Few feelings surpass those generated by the first weekend of domestic football after an ever-gruelling international break, like ordering an extra-large pizza after dieting for the last two months or, dare I say it, hitting the local Discotek and dancing within breathing proximity of absolute strangers after a global pandemic.
We’re not quite there yet but in the meantime, we do have the beautiful game - amongst other sports - to distract us from the continuous chaos and confusion of 2020, providing some sense of normality during this crazy age.
And as long as there’s footy on the box, GIVEMESPORT will be distributing our weekly awards to those most deserving of either praise or ridicule, depending on what they got up to in the previous seven days.
Welcome to the second ever edition of the GIVEMESPORT awards…
Goal of the week
Manuel Lanzini vs Tottenham
Any strike to seal the three-goal comeback would have made West Ham’s draw with Tottenham memorable, but there’s nothing quite like overturning such a deficit with a curling corker from outside the box in the final seconds of stoppage time to truly etch it into folklore.
And there’s nothing quite like such a strike coming from the unlikeliest of sources. Yes, we’ve always known Manny Lanzini’s had this kind of quality in his locker, but no, we didn’t expect him to produce it after failing to find the net in the Premier League since the final game of the 2018/19 season.
Echoing shades of Paul Stalteri’s late winner for Spurs in this same fixture many moons ago, take a bow Manuel.
Player of the week
What a weekend to be Vivianne Miedema.
Not only did Arsenal Women thump north London rivals Spurs 6-1 to sustain their title charge, not only did she net a first-half hat-trick - including one of the most well-executed one two goals you’ll see this season - and not only did she pass the 50-goal milestone in Women’s Super League, but she’s now the highest scoring player in the history of the competition, boasting a record of 52 strikes in just 50 games.
And yet, her social media activity after the match was impressively modest, even taking the limelight off herself by praising team-mate Katie McCabe for the wicked free kick that started the goal-fest.
Manager of the week
Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti and David Moyes may be pretty chuffed with their exploits this weekend but when you pull off a managerial first, you’re always going to be a front runner for this GIVEMESPORT award.
Franco Varrella - whose name quite frankly reeks of Grand Theft Auto III side character - masterminded the first ever away clean sheet in San Marino’s history on Tuesday night as they pulled off the kind of result Tony Pulis lives for against the almost equally minnowy Liechtenstein.
And they said the Nations League would be nothing but a collection of meaningless glorified friendlies.
Game of the week
Everton 2-2 Liverpool
If Everton and Liverpool’s 2-2 draw were a cake, Mary Berry would bite into it and proclaim to the rest of the Great British Bake-Off gang with orgasmic delight; “this Victoria Sponge contains the perfect balance of every ingredient that makes a Merseyside Derby so special”.
Paul Hollywood, an avid Liverpool fan, would probably disagree after the most controversial of endings to the most gripping of football matches, but for the neutrals and those donning Toffee Blue, it was a pretty fantastic way to kick off the Premier League’s return after the international break.
This game truly had everything: brilliant goals, terrible defending, an equilibrium between Liverpool’s quality in possession and Everton’s threat on the counter, some truly shocking tackles, a red card and of course a healthy dose of VAR controversy - serving like an extra layer of mid-cake buttercream for Mary to dig her dentures into.
It’s actually a shame the interpretation of offside has become the biggest headline from Saturday’s early kick-off, because for all intents and purposes it was a cracking ninety minutes of football.
Outrageous skill of the week
Jack Grealish vs Leicester City
The midfielder’s snazziest piece of skill came when he slowly marched the ball inward from the left flank before selling two Leicester defenders with the acutest of drag-backs and pinging the ball through a crowd of players to set up Ross Barkley for an effort at goal.
You can see the sorcery at 2:10 in the video above.
And yes, we know the former Sheffield Wednesday man can have few complaints about his straight red card after clattering into APOEL’s Anuar Tuhami, but it’s the reaction here that clinches the Valladolid loanee this week’s award for diving theatrics.
Despite seemingly suffering an injury so serious it encroached upon life-threatening, Tuhami still managed to hop around like Buggs Bunny before rolling around from side to side in perfect view of the fourth official, just in case the referee wasn’t entirely convinced.
You’ll be pleased to know Tuhami magically managed to get back to his feet and last the full ninety minutes as APOEL won 1-0 against ten men. Thank heavens.
Strangest punditry of the week
Graeme Souness on goalkeepers
Obviously ignore the fact the ball travelled through a crowd of players, curled away from him, sailed into the top corner and kissed the crossbar for good measure.
Ben Foster wasn’t having any of it.
Disasterclass of the week
Harry Maguire vs Denmark
Harry Maguire may well have bounced back with a much needed goal against Newcastle but GIVEMESPORT certainly haven’t forgotten his horror show for England on Wednesday night as Gareth Southgate’s side seemed strangely determined to make themselves appear the underdogs by any means possible in their eventual 1-0 defeat to Denmark.
Maguire’s evening proceeded as follows:
- Start the match
- Get booked after five minutes for needlessly going through the back of someone on the halfway line
- Spend the next 20 minutes looking like playing a game of football is the last thing you want to be doing right now
- Aimlessly pass the ball to Kasper Dolberg, ignore the fact England still have plenty of defenders covering and go through the Denmark centre-forward’s ankle
- See yellow followed by red on the 31-minute mark and tearfully look up at the sky questioning why god hath smited you.
