Jam. You eat it with toast at breakfast, you make a sandwich with it and peanut butter, you spread it on your scones with cream if your’e English and posh. It was originally a way to literally preserve fresh fruit for the coming colder months, and it’s delicious. This weekend’s 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur win over Wolves is dedicated to jam, because everyone likes it (and because I couldn’t think of another theme that I haven’t done already). While you can make and find jam for just about any fruit, I’m focusing almost entirely on flavors of jam that you can commonly find on supermarket shelves in the United States.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of jam flavors.
5 stars: Raspberry
Raspberry is the best jam. It is goated. Just tart enough (but not too much so), it pairs perfectly with peanut butter, and never, ever bad. Some readers may quibble and go with the more approachable “seedless raspberry,” but I disagree — yes, the seeds may get stuck in your teeth, but an actual raspberry is about 60% seed anyway. Jam is about enjoying the fruit, and this fruit is seedy. Like with Tottenham fandom, sometimes you have to endure hardship if you want to enjoy the sweetness. The seeds are the price you must pay for jammy goodness. And blackberry jam? It’s good too, though I’m convinced they’re the same product, just a different color.
No Tottenham players were as good as raspberry jam.
4.5 stars: Orange marmalade
You would think that a jam made out of the bits of the orange you DON’T eat would be disgusting. You would be wrong. The essence of orange oil permeates through this day-glo pot of wonderfulness, and the chewiness of the peel bits adds a lucious, toothsome bite, like coconut in... well, just about everything.
Ivan Perisic (Community - 4.0): There he is. Perisic got his old ass in the starting lineup, finally, and showed that he’s still got a lot to offer this Tottenham team. The Gianni Vio set piece flicked header to Kane was exquisite, and while he’s not the fastest, he still has plenty of oomph with his dribbling and forward movement. Fun to watch him out there.
4 stars: Apricot
I’m not especially a fan of fresh apricots. They’re fine, I guess, but not something I generally seek out when I’m shopping for fresh fruit. So what is it about apricots that lends itself to such an incredible jam? Not sure, but I’ll slather this on toast quite happily.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community - 3.5): Pretty absent along with the rest of the squad in the first half, but really improved in the second 45. Most of the good stuff that happened on the offensive end came through Deki, and despite the poor first half I think he earns this rating.
Harry Kane (Community - 4.0): A pretty classic Kane match — loved to drop in between the lines to pick up the ball and passed it well, even if he didn’t get as many shots off as we’re used to. Excellent movement to get free at the back post to head in the winner. 250 goals and counting, watch out Greavsie.
3.5 stars: Apple butter
Apple butter is a Pennsylvania Dutch staple, basically an apple jam that’s been cooked down with apple cider, cinnamon and allspice until it caramelizes into a deep brown. It’s got a hint of savoriness to it, so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s absolutely worth trying if you can get your hands on some. Preferably made by an Amish person, they do it best.
Ben Davies (Community - 3.5): Cut the ball out pretty well overall, a quietly solid performance. Did let his man past him on one or two occasions.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community - 3.5): I was and am still a little down on General Ho’s performance compared to others, especially in the post-match thread. I keep hoping he’ll be more direct or exciting with the ball in the advanced CM role and he just... isn’t. So maybe it’s me and I need to just come to grips that with Ho in the lineup we’re just never going to dominate a midfield. That said, he was pretty good, I guess. The early card didn’t help.
Antonio Conte (Community - 3.5): No tactical adjustments this time, just (apparently) a bollocking at halftime and a slight shifting of emphasis to turn things around in the second half. The first half performances, however, are still a little concerning. Forest away won’t be easy.
3 Stars: Grape
I don’t have anything against grape jam. It’s the ur-jam. If you see a stock photo of a peanut butter sandwich, odds are it’s going to have grape jam in it, and it’s the jam by which all other jams are judged, because while it doesn’t knock the ball out of the park, you know grape jam is going to work in just about every possible jam-related application. The only area where I think grape jam falls short is the experience eating it right out of the jar.
Hugo Lloris (Community - 3.5): Made a few easy saves when Wolves shot right at him. Found himself rooted on a couple shots that drifted wide of the post. Surprisingly, a quiet afternoon.
Emerson Royal (Community - 3.5): Defended well enough and had one good cross into the box that didn’t come off because none of his teammates checked their runs. But still doesn’t link up or set up Kulusevski especially well and the chemistry between him and Sanchez was decidedly lacking. All that’s to say, though, that Royal wasn’t really the problem, though he wasn’t exactly the solution either.
Eric Dier (Community - 3.5): Man, IDK. He was fine? Not his best performance by a long shot but Wolves never really got the better of him either.
2.5 stars: Strawberry
Strawberry jam is the most popular jam in America. Americans don’t have very good taste in jam. Eating my mother’s homemade strawberry refrigerator jam is one of my happiest memories of my childhood, but the stuff off the shelf just never, ever compares. There’s something about cooking the strawberries that just robs it of that fresh strawberry flavor for me. All jam is good, so I’ll happily eat it, but I’ll never reach for strawberry first, given an option.
Davinson Sanchez (Community - 3.5): Look. Davi’s a fine backup. He defended well in the box on Saturday. But while he knows how to put in a good tackle, he’s terrifying when judging a ball in the air, and weak with the ball at his feet. And while he can defend, under Conte a RCB has to be able to pass and combine with the right wing back. I don’t think the positives he had in the box outweighed the number of times I yelped when he was trying to pass out of the back.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Community - 3.5): A weirdly quiet and pedestrian afternoon; he struggled to really impose himself on the match and didn’t look as snappy in his challenges and passing as he sometimes does.
2 stars: Mixed berry
It sounds like this should be good! It usually isn’t. Mixed berry jam just comes across as a muddled mess of generic “fruit” flavors. I expect to find this in little plastic tubs at the center of my 24-hour breakfast place, and blearily spreading it onto toast at 5 a.m. while I wait for the first cup of coffee to arrive is literally the only decent application I have for this flavor of jam. Sorry.
Son Heung-Min (Community - 2.5): No, we should NOT bench Sonny for Richarlison. We know Sonny is a streaky scorer, as he has 1-2 of these patches every season and the only thing we can do is let him play through it and come out the other side. More concerning, however, is his profligacy in possession and his poor passing lately. His third straight sub-par game.
1 star: Getting run over by a bus
Look, it’s late and I’m an hour into this theme and honestly I can’t think of a trash jam flavor because all jam is better than no jam and I just realized this now but it’s too late to switch gears so here you go, this is your 1-star category, my only advice is to avoid mixing Getting Run Over By A Bus with peanut butter ur welcome
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as opening a jam jar and getting run over by a bus.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Ryan Sessegnon, Richarlison, Yves Bissouma