The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Spurs Inquest Postponed.

The Inquest has been postponed
 because the patient adjudged not quite dead yet. 
The JimmyG2 Column.
One Seagull doth not an Autumn make. This one is well dead or perhaps it was just 'resting'  all the time. But for today it is an ex seagull. 

At the end it was almost a Knockaert but we survived our usual late frights and deservedly won. 72% possession tells the usual story. 

A quicker build up but still verging on the ponderous; a lively performance by Lucas in one man band mode but generally pretty uninspiring until Lamela came on and scored at the end.

The penalty jolted Harry, into life like Frankentein and he remembered what his job description was and acted accordingly. at least for the last half hour.

Gazziniga,  in for the 'injured ' Vorm, in for the 'injured' Hugo impressed and stood firm on occasions but was let off by Brighton's poor finishing.

So don't press the panic button yet..12 points from six has a healthyish ring to it at this stage given the way we are playing. Dele is back and Winks and Wanyama wait in the wings. And Sissoko.

Rose was entertaining as always but went AWOL for their goal and hardly deserved his MOM award. But Knockaert is a fine player and his goal was well taken.

For the rest effective but dour covers them all. Dier and Dembele is not our most creative midfield and with Eriksen still to fully turn up, against a better team we might have lost.

Our 4th. consecutive 2-1 result but this one went in our favour.  The next three Premiership games are eminently winnable and then we get to City and who knows by then we might have played ourselves into form. 

Next up Watford in the Caraboa Cup, Huddersfield in the Premiership and soon Barcelona in the Champions' League. Plenty of opportunities to make our mark at every level.

A point to be proved against Watford at Milton Keynes; pints, sorry points to be won at the John Smith Stadium against Huddersfield and then the 'magic' of the Champions' League all in a week or so.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

The match wasn't too exciting apart from the Lamela set up and goal so here's Chas and Dave on 'Later' recently.

'I wonder where he is now?' Chas's son on base guitar. Another one of our own, Chris Hughton marked the occasion at the Amex. RIP and thanks for the Memories Chas.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Losing Focuses Attention on Wider Problems.

 We haven't lost four consecutive Premiership games since 2004

The JimmyG2 Column. 
The wheels continue to fall off I'm afraid. Last night against Inter Milan we had the chance  to jump start the season and get back 'on track'. In full sight of the chequered flag we blew up again.

For half an hour after Eriksen's opener we motored smoothly on, but a brilliant strike by, ironically the Argentinian Icardi put them on level terms and in added time we conceded our 4th headed goal in six matches to Vecino.

The mechanics are poring over the smoking remains but no single cause is obvious for the breakdown. Our first run of three defeats in a row since 2014 under Sherwood and obviously the first under Mauricio.

The team and Manager are out of sorts and Pochettino's after match interview betrays an embattled man accusing critics or 'disrespect' which hardly affects the actual performance on the field.

Leaving Trippier and Toby behind for undisclosed 'technical' reasons didn't affect the result,because Aurier was close to MOM but for Eriksen and Sanchez overall played well.

But once again his in game management was suspect. Moura for Son was well judged but Winks for Lamela was not. Erik had been a potent threat and Son had been ineffective.

 The entry of Winks seemed to be a signal for everyone to defend a 1-0 lead when we had been close to a second. Davies and Dier were poor and Harry Kane set up by Eriksen missed a chance he would probably have scored last season. 

When a plane crashes the search begins for the Black Box that will reveal all but football teams don't have such a ready solution. There are probably as many theories as there are fans.

Some will emphasise one factor over all the others, some simply do not have clue. Whether it's the disappointment over signings and contracts; or the delay over NWHL and the lack of clarity and even honesty over that matter.

Some will fall back on the facile 'Spursy', mental toughness agenda which I reject as totally illogical. How do previous winners become hopeless losers as soon as they approach Tottenham High road.

But all is not well between fans and club. In the absence of clear information about the Stadium, Hugo Lloris and his injury and relations between Toby and Kierran rumours will abound.

None of this would matter  if we were winning. Good results hide all sorts of problems and fan and player resentments fade in a false haze of well being.  But currently we are not and someone has to take the fall.

All declines have reasons. If you have time read Gibbon's the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Partly attributed to the arrival of the Barbarians for whom read West Ham currently

Has the Enic/Levy Evolution run its course? Or perhaps even the Pochettino Revolution? The cohesiveness and current philosophy is facing its first real stress test since Mauricio arrived. Not to destruction hopefully.

