The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Spurs Milestone turns to Millstone.

Unbeaten: Try playing with that round your neck.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Still unbeaten in our best start for years. But that Milestone can soon become a Millstone. After all you could, at the extreme, draw every game and still get relegated. That's an observation not a prediction.

Three consecutive draws is a worryingly reassuring trend or a reassuringly worrying trend depending on your state of mind. Being a Spurs fan probably the latter.

 It could be worse. But yet another opportunity to go top, however briefly, spurned for the second week running. But we are still in there on all fronts, well, until tomorrow anyway.

The Champions' League group is wide open after our midweek draw with Bayer Leverkusen. We played quite well in the first half but the fact that all the candidates for MOM were defenders(Verts, Rose, Lloris, and Wanyama) is telling.

It was a similar story against a hardworking well coached and organised Bournmouth side on Saturday. Other Premiership contenders could easily come a cropper here. Candidates for MOM again  all defenders:Verts , Rose and Wanyama.

We are clearly missing a consistent goalscorer and although Harry Kane's backup has his strengths and merits putting the ball in the net is not so far one of them. Son, Dele and Lamela need to swarm round him to benefit from his hold up play.

Son seems more effective coming in from the space on the left and Janssen needs to be trusted to do what he does. Goals will come but in the meantime he is working hard and effectively.

Of course our recent experience with Roberto Soldado creeps into the minds of the more pessimistic Spurs fans. But then what other sort is there?

Even if he doesn't score soon he will become a fan favorite. We have a soft spot for honest and hard working strikers even if they don't often score. Think Pavlyuchenko. Spellcheck suggested 'bellyache' for my first effort at that.

Some might say three tough opponents, in different ways, away from home and to emerge with our undefeated medals round our necks is a positive scenario. Captain Hugo has admittedly made some top class saves but that's what keepers are for.

Jan has stepped up in our hour of Toby need and Wanyama continues to surprise and delight. Well me at least. In fact the back six have been consistently good, apart from some stray and suicidal passes playing out from the back. 

The front five have been good at times but never consistently good together. They take it in turns to shine and then the light flickers and fades. Calls for Lamela or Ericksen or Dele to be rested are mounting.

But rest any or all of this trio and where is the creative spark to come from. Dembele back from injury is still in recuperation mode; Son has sparkled, fizzled and gone out and Janssen's blue touch paper is yet to be lit.

You should have saved this for firework night Jim (Editor)

Fortunately City after a lively start have never quite recovered their panache after losing to us and Arsenal faltered after six consecutive wins to preserve our position one point off the top. But there are four teams ahead of us now.

One point and a two goal difference covers five teams. So where exactly are we? There or thereabouts as they say but this is not Premiership winning form, and certainly not Champions' League although I expect us to go through.

 Pochettino continues to puzzle with his substitutions and his persistence with Sissoko who could well get a three match ban for throwing a touchline elbow against Bournmouth. (Charged today:
Monday: accepted by Spurs)

No bad thing at the moment but it would be just our luck for him to escape. He will take time to settle and will be given some space as was Lamela. He was cheaper than Eric but only just.

The team against Liverpool on Tuesday should feature Vorm, CCV, Wimmer, Davies, Trippier, Winks, N'Koudou and Onomah (Edwards is injured). Dembele could captain as he needs more pitch time and Dier has had time off.

It looks like a five horse race for the Premiership at the moment but Liverpool Arsenal and Chelsea are all on the rise. We are currently treading water. We managed to throw a two horse race last year and it might help if there were less pressure.

Liverpool away is no Gillingham at the Lane. However good luck to those that play and I hope that the back up squad excel and shock Liverpool who will be keen to progress.

Of course Mauricio may have different ideas and put out a more experienced team but I doubt it.

