Happy Monday, Spurs fans! I don’t usually enjoy West Ham matches — I find almost all of them range somewhere on the bad end of the misery scale, from “mildly annoying” to “dear god let’s never do this again.” The nature of the London derby and the fact that West Ham considers this a cup final and usually raises their game whenever they play Tottenham Hotspur has a lot to do with this.
So I was pleasantly surprised to be satisfied after watching a solid win over West Ham, even one with an inexplicably uncalled handball penalty. The match itself was fine. In fact, after the opening two minutes or so where it looked like West Ham were going to carve Spurs open, it was almost, dare I say it... dull? Well, I’ll take dull if it gives us three points, especially at this stage of the season.
Today’s theme comes courtesy of Twitter, which has been the inspiration of a number of my ratings themes lately. Specifically, we’re looking at medieval battle haberdashery, because why WOULDN’T you discuss metal helmets on a Tottenham Hotspur football blog? You might have to click on the tweet to get all of the options.
I mean, it's a great question pic.twitter.com/vQlOFh6t2W— Carey Dui = Dew Drop Duvall (@cduvall30) February 8, 2023
There’s a great deal of variation here, much more than I had expected there to be, and honestly this is the kind of thing that you’d expect there to be TAKES about on an esoteric football blog like this one. So go on, tag urself. If Antonio Conte throws you into a war, which hat are you going with?
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of medieval helmets in this tweet graphic.
5 stars: Barbute/Great Helm (tie)
I think most fans, when given a choice of helmet, would opt for the Great Helm, because it looks absolutely baller. But for my money, I’m going with the Barbute, as it offers similar protection, looks easier to get on and off, and has greater visibility. Plus, your battlefield opponent can see you clearly as you yell “THIS IS SPARTAAAAAA” at them. If this were a Game of Thrones episode, the House Lord would be wearing the Great Helm, but the winner has the Barbute.
Emerson Royal (Community — 4.5): What’s this? Emerson Royal with TWO five-star performances in his last two matches? Signing Pedro Porro has either lit a fire under his behind or it’s just taken this long for him to come into his own. But he was great in this match — enterprising up and down the pitch, capping off a solid defensive performance with a goal in which he started and ended the sequence of play. Porro may never make it on the field.
4 stars: Armet
Out of all of these helmets, the Armet looks the most like what you’d expect to see on a knight. Good protection, and has the added feature of a hinged frontispiece for added visibility when you need it. Solid helmet, I’m ordering three.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 4.0): This is the kind of match where General Ho shines — when he’s not put under constant pressure and is allowed to do the things he does well. That pass that set up Emerson’s goal was spectacular.
Cuti Romero (Community — 4.0): Cuti constantly straddles the line between “intense” and “reckless” but on Sunday he was on the side of the angels. Some wonderfully intense tackles (that were also clean) and a big improvement from his last outing.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.0): GOD does it feel good to put Sonny here again. Son looked like SON again in this match — dynamic, fast, incisive. Stellini noted afterwards that he was just tired, but I feel like coming on late to run at tired legs could be Sonny’s role going forward. He’s certainly good at it.
Ben Davies (Community — 4.0): Friends, I was worried about Ben being back at left back, but he proved me wrong with a capable performance, especially defensively. Did good on the offensive side as well (an assist!), though it’s not really his strength.
Cristian Stellini (Community — 4.5): I’m not going to make the “Conte out, Stellini in” jokes because I increasingly think they’re reductive, but it’s clear that Conte’s absence has not led to a drop-off in performance. In fact, it seems like the opposite! I don’t know if there’s causality there, and Cristian has said Conte was in constant contact during the match, but he’s doing SOMETHING right.
3.5 stars: Spangenhelm
Looks bad-ass and I’d say has the best balance between weight, visibility, and overall damage protection of any option on this list. But you KNOW that chain mail’s gonna catch on your giant, bushy, medieval beard. OW.
Richarlison (Community — 3.0): Started in his proper position in Sonny’s place and did pretty well considering he’s never really hit his stride this season due to injuries. His touch was a little heavy but he did create a few half chances. I’d like to see more of him, because you could see glimpses of his quality.
Eric Dier (Community — 3.5): Kept Antonio occupied and quiet for much of the match, was an aerial threat, and didn’t make any big mistakes.
Oliver Skipp (Community — 4.0): I think most fans wanted Sarr to start today, but Skippy put in a pretty composed and mature performance beside Hojbjerg. Got better as the match went on.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 3.5): Looked more dynamic on the ball late in the match and had a shot saved, but still seems a bit off his game. Got kicked a lot, that may have had something to do with it.
3 stars: Hounskull
Pros: probably the best overall coverage and damage protection of any helmet on this list. Bonus points for protection against facial damage, useful when you’re going after a dude with a mace or morningstar. Cons: makes you look like a giant metal bird.
Fraser Forster (Community — 3.5): Only had one real save to make, and watching him make it was like watching a Redwood being cut down, but he got there!
Harry Kane (Community — 4.0): A quiet day by Kane’s standards, but he did get the assist for Son’s goal which felt good and appropriate.
2.5 stars: Frog-mouth
Look, I’m sorry, but while there’s some impressive protection and functionality here, I’m simply not taking anyone seriously who wears this into battle. Ridiculous helmet.
Ivan Perisic (Community — 2.5): Wasn’t terrible, but also didn’t do much to assuage my fears that he’s cooked. The two (bad) late tackles didn’t help.
2 stars: Kettle Hat
This hat doesn’t do especially well at the thing that you’re wearing a hat to protect from — namely, getting hit in the face. That said, it LOOKS amazing. The Kettle Hat: die gruesomely on a medieval battlefield, but look stylish as fuck while doing it.
Clement Lenglet (Community — 3.5): Weak in defense, made a mess of a couple of challenges in the box, and was profligate with his passing. Also might have been concussed and probably should’ve been subbed off earlier. A match to forget.
1 star: Bascinet
It strongly resembles one of those leather skullcaps that you see issued to peasants press-ganged into military service in all the old movies. Looks dumb, not a great deal of protection, and you know you’re getting a quick death offscreen if you wear it. One for the Medieval redshirts.
No Tottenham Hotspur player was as bad as wearing a Bascinet into battle.
Sallet Memorial Non-rating
Lucas Moura, Pape Sarr
Erik Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award
Ivan Perisic: Perisic uncharacteristically saw the red mist in late tackles against Bowen and Coufal, the latter of which earned him a booking. Either of them could’ve been a yellow, honestly. There’s something to be said for “setting the tone,” but these tackles came in injury time of the second half with the result not in question. I wonder if someone insulted him?