GIVEMESPORT Awards #3: Lassina Traore, Luka Modric and Pep Guardiola feature

Luka Modric dummies the goalkeeper

Another week, another round of GIVEMESPORT awards.

With international football somehow both in the rear-view mirror and on the horizon, we’re cherishing every moment of club action that comes our way at the moment, and due to the hectic nature of this season’s scheduling, it’s in more than copious supply.

In fact, at least two English clubs have played a game of football every night since last week’s awards first hit the shelves, and you’d be forgiven for not being able to keep up with absolutely everything that’s gone on in the previous seven days.

So consider this the perfect chance to acquaint or indeed reacquaint yourself with the biggest stories, the best moments and the funniest incidents from the last week of football, all packaged into a nice, bitesized awards format, because who doesn’t love a gong?

From Goal Of The Week to Most Offensive Shin Pads, here’s this week’s awards…

Goal Of The Week - Kemar Roofe vs Standard Liege

Even most of the greatest players in the history of the game can’t claim to have a halfway line goal on their CV, such is the requirement for a perfect combination of opportunity and ability, so take a bow Kemar Roofe. 

Even by halfway line goal standards, his effort to seal a 2-0 victory over Standard Liege was pretty special; he jinked free of a number of bodies in midfield before lifting the ball beyond a goalkeeper who wasn’t even that far off his line to set the Europa League alight on Thursday night.

Nicely done.

Player Of The Week - Lassina Traore

Ajax’s 13-0 victory over VVV-Velno on Saturday caused quite the stir on social media but the sheer ridiculousness of the scoreline overshadowed the incredible contribution of one player - 19-year-old Lassina Traore.

In what was only his eighth-ever start for the Dutch giants, the teenager scored an incredible five goals - with all of his shots on target beating the goalkeeper - as well as laying on three assists from a total of five created chances.

Few clubs in world football churn out future superstars with the same regularity as the Amsterdam side, and we’re sure Europe’s biggest teams will be keeping an eye on Traore after Saturday’s performance.

Manager Of The Week - Veljko Paunovic

In fact, following a 3-0 win over Rotherham on Saturday, the Royals have made the strongest start to a Championship season after seven games of any team in the competition’s history. Within that run, Reading have won six and drawn one and rather incredibly conceded just a single goal.

Perhaps most impressively of all, they’re the only club in English football yet to go behind in any game this season.

Well played Veljko, but there’s only one way you can go from here…

Game Of The Week - Real Madrid 2-3 Shakhtar Donetsk

Referee uses VAR to rule out Real Madrid's goal

There’s nothing quite like the most unexpected of giant killings to put a shushing finger to the proverbial lips of the ever-chattering potential for a European Super League.

Shakhtar Donetsk are one of Europe’s most dominant sides domestically but you can’t imagine they’re being included in conversations about ringfencing the continent’s biggest clubs to make an irreversible elite.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, definitely are and yet they couldn’t even see off a Shakhtar side drastically depleted by 19 positive COVID tests in a 3-2 thriller, as Luis Castro’s second string unexpectedly roused to a three-goal lead by the interval.

Zinedine Zidane’s side soon netted twice to create a sense of inevitability about the final outcome but just as it appeared their comeback was complete through a stoppage time equaliser, VAR stepped in to provide the perfect final twist to a suspense-filled 90 minutes - declaring an offside Blancos body to have interfered with play as Federico Valverde’s shot squeezed past the goalkeeper.

Justice served and a timely reminder that football is nothing without glory for the underdog.

Outrageous Skill Of The Week - Luka Modric

There’s definitely been some slightly snazzier bits of footwork this week, such as Wilfried Zaha’s no-look mid-air flick straight to the feet of a Crystal Palace team-mate and Daniel Podence sending two Newcastle defenders for a hotdog

But can you really overlook shoulder-dropping an onrushing goalkeeper, before curling the ball with the outside of the boot between two defenders, to score a win-securing strike in a Clasico?

Luka Modric may be 35 but he’s still an absolute magician.

Strangest Punditry Of The Week - Guy Mowbray

In fairness to Guy Mowbray, impartiality is not only essential to his occupation but also for any BBC employee.

Nonetheless, there’s something so uncomfortable about a 48-year-old white male taking a two-sides-of-the-argument stance on the Tory government rejecting a young, black footballer’s bid to feed children in poverty.

Expecting his coverage of Man United and Chelsea’s sleep-inducing 0-0 to start with an anti-Bojo monologue would have been unrealistic, but if he’s not allowed to speak out in support for Marcus Rashford’s campaign to provide for poverty-stricken children during half-term, then maybe don’t say anything about it at all.

A poor choice of words from a man usually so silver-tongued.

Disasterclass Of The Week - Premier League’s Pay-Per-View football

Criticisms of the Premier League’s Pay-Per-View scheme are by no means limited to this week, but the last seven days or so has really shown it up.

Fans were asked to pay £15 to watch Burnley and West Brom partake in the most painstakingly dull of nil-nil encounters on Monday night and while some of the PPV games since have provided a bit more entertainment, they haven’t nearly equated in value to what is just over a day’s living allowance on the government’s universal credit scheme.

Imagine that for an ultimatum: should I feed the kids today or tune in for Ahmed Hegazi and James Tarkowski heading the ball to each other for an hour and a half?

Ok, enough political commentary. But it was a bad week for the Premier League’s PPV scheme.
While the top-flight asked viewers to cough up £15 for Fulham vs Crystal Palace, El Clasico - you know, arguably the greatest single fixture in world football - was on sale for just £6.

