The North London Derby has come and gone, and left in its passing a point on the table and a lot of angst. I’m still recovering from that game, so instead let’s talk about SWORDS.
This came across my Bluesky timeline late last week — Bluesky might be a walled garden but it still feels the most like what Twitter USED to feel like, complete with dumb memes and silly discussion posts that lead to the best kind of engagement with strangers. Where else can you post a picture of swords and have it generate Tottenham Hotspur content?
(I’m still waiting for native Bluesky embeds in Chorus but until then you get a screenshot, sorry)
We got a good chuckle out of this in the writer’s chat, of course, and quickly led to an animated discussion of not only which sword WE are (I’m a short sword who really wants to be a katana but is too self-aware) but also which swords represent Tottenham Hotspur players. And here we are.
So that’s the theme today. Silly, I know. But hey, after an intensive match like the one we just had this Sunday maybe we need a little distraction and something fun to argue about? What’s more fun than SWORDS?
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings for the North London Derby to the theme of Spurs first team players as swords.
5 stars: Hook Sword - Cuti Romero
There were two things pretty much universally agreed upon during discussions on this topic — Son Heung-Min is NOT a katana, and Cuti Romero IS a hook sword. Considering Cuti went into the NLD without so much as committing a single foul, a sword that you use to basically yoink your opponents out of your way by the neck feels pretty appropriate, no?
No Tottenham players were as good as Cuti Romero as a hook sword. Heck, not even Cuti was that good in the NLD and I’m pretty sure he used one at some point.
4.5 stars: Rapier - Bryan Gil
“Hello. My name is Bryan Gil. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
Micky van de Ven (Community — 4.0): My man of the match, even with Sonny scoring a brace and Madders getting two assists (though it’s close). An impressively composed performance in a very tough environment against some of the toughest attackers in the league.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.5): Fairly quiet on the whole, but was spot on with the chances he did have and earned his brace. That first goal was deceptively difficult to pull off, and the second was clinical. He already has five goals in six games.
James Maddison (Community — 4.0): Assisted both of Sonny’s goals in a game where he struggled to find space in which to operate. Bantered Saka after the match over DartsGate. God, he’s just an incredible guy, isn’t he?
4 stars: Cutlass - James Maddison
When I think of the cutlass, I think of pirates. When I think of pirates, I think of Errol Flynn-style swashbuckling and flamboyance. When I think of swashbuckling and flamboyance, I think of James Maddison. What better sword than a cutlass for the main man at a roast dinner?
Guglielmo Vicario (Community — 4.0): Made a couple of super important stops in the first half and couldn’t really do anything with the two he let in. What impressed me most was his leadership, encouraging his teammates after conceding and staying positive.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 4.0): Steadily improving as the young season goes on. Terrorized Zinchenko for much of the match, even if his final ball wasn’t always perfectly accurate.
Ange Postecoglou (Community — 4.0): No real complaints here. His subs were probably more reactive than he expected, but he successfully tweaked the fullbacks’ tactics to be a little more defensive while still playing his style.
Yves Bissouma (Community — 4.0): A rough start to the match and I expected him to get sent off after picking up a cheap yellow. Instead he solidified over time and kept Odegaard in check in the face of a furious Arsenal press. Not his best game, but pretty good.
3.5 stars: Odachi - Micky van de Ven
Let’s see — tall, thin, long reach but still more agile and faster than a claymore? Yup. Sounds like Micky.
Pedro Porro (Community — 4.0): Under a lot of pressure from Gabriel Jesus, Pedro defended more than capably. Got forward and tested Zinchenko on occasion as well.
Destiny Udogie (Community — 3.5): Destiny’s early yellow could’ve doomed him to irrelevance and Arsenal to constant attacks down that side, and he made one pretty major mistake that led to a huge chance for Nketiah. But despite not linking well with Johnson, he stabilized and managed to keep Saka fairly contained.
3 stars: Gladius - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
The sword of the Roman infantryman. Short reach, but agile and devastating when used with a shield in close combat. Not glamorous, but does the dirty work — kinda like General Ho. With these swords, Rome conquered nearly the whole of Europe. COYS.
Brennan Johnson (Community — 3.5): This is closer to 2.75 stars for me, but let’s round up. BJ did some pretty good things in and around Arsenal’s box, including two saved shots, but did not mesh well with Udogie (he hung him out to dry defensively a number of times) and frequently failed to properly show for the ball. The left side was a black hole in attack vs. Arsenal. It’s early. He’s only been here a week. He hasn’t learned the system. He could improve. Ange likes him. All are true. I hope he’s good for us, but I don’t think he showed it in this match.
Cuti Romero (Community — 3.0): Wait, an OG, a conceded penalty, and a yellow card and Cuti still gets a 3? Well... yeah. Because as awful a day as it was for him, Cuti still was a defensive beast and a big reason why Spurs were able to withstand a scary Arsenal press and counter. Also very composed playing out of the back.
Richarlison (Community — 3.0): Had one shot that went wide late, otherwise not a significant impact in a match where Spurs ended up furiously defending for much of extra time.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.0): Came on as a sub for the injured Maddison. Didn’t provide the creative spark — but that’s not his game. Provided some stability to the midfield while under pressure late in the match.
2.5 stars: Short Sword - Manor Solomon
The jokes write themselves, don’t they? FOLKS.
Pape Sarr (Community — 3.5): For me, disappointing. (A lot of people obviously disagree.) A few crazy long shots including a memorable shank, some poor passing, and looked out of his depth. My guess is that had Cuti not been injured, Hojbjerg would’ve come on for Sarr and it would’ve been the right call. In fairness, this is a TOUGH match for a central midfielder, especially a young one, but he played like he was wildin’ for a while and while he got better it wasn’t enough for me.
Manor Solomon (Community — 3.0): Just didn’t offer much of anything with the ball, though he wasn’t helped by how Spurs’ offense dried up late. Might get a chance to start next weekend vs. Liverpool.
2 stars: Broadsword - Eric Dier
The archetypal sword of the fantasy genre and the sword most people think of when they hear the word “sword.” Every (human) fighter in Lord of the Rings or has one of these as they traipse around Middle Earth looking for things to hit. They’re fine. They’re just BORING.
Don’t think anyone played this poorly, which is a testament to Spurs’ overall performance in a crucible of a NLD.
1 star: Hamberge - Tanguy Ndombele
Let’s see: big, bulky, strange, and likely inefficient. Honestly, it’s a very Peter Crouch sword but since Crouchy’s hung up his (massive, weird) boots, Tanguy feels like the next best choice. All style, little substance.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad (or weird) as the Hamberge.