GIVEMESPORT Awards #10: Roberto Firmino, Zinedine Zidane and Granit Xhaka among winners


Let's all come together and hold a moment's silence for Arsenal fans. 

I like to think their catastrophic 1-0 defeat to Burnley was the late kick-off on Sunday night because the broadcasters aren't allowed to show screwing that extreme before the watershed.

I mean, if real-life football had scripting, it wouldn't be written by a Gooner because seeing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang notch his first Premier League goal at the Emirates this season, in the wrong net couldn't have been more brutal.

Bad week for Arsenal

But although Mikel Arteta can't seem to get his team playing decent football, at least they've put in a decent audition as a WWE tag-team because Nicolas Pepe and Granit Xhaka have been lethal recently.

I can't wait to see 'Boom Xhaka Lacka' grabbing 'The Rock' by the neck at the next WrestleMania and Pepe's bonkers transfer fee makes him perfect for a 'Money in the Bank' match, complete with flying headbutts.

Well, at least the UK government would be happy with the Arsenal squad showing career flexibility and if most Gooners on Twitter have their way, perhaps Mikel Arteta might need to pull on the budgie-smugglers to boot. 



Besides, we could see Arsene Wenger back in the dugout for a trip to Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship in what must surely be the exact west dream of most Tottenham fans.

Ok, ok, I've had enough of sinking the knife into Arsenal and if I'm being completely open with you, I support the Gunners too, but you can't beat a bit of self-deprecating humour if you're cripplingly insecure, right? *Nervously laughs*

So, join me as I distract myself from both the horrendous realities of 2020 and supporting Arsenal by tucking into the tenth edition of the GMS Awards, which is a bit like the Oscars if the Oscars did heavy Class-A drugs. You follow? 


Goal of the week

Mohamed Elneny vs Dundalk

Waheyyyyyy - Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal! Wouldn't you look at that, ladies and gentlemen? We have ourselves a positive news item on the Gunners and who cares if it came against a League of Ireland team!?

Besides, say what you like about the standard of the Europa League, there can be no denying that this was an absolute rocket from Elneny, bringing new meaning to the word 'top bins' from fully 30 yards out.

It's crazy to think it was just the Egyptian's third goal for Arsenal and for us, it was just spectacular enough to oust Neymar's first goal against İstanbul Başakşehir and a strike from our next winner...

Player of the week

Leon Bailey

Yes, I know, Bailey was probably deserving of the Goal of the Week award for his astonishing first-touch strike from a corner routine against Hoffenheim, but we don't give awards out like Smarties around here. 

The reported Manchester United target has been absolutely lethal in front of goal this week and bagged a brace in the aforementioned 4-1 Bundesliga victory was just the beginning.

That's because Bailey was named as the Europa League Player of the Week for smashing two goals past SK Slavia Prague in the opening 32 minutes of another four-goal victory for Leverkusen.

Special shoutout once again to Neymar for his Player of the Week-securing antics in the Champions League and Crystal Palace shot-stopper Vicente Guaita for an outrageous string of saves during the Tottenham draw.


Manager of the week

Zinedine Zidane

'What a difference a d̶a̶y̶ week makes'. Hats off to Zidane because on the back of the Shakhtar Donetsk defeats, there were reports that Mauricio Pochettino, amongst others, was being lined up to replace him at the Bernabeu.

But the legendary Frenchman has silenced the haters for the umpteenth time at Real by marshalling his side to fantastic back-to-back victories in the Champions League and La Liga. 

Not only did Zidane lead Los Blancos through to the round of 16 in Europe, but he made it look easy, finishing top of the group with a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach courtesy of a Karim Benzema brace.

And he thrust them right back into the title race in Spain by ending Atletico Madrid's unbeaten run in the derby, once again cantering to a 2-0 victory with Casemiro scoring and Jan Oblak putting through his own net.


Game of the week

Borussia Dortmund 1-5 Stuttgart

Who on Earth saw this one happening!? Dortmund, fresh from topping their Champions League group, were sent crash back to reality with a thrashing that looks set to kill their hopes of Bundesliga glory.

Silas Wamangituka - yes, the bloke who scored THAT goal the week before - fired Stuttgart into the lead with a first-half penalty, only to hand them the advantage again in response to Giovanni Reyna's equaliser before the break.

And that was when the floodgates opened with Philipp Förster and Tanguy Coulibaly scoring in quick succession around the hour-mark before Nicolas Gonzalaz closed the show in stoppage time.

