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Player of the Month

Player of the Season – Antonio Valencia

Coming at the end of a long season, which Manchester United had to struggle to deal with countless injuries, City’s increasing financial assets, a disappointing early exit from the Champions League, and the final heartbreak of City taking the League title with 2 goals in stoppage time, there was one player who had no negative aspect to his performance. This season was definitely a standout for Antonio Valencia. He came to Manchester United from Wigan in the summer of 2009. That season, he had a breakout season for the Red Devils, as he created numerous goal scoring chances for Wayne Rooney from the wing. He had a great first season with Manchester United, earning a place in the Premier League Team of the Season. Last season, unfortunately, he suffered a broken legย  on international duty that never really allowed him to make much of a contribution.

He started this season on the bench, while Nani and newly acquired Ashley Young filled the starting winger positions at the start of the new season. It wasn’t until September 14th that he made his first appearance of the new season, in a Champion’s League Group Stage game against Benfica. Unfortunately, Manchester United suffered from numerous injuries in multiple positions which quickly lead to Antonio Valencia starting most games. As the injuries started to mount for Manchester United, Antonio Valencia was deployed at right-back. Instead of providing a mere stop-gap measure, he played well in an unfamiliar position. Instead of just providing a forward threat, his defensive work was equally good. He ended up starting 5 league games at right-back, while covering the position as a substitute several more times.

After splitting his time between the right wing, and as the right-back, it didn’t take long for the Equadorian to get back into the form that impressed many Red Devil supporters two years ago. His blistering pace, combining with his excellent passing and crossing caused nightmare for many opposing left-backs. On the 10th of December, he contributed 3 assists in a 4-1 United win over Wolverhampton. This started a run of 5 games in which he picked up 1 goal, and 7 assists. Just as United was going into a congested schedule around Christmas, Valencia hit his best form.

With Antonio Valencia playing with the best form on the team, the right side became the focal point for most of United’s attack. Even with the opposition focusing on shutting him down, he was still the catalyst for many Red Devil goals. On the 22nd of January, he scored a goal and assisted for the other in a 2-1 victory away to Arsenal. As the end of the season approached, his form dipped slightly over the impossibly high standard he’d set in December and January. But he still powered United to victory, as he scored a goal and put in 2 assists on March 18th, 2012, over Wolverhampton. Then, 2 weeks later, he put in his goal of the season against Blackburn. The shot, from a near impossible angle, left Paul Robinson looking helpless. In addition to his goal of the season, he contributed another assist in another Man of the Match performance.

Even thought he didn’t play in the first month of the season, Antonio Valencia should be an easy choice as Player of the Season for every Manchester United fan. While some players had exceptional months, or a good run of games, only Valencia was able to play at such a high standard over so many games. In a season when Manchester United struggled to generate any offense from the middle of the pitch, it became easy for the opposition to focus on shutting down United’s wingers. But the Ecuadorian was able to take on the challenge, and contribute the second most assists in the league. With players such as Nani, Ashley Young, Park Ji-Sung, and even Danny Welbeck, the fact that Antonio Valencia was a no-brainer on the right-wing should tell you all you need to know.

By RangeRooney



  1. colver

    23 June 2012 at 01:48

    Good post. Valencia is Mr Consistency. I know there are those on here who rave about Nani. But personally this season I’ve become fed up with Nani blowing hot and cold and disappearing at key stages in the season.

    Schmeichel once said you can judge a player by his bottom level. And Valencia simply never has a bad game.

    • Opti

      23 June 2012 at 03:05

      @colver: I don’t like calling him Mr. Consistency. That is a title that belongs to O’Shea, in my opinion, because he always played at the same level (average).

      Valencia’s level of play was not consistently world class or average, but fluctuated between at worst “good” and at best “world class” — that’s why Schmeichel quote fits better here than “Mr. Consistency”.

      Nani, for example, has his bottom level at “useless,” which is why he gets stick from fans and is sometimes benched, despite (at his best) being capable of producing football at Ronaldo’s level. Even Rooney can produce utter garbage during some games… only for his football genius to do something crazy!

