Great game! Tottenham Hotspur hosted Newcastle United, aka Nuevo-riche-castle, aka Geordie Arabia on Sunday in the Premier League and whipped the pants off them, winning 5-1. They scored a lot of goals. It was super fun.
Coming up with new and unique themes for these articles becomes harder and harder the longer I do them, but sometimes I ask for help from the team and they give me one right away that just seems completely obvious. This is one of them. We played Newcastle? Let’s rate the players to new castles. It’s thematic!
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of new(ish) castles.
5 stars: Magic Kingdom
Look, say what you want about the company as a modern media behemoth, but the Disney theme parks rule. There’s something about walking into the park and seeing that ginormous modern castle straight out of a storybook rising up in front of you. Pretty cool.
Cristian Romero (Community — 4.5): Imperious at the back. I’ve become so used to good performances out of him that actually forgot to mention him in the match report. Very composed on the ball, but the signature moment was that incredible tackle on Joe Willock that likely saved a goal.
Matt Doherty (Community — 4.0): I’ve given a lot of stick to Doherty since his arrival, and to be fair his performances have earned it. But under Conte, he’s blossomed. He’s averaging .45xg+xa/90 this season — small sample size, but elite numbers. Very good crashing the box, got a goal for his hustle and should’ve had an assist... still not sure why he didn’t. Easily his best match in a Spurs shirt. Biggest turn since Zoolander.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.5): He’s back. Second match in a row with elite production. A goal and an assist, was also involved in the fifth goal as well. That ball to Davies’ head for Spurs’ first goal was exquisite. It’s enough to overlook that his foul on the edge of the box is what led to Newcastle’s only goal.
Antonio Conte (Community — 5.0): Feel like manager ratings are basically tied to whether the team wins or not, but I can’t flaw the way Conte set up or executed his plan here. Tottenham feel like a team that are no longer transitioning to a new system — they’re already there.
4.5 stars: Castlevania
There aren’t that many video games from the 1980s that have inspired entire media franchises. Castlevania is one of them. A scrolling platformer about vampire hunters, the original Konami game was ported to cartridge and became a mainstay in original Nintendo NES libraries. Since, it has spawned SO MANY sequels, the most recent in 2014, as well as a popular Netflix show which I haven’t watched. One of the best of the new castles, clearly.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 4.5): Another game, another assist. Linked up extremely well with the other attackers and created four big chances. Can’t sing his praises high enough.
Ben Davies (Community — 4.0): A Ben Davies goal! Will wonders never cease! It was his first (credited) goal since 2017 and was a lovely flicked header into the corner. Put in a solid defensive display as well.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.5): Didn’t score or get that many opportunities to do so but was an integral part of everything that Spurs did well on Sunday. He’s such an incredible passer; I’m convinced that he could play as a high level #10 until he’s 40 (or until his ankle ligaments give out).
4 stars: Man in the High
This is maybe stretching the definition of “new” as it was originally a 1962 novel by Philip K Dick, but the story — a dystopian alternate history of a future world where the Axis won WWII, is compelling. Made for some halfway decent TV, too.
Rodri-Emile Bentanbjerg (Community — Bent. 4.5 / Hoj. 4.0): Newcastle put in a decent shift in the opening half hour of the match, but Bentancur and Hojbjerg put in solid performances in the middle, working well defensively and recycling the ball in possession. Solid performances.
Steven Bergwijn (Community — 4.0): Normally I wouldn’t rate Stevie for a ten minute cameo but he came in and immediately scored a gol dang goal, so here you go Steve, 4 stars.
Eric Dier (Community — 4.0): I don’t really have much to say about Eric. Had two shots on goal, put in a suitably solid defensive performance, never really let Newcastle get much of a sniff. Good stuff.
3.5 stars: Castle (Nathan Fillion TV show)
Yeah, I watched this for a while. I bet you did too, admit it. Nathan Fillion was hunky and it was a decent mindless vehicle for him post-Firefly.
Emerson Royal (Community — 4.0): So happy for Emerson. That goal feels like vindication, as he’s never been as crap as a lot of Spurs fans like to pretend he is. Feel free to grade him on a curve based on the opponent, but it did seem like he’s started to pick up on what he needs to do as a Conte wingback.
Lucas Moura (Community — 3.5): Short cameo, but he did look lively while up three goals and was involved in Bergwijn’s goal. Late sub vs. tired legs feels like his ideal role now.
3 stars: Average American McMansion
If a man’s home is his castle, then I suppose these qualify? There are so many terrible cookie-cutter gargantuan American homes out there right now (the worst of which are documented at the excellent McMansion Hell blog) that there’s a wide variance in this particular category, but there are also some very good ones out there too. I suspect most won’t last as long as the ruins in Europe, though.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.0): There’s been a lot of talk about Hugo’s performance with regards to Newcastle’s goal. I tend to agree with Tim Howard on NBC’s commentary that Hugo should’ve trusted his wall and hedged farther to the left to cover that space. As it was he didn’t miss the shot by much anyway, and it’s pretty much moot as this was basically the only thing he had to do all match.
Harry Winks (Community — 3.0): He was fine? Sure. He was fine.
2.5 stars: Mudurnu, Turkey housing development
In the tourist town of Mudurnu, Turkey reside the now-crumbling ruins of an intentional community where all the homes are mini-castles complete with turrets and crenellations. The photos are stunning — midway through the project, the pandemic happened and the funding completely fell apart. Now it’s this wide expanse of partially completed castles that will likely remain that way. Eerie, weird, and yet strangely Disney. The full New York Times article is here.
2 stars: White
Look, far be it from me to crap on this. White Castle definitely fills a niche for late night cheap eats, and yes I’ve taken more than one pilgrimage to the crenellated capital of drunk eats. But let’s not pretend White Castle is anything close to actually GOOD. It is not.
No Tottenham players played this poorly.
1 star: Duncan
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Duncan Castles.