Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United: Player ratings to the theme of Winter Olympics events

Michael Steele

Tottenham spanked the pants off Newcastle yesterday. Here's how we rate the players.

Spurs' 4-0 hammering of the Barcodes broke two streaks last night--Newcastle's run of consecutive 3-0 defeats (alebit in a way that won't give the Toon Army much solace), and a 10 year wait for victory at St. James' Sports Direct Arena@tyneside.com. Tottenham attacked with purpose and a fluid grace that we've rarely seen this year, despite Tim Sherwood naming a lineup that had most Spurs fans reaching for the nearest bottle of whiskey before kickoff. Could it be that the team has finally begun to gel?

Instead of thinking about what happened to the rest of our season the last time we battered the Magpies, let's dwell on the positives. Today we rate the players to the theme of Winter Olympcis events.

10 Stars - Downhill Skiing

The barely-controlled chaos of these men and women hurtling down a mountain at a hundred miles an hour is breathtaking, in exactly the way the barely-controlled chaos of a running Michael Dawson isn't. But similarly, the slightest misstep can and often does lead to gruesome disasters. The only thing it's missing is a paper boy demanding two dollars as he chases you down the mountain.

Tim Krul: The last time Spurs played Newcastle, no matter how hard he tried everything the Dutchman did seemed to keep the ball from hitting in the back of the net. This time out he atoned for his previous performance by laying on three beautiful assists for Spurs' first three goals. Eat your heart out, Mesut Özil.

9 Stars - Skeleton/Luge

Perhaps more dangerous than the downhill ski, but without the obvious technique and athletic ability. I have no idea why death-defying sledding is an Olympic event, or what makes these particular "athletes" more qualified than a six year old on a toboggan, but they go super fast and it's hella fun to watch. The Skeleton gets bonus points for increased risk of brain damage.

Younes Kaboul: Proved he not only still exists, but still has the ability to be one of the best center backs in the league. He was an absolute monster and he dominated everything. If he had been fit all year, the top four would be looking a lot more likely. Please don't break again.

Nabil Bentaleb: Straight up ran shit. If there was any question as to whether he deserves to be with the first team, he answered it yesterday with an emphatic yes. Made the first goal with a beastly run down the left, and laid on the final one with a cute backheel. In between he got up and down the pitch like a boss and made things happen wherever he went.

Emmanuel Adebayor: The man reborn continues to make AVB look like an idiot. Two more goals and generally excellent all around play. There's not enough superlatives for the form this man is in. Adebayor, we salute you.

8 Stars - Figure Skating

Despite the categorical inferiority of any sport with subjective scoring, figure skating is the centerpiece of the Winter Olympics and rightfully so. The skills on display are ridiculous and watching the Russian crowd cheer every time a competitor falls fuels the xenophobic nationalism that the Olympics are all about. On the downside, this event gets fixed more often than Juventus matches.

Etienne Capoue: Oh what a difference a defensive midfielder makes. His presence allowed Bentaleb and Paulinho the freedom to wreak havoc further forward. His four tackles and nine interceptions provided the platform that allowed Spurs to pile on the pressure. Let's hope Timmy's learned his lesson.

Hugo Lloris: Another fine performance from the Frenchman who looks to be finally getting back to his pre-concussion best. Made a handful of saves to prevent Newcastle from thinking they had a chance in this game. It was as if every ball he punched clear he imagined was Olivier Giroud's big fat smug head.

7 Stars - Curling

Shuffleboard on ice has no right to be as compelling as it is. It involves brooms, for god's sake. When they're done mesmerizing us with their competitive snow-melting, please come free the American south from our current Snowpocalypse.

Nacer Chadli: That. Goal. Was. Filthy.

6 Stars - Ski Jumping

As these amazing and graceful athletes soar majestically through the air at dizzying speeds, we all share one collective thought: fall. please fall. They usually don't, but we live in hope.

Paulinho: Set up and finished an excellent goal to put Spurs 2-0 up. Tenacious in midfield, creative going forward, and dangerous in the box. He could be the complete package. Still needs to work on his wayward passing, but Paulinho is starting to justify his price tag.

5 Stars - Speed Skating

Basically running but with more chance of falling down and they wear creepy onesies. Keeps guys like Apolo Ohno from having to work at Subway for the rest of their lives. Whatever.

Mousa Dembele: Forced out of his natural position to play wide forward/winger and looked perfectly comfortable. Completed four dribbles and passed the ball typically well and helped cover Kyle Walker on Debuchy's overlapping runs. Even when he's not great, he's always really good.

Jan Vertonghen: Didn't have the domineering performance he did against Everton, but was solid at the back and didn't put a foot wrong.

Kyle Naughton: One of his most competent performances at left back. Solid if unspectacular.

4 Stars - Ice Hockey

Team sports are the worst part of the Olympics. Especially team sports that already have professional leagues. The Olympics are supposed to be about one man or woman proving that the years they wasted training to be the best in the world at some completely irrelevant skill actually matters for one day in their otherwise insignificant lives. We already spend all year not watching the NHL, that's quite enough thank you.

Kyle Walker: A fairly standard no fuss performance from Walker. Defended solidly, but didn't contribute a ton in attack. Would like to see him more involved in the attacking third.

3 Stars - Biathalon

What even is this? Ski around for a while and then shoot stuff? How does that pairing of skills make sense? It's like training to be a Bond henchman, but only if George Lazenby or Roger Moore is James Bond. Give me a henchman training event where you play poker and then have a shootout in a sinking building, and then we'll talk.

Roberto Soldado: Didn't have time to really do anything, but had the Modric assist for the final goal.

Andros Townsend: Didn't get involved much, didn't need to. I'm glad he's back though.

2 Stars - Snow Boarding

Any event that involves rich white assholes getting stoned on the slopes does not belong in the Olympics. Cowabunga dudes! Go back to the X Games, you have no business here.

Aaron Lennon: Struggled again to get on the ball and make an impact. Will the real Aaron Lennon please stand up?

1 Star - Ice Dancing

Ballroom dancing on ice is not a sport. It removes the thrill and excitement of triple axels and salchows--basically the only reason anyone would ever care about figure skating--and replaces them with whatever the hell a "twizzle" is. An event for failed figure skaters desperate to justify years spent in sequined unitards.

Nobody was as bad as ballroom dancing on a hockey rink.

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