The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 30 November 2020

'White Heat' It Was Not.

Not exactly a 'White Heat' sort of game Mr. Cagney

But at least we made it back to the top of the League, 'Ma'

 JimmyG2 Column.

We're getting quite good at this: playing the odds, keeping clean sheets, denying our rivals the oxygen of success and staying on top of the league for yet another week. It was all a bit dour and it could have gone either way but there was little goalmouth excitement until the end.

Giroud who has been our nemesis in the past was presented with a very late chance by a weak back-header by Joe Rodon but failed to lob it over the advancing Lloris. Lo Celso in the final minutes couldn't quite decide what to do with the ball and opted for prodding it wide.

Otherwise Lloris made a top class save from Mount and Werner had a goal chalked off for offside. Son shone (sorry) more in defence than attack and Harry Kane hardly saw the Chelsea goal though he too worked hard.

Nevertheless it was an absorbing game without too many heart-stopping moments. Shhh! Whisper it softly, I could be getting used to this tactical game plan and Rodon certainly gives us more defensive options. Reguilón too gives us attacking options out of defence.

Rodon qualified for his Senior Soccer Badge with an assured performance apart from the first ten minutes when he was understandably uncertain at times and the final minutes when it could all have gone disastrously wrong but thankfully didn't.

Ndombele was outstanding until he tired, Aurier is back in everyone's good books. Dier set his new partner a bad example with some careless passing but they both survived the early jitters.  Bergwijn, and Moura later, played their covering roles well but neither posed a threat to a composed Chelsea defence.

Hojbjerg was strong and Sissoko again covered up the gaps which was his prime task but attempted very little with the ball. Bale was saved for another day. Dele wasn't even on the bench.

The game plan was predictable and Chelsea made a better job of restricting our attack than City. Abrahams had an off day, failing to connect with two fine crosses by James. We didn't turn the Chelsea defence once.

So it ran out a goal-less draw  and our 2 point lead on Chelsea was preserved. However by the time we play Arsenal next weekend we could be 2nd. Leicester lost at home to Fulham which severely dents their challenge. Chelsea could go above us if they beat Leeds.

José succeeded in raining on Abramovich's 1.000 game parade and he said the pressure was on the home side to make up the gap which we prevented them from doing. On the day none of their new stars, Ziyeck, Havertz, Pulisic or Werner found room to shine.

José denied that we were contenders or even in the race and that he was disappointed with the draw as we came to win. Just a shame he didn't impart this information to the team. They thought they'd come for a point and they weren't far wrong.

We were mere 'ponies in a horse race'. At least he didn't say 'donkeys'. He was clearly delighted quite rightly with our current form and performances. I'm with James Cagney: 'Top of the league Ma!'.

Our 4th straight clean sheet and our 9th. consecutive game unbeaten. We failed to score for the first since the opening game of the season.The first game in 6 league matches that neither Son nor Harry have scored

 Our record at the Bridge is appalling with one win in 35 games. But this was not the game to risk all.

Next Up.

Europa League game 5. Away to Lask this Thursday 3rd December at 5.55pm.

Premier League. The North London Derby. Home to Arsenal on Sunday 6th.December at 4.30 pm.

Jimmy's Video spot.

Stretching it a bit to say we are not happy with the draw. Who's he kidding? 'If we don't win, we are not going to lose' José's and now Spurs philosophy in a nutshell.I would have taken a draw before the game and I am content to take this one after.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Tottenham Change Course.

 

The Answer to Bus-Parkers.
.
The JimmyG2 Column.
.
José our new flexible friend. Against Ludogorets, more a walkover than a genuine two horse race, he revealed his inner Pochettino and went for the full press. So many positives it's hard to know where where to begin.

We won and just a point next week against Lask should be enough to see us through. Winks scored from 50 yards out and admitted it was a fluke, he was trying to find Bale as he cut in for goal. Personally I think it's clearly just the boy's natural modesty.

Four youngsters/ newcomers appeared once the game was safe(ish): Alfie Whiteman (22) a local Tottenham boy; Jack Clarke (20); Harvey White (19) and Dane Scarlett (16) the youngest ever Spurs player to make a  competitive appearance. Five if you count Japhet Tanganga (21) who started.