There are no simple answers and we should be wary simplistic single reasons. Bad week at the Office or 'blips' doesn't even begin to cover it. Beware simple solutions to complex problems. Or 'Brexit' as it is known.

Answers on the back of an envelope. As Oscar Wilde might have said: ' To lose one game may be regarded as a misfortune: to lose two is looks like carelessness: to lose three is a shambles requiring deeper examination'

There were signs on Tuesday night of a return to some form and cohesive play. Eriksen certainly played a bigger part although the first half was ragged by both teams. 

Cycles of dominance usually last longer so I think that our rise will continue once  the team and the management sort our current problems out. It had better be quick or this season   will be a huge disappointment.

 Win at Brighton at the weekend and the cycle is broken, the fog temporarily at least lifted Losing does not bear thinking about. 

Jimmy's Video Spot:
A better showing from Spurs, shame about the result. There were plenty of opportunities to wrap it up but we fell at the last. Best video I could find though it's a bit hectic.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Crisis: What crisis?

Now available in Club colours with Cockerel motif
for a small extra charge.
The JimmyG2 Column.
This might make an appropriate Xmas gift for the fan in your life. If it's not already too late. The Liverpool result could have been even worse though and yet we almost snatched a draw. 'Funny old game' innit.

Plenty of excuses and maybe even reasons but there is no denying we were poor in almost every department and could have been 3 down in the first 20 minutes. 

We had 60% possession but most of it pointlessly within our own defensive ranks. We gave the ball away needlessly frequently and lacked movement, purpose and effort.

Vorm  made some decent saves but was culpable for both goals in one way or another. Kane was never in it; Eriksen was at his most enigmatic and peripheral; Dembele is well past it and Dier passed it badly.

Popular wisdom is that Harry K needs a rest and popular wisdom like Musings is not always wrong. Eriksen cannot carry the team on his own. He needs movement ahead and support alongside.

Ask not what Christian can do for Spurs but what the rest of the team can do for Christian.

Winks has played less than 10 minutes football in 6 months and was thrown in at the deep end here: he all but drowned. Rose and Trippier were too high up against speedy opposition players.

Yet another different formation, and without the flair and movement of Dele, injured on England duty , it was left to Moura to take on the Liverpool back line which he did especially playing wide in the second half.

Otherwise we played the long ball straight onto Van Dijk's reliable head more times than I have fingers and toes to count. Even our back line Belgians looked ruffled at times.

There was little press, energy or purpose until Lamela arrived ahead of schedule on the hour for the malfunctioning Dembele. He scored a good goal from the edge of the area in injury time and at least showed some desire and invention.

We endured a confused pre-season with International call ups affecting key players more than at many other clubs. Injuries, exhaustion and general lack of focus are widespread.

Entering the International break on an unexpected loss was a downer too especially with Liverpool and Roma to come. Concentrate on the CL I say.

The ongoing Stadium debacle; Captain Hugo's midnight ramblings: new contract extension wrangles and injuries all seem to have  played their part in disrupting the concentration levels of the squad.

But we still managed to win the International Champions' Cup; our first three games,  including Man.Utd at Old Trafford and are 6th. ahead of Arsenal and Utd. Crisis. What crisis?

Some of this can be laid at Mauricio's door but not all. A Summer playing Football manager with his sons have led him to think he's a football manager in real life. Oh wait! Less is more Mauricio, less is more.

Early days you say: I hear you. Liverpool deserved their win but were wasteful in front of goal and not up to the high levels of the Merseyside hype.

So hold the 'crisis talk' for later when we really need it. This is more of an exigency, a situation, precursor of a crisis perhaps but we are not there yet. Step away from the cut-throat razor: now!

Stadium Rumour Update:
Safety tests early 2019. season for Prem.
Rumours from contractors on-site schedules.

Don't shoot the messenger. 

Next five games
3 Away at Brighton, Huddersfield and West Ham.
2 at home, Cardiff and City.
Anyone see 13 points there? I'd settle for 10.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Note that Sunny Jim didn't actually say the words 'Crisis' what Crisis? in 1979, that was a tabloid interpretation. It's gone down in History anyway. Nothing changes.

Calm and careful words in a tricky situation, but within months he was replaced in a General Election by Margaret Thatcher.

Be careful what you wish for.  

