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Tottenham 2-0 Manchester United: player ratings to the theme of insane footballer hair

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Hull City Photo by Ben Radford/Corbis via Getty Images

Ange-ball’s getting off to a pretty great start. Tottenham Hotspur hosted Manchester United for the first time under new head coach Ange Postecoglou and did something that hasn’t been done since the new stadium opened — beat them. New cult favorite midfielder Pape Matar Sarr scored a half-volleyed rebound effort off a deflected Dejan Kulusevski goal, and Lisandro Martinez added an own goal that miiiiiight have gotten a slight touch off the boot of Ben Davies for the insurance.

It was pretty fun. I like it when Tottenham Hotspur score more goals than their opponents and win the football match.

Today’s theme comes from, as is often what happens, a conversation with the writing team in Carty Free Slack. It was a fun discussion! It should also be a fun theme. Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of insane professional footballer hair. The more insane, the higher the rating.

5 stars: Abel Xavier

I’m not going to pretend that I ever watched Abel Xavier, now long retired, play football. But have I known about his hair? Oh yes. Yes I have. One part cornrows, one part faux-hawk, and one part The Rent is Too Damn High Guy makes for an absolutely incredible combo. That hair makes no damn sense! ...Compels me, though.

Pape Sarr (Community - 4.5): We have been saying for weeks that Sarr needs to start in this Tottenham side. A phenomenal performance — equal parts flair and industry, made the run to get in position to score, and should’ve had a brace. He is good.

Yves Bissouma (Community - 4.5): The more I see Bissouma under Ange the more he reminds me of Mousa Dembele. His passing and press resistance is an intoxicating combo and his engine is nearly unparalleled in the team.

4.5 stars: Carlos Valderrama

I know it’s obvious, but you can’t have an insane hair player ratings theme without including Sideshow Bob Carlos Valderrama. At its peak his glorious mane was just so impressive as to be monumental. People of a certain (cough) age will be able to tell their grandkids that they saw Carlos Valderrama’s hair play against the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field.

James Maddison (Community - 4.0): Overshadowed ever so slightly by his midfield compatriots on Saturday, but he was still heavily involved in everything Spurs did going forward. Made Spurs’ second goal.

Guglielmo Vicario (Community - 4.5): I don’t think you can ask a whole lot more from a keeper than what Spurs got from Googly Elmo on Saturday. Several outstanding stops, was brave with the ball, commanded his area well.

4 stars: Gervinho

Apologies for polluting your player ratings with a Gooner but Gervinho’s hair is just gloriously bonkers. Most guys with that head to forehead ratio would just go bald. As it is you could land a cargo plane on that forehead. He got smart later in his career and started using a wide headband that make him look less like Pennywise the Clown.

Cuti Romero (Community - 4.0): Mayyyyybe he was a touch lucky not to concede a penalty (not for me Clyde) but was otherwise extremely solid. No rash challenges, tidy with the ball, good positioning.

Destiny Udogie (Community - 4.0): This kid is going to be a star. Worked well with Sonny on the left flank and did a ton of running to get up and down the pitch. Had one good shot saved by Onana. Bold prediction: he’s on the Gareth Bale development plan.

Dejan Kulusevski (Community - 3.5): Better. Was able to dribble into the box more than against Brentford and his movement dragged United’s back line all out of shape. It was his deflected cross that Sarr fired home. Still think he can do more in this forward line.

Ange Postecoglou (Community - 4.5): Tweaked the lineup, ostensibly because he just wanted to see what would happen. The team responded in the second half, and he used his subs well. No complaints here.

3.5 stars: Ronaldo Nazario

The rumor is that Ronaldo’s hair clippers died halfway through his World Cup ‘do appointment and he just went with it. Points for audacity, if perhaps not for execution.

Micky van de Ven (Community - 3.5): A little jittery early (it’s his second match) and had a couple of moments where he lost his man in the first half. Improved dramatically in the second half as he grew into the match.

Son Heung-Min (Community - 3.5): Had one moment where he dallied on the ball just a little too long looking for a perfect shot instead of firing at goal. Still looks a touch uncomfortable out wide but he’s forming a good relationship with Udogie and is still figuring out his role post-Kane. But here’s the thing — he’s getting more touches in the box already than he ever did under Conte. It’ll come.

Ivan Perisic (Community - 3.5): Grampa Ivan’s new role as a late-game sub to ping balls into the box against tired legs is proving to be quite impactful. Started the move that led to the second goal.

3 stars: Gerry Francis

Gerry Francis’ mullet is a beautiful thing. Truly! It’s like a slightly intoxicated albatross is sitting on his head, waiting to take flight and soar off into the sunset. I commend him for not only committing to the bit well into his later years but for leaning so entirely into the skid that he’s slid off the cliff face and is plummeting down the slope.

Pedro Porro (Community - 3.5): (Not all that) hot take incoming! Porro’s second half effort was outstanding and he smacked the bar with a shot. That’s all very good, but doesn’t entirely paper over what was a pretty abhorrent defensive effort in the first half. On balance a good match, but he needed Pape Sarr’s defensive help for a while there and I’m still nervous about him playing against speedy wide attackers.

Richarlison (Community - 3.0): Rightfully catching some flak for his offensive output (no shots!) but did a very nice job in the high press and his movement opened up a lot of space for others to run into. Spurs need to do a better job of getting him the ball. A sneakily decent match, though still one of the worse performers on a very good day for Tottenham and he needs to get better, fast.

Ben Davies (Community - 3.5): Don’t think he touched the ball on the own goal, but still did well to get into that position. Much more defensively oriented as an Udogie replacement. He was fine, especially with Spurs up two goals.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community - 3.0): He was fine, whatever. Don’t think he’s around much longer.

2 stars: Jermain Defoe / Joe Cole (tie)

Jermain usually had good hair, so when he came out with what could only be described as a mathematical curve plot on the back of his skull I think everyone were thrown for a bit of a loop. Even so, Jermain was cool enough that he could smile right through the weird factor and totally pull it off. Joe Cole? That guy has no excuse for putting a pink handlebar mustache on his head.

There are no Tottenham players in this category.

1 star:

Here, gentle readers, I give you two contrasting ponytails. On the left is Argentine striker Rodrigo Palacios — a thin, understated rat tail that has more in common with Jedi Padawan learners than your typical footballer. On the right is, of course, Roberto Baggio — The Divine Ponytail, rich and lustrous throughout his career, a mullet to end all mullets. Both are technically ponytails, both are as different as they can be. As far as insane hair goes, Baggio and Palacios are notable as contrasting extremist archetypes of the same, somewhat normalish, category. Hence, one star — but what a glorious star it is.

No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as a footballer ponytail, though in this case I’m not sure that sentence really applies.

Taribo West Memorial Non-Rating

Manor Solomon, Emerson Royal