Now the difference in approach and tactics makes sense when on Sunday we played one of the best teams in Europe and on Thursday we played a team that might challenge as one of the worst. Horses for courses. It's the teams in-between where the problem decisions begin.

But let us rejoice, the man is not just a one trick pony and the team responded in style. Tanganga re-appeared after injury and was very good alongside Sanchez. Vinicius showed that he might make a decent front man alone or with Harry dropping off.

He scored two and assisted Moura's goal. Dele put in a shift and assisted both of Vinicius's goals. Harry Winks not only scored the 'Goal of The Season' but was everywhere in midfield. Harry K and Son got to put heir feet up. Just a pity the Hojbjerg couldn't do the same.

Perhaps José thought that with the imminent arrival of the Youth Squad we needed a bit more solidarity as others tired in mid-fied. We kept a clean sheet though it was hard not to as Hart had a night off in goal. Our opponents had no shots at all and so unsurprisingly none on target.

Ludogorets must have realised it was not their night from the start as we harried and chased but Winks goal on the hour from over 50 yds must have made it absolutely clear, if there was by then any doubt. Ndombele gave another sparkling performance until taken off to rest for Sunday. 

The second half faded away a little with a 2-0 lead and little encouragement for Ludogorets. Bale cut a peripheral figure, the full backs given free reign did little with it but fortunately on the night they weren't required to and we ran out easy winners.

It was our 5th. straight win and our 3rd consecutive clean sheet. From the Chelsea game until the end of the year we have ten games, and squad depth is vital. Expect several changes for Chelsea but at least Tanganga, Vinicius, Dele and Winks have lodged valid claims for consideration.

So now we can jump start the bus-parkers, or even soar over the parked buses like Evil Knievel and successfully park our own bus when required. Such changes of approach are essential with so many matches with teams of such  diverse quality and style. 

Ludogorets didn't so much park the bus as prove incapable of manoeuvring it into the heavy traffic outside the bus station. A dominant Spurs performance against a very poor team. But in the past we have sometimes struggled in situations like this.

Footnote. Harry Winks had 124 touches far more than any other player and a goal and 4 key passes. Yeah I know all the passes were sideways and backwards and the goal was a fluke. Ignore them Winksie I've got your back (and side ways passes too).

Just a final word. RIP  Diego Maradona. From tin shack in shanty town to football Royalty. A wonderful footballer and deeply flawed man who once wore the Lillywhite shirt and Clive Allen's boots in a Testimonial game for fellow Argentinian Ossie Ardiles. (May 1986)

All is forgiven Diego, handball and all.

Next Up.

Premier League: Away to Chelsea this Sunday 29th. November at 4.30pm.

Europa League: Away to Lask this Thursday 3rd December at 5.55pm.

Heads Up. The NLD the Sunday after next 6th. December at 4.30. Should be a pre-Xmas cracker.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Indulge me. Dele Alli v Ludogorets. A few flicks and tricks later on but mainly a focussed performance with two assists (one via a deflection) and a hand in three of the goals.

Not as masterful as some commentators made out but a welcome sign, praised by the man that matters, José Mourinho, for his team role. Spurs career resurrected? Too early to say.

Monday, 23 November 2020

Tottenham's Long Wait Over.

Rock of Gibraltar?  No it's the Tottenham Defence

 

The JimmyG2 Column.

.    

It was billed as the Battle of the Titans and so it transpired. Jose Mourinho beat Pep Guardiola by 2 goals to nil in a nail-biter at NWHL.Strangely enough Spurs beat City by the same score at the same place on the same day.

We are top of the league again but this time for longer and as Leicester failed to get the 3 points at Liverpool we will stay top for a week for the first time since 2014 and the first time after 9 games or more since 1985.(BBC).

 Records are there to be broken as a disgruntled DJ once said when he found out he'd been sacked.