Monday, 3 September 2018

Blame game begins at Spurs

Well it certainly wasn't mine. Blame Game begins
The Jimmy G2 Column.
Where to start on this one? After beating Man.Utd at Old Trafford on Monday you would have thought that this one was a forgone conclusion. Perhaps that's exactly what they all did think

From formation to personnel to the performance itself this was the proverbial dog's dinner. Though even Mauricio's own dog would have turned its nose up at this offering. Attitude and application were both wanting.

Watford, possibly the new Leicester, are no pushovers this season and neither the Manager nor the players had any answers when they came back strongly from behind. They even scored our goal for us.

A limp, lacklustre, loose, lackadaisical, leaden, listless show. A shambolic 'l' of a performance which only subsequent lively defeat of Liverpool will erase from the memory. 

Actually any win would do but this can be forgiven eventually but probably never forgotten. Our worst show for some time although no doubt regular readers can suggest their own favorites for this prize.

Another change of formation, our 4th in four games with Dembele tasked with a crucial lone responsibility in midfield clearly beyond his current ability and fitness levels.

Moussa and Davies, who is no wing back, overstayed their welcome by at least half an hour. Which brings us to Pochettino's obstinacy over substitutions which I thought he had overcome.

They equalised with 20 minutes to go but no reaction by the team or from the Manager. Our first sub was Llorente, as good as waving the white flag, with ten minutes left. In the meantime we were being bullied and they had gone ahead.

This is cross your fingers, whistle a happy tune and trust to luck management. Winks' 5 minute cameo showed that he should start with whichever of Dier and Wanyama is most fit or even Amos or Onomah. Oh! Wait.

Rose was on for Davies on 88 minutes. This is a new managerial concept, wasting time when you are losing. Moura was lively but should play on the right wing where he can use the space and Harry should lead the line.

Pochettino is fuming apparently having warned his players of the consequences of failing to take games like this seriously. Fume on Mauricio but a lot of this is on your head.

Eriksen is still on holiday, four games in and counting, and Dele was hesitant and slow on the ball again. So a mess from start to finish and Vorm will likely be the scapegoat because he's not Hugo.

Even The Belgians were found wanting and Sanchez although he took on Deeley man to man came off second best. He did the same once with Rondon and ended up on his backside both times. Trippier played OK again.

So a different formation after beating Man.Utd, desultory performances and poor Management decisions or lack of Management decisions to compound the imbroglio. (love that word).

And so the blame game begins. Apart from Vorm, Eriksen Dele, Davies Sanchez, Dembele, Harry, all fall under suspicion as well as Mauricio. But conceding twp goals from corners cannot be laid at the Manager's door.

Credit Watford somewhere along the line, but this was a collective team and management failure and nobody should escape scrutiny.

Going into the International break with Liverpool up next on an unexpected loss is dispiriting but given the will at least its early enough in the season to put right all the things that are wrong.

 The Good News is that there is no new Bad News: points deductions, fines,  expulsion from competitions. The Bad News is that there is no Good News.
All Champion' League group games are to be played at Wembley as the rules say you can only use one venue for these fixtures.

It's still looking like January to me from recently viewed footage of NWHL. Think positive, any earlier will be a bonus.

Positives.  Harry Billy Winks and the fact that we only lost 2-1 away to the likely Champions.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Let's Skipp a generation (see what I did there) and go with Luke Amos and let's not forget Kyle Walker Peters although Mauricio seems to have. He should have come on for Davies at half time.


Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Critics running out of sticks to beat us with.

Spurs just love playing away.
 The JimmyG2 Column.
Just as well really since home means away for us in any case. A 3-0 win on a Monday night in the North West is satisfying on so many levels: another away win; a poke in the eye for Mourinho; three more points; joint top of the league.

They have won 21 of their 26 home EPL games against us (D3,L2), winning each of the last four without conceding a goal. Record duly amended. Harry makes it 2 in August and his first up there; first Old Trafford win in the Pochettino era; Moura comes very very good.

Are you starting to believe yet? What will the pundits and experts move on to now? We are slowly but surely disarming them, seizing the sticks they like to beat us with and in the end they will run out of weapons.

This was an important win especially mentally for the boys. And for the fans too who have a lot of negative stuff from the media to cope with although Gary N. and Jamie C. seem to like us they still have years of baggage to dispose of.

You can't expect the experts to abandon their carefully rehearsed scripts overnight.  It might help many fans too to come to terms with our new philosophy: catch 'em young and train 'em up.

Now its clearly a strategy that Daniel Levy embraces with enthusiasm but we all know the reasons why. But under Mauricio it seems to be working and we are still building a State of The Art Stadium you know.

