Just before the shutdown, I decided I wanted to learn more about Australian Rules Football.
Carefully researching all of the options in the AFL Pretty much picking some teams to watch at random and then asking on the internet “which AFL team is the most Spurs,” I eventually settled on Port Adelaide, the most successful club in the history of the AFL but one who hadn’t won anything in a long time. Hey, fandom has been determined by far stupider criteria!
The AFL ground to a halt along with the rest of sports worldwide, but recently started up again, and since Fox Sports shows AFL matches early mornings I can set my DVR and watch later. The Power have some players with excellent hair, but there’s one dude on their team — Scott Lycett — who has a GLORIOUS mustache. Like, seriously, it’s just about the best sports mo I’ve seen since Kirk Gibson.
Look, I don't know much about Aussie Rules Football but if I weren't already a Port Adelaide supporter I would be now purely because of this dude's mustache. pic.twitter.com/Ftxpg0xkt8— Dustin George-Miller (@dustingm) June 22, 2020
From what I’ve gathered it’s a new style, and probably inspired by the coronavirus shutdown, because seriously what else are professional athletes going to do with their time except grow hair? I tweeted the above, it got RT’d a few times by some Aussie Spurs fans, and eventually ended up with a reply from the Port Adelaide official account.
Since then, I’ve gained at least 20 followers on Twitter, almost all Aussie Port Adelaide supporters who have welcomed me with open arms (even as they tell me I’ve got the wrong Premier League club). They’re honestly about the sweetest and most welcoming fanbase I’ve ever encountered. I’m a Port Adelaide supporter now. #CarnThePear
So that’s the inspiration for today’s player rating theme — COVID hair and specifically TOTTENHAM COVID hair. We’ve talked a little bit about some of this in separate articles, but it seems appropriate since England’s still kinda-sorta in lockdown but we’re still playing professional sports.
Here are your player ratings for Tottenham’s 2-0 London Derby win over West Ham, to the theme of COVID hairstyles.
5 stars: Alfie Whiteman
He may not be a star player on this Tottenham team, but few players came out of the COVID shutdown looking better than Alfie. The combination of the longer hair plus the incredible, almost Pirlo-esque beard and whoo buddy [fans self]. He may not see the pitch for Spurs’ first team, but he’s pretty fly for a white(man) guy.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 4.5 ): It’s Gio’s first match in the post-COVID times and despite missing the first match due to after-effects from an injury, he came through in a HUGE way from a central midfield position. Assisted Sonny for his (offside) goal, set up Kane for another chance (that he missed) and had his corner kick deflected in by Soucek. The best player on the pitch by a country mile.
4.5 stars — Paulo Gazzaniga
If Whiteman has the 5-star hair/beard combo, Gazzaniga — another backup Tottenham keeper — is probably about 4.9. This photo is amazing. That smile! That hair! That beard! Alas, we must downgrade him slightly to fit him here, but he’s another one who has the cheekbones to wear a good beard and carry his hair a bit longer.
Eric Dier (Community — 4.0): Has Jose Mourinho fixed Eric Dier? He’s playing some of his best football right now from a center back position. Another solid outing today in partnership with Davinson Sanchez, and it sure seems like it’s his position to lose right now.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.0): After all the hand-wringing from the United match, this was one of Harry’s best performances in a long time. It took him a while to get into the match, but six shots under his belt, one breakaway goal, and some incredible passing from deep positions. I’m sorry, Harry. Keep doing this.
4 stars — Giovani Lo Celso
Giovani Lo Celso is an extremely handsome man. That’s it. That’s the category.
Moussa Sissoko (Community — 4.0): What if Sissoko is the deep-lying defensive midfielder we’ve been waiting for? Mourinho has put him in a position where he can do all things he does well (running, defensive pressure, tackling) and without all the things he’s bad at (kicking the football). I am enjoying watching him play, and when’s the last time you heard me say THAT?
