It's safe to say that yesterday's Premier League victory over Aston Villa should be considered one of the uglier victories Tottenham Hotspur have had in a while. While maybe not an outright terrible performance by Spurs, it certainly wasn't very pretty to watch at times. You can't argue with results, though, and those were three desperately needed points. There were two players who put in excellent performances on Sunday evening. There was also the referee, who probably deserves a mention too.
Ryan Mason (Bryan A.)
It’s getting harder and hard to hate Ryan Mason. His performance against Aston Villa was nothing short of spectacular. For a considerable part of the second half, Mason was the only central midfielder on the field for Tottenham. Normally, that would have been disastrous, but this time at least, it seemed to work. Mason did the work of two men in the middle and looked good doing it.
Mason continued to show class against Villa. Several times he played brilliant passes, leading wingers and fullbacks into open space. He even followed those passes with intelligent runs of his own, something Tottenham has often lacked from their midfielders. He even had five successful dribbles. The best thing, however, that Mason did was show his combative side. He’s frequently been critiqued as slight and light-weight so far this season, but Mason’s efforts called to mind a much scrappier, harder player. True, he should get docked points for his unnecessary shoulder barge/head butt thing that so incensed Christian Benteke, but other than that, it’s hard to see where Mason put a foot wrong.
Harry Kane (Dustin Gerber Martin)
What more can be said about Harry Kane? Everyone expected him to get the start Sunday, and were appropriately aghast when he began the match on the bench. When he finally got his opportunity to play as a second half substitute for Emmanuel Adebayor, within a minute he helped set up a chance in the box and had a nice header saved by Brad Guzan. He made himself a nuisance from the minute he took the field, working hard to find space, looking for his teammates, and always pushing towards goal. Staring down a crunch-time free kick in the 90th minute with the game on the line, he demanded the opportunity to take the shot from Erik Lamela, and made it count. It was a fairy-tale moment for the young striker and one that Spurs fans will likely remember for a long time.
Kane is without question the in-form striker for Spurs at the moment. The team looked listless before he came in and looked instantly better the moment he came on the pitch. There's no real good argument anymore for why he shouldn't start league matches. He's better than Adebayor, he works well with Soldado, and he's got a nose for goal. That he did it yesterday in a league match instead of a cup or Europa match against inferior competition only confirms what we already know: Kane's the real deal.
Neil Swarbrick (Skipjack)
Some would say that Neil Swarbrick lost control of the match. Some would say he let tempers flare. Some would save he did a poor job. But when push came to shove, Neil knew what mattered most. A rising star from Belgium put his hand in the face of a Mason.
That. just. isn't. done.
You cross the Grand Masonic Lodge of North London, you get the compass. Neil Swarbrick knows where his bread, and the bread of all of western civilization, is buttered. He did what anyone who wanted to keep their job and succeed in life would do: he acted quickly and decisively in support of Freemasonry.
You may look at his actions as being aimed at blunting Villa's attack. Or you could look at them in support of a movement born out of stonemason lodges in the 14th century and has since risen to control the world's economy. The choice is up to you. Here's hoping you choose better than Benteke. #StayWoke