Thus a new 'Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated'' is born. Where were you when Spurs beat Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford in August and Harry Kane scored?

We didn't buy anyone because on last night's evidence spending hundreds of millions on new players is not as effective as building a team that is comfortable with itself and its Manager.

Alderwiereld and Dembele are still with us and both played well. Rose and Winks are back with Wanyama and Lamela, injured in the warm-up, to come. Pochettino seems increasingly flexible.

This could be our year. What can possibly go wrong? Well everything obviously but its looking increasingly unlikely. Chelsea, Man.City and now Utd. don't look that competent and in the second half we did.

I shrugged philosophically when Rose's pass back set up Lukaku. But apart from a good save by Lloris from Pogba there was little else, whatever Gary Neville says, in the first half. It was ragged stuff from both sides.

So they were more than enthusiastic than he's seen them for years but that is clearly a very low bar. Moura and Harry Kane might have had penalties with a different ref. I'll give Utd the first half if it cheers them up.

In the second half we scored three and might have had more. Dele was uncharacteristically hesitant when he might have scored or set up Harry or Lucas twice or gone down for a penalty when clipped by De Gea.

Eriksen  found some space down the right to pick out Moura for the second after Harry had imperiously headed us in front from a Tripper corner. 2-0 up. At this point I always get nervous. Suppose they score and get 'momentum'.

Lucas Moura sealed it with  an incisive forward dash from a Kane pass and an emphatic finish. A new legend is born. Harry Winks made a brief appearance and Luke Amos was on the bench. My cup runneth over.

What of Mourinho? 'Frankly my dear'... I hope he stays and sows even more confusion and turmoil at every level of the club. We are settled and these days only looking up.

A famous night all round with the promise of more to come.

Jimmy's Video Spot: Souvenir Edition. 
Longest and clearest video I could find. Dele working hard; Eriksen finding space behind Shaw; Harry not at his best but still scoring; Lucas Rodrigues Moura da Silva uncatchable; the Belgians out in force;

Lloris started his Community Service in style with a clean sheet and our Danny tried to give Mourinho's men a helping hand. Soft lad. looks as if he's staying by the way.

For Utd.Shaw played well and Fred made some good runs. Defensively? no wonder they wanted Toby.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

To Boldly Go

And Mauricio makes three.
The JimmyG2 Column.
 Mauricio talked of 'boldness' in pre-season and he seems to have taken a leaf from his own book with his early substitutions and in-game formation changes to thwart Fulham's revival after half time.

Our very own Star trek Commander boldly going where no Spurs team have been since before Star Trek itself began in 1966. Star Trek was always much more than a space adventure and Spurs have been more than just a football team to me

The Trek was at base an exploration of the capacities of Mankind and at Spurs we continue to have a vision of doing things the right way vigorously renewed under the current manager

I've never been a big Star Trek fan myself. I quite liked the early stuff but never became a 'Trekkie' but I am increasingly convinced that not only is Mauricio a fan but models himself on Captain Kirk.

He could easily have said many of the philosophical Star Trek musings by Kirk, Picard, Spock and others.

"One man cannot summon the future. But one man can change the present! " Alternate Mr. Spock, "Mirror, Mirror" and he certainly did that against Fulham.

Toby brought in from the cold in a back three; Trippier reinstated as first choice right wing back and a twenty minute opening burst that should have seen us at least three up and home and dry.

Eventually the flood tide subsided but Moura who had missed two good chances restored positivity with a fine goal just before half time. Harry had been denied a penalty and Eriksen mishit a good opportunity.

 Mitrovic  with an improvised kneeling header shortly after half time made it disappointingly for Spurs, game on.

"Our species can only survive if we have obstacles to overcome. You remove those obstacles. Without them to strengthen us, we will weaken and die." James T. Kirk, "Metamorphosis"

And Fulham taking the game to Spurs were the obstacle and we overcame it with some redeployment and personnel changes. Dembele for Sanchez a few minutes after the equaliser and Lamela for Dier with 15 minutes to go.

Back four reformed with the old Belgian firm and more attacking options. But it was Trippier who had seen plenty of the ball earlier and wasted most of it who reprised his England dead ball routine with a fine goal.

Lamela with a mazy run up the middle of the park  set up Harry for a Kane classic and in August too. Step inside and place in the corner of the net. Game over after five minutes of mayhem.

And in the closing minutes the other Harry, the Next Generation if you will, appeared to mark his return. As Jean Luc Picard  said, Mauricio 'make it so'. And he did.

