Tottenham got a win at Middlesbrough on Saturday, but it wasn’t the blowout everyone wanted and expected. While Spurs did have a couple of penalty shouts waved away and endured what felt like a shaky and nerve-wracking final 15 minutes, in the end they got the win over Boro.
The three points put them into sole possession of second place in the Premier League table behind Manchester City, whom Spurs host this coming Sunday. Despite using a rotated side, Spurs have yet to lose in the league this season, and it sets up an epic clash against the Citizens.
Yesterday in the lead-up to today’s Champions League match at CSKA Moscow, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was asked a question of vital importance, one that we feel is important to address here as well.
HAIR! This raises so many questions! Most importantly, do people at the club actually read Cartilage Free Captain? We’ve been at the forefront of Tottenham hair issues for years now. It’s good to have our signature issue recognized.
So without further ado, here are the Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of Tottenham player hair styles. Since it’s a big category with a long history, we’re restricting categories to this year’s current squad only. Sorry, Scott Parker and Huddlesfro fans.
5 Stars: Erik Lamela
So Poche was right on this one. Look at Erik Lamela’s hair. Just look at it. It’s glorious. In fact, if you Google image search “Erik Lamela” the first sub-category Google suggests is “hair.” Who am I to argue? Lamela is a player who obviously cares a great deal about his hair and the image it suggests. Half mohawk, half faux-hawk, it is immaculately styled and is a perfect accompaniment to Lamela’s personal style. As Lamela has grown into English football stardom, so has his hairstyle. Honorable mention in this category goes to Son Heung-Min, the Korean Ginger™.
Son Heung-Min: Two amazing goals from Sonny in the first half and he continues his incredible run of form in the first team. You can argue that he faded in the second half of the match, but it was still another man of the match performance from him and he’s shown himself to be an exceptional dead ball specialist as well. At this point, how do you keep him out of the starting 11?
Christian Eriksen: Eriksen was playing deeper than he sometimes does, almost to the extent that the formation looked like a 4-3-3 with Eriksen and Alli playing ahead of Wanyama. Once again, it was Christian who was pulling the strings in midfield, and he was exceptional.
4 Stars: Harry Winks / Tom Carroll
Is there something in the culture of the club that says that we need central midfielders with good hair? Scott Parker set the gold standard for Tottenham Hotspur player hair. When he was sold to Fulham, we all shed a tear that we would no longer see those glorious locks flying on the White Hart Lane pitch. And while we have no direct equivalent to his product-free stylings on this year’s team the closest we do have is the hair of Harry Winks and Tom Carroll. Both use product (probably Paul Mitchell) to enhance, and neither moves as freely as Parker’s, but they both have the boyish good looks to effectively utilize a simple hairstyle.
Victor Wanyama: The more I see of Wanyama in a deeper holding midfield role the more I feel comfortable that he can effectively replace Eric Dier if he’s being rested or injured. A very assured performance from him and he ably shielded the defense with few slip-ups apart from a couple of questionable fouls.
Janby Alderweirtonghen: Once again these two were rocks at the heart of Spurs’ defense. If you want to be picky you could say that Toby probably comported himself slightly better than Jan, but both of these guys had great games. That Boro’s goal came on a flukey set piece and not in the run of play speaks volumes.
Kyle Walker: Walker was great. It’s a testament to how good he is going forward that Kevin Friend had to result to some dirty tricks to deal with him at times. Walker was also good defensively, never really letting Stuart Downing get going.
3.5 Stars: Dele Alli
Look, Dele’s hair is fine. His hair’s great. In fact, it would be rated higher on this list except for the fact that Dele seems intent on shaving off his adorable widow’s peak. You’re not fooling anyone, Dele. It’s there, we can all see it. Just let it grow, it’s cute.
Erik Lamela: Came in for a concussed Sissoko and did quite well, creating chances and pressing way more than Sissoko ever did. I wish we could’ve gotten him a full 90 minutes of rest, though.
Vincent Janssen: Janssen continues to do the things that he needs to do to be an effective line leader in Pochettino’s offense. He’s not a Diet Harry Kane — he moves differently, plays more centrally. His lay-off for Sonny was nice. I have no worries about him and suspect he’ll start scoring soon, but Spurs are a team that doesn’t have to rely on goal scoring strikers, so it’s not as crucial. He’s not Soldado.
3 Stars: Toby Alderweireld
With respect to Pochettino, I think he’s off base here. In a previous hair column, I favorably compared Toby’s hair to a sculpted marble column. And that’s great for a center back who’s good in the air. Toby’s hair is utilitarian, but it’s by no means elegant. Comb the hair straight back with a handful of Liquid Nails, head the ball into the back of the net. It provides a perfect structure off of which a football can ricochet, but attractive? Meh.
Ben Davies: Another pretty good match from Davies. He’s not Danny Rose but he’s been a capable replacement. It looked to my eyes like Davies was trying to push further up against Boro than what we’ve seen him and while he can put a good cross in he’s just not as dynamic on the flank in this system. This season I’ve rarely been dissatisfied with Davies’ play, but I’m still looking forward to having Danny back.
Hugo Lloris: Hugo got out to sweep up a semi-competent Boro attack but was mostly not needed in the match. His distribution from the back continues to be a weakness that he needs to work on. If there’s a hole in his game, it’s that.
Dele Alli: Dele got himself into good positions against Boro with regularity, but his finishing was woeful. That said, he should’ve gotten Spurs a penalty when he was shoved down in the box, and he’s been playing a lot of minutes lately. A decent enough game for Dele that FELT like a disappointing one due to his high level of performance lately.
2 Stars: Marcus Edwards
Marcus Edwards is Messi with an Afro. Except that he no longer has an afro, he has some kind of weird semi-mohawk thing with bleached curls. And that’s fine, I guess, but not when there were three other players at the beginning of the season – Josh Onomah, Shayon Harrison, Anton Walkes – who had the exact same haircut, making it impossible to tell them apart on the pitch. Edwards has a reputation to live up to now. If he’s going to make the first team with regularity, he has to step up his hair game. Bring back the ‘fro.
Moussa Sissoko: Sissoko didn’t have a good match against Boro. He had a couple of early chances but lots of loose passing and looked out of sync. The concussion was unfortunate, and he’s already shown he has the ability to be an asset in Poche’s offense, but this was not a good example of that. Perhaps he’d be better in the Champions League if he’s asked to stay wide and run at opponents? But it’s too early to crap on him too much.
1 Star: Redhead Danny Rose
We heard it was a bleach job gone accidentally gone bad. We have our doubts about that. But Lordy, when Danny Rose walked out at the beginning of last season with a hair color that matched the AIA logo on the sash kits, he lowered the bar for entry to the Tottenham Hair Club for Men. He overcame his hair and his previous play to become England’s best left back, but let this be a reminder to Danny to stay humble. #neverred
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Danny Rose’s red hairstyle.