While this wasn’t the win we were hoping for, Tottenham Hotspur’s performance against Liverpool on Sunday was super duper fun to watch. Was it their best performance of the season? Well, that’s complicated, but it sure was exciting! Maybe that complication is the reason why the aggregate community ratings were a bit lower than what I expected after watching that match. But hey, that’s the whole point of these articles, right? To argue about how everyone else (except you) is wrong.
Today’s theme is about cartoon rodents. Why this theme? Look, I’ve been doing these for over seven years now with precious few repeats. You try that, you’ll eventually get to cartoon rodents too. Just go with it.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings for their 2-2 draw against Liverpool to the theme of animated rodents in films and on TV.
5 stars: Pinky & The Brain
These two are the perfect combination of personalities when judging animated mice for a player ratings article on a Premier League football blog. The megalomaniacal intelligence of The Brain is contrasted perfectly with the hilarious ineptitude (and infectious joy) of Pinky. One could not do with the other, and it shows. Kinda like Dele and Dier. What are we going to do now, Brain? The same thing we always do, Pinky — try and win the Premier League. NARF!
Harry Winks (Community — 4.0): I want people to take note of this: in the Year of Our Lord 2021, Cartilage Free Captain is actively praising Harry Winks in a Tottenham football match. He was absolutely outstanding against Liverpool in a midfield three, playing a deep lying playmaker role without his usual responsibilities of having to track runners. His tackle and pass to feed Ndombele for Kane’s goal was exquisite, he should’ve earned a penalty no thanks to Paul Tierney, and he was dictating play from deep throughout the match. Who is this guy? Did Conte replace his bran with that of Andrea Pirlo?
Eric Dier (Community — 4.0): I think it’s time we admitted: Eric Dier is good again. Maybe he always was. Conte has found the perfect position for him in the center of a back three where he can push forward into midfield when Spurs are in attack. But what really impressed me were his long, Alderweireld-esque passes from deep positions over the heads of Liverpool defenders, almost all of which were completed.
Antonio Conte (Community — 4.5): Magnificent. Hard to say if his switch to a narrow 3-5-2 was dictated by Liverpool’s tactics or the players he had to choose from, but it was the perfect move. Spurs clobbered Liverpool in xG 3.4 - 1.5 and were unlucky not to win, carving the visitors open on the regular. Maybe... stick with this?
4.5 stars: Splinter (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Despite being of the generation just before TMNT became A Thing™, I know I’d be crucified for not including Splinter in these ratings. And he’s very good — a wise sensei (sometimes depicted as a mutated/reborn soul of a martial arts master) that instructs his shelled protogés in martial arts but also serves as an adopted father figure. His calm demeanor serves as an excellent foil to the hot-headed impulsiveness of the turtles. It’s definitely at odds to the way most rodents are depicted in animation.
Dele (Community — 4.0): This was the best I’ve seen Dele in nearly two years. He was perfectly placed at the highest point of the midfield three, which emphasized his ability to make runs into the box. He also was good defensively, with four clearances. Was massively unfortunate not to score after Alisson made a fingertip save on his shot. Is this the beginning of a Delessaince? God, please don’t loan him to Newcastle. His critics will point at the scuffed pass to Kane, but honestly — fuck the critics. Dele was great.
Harry Kane (Community — 3.5): I was probably harsh on Kane (and Son) in the immediate aftermath of the match. Upon rewatch, what stuck out was Kane did a LOT of good things on the counter against Liverpool, and with a little more clinical finishing he’d have had a hat trick. Was let down a bit by his touch. Also REALLY should’ve been sent off. Great goal, though.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.5): Son looked a little rusty and like Kane fluffed his lines on a couple of chances, but that shouldn’t diminish the excellent work he did to get into positions to be able to fluff those chances. Also did well on his goal.
Ryan Sessegnon (Community — 4.0): I was very impressed with Ryan before this match, and he continues to put in good shifts on both sides of the ball. He combined well with Ben Davies (see below) to keep Liverpool’s right side (Alexander-Arnold/Salah) very quiet, and did well going forward, especially a late chance to set up Kane. At this point I’m starting to think that Ryan is more of a 1a option alongside Reguillon at LWB.