      Valencia was outstanding this season, I agree. If he had a better left foot and could pull off a couple quick-feet dribbles, he would be world’s best. I wonder how he would play with a better midfield who could hold the ball and support in attack… Kagawa+Valencia = Football Synergy?? ๐Ÿ˜€

      Valencia, please stay fit and keep improving!!

      Love United, hate Glazers!!! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  2. Traverse

    23 June 2012 at 14:38

    A lot of internet chatter today that United have sounded out Van Persie. I’ll eat my own face if this ever happens.

    • Moscow

      23 June 2012 at 16:45

      @Traverse: Cocks out time if it happens ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Opti

      23 June 2012 at 17:32

      @Traverse: Surely just a distraction from our actual summer business. Getting City, Madrid, Chelsea to look at RvP as we secure Modric, et al.

    • Ian

      23 June 2012 at 20:40

      While you eat your own face I’d be pulling my todger off!

      <3 RvP

  3. Moscow

    23 June 2012 at 20:42

    Spain are really boring to watch without David Villa. He is their focal point of attack and provides a clinical end product. Goodness me, I like teams who try and pass the ball but this tiki-taka nonsense is just ridiculous. I know it’s effective but I don’t enjoy watching a game strangled like that. France need to wake the fuck up as well.

    • Opti

      23 June 2012 at 21:42

      @Moscow: Spain makes watching Euros a chore… #boring

      • Ian

        23 June 2012 at 22:10

        Agreed, imo it’s their decision making and trust in both themselves and their team mstes that sets them apart from the rest.

  4. Traverse

    24 June 2012 at 11:43

    Spain are even more boring without Messi. Is he injured?

  5. Traverse

    24 June 2012 at 12:06

    In transfer news it seems we’re not getting Modric, so we’ve turned our attention back to Gaitan.

    There was talk ages ago that we’d agreed a few with his club and terms with him but talk dissipated. It seems we were interested in Hazard, then Modric and without either of them he is the next choice.

    Papers in Portugal are saying we are going to sign both Gaitan and Rodriguez, which for me spells the end for Nani and Anderson.

    There is also a lot of buzz on twitter coming from the Liverpool area than Leighton Baines has signed for ยฃ15mil and it’ll be announced after England go out of the Euros. So tomorrow then! Interesting to see what it means for Evra, but this makes sense with his continued decline in form and letting Fabio go out on loan.

    I expect to see a flurry of ‘outs’ over the next few weeks too. If we are bringing in Baines, Kagawa, Gaitan, Powell and Rodriguez we need to loose a few players. Berbatov and Anderson are almost certainties, Nani will go if we get Rodriguez. I can see Park going with the amount of midfielders we’ll have signed.

    • Moscow

      24 June 2012 at 12:49

      @Traverse: So in the end, we’ll have signed 0 central midfielders.

      • Traverse

        24 June 2012 at 14:49

        @Moscow: Glazernomics! But seriously it’s not necessarily about more numbers, but better options within those numbers.

        If all this goes through we’ll have Carrick, Scholes, Kagawa, Gaitan, Cleverley Powell and Giggs as midfield options. That’s much stronger than anything we’ve had in the last few years. Never again will we have to start a central midfield of O’Shea Gibson and Rafael!

        Gaitan is a trade up on Park. Kagawa is a trade up on Anderson.

        Nani for Rodriguez is a sideways trade, but Rodriguez has a higher likelyhood of improving than Nani does at this stage as far as I’m concerned.

        Its the midfield revolution we’ve been waiting on since that first Champions League Final defeat to Barcelona.

        • Moscow

          24 June 2012 at 15:05

          @Traverse: I disagree. Gaitan is a winger, Rodriguez is a winger, Powell is years away from breaking into the first team. Giggs is finished and Scholes simply cannot play at the top level anymore. Nothing I’ve seen of Cleverley suggests that he is world class, I’ve seen midfielders below his age who are much better, the Basque youngsters at Athletic dominated him. He is simply English and 22, and 45 minutes of Charity Shield football have got people raving about him as our next Scholes.

