Hey, we beat West Ham at the London Stadium! Neat! Tottenham Hotspur got a gritty, ugly three points on Saturday over the Hammers in their second London Derby of the season (the one vs. Fulham hardly counts anymore). Spurs are still in the thick of the title race and are off to their best ever start in the Premier League with 21 points from 9 matches, even if it doesn’t feel like they’re playing all that well.
For the player rating theme today, I’m using a suggestion from Pardeep based on a lot of recent topics of conversation in the Carty Free Slack channel. Basically, almost all of us watch a lot of reality cooking competitions, and we talk a lot about them when we’re not dissecting Tottenham tactics or yelling about Ben Davies. We have takes. They are accurate ones.
Here are your Tottenham player ratings for the win over West Ham to the theme of TV reality cooking competitions.
6 stars: Wok Out with Hugo and Sissoko
There are no player rankings in this category, nor is this really a cooking competition. But seriously, just watch this. There’s nothing better.
5 stars — Great British Bake-Off
The gold standard as far as I’m concerned. It’s different from other shows because it’s not professional pastry chefs trying to out-innovate everyone, it’s lovely English people who have a dedicated hobby. So the bar is different, but it’s still exceptional television. Best part about it is the way that the contestants mutually support and genuinely LIKE each other. Very little interpersonal drama here, and that’s a big reason why it’s so good.
Hugo Lloris: Good Hugo is back! Pretty much saved Spurs’ bacon by seeming to take it personally that Marko Arnautovic would have the audacity to put a shot on target. Made some big saves and kept Spurs from losing yet another stupid match to stupid West Ham.
4.5 stars — Top Chef
Top Chef has been around for ages now and there’s a reason — it’s really good, even if the concept and the schtick is starting to age a bit. We watch not only because it’s extraordinary chefs putting out incredible food, but also because you can actually learn how to improve your own cookery by watching. Sure, there’s ginned up interpersonal drama and (too) obvious product placement, but even after so many seasons it’s still very good at what it does.
Erik Lamela: This is the Erik Lamela we thought we purchased all those years ago. Tricky, determined, dynamic, Erik was one of the best players on the pitch on Saturday. Hit side netting, made a lovely run to get on the end of Sissoko’s cross, and nearly had a second goal too. Tired late in the match and Spurs didn’t look the same when he came off.
Toby Alderweireld: Looked a little out of place playing on the left side of the back line instead of his customary right, and if you want to be critical you can say his passing didn’t look quite the same, but Toby made some super important clearances and tackles to stave off a few dangerous West Ham attacks. A very nice match.
4 stars: Kids Baking Championship
A kid’s show? Yes, a kid’s show. Kids Baking Championship is a delightful reality cooking show because of two things: the rapport between the hosts and the children contestants, and the overall supportive tone of the show, which always puts the feelings and the experiences of the kids first. It lets kids be kids, but doesn’t put them through the meat grinder that you expect from a lot of reality cooking competitions.
Lucas Moura: Lucas certainly looked like he was in his element on Saturday vs. the Hammers, playing very direct and using his pace and trickery to start a number of positive attacks. The end product still doesn’t seem to be quite there, but he gave West Ham’s defense a lot to think about.
3.5 stars: Cutthroat Kitchen
There are plenty of kitchen competition shows that use gimmicks for fun and attention, but few shows do it as well as Cutthroat Kitchen. Maybe it’s the host — Alton Brown has the panache to pull off the presentation of the gotchas and games with style. Sure, it’s a little overdone at times — the fake bravado between the cheftestants can be grating and the winner usually makes it through thanks to luck. But I confess to still finding it a lot of fun.
Eric Dier: Had one role — frustrate West Ham’s attacking midfielders and Arnautovic — and did it fairly well. A couple of weird moments in possession, which we’ve come to expect, but seems like he’s starting to figure out how to play beside someone not named Mousa Dembele.
3 stars: Chopped
It’s basically Top Chef if you distilled an entire season to one half hour episode with less production value but a lot more Ted Allen. There are people on Carty Free’s staff who absolutely love this show. I find it to be one of those shows where I might pause while flipping through the channels looking for something to watch, but I rarely go seeking it out.
Davinson Sanchez: Did decently well dealing with the threat of Marko Arnautovic, who can be a handful, despite Arno running straight at him for much of the match. He let Arno get under his skin on occasion, though thankfully kept a cool head even during the scuffle.
Mousa Sissoko: A tale of two halves, Sissoko was unquestionably good in the first half, making direct runs, cutting the ball back to find space, and putting in good crosses. Probably should’ve scored one, too. Regressed a LOT in the second half when West Ham actually started to contest Spurs’ midfielders, and was pretty bad for a while. Three stars feels like a pretty fair result. He was (wait for it) fine.
Harry Winks: There’s a weird dichotomy between Twitter and the commentariat’s takes on Winksy’s performance and what I remember watching in that match. Many saw basically English Kante out there looking progressive and pass-happy. I saw a guy, especially in the second half, who still looks like he’s not fully back from a broken ankle, not doing an especially great job of transitioning the ball between defense and attack and who got dispossessed quite a bit. He wasn’t awful. I just didn’t think he was especially GREAT.
Mousa Dembele: I don’t have a lot of Dembele takes. He came in, did a job, didn’t do anything especially noteworthy or bad. He’s still past peak Dembele though and it makes me sad.
2.5 stars: The Taste
Far be it from me to sully the name of the late St. Anthony Bourdain, but this was obviously something he did to pay off the mortgage on a new home or to pay for his kid’s college fund, right? It was essentially The Voice, but for food, but it came off as too slick and overproduced, and the gimmick — rando chefs make one-spoon-sized amuse bouches for celebrity chefs — just didn’t work. Even with Bourdain. Maybe ESPECIALLY with Bourdain, who kept reining in his snarkiness (probably at the request of the producers) in an attempt to sound respectable.
Harry Kane: Had a few moments in the first half where you knew he was close to popping off a worldie, and then faded completely in the background. Sure, he didn’t get much service, but Kane’s usually the guy you count on to create his own shot, and he didn’t.
2 stars: Hell’s Kitchen
I can’t think of many things that I’d like to watch less than a one-hour television reality cooking show that’s basically Gordon Ramsay screaming insults at the worst chefs in America. It’s not fun, it’s not amusing, it’s not even remotely interesting — it represents the worst elements of American reality television. Who would watch that and actually want to cook?
Ben Davies: Didn’t do enough things to be useful going forward to counteract the number of times he got roasted on defense.
Kieran Trippier: I will keep repeating this, pounding the table, until Pochettino starts to get it: he is not good enough defensively to be an effective fullback in a back four. Created two big chances from the flanks but otherwise didn’t do much going forward, either.
1 star: Random holiday-themed cooking show on Food Network
Why do these things exist? They are bad. Nobody seeks them out. Nobody finds them all that compelling. And it’s not just the Food Network — the Great British Bake-Off does this too where they bring back past contestants for a one-off “holiday bake-off” Christmas special and there’s no drama and literally nobody cares. UGH.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as a random holiday-themed cooking show on the Food Network.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Fernando Llorente, Christian Eriksen