Opinion: Ranking Tottenham first-team players out of 10 for their season starts

In truth, the international break could not have come at a better time for Ange Postecoglou’s men, which is a strange feeling as we’re used to lamenting the two-week break from club football as it was depriving us of precious ‘Ange Ball’, especially with no European football and league cup, we were itching for more.

In the 15th minute of the Spurs vs. Chelsea match, Son has just rounded off an electrifying Tottenham attack to put us 2-0 up and back on top of the table. That goal was correctly ruled offside, but the boys were buzzing, and the stadium was a hot cauldron bubbling to the surface that was starting to spill out onto the pitch.

Typical Ange fashion: firing on all cylinders and squeezing the life out of Chelsea, but what we failed to account for is that old habits died hard, and what followed was one of the most chaotic matches the Premier League has ever seen, with Spurs beaten 4-1 after being reduced to nine men and losing two integral players to the system with injuries to Maddison and Van de Ven. 

It’s a bleak picture made even bleaker after the sucker punch we suffered at the hands of Wolves, but in truth, they thoroughly outplayed us after our early opener from Brennan Johnson.

The international break has come at the perfect time for Tottenham, as it gives Postecoglou a chance to drill this makeshift defence into a cohesive unit that can play his football. With big tests coming up like Aston Villa, Newcastle, and Manchester City, no one would blame you for feeling very nervous about those upcoming fixtures.

As I write this, Spurs sit 4th in the table after having played 12 games with 8 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses. You ask any Spurs fan at the start of the season if they’d take that start, and they would in a heartbeat. I feel like there’s been a meltdown online from rival fans who seem to think that we Spurs fans are distraught and inconsolable after the injuries, back-to-back losses, and suspensions, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

We are in full support of the players and the manager, and we couldn’t be happier than we’ve finally realigned ourselves with the club’s DNA of ‘To Dare is to Do’.

It’s time for a calm, player-by-player reflection of our season so far.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 23: James Maddison of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal with teammate Son Heung-Min during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 23, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Guglielmo Vicario

An under-the-radar style signing when we seemed to move on from Brentford’s hefty price tag for David Raya, not many knew too much or gave too much attention to the man who’s now called up to the Azzurri. Fans were up in arms about Spurs settling for their seemingly second-choice target, but ‘Venom’, as he’s affectionately dubbed, has been a revelation. The large frame of Vicario has brought about a calmness and confidence that Spurs fans haven’t seen for a long, long time. He’s been a top player for Spurs this season so far. 9/10.

Pedro Porro

The Spaniard has won over all the doubters in the Tottenham camp with some creative brilliance and industrial concentration. I can only remember two glaring mistakes, one against Palace and one against Chelsea, but other than that, the boy is on fire and has been stepping up the quality in every match. Bleeds Lilywhite. 9/10.

Emerson Royal

Versatile and adaptive, Royal has proven to be a useful member of the team and puts in at least a decent performance anytime he’s called upon, a perfectly serviceable backup player who really shouldn’t be starting but should be trusted when called upon. He certainly surprised me with his calmness in inverting from the fullback position, although I’d love to see him playing RCB in Romero’s absence because I just don’t think Dier is good enough to start anymore. 5/10.

Eric Dier

The remontada was kicking off when he came on and put in a colossal performance against Chelsea, then it all came crashing down when he started the next game against Wolves. Countless times he had to be rescued by Ben Davies in the Wolves game, and he just switched off for both goals right when it mattered the most. Not his fault, just not good enough for the system. 4/10.

Ben Davies

An underrated component, although not one that should be starting games either; always a solid, decent performance from the lad but obviously lacking in real quality when it comes to competing at the top; a harmless player who fits the unit well. 5/10.

Cristian Romero

It was all going so well for Romero; he seemingly had lassoed in his aggression streak and was channelling it into his new-found leadership role, taking real pride in wearing the captain’s armband when Maddison and Son were subbed off.

His red card against Chelsea was the catalyst for the implosion we’re currently suffering from. At the end of the day, one of our captains has contributed to the fears we are facing now, especially when we have big fixtures coming up and he’s made himself unavailable for them. Mostly imperious, but almost an unforgivable sequence of play vs. Chelsea. 8/10.

