It’s officially October, and for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, that means the official beginning of autumn. And nothing is more autumn than apple season. Apples are wonderful, and while they supposedly originated in Kazakhstan, there’s nothing more American than apples.
And honestly I’m as surprised that we haven’t done this theme yet as you are! So let’s examine apples. Now, because of how easily apples can be bred and cross-bred, and due to the peculiarities in how apples can mutate and turn into something entirely new, there are approximately a billion apple varietals out there. That’s a massive cohort, so I’m going to limit the examination to apples that you can reasonably expect to find in American supermarkets. But feel free to put your favorite boutique heirloom apple varietal in the comments and tell us why it’s definitely the kind that was in Johnny Appleseed’s bag.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings for their 2-1 win (lololololol) over Liverpool to the theme of apple varietals.
5 stars: Honeycrisp (or any of the modern apples)
Look, I’m just going to say it because it’s the truth — Honeycrisp apples are delicious. Crisp, large, with a perfect balance between sweet and tart, plus they’re suitable for both snacking and baking. This is an excellent all-around apple. The Honeycrisp, first cultivated in 1991, is the first of a whole generation of modern apples that have been genetically designed to be fucking incredible, though they often have the worst corporate names you can imagine like “Cosmic Crisp,” “RubyFrost,” and — I shit you not, “Juici.” Bad marketing, but really, really good apples. Now sell them for less than $4/lb. please, my family is dying.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.0): Had the ball in the net twice (once called back as offside) and made his goal look easy. He has settled into his new role as a focal point of Tottenham’s attack and I’m just so happy to be able to watch him play. Clearly not fully fit and looked gassed when subbed off.
The Match Officials: These people need to be recognized and celebrated at a time when they are under a great deal of fire. Not because they did a good job — they were awful — but because they have provided one of the greatest Liverpool meltdowns of my football fandom and hence some the greatest sports beef entertainment I’ve seen in many a year.
4.5 stars: Granny Smith
If we mark the Honeycrisp as an inflection point and divide the apple timeline into Before Honeycrisp (BH) and After Honeycrisp (AH), Granny Smith is the best of the BH apples. Green (!), tart (!!), and refreshing, this is just a hella good apple. But what tips it over for me is the apocryphal story of its namesake, an elderly Australian woman named Maria Ann “Granny” Smith, who tossed some crab apple cores outside of her window, and and this tree grew from the refuse pile. Incredible. Granny Smith are the Big Ange of apples. COYS.
Pedro Porro (Community — 4.0): Liverpool, particularly Diaz, targeted Pedro Porro as the weak link in Tottenham’s defense, going after him over and over again. And most of the time, he just... dealt with it. I’ve come to admit that I was wrong about him — I thought he’d be a defensive liability, and instead he’s turned into a pretty incredible all-around player. Also put in the cross that led to Matip’s own-goal.
Guglielmo Vicario (Community — 4.0): All I really want to say about Vicario is that he had two incredible back to back reaction saves that kept Spurs in this match, and his distribution was excellent. Not sure what more you can ask of a keeper.
4 stars: Pink Lady
OK so funny story, Pink Ladys aren’t actually an apple cultivar in itself, but rather just the top-whatever percent of the Australian Cripps Pink cultivar. They’re basically the overachieving goody-two-shoes academic nerds of Cripps Pink Junior High. They’re a well balanced mix between sweet and tart, look nice, and ship well. If you see pre-packed apple slices, more likely than not they’re Pink Lady. You might want to stuff Pink Lady into a locker, but you can’t deny they’re pretty damn tasty.
Destiny Udogie (Community — 4.0): At times struggled in match-ups against Salah and Gakpo, but worked his tail off and did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball. But he did get a Liverpool player sent off, and should be recognized for this.
