Tottenham Hotspur got a win AND a clean sheet? Is this economy? Spurs put together a capable performance and pulled off a 1-0 win over a resurgent Crystal Palace that has managed to gather itself together somewhat defensively under Roy Hodgkins. So it’s a solid win, and one needed if Tottenham hope to get back into Europe — any European competition, really.
Weirdly, there were a bunch of good individual performances but it it doesn’t feel like a particularly solid team performance. Maybe that means we’re all overrating the players after a win? (We all tend to do that.)
By the way, did you know there’s a new King? Well, we’re not going to talk about him. But we are going to talk about kings (disambiguated), because it’s a fun and rich topic. So no actual royalty here — that’s maybe a different rating article though one probably a little too fraught.
Not all worthy Kings can be noted in one player ratings article. Some notable omissions: B.B., Billie Jean, Sacramento, Kong, LeBron, the bed size, etc. Add yours to the comments.
Here are your player ratings to the theme of kings (disambiguated).
5 stars: Ledley
This is a Tottenham Hotspur blog. All hail the King.
Nah, no Tottenham players were this good.
4.5 stars: Martin Luther
Were this NOT a Tottenham Hotspur blog, there are no more worthy (disambiguated) Kings than Martin Luther, a man fully committed to his faith, his community, and the cause of human and civil rights.
Look, let’s be honest, no Tottenham players were this good either.
4 stars: Elvis
You don’t get the title of King of Rock and Roll without being good at what you do. You don’t keep it 45 years after your death without fully deserving the moniker. Not bad for a guy from Tupelo.
Cristian Romero (Community — 4.0): No reckless tackles here, just solid defensive and positional play. Plonked a header off the bar, too. Good match.
Emerson Royal (Community — 4.0): Came back into the Tottenham fold by slotting in at the right side of the back three, and instantly helped solidify the defense. Welcome back, big guy. Remember when Spurs fans booed him at home?
Harry Kane (Community — 4.5): Didn’t get a ton of service from the midfield, but still managed to bury his only decent chance, and that was enough. Got the match winner and jumped ahead of Wayne Rooney, that’s worth four stars.
Ryan Mason (Community — 4.0): The more I see of him, the more impressed I am by his tactical knowledge. This hybrid formation was a nice solution to a vexing problem — how to get Pedro Porro involved without leaving a flaming defensive dumpster fire behind him. The solution: drop Eric Dier, put Royal in as a defensive CB. Pretty smart. Conte never figured that out.
3.5 stars: Stephen
In fairness Stephen King could probably be ranked higher than this. I’m not a horror fan at all, but I enjoy reading King’s novels because he certainly has a finger on the pulse of what scares humans. Not every Stephen King book is good, but the sheer bulk of his corpus is staggering, and the cream of the crop contain some outstanding prose and remain relevant today. His work has had a massive impact on American culture, television, and movies. Plus the guy literally got hit by a van, recovered, and still writes.
Clement Lenglet (Community — 3.5): Good, stable defensive performance and made a couple of very solid defensive plays, including the tactical foul that earned him a yellow (and possibly a shoulder injury).
Ben Davies (Community — 3.5): Solid enough defensively when in the back four, but didn’t really set the world on fire when asked to get forward. Still, should be given some bonus points for having to play in a demanding hybrid position and doing a capable job.
Pedro Porro (Community — 4.0): The 3-4-3/4-4-2 hybrid seemed like a way to get Porro into dangerous positions while not leaving gaping defensive holes behind him, and it worked! Porro hit the crossbar and got the assist to Kane for the match’s only goal. I think he’ll be okay in whatever future formation we use for him, but we might have to magick him up a tactic like what Pochettino did for Sissoko.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.5): Continued his comeback (“Sonaissance?”) where he’s been looking more like his old self. A little less impactful and should’ve scored when one on one with Johnstone (it was a good save to be fair). Also did some truly heroic defensive work when tracking back, something he’s not necessarily known for.
3 stars: Los Angeles
I’m not much of a hockey guy (the only hockey I watch are hockey assists on the soccer pitch heyyyyyyy) but a quick google tells me that the LA Kings finished third in their Western Conference division, good enough to make the Stanley Cup playoffs, but lost to Edmonton in the first round. That seems disappointing to me, a notable Hockey Understander, so I figure average is probably a good ranking.
Fraser Forster (Community — 3.5): Honestly, didn’t have to do too much and the saves he made were routine.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.0): Put one shot wide and ran around a bunch in midfield. People have been raving online about his performance... I didn’t really see it?
2.5 star: of the Hill
I’m gonna get yelled at by a small (but very vocal) subset of readers for this, but I never found King of the Hill, a show that ostensibly mocks small town lower middle class Texans s by the guy who also created Beavis & Butthead, to be all that funny or interesting, even if it is quietly subversive. I also hate the animation style.
Richarlison (Community — 3.0): Part of it was the game state but Richy never seemed to really establish himself as part of the offense in this match. Little threat to score, but also very little service.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 3.0): Richy’s substitute, didn’t make much of an impact at all.
2 stars: Burger
It doesn’t matter how much a national fast food chain gussies up the marketing with giant creepy king mascots or rebrand itself to appeal to 50-something Gen-Xers who actually remember the 1970s — the food still sucks and you can almost certainly walk next door and get something better. Burger King has tasty food? That’s the REAL “whopper.”
Oliver Skipp (Community — 3.0): I feel like a lot of people, especially English football pundits, are overestimating him. I was not at all impressed with him vs. Palace — numerous bad passes, giveaways, etc. He played like he was, well, concussed and he probably should’ve been benched for Sarr out of caution.
1 star: The chess piece
Sure it can move in any direction, but only one square, making it inferior to the queen by every metric. The goal of the game is literally to capture it, and it’s only fancy move is to basically hide in a tower by castling with a rook. Kings are useless, a millstone around your neck in the game of chess, and I’d sacrifice it instantly if it didn’t mean I’d lose. (That’s probably why I’m bad at chess.)
No Tottenham players were as bad as the king in chess.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Eric Dier, Arnaut Danjuma