There’s nothing like a 2-0 win away from home to help forget about what a dumpster fire your club’s news has been for the past few weeks. Tottenham Hotspur still have some pretty serious personnel issues, but their first XI is still pretty darned good.
They didn’t always show it at St. James’ Park on Sunday, though. The first half of football was a dour and pedestrian, albeit against a Rafa Benitez side that was sitting very deep and trying to frustrate. However, Spurs looked much better against ten men than they did against 11, so maybe we should try doing that every week! It was enough that I docked a number of players down a tick... nobody was exceptional but there were some very good performers.
As for the today’s ratings theme, Kyle Walker-Peters had his Premier League debut today at right back, and did pretty well! So I thought I’d pull a Danny Rose and Google his name to try and find the most important people with the surname “Peters.” It was... tougher than you might think.
For our top rating in today’s match, why not go back to the original Peters? Apostle of the Apostles, founder of the Roman Church, first ever Pope. Is there a Peter(s) who has had more of an impact in modern society than Simon Peter? Well, maybe Kyle after he wins his first Balon d’Or.
Christian Eriksen: My man of the match, even if he didn’t quite get to the five star level. Last season Eriksen was accused of disappearing from matches, but he didn’t in this one, easily pulling strings in the offense and launching a really nice ball to Dele’s foot for Spurs’ first goal. He’s amazing. Unless you’re a Barcelona executive, in which I say nope, he sucks, continue to try and buy Coutinho, plz thanks.
Easily the most famous Peters that I know of, Bernadette has a long career as a phenomenal singer and actress. Her long and illustrious career in musical theater is noteworthy in and of itself (especially her interpretation of Sondheim’s works), but for me she’ll always be first and foremost Steve Martin’s trumpet-playing girlfriend in the 1979 movie “The Jerk.”
Dele Alli: I wasn’t impressed with Dele in the first half -- he seemed out of sync and wasn’t really establishing himself in the match. Then he turned his S—thead Switch™ on, squaring up to Jamaal Lascelles and selling Jonjo Shelvey’s foot-stamp to ensure he was sent off. (Yes, Shelvey was shockingly dumb, but Dele also sold it.) Also got the goal off of a late run in the box. He was delightful. Think of how much we’d hate him if he played for Liverpool.
Mousa Dembele: If not for Eriksen, Moose would be the best player on the pitch on Sunday. He looked fully recovered from his off-season foot surgery and for nearly the entire match did what he does best: use his strength to shield the ball and effectively transition from defense to attack. A fine match.
OK, I’m really stretching with this one (there aren’t that many surname-Peters that are, y’know, famous), but the root word of “Peters” is petrus, which is Greek for “rock.” And while you can go further down that rabbit hole, why not just stop with Duane “The Rock” Johnson? Because The Rock is awesome. Can you smell what I’m cooking?
Janby Alderweirtonghen: Both center backs were solid, and didn’t have a that much exceptional defending to do, though Dwight Gayle and Christian Atsu kept them honest a few times. You never really got the sense that Newcastle was in any danger of scoring.
Hugo Lloris: Solid. Made a couple of good saves, but otherwise all his action was routine. I confess to biting my fingernails whenever he does the sweeper-keeper thing.
Ben Davies: Pretty good in possession over the course of the match, and put in a capable defensive shift. Also showed great vision to be at the right time to shoot and score in what was a great series of team play. A good match.
Kyle Walker-Peters: Many of you are going to be upset with me for ranking him this low. This was KWP’s Premier League debut, and he was good! He looked relatively composed, has good pace, and put in a few nice crosses. He even got the MOTM award! It was a really encouraging display from him, but our grading on a curve papers over the fact that he got beaten defensively a couple of times against a not-great Newcastle offense, and would’ve given away a penalty had the play not already been flagged for offsides. In summary: KWP had a fine debut, and he deserves the accolades! But we still need a new right back.
Wikipedia tells me that Gary Peters was a defender who had a long career in the ‘80s playing for Fulham, Wimbledon, and Reading. He also managed Preston, Exeter, and Shrewsbury but hasn’t been seen on the touchline in nearly 10 years. An average rating for what looks like an average football manager.
Harry Kane: Harry worked his tail off out there and probably should’ve scored his 100th goal for Spurs, but he could just never seem to get it in the back of the net. Had one shot saved nicely, another go off the post. On another day those go in, but there’s nothing to worry about here despite the extension of his goose egg in the month of August. Also probably should’ve been sent off for a leg-breaking tackle on Florian Lejeune.
Son Heung-Min: My friends, we can rebuild him! Sonny came on in the 60th minute for Moussa Sissoko with a soft cast on his arm and a point to prove. And while the offense looked better with him making runs up the flank, his performance wasn’t particularly outstanding. That’s fine, it’s his first match back and I was happy to see him. He’s going to be very good for Spurs this season.
Eric Dier: Did all the things that Eric Dier dies, dropping deep and helping corral Dwight Gale and Christian Atsu. Nothing spectacular from Eric, but just an all-around pretty good match.
Forrest “Frosty” Peters, who might go down in history as the Peters with the best nickname, played three seasons of professional football with the Providence Steam Roller and Portsmouth Spartans of the NFL back in the 1930s, where he was noted as one of the better drop-kickers in the league. But his biggest claim to fame might be that he was assaulted by an American Association baseball team manager while serving as an umpire in the latter part of that decade. The manager got away with a $100 fine and a five day suspension; Frosty resigned in protest.
Moussa Sissoko: OK, real talk? Sissoko wasn’t awful. But neither was he good. You could tell he was trying out there, making runs and trying to be progressive with the ball, and his defensive help was pretty decent. But with him as an attacking midfielder, the offense stagnated and died frequently, and too many times I saw him just dribble into traffic and cough up the ball. I’m sure it didn’t help that he was getting booed out there, but sometimes I couldn’t tell if it was the Newcastle fans booing him, or the Spurs fans.
Mike Peters is the drummer for Canadian death punk band Cancer Bats. I know this because the internet tells me so. Because research is important, I went to listen to Cancer Bats on Spotify. I’m sure they’re fine, but I think I’ll stick to bluegrass.
No Tottenham players were as bad as the Cancer Bats.
Harry Winks, Victor Wanyama