GIVEMESPORT Awards #13: Lionel Messi, Bruno Fernandes and Phil Foden claim prizes

  • Kobe Tong
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Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United was the biggest anti-climax in the history of antis climaxing. Wait...

I'll be honest with you, writing about football for a living sometimes means that the idea of sitting down to watch 90 minutes of the beautiful game immediately after a shift can be a little bit mind-numbing.

Maybe that's just me being an absolute grandad about ten million decades before I'm due, but I like to think gardeners aren't pumped to trim the living daylights out of a hedge after they've been mowing lawns for 12 hours.

Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd

However, the two biggest clubs in the Premier League slugging it out as they go head-to-head in a title race was enough for me to make an exception, even if Sky Sports' promotional material serenading me is probably responsible for that.

So, just imagine me crying into my marble dining room table as the game was graced by the same amount of goals as I had patience with only my butler shoveling me champagne and caviar to console myself.

I might be an Arsenal fan - kindly direct your hate mail to don't.bother@pleaseloveme.com - but even I was willing Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to score late on for some semblance of drama. It's a hard life, honestly.

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GIVEMESPORT Awards

Ok, jokes aside, it was actually a pretty entertaining game in the pantheon of 0-0 draws and one that leaves the door wide open to possibilities in what could be the most thrilling Premier League title race in years.

And with 2021 football now in full swing, it would be rude for us not to treat it with absolutely zero seriousness or credibility at all in the whacky, wild and untamed jungle of the GIVEMESPORT Awards.

So, join me in the place where football analysis goes to die as we acknowledge everything from the best player and game of the week to the most sexually suggestive thing to come out of a manager's mouth. Yeh, honestly.

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Goal of the week

Tanguy Ndombele vs Sheffield United

There's been plenty of fantastic goals in the Premier League this week from Raheem Sterling's free-kick to Ilkay Gundogan's screamer, but Ndombele's lob at Bramall Lane topped the lot.

Despite having scored just five times in his Tottenham career prior to the 3-1 win, the French enforcer produced an outrageous finish over Aaron Ramsdale and into the bottom corner from absolutely nothing.

Player of the week

John Stones

To be honest, we could have given this award to Stones for any of the last few weeks because his renaissance at Manchester City has been brilliant to watch, forming a near-unstoppable partnership with Ruben Dias.

Stones helped marshall the Citizens to yet another clean sheet in mid-week against Brighton, before repeating the feat versus Crystal Palace and heading home his first two Premier League goals for the club to boot.

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Manager of the week

Marcelino García Toral

Considering Toral only inherited the Athletic job two weeks ago, it's pretty remarkable to think that he's already won his first piece of silverware in the job, securing two stunning results in the last seven days.

First, Toral oversaw his side's 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals, before going all the way with a dramatic 3-2 win against Barcelona courtesy of Inaki Williams' extra-time winner.

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Game of the week

Charlton Athletic 4-4 Rochdale

Rochdale have been on an emotional rollercoaster this week because we could have easily picked their 3-3 thriller with Wigan Athletic, too, but it was their eight-goal classic at The Valley that took the cake.

The Dale led 2-1 and 4-2 respectively during the League One chaos, only for stikes from Chuk Aneke and Ronnie Schwartz to level the scores, but not before Jason Pearce was dismissed to add to the drama.

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Outrageous skill of the week

Phil Foden vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Anyone doubting the unbridled talent of Foden would have a pretty difficult job arguing against his glorious displays this week, even becoming City's leading goalscorer this season with his Brighton winner.

But his highlight of the mid-week victory wasn't even his finishing touch, rather a stunning double roulette, which is arguably the best skill we've seen all season, that left Adam Webster and Davy Pröpper seeing stars.

Fallon d'Floor

Fabio Silva vs West Bromwich Albion

You'd be forgiven for thinking that we have a vendetta against Wolves players when it comes to diving, but there are no excuses for Silva following in the footsteps of Pedro Neto with this poor piece of simulation.

The former Porto prodigy, who notched his first Premier League goal from open play in the Black Country derby, was rightfully booked after doing down under minimal contact late on at Molineux.

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Strangest punditry of the week

Mark Clattenburg on Manchester United and Liverpool

What hasn't Clattenburg been saying this week? It's been hard to keep track with the former Premier League referee as he discussed everything United vs Liverpool from their penalties, managers and even mind games.

It did feel a little bit like car-crash TV at times, especially when Jurgen Klopp came back firing, but his comments about Sir Alex Ferguson influencing penalties at Old Trafford certainly felt like an uncomfortable truth.

