Good performance, frustrating result. On Saturday, Tottenham Hotspur did what only three other teams have done this season — take a point at Anfield. That’s objectively good! The only problem is, it probably should’ve been three points. The result means that Spurs now have to beat Arsenal in the North London Derby on Thursday, and hope the Gooners slip up again between now and the end of the season, otherwise Spurs will get nipped for fourth place and suffer the “indignity” of St. Totteringham’s Day.
That said, it was a pretty good overall performance under pretty difficult circumstances. On any other day we’d be celebrating a point away at Liverpool. We probably still should — that’s a very, very good team.
Go to any stadium and you’ll find stadium food. English football stadiums are obviously known for their pies, but there’s a whole world of food options now. Some of it is very, very good. Some of it is, predictably, pretty awful. Thankfully, there’s a Twitter account that helps us track it — @FootyScran posts pictures of user-submitted food items purchased at various football stadiums across the world, and then posts them for the internet to review. I love this account. It’s both a commentary on the state of stadium food, but also a helpful resource on what kinds of things to seek out or avoid, both in general and specific terms.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings for the away draw to Liverpool, to the theme of football scran. (And before you ask, they did have a few scrans from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. They didn’t wow me. I hope they taste better than they look.)
5 stars: Anything they serve at Avro FC
As I scrolled through hundreds of posts on @footyscran, one name kept popping up every time I’d pause on something that looked good — Avro FC. This non-league club in Greater Manchester (they play at level 6 on the pyramid) might not have a great club, but they sure seem to serve some pretty incredible food. It’s a pretty good marketing plan, to be fair — wanna get fans out to watch their local play on a windy Thursday night in Manchester? Make sure they’re well fed. And holy moly, do these look amazing. Sit down, pre-frozen hamburgers and cups of Bovil. This is scran worthy of the best clubs in the world.
Eric Dier (Community — 4.0): Imperious at the back, especially in the air where he had nine headed clearances and threw his body at any balls that came close to him. Had his share of long, line-busting passes from deep positions too. Outstanding match.
I don’t care where in the world you are, if you have the opportunity to get and eat real Mexican tacos, you should take that opportunity without question.
Cuti Romero (Community — 4.0): Solid positioning, crunching tackles, did a great job locking down Liverpool’s attack. You know, the usual.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.5): We’ll agonize over that last headed ball in Liverpool’s box, but that shouldn’t overshadow what was a very, very good midfield performance. He was a defensive terrier, and created a decent number of chances too (including plonking a shot off the post).
America has a long tradition of eating French Fries with Various Toppings™, and as someone who is practically a connoisseur of loaded fries, these look pretty dang good. The green onions are a nice touch that adds textural and color contrast, and I like how they’re not just dumped onto a styrofoam plate but are in a container which you can hold in your hand and eat without risk of spilling it on yourself. I will accept on faith that the duck meat on those fries is in fact duck and not just dark meat chicken, because that seems awfully bougie for a League One stadium that seats 12k.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.5): Did well to be in the right place to tap in Sess’s cross for Spurs’ goal, and worked tirelessly to make runs that often weren’t found by his teammates (Liverpool had something to do with that too). Left it all on the pitch, he looked on the verge of collapse when subbed off.
Ben Davies (Community — 4.0): Defending against Liverpool is TOUGH, and Ben did a capable job of it. A few hairy moments in possession, but he had some extremely good blocks over the course of the match.
Emerson Royal (Community — 4.0): A very, VERY good defensive performance from Emerson, marred only slightly by some frustrating crossing in the offensive third. More evidence that he’s a very good fullback and not a very good wingback.
Ryan Sessegnon (Community — 4.0): I was so happy for Sessegnon to get that assist to Son, as it should be a huge confidence booster for a player who has looked frequently devoid of it. Did well to keep Salah (mostly) in check down his wing.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 3.5): Once again served as Spurs’ primary offensive outlet in attack and did a good job in a tough situation. Worked well with Royal on the right side.
Antonio Conte (Community — 4.5): I’ve been somewhat critical of Conte’s tactics recently, mostly because they haven’t always seemed to work. This time, they did. Klopp’s comments notwithstanding, Spurs were not playing overly defensive anti-football against Liverpool, but they did set up to negate Liverpool’s obvious strengths and Conte’s usual tactics were clearly tweaked with that in mind. My only criticism was bringing on Sanchez first and not someone like Lucas or Bergwijn to run at tired Liverpool legs. That was a match that was there for the taking, and it was a very passive sub.
This might or might not not be the best or the tastiest Feijão Tropeiro in the world, but it comes standard with a fried egg on top, and that instantly makes it at least 3 stars.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.0): Still seems a half step slower than we’re used to seeing him, especially in the first half. Played in his teammates on a number of occasions, but only two shot attempts on the day.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 4.0): Considering the opponent, it’s amazing that Hugo wasn’t called into action more than he was. Think he only had two saves, both of them fairly routine, one of them from his own player. Couldn’t do anything on Liverpool’s goal. He should buy his back line a pint or three.
Ahh, the humble English pie. Workingman’s food for a workingman’s game. This is the kind of thing I’d expect to see at an English football club’s concessions stand — simple, unpretentious filling baked inside a crust, with mash and gravy. This photo makes it look like it’s only passable — and maybe it is — but I’m willing to bet that it tastes a lot better than it looks. Especially if it’s a balti. Is it a balti? Let’s pretend it’s a balti. Bonus for including peas and NOT making them “mushy.”
Rodrigo Bentancur (Community — 3.5): An unusually passive performance from Lolo, who didn’t seem to be moving especially well. Is he carrying an injury of some kind? Unlucky to have his deflection lead to Liverpool’s equalizer.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 3.5): A curious sub, but he did... fine? Sure. It was fine.
There’s scran that’s good and there’s scran that’s bad. And then there’s the scran that doesn’t even try. £3.50 for a plain boiled dog on a plain bun? Now, I’m willing to bet that there are condiment stations and that this individual may have posted the dog in its worst possible light to get noticed by a Twitter account. I also know for a fact that you’d get charged a lot more for this dog at literally any NFL stadium in America. Still, not exactly Scranmere Rovers, amirite?
Thankfully, no Tottenham Hotspur players were rated as low as this sad, naked hot dog.
Remember those “mushy peas” I talked about above? Here they are, in all their glory. Peas are wonderful. I love peas. So I cannot understand the English propensity towards cooking them until they lose all cohesion, and then serving them on their own, or with the incongrously-named “mint sauce.” Sean Dyche is said to love mushy peas, and your honor, the prosecution rests. Get better food, England.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as that food looks.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Harry Winks, Steven Bergwijn