Who doesn't love salad? Well you should, you slob. While the genre of "salad" is large and encompasses everything from coleslaw to disgusting JELL-O carry-in salads with bits of, IDK stuff suspended inside, at its core nothing is simpler and better than a perfect green salad: some sort of leafy greens, maybe some chopped raw veggies, some olives or sliced fruit if you're feeling adventurous.
But one of the crucial parts of a salad is the stuff you put on top to make it actually, y'know, taste good. Salad dressing is a make-or-break enterprise. A good one elevates those simple ingredients to something remarkable, much like Harry Redknapp took Juande Ramos' cast-offs and took them to the Champions League, or it can weigh it down into a turgid, sloppy mess, much like AVB did with his players after the Gareth Bale sale.
So without further ado, here are the ratings for Tottenham Hotspur's match against Swansea City, to the theme of salad dressings.
5 stars: Vinaigrette
It doesn't get any simpler, or more delicious. At it's core it's simply olive oil, acid, salt, pepper, and a little emulsifier like mustard to get it all to hold together. Maybe just a touch of sugar to balance the flavors. Shake vigorously and serve. Use lemon or lime juice, cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, even white vinegar works, but use it sparingly: don't drown the greens, accentuate them. I'll even just drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over a plate of greens and serve it. Not technically a vinaigrette, but it's a darned tasty and simple dressing. You can elevate it, but nothing else comes close to topping it.
Christian Eriksen (MOTM): Sublime. That's all I can really say about Eriksen's performance on Sunday. He finally is back to the Eriksen that we knew and loved before his injury, and his two free kicks once again showed why he's one of the best dead-ball specialists in the Premier League.
Hugo Lloris: Hugo didn't have a whole lot to do on Sunday, but he was rarely troubled by anything Bafetimbi Gomis or Jefferson Montero threw at him. He gets a totally deserved five star rating mostly for that ridiculous fingertip save of a Federico Fernandez header that he deflected off the bar, preserving a point for Spurs. Stunning.
4 stars: Caesar
I'm not sure what drunk chef decided to make a dressing with raw egg yolk, anchovies, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce, but I owe them a debt of gratitude. It doesn't sound like it should be appetizing, but it is. It's also not exactly good for you, but we can let that slide this time.
Toby Alderweireld: A very solid defensive outing from Toby. His positioning was spot on the entire match, he was solid in the air, and rarely put a foot wrong.
Dele Alli: Alli continues to justify his England call-up. He's worked out what feels like a solid partnership with Eric Dier in midfield and is operating very succinctly as a deep-lying playmaker. He also knows where and when to get fouled, as he earned both of Eriksen's goal-scoring free-kicks. It'll be interesting to see what happens when the likes of Mousa Dembele and Ryan Mason get healthy. He's completely earned his playing time.
Eric Dier: There's a reason why most of Swansea's attacks came from wide positions on Sunday, and a lot of it has to do with how well Dier established a defensive positioning in midfield. The downside of his style of play is that he picked up his fifth yellow and is now out for the big match against Liverpool in two weeks. Funnily enough, as soon as that happened he started going full YOLO, throwing himself more into challenges. Because hey, why not?
Kyle Walker 2nd Half: Kyle Walker gets two rankings today, because he had markedly different performances in both halves. In the second half, Walker was exceptional, tracking Jefferson Montero well and pretty much keeping him in his pocket the entire match, while still providing width and stretching Swansea's defense. A very good half for him.
3 stars: Ranch
I have nothing against ranch dressing. It's almost certainly the most popular dressing on the planet (duking it out with Italian, probably), and while there are countless examples of bad ranch dressings out there, at its core this emulsification of buttermilk, garlic, herbs and spices is well balanced and quite tasty. I mean, a billion bags of Doritos sold can't be all wrong. It's just not particularly exciting. It's the Everton of salad dressings: nobody really hates watching Everton play, but it's probably not the team you'd normally choose to watch unless there's nothing more exciting on (well, unless you're a Liverpool supporter, but if you are it's likely you're too busy stealing hubcaps to eat salad anyway).