Outrageous skill of the week

Fred roulette on Kevin De Bruyne

Along with watching paint dry, fingernails grow and Arsenal trying to pass, the Manchester derby was one of the most boring ways you could possibly imagine spending your weekend, wallowing to a tepid 0-0 draw. 

However, there were a few, minuscule flashes of entertainment and one of them came from United enforcer Fred, who decided to mark his midfield territory by dishing out a roulette on Kevin De Bruyne.

It's no small feat to say you mugged off arguably the Premier League's best player, never mind with an effortless skill you'd expect from Zidane, so hats off to you, Fred; at least someone was offering excitement. 

Fallon d'Floor

Roberto Firmino vs Fulham

If you're wondering where a certain Arsenal player is hiding, then fear not, their own humiliating piece of playacting hasn't escaped our notice and will be getting a mention in our next award...

But in the meantime, we're focusing on a bizarre clip of Firmino that has been doing the rounds, showing him going to ground for no discernible reason during the 1-1 draw with Fulham.

Now, we know that people like to give Liverpool players a hard time with 'diving' and it doesn't look as though Firmino is trying to win a penalty, but what made him fall like that - a ghost!?

There's hardly a Fulham player in sight when he leaps into a pose vaguely resembling a parachutist from a bird's-eye view or one of those squirrels that flies with the flaps between their arms.

Strangest punditry of the week

Graeme Souness on Elneny incident

Who's to blame for Elneny stupidly pushing James Tarkowski in the penalty area against Burnley and nearly getting himself sent off? Wenger. Well, that's if you're Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness, anyway.

"That has to go back to Arsene Wenger," Souness wildly opined. "He signed him. Whoever signed him and worked with him for a period of time.

"Him or his coaches have got to say this is how you mark. That guy's 28 years old. Someone in his staff must have seen that and thought: 'not sure about that boss, let's put someone else there'."

Ah yes, I'm sure Elneny wouldn't have been at any risk of picking up a red card if it wasn't for the guy who signed him nearly half a decade ago not giving him anger management classes for set-pieces. Bizarre. 

Disasterclass of the week

Granit Xhaka vs Burnley

Oh lord, Arsenal really were terrible, weren't they? We're onto another negative award and we're once again talking about a player at the Emirates getting in trouble for their aggression.

It's bonkers to think that Xhaka has bigged himself up for showing 'discipline' and 'respect to other people' in his own programme notes for the Burnley game, only to show the complete opposite of that with his red card.

What makes his moment of madness all the more painful is that it felt so inevitable and reminded us all of his Crystal Palace breakdown last season which almost cost him his Arsenal career.

You could just tell that Xhaka was completely caught up in the moment, ironically sparked by his own foul, before digging his own grave and sealing Arsenal's fate by grabbing Ashley Westwood by the neck.


Tweet of the week

Juventus get revenge on Barcelona

Unless you were living under a rock last week - I can't say I'd blame you - then you'll know that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo locked horns for the first time in two years during Barcelona vs Juventus.

However, the head-to-head that everybody was really watching was the battle of the two Champions League clubs' Twitter admins and the Juve social media manager had the last laugh after their 3-0 victory.

Barca had tweeted that Messi was the GOAT after they won the reserve fixture in Turin, prompting the Old Lady to reply: "You probably looked it up in the wrong dictionary. We'll bring you the right one at Camp Nou."

Two months later and the Serie A champions were rewarded for hanging tight by replying: "We kept our word: we brought it!" to the tune of almost 50,000 retweets and over 150,000 'likes'.


Craziest bet of the week

Triple-captain Sam Johnstone

Ok, sure, this is only a 'bet' in the loosest sense of the word, but nothing makes us chuckle more than complete s***houses on Fantasy Premier League deciding to triple-captain the most random of players from time to time.

And according to the competition itself, that's exactly what three players did last weekend when they inexplicably rolled the dice on Johnstone in the hope they'd triple their money with a stunning display.

Let's face it, deploying this once-in-a-season bonus on the goalkeeper who has conceded the most in the division is pretty renegade at the best of times, but Newcastle made sure the trio looked even sillier with a rapid start.

That's because Miguel Almirón took all of 19 seconds to open the scoring at St. James' Park to ensure the three Fantasy Football hipsters had their hopes of a clean sheet bonus wiped out in an instant.