And remember this is the blog that's not always wrong.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Not much to see but mainly Spurs. Lloris to the rescue early and a few chances not taken. Not a lot of scintillating team play and passing but some individual moments against a compact defence. Lamela came closest

Monday, 17 October 2016

Hugo: City Link

Masters of Distribution! I should forget that one Hugo.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Eight games in and still unbeaten. First goal conceded in open play. I'm starting on a positive note because that's the kind of guy I am despite being trapped in this Spurs nightmare for more years than I can remember.

Sometimes you get to feel like a hamster on a treadmill frantically peddling and getting exactly nowhere against the packed defences and negative ambitions of our opponents.

(Watch the imagery Jimmy: hamsters on a treadmill against packed defences with negative ambitions doesn't really work for me! (Editor) Sorry Ed. good point)

Total domination of all the relevant stats, over 70 possession overall and 78% in the first half and yet in grave danger of losing to West.Brom. for the last ten minutes.

 Foster was their clear MOM and Time-Waster in Chief and we were saved by last minute genius from Dele and almost getting what we truly deserved from an Eriksen free kick on the whistle.

So what's new? We've seen this movie so many times. It's like Xmas repeats on the BBC. We deserved to win but almost lost. In days gone by though we might have come away empty handed. But this is the New Spurs.

It's a bit bit like the Old Spurs admittedly, same DNA after all, but with added bite and energy. We were good in the first half but needed to step it up in the second once we realised that Foster was having one of them days.

Instead we seemed to go into sleep mode and forgot where the 'wake up' button was located until they scored. By 'they' I mean Chadli. The curse of the returning player strikes again.

That shock and the arrival of Son, who should have been on earlier, was the alarm call we seemed to have been waiting for. Dele's equaliser was cheeky and classy at the same time and Eriksen nearly snatched it at the death.

One point off top and one point behind Arsenal. Was ever thus. We missed the chance to go top but the last three games between us have been 1-1 draws. Proves again that we need learn to jump start parked charabancs not search fruitlessly for the keys.

Did I mention that we are without Toby Alderweireld for anything from three weeks to a year. Awaiting updates after scans  as they say.. Latest news is that the likelihood is towards the former.

Dier slotted in reasonably seamlessly. Sissoko was again a bit of a letdown and Lamela somewhat randomly ineffective.  One or two of our own were spotted slouching about on the bench but none got any minutes. Again.

Wanyama was consistently strong and arguably our MOM. Lloris is to be replaced by City Link until he learns to lump it up to Janssen who will hold it up until the rest of the boys arrive. Where's Paul Robinson when you need him

Ahhh,the old days. They weren't that bad were they? Well yes most of the time. At least Hugo won't be going to City any time soon. Everyone else was good intermittently except the two mentioned.

The Dembele substitution puzzled me; he could have benefited from a few more days off and Wanyama didn't need him either. He even had time to gett himself another yellow card for simulation.

Perhaps Mauricio was checking whether he could start on Tuesday. Never mind Winks and/or Onomah your time will come.

Still our best start in decades but  worrying 'Spursy' signs if you look closely. Best not to. Enjoy the ride and don't worry too much about the destination at this stage. Tottenham's Perpetual Magical Mystery Tour.

I am the egg man, I am the Walrus and we are all (in this) together. Get well soon Toby.

Jimmy's Video Spot..
Any excuse to feature our rock. Strong brave, stays on his feet, scores goals and only cost 11:5 million. Eriksen (11million) apart Spurs Best Buy for years. Tall and not bad looking either. Another to add to the five famous Belgians. Poirot, Dembele, Verts and er.. Chadli.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Pochettino more 'DamBusters' than 'California Dreaming'

Pochettino to all crew members.
 Man City at 2:15. Tally Ho boys
The JimmyG2 Column.
 I spoke last time of 'Hints of Glory'. Well Sunday was more of a Declaration of War; a Statement of Intent; a Manifesto and a Five Year Plan all in one rather than just hints. Full press re-instated, discipline and effort to the fore.

