Tottenham Hotspur won a game, perhaps against all odds! After a septus horribilis that saw Spurs lose to Arsenal and crash out of the Europa League after winning the first leg 2-0, you can probably count on one hand who thought Spurs were capable of bouncing back the way they did.
But they did it. Goals from Carlos Vinicius and Harry Kane catapulted Spurs out of the depths of despair and back into, wildly enough, contention for top four.
Today’s theme is about chicken. Specifically, fried chicken. Chicken nuggets, in fact, which are made to be dipped in things. After much discussion in the writer’s room we determined that the wide and varied range of Things You Can Dip Nuggets Into is both incredible and also a good theme. So that’s what we’re doing.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of chicken nugget dips. Get your nugs on.
5 stars: BBQ sauce
This might be controversial to some, but God’s honest truth there’s so little between the top three categories here that we’re not going to argue if you’d reorder any of the three. But I’m putting BBQ on top because it’s just iconic. Chicken is a blank slate for flavor, and BBQ is packed full of flavor — sweet, savory, spicy. You can’t improve on it. You can only equal its magnificence.
Lucas Moura (Community — 4.5): With the possible exception of the Champions League run-in two years ago, this has easily been Lucas’ best spell with Tottenham. Since moving centrally he’s been good on both sides of the ball, pushing forward to cross to Vinicius for the goal, and also tracking back to make defensive stops. He’s even good in the air! Keep it up, Lucas.
4.5 stars: Honey Mustard
If BBQ is 5, honey mustard is 4.9. But someone’s gotta go at the 4.5 category. Straight mustard can be a little too piquant as a dipping medium for most things (though it’s great as an accent flavor), but mixing it with honey mellows it out perfectly. It’s also versatile. A near flawless condiment in general and a truly fantastic nugg dip.
Japhet Tanganga (Community — 4.0): Easily Spurs’ best defender on the day, which is lovely to see considering he’s still very much a center back playing out of position. He’s not going to be bombing up the flank anytime soon but he is unafraid and made some really important defensive plays. I think he’s better than Doherty right now.
4 stars: Heinz ketchup
There are very few things that can’t be improved by dipping it into ketchup. That’s without debate. However, not all ketchups are equal. There’s no mass-produced ketchup better than the Heinz corporation. It’s the ur-ketchup. Get yer Rold Gold Hunts Muir Glen Organic Sir Kensington hippie shit out of here. It’s Heinz or the highway.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.0): As absent as he was in Croatia, Kane was back to (nearly) his best against Villa. Deployed as a #10 behind Vinicius, he was focused more on creating than on shooting but drew the penalty and worked his tail off in the press. Thought he was great.
Carlos Vinicius (Community — 4.0): Vinigol hasn’t gotten many opportunities in the Premier League, but he did well when called upon against Villa. He pressed fantastically, and while he seemed a little isolated at times, he knows when and how to make runs into space, and was in the right place at the right time for the first goal.
Joe Rodon (Community — 4.0): Thrown into the crucible a bit after a spell on the bench, but he responded admirably in defense. He’s going to make some young defender mistakes now and then but he proved he has the tools to be a very solid defender for Spurs in the fullness of time.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.5): A sneaky good performance from Tanguy. That lovely spin and turn in midfield caught all the highlights, but he was otherwise just a solid midfield progressor of the ball. Won the ball back to start the play that led to Spurs’ second goal. He’s been better, but against Villa he was pretty dang good.
3.5 stars: Mayo + [flavor]
On its own, mayonnaise is not a great nugg sauce. It’s too bland, and almost pure fat. But mix it with a flavor and buddy you’re cooking with gas. Add garlic, herbs, relish (tartar sauce), or even other sauces like mustard, BBQ, or ketchup and you’ve got a really solid nugget dip. Think of it as the platform upon which you are painting. Culinarily. For nuggets.
Pierre Hojbjerg (Community — 3.5): Better, but still not perfect. Hojbjerg looks like a player who’s been run into the ground a bit, probably because we’ve run him into the ground this season. Did well to win the ball in a sliding challenge then get up and test the keeper with a rocket of a shot.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 3.5): Another pretty solid defensive showing. Got into trouble a couple times with some silly fouls for extending the chicken wing, if you know what I mean, but his form has definitely improved. Displayed a good partnership alongside Rodon, which is good since this is probably the first choice center back pairing of the future.
3 stars: Ranch
By rule, I love ranch dressing. Nobody really knows what’s actually in it, but everyone knows the flavor profile, and it holds up to a wide variety of applications. And yet, as a pure nugg sauce while I won’t turn it down I can’t help but think that those flavors belong in another culinary application. It’s not that the chicken can’t handle it, it’s just... somewhat underwhelming when there are better options out there.
Sergio Reguilon (Community — 3.5): A little shaky defensively at times, but soldiered on as long as possible even after being clattered twice. Subbed off after a half hour.
Ben Davies (Community — 3.5): Didn’t do anything bad, necessarily, and was solid enough as Reggie’s replacement off the bench after the injury.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 3.0): How nice was it to see Gio back out there? Looks like there’s some rust to shake off, which is understandable, but he had some nice moments in possession. He’s going to be a huge asset in Spurs’ last ten matches.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): His only notable contribution was a diving save midway through the second half, though he had it well covered anyway. Otherwise, not much to do.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 3.5): His lineup didn’t ruffle too many feathers, and his tactics were pretty classic Joseball with some twists. It worked, to his credit. I hope this doesn’t mean we’re abandoning the attacking tactics that worked better.
Steven Bergwijn (Community — 3.0): This guy needs a goal, pretty badly. I still believe in him.
2.5 stars: Honey
I am told that dipping fried chicken or chicken nuggets in pure honey is a big thing in the American South, and look I’m not here to make you question your nugg dips. You continue being you. It’s just too much pure sweetness for me when what I really want is a flavor that’s gonna punch me in the mouth.
There were no players here, this is just about getting another nugg dip category.
2 stars: Sweet & Sour
Going by the established maxim that there really aren’t any BAD nugget sauces, sweet and sour isn’t terrible, per se. It’s fine. If all they have is a packet of sweet and sour you’re not going to turn it down. It’s just incredibly underwhelming. Even so, it’s still better than the 1-star category below.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were sour. All Tottenham Hotspur players are sweet.
1 star: Eating plain chicken nuggets
Fried chicken is good. REALLY good fried chicken can hold up on its own without sauces, provided it has a good breading. But for nuggets? They are vessels for the sauce, much in the same way that chicken wings are vessels for flavored sauces. Unless you’re at a god-tier chicken joint, there’s nothing sadder than eating plain, unadorned chicken nuggets.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as eating plain nuggs.
Colonel Sanders Memorial Non-Rating