Gareth Bale scored his first Tottenham Hotspur goal in 7 years on Sunday — what a goal drought! — and Spurs defeated Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 to take them up to second in the table with seven matches played.
That’s great! So as I like to do when something really great happens, let’s talk about food! There are certain holidays in my neck of the woods, and likely yours, that are known for their food. The major ones, of course, but also a few lesser known ones. So I thought it’d be fun to rate the Tottenham players today to the theme of holidays, but ranked by the quality of the food typically served on that holiday.
A note about multiculturalism and regional/national differences: I live in a particular part of the midwestern United States as a protestant Christian who celebrates those culturally normative holidays. Naturally if you live elsewhere or have a different (or no) faith tradition you’re going to have different food traditions, or even different holidays that have delicious (or terrible) food that isn’t referenced here. These ratings can’t even begin to cover all of the various cultural and national axes, nor am I trying to say that the ratings here are objective truth. They are not — they’re drawn from my personal experience. Instead, I’d encourage readers to put your specialized holiday food traditions in the comments and talk about how and why they’re important to you (or not important). Let’s make this positive and inclusive — you can yell at me for bad opinions on a different theme.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of holidays, ranked by food quality.
5 stars: Christmas
In my family, we don’t have a specific traditional family Christmas dinner and never have, though many others do. But Christmas has always featured good foods — a main protein of some kind — sometimes a wildly non-traditional one — and a bunch of sides that vary every season but still are delicious and made from scratch and with heart. It’s that variety that tips the balance for this holiday over the next category, because the variability combined with the communal desire to put something special on the table every Christmas always makes for an outstanding meal. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, what’s better than great Chinese food on Christmas Day?
Gareth Bale (Community — 4.0): He got the winning goal and a near assist for another one and gave us all the feels by scoring for the first time in seven years for the club. Watching him head that Reguilon goal home got me right in the feels. On another day he gets a slightly lower rating but this was a five star feeling and I’m going with it.
4.5 stars: Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving food is almost always good, but it goes down slightly due to the turkey, which is a rather mediocre protein that is finicky and difficult to get right. I’m here for everything else, though and would be perfectly happy if Thanksgiving were nothing but homemade dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, and giant vats of mashed potatoes.
Pierre Hojbjerg (Community — 4.0): Man, what a player. He has adapted his game from a more attacking role in Southampton to a lockdown defensive midfielder and was a major reason why Hugo Lloris didn’t face many shots. The only problem: there’s nobody in the side that can replace him.
4 stars: Fourth of July
Say what you want about American Independence Day, but it’s considered a day to spend outside making grilled foods, socializing, and eating very, very well. You don’t HAVE to make hamburgers on the Fourth, but I’m convinced that more great burgers are created on this day than on any other day of the calendar.
Toby Alderweireld (Community — 4.0): Rock solid at the back for Tottenham. He may not be as fast as he once was, but he kept Trossard from making an impact.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): Didn’t have to do much in terms of saves (the Lamptey shot was unsaveable) but showed courage in coming out to contest a 50-50 ball with Danny Welbeck. He’s been good this season. Long may it continue.
3.5 stars: Easter
I have no issue with Easter, technically. There’s good candy, and things like devilled eggs and hot crossed buns are tasty and fun to eat. It’s just that, for me, I just don’t enjoy ham as much as I do other major proteins, and ham is the traditional protein of Easter. It’s good and fine, it’s just overshadowed by the other major food holidays.
Eric Dier (Community — 3.5): Overshadowed a touch by Toby, but Dier still had a fine match against some decent offensive talent. Strong in the air, too.
Harry Kane (Community — 3.5): Not his best match overall, but gets a solid rating for his sneaky good foul received just inside the box that earned Spurs a penalty (and him a goal).
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.0): Tanguy didn’t have the impact that he often has so far this season thanks to an early yellow card, and looked tired when he was subbed off. That said, his presence was felt in midfield along with Hojbjerg and he did (or at least attempted to do) a lot of good things.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 3.5): This game kinda sucked from a watching-it perspective but I’m not sure how much to put at the feet of Mourinho. We won the game though so, yay good job, Jose?
3 stars: St. Patrick’s Day
Why St. Patrick’s Day? Because corned beef & cabbage is absolutely delicious, especially when served with a good soda bread. Afterwards you can enjoy a tasty beer or six either at home or out with your friends at a bar (remember those?) and finish off the day with a drunk Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s. But for all that St. Patty’s Day doesn’t hold a candle to the holidays above it.
Sergio Reguilon (Community — 4.0): Sergio had a match that mixed equal parts of good (the cross to Bale’s head) with not-so-good (first half yellow, turned around by Lamptey). I thought he was fine, but not transformational like he has been in earlier matches.
Erik Lamela (Community — 3.5): Worked hard and looked bright, especially early. Probably should’ve gotten an early goal, but over time his play decayed and became sloppier. Made way for Bale, which... okay, if you’re playing ahead of Gareth Bale you must be doing something right.
Moussa Sissoko (Community — 3.5): He was fine.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 3.5): Came on as a late substitute and had one decent look at goal with a curling effort from the top of the box but otherwise didn’t set the world on fire.
2.5 stars: Halloween
Halloween is all about the candy, and Halloween candy is outstanding. However, you know that feeling you get after you eat too much Halloween candy in one sitting and end up in the corner with the mother of all stomach aches? That’s because there are precious few actual good Halloween food traditions beyond “eat too much Halloween candy.” 2.5 stars.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.0): Sonny was due for an off night and he got one against Brighton. Just looked completely out of sorts and by the end also looked exhausted. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt multiple times over, but it’s important to call out when he’s had a bad match.
2 stars: New Year’s Day
I know the American South has an exceptionally strong food tradition that centers around New Year’s Day and other places might as well, but for the rest of us we’re too busy cramming whatever’s in the fridge into our mouths because we’re so hungover from the night before to think about cooking anything.
Matt Doherty (Community — 3.0): Not great! The right side of Tottenham’s play was a hot mess most of the night and a lot of that came due to Doherty, who got terrorized by Lamptey often. Sloppy with the ball and wasn’t effective going forward, which is arguably his best skill. Also fortunate not to concede a penalty.
1 star: Valentine’s Day
We don’t really associate food with Valentine’s Day, but it’s a holiday that often involves taking someone you love or want to impress to a restaurant where you often will get the worst possible experience, either due to an awkward relationship issue or the fact that everyone and their sister is out in a restaurant doing the exact same thing you are. I guess what I’m saying is that Valentine’s Day just kinda sucks in general, and I’m hungry.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as food on Valentine’s Day.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating