Who is Tottenham Hotspur's player of the year? It's a much tougher question than you might think. Ask any Tottenham fan (and I did, on Twitter) and you'll get a variety of responses, but most of them centered around a handful of players who were all deserving of recognition: Harry Kane, Mousa Dembele, Toby Alderwireld, Christian Eriksen, and Eric Dier.
We at Cartilage Free Captain love talking about Spurs as a group. We have a writer's room in Slack where we talk about matches, players, and performances. It's a fun place to hang out during matches and to discuss (among many other things) football and football players. (It's also, btw, where we secretly plot our Ryan Mason conspiracies and our plans to slowly brainwash members of the commentariat into our Borg-like groupthink hive-mind).
So I took the question to Slack. We argued for over an hour, and couldn't really come to a consensus.
Rather than try and summarize each point of view into a coherent argument, we thought it would be more interesting to post a (lightly edited) Slack log that you can read. If nothing else, you might find it an interesting insight into the kinds of conversations we have as a group.
And after reading, feel free to vote in the poll at the bottom.
Dustin Menno [2:40 PM]: @here Who’s our POTY? I’m leaning Toby but wanna see what everyone else thinks.
I guess it depends on the metric? MVP vs POY. Moose definitely fits the most valuable player category. Nobody was more IMPORTANT than Moose, but was he the overall BEST player?
Michael Caley [2:42 PM]: I think that's not quite right. Playing games is extremely valuable -- Mousa was our *best* player but he didn't stay on the pitch enough to clearly create the most value
Dustin Menno [2:43 PM]: Ironic that we have the golden boot winner and he’s not going to be our POTY
Michael Caley [2:43 PM]: There's a really good case for Harry!
Ben Daniels [2:45 PM]: Here's my list
1. the absence of ryan mason
2. the absence of nacer chadli
3. christian eriksen
Eriksen has a real case.
Skipjack [2:45 PM]: The case for eriksen is he's vital to the press
Michael Caley [2:45 PM]: So is Harry!
Skipjack [2:45 PM]: Also it will piss people off. I'm revising my ballot
Ben Daniels [2:46 PM]: I think Dier is so much more important to our defense than Toby that I can’t vote for Toby. Even though Toby is good, we saw how sh**y our defense was without a good midfield, so how good is our defense really?
Michael Caley [2:46 PM]: Yeah, I love Toby but I don't watch this team and think the back line is the story
Dustin Menno [2:47 PM]: The back line is certainly a big part of the story!
Michael Caley [2:47 PM]: OTOH, Toby had some amazing games earlier in the season when he had to cover for Mason or Tommy in CM
Ben Daniels [2:47 PM]: I think the reason we didn’t see a big drop between Vertonghen and Wimmer has less to do with Wimmer and more to do with the fact that our midfield is the difference maker in the first place.
Dustin Menno [2:47 PM]: And Toby went through how many matches this season without a foul?
GN Punk [2:47 PM]: His foul total is in single digits for the year I think lol
Ben Daniels [2:47 PM]: It was 9 for a while but I think he exceeded that down the stretch
Michael Caley [2:48 PM]: But I think that Dier and Dembele can carry almost any CBs while Toby and Jan struggled at times to carry a Mason midfield
Michael Caley [2:48 PM]: Not fouling is more *interesting* than valuable
Dustin Menno [2:49 PM]: Yeah, I see the point. I’m being swayed
Michael Caley [2:49 PM]: Do y'all know who was 2nd in the Premier League in assists this year?
Ben Daniels [2:50 PM]: Jack Wilshere?
Michael Caley [2:50 PM]: Eriksen
Ben Daniels [2:51 PM]: I think Dembele was our best player but his absences disqualify him for me. I think Dier was not our best player but he was our most important player. I think Eriksen top to bottom had the best 38 game season.
Bryan A. [2:52 PM]: Ben and Michael only count for one vote because they're the same person
Earl of Shoop [2:57 PM]: No love for hugo
Dustin Menno [2:58 PM]: Or Alli!
Jake Meador [2:58 PM]: Alli is interesting. Our record w/out him is no better than our record w/out Moose, IIRC. But whereas missing Moose basically breaks the entire structure of the team, missing Alli just blunts our attack a bit, I suppose
Michael Caley [2:59 PM]: Alli: 10 G + 9 A , Eriksen: 6 G + 13 A
So Eriksen had a more important role in the press and played it better, and played more minutes generally, and had the same goal contribution. Alli was great, but i think Alli - Eriksen is a roughly apples to apples comparison and Eriksen wins it.
Earl of Shoop [3:00 PM]: Also he didn't punch anyone. But I think you're forgetting to factor in nutmegs.
Jake Meador [3:06 PM]: I think Toby or Moose is the choice b/c the biggest change this season was in our defensive performance and I think that starts with them, but Eriksen is a good "well, actually" take
Michael Caley [3:07 PM]: I completely agree that midfield getting fixed is why Spurs were good. But it's hard for me to credit a single player for his individual value there
Michael Caley [3:09 PM]: (a) much of the value is negative, binning Masontaleb is a huge upgrade before you even know who replaced them
(b) Dier is the one who played all the time, and he's much more of a good player than one of our best
(c) Dembele was our best player but didn't cover enough minutes and got suspended at a bad time
(d) Eriksen plays a large role in midfield as the AM who drops in and also leads the press (edited)
Graham MacAree [3:09 PM]: Dier is the most responsible for fixing your midfield
Ben Daniels [3:09 PM]: He is and he isn't. We still lost 6 games where Dembele didn’t start next to him. We only lost 6 games all season
willmcquaid [3:09 PM]: [a solitary Canada flag rises from the shadows as some idiot stands up to vote] Dier. I think Dier was crucial to a lot of shape. His dropping back in to create that back three, let FBs really bomb. He did a great job of always being available to receive the ball and make a simple pass to retain possession. Broke up play well. He provided a solid base for the press and everything to work from. This is all eye test, btw. Have no idea what underlying stats would say or such.
He also got bodies. Stone cold midfield killer.
Dustin Menno [3:11 PM]: All this discussion and I still have no clue who the POTY is
Dustin Menno [3:15 PM]: POTY: EVERYBODY BUT MASON