4 stars: Remy (Ratatouille) & Templeton (Charlotte’s Web) [tie]
I love Ratatouille. Not only is it one of the best Pixar movies, it’s also one of the best movies about food ever made. Remy is a wonderful protagonist because of his (abnormal to ratkind) gourmand proclivities and a single-minded approach to gastronomy, which is a form of art. It does make him at times pretentious, as many artists can be, but he ends up doing what he loves. Compare that to Templeton, who is a garbage-eating rat but one who delights in the sheer pleasure of carnival food waste (and is also a good friend). His joy is infectious, and the sight of him literally rolling back home after a night of debauchery is hilarious. Two very good rats, two very different approaches.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 4.0): Spurs may have dominated the xG but that’s not to say Liverpool didn’t have some very good chances. Hugo came up big with a number of important stops over the course of 90 minutes. Extend him.
Ben Davies (Community — 3.5): Ben was tasked with a lot more outright defensive duties than he sometimes is in that wide position, and had a huge task to keep Salah quiet. He did quite well in that regard.
3.5 stars: Scrat (Ice Age)
The Ice Age movies aren’t exactly great, but the best parts definitely involve Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel with an unending obsession with gathering and eating THAT ONE ACORN. The official Wikipedia page lists Scrat as a male, but very few people know that Scrat’s pronouns are actually it/they, representation is important.
Emerson Royal (Community — 3.5): Fun fact: Emerson is leading the Premier League in Tackles+Interceptions/90 and is also the league leader in successful dribble percentage (88.9%). He also led the team Sunday in progressive passes and pressures. Yes, he got torched a couple of times by Sadio Mane, but it’s Sadio Mane — that’s what he does. His final ball wasn’t especially noteworthy and Spurs were less effective on the right than on the left, but I actually thought he put in a pretty decent shift all things considered. Nearly gave away a penalty (Jota) but also goaded Robertson into getting sent off. All things considered, a pretty good shift.
Oliver Skipp (Community — 3.5): Came in as a late sub after a two-week absence (possibly?) for COVID and didn’t miss a beat. Slotted in beautifully in the midfield alongside Winks and Dele, though didn’t have time to make a huge impact.
3 stars: Fievel Mouskewitz (An American Tail)
Fievel: a very good mouse, can’t sing worth a damn. Three stars.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.5): Tanguy did a lot of things quite well — see that pass to Harry Kane — but was also strangely passive for much of his stretch, letting a lot of the match pass him by. Nobody in the team can make those kinds of line-splitting passes the way he can. Do more of that!
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 3.5): Made as many tackles as any defender in this match (good!) but also was mostly responsible for Liverpool’s first goal and was out of position on their second. Kinda hard to judge him in this match.
2.5 stars: Jerry (Tom & Jerry)
Tom’s a good cat who just wants to do cat things like eat mice. Leave the poor nice kitty alone and stop hitting him with frying pans!
No Tottenham players were this poor.
2 stars: Alvin (Alvin & the Chipmunks)
If I’m honest, none of the Chipmunks (Simon & Theodore included) ever get above 2.5 stars in these rankings, but Alvin is just a conceited fuck-up with few redeeming qualities apart from being the most charismatic singer in a media-manufactured rodent boy-band. No idea how Dave put up with him for so long.
No Tottenham players were this bad.
1 star: Speedy Gonzalez (Looney Tunes)
Look, I know — very different era, etc. etc. but wow, it’s hard to watch these old Looney Tunes with Speedy and not find them all EXTREMELY PROBLEMATIC. (This is true of a bunch of old cartoons from that era, to be fair.)
No Tottenham players were as bad as Speedy Gonzalez.
0 stars: Mickey Mouse
Screw that rodent.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Lucas Moura, Sergio Reguilon
Erik Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award
Harry Kane — Not only did Harry totally get away with an ankle-breaker challenge on Andy Robertson in this match (only mitigated by the fact that Robertson saw it coming and jumped to avoid it), but he went on live TV after the match and basically said “I got the ball.” LOL no you didn’t, Harry. Seems out of character until you remember that this is a guy who stole a goal from a teammate and swore on his daughter’s life. Exquisite shithousery.