That was much better. Tottenham Hotspur came from behind (again) after a Kevin Mirallas wonder-strike and put together 90 solid minutes of football to beat Everton 2-1 at White Hart Lane on Sunday. This game was notable not just for Roberto Soldado's winning goal, but also for the fact that precious few players put a foot wrong.
So as a theme for match ratings, let's use something that also got people excited this weekend: the new Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens trailer. For someone who remembers seeing A New Hope in the theater, it's amazing how quickly this trailer got my humors moving. Plus, Spurs walk out at home to Duel of the Fates, so it's topical!
Five Stars – X-wing fighters on the water
Oh, J.J. Abrams, you certainly know how to get my heart racing. X-wing fighters! And not just X-wing fighters, but X-wing fighters flying ten feet above a lake with water coruscating up in beautiful steaming plumes. Tell me that when you were a kid playing with your Mattel X-wing fighters you didn't imagine just this very scenario. Go on. Shivers.
Nabil Bentaleb – In his first league match since returning from injury, Bentaleb was a rock in midfield, helping shelter the back line and freeing up the rest of the midfield to push forward. Bentaleb's passing was exquisite during this match, too. Strong candidate for Non-Emotional Man of the Match™ and I'm just sad that we lose him for a month in January when he heads to AFCON.
Christian Eriksen – Eriksen started this match out wide left, but he essentially had a free role and used it to his advantage. He showed great vision to pounce on Kane's rebounded shot and chip it past Tim Howard for the first goal and was absolutely everywhere, making a nuisance of himself. Outstanding game.
Harry Kane – Another fantastic game for Kane, who continues to prove he's not only the best striker at Tottenham but might just have the skills to become one of the best English strikers. He didn't score, but his willingness to run straight at the defense terrorized Everton's defense.
Aaron Lennon – Aaron Lennon is the cockroach of Tottenham Hotspur, and I mean that in the best possible way. He seems to be constantly on his way out of the club before coming back and ingratiating himself once again. Lennon was phenomenal on the right side of midfield, making incisive runs and carving up Seamus Coleman. Also showed willingness to work defensively, helping out deputized RB Vlad Chiriches.
Roberto Soldado – He's our Man of the Match, and yes it's an emotional choice and no we don't care. He was awesome and he scored an actual goal that counts and I'm crying again you guys stop.
Jan Vertonghen – Verts was an absolute rock in the defense, marshaling what felt like a make-shift back line and keeping Romelu Lukaku and Samuel Eto'o in his pocket the entire match.
Four Stars – low-altitude Millennium Falcon
Well, of course we were going to see the Falcon in the trailer, because Star Wars isn't Star Wars without it. We got to see the low-altitude maneuverability of the ship that did the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, though admittedly we don't know who's actually flying it. I'm guessing probably not Han. And not a lens flare in sight!
Vlad Chiriches – This is what the rebirth of a career looks like. Dreadful in his stints at CB for Spurs, he's looked like more than a capable right back in his two matches there. Seemed to work well with Lennon, too. A shame a supposed back injury cut his match short.
Ben Davies – Davies put in a really solid match on Sunday. He's a different sort of left back from Danny Rose – a little more defensively sound, a little less likely to get forward and put in a cross, but also less prone to derps and mental errors. At this point, I'm happy with the position no matter who's starting.
Federico Fazio – I was concerned about Fazio's ability to keep up with Lukaku as he's not exactly the fleetest of foot, but I shouldn't have worried. His positioning was rock-solid and alongside Vertonghen put in by far his best defensive performance in a Spurs shirt. If he stretched out his foot a little more he might have nicked a goal, too.
Hugo Lloris – Another match where Hugo didn't have all that much to do, and that's credit to the defense. Mirallas' goal doesn't count against him because nobody would've stopped that, and Hugo put in some key stops late to maintain the victory.
Paulinho – Wait, what? Did I just put Brazilian Jenas in the four-star category?! Yes, yes I did. Before his substitution for Soldado late in the match, Spurs' offense was looking tepid and languorous. Paulinho came in and added energy, directness, and solid passing. This was a glimpse of 2013 Confederations Cup Paulinho and I was happy to see it.
Three Stars – Soccer Ball Droid
This droid confused me. The head appears to be bouncing up into the air. What's keeping it on? Was it invented by James Dyson? If Cristiano Ronaldo kicked it, would the head stay behind? SB Nation photoshopping Lionel Messi's head onto it was probably the most appropriate use of imaging software ever devised.
Eric Dier – Dier wasn't poor by any means... he just wasn't Vlad and I can't believe I just typed that. Still want to see what he looks like in central defense beside Vertonghen or Fazio.
Erik Lamela – Lamela isn't playing poorly, but lately he's not establishing himself as the kind of player who can put the team on his back and take over, like you'd expect from a £30m player. I think he'll get there, but I'm concerned that when he comes in the team doesn't play as well. Deservedly on the bench behind Lennon for now.
Ryan Mason – I didn't think Ryan Mason played that well, and it's telling that I say this and still have him ranked at the three-star level. Mason was poor only by degrees here, but his passing was way off, as was his vision by his usual standards. That said, I liked the Mason-Bentaleb central midfield partnership and would like to see it again. Maybe not against Chelsea, though. Bring on Stambouli.
Two Stars – That Stupid Lightsaber
I get it, the Dark Side of the Force has "awakened" and so you need that shadowy shot of the dark, cowled Sith Lord. But that lightsaber, with the laser cross guard? No. Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber was a "HOLY CRAP THAT'S COOL" moment. This was a "how the f**k does he not cut his fingers off" moment. Also there's this.
Chirpy – Seriously, where was that bird? It was like he disappeared completely from the match. I'm not sure he was even there. Lame.
One Star – Suddenly realizing that Star Wars is somehow still relevant after Episodes I-III
Star Wars is dumb and stupid and you're just a stupid dum-dum lamer with acne and glasses. What do you care about a group of space wizards with laser impractical laser swords fighting evil cyborg clones in dumb white masks? GET OUT OF YOUR PARENTS' BASEMENT. NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDS.
Nobody on Tottenham Hotspur was as bad as suddenly realizing that Star Wars is somehow still relevant after Jar-Jar Binks and Episodes I-III.