3.5 stars: Rave
I know I spent the first part of this article raving (pun intended) on the new apple cultivars, but I’ll make an exception for this one. Rave is crisp and juicy, but it just doesn’t set your hair on fire. It’s like a Great Value Honeycrisp — fine for what it is, but you’re not going to go seeking it out anytime soon.
James Maddison (Community — 4.0): A few good through balls to set up chances and had one monster shot that forced a save-of-the-month effort from Alisson. Obviously not up to full fitness, hence the early substitution.
Richarlison (Community — 3.5): Richy has struggled to play alongside Son this season, but in this one on the left he assisted Sonny’s goal and plonked another off the crossbar. Not a perfect match, but on another day he scores.
Cristian Romero (Community — 4.0): Picked up another yellow card but had a few good tackles against very tough opposition. Went a-roamin’ into the attacking third when Spurs were up a player or two.
3 stars: Gala
Honestly? Gala apples are fine. They’re just... fine! They’re straight down the middle — they don’t hit the high notes, but they’re not mealy or rock hard or overly sour. They’re decent sized. They look nice. They taste like an apple. Picture the modern archetypal apple and it’s probably a Gala. They’re also moderately priced, usually at under $2/lb. I have nothing really negative or especially positive to say about Galas. The Ben Davies of apples.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 3.5): Had plenty of opportunities in and around Liverpool’s box, but it feels like they were prepared for his “go inside and cut a ball back centrally” move.
Micky van de Ven (Community — 4.0): Liverpool took advantage of him in the first half, but had at least one notable moment where he was able to recover thanks to his incredible speed. But I’d not say this was one of his better performances.
Ange Postecoglou (Community — 4.0): In Ange we trust, and obviously the result is the thing but I thought Postecoglou was a bit slow to recognize and adjust to the midfield getting hammered and the team didn’t seem to know how to break down a desperate, bunkered defense. A tough match against a tough team.
2.5 stars: Jonagold
A cromulent apple, though I’d argue below average and certainly not any better than everything above it in these rankings. That’s probably because they’re a close cousin to the Golden Delicious, which is a pretty garbage apple. That said, Jonagolds do have a redeeming feature — they’re fantastic when baked and hold up very well in pies, crisps, and other cooked applications, even sauce. For my money, if I’m making a pie and don’t want to open up a second mortgage to buy Honeycrisp, I’m choosing either Jonagold or Braeburn.
Yves Bissouma (Community — 4.0): I’m gonna catch crap for this, but this was not one of Bissouma’s better matches. Not only did he struggle with Liverpool’s press even when Spurs were up a man, but his positioning meant that there was a lot of space behind him which Liverpool exploited to create chances, especially in the first half. Would’ve liked to have seen him with a more defensive partner like Hojbjerg where he could’ve been tasked with less defensive duties.
Pape Sarr (Community — 3.5): Another somewhat “sub-Sarr” match from Pape who was loose in possession and had some questionable long shots. I think he’s going to be a very good player and he needs minutes at this level to improve — that’s the trade-off with him, long term development at the expense of a few not-great matches.
2 stars: McIntosh
Other than lending its name to a major computer company, there’s not a ton going for the ol’ McIntosh. They’re not especially... well, anything. They’re too tart for eating fresh and they’re not especially good for baking. They do make a pretty good improvised missile if you chuck one at your sibling, and they’ll always be associated with the iPhone. So I guess there’s that.
Manor Solomon (Community — 3.0): I just don’t know what he added in this match. The wrong choice against a bunkered defense.
1 star: Red Delicious
These apples are worthless. They’re mealy so they don’t taste especially great raw. They disintegrate when you cook them so good luck making a pie or a crisp. You can’t make good cider out of them and they make garbage applesauce. They bruise easily and taste like sawdust stuffed into a vinyl glove. Why are there so many of these apples on supermarket shelves? Who buys them? Who likes them? Why are we subject to their ongoing tyranny? Fuck this apple.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as a Red Delicious apple.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp, Ben Davies, Alejo Veliz