Tottenham 2-3 Arsenal: Player ratings to the theme of preventative ...


Hi, everyone. Tottenham Hotspur fell in their home North London Derby on Sunday by a score of 2-3. It’s the second straight time that Spurs have lost this match at home, something that is a bit of a statistical aberration. But there’s a lot more to talk about than just “Spurs lost to their arch-rival” because this match was interesting if nothing else (and there was a lot of “else” there as well).

We’re going to talk about the Spurs players here in a second. But first, something serious.

On Thursday, I’m taking a break from the blog for some medical leave — I’m having major surgery for a partial bowel resection. I’ve taken vacations from the blog before, but never for medical reasons. I am hesitant to overshare (eww) but let’s just say that a routine colonoscopy discovered some things that need to come out. I anticipate it isn’t cancer, but the procedure is the same whether it is or isn’t. I will likely be in recovery when Spurs kick off at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

The blog is in good hands — Matty, Sebastian, Fitzie and the rest of the team will keep you up to date with the news and match coverage. There will NOT be Community Player Ratings for the Chelsea match due to access issues with the Qualtrics software I use. I expect I’ll miss at least a few days, possibly longer depending on recovery and when I feel able to think about typing on a keyboard again.

And hence — the theme. Folks, one of the things I’ve learned during this process is that it’s always, ALWAYS good to listen to your doctor and not skip or put off preventative care. The colonoscopy that detected the issues leading to my procedure was my first, and I’d put it off for a couple of years. Don’t do that. If you take nothing else from this article (beyond that I love Cuti Romero), hear me now: stay on top of your preventative care. Your life may literally depend on it.

I know this might make me come across as preachy. I know what the state of health/dental insurance is like in the United States in particular, and I don’t know your personal situation. There are people reading this who will have real, genuine financial reasons why they can’t see a doctor. I get it, and I’m sorry. But if you’re in a position to do these things to prioritize your health, you really, really should.

The theme categories are not ranked in descending order — all of these things are important. When you’re reading the two-star header, it’s not because it’s less important than the five star. And yes, I’m fitting the ratings into the theme here a bit today, I hope you can forgive me.

Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of preventative care.

5 stars: Mammograms/Colonoscopies

Look, nobody likes these things. They’re not pleasant to think about, much less to go through. They’re ludicrously easy to push off or ignore, despite your doctor admonishing you for doing so. Don’t put them off. Don’t skip them. Those with breasts — get them checked. Those with colons — same, and especially People (cough) of a Certain Age™. Because as unpleasant as a colonoscopy (and the prep day) is, getting bowel cancer is so much worse.

Cristian Romero (Community — 4.5): Cuti was an absolute beast on Sunday. Scored one goal from a smart heads-up play (what was he doing there, anyway?) and could’ve had a hat trick on a different day. Arsenal’s three goals had very little to do with him. Quite possibly the best player on the pitch on Sunday.

4 stars: Immunizations

Forget all the noise — immunizations save lives, and not just your own. Get them, stay up to date with them.

Micky van de Ven (Community — 4.0): If that goal holds up on VAR (and it should’ve, dammit), this is at least a 4.5 star performance. As it is, while he did plenty to speed back and cut out Arsenal chances, he’s still not especially good in the air, and that hurts us on set pieces. But that’s nit-picky — he was quite good.

Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 3.5): It feels like Deki’s efficacy is as much tactical as it is performance-based. This was a match suited to his skills, and he was well up for it. Dangerous and direct, he created a number of decent chances, and should’ve earned a penalty. One of his best matches in hot minute.

Ange Postecoglou (Community — 3.0): I might get yelled at for this, but I thought Ange did a great job setting the team up for this match and making adjustments when needed. He made several significant tweaks to the system (the fullbacks weren’t very inverted! Hojbjerg in midfield! Playing outlets through Davies instead of the DM!) that we haven’t really seen before. Let’s be honest, Spurs were just better than Arsenal in this one, and while he really, really needs a defensive set piece coach, I don’t feel like he deserves a ton of flack for this match. The loss hurts, but I’m still all aboard the Ange train.

