Hi, gang. My vacation last week was fantastic, thanks for asking! It’s actually the first true vacation I’ve had in a long time, of the kind where I actually left the continental United States for somewhere else. My family and I traveled to the Virgin Islands for ten days of relaxation, warm weather, and beaches. It was great! I didn’t disconnect entirely from Carty Free the way I intended, but I did exactly as much blogging as I wanted to do and no more than that.
Vacations are important, and unfortunately here in the United States we are generally very bad at actually taking them. Part of that is because employers often have very bad vacation and PTO policies that prevent and discourage workers from taking them. But equally pervasive is a sense from workers themselves that they can’t take time off, either because they have too much to do or because they feel like their job is so instrumental to the working of their employer that they can’t without damaging their job performance or future advancement prospects.
Both of these are terrible reasons not to take time off. We all need breaks from our jobs, even writing about Tottenham Hotspur. I don’t take breaks from the blog nearly as often as I should, and it’s my own damn fault. But this time I did (mostly) and it was good.
So here are the player ratings for Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 loss at home to Newcastle United to the theme of vacations.
5 stars: Staycation
Travel is fun and good, but if you want a true break from work, there’s nothing quite like staying at home while on vacation. Sure, it’s not glamorous and you don’t get to have new experiences and visit fun new places, but you sure do get to relax and forget about the job for a bit while also getting to sleep in your own bed. Not much better than that.
No Tottenham players were as good as a real, relaxing staycation.
4 stars: No-plans travel
The best kinds of travel vacations, in my opinion, are the ones where you pick a destination and then figure out what to do once you’re there. Oh sure, you can do your research, have some ideas of where to go and what to do, but these open vacations allow you to decide to do something, or not to do something. Maybe you hit a beach, or take a walking tour of the city, or a day trip to somewhere else, but maybe instead you chill at the hotel for a day because you’re tired. That’s okay. It’s less demanding on your time, and less pressure because you only end up doing what you really want to do. And isn’t that the point of vacation?
Rodrigo Bentancur (Community — 3.5): Missing his usual partner in Spurs’ midfield, Lolo took up the Hojbjerg role of a more progressive runner in midfield, and did it pretty dang well.
Oliver Skipp (Community — 3.0): Boy was it good to see Skippy out there. This was his first start in nine months, and he looked pretty good! Worked well with Bissouma and Bentancur and was out there trying things. A touch rusty which is understandable, but that was a performance that showed a lot of promise.
Harry Kane (Community — 3.5): Not bad. Was in the right place for the flicked back post set piece goal and worked hard. Set up Sonny once, and forced Pope into a couple of nice saves. Another day, he has a brace.
3 stars: Regimented travel
It’s great to plan out your vacations, especially if you’re someone who likes order because you know exactly what you’re doing and when you’re doing it and can structure your trip around that. Cruise ships are an example of regimented travel — everything’s planned out for you so that you don’t have to do it. Theme parks are similar — there’s a lot to do and if you plan it out you can get to as many of the highlights as possible. And that’s fine! Just be cautions that you don’t spend so much time doing stuff (and especially traveling) that you return from your vacation more tired than when you left. We always plan one day of “downtime” at home on vacations where we recover from our trip.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 2.5): Looked lively, especially in the first 25 minutes or so before Newcastle’s first goal. Worked hard to get forward and was unlucky not to score at least one, as Pope made some good stops. Faded in the second half along with the rest of the team, but this was a pretty good performance. Problem is, we’re used to great ones.
Yves Bissouma (Community — 2.5): Pretty good. Still doesn’t look as integrated into the side as I expected when we signed him, but there’s evidence that he’s starting to get it. But he’s not really a progressive midfielder.
Emerson Royal (Community — 2.5): Say what you will about that defensive performance, but Emerson wasn’t really the problem. He defended capably and got up the pitch well. It’s just he can’t hit the broad side of a barn with his crossing.
2.5 stars: Solo vacations
This one might be controversial because I know people who have, and absolutely love, traveling by themselves. But for me, there’s nothing like having a traveling companion with whom you can share your experiences, both good and bad. Maybe that’s a spouse or a partner, maybe it’s your entire family, or a friend. I just can’t see going on a vacation by my lonesome and having it be an enjoyable experience.
Clement Lenglet (Community — 2.0): Possibly the least onerous of the back three that started vs. Newcastle (which isn’t saying a lot), but got absolutely smoked by Almiron on the second goal. Did have the flick to Kane for the goal, though. Feel like he’s getting caught up slightly in what was a pretty awful day for the entire back line.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 2.0): Since I get a lot of stick on here for bagging on Davi, let the record show that I didn’t think Sanchez was (quite) as bad in this performance as everyone else seems to. Again a iffy in possession as part of that right flank along with Emerson Royal, but had some pretty good defensive moments against a quite good Newcastle attack.
Lucas Moura (Community — 2.5): Came in as an impact sub, made very little impact. Weirdly played centrally as a more advanced CM.
Ivan Perisic (Community — 2.5): See above, but didn’t play centrally.
2 stars: “Working vacations”
Let’s be real: “working vacations,” where you’re basically doing your regular job, just from a laptop or phone from a different, possibly prettier, location is not vacation. It is you doing your job, but remotely. That’s not to say that it’s not okay to occasionally field an important phone call or answer an email on a pressing issue while you’re away. But if you’re spending a lot of time “working” while you’re supposed to be not working, that’s an issue.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 1.5): Oh Hugo. Friend. Buddy. Wow. I can kind of excuse the uncalled foul that led to the first goal (we can argue about that but it was at best a 50/50 play that usually gets called on the side of the keeper) but but there’s not much defense I can make on the second where he started the play with a terrible kick, then dived a let a goal underneath him. One of the worst games I’ve seen him play for Spurs, possibly ever.
Eric Dier (Community — 2.0): For a while there, Eric was looking like a solid, if not spectacular, CB in a Conte back three, but he’s regressed a lot over the past few weeks and has resembled the error-prone Dier from the Mourinho era lately. That back pass that nearly led to an own goal... whoof. Did someone replace his feet with canned hams?
Ryan Sessegnon (Community — 2.0): I’ve been bigging up Sess a lot lately based on his performances, suggesting he might be our best option at left back. I still think that, but he had a pretty awful match on Sunday. Equally as culpable for Almiron’s second goal as Lenglet or Hugo.
Antonio Conte (Community — 2.0): So, for full transparency, I’m not sure what Conte could’ve done to mitigate the match considering the injuries he had. But whatever it was, he didn’t do it.
1 star: Not ever taking vacation
I don’t know why corporate culture, particularly American, considers working long hours and not ever taking time off to be signifiers of “drive” and “ambition.” I was like this for a while early in my career to where at one point had about three months of unused, banked vacation time. This isn’t healthy. It means you’re focusing on the wrong thing. Rested workers who take time off and find a work-life balance are generally more productive, better at their jobs, and don’t burn out nearly as quickly. Use your vacation and don’t check your work email, folks. Doesn’t matter if you go anywhere, just take some time off.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as being a workaholic and never taking vacation time because you think it makes you better at your job.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Ben Davies (80’), Matt Doherty (80’)