The Blog that's not always wrong.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Hugo Lloris Worries.

 Worried? Face, Worried? 
We're not bovered Hugo. Yet.
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 The Greg Meyer Column.
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February 22nd  2017 … Greavsie Turns 77 this week  … today George Washington turns 285.
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The Hugo Lloris Worries.
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Nervousness, anxiety, rising stress levels and then mostly relief have become an ever present in the recent exploits of our beloved French and Tottenham  Numero Uno when endeavouring to play constructively out from the back.
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Those symptoms being suffered  by Spurs fans as well. The high Liverpool press exposed Hugo’s less than consistent, less than confident distribution qualities of late.
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The disquieting efforts came hard on the heels of his unfortunate largess at the Etihad against City. Firstly the miscued clearance against Sane. Then the gift to allow Kevin De Bruyne to prod home.
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Hugo again donned the gloves against Gent. His distribution was generally sound and his world class shot stopping abilities kept Spurs in the tie.
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And so to the FA Cup round at Craven Cottage. Apart from one heart in the mouth moment when he delivered the ball directly to a Fulham attacker in the penalty box (the resultant shot was saved)  distribution from the back was generally sound.
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Michel Vorm of course between the posts. Our pub’s “experts” are hoping Toni Jimenez and Hugo are working hard on the recent hiccups. Certainly Hugo will remain Spurs main man.
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However Vorm’s assured performance and distribution begs the conclusion. As in all parts of the squad keen competition for places is paramount. Michel is certainly keeping Hugo on his toes.
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But hang on there are probably further reason for optimism regards Hugo emerging from his temporary blips. Ergo the return of the best Centre Back pairing in the League.
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The Vertongen factor, he of the cultured left foot, and his reunion with the best defender in the Premier, one Toby Alderweireld, gave Spurs a measure of recently missing balance. Both Jan and Toby are capable of defence splitting passes much in evidence at Fulham.
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Yes it was Fulham. No it wasn’t Liverpool away, City nor Gent. It was no coincidence that Spurs measured play from the back had returned.
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 And yes Hugo Lloris will return and it bodes well for the exciting games and challenges ahead.
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In the famous words of Harper Lee, To Kill A Mocking Bird …
..................“ It’s not time to worry yet. “.
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Spurs playing, fighting, not worrying still on 3 fronts.
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 Cheers …. no worries mate … Greg Meyer.    coys.
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 Jimmy's Video Spot.
And this is the reason why: because for every goal he may or may have not given away he saves a hundredfold. Seven minutes of outstanding quality.
As Frank sang:
Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention.
Or old Satchmo:
Jeepers, creepers where did you get that sweeper keeper?


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

A Tale of Two Harry's

What no Fatted Calf Mauricio.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Being of a gloomy frame of mind after Thursday I thought I would wait until after the second game in our Premiership break and lump them both together under the heading 'Pochettino out' or something equally dramatic.

However a strong team gave a strong performance and earned a home tie against Millwall in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. Mauricio just couldn't let this one get away. Gent of course is retrievable with the same kind of attitude.

So many positives: the return of Vertonghen; the return of the real Harry Kane who did exactly what it says on the tin (Striker and leading goalscorer) He needed that hat-trick and so did we. Not in this particular game, one would have done.

But Harry was not to know that. Give that boy a centimeter and he takes a yard. Eriksen too came back to form and supplied Harry with a couple of chances from crosses which he took with good movement and touch.

The non prodigal Son was lively but largely ineffective as he often is lately. He's the Pinball Wizard. But the pinball rather than the Wizard. Dele and Eriksen found some good positions but failed to convert their chances.

The other  bonus was Harry Winks who was energetic and positive  again. He more than justified his start alongside Wanyama a pairing which 'Musings' has advocated for some time.

Against Gent Winks was one of the few players to merit any awards and the performance of the rest and Mauricio subject to severe criticism from every quarter.

Poor performance and attitude, substitutions too late again, predictable result in the circumstances. But post Gent and pre-Gent if you will, things picked up nicely. Both Vorm and Trippier showed their squad quality.

We were 3-0 up on 72 minutes. Janssen was on the bench and should have gone straight on, and probably Josh Onomah. Being ignored for whatever reason or given another five minute cameo is just a waste.

Sissoko was favoured with the first substitution and once again did nothing at all to justify it. Perhaps Mauricio is giving him enough rope to hang himself with.