Micky van de Ven

Flawless since coming in, with blistering pace and calculated defending, earning plaudits and an Oranje cap, Micky has exceeded all expectations since coming in. His recent injury is a devastating blow, as, in my opinion, he’s the most important player in our system. Come back stronger. 10/10. NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA, Micky van de Ven, VAN DE VEN, MICKY VAN DE VEN!

Destiny Udogie

It’s been a baptism of fire for the newly capped Azzurri. Earning plaudits at Udinese for his attacking exploits as a wing-back last season, questions were asked if he could adapt his playstyle to invert into midfield and offer a calming and calculated presence on the ball. Udogie has risen to the challenge against some of the Premier League’s best attackers time after time, despite his head-loss double yellow recently. For his age, he’s got credit in the bank for making those kinds of mistakes, especially owing to how well he’s settled into the intricate Postecoglou system. 9/10. I WANNA DANCE WITH UDOGIE, I WANNA WIN THE LEAGUE WITH UDOGIE!

Yves Bissouma

The Malian proved to be an integral part of Ange’s plans as he’d receive the ball at the back, resist the press, and progress the ball forward, Dembele-esque. Yves has been brought in from the cold by Postecoglou and has been given the license to be his brilliant Brighton self, as he’s controlling the tempo. He has been performing a little off of late after his red card at Luton, but I’m confident he’ll be able to pick it up again soon because he’s just so important for Spurs to beat the press. 8/5/10.

Pape Matar Sarr

The Senegalese international has been in electric form this season, relishing his starting role and contributing heavily to defence, midfield, and attack. We’re still not even sure exactly what type of midfielder he’ll develop into, as he’s so young and doing so much on the pitch already. Here’s hoping he’ll forge his own path and just be good at everything. 8/10. There’s a Sarr mannnn, whos magic on the ball.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

He’s honestly just doing his job, and he does it well. A limited but industrious player, Hojbjerg could absolutely thrive at a club that could better use his abilities, but for now, he’s a solid cog in the machine for us. 6/10.

Oliver Skipp

The lad’s a hard worker but always leaves something to be desired; he’s one of our own, so we should persist with him. I feel like he needs to develop his combative side more and become a tough 6, as I don’t feel he has the dynamism enough to be an 8. 5/10. I just wanted some more OLIVER SKIPP.

James Maddison

His performances have demonstrated that his price tag was an absolute steal, as the Englishman is the jewel in the crown of Postecoglou’s side. Exceeding all expectations, the only disappointment that Maddison has offered up would be the injury he suffered, which will keep him out for many months, which is a crying shame. He’s come a long way from old Bale tweets! He bleeds Lilywhite now. 10/10.

Dejan Kulusevski

I think people are starting to appreciate just how much of a machine he is through his running numbers alone. Not only is he covering the most ground, but he’s also upped his all-around game. It has been a great season so far. 8/10. Gimme Gimme Gimme, a ginger from Sweden!

Brennan Johnson

He is looking absolutely electric in the handful of minutes he’s had so far. It’s unfortunate to have only played so little up until now, but he’s going to have to maintain his consistency as it looks like we’re hitting a rough patch, and we’ll know moments of quality to drag us out of it like Brennan is more than capable of. 8/10.


He’s not been too terrible, chipping in with some goals and assists; it’s not bad, but of course, it’s not mega-money signing worth yet. Apparently, he’s been playing through a pretty significant injury, so I only hope he can come back stronger because, to be honest, it might just be his last chance to win over the Spurs faithful. 6/10.

Heung-min Son

The Tottenham Hotspur captain is demonstrating genuine leadership qualities both on and off the pitch. There was lots of scepticism about who would take the captaincy armband. I personally wrote a piece advocating for Sonny to be chosen, as I felt that his demeanour and attitude were perfect to be Spurs captain. His finishing has been out of this world playing as a striker, and we always knew that whenever Harry Kane was not fit, Son would more than fill his boots. That’s my captain. 9/10. Nice one Sonny let’s have another one!

Those are all the names that have contributed at least significantly to the season so far, so I want to see more from Solomon, Veliz, Gil, Lo Celso and more when they’re back from injury or play more.

Overall, we can’t be too upset; we knew we lacked quality depth, and it’s certainly showing. Ange told us we’d experience some rough times, and Celtic fans confirm that this is just one of those periods.

Keep your faith in Ange Postecoglou, a manager doesn’t win 3 Manager of the Month in a row for nothing.

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