Now let me confess that I didn't enjoy the game until it was all over. I haven't been raised to enjoy this kind of thing at Spurs. Looking back it was a performance to relish in every way and will do wonders for our confidence and our ability to do the same again.

But during the game there was too much nervous tension, uncertainty, doubt, lack of belief and  anxiety, to actually enjoy it. This was the classic Mourinho counter-attacking formula and we certainly have the players to do it but it's all new to this long-standing Spurs fan.

Sit back deep; snatch a goal, sit back deep again. In this case we did it twice Son moving into the space created by Harry Kane dropping off the centre halves and set free by Ndombele's shrewd chip with barely 5 minutes on the clock.

And then Kane sending Lo Celso clear just after the hour within a minute of him coming on as substitute for the tiring Ndombele. We saw out the remaining half hour despite an injury to Toby which might cause us problems for at least the next month.

It looks as if Rodon can fill the gap but we had high hopes of Sanchez, (remember him?) and he is now an entry in the 'where are they now?' scrapbook. Rodon usurped his fellow Welshman's appearance in our moment of need on 80 minutes. Gareth ( remember him?) smiled ruefully.

Now amongst my many faults 'churlishness' is not a dominant feature of mine and although it's early days the signs are all good. We are not due in for our first health check until next week (10 games) but the players seem to have bought into the José game plan.

I probably won't ever warm to the man he has too much baggage and his playing style is not within the Spurs tradition I espouse. But if it's successful and it seems to be then who am I to second guess our Manager  and I wish him well for Spurs sake.

This was an all round team performance. Nobody went missing and most players were excellent. Toby and Dier seem to have recovered their form individually and as a unit. Ndombele and Lo Celso announced themselves anew in style.

Sissoko filled in all the gaps playing sensibly within his limitations; even Aurier didn't give us a moments concern; Hojbjerg is proving to be the bargain buy of the New Millenium; Lloris was mainly a spectator but made one instinctive stop late on to allow us to see time out with our finger-nails intact.

Reguilón is an exciting addition at full back; Harry Kane masquerading as a centre forward ran the show; Son scored again to maintain a challenge for the Golden Boot and Harry has more assists (9) in 9 games this season than he had in the previous 3 seasons (8) spanning 94 games.

Bergwijn, and Moura when he came on, did their defensive duties well as well as posing a threat with their pace. Bergwijn might have scored with a little more urgency in the box but he's recovering from injury and is excused.

In the build up to the Kane disallowed offside goal every member of the team touched the ball at least once (With thanks to Pistols At Dawn on Spurs Community) without any City participation. Not many people knew that.

Son might have scored himself but unselfishly did the right thing according to all the Soccer Manuals.

Man City were there too but foundered on the rock of Tottenham's defence. Not a line that I have said that often. Ederson (edit) probably helped by rushing out wildly for the goals both of which went through his legs. Their defence played very high and failed to learn the lesson of Son's early opener.

They had an equaliser ruled out for a Jesus hand-ball in the build up for Laporte's crisp finish but that's what VAR is for, to eradicate injustice. They've had over 40 shots in their last two league games against us and lost both without scoring. 

We had 2 shots on target and scored both. Incidentally City have yet to score at NWHL

But City are not all that so far this season. Jose's after match interview had all the relevant keywords needed to win: hearts, solidarity, pride, to the limits of their desire, overcoming the pressure of the possibility of top place, a 'team' clean sheet.

Erik Dier added 'concentration' in his interview, an asset that we have sometimes neglected. He rightly said that we know we can score goals and the solid foundation of a clean sheet and sound defence gives us the confidence to show that.

Yes, faced with an opportunity to go top or win the Champions' League we sometimes mess up but under Mourinho we seem to have found both another gear and more depth although the squad is stronger and better balanced. That doesn't always do the trick of course. Just ask City.

I expect I will come to terms with it all  eventually although countering attacking football is not inherently tedious when you have the attacking elan of Son, Kane, Ndombele, Lo Celso, Moura, Bergwijn and not forgetting Bale.

It's taken José just a year  and two transfer windows to get to grips with the enigma that is THFC and managed to produce a very heavy downpour on Pep's new contract barely two days old.

