Ashley Cole

Centre-back - Tony Adams

Centre-back - Nemanja Vidic

Right-back - Gary Neville

Left midfield - Ryan Giggs

Centre midfield - Paul Scholes

Centre midfield - Steven Gerrard

Right midfield - Cristiano Ronaldo

Forward - Thierry Henry

Forward - Alan Shearer


Goalkeeper - Peter Schmeichel

Left-back - Ashley Cole

Centre-back - Tony Adams

Centre-back - Rio Ferdinand

Right-back - Gary Neville

Left midfield - Ryan Giggs

Centre midfield - Paul Scholes

Centre midfield - Roy Keane

Right midfield - Cristiano Ronaldo

Forward - Thierry Henry

Forward - Alan Shearer

Nine choices match between the public and experts, with Steven Gerrard and Nemanja Vidic the choice of the people, whilst Rio Ferdinand and Roy Keane made it into the Experts’ XI.

John Terry is an obvious omission, and was the third-most voted for centre back in the public team, whilst Patrick Vieira and Frank Lampard must have been close to getting involved in both selections.

Current strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie might be joining the sides in years to come, but few arguments can be made with the selections – unsurprising given so many of the choices matched.

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