Tottenham Hotspur won on Saturday. That is unquestionably good. The fact that they did it while (mostly) playing well and after going down to ten men when Serge Aurier derped his way to two yellow cards in five minutes makes it even better. It’s not a vintage win by any means, but it stops the bleeding heading into what should be a very challenging match against Bayern Munich in the Champions League mid-week.
Sometimes the rating theme falls naturally into place and sometimes you have to go hunting for it. This time it’s the latter. I had eight categories, and that can be challenging. However, what natural phenomena come in a group of eight and taps into an interest of mine? Why, the solar system planets, of course! (Sorry, Pluto.)
Here are the Tottenham Hotspur player ratings for their 2-1 win over Southampton to the theme of Solar System Planets.
5 stars: Saturn
Just look at that lovely celestial orb. Second biggest planet in the system but light enough to float in a bathtub. More rings than Kobe and more hangers-on than Drake. It is beautiful and awe-inspiring and the best planet in the entire system. Saturn absolutely slaps and I won’t hear a negative word.
Harry Kane (Community - 8.0, MOTM): There’s something about Harry when he’s at his best that’s hard to quantify. Only three shots, one on target, one goal, but came close a second time and was constantly a threat, even when playing with ten men. Were we worried about him?
Tanguy Ndombele (Community - 7.8): You can see the talent in Tanguy as he drives forward with the ball and finds pockets of space between the lines, and while he’s still not fully up to speed just imagine what he’ll be like when he is. His goal was well taken and his VAR celebration was great. Now pair him in midfield with an actual 6.
4.5 stars: Jupiter
Gas giant, massive, red eye. That should be enough but it’s also got enough moons to pretty much have its own gol-dang solar system. It’s super thicc (like Vincent Janssen) and commands attention with the force of its colorful personality (unlike Vincent Janssen). With 67 and counting super interesting and topologically varied moons. Jupiter is astounding, but it doesn’t have phat sexy rings so sorry, 4.5 stars.
Son Heung-Min (Community - 7.0): Sonny was delightful on both ends of the ball against Saints and would be five stars if he were a bit more clinical and had managed to put one in the back of the net.
4 stars: Venus
What’s interesting about Venus? A lot! It has crazy weather patterns and an actual atmosphere so thick and toxic it can crush or dissolve away basically anything we land there. It also rotates clockwise (opposite of Earth), and so slowly that a year on Venus takes less time than a day on Venus. It is also pretty much what Earth will look like in a few billion years if we don’t figure out global warming.
Moussa Sissoko (Community - 7.5): Sissoko did plenty of solidly Sissokoish things in the first half but was a surprisingly lock-down defender at right back after the sending-off. I daresay he’s been the best not-right-back we’ve had this season, and that’s saying something.
Janby Alderweirtonghen (Community - both 7.1): The Belgian Bros were back to their stout selves this match. Toby was back to launching balls from deep while Jan seems to have put his uncharacteristically error prone match against Leicester aside. The only thing that could beat the Belgian’s back line was... their own keeper.
3.5 stars: Neptune
Neptune is a gas giant. We don’t know much about it. Y’know, whatever. But it’s friggin’ SAPPHIRE BLUE, which at least makes it an awesome-looking “whatever.”
Christian Eriksen (Community - 6.1): Better, if not back to his usual standard. Christian looked more motivated than he has the past few matches. An assist and two key passes, he also ran more mileage than any other Tottenham player. Spurs are better when Eriksen is good.
Danny Rose (Community - 6.8): The nature of playing with ten for so long meant that Danny didn’t get forward in the way he usually does, but he had a particularly good defensive match, and had a lovely cross into the box that Kane’s boot missed by a matter of inches.
Erik Dier (Community - 5.3): He’s back! The highlights probably won’t show it, but when coming on as a sub Dier was particularly good at breaking up play and disrupting Southampton’s passing lanes. Can he start now?
Erik Lamela (Community - 6.5): Came in as a sub when Spurs were under a sustained period of pressure and really helped to turn the match around in the latter part of the second half. I don’t know whether he should be starting every match but he’s had a very good 2019-20 season now that he’s healthy.
3 stars: Uranus
Uranus is notable only because its poles are nearly horizontal relative to its orbit and because it has a name that will never not make 12-year old boys giggle. It’s the Cockfosters FC of planets. (Also: huh-huh-huh, “horizontal poles,” huh-huh, huh-huh-huh, huh-huh.)
Harry Winks (Community - 7.2): Several of my fellow masthead writers have Winks ranked lower; many on social media have him ranked much higher. Personally, I thought he was... better? Fewer passes, still mostly lateral, and his defensive contributions were better when he didn’t have to chase the match in transition. But I still yelled at him for giving up on the play that led to Aurier’s second yellow.
Mauricio Pochettino (Community - 6.9): How do you judge a manager’s performance when his tactical plan goes out the window by the 30th minute? Spurs adjusted well to going down to 10 men and that’s fine, but they weren’t exactly setting the world on fire before that either. IDK, we won, whatever.
2.5 stars: Mercury
Mercury is so close to the sun a solar year is 88 days and it’s so hot during the day it melts lead. It’s extremely hot, rocky, and boring, the Glendale, Arizona of planets. It’s completely pointless so it’s fitting that when the sun swells into a red giant in a few hundred millennia it’ll be the first to be swallowed and burned to component atoms.
Hugo Lloris (Community - 5.7): Oh, Hugo. That Cruyff (moar like Crapff amirite) turn was one of the worst things I’ve seen from him in a while, and his distribution was also low-key terrible. That said, he also made some pretty fantastic stops in the second half so he doesn’t end up with Serge. Barely.
1.5 stars: Earth
Earth has Nazis. The other planets don’t have Nazis anywhere. Ipso f—king facto.
Serge Aurier (Community - 2.6): We got our Serge back. We know he’s good for some boneheaded games and we got one Saturday. Hard to complain about either yellow card, and both were stupid and unnecessary. This is what we get with Serge: moments of brilliance and derpitude in equal measure. It’s why he can’t be counted on as a lock-down starter and why despite some good games I’ll still be glad to see the back of him.
1 star: Mars
Everyone wants to go to Mars. I don’t see why — it’s cold, barren, almost impossible to live there, and the aliens have already left it. However, Elon Musk desperately wants to go there, so if Mars takes him and never lets him come home it immediately shoots up to 5 stars.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Mars without Elon Musk.
Pluto Memorial Non-Rating
Victor Wanyama (Community - n/a)