But in the meantime me and the dog have reserved our place behind the sofa with our Spurs scarves and hats on and  rattles, (remember them?) firmly clutched in our hands as we chant COYS, COYS. That's just me not the dog, obviously.

The game against Chelsea who are serious Premiership contenders is huge and as usual I would take a draw now. Not that I don't think we can win but I fear that we won't.

Southampton play twice, at home to Wolves and away to United, before we play Chelsea on Sunday so we might be down to 3rd if as expected Liverpool win at Brighton on Saturday.

Next Up.

Europa League. Return fixture, Home to Ludogorets next Thursday 26th. November at 8pm.

Premiership. Away to Chelsea next Sunday 29th. November at 4.30pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Doesn't show the Kane offside goal but has the best bits of the rest. Ndombele's clever control and lovely pass into the path of Son for the first.. Alderweireld's measured pass out to Kane in space, his strong run and well timed pass to Lo Celso  who slots it under Ederson (edit) into the net for the second.



Monday, 9 November 2020

Contenders Star In The Late Show Again.

 

Yes but could they do it on a wet and windy

 Sunday lunchtime in November at The Hawthorns?

 

.The Jimmy G2 Column.

.

Playing badly and winning is more an interesting philosophical football discussion than it is a game plan, to return to a discussion point from last week. However we do seem to be getting quite good at it and it has taken us up to the dizzy heights of second.

We were briefly top for the first time in 6years but that was obviously too good to last for very long. However it's a lovely feeling with which to enter the International break. So 'Trophy or Bust' is well on track with three wins in a week playing less than optimally against poor opposition.

We even had Son, Bale and Kane starring this weekend in an episode of 'The Three Musketeers visit the Black Country'. We played as bleakly as our surroundings and won with a Harry Kane header in the 88th. minute from a Doherty cross.

We beat Brighton with a late header by Bale; Burnley with a late header by Son and West Brom with an even later header by Harry Kane. Do I detect  some sort of pattern here. It's either headers or leaving it late or playing poorly and winning.

One of the teams on the pitch was vying to go top of the league and the other to escape from the relegation zone: one had the best goal difference in the Premiership (+10); the other the worst (-11) but at times it was not easy to tell which was which.

West Brom. have only scored once in their last 5 games. Had I known that before I might have been a little more relaxed though the curse of the returning ex-player loomed large and I was sure that Jake Livermore would snatch the winner in the last minute of extra time.

We didn't have a shot on target in the first half and only managed 5 overall. We dominated possession but the build up was again painfully slow. Harry Kane was everywhere but Bale and Son seemed subdued and there was often little movement up front.

But let's snatch a few positives from this ' Musings' Cauldron of Negativity. We won and look like contenders; Reguilón rampaged effectively down the left; Hoijbjerg imposed himself on the midfield; Ndombele had some breathtaking moments.

Vinicius was very unlucky not to score before Harry cliched it with his 150th. Premiership goal, with a sharp shot on the turn which drew a fine save from Johnstone. As Jose observed he can be both a substitute for Harry and supplement him as he did on Sunday.

Both sides had chances though ours were more frequent and Lo Celso, Son, Bale, Reguilòn, Toby and Kane all went close or were repulsed at the last. Dier cleared from under the bar and Hugo punched clear a goal-bound Grant header from a corner. We were otherwise largely untroubled.

Toby and Dier were not under too much pressure again but both played well; Doherty will be cheered by his assist; Bale will get more match minutes for Wales; Harry will chase even more milestones; Harry Winks might even get a run out for England, though the Iceland game is under Covid 19 threat.

But our last three opponents are all relegation prospects and have 6 points less than us between them. (11/17). Their collective goal difference is  -23. They have scored 20 goals in 23 matches collectively. On another day we would win more easily and I would enjoy it much more.

But the weeks ahead are more fraught and though ten games in will be a useful checkpoint, at Xmas we will know more about our Trophy Challenge.Turkeys and Cockerels duly warned.