Our only really hairy moments were self inflicted by Vertonghen's miscontrol and Vorm's excellent imitation of his mentor Hugo. Both came to nothing fortunately

Win on Thursday and we will be back on track. Win the next two, at home to both Gent and Stoke and we will be positively full steam ahead.

Well that's if you count Wembley as home. It's more like our country weekend retreat and it has done us big city types no favours so far. It seems to intimidate us more than our Continental opposition.

So we won one and lost one, found some form and welcomed back old friends. What's not to like especially with the continuing emergence of Harry Winks,  another one of our own.

Comparisons to Modric are ridiculous and certainly premature but Modric was older by a couple of years when he came to us and is now one of the world's top midfielders. Even Eriksen has the edge currently.

But all the signs are there, for the other Harry and for Spurs. Whichever way you look at it we're on our way to Wembley at least in the short term.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Harry Kane stars. Some nice movement and touch, his fifth Spurs hat-trick and his second this year.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Spurs Face a Fundemental Problem.


Did the game plan ruin the performance
or the performance wreck the game plan?
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The JimmyG2 Column. 
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Well this is going to be fun. If it wasn't for the expectations of our loyal supporters for 'Musings' to make sense of yesterday's debacle then I would have got a sick note and pulled the covers back over my head.

There will be many that argue that the 5-1 defeat to Newcastle was our worst performance in recent years but the game against Liverpool will have its advocates too.

After all there were plenty of people willing to make excuses for the Newcastle defeat, mental and physical tiredness and disappointment  among them, but I can't think of any for the Liverpool one.

You can blame injuries to Vertonghen, Rose and Lamela  if you are really desperate but as Harry Redknapp called it: great first team; average squad. None of the recent signings were first team ready and it shows.

Our attitude and preparation were wrong. It's as if we bugged Jurgen's team talk and decided to double bluff him. High line and Davies against Mane, I ask you.We went toe to toe and shot ourselves in the foot.

A packed mid-field and a more defensive posture for at least the first 15 minutes might have stopped it being all over within 20. Wanyama's and Dier's errors for the goals were not untypical of our general play.

Whether the poor performances of the players undid the game plan or whether the obstinate game plan exposed the players to being overrun is a moot point. Classic chicken and egg.

But you have to adapt the game plan to the opponents, alter it when necessary in game and tailor it to the players available. Eriksen would have been better on the left and given Davies more support
 than Son.

And what is it in our DNA that leads to our Managers being unable to think on their feet? Nearly 70 minutes before the first sub in a game where we were always struggling and Janssen gets barely 10 minutes to affect a game in which we had never looked like challenging.

Son reached new heights of ineffectiveness and fluffed our only real chance. He gave Davies no support whatsoever and Mauricio apparently didn't notice. But none of the starters played well individually or together.

Winks had more positive thoughts in ten minutes that the whole of the team put together in ninety. Hugo kept the score down but placed us again under pressure with the ball at his feet.

Perhaps the weakness of the bench is no reflection on Mauricio but N'Koudou for Son  might have improved things if he was given enough time. Actually Trippier and Vorm for Harry and Dele might not have made things much worse.

Mauricio blames the players and casts doubt on their attitude and is unrepentant but he must share the blame. The squad is thinnish. Son like Chadli is a nuisance unless he scores. Harry is somewhere else.

You can hover between bad day at the office and total meltdown as your temperament dictates. At this stage nothing except the League Title is irretrievable. We are still 3rd after tonight's City win but the signs are worrying.

We never quite capitalise on the failings of others but once again the fixture list ahead looks as benign as the Premiership ever can. None of the top six away and the games all look very winnable until a couple of the last few.

The top placings will go down to the wire apart from the very top and we cannot forget what happened last season so there's always a nagging doubt. Mauricio's call prior to the game for us to improve our away form fell on deaf ears.

That's the third game running that we have failed to score in open play and the 0-0 draw at Sunderland wasn't good mental preparation for this key away game.

Now we have a two game gap before the Premiership challenge re-emerges, a sort of Barcelona away week in the Europa and FA Cups. Time to test the outer reaches of the squad plus any newly recovered injured, if any.

I would like to see us concentrate on the Premiership and the financial and prestige rewards of the Champions' League. We are nicely placed to do so. I don't think Mauricio will disagree.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
A slow hatch. Doesn't answer the chicken and egg question though but well worth watching. Well you didn't want to watch our highlights from the Liverpòol game did you.

