My parents-in-law, like perhaps many parents, are antiquers. And one of their specialties is collecting, fixing, and reselling clocks. They have, and I’m not making this up, probably close to 100 clocks in their house - everything from wall clocks to alarm clocks to those clocks with the little spinny counterweights instead of a mainspring.
So. Much. Ticking. Every hour at their house is a cacophony of riotous sound in countless keys, tempi, and tones. It’s a little maddening, but you get used to it.
Tottenham Hotspur weren’t exactly a well-oiled machine on Monday against Manchester United, but when clock struck zero they sure delivered a lot of sound and fury. So let’s rank the Tottenham Hotspur players to the theme of clocks. That way we can also count down the time left in Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United career. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
5 stars: Grandfather Clocks
There’s nothing more majestic and beautiful than a well-crafted grandfather clock. They stand in living rooms, hallways, and parlors, stolid and unyielding with their tall cases, long pendulums, echoing chimes, and roman numerals. I have one in my living room, hand-crafted by MY late grandfather. In its extreme, you have Big Ben, the biggest, most grandfatherly clock of them all. But even the common household grandfather clock is something to be admired. They are staples of literature. And who, as a child, hasn’t looked up at a grandfather clock ticking against the wall without at least a small sense of wonder and awe?
Lucas Moura: When we finally bought our ideal wide speedy dribbly guy after many botched attempts, I really expected us to play him, IDK, wide. Instead, Pochettino has put Lucas more or less as a center forward, and its’ worked! The position has emphasized and enhanced his directness and pace, and he’s getting tons more shots and chances. His two goals were both magnificent, and he could’ve had a couple more goals. Old Trafford today, Ballon d’Or tomorrow?
Toby Alderweireld: Boy oh boy is it good to have him back. Toby was outstanding at Old Trafford, always in the face of the attacking players and making some critical stops, none more so than when he got his toe on the ball when Jesse Lingard got in on goal.
Dele Alli: His transformation from a semi-elite second striker to a truly elite central midfielder/tweener is nearing completion. Dele’s battles with Ander Herrera in the midfield were fun to watch, and while he probably should’ve done better with his scoring chances he was a big reason why Spurs turned the match around in the second half. 5 tackles, 3 shots, one hell of a game.
Mauricio Pochettino’s sartorial choices: That all-black suit getup, whoo boy! -fans self- It looked like Johnny Cash’s closet — “It’s dark in there.”
4.5 stars: Cuckoo clocks
Sure, sometimes cuckoo clocks are all fake, overly ornate Germanic schlock, but they’re also marvels of engineering and are clever as hell. Have a young child? You can keep them entertained for... well, WHOLE MINUTES with a cuckoo clock and a willingness to change the time.
Harry Kane: Was restricted to running around and trying hard in the first half but exploded in the second. That headed goal reminded me of that OTHER one against Arsenal a couple years back, and you can see that he’s making deliberate choices to get open for shots and opportunities on set plays. He was very good.
4 stars: Hourglass
As sands through the hourglass, so go the days left in Jose Mourinho’s career. Nothing is more ancient than the idea of measuring time via watching grains of sand trickle through a small gap connecting two bulbs of glass. Nowadays they are pretty much restricted to board game widgets, but they are also absolutely mesmerizing pieces of craftsmanship.
Jan Vertonghen: Alderweireld might have stolen the show on Monday, but Jan was quietly a steady presence in central defense beside his old national team partner. I can’t think of anything he did wrong.
Hugo Lloris: Saved Spurs’ bacon a couple of times with fantastic stops. This was an important match for Hugo, not least because it helped everyone forget that he got behind the wheel while intoxicated. You can criticize the club for playing him today, but you can’t deny he was really good.
3.5 stars: Atomic clocks
I have absolutely no idea how these clocks work. Something about cesium atoms resonating or something like that. Whatever. Apparently they’re the most accurate clocks in the world that we know of, and blah blah blah blah science is neat.
Christian Eriksen: For the third consecutive match Christian was fine. Just fine. Not Christian-Eriksen-good, not amazing, just... pretty good. And ok, whatever. He doesn’t have to be amazing every match. He had an assist, another chance, a saved shot, and pressed well. Why am I still a little underwhelmed?
Mousa Dembele: This was really a tale of two halves for Moose: pretty awful in the first half, and much, much improved in the second. I’m not sure what the difference was, but whatever it was, it was better. I think this evens out to a 3.5 rating.
3 stars: Battery operated wall clock
They tell time. They come in an infinite array of sizes, colors, shapes, and costs, and they all pretty much run on the same $5 piece of machinery. There’s nothing more boring and more essential than that wall clock you have hanging on your wall right over there.
Eric Dier: IDK, man. He was ok, but he looks like he’s just dead on his feet sometimes. Maybe he is — as long as Wanyama is out he’s pretty much the only holder we have right now, so we gotta ride that pony until at least Winks gets 65 minutes healthy.
Serge Aurier: Came in for Trippier, did a job, didn’t get red carded, didn’t commit any foul throws. Good enough.
2.5 stars: Analog alarm clocks
I’m talking about the wind-up ones with the real bells that go BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGG. Pros: they work. Cons: LITERALLY EVERY OTHER F—KING THING.
Kieran Trippier: Trips spent most of his time getting his ass roasted by Luke Shaw and not tracking back, but had a couple of really nice plays as well that deserve mention. First, his corner kick to find Kane’s head for Spurs’ first goal was sublime. Second, the move that sprung Christian Eriksen that set up Spurs’ second goal was outstanding. An extremely Kieran Trippier match.
2 stars: Salvador Dali clocks
First of all, they’re melted. Secondly, they’re definitely two stars because you can find them in the art posted on the walls of every single dorm room ever.
Danny Rose: I’m glad Rose is back and got a start, and under other circumstances I’d say he did ~fine if nothing great. But there’s that matter of that one backpass that Romelu Lukaku only missed by the grace of God and Mourinho spite, and nothing he did after that really did much to make up for that horrendous mistake.
1 star: Calculator watches
They still make these things? Why? “HEY SIRI WHAT’S 12 TIMES 23 OK THANKS”
No Tottenham Hotspur players are as bad as a calculator watch.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Ben Davies, Harry Winks