I don’t want to write this article. It sucks writing about Spurs when they’re bad, and let’s face it — they were pretty universally terrible against Sheffield United on Thursday. Can you find motivation to write 1000 words on the specific ways in which individual players were bad?
Feels bad, man.
It was also a challenge to come up with a theme. What’s something that’s rarely good and almost always terrible? Michael Caley came up with this one, and it’s perfect (and timely) for this situation: officiating.
So, fine. I’m phoning it in somewhat, but y’all deserve to see your collective player ratings. Here are your player ratings for Spurs’ 3-1 loss to Sheffield United to the theme of football match officiating.
3 stars: When the ref makes most of the calls correctly and doesn’t ruin the game
There’s a hoary old chestnut that says that the best officials are the ones that you don’t remember after the match is over. That’s probably accurate. At their best, officials are anonymous arbitrators of the rules. They make the calls, people don’t get (too) bent out of shape, and nobody can remember who they were when talking about the match at the pub later on. In this sense, officiating is never GOOD, just okay. And that’s good, okay?
Harry Kane (Community — 3.0): He put the ball in the back of the net four times. Too bad only one of them counted.
2 stars: When the ref screws up calls and it sucks
Officials are human and make mistakes, but their mistakes tend to be hugely magnified because those mistakes directly impact the end result of what happens in the match. So when refs screw up, it really REALLY blows and becomes a central point of conversation. That happens a lot because officiating generally is trash, especially in the Premier League.
Everybody else: There’s not a whole lot else redeemable about that match. The defense was a dumpster fire, and the rest of the team did little to inspire any confidence. Take these 2-star ratings and may God have mercy on your souls.
Community ratings — Steven Bergwijn (2.5), Hugo Lloris (2.5), Gio Lo Celso (2.5), Erik Lamela (2.5), Son Heung-Min (2.5), Lucas Moura (2.0), Tanguy Ndombele (2.0), Moussa Sissoko (2.0), Jan Vertonghen (2.0), Ben Davies (2.0), Davinson Sanchez (2.0), Eric Dier (2.0), Serge Aurier (1.5), Jose Mourinho (1.5)
1 star: VAR
It continually amazes me how the Premier League manages to find ever more new and innovative way to screw up instant replay. VAR has pretty clearly caused more harm than good this season, from arbitrary armpit hair offside calls to enforcement of bad rules that nobody asked to be interpreted. That’s pretty impressive considering how much people complained about officials missing calls beforehand. They’ve even managed to take something that has worked well — goal line technology — and find a way to screw it up this season. VAR — even when it works, it’s bad.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as VAR has been this season.
0 stars: The morons who make up rules like the current iteration of the handball rule
Somehow the arbiters of the laws of the game managed to take a bad rule and make it worse — that’s the handball rule right now. The latest news is that this particular rule might be changed, and it seems wholly appropriate that it happens after Spurs get screwed by it.