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Disasterclass of the week

Bruno Fernandes vs Liverpool

Now, before you accuse us of throwing Fernandes under the bus because he's finally produced a poor performance, we're only branding it as a 'disasterclass' in the context of how good the United magician really is.

And when you consider Fernandes' viral 'highlights' from the goalless draw at Anfield, where he conceded possession 19 times, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hooking him off late on merely seems merciful.

Tweet of the week

Mason Mount and Frank Lampard video

It's been a quiet week in the Twitterverse, but Chelsea getting back on track in the Premier League courtesy of Mount's finish at Craven Cottage carved out a fantastic opportunity for a joke.

And judging by how viral the clip has gone since Lampard hoovered up the three points, I can't be alone in imagining Eminem and Dr. Dre mid-'I Need A Doctor' as the Chelsea duo absolutely hilarious.

Craziest bet of the week

Big win on Premier League bookings

'I can confirm the group chat has just gone mad' - The caption of Twitter user @KyleTomlinson13 couldn't be a better precursor to his astonishing Premier League bet that bagged him £14,280 from just a £20 stake.

His prediction that Ashley Westwood, Luke Shaw, Nelson Semedo and Abdoulaye Doucouré would all be booked in mid-week proved to be inspired, ensuring that he increased his money 700 times over.

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Sunday League award

Troy Deeney's brutal tackle

Deeney is the definition of an 'old-fashioned footballer' and I use that phrase in a positive way, trust me, because they're a dying breed, but try telling that to Huddersfield’s Juninho Bacuna after the weekend.

That's because Deeney couldn't help reminding us of the two-footed, knee-high challenges that go flying in on Sunday mornings around the country when he somehow avoided a red card for this Championship cruncher.

S***housery award

Emmen fans tape up their goal

It's hard to imagine many things that embody the word 's***housery' more than reacting to impending relegation by literally blocking the goal with tape to ensure the opposition can't score.

Well, that's exactly what a group of fans achieved when Emmen, bottom of the Eredivisie, lined up against third-placed Vitesse Arnhem this week, though the final score of 1-4 suggests the tape was probably taken down...

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Roy Keane award

Lionel Messi vs Athletic Bilbao

Such was the unprecedented nature of Messi picking up the first red card of his Barcelona career that we couldn't resist giving it an award and we like to think Keane would have been seething about it.

We imagine the United legend is from the school of thought where you should either completely ignore Asier Villalibre or flatten him a la Anthony Joshua. We don't condone the latter and thankfully, neither did Messi enact it.

Urban Dictionary of the week

Word: Tierney (verb)

Definition: To complete a task excruciatingly early when having done otherwise might have led to a better outcome

In a sentence: Brenda was having a fantastic time with Stephen in the bedroom, feeling close and intimate as the romantic atmosphere intensified, only to get tierneyed just as things were getting exciting. Five more seconds could have made a massive difference both on the night and further down the line. (I don't support Liverpool, I promise).

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Man Utd penalty of the week

N/A

Geez. Here we are for the second consecutive week where this award lays barren and I bet Klopp is doing cartwheels about it.

I honestly think the Twitter servers would have gone down if Fernandes had converted a spot-kick winner at Anfield that been awarded by VAR after the final whistle. If only, hey? If only...

Managerial innuendo of the week

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

"It just shows at least we’ve come quite a bit from when we were here last time. We’re a bit disappointed with the performance as well, not just the result, because you have to really turn up."

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Don't worry, Ole, I think a lot of blokes can relate to you there...

TV Burp award

Most Christmassy FIFA glitch of the week

Yes, that's right, ─░stanbul Ba┼čak┼čehir vs Sivasspor became the real-life version of 'Where's Wally?' this week when the visitor's decision to wear a white jersey was rendered hilarious by the snow in Turkey.

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Another week of awards

Fear not, you've made it to the end, ladies and gentlemen. 

In many ways, the GIVEMESPORT Awards are a little like Liverpool 0-0 United if you've clicked on expecting the second coming of Ernest Hemingway and not somebody typing away silently in their mother's basement.

Besides, if that's the case, then both the events at Anfield and the GMS Awards will have promised gripping and insightful action, only to be void of any great substance, but harmlessly entertaining nonetheless. 

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The only difference is that my weekly attempts at stringing words together aren't prefixed by whoppingly dramatic advertising. 

As much as I like the idea of me walking towards my laptop on a Monday being accompanied by 'Written in the Stars' and a roaring, golden CGI lion, I can't imagine it making football fans around giddy with excitement.

But while I contact an animator and load up Tinie Tempah on my phone to test that hypothesis, you're going to have to settle for the GMS Awards - same place, same time, next week, catch you there.

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Alexey Smertin - Chelsea

Can you name this obscure former Premier League player?

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