          If Carrick is injured, our midfield is struck a lethal blow. Our midfield is in a terrible state, even with the signings you have mentioned because none of them play in central midfield.

          There was a reason why Giggs and Scholes were given contract extensions it seems ๐Ÿ™„

        • Ian

          24 June 2012 at 23:28

          Sometimes Moscow your eyes let you down. If you can’t see how Cleverley thinks two-three passes ahead then I’m Vera Duckworth in drag on heroin!

        • Opti

          25 June 2012 at 04:48

          @Ian: Oy Vera ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

        • Traverse

          25 June 2012 at 13:01

          @Moscow: Rodriguez is definitely a winger, but I disagree on the rest.

          I think he’s going to put Powell straight in, ala Jones and Smalling last season. In fact, I know he is as he’s dismissed all loan attempts for him from other clubs. No point keeping him and not playing him. So that’s Kagawa and Powell into the first team CM fold, and Gaitain is in my eyes an ACM rather than a winger in the mould of say Valencia. Not a chalk on the boots kind of player who would be just as comfortable in the middle. Cleverley is this seasons Welbeck. He’ll get a lot of games and people will finally see what he’s got so I can stop having to defend him on forums! haha

        • Moscow

          25 June 2012 at 16:54

          @Traverse: So Powell, fresh from League 2 is going to walk into the line-up of the biggest club in the country? I don’t think so. He plays as a second striker anyway isn’t that right?

          If Kagawa and Gaitan are competing for the same position, then we haven’t made any progress in central midfield and will get destroyed in Europe again.

  6. godzilla

    24 June 2012 at 16:12

    why fergie doesnt see a fellaini is beyond me

    • Owen

      24 June 2012 at 17:51

      @godzilla: And what he sees in Anderson is even more mysterious .

  7. RedOrDead

    24 June 2012 at 17:36

    First time poster here so go easy on me if you dont like my views too much. Just needed to findsomewhere with fellow fans to have a rant alongside.

    As nice as all this transfer talk would be, I can not see us doing anything of the sort.

    Going off how Fergie has opperated every summer since the Berbatov deal I am 99% expecting us to buy Baines to go with Kagawa and Powell and then Fergie will come out and say thats us done for this summer.

    Berbatov will be allowed to leave but Anderson, Nani and Park will stay and we will end up with another season of Fergie going on about youth only to revert back to Scholes and Carrick in midfield every time we play a team in the top half of the table.

    I would love to be wrong and for us to bring in players such as Modric, Gaitan and Rodriguez but after the way the last few windows have turned out I have become almost ready to be dissapointed and never get my hopes up. Bringing in Kagawa, Baines and Powell then leaving it would go along so well with the last few seasons so dont be suprised at all if this scenario happens.

    What hurts the most is when Fergie comes out with his “No Value, the midfield looks strong, faith in youth” quotes that will surely follow before we head on tour because I genuinely dont believe that is him talking as im sure he would love to buy big if he didnt have Gill and the Glazers pulling the strings and watching over everything he says.

  8. Moscow

    24 June 2012 at 20:40

    It’s painful watching Rooney, he’s hopeless in midfield.

    • Owen

      24 June 2012 at 21:41

      @Moscow: What about this English side ? Probably the worst talented side in the competition.

  9. colver

    24 June 2012 at 21:57

    England offer nothing going forward and cannot string two passes together but defensively they are very solid which was where we were struggling last season. In fact I reckon England have the best back line in the competition.

    Modric definitely seems Spain bound but I never really expected him to join us. I’d actually rather have more of a physical presence in our midfield as Kagaya gives us a bit of added guile and we still have Scholes for another season.

    I don’t know how Gaitan would really fit in. We have Nani Young and Valencia so we are pretty OK on the flanks. Sure he’d be an improvement on Young but with money tight we really need to buy a central midfielder.

    Kagaya is a good signing for sure but from the sound of it he is too lightweight to fit into a 4-4-2 and would be more useful in a 4-4-1-1 just behind the striker.

    I hope we sign up Baines. If not I quite like Italy’s left back.