3 stars: Counseling/Therapy/Mental Health

Prioritizing your mental health is every bit as important as keeping up with your physical health. We have come a long way towards the destigmatization of mental health issues and those who may (or may not) consider themselves neurodivergent, but there’s still work to be done. If nothing else, everyone could stand to talk to someone professionally trained to be talked to.

Guglielmo Vicario (Community — 3.0): Incredible one-footed save to keep Spurs from getting blown out, but is rightfully getting criticized for not commanding his area on set pieces. (Some officiating help would be nice too.)

Pedro Porro (Community — 3.0): Did a nice job defensively mitigating Trossard’s offensive threat. Not as much of a threat going forward, but credit Arsenal for that. Created one half chance with a good pass to Son but his crossing wasn’t fantastic.

Ben Davies (Community — 3.0): Are we really going to criticize Ben Davies for getting turned around by Bukayo Saka one time? I’m not. He has big shoes to fill and he’s all we have. Did enough otherwise for me to feel moderately comfortable that he can do a job until the end of the season.

Rodrigo Bentancur (Community — 3.0): Bless him, he tried. His progressive instincts might have lasted longer and been better had Spurs been able to equalize when down 1-0. As it was, he got bossed a bit by Partey and Rice and got hooked for the more dynamic Pape Sarr at halftime.

Timo Werner (Community — ): I was so busy rage-typing in the first half that it was ten minutes before I realized Timo had been subbed. He apparently picked up a knock, which is a shame because I thought he was doing some good things in space during the first half.

Brennan Johnson (Community — 3.0): Arsenal don’t let a lot of players in behind (they’re very good) so this wasn’t an ideal tactical fit for BJ. Still, he did fine, just not especially great with the crosses.

Pape Sarr (Community — 3.0): Spurs really needed his energy in the second half as they tried to battle back from a big deficit. I can’t point to any one thing he did, but at minimum, he added some spark.

Richarlison (Community — 3.0): Admired his fighting spirit (almost literally at times). You could see the focus of the offense change when he got on. Credit to Arsenal for preventing a lot of chances to fall his way.

Yves Bissouma (Community — 3.0): Eh. He was fine.

2.5 stars: Regular check-ups

It’s so easy to forget to do these, or push them back for a later time, but regular check-ins with your doctor will keep you on a healthy path (or gently guide you towards one), and your doctor is trained to spot things that you might not.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 2.5): Not mad at Ange for trying Pierre in midfield, but the guy did head the ball into his own net in an NLD and even earning a penalty didn’t really do enough otherwise to mitigate how awful that was. I feel bad for him, but I don’t think he was especially good in this one.

Son Heung-Min (Community — 2.5): I love Sonny to death but I’m starting to worry that the fallow patch he’s in right now, which iis longer than what he usually goes through during a season, is maybe him heading over the cliff. Apart from the penalty (which was excellent), he was extremely ineffective. At this point I think he needs to be on the wing, not at striker.

2 stars: Dental check-ups

Anyone who has had a crown or a root canal because it’s been five years since you last went to the dentist is probably nodding their heads in agreement with me. I know the state of dental insurance in the USA is a hot mess, dentistry is expensive, and I don’t know people’s situations, but if it’s at all possible, try and give your teeth a little TLC as well.

James Maddison (Community — 2.5): There’s something wrong with him. He clearly doesn’t trust his own body, and it makes me wonder (as others have) if he’s carrying a more long term injury than what we’ve been led to believe.

1 star: Ignoring preventative care because it’s hard or uncomfortable

No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as ignoring preventative health, dental, or mental health care. Take care of yourselves, y’all.

Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating

Giovani Lo Celso

Erik Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award

Richarlison — I swear I thought he was going to throw hands at a couple of points there in the second half.

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