Another week, another big win for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. Spurs’ 4-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park was significant, not only because Tottenham weathered a storm in the first half to come back and blitz Villa with three second half goals, but also because due to Arsenal’s loss, Spurs are now basically level with the Gooners (if Arsenal wins their match in hand) but owns a commanding +10 goal differential lead, giving them an advantage in the race for top four. It’s not time to get complacent, but this weekend was MASSIVE.
The United States has 63 national parks, after the designation of New River Gorge NP last year. The American national park system is a treasure, one utilized by millions of people every year. There are no bad national parks — all of them are good. But some of them, naturally, are better than others. After a match that everyone’s feeling pretty good about, ranking Tottenham’s players to American national parks feels like a solid choice.
Obviously, with so many to choose from it’s impossible to include everything, so I didn’t even try. I’m certain I left your favorite out, but hopefully these selections serve as a representation of what you can find within the American national park system.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of American national parks. If you’re ever in the vicinity of one, be sure to visit. You’re bound to find something you love there.
5 stars: Yosemite
Yellowstone gets the bulk of the visitors and is the first name on people’s lips when you think of a national park, but Yosemite has the beauty. And man, what a gorgeous park. The land for what is now Yosemite was granted by Abraham Lincoln before his assassination. With breathtaking mountains and pristine wilderness, it has inspired countless artists and photographers over the decades. Yosemite is one of those places everyone must try and visit before they die.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 5.0): What a first half performance from Hugo. Eight saves, seven in the first half when Villa had Spurs on the ropes for significant periods. A few of them were absolutely heroic efforts, and it’s safe to say that without Hugo in goal the match could’ve ended up very, VERY differently.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 5.0): Sonny’s third minute volley set the stage, and while it wasn’t as easy a win as the scoreline indicated, he was absolutely clinical with his shooting on Saturday with a hat trick that included plonking two in off the post. It’s looking more and more likely that Harry Kane is not going to lead Spurs in scoring this season, and Sonny also now has an outside shot at the Golden Boot. Magnificent.
4.5 stars: Denali
I can’t have a national park rating without including an Alaska national park, and out of those, Denali gets the nod over Glacier Bay. Why? Because it’s too difficult to get to Glacier Bay (requiring a boat or an air taxi). Denali, by contrast, has 6 million acres of (slightly more) accessible land, and also a big ol’ gorgeous mountain range to boot. It looks like what people imagine Alaska to be. Stunning.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 4.5): Another match with a goal and an assist for Deki. This is normally a five star rating, and the only reason he’s not up there is that the two above him were just a hair better.
Cuti Romero (Community — 4.0): It was illuminating and amusing to see Cuti figure out as the match went on that the ref, through his own decisions, had basically given him license to be more aggressive with his tackling. He basically unleashed his inner shithouse on Coutinho, and put in some impressive tackles and blocks, even when under the cosh in the first half.
4 stars: Zion
The American west is chock full of amazing locations to visit, but for my money very few outdo the sheer beauty of Zion National Park in Utah. The visual contrast between the craggy redstone mountains and the canyons and rivers that cross its expanse is staggering. That’s just enough for me to edge it over the other national parks in the area like Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, and Arches.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.5): Didn’t score. That’s fine, because he picked up two assists and is now four back of the Premier League assist leader. That headed flick on to Son for his second goal was one of the most incredible things I’ve seen this season. And you know he meant to do it because you saw him look for Sonny’s run. That said, he also didn’t establish himself in the match as much as expected.
Ben Davies (Community — 3.5): A sneaky good performance from Ben. On a day when Doherty was injured and Reguilon struggled somewhat, he put in a solid defensive effort and even pinged a few decent long balls.
Antonio Conte (Community — 4.5): The system is the system, and you could see The Patterns™ on display especially in the second half. I feel like he needed a better game plan to address Coutinho in the first half, but made the correct adjustments at halftime.
3.5 stars: Virgin Islands National Park
OK, there are TONS of parks I could choose to put here and all would have their place, but I’m going with the Virgin Islands National Park, which constitutes the majority of the island of St. John in the USVI. I’ve been here once. I’m going back again in October with the kids. It’s stunningly beautiful, with forests and scrublands, plantation ruins and hiking trails, dotted with some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find anywhere in the world. And because it’s a national park, there are a lot fewer people here because the cruise ships generally stay in a couple of areas. It’s genuinely one of my favorite places in the world.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Community — 3.5): Really struggled to contain Coutinho in the first half (who himself played exceptionally well) but settled in nicely after the break.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.5): I’ve seen a lot of praise for Hobby in this match, and he got the crap kicked out of him regularly by Villa’s midfielders, but I thought he struggled a little bit in the face of that adversity. That said, he came out in the second half with a renewed energy and really ran the midfield.
Eric Dier (Community — 3.5): A very brave defensive performance, though he struggled a little bit in the first half. Five clearances, two blocks and a lot of good positioning in difficult circumstances.
3 stars: Great Smoky Mountains
Straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in America, with 14 million visitors a year. It’s also one of the largest. It’s easy to see why it’s popular — the mountains aren’t as visually stunning as, say, the ones in the Grand Tetons or Denali, but they’re extraordinarily accessible, and there are lots of great area towns and attractions — Knoxville and Pigeon Forge being two examples (go visit Dollywood, it’s great!). The vast forests are especially gorgeous in the falls, but if you’re the type of person that prefers to enjoy the solitude of the wilderness, you won’t find it here. SO many people.
Sergio Reguilon (Community — 3.5): If Spurs had a problem yesterday, it was in the wingback play. Reggie is earnest and tried to stretch Villa’s defense, but his passing was an issue on Saturday.
Emerson Royal (Community — 3.5): I still maintain that Royal isn’t a bad player, but it’s still clear to me that he’s not what Conte is looking for in his wingback options. Really struggled in the first half, but settled in better when he had more space to work with in the 2nd.
2 stars: Indiana Dunes
This is the closest national park to my house and is also one of the most recent national parks to earn the designation, in 2019. Growing up we’d visit this area on occasion, and it was a frequent day trip destination when I was in college. It’s a pretty cool area and has some pretty wild biodiversity, but the view from the beach is spoiled by the presence of a nuclear power plant. It’s also new enough that there aren’t a whole lot of support buildings or facilities, though that might change in the future. Nice place to visit, but not really a destination park.
There were no Tottenham players in this category.
1 star: Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch is cool. I have no issues with the Gateway Arch. However, Gateway Arch National Park is just... the arch, in the middle of St. Louis, with some supporting stuff around it. That doesn’t scream “national park” to me — it’s a monument. Call it that! By the standards of what a national park should be Gateway Arch doesn’t cut it and gets one star. (But it’s still pretty neat and the view from the top is nice.)
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as “bad” as Gateway Arch National Park.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Matt Doherty: He got 20 minutes of game time in, but it’d be churlish to give him a rating in a match where he got scissor-kicked and picked up a season-ending MCL injury after ten, but soldiered on for another 10. Rest up, Matt.
Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn
Eric Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award
Cuti Romero: Could it be anyone else? Honestly, I think we should just retire this award as I don’t think anyone can ever realistically take this award out of his hands.