We have a phrase in the Cartilage Free Captain’s writer’s room — “gegativity.” It pops up whenever Wheeler Dealer Radio host Skipjack (Greg, or “Geg” to his frenemies) tosses out a suitably pessimistic statement or take about Tottenham Hotspur. Usually it’s a bit (and a good bit). Sometimes it isn’t. We even have a Slack trigger that posts this image whenever someone types the words “gegativity” or “geg ‘em”.
It’s all in good fun, we like Greg. Mostly. He was in rare form during Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa, however, so in the spirit of good humor and camaraderie we are dedicating today’s rating theme to Skipjack and his gegativity. Here are the player ratings for Tottenham vs. Aston Villa to the theme of Slack posts and/or texts from Greg during and around the match.
Note: we’re also experimenting a bit by including the compiled community rankings on a scale of 10 underneath each player’s name. I’d be happy to hear any feedback from this — it saves us from another article early in the week.
Tanguy Ndombele: How’s THAT for an auspicious debut? Tanguy still doesn’t quite look like he’s perfected the mind-meld with the attackers in front of him but he was still putting in progressive balls all afternoon and scored a cracker of a deflected goal. If he’s this good now, what will he be like in a month?!
Community rating: 8.0/10
Harry Kane: I never want to hear about the August curse ever again. If last year wasn’t definitive enough, Harry Kane emphatically broke his first-month curse with a brace on opening day, behind six shots. He looks fresh, healthy, and already in top form. He’s gonna have a monster year.
Community rating: 8.3/10 (MVP)
Harry Winks: Not all 5-star ratings need to involve goals, flashy plays, or elbows to the head. Sometimes just playing your role and doing it really well is enough, and that’s what Winksy did on Saturday. At the base of the midfield diamond, Winks’ role was to recycle possession and transition the ball from defense to the attackers. He had the second highest number of passes on the team in 63 minutes (78/81) including two key passes, and went 33/35 in the attacking third. His role isn’t exciting, but it is vital, and he did it very, very well. Also had some timely (and immense) defensive stops too.
Community rating: 6.6/10
Kyle Walker-Peters: Look, I’ve been a KWP skeptic for a while now, even after his three assist match against Bournemouth last year. But he was fantastic on Saturday — smart, progressive, and aware. I worry still about his defensive positioning a bit, especially against City next week, but I have to tip my hat today.
Community rating: 7.2/10
Christian Eriksen: He might not have started, but he changed the game when he came on (although the tactical shape change also helped). He showed why Spurs are so desperate for his creativity, but also why they signed Gio Lo Celso as his potential replacement. I hope he stays, with a new contract.
Community rating: 8.2/10
Toby Alderweireld: Toby’s long passing was on full display against Villa, and he linked up especially well with Walker-Peters on the right side. Defensively solid as usual, he did well to track back and snuff out a number of Villa counters.
Community rating: 6.8/10
Davinson Sanchez: Some fans might not like it, but I thought Sanchez was quite tidy. Yes, you can maaaaybe knock him for his positioning and you can argue he was partially at fault for Villa’s goal, but I thought he was low-key as good as Toby defensively. And the more minutes he gets, the more he will improve.
Community rating: 6.1/10
Lucas Moura: Didn’t have very many good looks on goal but was industrious in and around the box with several nice passes to set up teammates for shots. Still not sure why we don’t play him wide more often.
Community rating: 6.2/10
Erik Lamela: I was not pleased with Lamela on first viewing, but after watching the match a second time I thought he improved in the second half. Played a crucial role in setting up Kane’s first goal. Will need to sharpen his elbows against City, though.
Community rating: 6.1/10
Mauricio Pochettino: The decision not to start Jan Vertonghen was baffling, as was (at the time) the Eriksen for Winks sub, though that one worked out okay in the end. Still, kudos for making the tactical adjustment to the 4-2-3-1 down the stretch, which prompted Spurs’ resurgence.
Community rating: 7.0/10
Hugo Lloris: Didn’t have a whole lot to do over the course of the match beyond a couple of routine saves. Not sure he could’ve done anything for John McGinn’s goal.
Community rating: 6.3/10
Moussa Sissoko: Like Lamela, Sissoko had a Jekyll and Hyde match. He was good before he was trash before he was kinda good again. He still is good running with the ball at his feet and tackling people, but his teammates still should not pass the ball to him and expect many good things to happen. Also, please stop shooting balls that go out for throw-ins, k thx. Bonus points for his fantastic pass to set up Kane’s second goal.
Community rating: 5.9/10
Danny Rose: A weird match for Danny. Got forward plenty, but his crossing was wayward and he was defensively lax, letting opposition players in behind a lot, most notably on Villa’s goal. Not a irredeemably terrible game, but not an especially good one.
Community rating: 6.5/10
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Greg. F—king Greg.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Oliver Skipp (Community: n/a), GK Nkoudou (Community: n/a)