Well. That was a match that happened. Tottenham Hotspur went to Stamford Bridge, got pretty comprehensively outplayed, and still managed to eke out a last-gasp 2-2 draw thanks to a header from Harry Kane. The point could be an extremely important one for Spurs this season, as it’s always important to get results away from home against the top six.
This match is a super weird one to evaluate. I don’t think there’s a single Spurs fan out there who can watch that match and say that Tottenham played WELL. And even so, they scored two goals, came from behind twice, and earned a point at Stamford Bridge! That’s a really, really good result, even if the individual performances were at best flawed and in some cases rather bad!
What I’m saying is that I suspect my opinions on the player ratings here aren’t going to exactly match yours, because the context is so screwy. That doesn’t make me wrong (I’m never wrong... ever), but it will provide for what will hopefully be some interesting and respectful discourse in the comments.
Now... the theme. Every season I attempt to find a new and unique (or at least interesting) name for my fantasy football team. I don’t know why I bother — I almost invariably forget that I have a team by week 10 and all my clever wordsmithing ends up wasted as my team drops further and further down the league standings.
This season, my team is already in the bottom quartile (I suck at fantasy) but I have what I consider a pretty good team name (Publish or Perišić). It got me thinking — there are lots of people out there who are funnier and more clever than me, this might make a good theme!
And so it has. I trawled through all 800+ teams in the Cartilage Free Captain Premier League fantasy football league and pulled out a sampling that I thought would fit this theme the best. While I quite like my name, I’m not considering it for purposes of today’s ratings.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of Carty Free fantasy league team names.
5 stars: (tie) Kulusexy / Triska-Deki-Phobia / Deki Deki Deki Ptang
I noticed a theme when going through the league names — the ones that got a chuckle or even a belly laugh out of me almost invariably involved Dejan Kulusevski. I’m not sure what it is about his name (or his performances) that elicits so much outstanding punnery, but I am HERE for it. “Kulusexy” isn’t exactly original (it was not only the title of a recent episode of Wheeler Dealer Radio, but also Abbie’s Discord handle for a while), but it is AMAZINGLY good. “Triskadekaphobia” btw is the fear of the number 13, and I couldn’t resist the “Ptang” because honestly, who doesn’t love a good Monty Python reference? In addition, I also found “Call of Cthulusevski,” which is clever, but I’m not giving it top billing because Lovecraft was a really bad dude.
No Tottenham Hotspur players reached these giddy heights.
4.5 stars: No Conte for Old Men
I’m a dad, and therefore the more Dad Joke a joke is, the more it will be appreciated by me. That means: puns. Puns are good. Puns are VERY good. And puns that also tie into pop culture references? *chef’s kiss* I had seen the No Conte for Old Men team name before last season, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s just an excellent pun. Feels like there are some strong parallels between Capo Antonio and Javier Bardem’s character, too, just sayin’.
No Tottenham players were this good either.
4 stars: 球不是这么踢的!
We almost always get a few foreign language team names in the league. This is the first one I saw, so I decided to run it through Google Translate, and it comes out as “That’s Not How the Ball is Kicked!” Now, I’m sure that there’s some sort of context lost between the Simplified Chinese and English translation, but I don’t care — this is just an incredible and objectively funny team name. No notes.
Cuti Romero (Community — 3.5): Didn’t commit a single foul against Chelsea. I know, I couldn’t believe it either! Was forced to have to push forward to cover Mason Mount on multiple occasions and didn’t always do it — that’s more of a tactics thing than a knock on Cuti — and of course there was the hair pulling incident. Lucky boy. But he played well!
Richarlison (Community — 3.5): The right sub, even if I would’ve wanted to see him earlier. His introduction (and resultant tactical shape adjustment) changed the game, and if he can continue to provide that kind of impact off the bench against lesser teams, I’m excited.
3.5 stars: Losing my Reguilon
See, it’s funny because not only is it a decent pun, but also we’re probably selling Reggie this summer because Conte doesn’t like him, so it not only makes you think, it also makes you sad as you consider that kind of player-related pathos and recall how you used to play this R.E.M. song on repeat right after you broke up with your girlfriend in college in 1996... or is that just me? That might just be me.
Harry Kane (Community — 3.5): OK, bear with me here. By the eye test Harry was straight garbage for the vast majority of the match, but Tottenham only had like four scoring opportunities, and Kane was on the end of two of them. He also played in a gorgeous ball to Sess (who had his shot blocked), and his flicked headed goal got us a point. Was it pretty? Nope! Was it a statistically pretty good match? I’d say... yes.