No wonder football fans are instead donating the cost to local food banks and streaming games illegally, and no wonder Sky Sports and BT Sport want to scrap PPV matches completely.

Tweet Of The Week - Wilfried Zaha on Wilfried Zaha

It takes a bold man to mock himself on social media, but Zaha’s always been a pretty confident character.

After bundling the ball into the net at the far post for what proved to be the winner against Fulham, the Ivory Coast forward passed on the opportunity to celebrate by instead rolling around in Alphonso Areola’s goal clutching his knee.

The kind of boo-boo that can only truly be healed by a mother’s loving kiss, Zaha’s grimace contained reverberations of a very famous cartoon sketch.

Craziest Bet Of The Week - £21k accumulator

For the average person, an accumulator is just a bit of Saturday morning fun. Take a punt at a few scores, stick something between a quid and a tenner on it and hope lady luck is in your corner this week. Maybe you’ll win enough for a free night out. 

Well, this lad clearly takes accys a little more seriously, putting a grand on a series of winners ranging from Millwall to Inter Milan.

Apparently fortune favours the brave though, because our anonymous winner bagged himself a whopping £21k.

And they say the house always wins.

Sunday League Award - Comedy Penalty Run-up

Note to self - if you’re going to do the most obnoxious and audacious penalty run-up of all time, make sure you actually score.

That’s what this sorry striker failed to do in a recent shootout involving Farnham Town and the aptly named Badshot Lea.

Off-putting run-ups have become part and parcel of penalty taking these days, with the above unnamed player clearly taking a leaf out of Lyle Taylor’s book.

While the former Charlton man’s perfected the art of the slow march up to the ball before ramming it past the goalie, this lad blasted his effort straight into perfect goalkeeping territory, much to the enjoyment of the watching supporters.

S***housery Of The Week (and Fallon d’Floor) - Pepe vs Manchester City

Captain S***house himself, few modern-day footballers are as well-versed in the art as Pepe, who has made a whole career out of quite frankly being a thug in a football jersey.

Rather than one single incident, Pepe earns this week’s award for his entire showing against Manchester City, which featured three very noteworthy acts of pure S***housery.

1. Clattering into Raheem Sterling to give away a completely needless penalty.

2. Also winning him this week’s Fallon d’Floor award, using the momentum of the mildest of nudges into the back to pull off a standing forward summersault.

3. Fouling Sterling again and then following up by screaming in the downed England international’s face before giving him a knee to the ribs for good measure.

Never change Pepe, never change.

The Roy Keane Award - Isco’s been eating too many Discos

Lockdowns haven’t been kind to everybody. While some have seized it as an opportunity for self-improvement, others have wilted in the absence of the societal pressures of aesthetic maintenance.

Unfortunately, it appears Real Madrid playmaker Isco belongs in the latter category. Yes, that big plump booty you see before you indeed belongs to the Spain international and while some may claim this is simply the consequence of an unflattering camera angle, Isco does look a little blubbery around the edges at the moment.

Lock him in a dimly lit room with Roy Keane and the sweat produced from sheer fear should see Isco drop a few pounds.

Urban Dictionary Entry Of The Week

Word: Evrabainking

Definition: When you immediately strike up a dynamic partnership with someone

In a sentence: “I randomly got talking to this bloke at the bar and we ended up evrabainking - he made a joke about my scarf and after that we were laughing all night.”

Manchester United’s snoozefest with Chelsea won’t be remembered for much, except perhaps the birth of a punditry power couple for the ages - Patrice Evra and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Patrice was his usual hyperbolic self upon discussing United’s lack of ambition in the match, while apparent best chum Jimmy was more than willing to counteract the Frenchman with a more balanced and pragmatic point of view.

Throw in a few giggles and Evra reminding everybody of the time a Hasselbaink tackle left him needing nine stitches and there was real chemistry between the pair, who seemed just as happy shouting at each other as they did joking around.

We may have just witnessed the start of something truly beautiful here, a love-hate relationship that makes post-match punditry as entertaining as the games themselves.

Man United Penalty Of The Week - Bruno Fernandes misses and then scores vs PSG

Indeed, resident spot kick assassin Bruno Fernandes stepped up against PSG in midweek to try and put Manchester United into an early lead, only to see a penalty kick saved for the second game in a row - this time by Keylor Navas.

But VAR stepped in to demand a retake, with replays showing Navas to be a significant distance off his line, and despite putting his second effort in exactly the same place, Fernandes somehow managed to sell the PSG keeper into diving in completely the opposite direction.

Managerial Innuendo Of The Week

“Maybe we can seduce him to extend his contract with us.”

When we came up with the managerial innuendo award, we assumed a fair bit of imagination would be required rather than being handed sexually charged remarks on silver platter, but Pep Guardiola clearly had other ideas.

Upon discussing Eric Garcia’s situation with his current deal due to expire at the end of the season, the Manchester City gaffer remarked, reportedly with a smile on his face, “I know he wants to leave, but maybe we can seduce him to extend his contract with us.”

Pep’s always been one for unorthodox tactics but even by his standards this seems a little over the top.

Most Offensive Shin Pads Award - Jamie Vardy

Of course, there are two phrases synonymous with the Leicester City talisman. One is quite simply that “he’s having a party”, and the other is - equally simply - “chat S***, get banged”.

It’s a mantra worth bearing in mind if you fancy getting gobby around a Midlands estate, and it apparently makes very unique branding for some shin pads too.

Our only questions are:

1. When do these go on general sale?

2. Do they come with a free baseball cap?

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