Jan Vertonghen: Overall a stout defensive effort from Verts, but he gets docked slightly for his role in Swansea's first goal. Sure, Andre Ayew's header came from a late run into the box, but Jan was ball-watching and should've done better to cover. It's not entirely his fault, as Ayew is a weirdly competent header of the ball for a guy who's 5'9", but most of the time, Jan covers better.
Ben Davies: Ben Davies continues to show why he's in the starting 11 for league matches ahead of Danny Rose. Another solid, if not spectacular, match for Ben. He's not a flashy player and he's not going to score goals for you, but he's solid and, thus far, reliable in defense.
Eric Lamela: Three stars is perhaps a bit generous for Lamela after this match. He didn't display the same panache he'd had in the previous couple of outings, and strangely was mostly absent defensively, which led to a few scary moments for Kyle Walker. He wasn't awful, but he was far from his best.
Harry Kane: That own goal stung. It happens to the best of players, and Kane simply shanked his clearance. It's one he'd like to forget, but otherwise he had a decent afternoon. I kind of liked seeing him drop into the #10 role behind Clinton where he could more effectively hold up the ball.
Clinton N'Jie: Clinton didn't really impose himself on the match, but playing him centrally with Kane behind offered a different look that seemed to confuse Swansea's defense at points during the second half. I like the difference in his style compared to Kane; Spurs can mix things up a little depending on match-up and I'm pretty sure in Son's absence Clinton is going to start having a greater role in Tottenham's offense.
2.5 stars: Poppy seed dressing
OK, poppy seed dressing doesn't taste awful, but it usually contains a metric ton of sugar, which will completely overshadow just about anything you put it on, except maybe strawberries. But it's still the worst, because it contains poppy seeds. Anyone who has ever been on a date with someone and mistakenly ordered the poppy seed dressing only to spend the rest of the evening with a billion poppy seeds stuck in your teeth that you only notice when you get home and look in the mirror knows what I'm talking about. Plus there's the very slim chance that eating this dressing could give you a false positive on your mandatory surprise work drug test. F**k poppy seeds.
Nacer Chadli: Another typical Nacer Chadli performance. He sure ran about a lot, didn't he? Yep. He sure did. Wish he'd score once in a while.
Kyle Walker 1st Half: A few decidedly scary moments for Kyle in the first half after he got torched a few times by Montero, who appeared to take delight in terrorizing him. Not all of that is his fault, as Eric Lamela did a lot less defensive work to help cover for Walker than what he usually does, but there were a couple of times in the first half where I squeaked "EEK" while peering through gaps in my fingers. He settled down towards the end of the half.
Two stars: French
I don't know why they call this dressing "French." Vinaigrette is French. OK, so they call it "Catalina French," I guess because Catalina sounds like Catalonia which is close to Spain and they use tomato in it and tomatoes are Spanish or something, IDK, whatever, this dressing sux.
Andros Townsend: Andros Townsend was a mid-match substitute for Erik Lamela, and he was supposed to use his pace to help accentuate the attack and bring in his teammates. Instead, nearly the exact opposite happened: Andros' bad passing and ridiculous decision making meant that more attacks were stifled than were accentuated. This was the most Andros Townsendy of all Andros Townsend matches, complete with blasted balls miles over the bar.
One star: Thousand Island
If you don't know that Thousand Island dressing is the "secret sauce" that McDonald's puts on Big Macs, then stop reading this and go to Whole Foods and buy some lettuce. Thousand Island is essentially is a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup, and sweet pickle relish. It sounds gross, doesn't it? It's even worse plopped on top of a plate of arugula. Also, I'm not sure what the name refers to... possibly all the individual blobs of pickle swimming in this pink, viscous glop? Thousand Island dressing is disgusting. If you're putting this on your salad, you might as well just go f**king buy a Big Mac. This dressing is the worst.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Thousand Island dressing.
DNR: Mousa Dembele, Tom Carroll
No rating, just MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE. Good to have you back, big guy.
Also, I know Tom Carroll didn't play in this match, but I've put him here for just about every match this season, and it feels funny not giving him a non-rating.