I have to say, it was a real pleasure rewatching this game. Both teams played extremely well and there were plenty of “Oooh, pretty!” moments that made me laugh out loud in sheer enjoyment. There was no drama, no controversy, no antics. It was almost like it was two teams of grown-ups playing a game together. Huh.
MOTMOTM Award: This was a really tough one to decide. Everyone played really well. Thiago, Iniesta, Mascherano, & Busquets all had good arguments going for them. So in the end I picked two: 1) Javi Martinez, who was absolutely immense for Athletic playing as a CB, and 2) Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz. Who, you say? He was the referee, and his calmness and competence were a breath of fresh air after the shenanigans we have seen in La Liga recently. He got every major call right, and the few small errors he made had no effect on the match. Can we clone him?
It’s A Kind Of Magic Award: In case you missed this bit of wizardry from Thiago, here it is. Boy is smooth like silk. Think we’ll keep him. Thiago skill
Zees Ees Fashun Award: Haven’t given this one out for a while, but Bielsa’s fetching sweatshirt/pants ensemble is surely worthy of mention. You would think he would have dressed up for such an important occasion, but Bielsa marches to the beat of his own drum.
Heigh Ho Silver! Award: Busi, for his attempt to mount Oscar de Marcos and ride him away into the sunset. He probably should have had a card for getting his leg up that high, but it seemed more accidental than not.
Iker Face Award: Some of the faces Bielsa was making on the sidelines were downright frightening. If I was one of his players and spotted him grimacing at me that way I would have nightmares for weeks!
You Complete Me Award: We talk all the time about how well Xavi & Iniesta combine in midfield, but this season’s revelation for me has been the Thiago & Iniesta pairing. Their on-field connection in this game was terrific, and they seemed to take it in turns to attack and drop back. I look forward to many many more years of watching these two playing together.
Baby Needs A New Pair Of Scoring Shoes Award: Iniesta had so many chances that by the time he finally scored I was on the edge of my seat and desperate for it to go in. And so was he. I can’t believe that is only his second league goal this year. He certainly deserves more.
The Green Green Grass Of Home Award: Nice pitch, wasn’t it?
This Is Why We Call Him Cuddly Toy Award: Bojan, for being extra huggable when he scored his goal in today’s Roma game and lifting his shirt to reveal a message for Abidal (“All the strength of this goal is for Abi”). All together now, “Awwwwww!!!!”