Several contenders for MOM: all of the back line; Wanyama, Son; Deli; Eriksen in his understated but vital way. Which speaks to me of an all round team performance. Breathtaking stuff and Pochettino bested his rival in no uncertain terms.

We had time and space to miss a penalty after a silly spat between Lamela and Son. Another clean sheet and still 'key' players missing or on restricted manouevres. We didn't even start Janssen our 'essential' back-up striker.

Wanyama on an early yellow again was tremendous but consequently more of a controlled explosion than Blitzkrieg. I was wrong about this boy and he is very effective when he keeps it simple.

We are still flying under the radar and if they ever re-make that Second World War 1950's classic 'The Dam Busters' Mauricio is a shoo-in for the Richard Todd  role as Wing Commander Guy Gibson and Spurs as Squadron 617.

Code-named appropriately 'Operation Chastise' we did just that to City. The low flying tactic surprised the Germans in 1943 and continues to surprise the pundits who long for high-flying superstars. You would have thought they had learned their lesson with Leicester.

Our bouncing bomb currently is Son and the backroom boffin Cristian Eriksen. That's our third consecutive victory over them. 'Can we play you every week?' I hear you cry.

Jermaine Jenas actually tipped us for a win. Come back Jermaine, all is forgiven. We were fluid in attack and composed in defence. Hugo was hardly bothered but livened all our lives up with some ill-conceived distribution.

Son and Deli combined neatly for the second on the half hour after an excellent cross from Danny Rose induced an own goal by Kolarov before the ten minute mark. All sorted early, just how we all  like it.

Sissoko started and will almost certainly be an asset when we can work out what he does best apart from run through people. Bit head down but Mauricio will sort that out.

Kevin-George gave a spirited cameo for a whippet in a Greyhound race and the Spurs fans are going to love him.

This was a  high octane performance from Spurs from start to finish and from front to back. Son led the charge which was why he started and Bravo despite a good save from Lamela's penalty never convinced with the ball at his feet under pressure.

Guardiola was dignified in defeat and acknowledged that the better team had won. Our best performance for a long time against decent opponents who were strangled at birth.

Now for another break. Well I need it even if the super-fit lads don't.

The Lamela/ Son incident.
Wrestling for the ball for the penalty was unseemly and in the end the miss didn't matter but it might have. I don't believe for a moment that there was no appointed penalty taker.

It doesn't sound like Pochettino to me who is closer to a control freak than a laid back, 'laissez-faire' let it all hang out, California Dreaming, kind of guy.

'Whoever wants it' is a certain recipe for disaster. I remember three players getting banned 'sine die' over a fracas over who was to take the penalty in my playing days. British Rail North( Hull Division) since you ask.

We have an excellent and vitally important team spirit and I'm sure this spat has been quickly put behind us. Recently Eriksen who takes them for Denmark offered the ball to Janssen to break his duck. That's much more like it.

Jimmy's Video Spot:

Some team talk Mauricio. Flying under the radar with a tightly knit team against formidable opponents. He even looks a bit like Eriksen that Barnes Wallis. It's the hair.

Fly in whatever formation you like! Man like I don't think so. You dig!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Latest: Injuries should mean that Winks starts.

4-1-4-1 this time?
The JimmyG2 Column.
Well it's shaping up to be another good week. Only City between us and hints of Glory. Champions' League back on track at least after a successful trip to Moscow.

Not that a similar journey did Hitler or Napoleon much good but they foolishly tried it in the depths of Winter. Watch and learn Adolf; watch and learn.

CSKA's new Stadium built mainly privately by Evgeni Ginner not with just a corner shop on site but a skyscraper in the shape of a trophy in the corner. Unfortunately he spent so much on the stadium he had little left over for players.

Due to open in 2013 it got delayed until less than a month ago. Russian winters again I expect. At least it was on grass this time not like the Young Boys Swiss debacle I vaguely remember.

A business associate of Roman Abramovitch with alleged Russian Mafiozi links who probably got his working capital from the same oil asset strip. 'Alleged' and 'probably' I said.