This was also a victory for a settled team under an established and improving manager. Fulham who briefly played well after half time but mainly like strangers because they were.

We won both our opening games for the first time in four years and for the first time under Mauricio without spending a penny. Damn good value for money I say. I know 'early days'. We all pray the our manager will 'live long and prosper'.

As Captain Kirk once said in the spirit of the old Spurs:''Please let me know if there's some other way we can screw up tonight''.

How Mauricio Pochettino has changed all that: "A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on and licks it, or he turns his back on it and starts to wither away." Dr. Boyce, "The Menagerie," ("The Cage") is more his style. 

Next up Manchester United next Monday who like us had no new signings this summer. But with a staggered finish in each foreign league we could still lose players into Europe

So far, so good as keeping players is as important as signing them. Not losing players we want to keep is a crucial part of our success under Pochettino's reign. The re-appearance of Toby was a good omen.

Christian Eriksen:
Admittedly he can go AWOL at times, he has not been outstanding in the first two games, but he is our most creative player and our heartbeat.

Concern is that he has not yet signed a new contract. Someone needs to threaten him with money as I would hate to see him becoming world class but at Real Madrid as Modric did.

Joni Mitchell had it sussed in Big Yellow Taxi when she suggested ''you don't know what you've got til it's gone''. 

Guesses and whispers. Smart money is now on first home game in the New Year which is the return fixture with Man.Utd. Don't shoot the messenger folks.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Sorted. We proudly present this week's video having overcome the complex technical problems faced last week. You guessed it: I got Mrs JimmyG2 to check it out.

Moura the star despite missing two. Dele involved and HK back to some sort of form. As the old Sicilian proverb says: ''August rain brings oil, honey and a goal by Harry Kane''.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Fans? Who needs 'em?

 Tottenham Hotspur
Oh yes it was.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Sorry I'm late for the pre-season and first game party. Thankfully the balloons haven't gone down yet and there's still some leftovers to nibble.

I've seen all the games but since I retired just can't seem to find the time to observe, ponder, reflect and pontificate. Excuses, excuses Jimmy admit it you've been away.

Well anyway let's get started: we won a cup and not just any old cup, an 'International Champions' Cup ' and that will keep the pundits off our back for several minutes.

We took eleven youngsters to fill the void left by our World Cup heroes, one of whom captained the winning team and another who took the Golden Boot.

We won our first Premiership game away from home to Newcastle and another of our own, Luke Amos (21), made an appearance. Both key facts for me.

We kept all our players including even some that wanted to leave and our Manager. We didn't sign a single player, in itself a remarkable achievement though not welcomed by some.

One or two might still leave to foreign climes as the transfer windows are now different but we can't sign anyone. I think.

I don't count myself among them: no foreign 'aces' to integrate and acclimatise; minimal disruption; more opportunities for 'our own' and a close knit developing squad.

Not even, for a welcome change, a last minute sop to those who want signings at any price and some do come at a cost that returns to haunt us down the years.

With Wanyama, Lamela, Winks and Onomah still injured a midfield 'crisis' loomed but we had wisely retained Moussa Dembele who came on later to help Sissoko and Dier over the line.

Newcastle were lively and a little unlucky but headed goals from two of our World Cup stalwarts Jan and Dele carried the day. Their goal, nicely constructed, was a header too.

It's August so Harry didn't score or to be accurate didn't ever look like scoring. Aurier's cross for Dele's blind-side run was a gem but he is still a rough diamond for me.

The Stadium.
Let's hear it for all those that said the Stadium wouldn't be ready on time. This is your moment. Mind you many said it wouldn't be built at all and that is looking unlikely.

As revealed by the Sun 'secret' payments have been made to secure access to Wembley for a further couple of games. I think they mean 'undisclosed' but it's a fine point.

The first match might now be the one against Man.City in October though all bets are off really. It might well be the New Year.

We did well at Wembley last season so it's more embarrassment than anything else for all concerned. Talks are ongoing with EUFA about using Wembley for CL gamestemporarily until NWHL is ready.

So you win some,you lose some. We won some games and a trophy; kept our players and Manager, lost the stadium for a while and the outcome?

There are other complications but enough for now already.

Your guess is as good as mine. Possibly better.

But as reported today we could have made a profit along with another ten Premiership clubs with an empty stadium due to TV income.

 So if it's a matter of safety then there's an idea. Fans? Who needs 'em?

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Due to unforeseen technical problems there is no video this week. Sorry.