Tottenham Hotspur got the three points Sunday, but it wasn't a shining example of positive football. In fact, you can easily make the argument that they didn't deserve it. There were some bright spots in among the dross, though, and today we bring you the match ratings to the theme of something that most people own and love: pets.
Five Stars: Cats
Cats are, let's face it, the perfect pet. They are capable of enormous affection. They poop in a box and are generally clean, quiet animals. You don't need to walk them. You don't need to give them baths, or groom them. They are freakin' adorable when they're kittens, and their hunting instincts means that you can turn them loose inside or outside and they will kill things that pester you. I currently own a cat that took on a Rottweiler and won. Why, pending allergies, would you not want to own a cat?
Harry Kane – We've already waxed rhapsodic about Harry Kane's game against Aston Villa. He came on late, took his chances well, immediately improved the team, and scored the winning goal. I love you, Harry Kane. No, don't close your mouth, you look fine.
Ryan Mason – Our other Man of the Match candidate, Mason was once again the engine of the Tottenham midfield. Mason passed the ball well, distributing it like a metronome, and refused to back down from a physical match. Oh, and he pretty much single-handedly goaded Christian Benteke into getting sent off. That helped a lot, Ryan, thanks.
Four Stars: Dogs
Dogs are great. They are affectionate, loyal animals that will form lifelong bonds with you and can be constant companions. There's a wide variety of breeds so that you can find the perfect canine companion for you. I have nothing against dogs. But they have one major disadvantage over cats: you have to walk them. Anyone who's had to walk a dog in the middle of a frigid Midwestern winter because Fifi couldn't hold it any longer will understand why dogs can be a pain in the ass to own. Also, with a cat you can duck out for a day or so to the beach or a short vacation so long as you leave enough food and water for your cat. You can't do that with the dog -- you have to bring it along. And since not everyone likes dogs, suddenly you're imposing your pet upon everyone else around you. Dogs are fine, but they're not as great as cats. Come at me, bro.
Nacer Chadli – Let's be honest. I don't think Chadli really played all that great overall, but he did the one thing that he's supposed to do in his position: he scored. That bumps him up. Chadli doesn't score, we don't come back and Harry Kane doesn't get the winning goal. And Harry Kane DESERVED that winning goal.
Hugo Lloris – Hugo conceded the goal to Weimann but it was hardly his fault, and he played quite well the rest of the match. He commanded his area well, making a few fine saves, but most of Villa's early chances went just wide or off the post. Once Benteke went off, Villa rarely threatened again. I feel like we say this every week, but it's so dang nice to have a keeper of Hugo's caliber between the sticks to help make up for the shambolic defenders who we're forced to put in front of him.
Andros Townsend – Andros had a really nice game, and I'm very glad to be able to say that. Andros came in in the second half and added a dose of directness that had been missing in the match up to that point. He didn't make many dumb decisions, and he didn't scorch the hair of anyone in Row Z. It was a good outing.
Three Stars: Rodents (ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits) / Birds
I used to laugh at people who owned rodents or birds as pets. Then I got married to a woman who raised rabbits for 4-H as a girl and now live with a cute little dwarf rabbit named Speckles who runs around his cage like a madman if you offer him dried papaya. These pets have their charms, certainly, but in general rodents and birds at their best tend to be dirty, impersonal critters, and at their worst can be neurotic, foul, loud-mouthed jerks. Which is a bit like living with John Terry in a cage, and why would you possibly want that?
Jan Vertonghen – It's tempting to dock Jan a little more than this for the horror-show that was the Spurs back line, but I don't think it was really all up to him. It was a bad day overall for the back four, but Jan wasn't the main problem.
Roberto Soldado – Roberto had a pretty good match, all things considered. He dragged an early shot just wide left, and was very involved in holding the ball up. He was working his tail off and it showed. He also continued to show a very good working relationship with Harry Kane. If he and Kane continue to get starts together, i can see some good things happening with Bobby Soldier.
Christian Eriksen – Gets a three-star rating only because I'm not sure of what else to do with him. He certainly wasn't great, but wasn't abject either. Pulling him at halftime seemed crazy at the time and still does. He's better than what he showed yesterday, though, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Danny Rose – Danny Rose wasn't great on Sunday, especially getting forward, and his losing possession was the catalyst that led to Weimann's goal. I almost docked him down to two stars after he looked more like the ill-disciplined Rose last season under AVB and Sherwood than the offensively dynamic Rose we've seen under Mauricio Pochettino. That needs to change. That said, I didn't think he was hilaribad. Others might disagree. Call it 2.5 stars, but I'm rounding up.
Two Stars: Fish
Fish are boring. Some of them are pretty, and you can create some pretty spectacular salt water aquariums, but ultimately all they do are swim, eat, and... uh, swim. Then their tanks get filthy from algae build-up and they all get ick and die, and you're stuck with a boring dirty aquarium with no fish in it. Fish are dumb. But tasty.
Emmanuel Adebayor – Ugh. I'm so over Ade. He tries, I'll give him that, but I'm pretty convinced that he's crocked. He had a breakaway chance that he should've buried, and looked lost out there for the majority of his minutes. Let him get his minutes in the cups, but he's done nothing to prove that he deserves to start over Kane.
Etienne Capoue – I don't know what's going on with Capoue lately, but he hasn't been very good. He looked ill-disciplined at times, and it seemed like he got outmuscled by Villa's central midfielders. He struggled to make an impact and was eventually substituted. It was his worst match of the year, which followed up from his previous worst match of the year. It might be time to give Stambouli a shot in his position.
Younes Kaboul – Kaboul is such an enigma right now. He was partially at fault for not properly closing down Weimann for Villa's goal, and again seemed one step slow for most of the match both in pace and in reaction. I like Younes, and he's appropriately "captain-y" on the pitch, but he's having more good games than bad games at this point. If we're going to have a slow defender on the pitch I'd almost rather see Federico Fazio.
Erik Lamela – I suppose it's natural that Lamela would have to come down from his rabona-infused high, but he was awful on Sunday. For all his energy and industriousness, it didn't translate to any positive effect on the pitch, possibly because he was put into the role of creator when he was subbed in for Eriksen. Best to put this one behind you and move on, Erik. We know what you're capable of.
Kyle Naughton – Naughton wasn't great. Which is pretty much what I expected from him in only his second full match back from injury. I never expect fantastic things from Naughton, but I expected a little better in this outing after the Brighton match. Is he better than Dier? Probably, but I'm not sure he showed it on Sunday.
One Star: Spiders
Why would you possibly want to own a tarantula? For what possible reason would you want Aragog in your home? If you own a spider you are crazy and it will ensure that I will never, ever visit your house, ever. Squish them. No, you do it. I'm not going anywhere near that thing.
No one on our team was as bad or stupid as owning a spider for a pet.