  10. Moscow

    24 June 2012 at 22:32

    England reminds me of us but with a better defence. Cowardly football, played by talentless players. This is why we should stay away from signing English players.

    • Traverse

      25 June 2012 at 16:16


      Jones Smalling Ferdinand (Baines)
      Scholes Cleverley Carrick
      Welbeck Rooney Young

      If we sign Baines we could field a fully English outfield team. It’s a matter of picking the right English players and then tell them to play the right style of football.

      Ashley Young was clearly told to worry more about defending than going forward, and so he did. Out of those 3 midfielders, all of them more creative than Milner, Barry, Parker and Henderson he took none of them and had them behind Gerrard and Lampard and the above because they fit the run hard try hard style of football that Hodgson wanted to play.

      Maybe in the first WC Qualifier game we’ll play

      Walker Jones Smalling Baines
      Cleverley Wilshire
      Chamberlain Rooney Young

      and go and try and tear teams apart. What are the odds we’ll start Milner, Barry, Lampard, Parker and Gerrard?

      There are plenty of good English players. There aren’t however that many brave England managers.

      • Moscow

        25 June 2012 at 16:35

        @Traverse: Welbeck won’t be tearing any decent international team apart for a long time, Young is one dimensional and Rooney is useless unless he is played as a striker…

        Play Jones at CB and England are in trouble…

        I was going to continue but you are English and nothing I say will convince you that your country hypes up their young players like they’re the dog’s bollocks but the reality is mate they wouldn’t get a look-in at other European countries.

        • Stephen

          25 June 2012 at 16:43

          @Moscow: We as fans don’t hype up our players it is our media. Their sole purpose in life is to build them up to knck them down. As fans we never believe we will ever win anything, you bitterness towards the English is stemmed from our gutter press.
          All countries build up their players, how many “the next Maradona’s” have Argentina had? How many next Pele’s have Brazil had?
          Football is all about hype, the fans are not stupid enough to belive it, only with Gazza did I really feel we have ever had anyone that special.
          You keep saying you don’t rate any English players, which is odd for obvious reasons and that is up to you, but you must understand that we find that offensive bro.

        • Moscow

          25 June 2012 at 16:48

          @Stephen: This is a United blog and I am talking about what is best for the club. English players have embarassed themselves in major competitions for as long as I can remember which is why I don’t want us to sign them. Quoting Fergie, ‘The FA treat us like shit’, they blame United players for their failures, and our players like Neville get booed by England fans. England and their FA can go fuck themselves as far as United are concerned. Ask Michael Carrick.

    • Stephen

      25 June 2012 at 16:25

      @Moscow: Are Nani, Vally, Rooney, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs and Rio talentless?
      England have Hart, Gerrard, The Ox, Walcott, Cole, Wilshere and Young who are hardly talentless, your anti England views mate are unfair and pathetic mate.

      • Owen

        25 June 2012 at 16:30

        @Stephen: What happened to their talent yesterday ? I know what they mean by talent when your manager termed Ronney as Pele and all shouted Gerrard as the best midfielder of the competition.Yes you are correct. They are really talented.

        • Stephen

          25 June 2012 at 16:33

          @Owen: Rooney and Gerrard have no talent then? Jeez Owen you are getting so boring mate, change the record. ๐Ÿ™„ ๐Ÿ™„

        • Moscow

          25 June 2012 at 16:41

          @Stephen: When Gerrard has not started this season, Liverpool have won 48% of games played; when he has started, that drops to 9%.

          Yesterday, he ran around like a headless chicken (he has been for about the past 2 years) and was schooled by Italy’s midfield. He’s finished, Hollywood passes but no accuracy or cohesion. Sorry sight to watch him these days.

        • Stephen

          25 June 2012 at 16:45

          @Moscow: I disagree, Gerrard has had an excellent competion. He has played a lot deeper and was superb against Sweeden and Ukraine. He went missing last night but he was playing with Parker and a World Class 3 man midfield, he didn’t have a chance.

        • Owen

          25 June 2012 at 17:31

          @Stephen: Then explain me how you define talent. What they did actually that i believe when you say they are talented? In-fact i will agree with you if you say Terry/lescott are .They infarct did something.