Are you listening Santa or have the Little Helpers been furloughed and the reindeer slaughtered for school dinners and sent to Marcus? It is arguable that the most persistent team won rather than the best on the day though José would take heart from that scenario.

it was only the 4th. time in our History that we have won our first 4 away games ( ( 1949-50, 1960-61 and 2017-18 BBC). and kept clean sheets in back to back away games for the first time in 3 seasons.(BBC) Why am I complaining? It's the football stupid.

We stepped it up after half-time but this game plan of biding our time until 'the opposition die of boredom' (Danny Blanchflower) is anti- Spurs, anti-football and bad for my heart, effective though it has been certainly in the short term. But that's with hindsight

The 3 goal collapse against West Ham still weighs heavily on my mind and though I prefer us to score early goals perhaps these late winners are more effective though the wait is agonising at times. After 60 years you'd think I'd got the hang of this Spurs supporting lark..

Only 2 of our next six Premiership games are at home and away games include Chelsea and Liverpool but at least we are at home at the beginning of December to Arsenal who were thrashed by Aston Villa yesterday and for the return Antwerp fixture.

Although under Covid19 restrictions the Home advantage is somewhat diminished. 

Non Spurs reflection. How is Grealish the best performing player in England right now not even in the England Squad let alone the starting eleven?

 Next Up  After the break.

Premiership: Home to City on Saturday 21st. November at 5.30 pm.

Europa league:Return Home fixture against Ludogorets on Thursday 26th. November at 8pm. 

Jimmy's Video Spot. 

While we're on the subject of 'Contenders'  my all time favourite movie scene with Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) and his brother Charlie (Rod Steiger) in the back of the taxi taking them to a reckoning with the Waterfront Mob. I've probably used it before but indulge me.

Friday, 6 November 2020

Spurs Get A Welcome Boost

 


 Unfortunately not match fit or everything might have been different.

.

The JimmyG2 Column.

.

Just what we needed: a tame Europa fixture to send us to the top of the group (on goal difference mind) to banish the Antwerp hangover, to give key players a rest and to set us up for the game against West Brom who are in the bottom three, before the International break.

Well not quite. We beat whipping boys Ludogorets but again failed to keep a clean sheet; Harry Kane started and Son came on for the second half, without both and Hojbjerg too it might have been closer, poor as they were. We failed to keep up the first half pressure.

Group J looks like this:



TeamPGDPts
1
Tottenham346
2
Royal Antwerp316
3
LASK3-16
4
Ludogorets3-40

But we won and as many Spurs fans seem to agree that's all that matters. Harry scored his 200th goal in 300 games and is bearing down on Bobby Smith (208) if not quite Jimmy Greaves(266) and beating Thiery Henry, Rooney and Shearer to this particular milestone.

We were all over them early on and Harry could have had a hat-trick in the first half hour with his first chance from a delightful chip by Winks within minutes of the start which he blazed over. Within 15 minutes he had scored with a header from a Moura corner.

On the half hour he returned the favour combining with Bale to set up Moura for a close range finish. Bale managed an hour and looked fine. Harry thumped a  shot against the post and until half time it was one way traffic.

Within seconds of coming on Son supplied a tap-in for Lo Celso. In the meantime Lugorets had scored from a shot deflection by Winks which left Keseru clear and for 12 minutes it was mathematically tight but they threatened little and Lo Celso's goal on 62 minutes restored the two goal gap.

Lo Celso had a very good first half and scored a goal assisted by Son in the second; Vinicius, Berwijn and Ndombele failed to fully grasp their opportunity and once again Hojbjerg made a difference. The full backs were poor, the centre halves OK but under little pressure.

In fact Doherty is a disappointment so far and with the arrival of the dashing Reguilón he will have less scope to venture forth as he did at Wolves. He was noticeably more adventurous paired with Davies on Thursday and might have scored.

Spurs fans least favourite midfield duo Winks and Sissoko playing pretty well. Moussa showed for the ball from the start and Winks buzzed and was busy. Apart from a couple of misplaced passes which could have put us in danger he was more than good enough. 

