Hey East Coast of America: I hear you got a little snow! Don't worry, apparently it kinda hit New York too, so naturally the national media won't shut up about it. But two feet of snow is nothing to sneeze at. Hopefully our readers in the DC area are successfully digging out.
All this got me thinking to the great snowfalls of my youth. I remember the Great Blizzard of '78 and while I was a small tyke I distinctly recall not only being dwarfed by the size of the snow drifts but also playing in the snow afterwards, and specifically sledding down the slopes in my area. Northern Indiana isn't exactly an undulating landscape but we DO have a few good sledding hills, though nothing that would break your neck.
So after a memorable 3-1 road victory over the Crystal Palace Fightin' Pardews, and in light of Washingtonians now recovered from their blizzard hangovers and looking for things to do, let's do a theme with something fun. Without further ado, here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of things you can sled with.
5 Stars: Rosebud/Flexible Flyer
It's a shame more kids nowadays don't use these sleds. They're the best. Heavy, slightly clunky, but hella fun, they're the Bowser of the sled world: slow to get going, but near unstoppable once they hit speed. They're intended to be ridden head-first. Plus they have actual CONTROLS that can STEER you so you DON'T HIT THAT TREE AIUUUGH
Dele Alli: HE SCORED A FREAKIN' VOLLEYED RAINBOW FLICK ONE-TOUCH MATCH WINNING GOAL. YOU BET YOUR ASS HE GETS FIVE STARS FOR THIS. YOU SUCK, MESSI. HE SHOULD HAVE A BILLION STARS. THIS COMMENT IS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE YES.
Nacer Chadli: When Chadli came on for Eric Dier midway through the second half, I cursed at the screen. I was dead wrong and will happily admit it. Chadli had his best performance in what feels like forever. He absolutely terrorized Jedinak throughout his appearance, chipped a beautiful ball into the box for Kane's equalizer, created yet another chance for Nabil Bentaleb, and scored a fantastic goal that we're not talking about only because DID YOU SEE THAT DELE ALLI GOAL YOU GUYS HOLY CRAP.
Mousa Dembele: The guy just oozes strength and composure. Palace's midfield isn't the best, but they do have Yohan Cabaye, and Dembele pretty much bossed him around. He also did well in a more defensive position when Dier was subbed off for Chadli. You just don't worry about the midfield when he's part of it.
4 Stars: Inner tubes
Inner tubes are fantastic rides on packed snow, especially on a sledding run. You can get several people on one of those suckers, and they respond with every bump on the ground and along the sides of the run. Build a ramp halfway down the run and you can get some serious air, too. The problem? Absolutely no steering or any sort of control whatsoever, and wipe-outs can suck. When I was 9 I flipped over on an inner tube and skidded halfway down a run on my face. I cried (and bled) a lot, and then got back the tube because SNOW.
Christian Eriksen: Christian's back, everyone (and that's only if you thought he was gone to begin with). According to StatsZone, Eriksen created nine chances in the match yesterday, including heading the ball to Dele Alli for THAT goal. Apart from the opening half hour where everybody looked stagnant and blah, I thought he looked absolutely fantastic out there.
Toby Alderweireld: Toby continues to be our best defender and showed it again yesterday. Had a good driving header that went just wide, and was imperious sweeping up from the back. Didn't have a lot of his trademark long passes out of the back, but he also didn't have to. And again, his hair didn't move the entire match.
3 Stars: Stolen cafeteria trays
Everyone who has gone to college has done this. The night after a big snowfall you and your friends sneak about 10 plastic cafeteria trays out of the dining hall under your coats and then find a good hill. Trays, especially when waxed, provide a thrilling ride because they're fast enough to really get moving but TINY, and there's nothing to hang onto. A night of cafeteria tray sledding can be absolutely terrifying, and also amazingly fun, especially when co-ed sledding with at least one person you're attracted to. There are certainly better sledding options than stealing your caf's trays, but it's one of those college experiences that you always remember. Honorable mention: trash can lids stolen from neighborhood alleys.
Hugo Lloris: Gave up a goal and had a a couple of scary moments with a bad passes and distribution. He was also extremely lucky not to concede another after the ball went off the crossbar TWICE in one possession. In fairness, though, Hugo came up huge with a number of incredible saves down the stretch.
Harry Kane: Kane was fine. Maybe not at his best, but perfectly adequate. Delaney and Dann did a nice job on him for much of the match, but I thought Kane's contributions came more from his dropping deep and collecting the ball than in his offensive output. He did that have a nice headed goal, though.
Jan Vertonghen: A weird game for Jan. It's hard to put too much blame on him for the own goal, and it's an unfortunate result from a last-ditch block attempt. I don't see that he really did anything wrong. He was solid enough for the remainder of his shift, and ended up limping off with a knee injury after getting clocked in the head by Conor Wickham. Hopefully he's not out too long.
Kevin Wimmer: Kev-bro came in for the injured Jan Vertonghen, making his Premier League debut in the process. He looked fine: mobile, responsive, stout in defense. He looked fine paired with Alderweireld, which is good because we might be seeing him as one of our starting defenders for the next couple of weeks (pending news about Jan).
Eric Dier: Dier wasn't especially bad against Palace, but it was a relatively quiet performance. His mid second half sub was tactical and not performance related, and it did have the bonus effect of actually getting him some rest, which he looks like he desperately needs.
Son Heung-Min: Son looked a little off his feed in this match, which is curious, as it seems like he was in his natural position as an inside forward behind Harry Kane. I wonder if he's actually a better fit in Pochettino's system up top as the tip of the spear.
2.5 Stars: Cardboard boxes
This is very nearly not better than nothing. Cardboard boxes are the ultimate "we have nothing to sled with m8" option. You can sort of get a decent head of steam going, sometimes, on the right kind of snow, but it's definitely the option of last resort. Plus the cardboard disintegrates after about 10 trips down the hill.
Kieran Trippier: Not the best match for Trips. He was decent enough defensively with five clearances, but wasn't great going forward and was shockingly inaccurate with his crossing, considering that's pretty much what he's known for. I don't think Kyle Walker should be looking over his shoulder anytime soon.
Danny Rose: Man, I just don't get this guy sometimes. Danny Rose spent much of the match getting his ankles broken by Wilfried Zaha, but still managed to fire in a rocket of a shot that was, unfortunately, straight at Wayne Hennessey, and also saved a goal with a headed interception. On balance, Rose was super frustrating out there, but he does enough good things to make you hope he'll do better.
1 Star: Your family's old busted sled that's all rusty and crap
You're better off using tinfoil. Or just bodysurfing down the hill on your stomach. Or learning to knit, because that old busted sled doesn't do anything. Nothing's sadder than an old busted sled.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as your family's old busted sled.