A disappointing and somewhat contentious draw with your arch-rivals isn't the best way to go into a huge European competition against one of the best teams in Germany, but it's what we've got. Tottenham were by far the better side against the Gooners and should've put the match away when they went up 2-1 against 10 men, but it's a derby and crap happens. And as disappointing as a draw is, it's still not a loss. But ouch.
It's in situations like these when discussion of player performances can threaten the hallowed sanctity of the comment section where I like to whip out a theme that is a good distraction. Argument about Ryan Mason? Look, shiny things!
One of the things I've learned in my (nearly) ten years as a Spurs fan is that supporters love to argue about club kits. We all have our preferences and our dislikes. Some love the sash, some hate it (HAI SRUPS). Some buy a shirt every year, some won't be caught dead in one if there's red in the sponsor logo.
So let's do a themed post on Spurs kits from the past, because I'd rather you tell me my opinions are bad than your fellow fans'. I did not consult with my fellow writers; these are my opinions and mine alone. They'll probably yell at me too. Here are the player ratings for the North London Derby to the theme of Tottenham Hotspur kits.*
* Note: I am not including this year's kits in the rankings because they're too fresh and because we all know the Spurple is awesome. Header links to go to images from the outstanding Historical Football Kits website, which if you don't know about, you should.
EDIT: Apparently the HFK images weren't resolving correctly, so I found alternate images. You should still check out Historical Football Kits as it's a fantastic resource for football shirts from England, Scotland, and elsewhere.
5 stars: 1960-61 home kit
Yeah, did you really expect another choice? The stark simplicity of this kit – pure white except for the cockerel-in-shield crest – not only references the high water mark of the club's history, but is also gorgeous in its elegance. I also love the v-neck collar. I own a #8 John White replica of the blue away kit from this year and I almost love it more than the white.
Harry Kane: Masterful. Harry always is ready for North London Derbies and this one was no exception. He really came into his own when he got that little extra space after Coquelin's sending off. That goal... just wow. And he dragged another one just wide.
Mousa Dembele: We really missed Mousa and it was obvious how much the second he was subbed off. I thought he controlled midfield well in a match where Eric Dier was not his usual self. Spurs are a much better club when he's on the pitch.
4.5 stars: 2010-11 home kit
I love this kit beyond words. This was the kit Gareth Bale wore at the San Siro, and is burned into my memory. The diagonal offset stripes were unique and classy and unlike anything any other clubs were wearing at the time. This kit became part of Puma's catalog in subsequent years, and I remember seeing APOEL and PAOK wearing variants of it in European competition. They never looked as good as Spurs' original version.
Erik Lamela: I was really, really impressed with Erik Lamela over the course of this match. His defensive pressure was exceptional, and I thought he did very well against Hector Bellerin, who was determined to get forward. He shinned his goal attempt, but if he scored that he might have been man of the match.
4 stars: 2013-14 third kit
There's something about a blue change kit that I really love, and this one is a great one. Not only does it features a top and shorts that are the same color blue, but the lighter highlights don't get in the way of the overall design. The all-white circular HP sponsor logo is also classy
Christian Eriksen: Continued his role of midfield string-puller rather than offensive dynamo. His set piece delivery was a little below standard, but that's quibbling a bit. I was quite pleased with his performance.
Kyle Walker: Was excellent defensively, keeping Arsenal's attackers mostly quiet down the right side. A little lacking going forward but did put in a nice cross for Lamela and had no shortage of confidence.
Danny Rose: Spurs pushed a lot of the attack down the left side through Danny, especially in the first half. Worked very well with Lamela during that stretch, though his crossing and distribution into the box continues to frustrate at time. Still happy with his performance overall. Was subbed off with what looked like a knock; hopefully it isn't serious.
Toby Alderweireld: Strong overall in defense, though he had a bit of trouble with Danny Welbeck on one or two occasions. His distribution out of the back continues to be one of the most impressive aspects of his game. Was in the right place at the right time and smartly finished his goal. Well done, Toby.
3 stars: 2007-2008 125th Anniversary Kit
This unique halved kit was worn only once, in the 125th anniversary home match, a scintillating 4-4 draw with Aston Villa. A controversial choice maybe, but I always loved the fact that Spurs took a chance on a halved kit and something completely unique instead of using a historical replica. I happen to really like this one, though it's perhaps not for everyone.
Kevin Wimmer: Wimmer wasn't bad by any means, but was partially complicit for Alexis' goal in the second half. However, all is forgiven after that incredible last-ditch tackle on Aaron Ramsey that saved a goal.
Eric Dier: Solid enough defensively, but looked a little out of control at points. He was very, very lucky not to be shown a second yellow card, and probably should've been sent off. Makes me wonder if he let the occasion get the better of him.
Hugo Lloris: Hugo will want Alexis' goal back, though I still contend that it was a well-placed shot. Nothing he could do about Ramsey's back-heel flick. Otherwise, Hugo was Hugo, and was 2nd best of the keepers on the day only because Ospina had an absolute blinder.
Dele Alli: Had a clever back-heel pass to Kane to set up his goal, but otherwise looked a little off his game. Poch recently indicated that he's been playing through injury; that might explain it.
Ryan Mason: Ryan Mason wasn't poor in this match, but it came across like that at times when he was moved back into the pivot.That said, there's no question that Spurs looked worse when he moved back late in the match. But that's only if you compare him to Dembele's overall performances. The sub that brought Mason on put him in the attacking band, which is the more appropriate position for him. Overall, there really isn't much you can point to that indicates that he was overly bad (or good). Football is a team game, and it'd be unfair to criticize Mason too harshly here.
Ben Davies: Didn't make a huge impression when he came on for Rose late in the match, but neither did he screw anything up. He held serve.
Son Heung-Min: I'm tempted to give Sonny a non-rating for his 9+ minute stint at the end, but I was really hoping for more of an impact. He wasn't bad, he wasn't poor. He was just... there. I bet he starts at Dortmund.
2 stars: 2009-2010 home kit
Yes, Spurs qualified for the Champions League while wearing this kit, but I always found the weird yellow highlights to be off-putting. Yellow might be fine for the occasional away or third kit, but it doesn't belong on a home jersey. It felt wrong. Add in the red Mansion logo and it's no wonder a lot of fans weren't fond of this shirt.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were poor enough to receive two stars.
1 star: 2006-2007 third shirt
Sorry, Ben Daniels, but even in the context of the crap fashion styles of the 1990s this shirt is terrible. Hipsters might like to wear it to make themselves look cool and counter-cultural, but the only club that actually looks good in brown kits is St. Pauli. These shirts are collector's items, but you certainly can't say that they're pretty.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as crap as the "crap brown" 2006-2007 third kits.