A Tottenham Hotspur win over Chelsea? That doesn’t happen every day, but it sure is a thing that happened on Sunday! Spurs hosted a Blues team that has won two in their last ten matches and is reeling despite (?) Graham Potter and £700m worth of new, young signings.
A match against Chelsea has a much greater chance to result in spicy interpersonal encounters than it does champagne football, and that’s more or less what happened yesterday. Did Spurs play well? Yeah, sure. Maybe not GREAT, but it was enough for a 2-0 win with goal from two academy products that keeps Spurs in the top four and Chelsea literally mid-table, and that sure was a pretty pleasing result.
Today’s theme comes from longtime friend of the blog and occasional contributor @BlasianSays, who discovered a lovely in-flight football game called “Active Soccer” that uhhhhh definitely wasn’t fully licensed by any European league. He posted some screencaps online and in Carty Free Slack for us to enjoy, presumably from a match between the Unitad Stotes and Balgiem.
When the soccer game on your in-flight screen is unlicensed: pic.twitter.com/GZYdNokZLl— Seoul Train (@BlasianSays) February 24, 2023
Now, internet veterans may recall this lovely tweet from years ago referencing a Japanese baseball game that had to come up with plausible “American” names. Same deal, I think.
fighting baseball for super famicom. some japanese guy had to come up with a whole league of fake american names pic.twitter.com/4lwzoBpg9f— Largemann (@lrgmnn) December 27, 2016
Anyway, we thought this was hilarious and it’s a blog-ready theme. Here are your player ratings to the theme of player names from this unlicensed airplane seat back football game. (And now I’m kicking myself that I never named one of my cats “Tabby Alderweireld”)
5 stars: Clunt Dempsiy
Cuti Romero (Community — 4.5): Very impressed with Cuti’s defending and positioning on Sunday — rarely got beaten, got forward hilariously once or twice, and true to this derby, got stuck in extremely well.
4.5 stars: Taby Alderwiirild
Oliver Skipp (Community — 4.5): Skippy was a little uneven in the first half in possession and with his tackling, but grew into the game very well and improved throughout. Combined with Royal a few times, and leathered a shot past Kepa for his first ever Premier League goal. One to remember, and I’m thrilled for him. He’s (the other) one of our own.
Emerson Royal (Community — 4.5): Another really really solid match from Royal who is rightfully keeping Pedro Porro out of the side. Had the most tackles of anyone on the team and was solid on both ends of the ball, constantly drifting centrally to find space and help Ho and Skippy.
4 stars: Moosa Dembile
Harry Kane (Community — 4.0): Kane was (again) central to everything Spurs did offensively. Which, according to the match’s xG, wasn’t that much but he was still spraying balls all over the pitch, even if he wasn’t able to get his own shot. In the right spot to tap in Dier’s flicked header off a corner.
Fraser Forster (Community — 4.0): You know what, I’ve been hard on ol’ Fraser lately, but he was quite competent vs. Chelsea, making a couple of tidy stops and even lumbering out, Iron Giant style, to sweep up a through ball. I still don’t think he’s a good keeper, but he was good on Sunday.
Eric Dier (Community — 4.0): Solid and stable at the back today, didn’t make any egregious errors, and had a very good flick on to the back post over Mount for Kane’s goal. Good match.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 4.0): You know what you’re getting with Hojbjerg — a lot of energy, high workrate, and the occasional long-range blast. We got all three in a good performance, plus he smacked the post.
Cristian Stellini (Community — 4.5): Continues his undefeated streak in place of Antonio Conte, and seems to be out-Conteing his boss. Think he’d take the job if Antonio walks away? I think he might have earned at least an opportunity to answer that question.
3.5 stars: Jazy Altidare
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 4.0): Better in possession, though he wasn’t looking for his shot as often as we’re used to. I still think he’s carrying a knock, but he’s rounding back into form and thankfully we weren’t relying on him to create offense.
Ben Davies (Community — 4.0): Does his best getting forward and solid defensively. I don’t think I want to see him too often at LWB but he’s been better than Perisic.
Richarlison (Community — 3.5): Solid match. Still a little off with his first touch but had a couple of good looks at goal and is one of those players who helped create with his movement (and ability to get fouled). Keep starting him and he’ll continue to get better, I guarantee it.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.5): Not the same amount of impact as against West Ham, but his corner that led to Kane’s goal was inch-perfect. Gave Chelsea’s defenders something to think about with his pace late in the game.
3 stars: Jen Vertanghen
Clement Lenglet (Community — 3.5): IDK, he was fine, helped keep a clean sheet. Outshined by most of the rest of the team, but that’s ok.
2.5 stars: Tum Howerd
Nobody here, just sharing names.
2 stars: Carlas Bocanegre
Nobody here, just sharing names.
1 star: Landan Donavan
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Landan Donavan.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Erik Lamela Memorial Shitouse Award
Emerson Royal — Tempting to give it to Cuti because yes and because Chelsea, but Royal got in the Blues’ collective heads throughout the match, especially Ziyech (whom he barged in the back and goaded into getting (temporarily) sent off) and Ben Chilwell, who was so annoyed with him that he hauled Royal down by the shirt (with no call).