Thy would only be half as long in any case as this 4 minute nature video.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Good signs for Spurs


Of course we're Paranoid: They're out to get us.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
 We needed to win this one, as 'Musings' predicted, though with Arsenal and Liverpool losing it isn't quite as tight as it might have been. City nearly threw it away after total first half dominance against Swansea.

Brazilian wonder-kid Jesus clinched it in injury time with help from ex-Arsenal keeper Fabiansky (edit). Ex Spur Siggy gave us all hope with an equaliser but we are still clear in second after the weekend. Funny old game!

We are one point up on City, 3 points on Arsenal, 4 points on Liverpool and 5 points up on Utd. with a superior goal difference to all of them. Chelsea are out of sight and are not likely to come back into view until next season.

Next week's game at Liverpool is a classic six pointer and I would take a draw now but then I always would against close rivals. It's the Middlesbroughs we have to beat and we did.

Totally dominant once again but we had to rely on a Harry Kane coolly struck penalty to get the points in the end. Son was positively frenetic and won the penalty with a sharp turn that deceived Bernardo

But he was so wasteful with the ball. It was a better performance than at Sunderland: higher pace and more movement. Dele and Eriksen both played well without exactly busting a gut. The defence was solid though little troubled.

But the dominance of the midfield by  Dembele and Wanyama was almost embarrassing. In fact by half time it was clear that we didn't need belt braces and a length of baler twine and Harry Winks might have added some extra creativity.

However compared to last season we are higher in the league with more points; we have scored more goals; conceded less; we have won more games and lost fewer.

2015/6 after 24 games..
.Pts....Position...For....Against..(GD)..W....D...L
..45......3rd..........44.......19..........25......12...9....3....

..50......2nd.........46........16.........30......14....8....2..
2016/7 after 24 games

All this despite sustaining more injuries to key players and in a more competitive league this season  with Chelsea, Liverpool and Man.Utd arguably stronger..

Missing are Champions Leicester who have an evens chance of being relegated  from the top flight, the first club to do this ignominious double in 80 years. (Win a free subscription to The Musings if you can name the last club to do so).

The Bad News is that the season doesn't end after 24 games but all the signs are promising except injuries.

Talking Point:
Valdes roughing up Dele after some pushing prior to a corner. Hand to face automatic red normally. Or a retrospective ban (See Moussa Dembele and Diego Costa). No FA action to be taken apparently

It was not even mentioned on MOTD or on the commentary but was caught on camera and not punished by the match referee. Howard Webb  declares it a straight red.

 No videos easily available so we have to make do with an earlier technology. At least they won't get taken down.

Take that, and that, and that


Just before there's at least two penalty fouls on Dele and Toby.

Do we care other than to record our satisfaction that Dele like Dier previously has  learned his lesson and did not over react or react at all. We won so I'd be more annoyed if I was in a relegation dog fight with them.

Following the failure of Lee Mason to send off  Rodwell against Sunderland for a wild hack it does seem like an agenda. Just because we're paranoid it doesn't mean that they're not out to get us.

Danny Rose. 
Out for anything from two weeks to three months according to rumour. I'd prefer the former. Davies has done OK but it changes our whole approach and he's no Danny Rose.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
How about coming out to this at the new stadium. The original recording and video of Black Sabbaths's 'Paranoid'. Who you calling Paranoid?. I just know all the facts (William S. Burroughs)


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

On A Wet Tuesday Night up North.


Harry, I said Doctor Spock.
Anyway, listen you'll love this.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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And the answer to the age-old question is 'Not quite'. There are no easy games in the Premiership we know that and this was clearly one of them.

Plenty of excuses so let's get them in first starting with the self inflicted: change in formation, why desert the successful three at the back with marauding wing backs; substitutions were too late and hardly designed to change the game.

I hope Harry Winks and Janssen enjoyed the scenic trip and took the opportunity to brush up on their geography of the British Isles. Neither were given either enough, or any time to affect the game.

Sunderland could only play one up front anyway, they've only got Defoe available at present and deployed the rest to make a wall Mr.Trump would be proud of.

To these self inflicted wounds were added the usual everyday mishaps. The weather; the pitch; the referee; the injury to Rose: our opponents determination and game plan. Desperation is the Mother of  Goal Prevention.