Eric Dier (Community — 3.5): Eric was suuuuuper loose in possession early in this match but pulled it together to be one of Tottenham’s better overall performers on the day.
Ivan Perisic (Community — 3.5): Not as impactful as maybe we were hoping, but he did have the corner that Harry headed in to level the match.
3 stars: Pending Moderation
This team name actually came up twice in Carty Free’s league. If there’s a more appropriate username for members of an online sports message board, I can’t think of one.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.5): The midfield had a rough time vs. Chelsea (getting outnumbered will do that) and General Ho will get some of the blame for the performance. For what it’s worth, I thought he was TRYING to do stuff but couldn’t find space to pass the ball forwards because Chelsea shut down midfield. Silva mostly kept Pierre contained and under a great deal of pressure, but he still got the equalizing goal. What do you do with that? How do you rate it?
Emerson Royal (Community — 3.0): Boy, I dunno. Emerson was unquestionably very good on the defensive side of the ball but I felt like I screamed at him just as much as I did at several other players, especially going forward. He was also caught in no-man’s land on Chelsea’s first goal. I’d say he was definitely among the better Spurs performers at times, which is more perhaps a statement on just how poor Spurs looked most of the time yesterday. I’m putting him at 2.75 stars and rounding up.
Ben Davies (Community — 3.0): His flank got completely overrun (Sess gets some of the blame here too) and was nowhere to be found on Koulibaly’s goal. Got the Tom Carroll assist for Hojbjerg’s goal. Competent at left back after the tactical shift.
Yves Bissouma (Community — 3.0): I really wonder if the match would have turned out any differently had Conte opted to start Bissouma over Bentancur in midfield. Possibly not, but he did add a little spark when he came on, and had several important tackles late.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): Conceded two goals, was probably very lucky not to concede at least one more. Only made one save but that was mostly because Chelsea didn’t generate nearly as much offense as you might have expected from all that possession.
2.5 stars: Name Can’t Be Blank / Funny Name Here
OK, so I have a grudging respect for this phenomenon. You KNOW you’re not clever enough to come up with something interesting or unique, so why NOT go meta? Naming your team “I should put something here” or the equivalent is the minimum required amount of effort for a team name, but at least you’re acknowledging that you’re not Good at This™. I can respect that level of self-awareness at least.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 3.0): Deki couldn’t get going at all, and part of that was because Spurs just weren’t able to keep ahold of the ball. Chelsea’s press also reduced the amount of space he had to work with. An afternoon to forget.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Community — 3.0): Not the greatest performance from Lolo, it must be said. Really struggled with the intensity of the match and the overload gave him more difficulties. Giving him a half star bonus solely because... yes, he got the ball.
Antonio Conte (Community — 4.0): I’m as appreciative of Conte’s sideline antics and social media shade as the next guy and I’d gladly run through a brick wall for him, but Conte also got out-managed by Tuchel in this match and was slow to respond. The shift to a back four did allow Spurs to briefly get back into the match, but Chelsea outplayed Spurs for the much of the game and had the vast majority of the ball. Happy with the point, very disappointed with the performance.
2 stars: Henry the Gooner [heart emoji] / FLGooner / Mikel’s Youth Academy
I understand that PL fantasy doesn’t allow you to customize your team name for different leagues, but come on — you have, with full knowledge and understanding, joined a fantasy league for a Tottenham Hotspur blog. Read the fucking room.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 2.5): He was man-marked into oblivion by Reece James, but for the second straight match looked super rusty and out of it. His passing was awful and he was never able to establish himself going forward; his only real shot was blocked. Sonny. Buddy. Pal. We need you firing, snap out of it.
Ryan Sessegnon (Community — 2.5): As good as he was against Soton, he was that poor against Chelsea. Regularly got beat by Havertz and Loftus-Cheek. Did have one good run into space but probably should’ve done better to get around Mendy for the shot. If that goes in, his performance is looked at a lot differently.
1 star: Naming your team after your username, especially when it has a bunch of numbers in it
Look, team names are hard, I get it. But at least try and put in a LITTLE effort into it, otherwise what are you even doing?
No Tottenham players were as bad as just refusing to name your fantasy team.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Erik Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award
Anthony Taylor: Yeah, you all expected Cuti here, right? Well, it was Taylor’s frankly insane officiating that led to a lot of the spiciness you saw in that match. His decision to let so much fouling go unchecked set the early tone and left the door open to things like late challenges, pulled hair, and extra-firm handshakes.