Erik Lamela (Community — 3.5): Lamela has put in a couple of tidy shifts in these first two matches, but this one off the bench was his best. Hit the side netting at one point and also won the ball back in the play that ended up with Kane scoring. I love him.
3.5 stars — Eric Dier
You know, part of me was hoping Dier would show up with some kind of wild-ass woodsman shaggy haven’t-washed-my-hair-in-months cut, because that seems like the kind of thing he’d do, you know? But instead he obviously found his trimmers and ended up with a #1/#2 dual-layer buzz that, frankly, he looks great in. It’s not the most creative cut, but it screams “I care about my appearance” while also being something he or someone in his closed circle could do easily.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.5): Should’ve had a goal if his toenail hadn’t been deemed offside by VAR. Looked bright and got the assist to Kane despite taking a while to get into the match.
Serge Aurier (Community — 3.5): Was quite impressed with Serge’s defensive work in this match. Got forward a lot more on Tuesday but his end product was lacking. Still, on balance — a good match.
Lucas Moura (Community — 3.0): Leathered the ball at one point forcing a big save from Fabianski. Passed the ball well as well, but missed an infuriating open look at goal.
Ben Davies (Community — 3.5): Another surprisingly solid outing from Ben who is looking like the left back we all thought he would be when we signed him. Working well as an auxiliary third center back when Spurs are attacking.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 3.5): Outshined by his defensive partner, but Sanchez had a fine game against a West Ham attack that can (but didn’t) cause problems for teams.
3 stars — Erik Lamela
When Lamela reported for training with... that, I tweeted that while Tottenham players have tested negative for COVID, Lamela had tested positive for bad hair choices. In that photo, he looks like Argentine Ted Danson. It’s better now that it’s grown out into more of a black-white fade look, so we’ll bump up his rating to a nice, even three stars. The haircut looks nice! The color... well.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 4.0: Hugo almost literally had nothing to do as West Ham only registered one shot on goal (though they had one clang off the post). For matches like this, 3 stars is the default rating.
Steven Bergwijn (Community — 3.5): Came in as a sub for the last 20 minutes for Lucas as fresh legs, but didn’t have as much of an impact as he did against United. Gave Aaron Cresswell a few things to think about, though.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 3.5): Set up Spurs to play with more possession against West Ham which was the right choice. His decision not to use all of his substitutions is still baffling, however. We won’t get into the Ndombele situation here.
2.5 stars — Dele
Dele reported back in the After Times with new facial hair — a goatee. Kinda. You wonder if he grew it because he wanted to look older (which is 90% of the time the reason most dudes in their early 20s grow facial hair), but it’s not a good look because the mustache and the chin hair don’t connect. So it looks... just weird. Honestly, I’d respect it more if he just grew out the ‘stache, because that right there isn’t a great look.
Dele (Community — 3.0): Dele’s performance warrants his own category? How appropriate! It’s not that Dele was BAD necessarily in this performance — he just looked really, really rusty. He worked hard and you can see what he was trying to do, but while most of his teammates had an extra match to shake off the cobwebs, this was his first match back. It’s fine. He’ll be fine.
2 stars — Tanguy Ndombele mystery cut
Tanguy Ndombele probably has bad hair. That’s the theory, at least. See, we don’t really know because he’s been wearing a beanie over his head pretty much ever since training started up again even in hot weather. Bad cut, maybe? Hiding male pattern baldness? Danny-Rose-style dye job gone wrong? Who knows! It’s a mystery that won’t be solved until he actually takes the pitch for a match, and considering everything that’s swirling around him at the moment who knows if or when THAT will happen. So I’m going to just pretend he has a mullet under there.
1 star — David Moyes
Okay, maybe it’s cheating because this isn’t a Tottenham personality, but I was particularly struck by West Ham manager David Moyes’ COVID hair during the match yesterday. Kudos to Moyesie, who obviously hasn’t secretly seen a barber since the UK went into shutdown back in March, but holy smokes, he could use one. It looks like Moyes is very slowly turning into Art Garfunkel.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as David Moyes’ hair.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Harry Winks (Community — 3.0)