A 3000 mile round trip as the crow flies with a depleted team having lost the first match to Monaco at home. But you can't keep a good team down and we are a good team. Son scored the only goal of the game from yet another Lamela assist.

That's 6 assists in all competitions and 2 goals. He leads Son (5 goals and 1 assist) and Eriksen (2goals and 2 assists) in the Tottenham goals/assists chart for the current season.

CSKA Moscow were not as good as we feared but had some good players. Peter Crouch clone Traore, once of Everton, huffed and puffed but  didn't get many loose roubles from Toby and Jan:  increasingly the Dependability Brothers.

They sat back hoping to catch us on the break. Or perhaps our reputation and Premiership position preceded us. We dominated possession once again. Deli hit the bar; a Lamela  shot was deflected just wide. Janssen narrowly missed;

Toby who I rated MOM  perhaps should have scored with a header from a corner. Kevin George N'Koudou  was a revelation when he came on and another 15 minutes of similar quality and he would have been MOM by a country mile, whatever that is.

With under 20 minutes to go Son scored his fifth in five when his shot was parried by Akinfeev but trickled over the line. He had been left untroubled by a series of shots from nearly everyone. Shooting practice next week Mauricio.

Now compared to the vast spaces of the Universe an 8yds by 8ft goal target is quite small but both sides on their kind of wages might have got a lot closer occasionaly. I don't want to mention my Granny again but well, you know.

Winks got another brief appearance and depending on the state of the injuries at the weekend might get a start.  Lamela and Dele are performing patchily but they provide the touch of class that turns matches. See statistics above.

City's 3-3 draw against Celtic may undermine their confidence and generally speaking their defence is nowhere near the standard of their attack. I would settle for a draw now but we have the players to go for a win.

Early goal, shut up shop may be Pochettino's thinking unless my doctor's certificate for a weak heart has been passed on to him. He seems like a sensitive and caring sort of guy. Not a strategy for the faint hearted however

'Equalise before the other team score' as Danny Blanchflower once advised.

Sam (Entrapment has won) Allardyce: Ex England Manager.
Greedy gob-shite. They avoided Harry for exactly the same reasons but fell for Sam's 'charm' in desperation. Old school like Harry and been under suspicion for 'bungs' for years.'The love of money is the root of all evil'.

His record as manager for England can't be bettered though. 3 Points per game.

Good job nobody reads this stuff!

Jimmy's Video Spot.
George-Kevin N'Koudou: Welcome to Spurs.
He'll do. Andros Townsend on speed but with a sense of direction. Startling on Tuesday with much more to come. Bit fuzzy: the picture not K-G N'K. Once an Arsenal target so doubly welcome if he proves a winner.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Spurs Update.

Arm round shoulder time for another young fledgling.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Mark that down in your diaries; put it on the calendar: another very good week for Spurs. Six points and through to the next round of the EFL Cup with some ease.
We are the top London team; up to second place and Man.City and ourselves are the only undefeated Premiership sides. Next week first play second after the long Midweek March to the Russian Front.Our best start in the League for over half a century so I'm told.

 Saturday's win over Middlesbrough was without several  hitherto considered essential cogs. (Kane, Dembele, Dier, Rose. Now joined by Sissoko but better news on Harry though no time frame yet)

If City win the league, and they are widely tipped, they will have bought a trophy. If we win it we will have earned it and done it in a way to make our fans justifiably proud

Of course we kept the fans on edge at Middlesbrough by letting them back in the game and missing several opportunities to put the game to bed. But I wasn't worried for a minute; it was more like half an hour.

Son was outstanding, not for the first time lately, and scored both goals. Lloris was untroubled, Vertonghen is coming out of his shell and Eriksen orchestrated most of what was good for the first hour.

After the midweek EFL game my cup,bucket,bath and swimming pool were overflowing. Six Academy boys finished the game against Gillingham with Harry, Danny, and others in the wings. I know, I know: it was only Gillingham.