We are going to miss our Danny. Danny is claustrophobic, if he sees an open space he heads straight for it, at pace. Ben Davies is the opposite. Offered an open space he checks, cuts back and heads for home, but not quite as quickly. 

But the main problem was our lack of inspiration and creativity in the final third. Once again Spurs dominated all the stats but had only three shots on target.

We out-ran, out-passed and out-cornered them, but when midfield destroyer Wanyama has the best chance and the only testing shot our problem is apparent. Slow build up and misplaced passes were the order of the day.

Harry Kane might as well have stayed at home to bond with the baby and Dele could have kept him company and read passages from Dr. Spock to him. No not him from Star Trek, the 50's icon on baby-care.

The partnership between Dembele and Wanyama is strong but  hardly overloaded with speed of thought or motion. Dare I mention Harry Winks again.

We passed when we should have shot, Dembele and Son: and shot when we should have passed Davies and Wanyama. Eriksen and Walker made some effort but nothing went to plan.

In the end instead of going round the wall we put Sissoko on to try to run through it but with equally little success.Could we loan him out to Mexico?

Could we hack it on a cold Tuesday night up in the Far north. Not really. So frustration all round. A point really suits neither team in their current positions. They frustrated us, and we frustrated ourselves our fans and our Manager.

They kept a clean sheet for only the third time this season in the Premiership and similarly we failed to score for only the third time in the same competition.

Once again we made it hard for ourselves when there was a golden opportunity to be grabbed. In the event not much harm was done but that is not the point when things are tight in the Runners-up to Chelsea Stakes.

One point covers four teams but we are top of that particular pile. It could have been much worse. Four of the top six drew and Arsenal lost. We can take a little comfort from that I suppose.

But we can't rely on our rivals to mess up to maintain our position. We need to take a firm grip on our own destiny and be bolder and more assertive, both manager and players.

We are second with a superior goal difference to everyone but Chelsea and that might just be crucial in the end. A win would have put us clear in second but let's not dwell on missed opportunities.

Against Wycombe we endured a win that felt like a draw. Against Sunderland a draw that felt like a loss. Next up Middlesbrough and I'm guessing that 3 points will be essential this time.

Updates.
Danny Rose probably out for a month.
Vertonghen probably another 3 weeks.
Lamela. Any day; probably 'manana' in the Spanish and S.American sense.
Transfer window. What transfer window? But that suits me. Slow build and own grown is the new 'flashing the cash'.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Anyway whatever happens on the pitch this season here's a virtual tour of the new Stadium. If we can survive a year of Wembley and playing all our games away from home it will be a fitting venue for Champions' League
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We've put in a 100 quid bid for the Naming Rights so expect the Spurs Musings Stadium at White Hart Lane to be announced quite soon.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Spurs close to Trivial Pursuits.

Match analysis: see back of the 'Year of the Rooster' stamp: 
We won.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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I know, I know second eleven won with ten men, we came back from 2-0 down for the second week in a row; never gave up and scored four for the fourth time in as many weeks. No more to be said?

Well a few things worry me, though I admit as far as Spurs are concerned I am a bit of a worrier after long years of practice.This was a Division Two side, admittedly on a roll, but somewhat crude, direct and unsophisticated.

Shirt tuggers to a man with Akinfenwa the heaviest, strongest  most ungainly looking striker in modern football history. Basically our second team squad nearly couldn't cope.

Sissoko, N'Koudou, Davies, Wimmer, Onomah,Vorm and CCV were several shades of not up to the jobness. Even Dier as captain played poorly.

Son, a first team regular scored two deflected goals, Dele, who also scored, and Dembele had to be brought on to pump out the sinking ship.

 Janssen showed his usual effort and balls to score the penalty but still hasn't scored in open play.
 
Trippier did well certainly until he was injured with half an hour to go but we had used up all our subs. I went into resignation mode when they scored their second on 35 minutes and Hope and Faith slunk away.

Only Winks enhanced his reputation. Son provided the only real inspiration with his running and movement but might have scored a double hat-trick on chances. Mauricio has signed him up for a course in Waste Management.

But we won and a win is a win, is a win. This display will therefor be forgiven especially if we win the cup but the close call and late winner will not be forgotten for some time.

Questions arise and remain. Why didn't Janssen start? Kick a man when he's down why don't you. Why wasn't Dier played alongside one of the rookie centre backs to nurse them through it?

