The vibes, they don’t stop. But they might have slowed down juuuuuust a touch in the last ten minutes or so of Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 win over Fulham on Monday night. It’s hard to get too upset at what was essentially a pretty comfortable win over a really bad team that put your club top of the Premier League by two points. But boy, after beating the brakes off the Cottagers for much of the match, the train started to slow down as soon as some of the reserves came on. We all noticed it. Ange Postecoglou CERTAINLY noticed it. And some of that is reflected in these ratings.
Speaking of player ratings themes, you knew this was coming, right? How could you not? I’ve had “The Bear” on the mind for a while now and I can’t not write 3000 words on that show, Richarlison, and Taylor Swift without fully leaning into that skid for a player ratings theme. So all I can say to those who haven’t watched it yet is Sorry and also Fucking go watch that show already.
WARNING: Spoilers abound. Here there be dragons. (Or at least Chicago-style beef sandwiches and raw selvedge denim stored for some reason in your home oven.)
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings for their 2-0 home win over Fulham to the theme of characters from the Hulu Original Series “The Bear.”
5 stars: Richie Jerimovic
Duh. The show is about Carmy but Richie is unquestionably the beating heart of this drama. His journey, which I chronicled (extensively) here over two seasons pulls at the heartstrings but is also relatable, since we’ve all known guys like Richie and many of them don’t ever come to that sort of personal self-actualization. Richie is an ass. Richie is great. Ebon Moss-Bachrach knocks his portrayal out of the park. You don’t have to like him, but the best character in the series, hands-down.
Micky van de Ven (Community — 4.5): Others will say Cuti, but for me Micky was man of the match. Fulham aren’t very good but were able to get into space behind on a number of occasions, and Micky was able to use his blinding speed to race back and cut out chances. Hardly put a foot wrong, made two interceptions in midfield that started both of Spurs’ goals, and had a scoring opportunity of his own. Outstanding.
Cuti Romero (Community — 4.5): Exceptional defending, and had the freedom to go a-rangin’ forward, at one point finding Kulusevski with a smart pass in the attacking third. Went in hard several times on Willian, which is always appreciated. Fantastic stuff. More of that, please.
4.5 stars: Natalie “Sugar” Berzatto
Everybody loves Sugar. Who doesn’t love Sugar? The sister to Michael and Carmy, she has an obviously complicated relationship to the rest of her family, but it’s clear from the start how much she cares about everyone she comes in contact with. And she’s probably the most respected character on the show — as soon as she walks into the scene, literally every other character is suddenly on their best behavior. “Oh hey Sugar, how are you doing? It’s good to see you, what can I do for you?” This is particularly true of Neil Fak, whom Sugar treats as something like a lost puppy. Her persistence, organization, and get-it-done-itude is what makes her a perfect (if reluctant) restaurant manager, even while pregnant.
James Maddison (Community — 4.5): I really don’t know how many more original superlatives I can write about this guy. Just superb. Played like peak Steven Gerrard at times when given space and took his goal well.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.5): A big part of all of the positive things Spurs were doing on the offensive side of the ball early in the match. His goal was classic Sonny — top corner, powerful, and unsavable.
Ange Postecoglou (Community — 4.5): Set the team up to win, made subs at the appropriate times. I think the subs were the right decisions though perhaps his hand was forced on the timing somewhat by the knocks to Udogie and Sarr. Most pleased with him calling a spade a spade w/r/t the late second half performance.
4 stars: Neil Fak
Fun fact (“fakt”?) — Neil Fak, The Bear’s part-time handyman and childhood friend of the Berzattos and Richie, is played by real-life chef Matty Matheson, who also serves as the show’s culinary advisor. Fak’s a great character — mostly just tolerated by the other characters, he brings not only vital mechanical and repair skills to the restaurant, but also moments of levity and warmth to what would otherwise be a relentlessly bleak show. His screeching screaming matches with Richie (“Fakkin’ hell?”) and his obvious mega-crush on Sugar are highlights. My wish for season 3: much more Fak.
Guglielmo Vicario (Community — 4.0): There aren’t too many keepers who can make a standing one-handed save like the one Elmo made against Palhinha on Monday. Vicario made some exceptional stops, but also had a couple of yikes decisions playing out of the back and rushing out that drop him down a bit for me. That said — great match.
Pedro Porro (Community — 4.0): Is there a better all-around right back in the Premier League right now? I’m not sure there is. Got forward well and had some crucial stops and blocks on the other end of the ball.
Destiny Udogie (Community — 4.0): One method of evaluating a players efficacy in a given match is what the team does after he goes off. Emerson Royal was a significant step down against Fulham, which speaks to the impact Destiny has had on both sides of the ball.
