What a match! Jose Mourinho put on one of his signature tactical masterclasses against his ol’ pal Pep and Tottenham Hotspur got a 2-0 win over Manchester City to send them top of the table until at least next week’s match against Chelsea. Spurs got outshot something like 22-4 and scored with their only two shots on target, but everyone — and I mean everyone — played well.
I’ve been doing themed player ratings for six years now, as long as I’ve been in charge of the blog, and it feels like Thanksgiving themes are pretty much played out. But I think I can still squeeze one more out of the ol’ turkey dinner, especially in the current climate. This theme feels pretty appropriate for this match, too. Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of ways to spend Thanksgiving this year during a global pandemic.
5 stars: At home, with just your immediate family, watching the Tottenham Europa League match against Ludogorets
Thanksgiving is a time to spend enjoying a good meal with extended family. But not this year! The fact is, COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are soaring to unprecedented levels, many hospitals are at capacity already, and health officials are terrified that the Thanksgiving holiday is going to result in millions of superspreader events due to people gathering in large family groups to eat a turkey, making everything even worse. It is not hyperbole to say that this is literally a matter of life and death for many Americans. Don’t do it. This goes for non-Americans, too — whip up a small dinner for your immediate family or those in your bubble, just make a sandwich or eat leftovers or whatever you want. Spend some time on Zoom talking to your loved ones and making sure everyone is having a good holiday. Have a glass of wine. And then park your butt in front of the TV/computer and watch Tottenham’s Europa League match against Ludogorets. But please, PLEASE don’t risk your own health or those of others by gathering as a large family this year. Wear a mask. Flatten the curve. You can make it without one Thanksgiving group dinner. I promise.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 5.0): This was the most Mourinho match ever — a well-disciplined defensive counter-attacking masterclass tailored to a specific opponent. Say what you want about the aesthetics of Mourinhoball: when he gets it correct and has the right players to implement it, it is devastatingly effective.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 4.0): Another match where the defensive line was so solid in front of him he only had a couple of routine saves to make, barring the late save on Ruben Dias. But his distribution out of the back was fantastic and he was always well positioned to make saves when he had to.
Serge Aurier (Community — 4.0): Is there a player who has been more improved this season than Aurier? IDK if it’s the competition from Matt Doherty or if something clicked in his brain, but he’s rarely been better than he was against City on Saturday, on both sides of the ball.
Toby Alderweireld (Community — 4.5): Sob. He was so good and then his muscles broke. We will miss him greatly. Stupid international break.
Eric Dier (Community — 4.5): Was always in the right position to block shots, make plays, and cut off attacking angles.
Sergio Reguilon (Community — 4.0): If I were to quibble I’d say that Sergio had more trouble with Kyle Walker than I expected him to and that he was a little wasteful with the ball at his feet. But that would be dumb in this article, so I won’t. He was great.
Pierre Højbjerg (Community — 4.5): I always watch Højbjerg and try and see him do something amazing that makes me perk up and he rarely does — he’s just always in the right spot to win the ball and does the dirty work to make the rest of the midfield run, and it’s so, SO important.
Moussa Sissoko (Community — 4.0): In his customary Aurier Protection Position, Sissoko worked incredibly hard against a very good City midfield. Got forward a few times too and even made a few good, progressive passes! I know! It was great!
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 4.5): His defense splitting through ball to set up Son in the opening minutes was... [takes drag on cigarette]. Pressed well too. Looked knackered when he came off for Lo Celso, and for good reason — he worked his tail off.
Steven Bergwijn (Community — 3.5): I wish he were 10% faster than he is, but this was his best performance in a Spurs shirt, possibly since the LAST time he played against Manchester City at home. Was frequently in the trailing position behind Son and Kane on counters to get to a (theoretical) second ball.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.5): Y’all, I just love him so much.
Harry Kane (Community — 5.0): He is a complete striker now, and has the tools around him so that he seems to find as much joy in setting up others to score as he does scoring himself. Nine assists in nine matches. The Premier League record is 20. He is going to break it, if he stays healthy.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 4.5): Talk about an immediate impact! Took his goal well and settled the match down at a time when it looked as though City might snatch an equalizer. But seriously, can we see him and Tanguy start a match at the same time?
1 star: Every other option
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as accidentally spreading COVID-19 because of Thanksgiving dinner.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Lucas Moura, Joe Rodon