Well, that sucked. Tottenham Hotspur had one of their worst performances of the young season, limping to a 2-1 home loss to a Mark Hughes-coached Stoke City side. Spurs didn't just let Stoke look good, they made them look downright dominant.
After a match like that, am I the only one who wants to head downtown and drown my sorrows in a box (or two) of donuts? I didn't think so. So that said, here's my match ratings to the theme of donuts. But because donuts are so varied (and the rankings so mediocre), we're expanding out to eight stars today.
Eight stars: Yeasted donuts / Krispy Kreme
What is a yeasted donut, you ask? It's a donut that uses baker's yeast in the dough (duh) and that takes a long time to rise before being quickly fried in hot oil. The resulting donut is pillowy-soft, slightly tangy, and absolutely the best donut you can possibly imagine. Krispy Kreme does it very well, but I have Amish-made yeasted donuts dusted with cinnamon-sugar in my area that blow Krispy Kreme out of the water. Locally they're called "Amish crack."
Evan Williams – Wait, you say, this isn't a Tottenham player! Nor is it a donut! Correct. Evan Williams is one of my favorite cheap bourbons and one of the only reasons I made it through the viewing of this match. He's my MOTM.
Seven Stars: Fasnachts / Kinklings
In the Pennsylvania Dutch communities near Lancaster, Pennsylvania there's a tradition on Fat Tuesday to use up all the fat and grease in the house to make donuts before you start fasting for Lent. These fried donuts are called "fasnachts" and I've heard they're called "kinklings" in parts of Maryland. They are incredibly unhealthy for you, but nothing's better than a homemade donut made with lard and fried in oil. Accept no substitutes.
Hugo Lloris – He let in two goals, but neither were his fault and he made some great saves as well that could've made the day even worse. He's still the best player on the pitch for Spurs and I will miss him when he demands to leave this club next summer.
Six Stars: Cider donuts
The ultimate fall donut and one that is criminally underutilized in today's mass-produced donut world. The tanginess of the cider cuts through the sweet and the fat producing a really nice cake donut that's subtly flavored with apple and nutmeg. Seasonal, yes. But really good.
Nacer Chadli – Okay, look. Chadli didn't have the best of games on Sunday, but he did the one thing that nobody else on the team did: he scored. And it was a beauty of a goal, too. That bumps him up in my eyes.
Five Stars: Bavarian/Boston cream filled
This is where I'm going to start getting yelled at, but I don't care. If you're going to get a filled donut, get a bavarian cream. At its best the filling has the right consistency, that slightly eggy off-white color, and the vanilla nicely complements the chocolate frosting on the top. It's a top, top donut.
Harry Kane – Kane tried, you guys. He really did. He had a couple of chances and a couple more half-chances. The problem is, when you don't get service in the box you can't put chances away.
Mousa Dembele – Dembele's substitution at halftime meant that Spurs were playing with a three-man midfield, and he comported himself decently well. I saw fewer side-to-side passes than I remember from Mousa. It wasn't a fantastic performance, but he wasn't crap, either.
Four Stars: Glazed
Ahh, the glazed donut. Simple, unrefined, cheap, they're the "filler" of the donut box. Few people actually LOVE glazed donuts, but few people actually hate them enough to not take one when there's nothing better left. Don't know what kind of donuts to buy? "Just a box of glazed, please." It's a total cop-out move, but you probably won't alienate the office.
Christian Eriksen – Eriksen did play in this match. I'm certain of it.
Erik Lamela – Lamela had an absolute cracker of a free kick towards the end, but otherwise he was completely anonymous in the second half, neither creator nor attacker. He needs to impose himself on the game more.
Three Stars: Jelly filled
Why don't I like jelly-filled? Because most of the time they're covered in white sugar which gets all over your hands, the quality of the artificially-flavored strawberry "jelly" is substandard at best, and invariably every single time I eat one the jelly squishes out of some cleverly disguised hole somewhere and ends up on my white cotton Oxford. If they actually put in decent jelly into a jelly-filled donut, this might go a little higher, but they don't. Ever.
Emmanuel Adebayor – His entrance was supposed to free up Harry Kane in the box to do what he does best. Instead, I'm not sure he meaningfully touched the ball until that late header in extra time.
Ryan Mason – Mason had a few good moments in the match, but they were overshadowed by his poor passing from midfield. He had a couple of egregious passes into nothing and some awful turnovers that led to Stoke chances. He didn't get much help from his midfield partner, but Mason's better than what he showed Sunday.
Andros Townsend – After a good showing against Asteras, I expected Townsend to provide a spark of directness on the right in place of Lamela. That didn't happen. Andros was mostly bad Sunday and ended up all over the pitch, which is probably not what you want in your right winger. He was subbed at halftime and deserved it.
Two Stars: Cream-filled long johns
Raise your hand if you actually like these donuts. The long shape makes it easy to hold, sure, but the filling is generally that gritty, pasty white stuff that tastes like you mixed artificial vanilla extract with spackling paste.
Etienne Capoue – For the third straight league match, Capoue has looked awful. It's a bit shocking considering his excellent league form at the beginning of the season. The only common thread is Ryan Mason – this partnership just doesn't seem to work, and it's probably time to do something else. (Hint: I like stromboli)
Federico Fazio – Fazio was very poor. Not only did he look two steps off the pace, but his passing from the back was atrocious, gifting Stoke a couple of good chances. Stoke do have pace, which makes me wonder why we played our two slowest CBs.
Younes Kaboul – O craptain, my craptian. Kaboul, along with the rest of the defense, was terrible Sunday. Ponderous, slow to react, caught out of position, and prone to ill-advised runs with the ball into the attacking third, Younes was a big reason why Spurs lost this game.
Kyle Naughton – I'm not ranking him this low because of the red card. In some ways, he took one for the team, as the give-away in midfield left Kyle well-beaten, and it was a calculated move to save the team further embarassment. I'm ranking him this low because apart from denying Stoke a third by getting sent off, he didn't add hardly anything to the team.
Danny Rose – With Rose, you can either get Good Danny, or Bad Danny. Sunday was Bad Danny Coming Off of a Three Day Bender After His Cat Died.
One Star: Plain cake
Whyyyyyyyyyyy? Who orders these? Who likes these? Why, in every box of mixed donuts that shows up in the office, is there always at least two of these monstrosities in the box, and why are they ALWAYS the only ones left when I go to get one?
Nobody on Tottenham's team were as awful as a plain cake donut. But Lord, it was close.