Richarlison (Community — 3.5): Got another assist to Son (service!) and while he wasn’t able to convert opportunities of his own he was impactful in and around Fulham’s box. A good shift. Now he’s got to start banging those goals in.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 4.0): With Yves Bissouma suspended, General Ho was his obvious replacement and he was pretty exceptional in that role. He’s a different player to Bissouma, and against Fulham Spurs benefitted from his better passing range. The only downside is that, because he started, we weren’t able to benefit from Pierre as a late game substitute.
3.5 stars: Sydney Adamu
I’m quite enamored with Sydney as a character — a talented but young chef who knows Carmy’s work and decides to apply as a cook at The Original Beef because of who he is and his talent. She’s level-headed but clearly bewildered by the chaotic nature of what she’s gotten herself into, but also is an excellent foil to Carmy, who can get stuck in his own head due to his own experiences. But Sydney’s also got her own issues, primarily a severe case of imposter’s syndrome and a complicated relationship with her dad. There have been some significant character developments thus far in the show, but I feel Sydney still has a fair way to go.
Pape Sarr (Community — 3.5): A deceptively good performance in midfield. Covered a lot of ground and put in some good challenges. Even got back to defend well a time or two, notably racing back to make a defensive header on a dangerous ball in. Picked up a knock, hope he’s ok.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 3.5): Deki got into so many good positions in Fulham’s box, but was again let down by his final pass. Turned down at least two good shooting options which was somewhat maddening. He’s not playing poorly, but there’s something going on with this guy.
3 stars: Tina Marrero/Ebraheim
God I love Tina, and the only reason she’s this low in the ratings is that everyone else is just... better. A saucy Latina cook at The Beef, we see her grow from an irascible give-no-fucks-just-do-the-job character who clashed with both Carmy and Sydney into someone who believes in herself and her abilities to cook food at an exceptionally high level. The one good thing Carmy did was to send her to culinary school, give her one of his best knives, and let her figure it out for herself. Ebrahim, by contrast, is an aging Somali cook who is set in his ways. Sent to culinary school with Tina, he finds he can’t follow that path, but is rescued from this depressing realization by Tina and Carmy who let him run the The Bear’s take-out window for locals. He’s maybe the most marginal main character of the series, which hopefully means he gets a plot line next season.
Emerson Royal (Community — 3.0): A clear step down from Udogie, though to be fair Emerson was playing out of position. Did have a couple of important blocks late when the wheels were falling off.
2.5 stars: Marcus Brooks
I’m a little conflicted about Marcus as a character. The bread guy at The Original Beef and probably the most level-headed and initially likable character on the show, he’s clearly set up to gain professionally through a latent talent in high-level pastry. He realizes that promise thanks to a couple of weeks spent working in Denmark, but the end result doesn’t come across as believable compared to the journeys of the other characters. The side plots of his mother’s illness and the whole “donut thing” come off as distractions, which is kind of a shame. This isn’t Marcus’ fault, but the writers need to give him something more compelling in season 3.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 3.0): Looked like he wasn’t on the same page as his teammates. Giving him something of a pass as it was his first club minutes in a long time, but you’d want to see a better performance out of him.
2 stars: Carmen Berzatto
For a show ostensibly about Carmen Berzatto, the writers sure don’t seem to like him all that much. At its heart, “The Bear” is a show about trauma, and there’s certainly a lot of that in Carmy’s backstory, including his brother’s suicide and multiple examples of emotional abuse by those close to him. Carmy is a deeply damaged person and while he goes to therapy, his coping mechanism is through exhaustive and unhealthy work patterns and self-destructive behavior (see: everything about his relationship with Claire). He’s the main character of the show, but I think he might be the least interesting character.
Oliver Skipp (Community — 2.5): Spurs journalists loved Skipp’s performance and I just can’t see why. Ran around a lot but was pretty ineffectual as Sarr’s substitute. I don’t see what he brings to the table now and am a bit terrified of significant minutes if Sarr and/or Bissouma are out again.
Brennan Johnson (Community — 2.5): Pretty much a non-factor in his cameo, but again grading on a curve considering it’s his first match back.
Alejo Veliz (Community — 2.5): Didn’t really make much of an impact, but also wasn’t getting service. He’s the Big Lumpus in the Box and Spurs weren’t playing that way with him in. Did he even have a touch?
1 star: Donna Berzatto
If “The Bear” is a show primarily about trauma, Donna proves that trauma is generational. The mother to the Berzatto siblings and played (impeccably) by Jamie Lee Curtis, Donna is obviously mentally ill, severely co-dependent and emotionally damaged. She’s basically out of the Berzatto kids’ lives by the time the show begins, and the breaking point is depicted in an emotionally-charged flashback episode during a Christmas dinner. You can draw a straight line from a lot of the ways the Berzattos are psychologically damaged straight to Donna, though she does show some small moments of self-awareness late in season 2. But otherwise? She’s the worst (and is supposed to be).
No Tottenham players were as bad as Donna Berzatto.