Tottenham Hotspur played what we will probably look back on as one of their toughest matches all season this past Sunday, hosting Chelsea one day after the death of Spurs (and Chelsea) legend Jimmy Greaves. Despite a solid effort in the first half, Tottenham could not maintain their level of performance, gave up three goals in the second half, and fell 3-0 to the Blues.
It was a dispiriting letdown, but there are certainly positives that we as Spurs fans can take away from this performance, and I think that’s reflected in the player ratings for this match.
As I sometimes do after a disappointing results, today’s theme is something of a distraction, and with apologies to our overseas contingent, USA-centric. Anyone who has grown up here knows that one of the giants in the field of American breakfast cereals is Lucky Charms. This particular combination of the frosted wheat puffs with a wide array of colorful marshmallows has made breakfast fun for kids since the mid-1960s. The marshmallows are what elevates this cereal from the dozens that litter the shelves of American supermarkets, and as you might expect, I have TAKES on the marshmallows. We’re sticking to the core marshmallow lineup, not the host of temporary/promotional bits that have come and gone.
Here are your Tottenham player ratings to the theme of Lucky Charms marshmallow bits. Let’s fight about that instead.
5 stars: Blue Diamonds
Did you know? The original Lucky Charms marshmallows were pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. It was 11 years before they added a new marshmallow — the best one, the blue diamond — in 1975. While the end goal while eating any bowl of Lucky Charms was to eat all the oat puffs first leaving a pool of marshmallows in rapidly sweetening milk, as a kid I’d always, ALWAYS, save the blue diamonds for the very last. I have no real proof, but I’m convinced they just tasted better. Incidentally, General Mills completely ruined my childhood in 1994 by eliminating the blue diamonds and making the yellow moons blue. Ridiculous. Blue diamonds forever.
No Tottenham players were as good as the blue diamonds marshmallows.
4 stars: Green Clovers
Look, this is an Irish-themed breakfast cereal, complete with a posessive cartoon leprechaun sporting a terrible Irish accent. Of course there are going to be clovers, and of course they’re all going to have four leaves. It’d be shocking if they weren’t there. The only thing more stereotypically Irish would be marshmallows in the shape of whiskey bottles.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): Feels weird to put your keeper who let in three goals at the top of the rankings, but Hugo was absolutely immense on Sunday and made a number of amazing reaction saves that kept Spurs at least nominally in this match. Without him, Spurs lose by six.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.0): This was a very important match for Tanguy to convince Nuno (and a jittery fanbase) that he belongs out there, and he did it. Spurs’ midfield looked so much better with him in it in that first half, looking dangerous with someone who has the ability to progress the ball through midfield. Maybe he’s not a 90 minute player (neither was van der Vaart), but he should be playing in every league match going forward.
Cuti Romero (Community — 3.0): Chelsea is a staggeringly good football team, but Romero had a very solid match in his first league start, keeping Chelsea’s arguably best scorer, Romelu Lukaku, quiet the entire match. Subbed off with cramps at the end, which can be forgiven considering he had one training session since returning from Croatia.
3.5 stars: Rainbows
I’m partial to the original marshmallows over whatever newfangled crap they’re putting in the cereal these days (hourglasses? shooting stars? unicorns? gtfo) but the rainbows, first added in 1992, are a nice addition, especially with the leprechaun theme. I think LGBTQ kids also probably like the idea of having a little bit of pride in their morning bowl.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.0): Nuno’s been playing Pierre as a shuttler this season, but in this match he sat deeper in the more defensive position we saw under Mourinho. He’s still really good there. Ran around and broke up play a ton, but struggled to contain Kante (this is not really a criticism — Kante is that good).
3 stars: Purple Horseshoes
I remember vividly when the purple horseshoes were released — Lucky Charms commercials, placed in the breaks during after-school Scooby-Doo cartoons, had been teasing the introduction of a new marshmallow over the course of months. The reveal felt like a monumental shift in the Lucky Charms firmament, especially since they gave Lucky the power to speed things up, but the overall shape and color were... well, a little underwhelming, if I’m honest. They’re fine. But the shape is now somewhat redundant with the superior rainbows.
