That was painful. Tottenham Hotspur went to Stamford Bridge and catastrophic, overly defensive football in a 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Saturday. There aren’t many positives to take from this match — Spurs looked porous on defense, absent in midfield, and toothless in attack. In a match that they needed to win to put themselves back in the top four conversation, they looked... well, awful.
Today’s theme is another Commentariat idea, but it feels appropriate today. Here are the Spurs player ratings to the theme of Dante’s Circles of Hell.
5 stars: First Circle: Limbo
In as much as all Circles of Hell are bad, this one seems... kinda okay? Still not great.
No Tottenham players are deserving of Limbo (though we wish we could send a couple of them there)
4 stars: Second/Third Circles: Lust/Gluttony
Souls in these levels are continuously pelted with rain, hail, and black snow, or blown about by intense winds. That’s kinda like London in January, tbh. Pretty bad, tho.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 3): If there was one bright light in this depressing mess of a match, it was the play of Sanchez, who was very clearly the best of Tottenham’s back five. Put a powerful header on target and had some important tackles that kept the scoreline from being even worse.
3.5 stars: Fourth Circle: Greed
Souls here are forced to push boulders for eternity. Sounds like being a Tottenham fan, and who’d wish that on anyone?
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): You can make the argument that he could’ve done better for Giroud’s near-post goal, but considering he had already made a stop it’s hard to be too mad at him. Had a number of good saves overall despite letting two past him.
Erik Lamela (Community — 3.5): Considering that he’s barely fit and told Mourinho he wasn’t sure he could go he sure put in a lively shift. Was responsible for Spurs’ only goal of the match, even if he wasn’t credited with it.
3 stars: Fifth Circle: Anger
The condemned are forced to fight each other for eternity, and the sullen end up at the bottom of the River Styx. Yeah, that’s a lot worse.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 2.5): What do you do with this guy? He was clearly one of Spurs’ few bright spots offensively, but not only was extremely lucky not to be sent off for the Azpilicueta incident but also had a few dangerous high-kicks that also could’ve earned cards.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 2.5): Not one of his better performances to be sure, but gets a sympathy half-star from me for persevering despite getting kicked by Chelsea players all day.
Toby Alderweireld (Community — 2.5): Decent match, solid positionally. Had one gorgeous long pass to Tanganga from deep that #TangGang couldn’t bring down.
2.5 stars: Sixth Circle: Heresy
Locked in burning stone coffins? Woah this is even worse how
Steven Bergwijn (Community — 3): Had one good shot on target but received so little service it’s hard to rate him. Unfortunately this is a team where wide players are going to have to create their own shots and Big Steve mostly didn’t.
Japhet Tanganga (Community — 3): #TangGang has shown he can be effective as the more defensive wingback in a back line, assuming there’s another one with license to get forward. This time... there wasn’t, and Marcos Alonso took advantage of his inexperience. He did have one good run forward but a heavy touch kept it from becoming a chance.
Lucas Moura (Community — 2.5): [checks notes] ...Nope, still not a striker. Had the most shots of anyone on Spurs’ team (two), so that’s something, I guess.
2 stars: Seventh Circle: Heresy
You wouldn’t think it could get much worse than burning coffins but seriously “chased by hounds and ripped apart by harpies” is PRETTY DAMN BAD
Ben Davies (Community — 2): Holy smokes was he bad. For the second match in a row Ben looked off the pace and failed to serve as an outlet from the central defenders to the midfield, which allowed Chelsea to press. I praised him in his first match back, but right now I’m not really seeing what he offers the team.
Harry Winks (Community — 2): Winksy struggles when he’s the main defensive midfielder against a team that presses. Which is what happened. And he did. Looked lost in a Spurs midfield which was pressed out of existence on Saturday.
Jan Vertonghen (Community — 2): I hate this because I love Jan, but he just doesn’t have it anymore. Give him a hug, thank him for his service, sell him this summer, and give him his testimonial when he eventually hangs up his boots.
1.5 stars: Eighth Circle: Fraud
YO I’M NOT GOING INTO DETAIL LOOK IT UP THIS IS SERIOUSLY AWFUL
Jose Mourinho (Community — 2... just barely): This might have been the first time we’ve really seen actual super-negative Mourinho-Ball during his Tottenham tenure. I understand there was fatigue and injury issues, but this team was set up to fail, and it did. That comes down to the manager.
1 star: Ninth Circle: Treachery
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as the Ninth Circle of Hell, thank goodness
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Dele Alli, Serge Aurier