After a frustrating match like the one Tottenham Hotspur just went through — a 1-1 draw against a ten-man Southampton where two legitimate goals were dubiously called back by the match officials — sometimes it helps to turn to religion.
Continuing with the series of obvious themes that somehow I’ve never used in a player ratings article before, Tottenham played Southampton. They are known as the Saints. The Catholic church has been around for a long time, and there are a lot of Catholic saints, enough so that there is a patron saint for pretty much anything you can imagine. So to narrow the field down some, I decided to rate the players to the theme of patron saints that kind of remind me of Spurs.
No, I’m not Catholic. Yes, Tottenham is known for its historic connection with Jewish fans. And yes, this is supposed to be fun and amusing and I’m not trying to offend anyone. If you have other suggestions on whom to pray to when Spurs are down 2-1 to Watford in the 85th minute this Saturday, please leave them in the comments.
5 stars: St. Jude
Obvious? Yes. Appropriate? Also yes. Known as, among other things, the patron saint of lost causes, Judas Thaddeus was one of the original 12 apostles of Jesus but apparently few early Catholics invoked his name because it was so close to that of Judas Iscariot and they didn’t want the betrayer of Jesus to accidentally receive their prayers. Thus ignored, Jude became the patron saint of those who had no other real option and under the most extreme of circumstances. Like, for example, not winning a title since 1961.
No Tottenham players were this good.
4 stars: Theresa of Avila
The patron saint of Castille, this former Carmelite nun and mystic was once very close to replacing St. James as the saint of the whole of Spain in 1620, but ultimately lost the election to the dude (typical). Theresa was known for her “embarrassment of raptures” which have led some contemporary religious scholars to postulate that she suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy; she has since become the patron saint of headaches.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 3.5): Look, he was pretty good! Solid on the ball, defensively sound, and spared Tottenham an embarrassing late loss by going low to deflect Broja’s shot over the crossbar.
Harry Kane (Community — 3.5): Took an absolutely perfect penalty and was onside for the second one that didn’t count because reasons. Only two shots, but that probably had as much to do with the midfield and a bunkered Soton defense as it did him. Passed well, especially in the attacking third.
3.5 stars: Genesius
While searching through the Catholic saint database, I came across this guy, described as “the patron saint of actors, lawyers, barristers, clowns, comedians, converts, dancers, people with epilepsy, musicians, printers, stenographers, and victims of torture.” Seems fitting.
Harry Winks (Community — 3.5): Man, what do you do with this guy? Had some classic Winksian WTF moments, especially in the first half, but countered that with some incredible passing from deep — once to Son for the penalty, and once to Kane for that (wrongfully) disallowed goal. It should be noted that Winks’ community ratings had by FAR the highest standard deviation of anyone in the poll, even more than Matt Doherty. (More on him later)
Ben Davies (Community — 3.5): No real complaints about Gentle Ben. Had a headed goal (rightfully) waved off for offside, but strangely didn’t get forward as much as what we’ve seen lately. Tiredness? Tactical? No idea. But he wasn’t bad.
Emerson Royal (Community — 3.0): Not as impactful on the right side as against Crystal Palace, though he did defend well.
Bryan Gil (Community — 3.0): Looked bright out there, out of position and on the right flank. Even had a shot on goal that was saved by Forster. I don’t know if or how he fits into Conte’s tactics, but it was good to see him out there.
3 stars: Brigid of Kildare
Brigid is connected to a host of agrarian activities (in addition to, y’know, the whole of Ireland), so her status as patron saint of poultry keepers makes her exceedingly appropriate for Tottenham fans. She could also reportedly turn water into beer, which seems like a particularly useful skill.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): Had no chance to stop Ward-Prowse’s rocket into the top corner. Probably could’ve spent most of the rest of the match texting without having to worry too much about the match.
Eric Dier (Community — 3.0): Looked exhausted, which makes sense considering how many minutes he’s had on the tires since Cuti Romero went down. Had his pocked picked by Broja in the second half, but was otherwise decent if not spectacular.
Lucas Moura (Community — 3.0): Came on for the last half hour and added a spark but not a goal at a time when we really needed him to do something.
Antonio Conte (Community — 3.0): Got the midfield wrong this time. It happens. I wish he had used one of his subs to directly address it, but the wing backs also needed a breather. Not his fault the official waved off two good goals, but Spurs could’ve been set up better to attack Southampton.
2.5 stars: Giles
I don’t know much about this particular saint, other than that he lived in the 7th century,was known as Giles the Hermit, and spent much of his life living in solitude in a forest near Nimes in the south of what is now France counseling people and performing miracles. Why exactly he’s considered the patron saint of spur makers is lost to the mists of time, but look we’ve got a theme here and we’re going with it.
Matt Doherty (Community — 2.5): The one thing Doherty is supposed to do well is get forward and into the box. He did that, and on the the opposite side from where he usually plays! But his final ball was pretty yikes. He’s still the most obvious upgrade Spurs can make in January. Was involved in what should’ve been (one of) the winning goal(s) in his coming together with Forster.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.0): He did earn the penalty which Kane converted, but he looked... stodgy out there, like the ball was glued to his feet. Sonny’s always been a little streaky, capable of purple patches followed by periods of relative fallow. He’s also played a ton of minutes and was up against a tricky opponent. But this wasn’t an especially good match.
2 stars: Luigi Scrosoppi
In 2010, someone high up in the Catholic Church decided that what the world really needed was a patron saint of footballers. They settled on this guy, a 19th century Italian priest canonized in 2001 for the miraculous healing of an AIDS sufferer in 1996. While undoubtedly a good and worthy man, his connection to football is tenuous at best, selected due to his representation with “values that are developed through sport, such as fairness, perseverance, diligence, and determination.” But hey, everyone needs a saint I guess. Even John Terry.
Dele (Community —2.0): I really wanted Dele to be good on Tuesday. He was not good. If I wanted to make a half-assed defense I’d say he was played as a wide player in the forward three which does not meet his strengths, and would’ve been better deployed deeper, but that’s pretty thin gruel.
Sergio Reguilon (Community — 2.5): Looked pretty awful out there. Picked up a cheap yellow and looked likely for another one, which is why Conte opted to haul him off at halftime. (Conte himself admitted that the sub was not tactical but preventative.)
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 2.5): Curious decision to start with Hojbjerg for a second consecutive match, and he looked absolutely knackered. Gave the ball away a ton, looked mentally out to lunch. Tanguy would’ve been a better choice.
1 star: Drogo of Sebourg
St. Drogo is known as the patron saint of unattractive people AND coffee shop owners. This has nothing to do with Tottenham Hotspur, I just found it absolutely hilarious.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as inappropriate to this theme as St. Drogo of Sebourg.
Erik Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award
Shane Long — Yeah, he’s not a Tottenham player, but is there anyone who deserves this award more than he does? His brazen attempt to feign injury after an incidental contact with Sergio Reguilon and get him sent off was absolutely glorious shithousery that would’ve made Lamela proud. But while Erik’s shithousing was chaotic, Long’s is calculated and deliberate. He absolutely knew what he was doing there.