Star Wars is a cultural touchstone. Say what you want about the overall series – I know people who both love it and loathe it – but I would argue that the movies and their characters are woven into the very fabric of American culture. People know Star Wars, even if they haven't seen Star Wars. And of course, it's in the news after The Force Awakens was released in theaters last week.
So why not use that as a timely theme this week? Star Wars is great, and so were Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, overcoming a slow start to score two first half goals in three minutes at St. Mary's Stadium and defeating Southampton 2-0. Here are your Tottenham player ratings to the theme of Star Wars characters (episodes I – VI only).
IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens TODAY at noon with my wife and two kids. We're all super excited. And while I realize that I'm probably one of the last people to see this movie, I'm still imposing a VERY STRICT SPOILER EMBARGO in the comments. Don't do it, please. There's a nice user-generated FanPost that's for discussion of the movie. Go there to talk about it if you've already seen it.
5 Stars: Han Solo
Obviously. Han is a swashbuckling, dismissive, cranky, anti-hero heart-throb who shoots first and asks questions later. If the original trilogy were just about Luke and didn't include this homage to Errol Flynn, it would've been much worse. He shoots Greedo in cold blood, helps destroy both Death Stars, survives being frozen in carbonite, and has one sweet ride in the Millennium Falcon. And yeah, he also gets the girl. Luke may be the hero of the trilogy, but everybody wanted to be Han. Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.
Harry Kane: This was Kane at his best once again. Responsive, alert, strong on the ball. He murdered two Southampton players en route to his goal in what was a superb individual effort. Jamie Vardy may be on fire, but I think Harry Kane is England's best striker.
Hugo Lloris: After a very disappointing match against Newcastle, Hugo was immense between the sticks today, pushing away several good efforts from Sadio Mane and commanding his area. His distribution wasn't stellar, but he stopped at least two shots that other keepers would've let him. An excellent performance.
Jan Vertonghen & Toby Alderweireld: I said this on Twitter, but Jan and Toby are quite possibly the best Tottenham center-back pairing since, and maybe even including, Ledley King and Michael Dawson. Their positioning, awareness, and nearly Vulcan mind-meld level of understanding with each other means that Spurs have one of the best defenses in the league, and isn't that a great thing to say? Yet another outstanding match for the pair. It's no wonder Soton are still pissed about losing out on Toby.
4.5 Stars: Princess Leia
I love Princess Leia. As one of Darth Vader's two twin children, she got Dad's beauty AND his brains. She also ended up with the better foster parents, as being raised by the Organas of Alderaan obviously trained her well to be a leader. Throughout the original trilogy she's a strong feminist character who doesn't take any s**t, even from a Sith Lord (or her dad). She's tough enough to deal with a swaggering misogynist like Han, savvy enough to quickly rise to a top leadership position with the Rebel Alliance, and also turns out to be Force-sensitive. She's the complete package, a princess I want my daughter to emulate, and it's a shame that Star Wars focused on her whiny, self-absorbed twin brother. (Why does LUKE get the lightsaber, anyway? Come on, Obi Wan.)
Mousa Dembele: Boy, did we miss Mousa. It's no surprise that Spurs put in a very good midfield performance on the match where Dembele comes back from injury. Mousa got big ups from Jermain Jenas on Match of the Day for his performance on Saturday, and with good reason. His strength on the ball and distribution were a big reason why, after the initial 20 minutes or so, Southampton never really looked like scoring. It's a little scary how reliant we are on him.
Dele Alli: Dele Alli just continues to impress. He has no right to be as good as he is in midfield at age 19. His pass to Harry Kane to set up the goal while being taken out by Ryan Bertrand was excellent, and he showed great composure in front of goal to receive Kyle Walker's cross.
4 Stars: Emperor Palpatine
Palpatine's a bad-ass. This is a guy who built himself up from a lowly senator from the middling Republic planet of Naboo to becoming THE most powerful person in the galaxy. He orchestrated the fall of the Jedi and the Old Republic, orchestrated an entire war (and then double-crossed the Separatists) in order to create the Galactic Empire, betrayed and murdered his Sith master while training secret apprentices, and turned the most powerful Force-user in many generations to the Dark Side for decades. He also got horribly disfigured by Mace Windu, but used that to his advantage too. His downfall came mostly from a combination of age, hubris, and #narrative, but he's unquestionably the most important Force user on either side of the divide in the entire Star Wars saga.