Sunday League award

Crazy wind in Portugal

Have you really played Sunday League if you've never played a match where wind makes it virtually impossible? It's essentially a rite of passage that gives the phrase 'a game of two halves' more resonance than ever.

Well, that's exactly what happened in the Portuguese second division, resulting in one of the most hilarious goal-kicks we've ever seen and that's only after the goalkeeper gave up on trying to make the ball stay still.

Watching the utter hilarity of the ball being completely arrested by the wind and instead of floating to the halfway line, being transported back across the byline further back than where it started will never get old.


S***housery award

Sebastian Larsson

Uh huh, yeh, THAT Larsson. The one who used to smash in glorious free-kicks for Birmingham City and Sunderland is now making headlines for being a s***house back in Sweden during AIK's clash with Elfsborg.

Larsson's side has fought back from 2-0 down to enter stoppage time with the scores level and to maximise their chances of getting a point, the Swede cheekily made sure there were two balls in play.

He nullified the Elfsborg goalkeeper taking a quick goal-kick with a new ball by passing the previous ball back into play, which some of his teammates amusingly assumed was the right one before the referee eventually noticed.

It produced a bizarre passage of play where two football matches seemed to be occurring in one, though Larsson eventually wound up with a yellow card and a one-match suspension to boot.

The Roy Keane award

Manchester derby hugs

We don't need to imagine what might have made Keane lose his mind this week because it seemed as though everything wound him up during Sky Sports' coverage of the snooze-inducing Manchester derby.

And when the Irishman wasn't being driven up the wall by Micah Richards, he was blowing a casket at the sight of United and City players hugging and greeting each after the full-time whistle.

Keane moaned: “At the end of the game the staff and players are hugging, smiling, chatting with each other. Just get down the tunnel, I don’t get it! Everyone wants to be pals with each other, and be popular!

“You’re playing for these clubs, particularly Man United, to win football matches! Not to be mates with everybody! I’ve never seen so many hugs and chats after the game. It’s a derby game!"


Urban dictionary of the week

Word: Mikedean (verb)

Definition: To take an inordinate amount of pleasure in doing something you shouldn't enjoy

In a sentence: I mikedeaned the living daylights out of my neighour Greta, 82, the other day. I was prowling the fruit and veg section of Tesco and despite knowing that she needed carrots for her dinner, I swooped in at the last second to claim the final pack. I strode off with a whopping smile on my face and a bounce in my step.

Man Utd penalty of the week

Bruno Fernandes vs RB Leipzig

Water is wet, grass is green, United win penalties. Even when the Red Devils were just minutes away from being excreted out of the Champions League rectum, they still managed a spot-kick as a parting gift.

Just to add fuel to the fire of conspiracy theorists, there's not a chance in hell that Ibrahima Konaté's challenge on Mason Greenwood was deserving of a penalty and if anything, could have been a foul the other way.

But hey ho, there is a reason we have this award, after all, and Fernandes made no mistake from 12 yards, sending former Liverpool shot-stopper Péter Gulácsi the wrong way with his trademark 'hop' technique.


Managerial innuendo of the week

Sean Dyche

"Clean sheets are important to us and we’ve got back to that again. But we won’t get carried away."

Exactly, Sean, because getting carried away is exactly the sort of thing that leaves your sheets messy.


TV Burp award

Most inappropriately-televised adult movie of the week


To be fair, holding one's wood makes the list of 10 million things more entertaining and less depressing than watching Arsenal imploding against Premier League relegation candidates.

The only way is up, Arsenal

Ah, what a sad indictment of life itself that it's so often at its best when we're completely distracted from its realities. Uhum, woah, didn't see you there, I'm still on my Arsenal stique - welcome back. 

It might have taken me more than 2,000 words to do so, but I've actually managed to find a positive angle on Arsenal this week, which, truth be told, felt tantamount to praising Loris Karius' goalkeeping in the 2019 Champions League final.


'What is this golden idol?' I hear you ask. Well, ladies and gentlemen, imagine the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but what Indiana Jones is stealing is actually the Europa League trophy.

Ah, yes, the saviour for Arsenal. The beacon of promise. And with the announcement of the round of 32 draw, we can all come together and forget the Burnley defeat ever happened by looking forward to a guaranteed win. 

I can see it now: an easy passage through to the round of 16 by smashing some 'farmers' over two legs with their combine harvesters and trowels... Benfica? Ben-bloody-fica!? I'm off... you'll find me under the covers crying.

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