What a match. Tottenham Hotspur put in one of their best halves of football all season and, five minutes into extra time in the second half, it looked like they were going to get bupkus for it. Enter: Steven Bergwijn. Stevie put in a performance that gave us all the feels like we haven’t felt since THAT day in Amsterdam. The stakes weren’t as high, but the excitement was sure palpable. Sports are all about moments, and those are the moments that keep me going as a Spurs fan.
Someone in the comments after the match thew this out as a ratings theme. I don’t remember who it was, sorry, but it was a very good idea, so I’m going with it. The word “miracle” is thrown around an awful lot in today’s society. Usually it’s for something that isn’t at all miraculous, just kinda unlikely. So if we’re going to be grammar cops, this particular theme isn’t, strictly speaking, accurate. But who cares, we’re doing it anyway.
Here are your player ratings for Tottenham’s 3-2 win at Leicester to the theme of miracles.
6 stars: of Amsterdam
This is a Tottenham Hotspur blog.
Steven Bergwijn (Community — 5.0): It’s been noted plenty, but Stevie going from getting yelled at by Soyüncü after going down easy in the box to scoring two goals in two minutes in extra time to win the match for Tottenham goes down as one of the all time great performances in my mind. It’s perfect. Stevie came on in the 79th minute and I considered putting him in the Tom Carroll section for maximum trolling, but I can’t he deserves this too much.
5 stars: On Ice
For those of us who are of *cough* a certain age, this is one of those sports moments that sticks indelibly in your mind. It was the Cold War, after all. Beating the Soviets in Olympic hockey en route to winning the gold medal wasn’t just an upset, it was IMPOSSIBLE. These were the four-time defending Olympic gold winners. It’s one of the greatest sports upsets of any sport, ever. “Do you believe in miracles...? YES!!!”
Harry Kane (Community — 4.5): At halftime of this match, Harry Kane had seven shots and an xG of 1.58. He ended the match with 11 shots. That’s... just unreal. Kane’s in the middle of what feels like a historic finishing slump right now otherwise I think he scores four goals in this game and we blow Leicester out of the water without needing Stevie at all. But that wouldn’t be fun, would it? Kane also put in an amazing through ball to Steve for the winner. This was an EXCEPTIONAL match for Harry, even if his finishing was off.
Antonio Conte (Community —4.5): Genius. A few tactical tweaks, a few rested players, and Spurs put up a higher xG vs. Leicester than they did in FIVE MATCHES COMBINED under Nuno Espirito Santo. Was particularly impressed by his instructing Harry Winks to drop into the back line, allowing the wide CBs to push forward and break Leicester’s press. If Spurs are doing this well with this team, imagine what they’ll look like with a few more of his signings in place next year.
4.5 stars: Max
Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) is one of my favorite characters from one of my favorite movies of all time — The Princess Bride. His one scene with Carol Kane is the funniest of the whole movie, and it was completely improvised on the spot — no script, just basic directions, let Crystal and Kane do their thing. It’s incredible.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 4.5): I thought Pierre was a little leggy in the first half, but he put in an absolutely outstanding second 45. Exceptional passing and a few great blocks and interceptions that quickly turned into counterattacking chances. Fun, and good to see. Let’s keep him fresh.
4 stars: Water into wine
We can’t really have a miracles theme and not have and actual honest-to-god Biblical example, can we? There are plenty to choose from but I’m going with Jesus’ first one from John 2:1-11 because it seems like it’d be really useful and would make you a hit at parties.
Sergio Reguilon (Community — 3.5): Unfortunate to kick the through ball to Patson Daka for Leciester’s opening, but his passing was on point today and he was a very solid link between Kane and Lucas. I thought he did quite well in his first match back in a while.
Oliver Skipp (Community — 4.0): Didn’t look entirely comfortable tasked with a more offensive midfield role — I was surprised to see him there and not at the base of the 3 where Winks was. But he covered a TON of ground, had a lovely ball to Hojbjerg for a big chance. Kick-started the move that led to Kane’s goal. Really growing into this team. Good performance.
3.5 stars: Smokey Robinson and the
Look, I just love these guys. Stop what you’re doing and go listen to their 1967 album “Make It Happen.” It’s more than just “Tears of a Clown,” okay?
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): Hugo didn’t have a ton to do and you can argue that he should’ve done better on Leicester’s first goal, but had a couple of very nice (if routine for him) stops.
Harry Winks (Community — 3.5): Cromulent from corners and free kicks, decently progressive playing as the deepest central midfielder. I wasn’t overly enamored with his performance (a few vintage “traffic cone” moments), but it’s certainly on par with the New Winks™ we’ve seen under Conte. Pretty good.
3 stars: Mile
I’ve only been to California a few times in my life, so I reached out to a member of my staff who’s a Cali native about the Miracle Mile. The report: “It has the LA County Museum of Art and LaBrea, everything else sucks. Three stars.” Good enough for me!
Ben Davies (Community — 3.5): Got lost during Leicester/Daka’s opening goal, but it’d be disingenuous to lay the blame for that goal entirely at his feet. It was fun seeing him have license to move forward with the ball in this match. Could’ve been a lot worse. Also could’ve been better.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 3.0): By Davinson standards, this wasn’t too bad a performance — he passed decently well and had some solid challenges, but then got absolutely smoked by Barnes late on. That’s not great and he was lucky! For me, this is more of a 2.75-star rating.
Lucas Moura (Community — 3.5): Nearly had an assist for a chance that Kane missed, but otherwise quiet in a wide open match that really suited his strengths.
Matt Doherty (Community — 3.5): This was the kind of match in which, in theory, Matt should excel as there were few defensive responsibilities and he was tasked to get forward into the box. And he was pretty good until the end product, where he seemed to trip over his feet more often than not. Was involved in Spurs’ first goal, though. This match is unlikely to make a difference on his future at Spurs — we can still do so much better.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 3.0): I was braying for him to start in the 3-5-2 (and still think he could’ve been a plus asset in the first half). Didn’t do much but notably Spurs shifted shape soon after he came on when down a goal.
2.5 stars: Nature’s
Anyone who owns cats knows that they occasionally make a mess. There was a time when Nature’s Miracle was the best way to get urine and vomit stains out of carpet and upholstery, but somewhere along the line they changed their formula and now it sucks. Cats are jerks, and this product doesn’t help.
Japhet Tanganga (Community — 3.0): Let’s be honest, the central defense was the biggest problem for Spurs in this match and that puts Japhet (and Davinson) squarely in view. That’s not to say Japhet was poor — he wasn’t, not particularly — but he also wasn’t great. He might benefit from matches in the slower-paced Serie A with Milan.
Emerson Royal (Community — 2.5): Not an impressive performance by any means but he was solid enough defensively. Not judging him too harshly as it looked like he picked up a painful knock in the first half that may have impeded his performance. Subbed at halftime.
2 stars: Whip
I confess to appreciating this fake mayonnaise as a relic of my childhood. Other people would view this as evidence of my abusive childhood. It is, however, unequivocally worse than mayo in just about every possible application (though I do love it on fried eggs).
Nah, there’s nobody here.
1 star: of Istanbul
This is a Tottenham Hotspur blog.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as the Miracle in Istanbul.
Erik Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award
Çaglar Söyüncü — This is an ironic award. Thanks for inspiring us to the win, buddy!