        • Stephen

          25 June 2012 at 18:03

          @Owen: If you don’t know what talent is then I am wasting my time with you. Gerrard has exceptionable ability, you are just xenophobic towards the English.

        • Owen

          25 June 2012 at 18:14

          @Stephen: So you will keep writing and i will accept he is talented ? I saw yesterday when Pirlo(not in his prime even ) made him look like even worse than A championship player.

        • Stephen

          25 June 2012 at 18:55

          @Owen: Owen you are a wind up merchant mate, your posts are getting tiresome and even more infantile. If you think Gerrard is no better than a Championship player then that is up to you, many would disagree.

        • Owen

          25 June 2012 at 19:01

          @Stephen: When i said what you are writing ? You only tell me what exactly he has done for England so that like you ,even i start mentioning him as world class player ?

        • Stephen

          25 June 2012 at 19:45

          @Owen: He was England’s best player in the entire tournament. Yes he has not delivered as much in an England shirt but so have so many. You have changed your augment from him not being talented to what he has done for England. We could argue that he has carried Liverpool for seasons and pretty much won the European Cup for them against Milan. You need to look at your own argument, he has had a good Euro’s, I hate saying it but he has. He has been involved with everything good we have produced in the competition, stop being bigoted and open your eyes.

        • Stephen

          25 June 2012 at 19:50

          @Owen: The players have played as a team, for the first time all sang the anthem.

      • Moscow

        25 June 2012 at 16:39

        @Stephen: Scholes was wasted by the England setup in favour of Lampard and Gerrard in midfield. Result = COMPLETE FAILURE

        Giggs and Rio are finished. Rooney, Vidic, Valencia and Nani are our only world class players but they are surrounded by dross.

        The Ox is overrated, as is Walcott who just runs really fast and Young is yet another drab English winger who got owned yesterday.

  11. Owen

    24 June 2012 at 22:37

    Finally this English ยญnonsense-disgrยญace of a team is out!! How can u go into a game with ”LUCK” as your main tactic??

    • Moscow

      24 June 2012 at 22:40

      @Owen: I’m very glad that England are out, it would have been a disgrace if such a team were to go through to the Euro semis. Justice for football tonight, Pirlo provided a masterclass.

    • Ian

      24 June 2012 at 23:36

      I don’t know, ask Ferguson against Barcelona twice in Euro Finals, maybe he’ll explain it.

      Some people on here need to fook right off. Slag Liverpool off and slate the Bertie’s no problem. Badmouth the scum and hurl shit at anyone, but why England? Do you think it’s cool? What’s your Nationality? (and I’m serious, I want to know, a few people on here are treading a very fine line).

      In fact Owen, if I don’t get an answer in the next 24hrs you’re banned. What Nationality are you?

      • Owen

        25 June 2012 at 05:04

        @Ian: Ban please.Who cares.

        • Ian

          25 June 2012 at 09:23

          So you’re too chicken shit to answer the question? What Nationality are you?

      • Nuevo

        25 June 2012 at 11:02

        @Ian: Threatening for dissing a footbal team? Not cool Ian. Granted its your country and you are rightfully invested in it but just because he put fwd his opinion you cant threaten to Ban him.

        • Ian

          25 June 2012 at 12:06

          who can’t? I think you’ll find I can mate, therefore, please stay out of it.

      • Nuevo

        25 June 2012 at 11:10

        PS: Having been an avid follower of RR for more than 3 years i do not like the threat of banning for what i see as a purely footballing Opinion.
        I know that Owen tends to incite folks sometime but equally i do not think he intended to incite someone on here in this case nor do i think you should be using the threat of banning and set a dangerous precedent on here.

