Another solid win for Tottenham Hotspur under Antonio Conte! Spurs’ 3-0 win over Crystal Palace nearly didn’t happen, and maybe shouldn’t have, but times being what they are we all kind of have to just go with it. The win got Spurs up to fifth place, six behind Arsenal, with three matches in hand. Pretty, pretty good.
This was going to be the theme after the Leicester match a couple of weeks ago, but it was postponed, and it’s too good a theme to continue to hold onto, so we’ll just do it now. Foxes are great. I know they can be kind of a nuisance in the UK where they are more ubiquitous than in the USA, but they’re wonderful creatures, the sly buggers. I had a bunch more foxes that could’ve made the cut (hard choices had to be made) so feel free to put your favorite (or least favorite) in the comments. Suggestions: Vivica, Redd Foxx, Disney’s Robin Hood, the literal red fox, etc.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings for their 3-0 win over Crystal Palace to the theme of foxes.
5 stars: Fennec
Unquestionably the best foxes. Just look at them. Look at those EARS! These desert foxes are the smallest canids, reside in northern Africa, and consist on a diet of rodents and insects. They also have my heart. There are no better foxes.
Lucas Moura (Community — 4.5): Another impressive performance from Lucas under Conte, who has developed into a dynamic goal threat. Can be rightfully dinged for not seeing an open Reguilon early on, but had two assists and scored a lovely header himself so it’s hard to be mad at him. He’s been unquestionably great lately, but his problem has always been consistency. Let’s hope this run continues.
4.5 stars: Arctic
If a desert fox is the best fox, a tundra fox is clearly the next best fox. They are unquestionably gorgeous animals with that white fur and vulpine faces, and some kinds can morph their coats in the summers for seasonal camouflage. They can survive and even thrive in weather as extreme as -100°F. I love them.
Emerson Royal (Community — 4.0): I was kind of irritated by Emerson in the early part of this match, but he stepped up in a big way with his involvements in Spurs’ first two goals. Played a gorgeous long ball from deep to Lucas to set up Spurs’ first, and chipped a nice pass into the box for Lucas to head home. He doesn’t have Kieran Trippier’s crossing ability (who does?) but Royal is sneaky good on the offensive end and a plus defender. Outstanding match.
Antonio Conte (Community — 4.5): Reverted back to his early Skippbjerg midfield, but had a clear plan for how to attack Palace (neutralize Zaha, hit fast on counters) and most importantly utilized his subs well to give Kane, Son and Hojbjerg a rest. Solid win.
4 stars: Michael J.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about Michael J. Fox. He’s a wonderful actor with a host of film and TV credits to his name, and continues to work even after a 1991 Parkinson’s diagnosis that could have ended his career. He’s been an outspoken proponent of Parkinson’s research and created his own foundation to aid in the development of a cure. He even has a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2010. Truly, he deserves his place among the best foxes.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.0): Scored Tottenham’s third and nearly had another one early on, forcing Butland to make a low diving stop. Was a constant threat going forward, but the best part was when he got an extended rest. We need Sonny’s legs to not fall off this month.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.0): Spurs had 17 shots and Kane only had two of them. Normally that would mean a lower rating, but he took his goal very well and passed the ball very well from a deeper position.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 4.0): Picked up a cheap yellow card, but also looked fairly composed at the back for much of the match while Spurs were in control. Also did a number on Wilfried Zaha (see below).
Oliver Skipp (Community — 4.0): I continue to be pleased with Skippy’s gradual improvement over the course of the season, and especially under Conte. His natural athleticism has been recognized and utilized by Conte, and you can see his confidence growing with each match. Had a hockey assist to Lucas in the build up to Spurs’ third goal.
3.5 stars: Fantastic Mr.
It’s been around 12 years now, but 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox (based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name) is the best movie with “fox” in the title and one of only two animated movies directed by Wes Anderson. The animation is a bit dated, but it has a top-notch voice cast (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Helen McCrory [RIP]) and is actually a delightful film with a 93% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately Clooney’s Fox doesn’t get the nod for best animated fox — that goes to Robin Hood from the 1973 Disney classic and that’s also an entirely different ratings theme category.
