If you are a parent, you either have or soon will complete the ritual of purchasing back to school supplies for your school-aged children. If your’e not a parent, then you probably still remember going to Wal-Mart or the local convenience store to stock up on supplies. Those trips always filled schoolboy-me with a simultaneous sense of excitement and dread. Yes, school was starting up again soon, but you at least got a bunch of cool new stuff!
Let’s nostalgia the crap out of Tottenham’s 2-1 win at Newcastle on Saturday. Here are your Tottenham player ratings to the theme of back to school supplies.
5 stars: Trapper Keeper
Oh man, who didn’t love these things? You could carry all of your school-related homework and a goodly portion of your school supplies in them, all nicely organized in a container that would fit inside your backpack. There were hundreds of different designs to choose from, from solid colors, to horses, to awesome race cars. It was also a fertile medium for creative expression, with tons of space for stickers. Only downside? They were guaranteed to disintegrate by the middle of March.
Hugo Lloris: World Cup hangover? What World Cup hangover? Hugo was at his best on Saturday, making several key stops (especially the one-handed reflex save on Perez in the second half), and playing fantastic as a sweeper-keeper. Good to have you back, world champion.
Jan Vertonghen: Hey, it’s week 1 and we already #GotJanAGoal! His header showed excellent reflexes to put the ball away (even if it was by 9mm) and he was exceptionally tidy at the back as well.
Dele Alli: Dele’s goal was a lovely finish on a late run to the back post, taking advantage of Serge Aurier’s excellent delivery. But beyond that, Dele was one of Spurs’ most dangerous attacking players, and was excellent in the press as well.
4 stars: Crayons
There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, like the smell of a fresh, new box of 120 Crayola crayons. Open that box, see the perfectly organized rows of colorful creativity, queued up and waiting for you to take them out and make your mark on the world. And then take a sniff. Ahhhh. That smell takes me right back to second grade.
Mousa Dembele: Tottenham’s midfield improved as soon as he came on as Spurs started reasserting themselves in the middle of the park. Don’t care if he can no longer play 90 minutes consistently anymore — how amazing will it be just to have Dembele at minimum as a super-sub to run against tired midfields?
Davinson Sanchez: Had he nodded in his headed chance into the net and not just over, Davinson would be up there with the fives. As it is, he marshaled his area very well, though he was arguably at least partially at fault for losing his man on Newcastle’s goal.
3.5 stars: Whiteout
An indispensable tool for the modern student, if you didn’t want to constantly either write in pencil or use those god-awful “erasable” pens. I can remember as a youth whiting out over half of a page-long book report because I was stubborn and didn’t just want to write the whole thing over. The paper was stiff as a board. My teacher was unimpressed.
Christian Eriksen: Eriksen was an absolute monster in the press, but there was something off about his playmaking in this match — he was just a little bit off his game compared to what we’re used to. He was 47/55 in his passing, with fewer progressive passes than what we expect, but he also created 5 chances, so what the hell do I know, right?
Lucas Moura: Tricky, direct, fast, but a little quieter than what we saw in preseason. Needs more time with his World Cup-attending teammates, but I think he’ll get there especially in Son’s absence.
3 stars: Wide-ruled, spiral notebooks
Notebooks are all promise... when they’re new. I, unfortunately, usually ended up with wide-rule spiral notebooks because my handwriting was “poor” or something. And as notebooks go they had advantages, specifically being able to fold pages back behind the cover. Unfortunately, spiral notebook bindings got easily crushed in backpacks, or distorted when you ripped out a page. Also, tearing a page out gives you an awful looking book report with shitty confetti along the side. Nasty. Get the perforated ones, and preferably college ruled, because college RULED.
Harry Kane: The August curse continues. Not many scoring opportunities and dropped SUPER deep at times, but was great in the press and for the first time in a long time it started to look like he wasn’t still coming off of an injury.
Eric Dier: Picked up a yellow while covering for Aurier, and was expected to be more of the holder than the creative outlet. A bit of an edgy performance at times, but he was in there to break up play and he did a capable job after just five days of training.
Son Heung-Min: Used sparingly as a reserve, possibly to protect him for the Asian Cup? Dragged defenders out of position but never really had much of an impact in the match.
2.5 stars: Pencil-top erasers
In theory, these were great, either to extend the life of your pencil once you’ve scrubbed the original eraser gone (because pencils don’t grow on trees, SON), or as an awesome bauble to make your pencil look cool. But they sucked, because they were constantly either falling off or breaking when you tried to use them, and were utterly impractical. You were better off either just getting a new No. 2, or using one of those dorky, mammoth pink lozenge erasers.
Serge Aurier: “Uneven” is about the best thing I can say about his performance. His cross to Dele’s head was absolutely sublime and he showed a brightness going forward that was nice to see. However, defensively he was again a bit of a mess, with rash challenges and dumb mistakes. He basically forced Dier into a yellow card by giving up on a challenge.
Ben Davies: A hot mess defensively as Matt Ritchie made him look like he was standing still on a number of occasions and should’ve done better on Toon’s only goal. Was OK going forward, creating two chances and completing 14 passes in Newcastle’s attacking third, but this was not one of his better games.
Moussa Sissoko: Hoo boy. My first instinct was to give Sissoko two stars, because holy moly was he bad in possession out there. And yet he got into two excellent scoring positions in the second half (one of which forced a very nice save) and was serviceable, if not great, for stretches. So let’s recognize that. It’s still mind boggling that we couldn’t somehow find a central midfield option in the transfer window who does the thankless, yeoman’s job that Sissoko does and, y’know, actually knows how to play football. He was “fine” (if just barely).
1 star: Compasses
WTF were these things even for, anyway? Making circles? Who did that ever in school more than once? About the only thing they were good for was stabbing your idiot desk neighbor in the leg while the teacher had his/her back turned.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as having to use a compass.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Luke Amos: On his Tottenham Hotspur debut! Didn’t do much, doesn’t matter. Good for him.