Manchester United: Ranking Top 10 Players for 2011 Premier League Champions

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIIMay 16, 2011

Manchester United: Ranking Top 10 Players for 2011 Premier League Champions

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    Manchester United: 2011 Premier League Champions
    Manchester United: 2011 Premier League ChampionsMichael Steele/Getty Images

    As the dust begins to settle at the top end of the 2010/11 Premier League season, one has to say Manchester United were worthy EPL champions.

    From Ryan Giggs to Paul Scholes to Javier Hernandez to even bit-part players like Chris Smalling, everyone played their part as the Red Devils stormed to an historic 19th league title.

    With a UEFA Champions League Final at Wembley against FC Barcelona to come, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping these men can deliver the goods yet again.

    And there's no reason why they can't, with a team considered "the worst ever Premier League champions," having stormed to a record number of league titles and coming within touching distance of securing FA Cup glory and a strong possibility of another historic treble.

    So in this successful campaign thus far, who's been the best out of this bunch of Champions? Read on to find out.  

10. Michael Carrick

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 06:  Michael Carrick of Manchester United battles with Didier Drogba of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on April 6, 2011 in London, Eng
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    A hugely underrated player subject to a lot of criticism even from his own fans, Michael Carrick has been quite crucial in Manchester United's Premier League success.

    Being a strong, steady influence in midfield, Carrick's presence in front of the back four has seen United concede only 35 league goals this season, while his visionary long-distance passing with its decent rate of accuracy has considering helped the Red Devils in scoring 74 league goals.

    His tough tackling to unsettle opponents when required has also been a big bonus for Manchester United, with Sir Alex Ferguson confident enough in the player he signed for £18.6 million to let him play 28 league games this season. 

9. Nani

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    BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Nani (L) of Manchester United and Jermaine Jones (R) of Blackburn Rovers during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United at Ewood Park on May 14, 2011 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by
    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    A hugely talented footballer, Nani has perhaps been the most frustrating Manchester United player this season.

    With his massively inconsistent form, the winger can be the star of the show one match, scoring spectacular goals, delivering multiple pinpoint crosses, skipping past defenders for fun, etc.

    And the next match, he could be getting tackled every time he gets the ball, playing wayward crosses, unable to score in a brothel, losing his temper and as per usual, getting an earful from Wayne Rooney.

    A world-beater on his day, a sub-standard squad player off it and when it's on, Nani has played a fundamental role in United's Premier League success.  

8. Antonio Valencia

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    BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Antonio Valencia of Manchester United speaks to a team mate during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United at Ewood park on May 14, 2011 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaro
    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    The general feeling around Old Trafford is a case of what could have been had Antonio Valencia been fit all season.

    After coming back from a harrowing ankle snap in a Champions League match against Rangers back in September, Valencia seems to have returned a more focused, determined player with all the same technical attributes.

    It took him a few games following his return from injury to find his form and get his crosses accurate again, but once he was back on form, there was no stopping Antonio Valencia.

    His uncanny ability to deliver pinpoint, accurate deliveries into the penalty area, as well as his outstanding knowledge of his opposition fullback's game, has seen Valencia become a very important, well respected player at Manchester United, who was crucial to United's EPL success in the business end of the season.  

7. Paul Scholes

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 16:  Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City tackles Paul Scholes of Man Utd during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON semi final match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on April 16, 2011 in London, England.  (Ph
    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    The legendary Paul Scholes has again been world class for Manchester United when called upon.

    Unfortunately for the Red Devils, he doesn't have the legs any more to play every game, but when he does play, Scholes' phenomenal long-range passing ability and overall experience come in very handy for United.

    Of course he still lets himself down slightly with his wild, rash tackles and tendency to flirt with the idea of getting sent off, but even that can be a good thing at times, unsettling opponents and putting the power firmly back into United's hands.

    If Paul Scholes was able to play more matches for Manchester United, they could perhaps be a whole lot more than just Premier League champions. 

6. Wayne Rooney

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    BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United at Ewood park on May 14, 2011 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Ima
    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Where do you start with this guy? 

    After threatening to leave Manchester United, swearing into a TV camera and scoring the most spectacular Premier League goal of the season to defeat arch-rivals Manchester City, 2010/11 has been a whirlwind campaign for Wayne Rooney.

    But overall, his 11 league goals and 15 in all competitions, as well as his natural leadership on the pitch and playmaking ability from a deep-lying forward role, have been paramount in Premier League glory for United.

