It wasn’t a horror evening for Tottenham Hotspur, but it sure wasn’t much fun at Turf Moor until close to the end. Spurs were mired in a morass of bad football against Burnley for 70 minutes before being bailed out by — of all things! — a set piece goal by Son Heung-Min, giving Tottenham a 1-0 away win and a clean sheet. Not exactly a great match, but it was a good win.
It’s the last league match before Halloween, so let’s do a holiday themed player rating post. The one thing you can’t escape from during this time of the year is the ubiquitous Halloween-themed television special episode. Seems like a pretty decent theme to me. Here are your Tottenham player ratings to the theme of Halloween specials.
5 stars: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
I’m probably showing my age here, but I don’t care. Despite being released in 1966, this is the best TV Halloween special ever made. Atmospheric without relying on cheap tricks or jump-scares, this show took one of the strip’s best serial stories and effectively turned it to an entirely different medium. Who doesn’t end that show feeling sorry for Linus, sitting alone in a “sincere” pumpkin patch, waiting for a Great Pumpkin that turns out (spoilers!) to be a beagle?
Erik Lamela [ratings assigned for shithousery] (Community — 3.5): Okay, his actual PLAY was more like three stars, but Lamela’s getting five here for some absolutely outstanding shithousery including a near (but not actually) reckless two-footed challenge on McNeil that wasn’t even whistled as a foul, to nicking a water bottle from the bag of the Burnley physios while they assessed the player he hurt. Man, he’s great.
4.5 stars: Brooklyn 99 Halloween Heists
Brooklyn 99 is a great show to begin with but holy crap the Halloween Heist episodes are amazing. Taking the usual costume gags and rolling them into a heist mystery and a competition for the title of Detective Slash Genius is a new twist on the genre, and they get progressively better each year. Fantastic television.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.5): It wasn’t his best match by the numbers, but he had four shots against a well organized Burnley defense, cleared a match-winning shot off the line with his head, and earned an assist. He deserves to be here more than anyone.
4 stars: Kyle Walker’s Spurs TV Halloween prank videos
Cast your mind back to 2013 for a moment — Kyle Walker’s best role for Spurs wasn’t as a marauding attacking wing back, but as a guy in a skull mask who used to scare the crap out of his teammates on camera. Spurs TV has never done a better gag. I’m dying laughing watching this again.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.0): Objectively not his best match, but he still had his moments going forward, and his header for the goal was even better for how difficult it was. Enhanced rating for him immediately asking Kane if he got the assist. What a perfect human.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 4.0): Spurs’ offense wasn’t spectacular, but that wasn’t necessarily Tanguy’s fault. Every good thing Spurs did in the first half happened because Tanguy was doing shit. A lot of it didn’t come off because it wasn’t a great match, but Tanguy was flat-out running things in midfield.
3.5 stars: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Halloween episodes
Buffy had some extremely creative episodes over its run, including two good Halloween-themed ones that meld the spooky theme into the core mythology of the show. They’re both well executed too — from one where a spell forces the Scoobies to embody the costume they’re wearing, to another where Anya dresses up as the thing she’s most afraid of — a bunny.
Pierre Hojbjerg (Community — 3.5): Has reinvented himself since moving from Southampton from a progressive distributor to a solid retainer and distributor of the ball. 88% pass completion, and had three tackles.
Toby Alderweireld (Community — 4.0): Got his clock cleaned by an errant elbow in the first half but managed to shake it off and put in a good defensive shift while wearing a gauze helmet.
Eric Dier (Community — 3.5): Burnley aren’t an offensively-minded team but they do have some dangerous players going forward. Dier did well against the likes of Wood, Gudmundsson, and Barnes.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 4.0): Wasn’t called into action too often, but showed a real command of his area in the second half, charging off his line to aggressively collect crosses and corners.
3 stars: The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror
As with any long-time TV show that does this every year, The Simpsons’ annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween specials can be a bit uneven. At their best, they rank right up there with the best of the genre. At their worst, they’re pretty mediocre. My personal favorite is 1995’s VI, when Homer falls into a 3D alternate dimension, but there are plenty to choose from and they even out to a solid 3 stars.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 3.5): It’s always tough playing against a side like Burnley, but Mourinho’s tactics sure looked like it was set up to get a draw rather than a win. Was Spurs’ use of more withdrawn fullbacks against a very narrow Burnley midfield tactical? Curious choice if so.
2.5 stars: Rocky Horror Glee Show
I know it’s intended to be an homage to the classic movie, but as a Glee episode this falls completely flat. It tries to be a standard Glee episode, a Halloween special, and a tribute to the classic movie and pretty much fails on all fronts. The music especially doesn’t work and it all comes across as slick and overproduced, exactly what Rocky Horror Picture Show isn’t. Points for the effort — Rocky Horror is great! But this doesn’t work.
Moussa Sissoko (Community — 3.0): Sissoko wasn’t terrible, exactly, but his best role is a work-horse midfielder who can defensively cover the hole left behind by the right back when they go a-ranging forward. Doherty didn’t do that, so Sissoko was mostly left without a role to play, and it showed on the pitch.
2 stars: 98% of sitcom Halloween episodes
Look, I could go through and try and find a below average TV sitcom Halloween episode, but it’d be like reaching into a bucket of marbles to try and find... a marble. The truth is that most Halloween episodes are bad, contrived nonsense that doesn’t really work either thematically or practically and are a weak excuse to show the actors in funny dress.
Matt Doherty (Community — 3.0): Doherty got worked a few times in one-on-one positions defensively, so it’s curious why he either wasn’t tasked with, or decided not to, push forward. That’s what he’s good at! He’s not in there to be a lock-down defensive fullback! Anyway, I wasn’t happy with his game.
Ben Davies (Community — 3.0): Ben should be rightfully excoriated for the hospital ball backpass in the first half that nearly led to a Burnley goal, and even his block on Westwood didn’t make up for it. Got forward a couple of times, but the end-product was lacking. A disappointing match.
Lucas Moura (Community — 2.5): Lucas is not the player you want on the pitch against a team like Burnley that plays a structured, organized defensive structure. He was a black hole with the ball and wasn’t getting into good positions to receive the ball either. Hasn’t played well enough to be considered a starter anymore, imo.
1 star: Garfield’s Halloween Adventure
Okay, okay, I’m bagging on a 35-year old animated cartoon based on a now-irrelevant and shockingly unfunny comic strip that anyone under the age of 25 has probably never heard of. Low hanging fruit, but hear me out: it’s real bad, and not even Generation X-fueled nostalgia for 1980s pop culture can save this. Those of you who know it know what I’m talking about. Those of you who haven’t seen it... well, don’t bother.
No Tottenham players were as bad as Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Giovani Lo Celso, Joe Rodon