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Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Manchester City: Player ratings to the theme of more weird sports that are sometimes on ESPN

Lost in all the kerfluffle and #discourse from the last three days is this: Tottenham Hotspur played a hell of a match against the best team in the Premier League, possibly in world football. Spurs hosted Manchester City on Tuesday and went toe-to-toe with the three time defending Premier League champions, despite an injury-laden squad and a whole lot of behind the scenes drama. Even Pep Guardiola admitted that Spurs gave him and his team a hell of a game — not quite the “They had us in the first half, not gonna lie” meme, but pretty noteworthy and magnanimous coming from Pep.
Yeah, it’s a loss, but Spurs played very well on the whole. Time to evaluate those players.
But first, a theme. Honestly, I had a hard time this week so I went back to the well. I’ve kinda done “weird sports on TV” before so this is a bit of a retread, so consider this round 2, but I eliminated all the sports on the previous articles. And yes, I actually have seen all of these things on ESPN at some point in the past year or so.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of more weird sports that are sometimes broadcast on ESPN. Don’t overthink it. 5 stars: Dog shows Is it a sport? I say — YES! Fine, there’s less athletic stuff and more overstuffed judges evaluating extremely expensive pedigree animals by byzantine and incomprehensible standards in front of a huge crowd that just accepts the decisions of the judges because reasons, but in that sense it’s not really much different than VAR. At least here you get to see some truly excellent doggos.
No Tottenham players were this good, alas. 4 stars: Hot dog eating contest Also dubious as to whether this is a sport or not, but these people train fanatically to do what they do, and there’s a real freak-show element of watching Joey Chestnut down 60 dogs and buns in a record time and celebrate like he just won an Olympic gold medal. It’s the most sicko of all marginal sports, imo.
Guglielmo Vicario (Community — 4.0): Spectacular saves from Googly Elmo to keep Tottenham from getting blown out. Brave keeping and solid distribution from the back.
Ange Postecoglou (Community — 4.0): After a pretty depressing month of results, it was fascinating to see Ange make some significant and interesting tactical tweaks for this match. I thought he out-coached Guardiola despite the loss; Pep and City looked bamboozled at times by the wide attackers and the alternating false 9. If year 1 was about instituting principles, I hope we see more of these kinds of tweaks in year 2.
Pape Sarr (Community — 3.5): Others may see it differently, but I was impressed with Sarr’s match. Tireless in the press, looked intriguing as one of the false nines. Still believe he has an incredible future at Tottenham. 3.5 stars: Cornhole The greatest of back yard nice weather party games, it’s also a strangely compelling watch, especially when so-called professionals are at it. They have the sponsored shirts and properly calibrated beanbags and all that shit, and they just step up and drain those corns in those holes. Or something. Have a couple of beers and give it a watch. Beats pickleball.
Cuti Romero (Community — 3.5): Another solid defensive performance overall. Gave the ball away in the lead-up to Haaland’s first goal, but it’s hard to put too much blame on him for it.
Radu Dragusin (Community — 3.5): Still a little scary with his passing, but you can’t fault his tenacity or his defending. Loved his reaction after blocking a shot with his face. Would like to see him play on the right, hopefully next season in the Europa League.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Community — 3.5): Stung Ederson’s hands with a smart shot and worked his tail off but was hampered by a yellow card and tired in the second half. Did not mind his passion after being subbed off.
James Maddison (Community — 3.5): Continues to look like he’s slowly getting back to his old self. Worked well as a false nine, had one lovely move to get into the City box, and his match vision appears to be returning. Get this guy an extended break this summer and let him cook.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 3.0): Much, much better from Deki in a role that might be his best. Gave City’s defense a lot to think about late, and had a shot saved by sub keeper Ortega. 3 stars: Axe throwing Axe throwing falls into that long tradition of “see who can throw this thing the closest to that other thing” games of skill. This encompasses things like archery, curling, bocce-ball, and horseshoes. But this is a VIKING sport with DANGEROUS OBJECTS that feature beefy dudes with long beards. That makes it slightly novel, if still a “throw a thing the closest to that other thing.”
Pedro Porro (Community — 3.0): Pretty good match riiiiiiiiight up to the point where he conceded an obvious penalty that put the match beyond doubt.
Micky van de Ven (Community — 3.5): Interestingly, Micky played as a much more traditional fullback in this one, even tucking in a bunch to form an effective back three rather than pushing forward into space. It’s clear it’s not his best role (though I think his lack of consistent defense against Kyle Walker was tactical), but I can understand Ange using him here. He was fine.
Brennan Johnson (Community — 3.0): Not his most impactful of games, but did have a shot saved and set up Son nicely for another chance.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.0): Son as an wide outlet is so much better than Son as a center forward and this match showed why. City are a bear to play against so I can’t fault him too much but he simply HAD to score when one-on-one late. 2.5 stars: Frisbee golf I love frisbee golf. I’m pretty terrible at it, but there’s something nice about a walk around a course chucking a plastic disc into the poison oak shrubbery. So I got excited one night when there happened to be a frisbee golf tournament on ESPN. But it turns out it was a strangely disappointing viewing experience — not a ton of drama, just a bunch of long throwers setting up easy putts for birdie. Disappointing.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.0): It’s not a Hojbjerg match without him passing to an opposition player while inside his own box. Plenty of tenacity and I get he’s like fourth choice in the role, but I thought he struggled a bit in this one. 1 star: Bass fishing I have no idea how ESPN ever makes this sport interesting, but really I mostly just feel bad for the fish. Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating Giovani Lo Celso, Oliver Skipp, Mikey Moore Erik Lamela Memorial Shithouse Award Cuti Romero — No, I don’t think Cuti meant to fracture Ederson’s eye socket and he had every right to go for that ball in that challenge. I’m not sure it was even a yellow card-worthy challenge. But, like, if anyone was going to break a keeper’s face and only get a yellow, it’s Cuti.

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