Erik Lamela: Lamela had a great game. We talked about Dele Alli's pass to Kane for that first goal, and while Lamela won't get the credit for Kane's goal, but his initial pass to Dele (while being tackled) was Modric-esque and deserves recognition. He didn't score, but he was active again in the press. I just love watching him play now that he's come into his own under Pochettino's system. He's turning into one of my favorite players.
Eric Dier: Dier did exactly what he's expected to do: shield the defense, break up play, make good passes, and don't get lost in midfield. After a couple of bad days at the office, he looked very good out there again. I still worry about his overall health and fitness. He needs a rest.
Kyle Walker: We got Good Walker™ again on Saturday. Strong going forward, resolute defensively, and he put in a great cross into the box for Dele's goal. I thought he dealt quite well with the forward threat of Dusan Tadic over the course of the match.
3 Stars: Yoda
I don't get Yoda. He's a pint-sized, backwards-talking, philosophy spouting, immensely powerful Force user, but he reveals himself to be a gullible chump throughout Episodes I-III. He doesn't foresee the rise of the Dark Side, even when it's patently obvious. His reaction to being marginally beaten by Palpatine is not to say "We'll regroup and attack later," but to say "Welp, I guess I live in a swamp now." Sure, he redeems himself by training Luke just enough so that he doesn't kill himself with his own lightsaber and becomes one with the Force along with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to help influence the next generation, but if he was the best and brightest of the Jedi Order, based on all available evidence it's no wonder Palpatine played them like a fiddle.
Christian Eriksen: There's been a lot of people down on Eriksen lately, and I don't really get it. I thought he was great yesterday. He's not taking over matches, but he doesn't have to anymore. If what he's doing now is a slump, then I can't wait to see what he does when he's back to his best.
Ben Davies: Didn't have a whole lot to do on Saturday, but what he did do he did fine. Good defense, decent going forward. I'm rarely worried when Danny Rose is out, because although they're different players, they're both capable at that left sided fullback position.
Tom Carroll: Tom didn't have very long of a shift in midfield, but did fine. Had some good passes, good movement, and a shot on goal (albeit a weak one). Despite not playing especially well against Newcastle, he appears to have landed himself a reserve role ahead of Nabil Bentaleb for now. Good for him.
2 Stars: Luke Skywalker
Luke, being the son of his father, sure turned out to be a disappointment. I mean, I don't blame him. I'd have daddy-issues too if I were in his situation and Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru did their best, but Luke grew up with a landspeeder-sized chip on his shoulder and was clearly the inferior sibling. Even with the best training Jedi can offer, he would've been a middling Jedi in the Old Republic, a disappointment to his Jedi Master father, and eventual bantha-fodder. Even as a member of the Rebel Alliance, he's a good pilot and excellent at bullseye-ing womp rats in his T-16 back home, but he's a far cry from his dad. Sure, he destroys the original Death Star, but has to get rescued in Hoth, f**ks off to Dagobah while everyone else evacuates, and eventually gets the glory while Han and Leia do most of the actual work, especially during the Battle of Yavin. He's a bit of a turd, Luke. Search your feelings. You know this to be true.
No Spurs players were as whiny as Luke, or as lucky to fall ass-first into greatness. Well, maybe Ryan Mason, but he's injured.
1 Star: People in 2015 still talking about how bad the Prequel Trilogy movies are
Yes, we get it. The prequel movies were awful. Your childhood was ruined. George Lucas took an enormous dump over everything that was great about Star Wars. ENOUGH. It's been 16 years since The Phantom Menace came out and ten years since Revenge of the Sith. Hayden Christiansen is 34 years old now. The actor who played young Anakin Skywalker is now the starting defensive midfielder for Tottenham Hotspur. However you feel about midichlorians, Jar Jar Binks, and Mace Windu's purple lightsaber, it's time to freakin' let it go. The original three movies should not in any way lessen your enjoyment of the original trilogy. Pretend Darth Vader sprung fully formed from the skull of Zeus if you like, I don't care. Just. Shut. Up.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as terrible as people who still complain about the prequel trilogy in 2015.