Eric Dier (Community — 3.0): Another fairly solid display from Eric who has looked much better in a system that actually shields the back line. Had one goal line clearance, but was very unlucky to have Chelsea’s second goal go in off the post after a heavy deflection.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 2.5): Gio already has a #narrative that has stuck to him, so it was perhaps unsurprising to see him absolutely slated off on Twitter. For me, I thought he was fine-to-good, and a very important reason why Spurs were as good as they were in the first half, helping with the chance that Son missed. Was partially complicit for Spurs’ second goal and would likely have been better if his role was swapped with Dele’s, but I really don’t understand the (over)reaction. Overall, he was fine and he needs to play more.
Nuno Espirito Santo (Community — 2.5): Nuno doesn’t have a deep bench so I can kinda understand his subs in this match, and he seems to have learned the right lessons here — play your good players. The result was bad, but that has more to do with Chelsea being really good, and Spurs being unlucky and not very deep. While I’m not wild about the system and am starting to lose patience with the way this team is playing, that first half was about as fun and good as Spurs have been since pre-West Ham Mourinho. Let’s see if that continues.
2.5 stars: Pink Hearts
The pink hearts are the only OG marshmallow that has not been replaced, even temporarily, since 1964. There’s nothing particularly special or exemplary about them — pink is a nice color and hearts are fine, I guess. By now though it would just feel weird if they weren’t there. They’re a marshmallow touchstone in a cereal that has changed quite a bit over the years, but on balance they’re a below-average marshmallow, only there to maintain that link to the past.
Dele (Community — 2.5): I don’t think Dele was as bad as what I’ve seen from others, but he wasn’t quite up to the high pressing midfield standard that he has set in the opening few matches. Got out-jumped for Chelsea’s first goal, and to his credit was extremely self-critical in the post-match interview. Feel like he might have been more impactful in Lo Celso’s position, and vice versa.
Emerson Royal (Community — 2.5): Emerson has had two really tough assignments in his first two matches — first against Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and then Sunday against Marcos Alonso. Had one great sliding block that saved a big chance and was decent positionally, but also looked lost at times, especially going forward. He looks like he’s still adjusting to the pace of the league, and we should afford him the same level of patience as we did Reguilon when he first arrived.
Oliver Skipp (Community — 2.5): I probably wasn’t the only one who did a double-take when Skipp came in as a midfield substitute for Tanguy, but Nuno’s hands were kinda tied. Had a couple of good tackles and even some progressive passes but it’s kinda hard to give him a good rating when the midfield was completely overrun after he came in.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 2.5): Sonny was in a race for fitness after injuring his calf with Korea last week, and it showed. He didn’t have the same explosiveness that he usually does, and Chelsea was set up to negate his runs in behind. Fluffed his one big chance and looked like he didn’t have the ability to get past Chelsea’s back line. Tough assignment, especially when not fit. He’ll be fine.
Bryan Gil (Community — 2.5): Was given the unenviable task of being the team’s primary creative outlet after Ndombele and Lo Celso went out. You could see flashes of it, but not nearly enough and the support wasn’t there to actually make something happen when the team was down two goals.
2 stars: Red Balloons
I never understood the purpose of these. What’s Irish about a red balloon? What makes this a worthwhile addition to a charm-based Irish themed lucky cereal, other than that it’s a primary color with an uncomplicated design that makes the marshmallows easy to produce? Easily the lamest marshmallow to be added to the regular canon.
Sergio Reguilon (Community — 2.5): I really really like Sergio but his passing was a PROBLEM on Sunday. I can forgive him for trying to make the open pass for that one big chance instead of shooting from an acute angle, but it wasn’t the right one in retrospect. Completely lost Rudiger for Chelsea’s third goal, and just didn’t have it on Sunday.
Harry Kane (Community — 2.0): We should’ve sold him. He looks completely disinterested. Dropped deep, sometimes past the center line, to collect the ball but rarely did anything with it. One shot. This fucking guy.
1 star: Unicorns
I can’t explain exactly why I hate these. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing Irish about unicorns (they’re Mesopotamian myths) so it’s defaulting to a somewhat gendered take on “magical.” Maybe it has something to do with having horse heads in a cereal bowl reminding me of that scene from the Godfather. All I know is that I think they’re quasi-gendered trash.
No Tottenham players were as bad as the Lucky Charms unicorn marshmallow bits.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Erik Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award
[Not awarded] A strange lack of shithousery considering the way Spurs regularly shithouse Chelsea in these kinds of matches.