My dream of an all Academy team, some say delusion or even nightmare, is officially back on track. Several Kids against Grown and somewhat ugly Men and the Kids won hands down. Not ugly in the appearance sense but in the footballing one.

Edwards lived up to the hype; Josh Onamah scored; Winks and Carroll were positive as well as tidy; CCV helped by Wimmer was relaxed and unfazed. Two or three of these could certainly be fed in to the match-day squad.

The Seniors turned up and Lamela with a goal and three assists and Eriksen with two goals showed the way. Janssen worked hard and got his reward with a penalty which has eerie echoes of the beginning of the Bobby Soldado saga.

Kevin-George got his start and fitted in well with the general scheme of things. Quick and willing is enough for the moment. Importantly he gives us another option.

This was a nice balance of experienced internationals and some of our own. Mauricio didn't just throw the youngsters to the Gillingham lions. These fixtures can easily go wrong. In the event they didn't get a look in from the start.

I don't think you can underestimate the value on the pitch as well as off it of the camaraderie of several players who have come through the ranks in the Academy. The goal celebration with his classmates on the touchline for Onomah's goal demonstrated this.

Not one player in the squad is in his thirties and with an average age of under 25 like last year we have a young but solid base from which to move forward. Dembele and Vertonghen are the Senior citizens at 29 along with captain Hugo Lloris.

(Correction:Michel Vorm is 32 but as he's back up to Hugo my general point remains. Anyway he's a goalkeeper)

There were some nice moments as the youngsters waited to play their part. Arm round shoulder time for Pochettino and words of encouragement for Edwards, even a joke as Walkes waited.

Of the youngsters only Winks saw minutes against Middlesbrough and could have been on earlier. He might get his next chance in Moscow. Sissoko was the only question mark and even for a Spurs fan it's too early to tell.

So far he's making Lamela look like an all time bargain. But Eric got a couple of seasons to settle  and so will the alternative Moussa.

 Next week will be tougher but take it one game at a time and if we can repeat this week as the jumping cow once said 'I'll be over the moon' .

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Well let's enjoy it while we can. Sorry to rub it in Gillingham.. We might need this sort of composure in Russia and at the weekend. I'd settle for two draws but hope for much more. Performance is all.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Spurs pencil in Harry as Long John Silver.

Plenty of engine power but not much spark.
The JimmyG2 Column.
 So where are you on this one. Tottenham fans seem split between 'another lacklustre performance against Bus-Parkers who we should be beating with ease' and 'totally dominant and on another day we could have had a hatful'.

Mauricio wielded the axe, or rather gave some players a rest, as we forecast and changed things around to make us more forceful though less creative in the absence of Lamela and Eriksen.

Sunderland didn't offer to take us on so all that power went to waste and it was the spark in the final third that was missing. Fortunately Son was was on song and ran their defence ragged.

Dier reverted to centre half and Vertonghen played at left back as he does for Belgium. Dembele started with Wanyama in midfield. Sossoko started his first game on the right and showed plenty of strength.

Harry Kane still started though and scored from a Deli assist. Not at all sure about the logic of all this at home to a side in the bottom three. Mauricio will point out that we won and are now in the top three.

Not bad for a team still misfiring on all cylinders. Harry went off on a stretcher with possible ligament damage and will probably get several weeks well earned rest. Janssen on in his place failed to impress.

The Daily Mail are reporting six to eight weeks. So he could be back for the weekend or make his first appearance as Father Xmas at the Tottenham Xmas party. All guesswork at this stage. We might run a sweepstake.

Good of Harry though to wait until we got a belated back-up in Janssen before getting the injury we have feared for more than a year. One man's misfortune however is another man's opportunity.

Still no sign of Winks, Carroll,  Onomah, Harrison or Cameron Carter Vickers. Winks or Carroll alongside Dembele and CCV at left back or....oh you get my drift. I expect they'll all start against Gillingham on Wednesday.

