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Man of the Match criteria (MOTM): how is it awarded?

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The Man of the Match (MOTM) award is given to the player judged to be the best on the pitch over the course of a game. 

It is not part of the core rules of football, and some competitions do not even have a MOTM award.

 

There are also no specific rules as to who should bestow the MOTM award – sometimes it might be television commentators covering the match or a major sponsor, and other times it could be decided by journalists or leading websites.

In terms of Man of the Match criteria there are no set rules, and, indeed, there is often a great deal of subjectivity involved.

 

It is comparatively rare that everybody agrees who should be MOTM. There is a natural inclination for commentators, many of whom are ex-pros, to favour those who play in the same positions that they did in their playing days, because they understand the role and what it entails.

 

That is why the same game could have more than one player who is deemed Man of the Match (or Player of the Match given the increasing popularity of the women’s game).

And, when the award is given by sponsors, more often than not it will go to a home player, irrespective of whether they have deserved it or not.

 

However, as a rule of thumb, to win a MOTM award, the individual player needs to have turned in a performance that had a significant effect on the outcome of a match.

Historically, goal scorers tend to have an edge when it comes to winning such awards. Football, by its very essence, is a low scoring game, so there is a premium placed on the ability to put the ball in the net.

 

Scoring the goal or goals that help their side win a match will inevitably catch the eye of those adjudicating the award.

Almost as important is the person who assists the goal, either with an accurate pass or cross. If they can do this on a consistent basis, and create several chances for their team – especially if one or more of them is subsequently taken – that may be enough to tip the vote in their favour.

 

At the other end of the pitch, an excellent goalkeeping performance can also win the MOTM. This could involve keeping a clean save, pulling off a string of vital saves, or saving a penalty.

And a defender can also be given the award again if their performance has helped their side win, or at least gain a valuable point. That could mean winning vital tackles, marshalling the other defenders or being dominant in the air from set pieces at both ends of the field.

 

There are also more generic awards when it is given to a player who gave the best overall performance, without necessarily having done anything of particular significance.

 

However, apart from generating headlines and debates on social media channels, there is often little significance to a MOTM award. Whilst people can remember who scored the winning goal or made a vital save, few will remember who was the MOTM.

The recipient themselves might get a small trophy and a cheque, but that is about all.

I'm a sports enthusiast, love writing about football. I have been writing about top teams in Europe, the Premier League and La Liga.

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