Why did Mauricio gamble by playing all three subs with over half an hour to go?  Succinct answer on a postage stamp: we won despite all that. Luck favours the brave. To dare is to do.....Make that the back of an envelope.

Don't second guess the manager Jimmy but I still feel that this was a victory more to be to be ashamed of than reveled in. However we progress to the next round instead of being a Trivial Pursuits question on 'Upsets in the FA Cup'.

I was having a laugh at Arsenal's expense when they scored a 98th. minute penalty to beat Burnley last week. We nearly matched them with a 96th. minute goal to progress to the 5th. round against a Division 2 side.

Let it go Jim, things could be a lot worse. You could be a Liverpool fan.

Updates
Fulham away in the Cup.
Ryan out of hospital

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Lovely man and we might never get the excuse to feature him again. Quick feet for....Let's not go there. Made a good living in the lower leagues. Hope for us all.


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Bargain Buys at Spurs.

Memo to Picture Editor
'Down, but not out' you idiot.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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City played well and had a point or three to prove. When we got the chance, in general, we played below par: Kane, Dele and Eriksen weren't at the races, or perhaps that's exactly where they all were.

However they all turned up for the second half and contributed when it mattered for the goals.

We hung in, rode our luck, took our chances and Bob's your Auntie Mary. An unlikely point I'd have taken before the game. A re-jigged defence due to Vertonghen's injury and then re-re- jigged after Toby's.

Several players performed in a variety of roles and Wanyama stood out in the back four. Wimmer thrown in at the deep end sank this time and was subbed at half time. Perhaps Davies would have been a better choice after all.

Hindsight oh Hindsight get thee behind me hindsight.

They were well up for this, at home and they stifled us from the off. Mauricio  was crushed in his own press. We didn't have a shot on target in the first half and less than half a dozen shots all game.

We didn't dominate possession as we usually do. But we did score two well worked goals and forced a draw from 2-0 down.

An afternoon for both goalkeepers to forget. Bravo was beaten by our only two attempts on target and Hugo, our saviour on many occasions, gifted them both their goals. His distribution was worse than woeful too.

So were we hapless, out of sorts but lucky, or determined and clinical? Hmm. Is it possible to be both at the same time?

It was a fortunate that the new Brazilian wonder kid Jesus only got ten minutes because he looked a real handful. But for whatever reason they played well but failed to score until we gave them a helping hand or two.

As the game wore on and the press slackened we found time and space to mount some effective resistance, despite a precautionary substitution of Toby with a hamstring twinge.

The other Harry got another half an hour in a difficult game and showed his maturity and confidence once again. So plenty of positives from the game.

Kyle Walker got away with a blatant push on Sterling which could well have been a penalty and a red card. But we got the benefit of the top four doubt. If it was the other way round we would have been seething.

 Dele's timing, Walker's new found Trippieresque crossing, Son's finishing and Kane's clever lay off brought home the bacon. A draw that feels like a win for a change.

We are unbeaten in eight and Dele now has 8 goals in his last seven appearances. The best five million we have ever spent apart from Jimmy Greaves at under a 100.000 but that was then.(edit)

Results were mixed but we remain in the top three. Chelsea won again and Arsenal too with a 97th. minute penalty would you believe? Yes obviously we all would.

Everybody else drew and the lads are off to Barcelona for a rest before Wycombe at the weekend to soak up the vibe.

It's certainly not for the weather which is wet, cold, snowy and windy, or all four together all the way down from Barcelona to Alicante.

Spurs progress chart 2016/17.
Never below sixth this season, fifth or better for the last 19 games, top four for the last four. The Tottenham snake is raising its head and is looking forward. (See diagram below)

(from Football Filter with thanks)

Injury Update.
Ryan Mason is in hospital with fractured skull following a clash of heads with Cahill early in the Hull/ Chelsea game.He has undergone surgery but it will be a few days (or weeks) before the long term situation is clear.

Calmer news today after the ambulance chasing red-top press after the game. 'Bleeding on the brain'. He is now awake and talking.

We send all our best to an honest own grown who we might well have kept.


Jimmy's Video Spot.
One of his best games for us. Finishes off a 15 pass move with the winning goal. One of our own with a career blighted by injury. Strong, brave and positive.

Final pass by Erik Lamela  to whom we also send get well soon wishes.