Every week, we're going to be giving out player ratings in a way that you probably haven't seen before. Players will be put into one of five categories, ranging from spectacular to poor. The rating system will vary each week. Because Tottenham Hotspur were kind enough to defeat Crystal Palace in their season opener and everyone is happy, I figured we would start with something contentious.
This week, player ratings are done according to ... seasons of The Wire! This post will contain spoilers.
5 stars - Season 3
There's something seriously wrong with you if you don't think Season 3 is the pinnacle of The Wire. The way Bodie's character develops is brilliant, the introduction of Marlo is perfect and, of course, there's Hamsterdam. Everything about the character developments and plot devices in this season is perfect.
Jan Vertonghen - Johnny Verts barely got fit enough to play and turned in a fantastic, nearly flawless performance. Because he is nearly flawless as a human being.
Hugo Lloris - Was quite literally perfect and was my MOTM over Verts, though Bryan disagreed.
4 stars - Season 1
Something that seems to have been forgotten since The Wire came out: Shows should occasionally have characters that we like spending time with. Even the guys who do things you don't like do things that also make you laugh or think 'that was really smart' at points. Season 1 of The Wire does a great job of introducing at least a dozen characters whose presence on the show you enjoy. I genuinely dislike everyone on Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Walking Dead. Game of Thrones doesn't count because it was adapted from novels.
Kyle Walker - Would have been 5 stars if not for one defensive sequence where he got badly skinned by Dwight Gayle and Palace didn't have the quality to capitalize. Was very good going forward and defending, picking up where he left off in the second half of last season.
Aaron Lennon - His decision-making in the final third wasn't great, but he looked dangerous all game and won a penalty.
Mousa Dembele - He didn't do anything spectacular, but he also didn't make any mistakes. He had to take on a more conservative/holding role with Paulinho in the team and he performed it well.
Roberto Soldado - Scored the game-winning goal and set up what should have been a second goal to put the game to bed. A very solid debut.
Etienne Capoue - I won't give 5 stars to any substitute unless they put the team on their back and win the game by themselves, but he had an excellent debut. He broke up moves defensively and his distribution was very solid. I'm looking forward to him playing a major role in this team.
3 stars - Season 4
The child acting is 10x better than the child acting in any other television show ever, but it's still child acting. There are lots of things to like about this season, but it's just not as good as 1 and 3. No Bodie, no Stringer, centered around child actors, random bits of shock value that were probably thrown in to keep the show on the air for a 5th season. Very good, but not up to the standard of the two above.
Nacer Chadli - A solid debut, though the way he attacked was usually a bit too predictable. He didn't really have a final product.
Paulinho - Flashes of brilliance, but also a lot of bad giveaways. There's going to be a learning curve for him. I have no doubt that he's going to become a world class player, but this was not a great performance.
Michael Dawson - Mostly a good performance from him, but his lack of athleticism was an issue on a few occasions. A team better than Palace might have punished us for it. Good thing Aaron Wilbraham is crap.
Danny Rose - I expected less from Danny Rose. He had a few defensive lapses, but like Dawson was mostly good. He looked useful going forward too. I am now less worried about him playing left back for us than I was last week.
2 stars - Season 2
If you think Season 2 is worse than Season 5 ... I just don't know what to say to you. You're bad and you should feel bad.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - Okay, this is a bit harsh on Siggy. Mostly because his poor performance wasn't all his fault. Paulinho didn't seem to know how to play with him, Mile Jedinak had the game of his life, Palace were playing 10 behind the ball and Mark Clattenburg was letting everything go. It was a perfect storm of suck for Siggy. I expect much better from him in future games.
Jermain Defoe - This might be harsh on him too, since he had a short substitute appearance, but he didn't do anything with it. He was on the pitch long enough that I'll give him a rating. Younes Kaboul, on the other hand, will not be rated.
1 star - Season 5
Nick Petrilli said to me once that Season 5 of The Wire is still good TV, it just seems terrible because of how good the other seasons of the show are. No, screw that. It's bad. It has all kinds of crappy shark-jumping and the character development is horrible. I dislike it on its own merits, not because of how good the rest of the show is.
No one was this poor. Yay for us!