I'm joking of course. Mauricio seems to have abandoned his blooding of young players for the moment but at least 20yr old Deli has earned himself a new contract. What a snip at 5million. We might even double our money by the time he's Pogba's age.

Apart from Son, Toby was boringly reliable, another bargain, and Kyle Walker had another good game. Deli was alternately irritating and precociously good and got the vital assist. Allowances made for youth.

For a centre half Dier makes a good central midfielder and Jan for a centre half is a good full back. He has more time and space to be positive especially as Bus-Parkers tend to leave their wingers at home.

So still unbeaten in the Prem; up to where we finished last year; keeping our heads while some about us others are losing theirs, but not playing that well. You get the same points though for a scratchy win as you do for giving someone a thrashing.

As for Wednesday's cup game I hope that N'Koudou and several others get some time and Janssen gets some goals and that Mauricio is a little more adventurous with his substitutions when the game is won. Or should that be 'if'.

Pochettino is hinting at changes again but keeping well schtum about Harry's prospects for recovery. Wise man. It's usually twice as long as first forecast..

Update: Spurs have changed their Xmas party play to Treasure Island and penciled in Harry as Long John Silver. You read it on Musings first.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The Son Heung-Min show. Great performance and he has been effective this season. The spark we need perhaps. Might save him for Middlesborough and give Georges-Kevin a start. It's what Cup ties against lower league opposition are for.


Friday, 16 September 2016

Pochettino to Roll the Dice and Spin the Wheel.

 Ditch Wembley and play in Dublin
there's no snakes there.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Up the Stoke Ladder and down the Monaco Snake. Well it makes a pleasant change from the Roller Coaster. A hugely disappointing performance and result after all the pre-match hype, expectation and hope against Monaco.

The fans' reaction and Mauricios'  reflects this as Monaco were far better than we supposed although they are top of the French League and recently beat Paris St. Germain.We should have guessed as much.

They have some strong players and some quick players and some strong, quick players. They had done their homework and had a plan. They got lucky with our help admittedly and capitalised on the two chances that they had.

Even then if we had been as deadly with our own opportunities a draw would have been the least of our expectations. Deli almost scored twice, Son missed an early chance and Kane a late one.

Lamela assisted at both ends but several others share the blame. In fact this was a lacklustre performance all over the pitch as the Manager admits; from Eriksen and Kane to Dier, Davies and Vertonghen.

Deli was the pick of our bunch when he was moved forward in the second half after Dembele replaced Son. Toby (Gibraltar) Alderweireld and Walker played well too.

Deli is raw and a bit impetuous but he offers some creativity and effort sadly lacking when Eriksen is not on song. With 20/ 20 hindsight perhaps Moussa should have started.

Sissoko made a decent if brief appearance and might be penciled in against Sunderland on Sunday. Janssen might give Harry a rest, surely one of the reasons we bought him.

Monaco played their cards better than us and Mauricio says he would have folded his hand for a new one if he could. I think that's a bit extreme but I know what he means. Actions though speak louder than words.

Sunderland on Sunday gives us the chance to go again quickly and changes could be made. Harry, Eriksen, Dier and perhaps Vertonghen might find themselves holding a watching brief at the start.

Have another look in our Compendium of Games Mauricio and give the Ludo dice a roll and the Roulette Wheel another spin and see what else you can come up with. Some players are wrong if they think that they are unrestable.

They can't still be feeling the after effects of last seasons collapse surely. I'm sure that Wimmer, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Winks, Onomah, Harrison and Carroll are raring to go if they are.

Youth and our own helped get us where we are today and Champions' League or not deserve to help keep us there. They have the necessary energy, enthusiasm and loyalty if the Seniors can't muster any.

With Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA drawing 2-2 there is still everything to play for in the group and disappointment should not give way to despondency, just yet.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
We look better in the highlights than we did overall. But you can't say we had fewer chances than them. Welcome to the Champions' League Tottenham Hotspurs! Where do they find 'em