Spotkick’s Alternative Awards of the Month: February
Episode Six: And so goes the longest shortest month in history
We should have known, we really should. After January sped past in some absurd fashion (complaints of which last month’s TAA noted, by the way), we should have seen it coming that something else would take the mantle and be a drag. The king is dead, long live the king. And this year’s drag month was February of all months, a month with 28 days dragging to seem like the longest shortest month of all time. It wasn’t helped by the Nigerian presidential elections, which basically occupied half the month, taking two weeks to be conducted, taking three days to be collated, although that’s basically VAR.
But little matter, February is gone nonetheless, two out of 12 have been seen off, and slowly but surely, we’re edging towards 2020, the year everything is supposed to be better!!!!!!
More importantly, the end of February means it’s Spotkick’s prize-giving day. To the podium, all…
The Barty-Crouch-JR Award for Worst Son
Adrien Rabiot, who had the effrontery to sack his mother as his agent. Disrespectful little minx.
Another shared award
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on being asked by a journalist from the Sun that his future is always under scrutiny. ‘And yours? Are the Sun happy with you?’
Milan gaffer Gennaro Gattuso after being asked on Milan’s upturn in form. ‘Where did you find the philosopher’s stone that the alchemist used to turn the players into gold’, asked Carlo Pellegatti. Gattuso’s reply: ‘You’re gonna have to reword what you said, I barely graduated’
Celebration of the Month
Diego Simeone’s balls up celebration against Juventus in the Champions League. Or maybe Alvaro Morata’s VAR-esque celebration after scoring his first Atletico Madrid goal against Villarreal. Speaking of Morata….
…Player of the month
Morata had two goals, which were celebrated, denied by VAR, against former clubs Real Madrid and Juventus.
Chelsea full-back, Kieran Trippier, who brilliantly disguised as a Spurs player for four years, for the purpose of scoring a late goal for the Blues against the North Londoners.
But no one beats Legia Warsaw’s William Remy, in the side’s defeat to Cracovia. Booked in the 67th minute, Remy gets sent off after a second yellow seven minutes later. After a VAR review, Remy gets called back from the dressing room, as he prepares to get onto the pitch, he receives a straight red. He can’t say he didn’t have an interesting day.
Most Eventful Month
Fiorentina. First there was their game against SPAL, where late on La Viola have a penalty appeal waved way, then concede as their opponents break away. Then VAR reviews the penalty appeal, cancels SPAL’s goal and gives Fiorentina the penalty, which they score. Then there was the game at home to Inter, which also features in the…
…Game of the Month
Fiorentina 3-3 Inter, which had six goals, one of which was a belter from Jefferson Montero, and three of them required an accumulated 10-minute spell of VAR-ing.
That doesn’t come close to the Bostik Premier League game between Wingate & Finchley and Folkstone Invicta, a 2-2 draw in which all four games came after the 89th minute.
But those two pale in comparison to the Serie C game between Cuneo and Pro Piacenza. Pro Piacenza, without enough players, couldn’t afford to forfeit the game against Cuneo, so fielded just eight players – all of which were teenagers – and lost 20-0. Yes, really.
The Terry-Butcher Award for Commitment
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa, who was having none of manager Maurizio Sarri’s decision to substitute him late on in the Carabao Cup final.
Huddersfield, for having the audacity to win an actual football match.
Manager of the Month
Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, who started the month by blaming his side’s draw with West Ham on the officials allowing an offside goal for his own team. The German then finished the month by blaming his side’s goalless draw at Old Trafford on Manchester United’s injuries. Gobsmacking.
How could you miss that of the Month
Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick is Manchester City’s demolition of Chelsea, all of which came after his quite awful miss earlier.
The It-has-to-be-Sergio-Ramos Award for shithousery
What do you know, it is Sergio Ramos. The Real Madrid skipper admitted to collecting a yellow card on purpose against Ajax in the Champions League last 16 first leg, so as to miss the second leg, and be available for the quarter-final for which they haven’t qualified yet.
Paul Pogba, who spoke of being ‘in the shadows’ before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge of Manchester United. Now, ‘I’m smiling again’, he says. Well put.
Jolly-Powered Stat of the Month
From Richard Jolly; Mesut Ozil has scored for Arsenal in the last three games in which Carl Jenkinson has started. Tom Heaton, Burnley’s goalkeeper, has taken more points this season than Fulham.
Or the one from Duncan Alexander, on the fact that about 43% of Huddersfield’s points this Premier League season have come against Wolves.
But none beats this: Claudio Ranieri, who replaced his Slavisa Jokanovic, his first signing as Chelsea manager, as Fulham boss in November, was sacked and replaced by Scott Parker, his last signing as Chelsea manager. And yes, Parker’s first game in charge was against Chelsea.
In Conclusion: Perhaps VAR should set up a 12-referee VAR panel, who review referee’s every decision and, if there’s no reasonable doubt, overturns it. That would ruin the game very nicely.
March is moving fast. That’s how you do it February.