Tottenham Hotspur battled to a frustrating 1-1 draw with Southampton at a rainy St. Mary’s Stadium on Sunday. Harry Kane’s header cancelled out a Davinson Sanchez own goal in the first half and Spurs should feel like they dropped two points against a team they thumped a few weeks ago at Wembley.
It was a frustrating match on a number of levels, made complicated by the fact that two Spurs players - Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris - missed the match entirely with the flu. It also means, at least for me, that it’s tough to say that this wasn’t anything except “one of those games.”
After the match, Mauricio Pochettino confirmed that the bug had affected a number of other players on the squad as well, including an unspecified number that played in the match.
We all know what it’s like to be sick. And while not all of us have the benefit of having sick days from our jobs, there are times when we all have to miss work because of medical issues. So let’s rank the players to that. Here are the Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of “kinds of sick days.”
With thanks to Michael Caley and Joel Wertheimer for the topic and category descriptions.
Call it a “personal day” if you want, but I dare say we’ve all done this. You wake up and have “vision problems,” meaning you just can’t see yourself at work today. It’s the best, and sometimes you need just need a f—king day off, amirite? Take off for a day in the city, or stay home to Netflix and chill. No judgement. Just don’t tell your boss.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as good as playing hooky.
See, YOU’RE not the one sick, your kiddo is. Having a sick child is not exactly fun, but if they’re like my kids, they’re awfully sweet when they don’t feel well. Downside is that you’re sometimes under pressure to “work from home” when you take a sick day for your child.
Harry Kane: Harry worked his tail off again, as per usual, and his goal was an example of him just out-working all of Southampton’s defenders. He was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise crappy Spurs performance. On another day, he buries that late chance from close range.
Moussa Sissoko (last 15 minutes only): Sissoko got a lot of heat after Sunday’s performance, deservedly so. But in fairness, he did some really nice things late in the match, carrying the ball forward and creating chances offensively. His little pass to Lamela in front of goal showed good awareness. Let’s give credit where credit is due. But it’s not the whole story.
You can’t win with bad head colds. Either you’re considered a slacker for taking off for a common cold virus, or you get yelled at by your co-workers for “spreading sickness around.”
Ben Davies: Had some difficulties in defense at times on the left flank, but his corner kick to Harry’s head was sublimely placed, and he deserves credit for it. Decently good outing, all said.
Michel Vorm: It was wet and slippery out there and Vorm did well enough that I have no real complaints. The own goal was lucky, and he made a number of good stops and saves over the course of the match.
Jan Vertonghen: Got caught giving up a half-step to a Southampton player on a few occasions, but coped decently well with the challenge and didn’t make any really egregious mistakes.
Kieran Trippier: Came in as relief for the injured Aurier and promptly picked up a cheap yellow, but otherwise was fine. If Aurier is out for any length of time, we’ll need him to be more than fine.
Serge Aurier: Struggled defensively when asked to try and defend two players, and sometimes left acres of space on his and Sissoko’s flank. Did well one-on-one and had a couple of good tackles, especially late, though had a few derpy moments. It’s a 2.75 star rating for me; I’ll round up this time.
The good: you can lie down in one spot and watch Netflix without too much discomfort. The bad: god help you when you have to move for any reason or go to the bathroom.
Mousa Dembele: Was not his usual self. He tried, bless him, but he was putting in a bunch of dumb fouls (which should’ve gotten him a yellow a lot earlier than he did), and his passing failed him as he progressed the ball through the midfield. Looked gassed midway through the second half. Is he crocked or not?
Davinson Sanchez: Had, as they say, “a mare” for the first 20 minutes of the match, giving the ball away cheaply a couple of times and scoring an (unlucky) own goal. Came back well and wasn’t bad in the second half, though he was caught on the back shoulder of an attacker a few times as well.
Dele Alli: Hot take, while Dele wasn’t a trash fire, this was not one of his better games in a Spurs shirt. He was asked to try and fill Eriksen’s passing boots, which isn’t really his game. He’s a young player and young players sometimes play poorly. However, he earned a few fouls, had a low shot that went just wide, and played well in the last quarter hour.
We include post-surgical recovery in this. Sure, the meds are fine, but it takes a LONG time to heal, and if you’re prescribed opioids there’s always that voice in the back of your mind that says you should probably not take them...
Moussa Sissoko (first 75 minutes): UGH. Not what Spurs needed in the absence of Christian Eriksen. Abandoned the right flank and left Aurier out to dry on a number of occasions, fluffed a couple of chances, gave the ball away cheaply, and still has the touch of a marble column. He is just not good enough, even if he did do a few good things near the end.
Eric Dier: Distressingly bad in possession and did little to link defense with attack, essentially ceding midfield to Soton for large chunks of the game. Had a couple of pops from distance but struggled with Southampton’s midfield press. A very poor game.
Erik Lamela: An anonymous source (whom I trust) relayed that Lamela was one of the other players with the flu on Sunday, and that he was chosen for the bench ahead of Eriksen because he was “puking less.” Probably explains why he did little apart from that big chance from two yards out.
Son Heung-Min: Completely absent and anonymous. Polar opposite from the Everton match in which he ran riot. He was not getting service, and the weather did him no favors, but you expect more from Sonny now.
You can’t move. You can’t eat. You can barely drink. You can’t watch TV without your head pounding. The flu is AWFUL. If that’s what the Tottenham players had, then I freely grant them their bed rest and absolve them of poor play, because I know what that’s like. Even not going to work feels like a chore.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as having the flu.