Eric Dier (Community —4.0): Didn’t have much to do, didn’t make any real mistakes.
Sergio Reguillon (Community — n/a): Oops. Reggie was pretty good, sorry you didn’t get to rate him.
Steven Bergwijn (Community — 3.5): Subbed in as Kane’s literal substitute, this feels like the first time we’ve seen Stevie outwardly deployed as an actual striker. Didn’t make a huge impact, but had some nice runs into space and was looking for the ball. Was one of the players that caused an uptick in Spurs’ performance levels after a pretty turgid middle portion of the match.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.5): Ran around a bunch and made some tackles. It’s not a flashy job, but he did it well.
3 stars: Mulder
Few characters depict the concept of “it’s complicated” more than Fox Mulder on The X-Files. On the one hand, he was right — there [spoilers!] WAS a giant governmental conspiracy to cover up the existence of an invasion by a malignant alien species, and that a whole host of supernatural phenomenon are real. On the other hand, despite his personal conviction, he’s kind of an asshole to Scully over most of the course of the season and isn’t a very good dude in his personal life. It’s what makes him a compelling anti-hero TV character, but in an article that rates Tottenham Hotspur players to the theme of foxes, it puts him middle of the skulk.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): Someone in the comments noted how nice it was that Palace gave Hugo a night off for his 35th birthday. Considering Palace didn’t have a single shot on target, the birthday boy didn’t have much to do. Ironically that means he gets three stars, which is the default rating for keepers.
Japhet Tanganga (Community — 3.5): This is really more of a 2.75 rating. Some will view this as harsh considering Palace didn’t muster much of a threat outside the opening half hour, but as I noted in the post-match thread, Japhet kind of struggled early on. Defensively he was pretty ok, but his passing out of the back was suspect while Palace was putting Spurs under pressure, and attacks ground to a halt early on. Not his most impressive outing, even as I admit he did fine when Spurs were up a man.
2.5 stars: Ruel
Nobody would put Ruel Fox on their list of all-time Tottenham Hotspur stars, but despite what could be considered a disappointing career at White Hart Lane scoring 13 goals in five years under Christian Gross and George Graham, he’s still warmly remembered by many Spurs fans. A big signing at the time, he never quite lived up to his potential. It’s a shame that his tenure happened during the late ‘90s, a period of Tottenham history that can best be described as “dark and full of terrors.” Ruel is currently chairman of non-league club Whitton United.
2 stars: Leicester
These Foxes took our best chance for a Premier League title away from us and have consistently been a thorn in our sides over the past five years. I still have nightmares about that stupid Robert Huth header. Relatedly, until this season they had their own Austrian fox within the squad, Christian Fuchs, whom I also disliked. Bad foxes.
No Tottenham players are here, and thank God for that.
1 star: Guy Fawkes
Is there an early 17th century villain that has been more influential 400 years after his death than Guy? I suppose infamy only requires that you fail at your plan to blow up the English Parliament in order to reinstate Catholic theological rule. Fawkes (or at least his effigy) is still celebrated in England every November 5 (remember, remember) and his failed exploits inspired a groundbreaking comic book, a film based on that comic, and an anarchist internet-based hacker/activist group based on the film. Infamy is something, but that doesn’t change the fact that this guy sucked and tried to get a whole lot of people killed.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad a dude as Guy Fawkes.
0 stars: News
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Bryan Gil, Tanguy Ndombele
Erik Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award
Davinson Sanchez: We’ve given Davi a hard time on this website over the past couple of years, but it’s important to give credit for positive things and in this case Davi was a world-class shithouse against Wilfried Zaha. Sanchez went over easy after a shove to the back to get Zaha the cheap first yellow, and then was just enough of a nuisance to get Wilf to see the red mist for the second. Davi was clearly living rent free in the back of Zaha’s head, and it was great.