    A scorer of simple goals, sensational goals, a playmaker who can provide assists from short distances and long distances, a born leader, a focal point for the team, a strong and fruitful strike partnership with Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney epitomises Manchester United. 

    In his own, inimitable way, Rooney has been a massively vital part in United's historic title win. 

5. Dimitar Berbatov

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 09:  Dimitar Berbatov of Manchester United celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford on April 9, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Mi
    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    The current Premier League top goal scorer with 21 goals, Dimitar Berbatov and his goals have been the driving force in lifting Manchester United to a record 19th top-flight title.

    With his ability to change the tempo of a game in an instant and his ability to change the scoreline against the run of play, Berbatov has made this United team tick at times.

    He may be an outcast now, thanks to the inspired form of Javier Hernandez, but Berbatov's unparalleled finishing ability from all ranges, as well as his very clever tactical movement, and overall trickery and sensational skill has seen the Bulgarian, if nothing else, become United's most exciting player this season.

    A third choice striker now, if it wasn't Dimitar Berbatov and his 21 league goals, this article wouldn't be in existence, and nor would Manchester United's record 12th Premier League crown.  

4. Nemanja Vidic

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 16: Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United gestures during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON semi final match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on April 16, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/G
    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    An absolute rock at the back for Manchester United, Nemanja Vidic has been one of the biggest reasons why United are celebrating Premier League glory.

    A tough tackler, a highly accurate tackler, a superb shot-stopper, a man mountain of a player, a strong header of the ball and a player with uncanny aerial ability, Vidic is always missed for United when he doesn't play.

    And with his ability to form solid partnerships with players other than Rio Ferdinand, as well as the way he helps out the younger centre-backs like Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, Nemanja Vidic has been the life and soul of this Manchester United defence.

    He has been the stone wall that has protected the fortress of Old Trafford, keeping out the enemies as United emerge victorious in their quest for that glorious Premier League trophy.  

3. Javier Hernandez

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    BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Javier Hernandez of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United at Ewood park on May 14, 2011 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty
    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    He made his name at the 2010 FIFA World Cup for Mexico, scoring sensational goals against France and Argentina, after it was revealed Manchester United had a pre-contract agreement to sign the player for £6 million.

    And then he came to England and immediately lit up the Premier League.

    After comically kicking himself in the face with the ball to score his first goal in English football, against Chelsea in the FA Community Shield at Wembley, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez hasn't looked back since.

    Twenty goals in all competitions later, 13 of which were in the league, have seen Chicharito boost his ego massively and boost United as they hunted down another Premier League title success.

    For a player of his age, having only ever played in Mexico beforehand, to come to the most demanding league in the world, for the most prestigious club in the world, and do what he's done, scoring so many goals to help United to the league trophy, is just incredible. 

2. Ryan Giggs

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    BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Ryan Giggs of Manchester United pumps his fist to the fans after drawing the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United but winning the title at Ewood park on May 14, 2011 in Blackburn, Engla
    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    The greatest Manchester United player of all time, Ryan Giggs has again been absolutely pivotal in United's trophy success.

    Everything from his ability to score goals, to set them up, to annihilate fullbacks, to produce so many majestic performances, has seen Ryan Giggs win a record 12 Premier League winners medals.

    Not only has his tremendous skill been an absolute plus point for Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United, but his versatility to play on either wing and play in central midfield as well means Sir Alex can use Giggs to get the best out of other players as well as Giggs, such as Nani, for example.

    His overall skill, huge experience, leadership ability and calming influence on the team has given Ryan Giggs and Manchester United the impetus to secure their 12th Premier League title. 

1. Edwin Van Der Sar

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 04:  Edwin van der Sar of Manchester United celebrates after his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Manchester United and Schalke at Old Trafford on May 4, 2011 in Manchester,
    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    How will this man be replaced?

    Edwin Van Der Sar has been the juggernaut that has steamrolled Manchester United to Premier League glory.

    His stunning reflex saves, his tremendous agility, his strong presence in the air, his decisive playing style, his leadership over his defence and pinpoint distribution have made Edwin Van Der Sar the most important and well-respected goalkeeper at Old Trafford since Peter Schmeichel. 

    It may not even be an exaggeration to say that quite literally, the flying Dutchman has single-handedly won Manchester United their record 19th league title.

    Van Der Sar may be replaceable, but the big question is, can anyone live up to the almighty legacy the Dutchman has left at Old Trafford?