        • Ian

          25 June 2012 at 12:20

          If you haven’t noticed this is a United site, his tone is not welcome when it comes to down to thinking he’s free to call England a disgrace and not be banned, you too would do well not to advise me on how to deal with it and if ensuring that the bandwagon and uncomfortable normality that is insulting England (with the pretence that *every* United fan hates England) does not continue on RR means setting a precedent, then let the precedent be set, because, quite honestly, I’m pretty sick of people thinking they can insult my Nation regardless. If you hate England then there’s sites such as RoM who’ll gladly and better cater for your taste, from here-on-in RR is neither pro nor anti England, and if *ANYBODY* has an issue with it feel free to hit the dislike thumb, leave me a comment, call me a wanker or send me an email, I’ll be only to happy to let you know what you can do.

          If you read the comments I’m happy for opinions to be batted around because England were woeful, but Owen crossed the line, he felt comfortable doing it because no one ever defends themselves anymore and it’s common place.

          If I came onto an Indian cricket website and starting calling its players or the country a disgrace there would be uproar and rightly so, I don’t see why the other way round should be accepted. Like I said, if there’s *ANYBODY* who doesn’t like that – tough.

        • Owen

          25 June 2012 at 15:01

          @Ian: If you want me to support a team who has not even considered Rio ,one of my all time favorite player, 8th best CB in the country ,then you are wrong. I have never loved any player more than Scholes and it was really painful to watch likes of Xavi and Pirlo dominating at world stage and he was sitting at home as Lampards and rest were better players for your nation.

          I have been at this site for a longer period than you . It used to be United site ,so i was here . You turned it into English Site, time over for me. All the best .

        • Stephen

          25 June 2012 at 15:18

          @Owen: It has only been an “English” site firstly, it is the Euro’s, United are an English club and people like you have been abusing the England team.

        • Owen

          25 June 2012 at 15:58

          @Stephen: It is Euros . So i should support Terry/Gerrard/Lampard ?

        • Stephen

          25 June 2012 at 16:06

          @Owen: No, because you are not English.

        • Ian

          25 June 2012 at 23:10

          @Owen: I don’t want you to support anyone, I don’t want you to do anything, all I’m telling you is your anti English views aren’t welcome on a site that I moderate and work hard at. If, like Moscow, you want to slaughter England for poor performances that’s fine, calling them ‘this English nonsense disgrace’ isn’t acceptable to me and, regardless of how many people don’t like that and want to hit the red thumb, that matters.

          It makes me laugh how foreign United fans (some at least) attempt to gain brownie points for hating England because they think it’s ‘hip’. I respect English United fans who hate England because they have a very good reason, you’re not English (I’m presuming because you won’t answer the question) so fine hate England no problem, but your bandwagon doesn’t stop here anymore, take it to another site that caters for your taste, I don’t care how much longer you’ve been here than me, it doesn’t happen here.

        • Owen

          25 June 2012 at 15:02

          @Ian: Btw you suggested Indian Cricket Website . Is this England Football website ?

  12. dgame

    25 June 2012 at 09:48

    What ever happened to Paul Pogba ???????????

  13. Stephen

    25 June 2012 at 12:38

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but some of the posts about England has been deliberate and offensive. We all know England deserved to be knocked out, we worked our socks off but lacked quality. I do refute claim that “all English player are useless” this is a lazy and stupid comment. Joe Hart, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilshere are all quality players. The issue with England is not picking Carrick who can pass the ball, unlike Parker and an archaic system. I will say that they have restored the Nation with some pride, I for the first time in years felt proud of their efforts in this competition. No one expected us to win, or even get out of the group but we did.
    Too many just want to batter England, for some reason the foreign contingent on this site do it for sport. It is to some degree understandable as our press love to build people up and then knock them down. But I find it quite offensive especially as they support and English club, which if you don’t rate any English players why support us?

  14. Owen

    25 June 2012 at 20:16

    1. If players sing anthem ,do they become new Pele ?

    2. If these ethics are so important ,then why the Manager lied for keeping Rio out ?

    3. Which is better option : To respect United Legend or to support Terry/Gerrard ?

    • Stephen

      25 June 2012 at 20:52

      @Owen: What? Grow up, managers talk players up, managers lie, Fergie, Mourinho, are you saying I support Gerrard and Terry more then Rio?? My life you are totally ridiculous, I am a proud United and England fan.

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