- Trudge off to the changing rooms with the sulkiness of a five-year-old who’s had his PlayStation confiscated for bad behaviour
- Take a very early, very cold shower in a futile attempt to wash off all the Mykonos
Tweet of the week
Sergio Reguilon - “No”
I’ve seen full-on 20-man brawls start in Wetherspoons over one drunkard trying to chirpse the lady of another, but new Spurs signing Sergio Reguilon handled the situation with all the calmness and composure of a man who knows he’s a famous millionaire sportsman and therefore is under absolutely zero threat of losing his better half to a random bloke on Twitter.
When bizarrely asked by a Tottenham fan whether his girlfriend, renowned Youtuber Marta Diaz, was single - a question that in essence answers itself - the flying full-back had a simple response: No.
Glad that one’s cleared up, but you can’t blame a guy for trying. Unless, of course, they’re already taken and clearly miles out of your league.
Craziest bet of the week
£500k golf bet
Okay so it might not be football related but this bet was so profitable we just couldn’t ignore it.
The unnamed punter put together a 20-legger on the PGA Championship at Wentworth, shrewdly betting on 20 golfers to score more than their playing partners rather than going for any outright winners.
With odds of 679864/1, the single dollar placed earned him over £500k.
Sunday League award
No-look goal from a corner
However, this week’s edition comes with a bit of a twist. It’s not every day you see a no-look goal from a corner - in fact we’re not sure one has ever been seen before, let alone caught on camera - so imagine such a unique and incredible strike very well coming from the deepest depths of English football.
The celebrations only make it that bit more special.
Alfredo Morelos slaps Scott Brown
There’s one sure-fire way to antagonise a bald man. Slap his head.
We don’t recommend it, especially when that bald man is Celtic’s renowned shin-shattering extraordinaire Scott Brown, but then again Alfredo Morelos is a bona fide footy hardman in his own right, so he can get away with this kind of thing.
And get away he did, escaping punishment for this fantastic piece of S***housery as Rangers secured a huge 2-0 win over Celtic in Saturday’s Old Firm derby.
The Roy Keane award
Sol Campbell’s wardrobe
Sol Campbell had a bit of a nightmare in the Sky Sports studio this weekend.
Not only did he go into a bizarre monologue about the naivety in which Arsenal’s defenders allowed Phil Foden onto his right foot for Manchester City’s goal before being abruptly reminded by a bemused Micah Richards that the England international is actually left-footed, but his choice of attire was the talk of the town on Twitter.
After initially delivering his expertise in what can only be described as full-on chav-wear a costume change was enforced at the next interval, which appeared to be done in the dark as the Arsenal legend re-emerged wearing a jacket several sizes too small for him, as well as having half of his shirt buttons undone.
This became a narrative more intriguing than Guardiola and Mikel Arteta’s tactical battle itself, as Campbell slyly did up one button after another until he’d reached something close to an acceptable level for pre-watershed viewing.
One can only imagine what Roy Keane would think of that, but the phrase “absolutely disgraceful” certainly comes to mind.
Urban Dictionary entry of the week
Word: To Pickford (verb).
Definition: To have one’s own mistakes covered up by good fortune or the ineptitude of others.
In a sentence: Malcolm should have been given a six-month sentence for burglary but he pickforded the court case; the only eye-witness couldn’t attend the trial because they’d been told to self-isolate, while the Crown Prosecution Service had mistakenly lost the single piece of evidence with his fingerprints on.
Those who watched Saturday’s Merseyside Derby will remember Jordan Pickford two-footing Virgil van Dijk (get well soon, Virgil) before parrying Jordan Henderson’s goal into his own net for what should have been a comfortable save.
But the history books will record the performance differently; as both incidents were controversially struck off for offside, officially speaking Pickford’s ninety minutes included two excellent saves and two Liverpool goals he really couldn’t do much about. A solid afternoon’s work.
Man Utd penalty of the week
Bruno Fernandes misses versus Newcastle
Who would have thought it - Manchester United being awarded a soft penalty through the divine intervention of VAR?
The only part of this goal that didn’t follow the script was Bruno Fernandes stepping up and smacking the ball right into Karl Darlow’s outstretched arm. Souness would’ve been furious he didn’t go with his opposite limb, but it did the job nonetheless.
That was the Portuguese’s first penalty miss for United, and only his third in 33 attempts throughout his entire career.
Managerial innuendo of the week
“They were a handful all night.”
The kind of post-coital brag to chums over breakfast that’s actually a tacit admission your sexual partner for the previous evening was a far more energetic, ferocious and therefore capable lover than yourself.
Steve Bruce provided this cheeky quip to analyse Manchester United’s 4-1 romping of Newcastle on Saturday evening, so it’s a good job the match was on Sky Sports Box Office and thus any child watching was accompanied by an adult who could quickly cover their ears.
TV Burp award
If something so simplistic brings him so much joy, even when those around him don’t appear to find it even remotely amusing, why would the Palace boss think about retirement? He’s not going to get that kind of good fun at home, stuck indoors with the wife watching Bake-off, is he?
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- What's happened to all the old goalkeepers?
- Sir Alex Ferguson must take share of blame for Man Utd's decline