International breaks? Bad. International breaks where Tottenham Hotspur are top of the table? Very, very good. Spurs didn’t make it easy on themselves playing at Luton Town on Saturday, but despite Yves Bissouma getting sent off for two yellow cards in the first half, one for a bad foul and the other for simulation, they dug deep and were able to gut out a 1-0 win at Kenilworth Road. The result, combined with Arsenal’s 1-0 home win over Manchester City, means Spurs are top of the table, if only by the second tiebreaker, goals scored. Still counts! Mind the gap.
For today’s theme we’re talking memes. That’s a pretty broad category, so let’s narrow it down to classic memes. That’s still a big category, but whatever, I’m pot-committed now, we’re going for it.
So what do I mean by “classic memes”? Mostly I mean the early days, c. 2010-2015 when voluntary participation on the internet just gave us brain worms and not a full blown psychiatric disorder, but there are more modern exceptions as well. I’m talking the time when memes were badly cut out photos pasted on weird geometric colored backgrounds, but including more modern examples. Obviously, pre-TikTok stuff. Some classic memes were amazing, true genius that hold up and still appear even today. Others were, well, pretty garbage even back then and we had no idea why they were so popular.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings for their win over Luton Town to the theme of classic memes. Put your favorite (or least favorite) classic meme in the comments. But please, no politics.
5 stars: Rickroll
While I hate to give 4chan credit for anything, I reluctantly admit that the genesis of Rickrolling — a bait and switch meme that tricked people into clicking a link that went to the music video for Rick Astley’s 1987 classic pop hit — started there. But it quickly transcended that cesspit to become one of the best, and most beloved, memes of all time. I mean, it’s good, harmless fun and gets Rick Astley a few more cents in royalty revenue every time a sucker falls for it. What could be better? The official video for “Never Gonna Give You Up” has 1.4 BILLION views on YouTube, btw.
No Tottenham players were quite at this level.
4.5 stars: Distracted Boyfriend
A good visual meme is one that is easily understood, applicable to any number of situations including breaking trends and news stories, easily made and adaptable, and elicits a reaction. Distracted Boyfriend ticks all of those boxes. It’s a simple enough concept to understand, but it’s broad enough that the joke can be applied to so many different situations and references. It’s from 2017 so it falls just outside of my initial definition of a “classic meme,” but does anyone doubt that this one is already a classic? When the Museum of Memes opens, this one will have its own wall.
Cristian Romero (Community — 4.5): Imperious at the back, though he did let a few balls past him now and again. I suspect it’s the system more than anything Cuti was doing.
Micky van de Ven (Community — 4.5): Outstanding defensively and was in the right place at the right time to poke home his first Spurs goal. That was not an easy shot, but he made it look easy.
4 stars: This is Fine/Firedog
Another thing that a good meme needs to be is relatable. And what’s more relatable to a Spurs fan than a cartoon dog sitting in a burning building pretending that nothing is wrong?
James Maddison (Community — 4.0): Another assist for Madders; that was a brilliant move to get down along the end line and find Van de Ven for the winner. He continues to be Tottenham’s engine.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 4.0): Worked so hard in and around the box. Not always successful with his take-ons but his movement made sure that Luton always had to be aware of his presence.
3.5 stars: Deal With It
Don’t like this meme? Think it’s no longer applicable in the fast-paced and continually evolving world of modern memery? Boy, do I have a response for you.
Pedro Porro (Community — 4.0): Came close to a goal in the first half. A few moments where he left space behind him, but recovered well and really pushed forward well into attack.
Guglielmo Vicario (Community — 4.0): Didn’t have a ton to do but made a couple of decent stops down the stretch. Composed with his distribution, kept the clean sheet.
Destiny Udogie (Community — 4.0): Another solid match. Good on both sides of the ball but especially defensively in the second half when down to ten men. Subbed off late and looked gassed.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.5): Brought in to stabilize the midfield after Bissouma’s dismissal and did a capable job. Didn’t replace Yves’ ball progression but that’s also not his role, especially when down a man.
3 stars: Ancient Aliens Guy
I don’t know what it is about this meme. It’s pretty one note, it doesn’t scale, it’s only applicable to, well, aliens. But there’s something about it — maybe it’s the guy’s absolutely wild hair, or his closed eyes, or his obvious conviction when you watch the original video but every time the subject of extraterrestrial life comes up anywhere online you know this meme is gonna get posted. And it’s somehow still funny.
Pape Sarr (Community — 3.5): Whoof, this is a weird one. Grew into the match and covered every blade of grass but put Spurs into some real sticky situations with some poor passes and giveaways in the first half. Earns 3 stars... just barely.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.5): Was pretty much a non-factor for much of this game, which is weird considering how front-footed Spurs were for the first half. IDK, he was... fine? I guess? Sure, let’s go with that.
Emerson Royal (Community — 3.0): Not much to put on the weekly comp. Honestly can’t remember a single thing he did well or poorly, so default 3-stars it is.
Ange Postecoglou (Community — 4.0): Had some issues with Ange’s subbing and overall tactics especially when up a goal in the second half. Some insane balls-to-the-wall attacking that led to some good Luton chances when a more pragmatic approach might have spared my nerves. Wanted to see Veliz earlier, as a Tall Guy in the Box™ would’ve been useful against a packed Luton defense. That said — we won! Yay!
2.5 stars: Condescending Wonka
I’m as big a fan of the late, great Gene Wilder as the next GenX guy who grew up watching Blazing Saddles but something about this meme never quite sat right with me. Yes, it meets many of the criteria to be a great meme, but it’s also just generally mean-spirited, used to be, well, condescending rather than just funny or clever. Everyone knows this meme which I suppose is illustrative of its staying power, but for me it just doesn’t hold up.
Richarlison (Community — 2.5): Richy, buddy. I’m trying here but when he misses shots two feet in front of the goal he makes it really hard. Hooked at halftime, but not really his fault. Not a good match against Luton’s bunkered defensive structure.
Oliver Skipp (Community — 3.0): This guy just doesn’t have it, though I did appreciate him crashing the box on a couple of opportunities when his teammates didn’t spot him.
2 stars: GERSBERMS
Now look, back in the day did I make and post, on this very blog, some “TERNTNHERM, MAH FRAVRIT CLERB” memes? I sure did. Do I now acknowledge my tacit participation in what was essentially online bullying that likely inflicted some serious psychological trauma on a pre-teen girl with braces who just loved to read? Yes, and I regret it. This meme blows.
Yves Bissouma (Community — 2.0): Does Bissouma deserve this low a rating due to his overall play? No, he actually did quite a few good things in that first half. But he made two super dumb decisions and was deservedly sent off for being an idiot, and nearly cost his team the win. So two stars it is.
1 star: LOLCats
I hate this meme so much. This fucking photo spawned one of the worst websites of all time. Not only is it nonsensical — why does the cat want a cheeseburger? Who would give it one? This makes no sense? What’s the point? — but it inspired an entire meme ecosystem featuring photos of animals “speaking” like they’re an alien two weeks into an English Duolingo course. This cat — all LOLCats, really — makes us all actively dumber.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as LOLCats.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating:
Ben Davies, Alejo Veliz