A desi recognition of the EPL’s 'special' talents.
It’s that time of the year again. The English Premier League has come to an end, but this year things were a bit different. Co-incidentally, the EPL closed on the same day as the IPL, so status updates claiming that ‘Antonio Conte is Chelsea’s messiah’ were sandwiched between, “Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan”, and “match was fixed.”
Nevertheless, there were a few like myself who tuned in to watch their favourite team end things on a high, rather than watch Yuvi win a car for hitting a glam shot.
While Chelsea is the only team to get their hands on the trophy this year, the other guys also have something to be cheerful about. The game’s biggest awards are still up for grabs. That’s right, the time has come to announce football's most illustrious set of awards. The 101India English Premier League Awards (dhol roll please).
1) The Happydent White Award
Winner - Roberto Firmino
There is a good possibility that Abbas Mustan’s dry cleaner is Roberto Firmino’s dentist. The striker lit up Anfield, if not with his performance, then certainly with that set of pearly whites. Towards the end of September, Liverpool fans took notice of Firmino’s teeth, and naturally, it exploded on social media. People said just about everything. My personal favourite tweet - “Roberto Firmino’s teeth are brighter than my future.” Truer words have never been spoken.
You don’t need spotlights when you have these! Image source: irishmirror.ie
2) The Premier League Rozgaar Yojna Award
Winner - Sam Allardyce
A few years ago ‘Big Sam’ was at West Ham United. Last season he came in at the death to save Sunderland from an all but assured relegation. He left in the summer to manage the England National Team before being sacked after just one game, for doing something we’re all familiar with back here. Allardyce accepted a £400,000 deal to help investors get around certain rules regarding player transfers. Anyway, all was forgiven, and in a few months Allardyce found his way to yet another Premier League struggler in the form of Crystal Palace.
It’s almost like the league can’t get rid of him. Image source: mirror.co.uk
3) The Apsara Worst Supporting Actor Award for Simulation
Winner - Alexis Sanchez vs Leicester City
Dives and simulation have become an increasing part of the game, but they are most often somewhat believable. Then there’s Alexis Sanchez, a man whose face apparently extends to his shoulder. Right at the end of the game against Leicester, Sanchez clearly has the ball thrown onto his shoulder, but, and funnily enough after a second or two, the Chilean collapses onto the ground clutching his face and rolling around. When I saw it happen, I almost had to re-check that I was tuned into Star Sports and not Star Plus, and Sanchez wasn’t some soap star being rejected by the mother of the bride.
Sanchez committed to the act. Image source: 101greatgoals.com
4) The Ichhadhari Naagin Award for Jumping Ship
Winner - Dimitri Payet
An Ichhadhari Naagin can turn into any living creature, but Dimitri Payet chose to remain a snake. The ex-West Ham talisman forced a move away from the club that virtually gave him his big break after just 18 months. The situation got so bad that the midfielder at one point refused to even show up for training or play a match. The Frenchman, now a Marseille player again, claimed he got bored of playing in the lower half of the Premier League. The funny thing is, Slaven Bilic, Payet’s manager at West Ham, did almost the same thing when he left the club as a player 20 years ago.
And you thought Icchadhari Naagins weren’t real. Image source: sillyseason.com
5) The Dev Anand is Evergreen Award for the Golden Oldie
Winner - Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The player with an ego bigger than his teammates’ pay package. Man, myth, money behind Paul Pogba’s transfer. Legend has it that Zlatan’s father’s name is Zlatan Jr.
There was much hype, and equal amount of scepticism when Zlatan decided to come and play in England. But the striker really has performed, on all fronts. While fit, Ibra was going toe to toe with strikers more than a decade younger than him. The Swede played a part in 22 goals in just 27 starts this season, including an inspired performance to win United the EFL Cup.
The man who inspired Manchester United to win EFL. Image source: 365dm.com
6) The ‘Sahi Daam Batao’ Award for Bargain Buy of the Season
Winner - N’golo Kante
The only member to depart Claudio Ranieri’s dream team, and seemingly the difference. Chelsea effectively bought the Premier League from Leicester this season. Kante beat Eden Hazard, I Am Zlatan, and Harry Kane among others to win this seasons player of the year award as well. If every guy worked as hard as N’golo does, no girl would be unhappy. N’Golo Kante is better at covering the pitch than our politicians are at covering up their scams.
Dreams do come true, well at least for him. Image source: 101greatgoals.com
7) The JNU Anti-Sedition Award
Winner - Arsenal
Arsenal have had their worst season in 20 years, so it’s safe to say the fans are a bit disappointed. But recently a bunch of people that run a YouTube channel called ‘Arsenal Fan TV’ have gained notoriety, and created a bit of hysteria. Members of the group have heavily criticised Wenger and the higher-ups at the club for their administration and lack of ambition. And by heavily criticised, I mean they made old Arnab look docile. The situation got so bad that the channel started affecting the players, and the club considered shutting down the channel that spoke against it. Ever heard of a controlling authority not allowing people to publish information that paints it in a bad light?
Arsenal Fan TV, more like Republic TV. Image source: Notey.com
8) The Ranveer Singh Award for Hysterical Haircuts
Winner - Paul Pogba
There could only really be one winner for this. Paul Pogba has had a lukewarm season on the pitch, scoring only 5 league goals. However, in the salon, the world’s most expensive player has enjoyed more success. The midfielder has sported 6 different hairdos this season, including a snake haircut, and multiple renditions of his initials. If your math is as good as mine, (or a 4 year old’s) you’d realise that the Frenchman has had one more haircut than he has had goals. Maybe next season he could take it a step further and carve out team formations, or maybe the half-time score, for reference.
Hair goal? Maybe, maybe not. Image source: thesun.co.uk
9) The Deshdrohi Award
Winner - Joel Matip
Joel Matip, also known as Liverpool's only defender/slim Vincent Kompany, has been a Liverpool player for a season. Six months in, back in January, he felt so committed to the Liverpool cause that he elected not to play for his country Cameroon, in the African Cup of Nations to help out his club domestically. Cameroon went on to win the cup. Liverpool played 7 matches in that time, losing 4 and drawing 2.
Joel very committed for Liverpool to play the Champions League next season. Image source: goal.com
10) The Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye Award for Sharing Celebrations
Winner - The Arsenal Backroom Staff
It is a tradition in India to celebrate important occasions and festivals by distributing mithai. Until the 7th of May, 2017, Arsenal had never beaten a Jose Mourinho team in the Premier League. That day, the curse was broken, and the Arsenal backroom staff seemed to kick off celebrations while the match was still underway, passing around a bag of maltesers, while on camera. The shot featured a visibly frustrated Jose Mourinho in his technical area, with the Arsenal bench in the background having some chocolate coated fun. It was a shubh din indeed.
#AccheDin for Arsenal. Image source: mirror.co.uk
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101India.com.
By Rahul Sawhney
Cover photo credit: whatsuplife.in