Spurs thoroughly dominated Manchester City at White Hart Lane yesterday, tallying their fourth clean sheet in seven matches in the process. City, who were averaging exactly three goals a match and were looking like a juggernaut coming into the match, looked lost at times as Tottenham put in one of their best performances in recent memory.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine who follows Everton, and for whatever reason he likened the match to Ken Masters beating the pulp out of Dhalsim in Street Fighter II. There is no better way for me to decide a player ratings theme than that, so that’s what you get.
Street Fighter II was the quintessential fighting game in the 16-bit era, when arcades like Aladdin’s Castle actually existed in malls. Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat both dominated the fighting game scene at the time, and while Mortal Kombat had its quirks with the fatality system, I always felt that Street Fighter 2 was the better game, especially when the Turbo and Super versions came out later. In the interest of not bringing in 45 different characters like we have with some of these newer versions of the game, we’re going to stick to the original eight characters from Street Fighter II and go from there.
SIX STARS: Ryu Hoshi / Ken Masters
Yeah, you read that right. Six stars, because this match was that good.
Let’s face it: Ryu and Ken were the combo kings in SF2. Any combination of fireballs, dragon punches, and dragon kicks could be paired together and ultimately wreck an opponent. It wasn’t until Super SF2 that they became slightly different and Ken Masters went from “really good fighter” to “destroyer of worlds” with his flaming dragon punch that could hit five times if you were close enough. Still, these two were great to use and tough to face.
Victor Wanyama (MOTM): The Kenyan International was magnificent on Sunday. Often times being left alone as the man in front of the back four, he killed off numerous attacks on his own and disrupted the flow of City’s attack. The couple of times he did manage to get caught out, he was extremely quick to recover and join the defense. That £11m fee is looking to be an absolute bargain so far.
Christian Eriksen: Lost in all of the talk about the press, the back four, and just about everything else was Eriksen’s performance. Often times he was dropping back as CM to pick up the ball and directed traffic as well as he could. Those early season performances are in the rear view mirror.
FIVE STARS: Guile
I hated facing Guile. His leg sweep was punishment from god and it was just a normal attack. Being able to time the Sonic Boom and Flash Kick almost made him untouchable in the right hands. He was stupidly powerful and I hated using any character that required a charge up time to use their specials, so naturally I sucked with him.
Dele Alli: Back on the scoresheet and looking like his dangerous self, Dele was great. Much like Eriksen, he was a terror in the press and paired up with his attacking band for a few big chances. He’s looked a little sluggish and tired the prior matches, but he was anything but this on Sunday. Dear England: Don’t wear him out please.
Hugo Lloris: The captain was in stellar form on Sunday. He made a few critical saves including stoning Aguero on a free kick and almost point blank shot in the second half. I would have put him six stars, but his distribution still wasn’t great. I’ll gladly trade that off if it means more clean sheets.
Heung-Min Son: Sonny’s performances have been stellar lately, as we’ve all enjoyed watching. While he didn’t find the net on Sunday, he was a terror in the Spurs attack. He came close in the first minute and even closer not long after by forcing Bravo into a save near post. It’s hard to believe that there were even thoughts about him leaving because he is thriving in this squad.
The Back Four: Kyle, Toby, Jan, and Danny had a mission, and that was to keep Aguero at bay while preventing Sterling, Gundogan, Navas, etc from feeding him the ball. While Aguero did get a couple of chances that Hugo saved, they kept the Argentine off the scoresheet. Even better: They still haven’t conceded from open play in the league. That’s remarkable.
4.5 STARS: Chun-Li
Chun-Li heralded herself as the strongest woman in the world, and after playing in a tournament where an opponent of mine could do the Lightning Kick practically at will, I believe it. The first version of Chun-Li had two special moves, with the Spinning Star Kick being the second. A very underrated move of hers, though, was her “toe tap” which was the mid-strength kick when in the air. If you pressed down at the same time, she basically stomped on your head. If you weren’t blocking and she was almost on the ground, it could be anywhere from 3-5 hits and almost a guaranteed dizzy. Chun-Li was awesome, but her range was garbage due to no fireballs. She didn’t get that until Super SF2.
Eric Dier: Dier came on in the second half and was his usual self. He spent most of his time on the pitch basically wrecking anything that came near him. He did lose track of Gundogan late in the match that led to a chance, but let’s remember that if that’s all we’re dinging him for, that’s still a fine performance.
FOUR STARS: Blanka
Blanka was every button mashers dream. Timing his Electricity attack could make him virtually invincible, save for a fireball or extremely well placed attack. It didn’t help that the green beast could throw himself across the screen, but outside of his special moves he was a tough character to learn. His kicks were awkward and his punches were generally a bit slower than others. A lack of a projectile has always hurt him as well.
Erik Lamela: Let me preface this by saying that the four star players weren’t bad by any stretch, given how the match went. Lamela had a solid performance that we’re all getting used to seeing, but the missed penalty brings him down a bit.
Moussa Sissoko: Sissoko falls into the same category as Lamela. He was very good in his role, almost as if he was asked to be Diet Dembele for this match. He is catching onto the system fast and put in quite the shift. If this is a trend and these are the “bad performances” then Spurs are going to be in amazing shape.
THREE STARS: E. Honda
Honda is almost a mix of Chun-Li and Blanka, given his Hundred Hand Slap and his Sumo Headbutt that pull basically from those two characters in his own way. Honda is a perfectly fine character, but much like Blanka, he takes some specialization to learn. Before that? He kind of sucks, and there are just much better options.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as E.Honda.
TWO STARS: Dhalsim
Dhalsim is a character that, on the surface, seems like he’d be awesome. He has amazing range, one projectile, and one hard hitting close attack with the Yoga Fire and Flame attack. His downfall is that he is slower than molasses in January when it comes to movement and pairing any kind of a combo with him is near impossible. Dhalsim sucks, but his special moves keep him from being bottom of the list.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Dhalsim.
ONE STAR: Zangief
Zangief should have been so much better. The man is a professional bear wrestler, for pete’s sake! However, the one move that’s easy to pull of, his clothesline, is laughably easy to block or dodge and take advantage of. His incredibly powerful Spinning Piledrive was extremely difficult to pull off and had to be perfect. Add in that he’s as slow as Dhalsim without the range and you have one crappy fighter that I avoided like the plague.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Zangief.
Vincent Janssen and Georges Kevin N’Koudou came on late and were not rated for that reason.