I'm not sure that Mourinho's treatment of Vinicius is appropriate. He was hauled off at half time against Antwerp for no real reason and left out of the squad subsequently. He should have started against Ludogorets. He is young and new to the club and needs a confidence boost.

But that's the José way. Dele was on the bench but remained there. We are over-reliant on Son and Kane even in the second level games.With Bale almost up to speed they may get more of a rest from time to time and avoid injury.

Joe Hart made a big impression mainly by shouting in a silent stadium because he had next to nothing to do until near the end when a couple of tame shots were aimed straight at him. I was pleased he played as part of the rotation. It's only fair.

It's not the José way to  hit a man when he's down and once we recovered our two goal lead we saw the game out comfortably. I would have liked to see one of the youngsters get some minutes (Clarke, White or Cirkin) But you can't please all of the people some of the time.

A 'professional' performance then with some sloppy play especially in the second half when we couldn't find the pedal but after their goal we located it again and engaged cruise control for the last half hour

Next Up.

Premiership: Away to West Brom next Sunday 8th. November in the early KO. at 12.00 

Europa league: The return fixture against Ludogorets is at home on Thursday 26th. November at 8.0 pm.after the International break.

After West Brom, and before Xmas, it gets a bit more fraught. We have City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Leicester, the return fixtures against Ludogorets, Lask and Antwerp and then Stoke in the Carabao Cup

All this and Lockdown too. If we survive all that I hope Musings followers have a very Merry Xmas. We will deserve it.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

And here is Uncle Bulgaria leading the Wombles' band in their famous 'The Wombles of Wimbledon'. Sorry Berba.


Monday, 2 November 2020

Return of the Dilemma for Spurs fans.

 


I don't think that one would count as a Trophy.

.

The JimmyG2 Column.

.

Would you rather win playing poorly? Or lose playing well? It's a hypothetical teaser and the answer is 'Neither'. I would prefer to win playing well which was not an option but in the real World exists. No team playing consistently badly has ever won anything.

You may win the odd game or perhaps several but it would not only be disheartening to watch, over the long term it would be ineffectual. I suppose all this was an inevitable dilemma once Arch Pragmatist Mourinho was appointed and the promise of trophies dangled enticingly before us.

We were seduced by the shiny baubles into tacitly agreeing that all that mattered was to win something and everything else could go hang. He usually buys these trinkets but he has taken on a different kind of challenge at Spurs although investment has increased.

We played badly 3 times this week against Burnley, Antwerp and Brighton and won two so 'All's Well that Ends Well' you might think. The Antwerp game in the Europa group stages is retrievable and we are briefly 2nd. in the Premiership though either Leicester or Leeds could overtake us with a win tonight.

I think our luck might run out any time soon unless we start playing better. Brighton were the better team on the night but Harry cunningly bought a penalty and The Bale repaid some of the hype with a headed goal from a Reguilón cross barely 3 minutes after coming on. The Real Madrid connection lives!

It wasn't as close as the scoreline suggests because the referee. Graham Scott, ignored a clear foul on Hojbjerg in the build up to Brighton's goal even after being summoned to the pitch-side VAR screen and studying it closely for 2 minutes.

In China he'd be sent for a Residential Re-education programme. But we won so that's all that matters, isn't it?. All I'm saying is that this way of playing and winning is not sustainable over the Middle and Long term. Enjoy it while you can you Short Termers though not the football obviously.

Lloris was a spectator even for the well taken goal by young Lamptey; Hoijbjerg was one of the few to emerge with much credit  though Toby set up the winner with a vintage Dawsonesque long cross-field ball and he and Dier did OK. The rest were various shades of not very good.

When Davies comes on late to shore up the defence you know you're in trouble. Anyway we won, so everything is fine, isn't it? Harry needs one more goal for his 150th. Bale's goal was his first for Spurs for over 7 years. Where on earth has he been?

Brighton played some decent organised build up but had no attacking focus and we lay in wait but wasted whatever of the play we had. Typically under Jose the visitor's dominated possession (43%/57%) but we did more with ours which is the Jose way..

But we won so that's all right isn't it? I Realise that many readers will be in the 'baubles or bust' faction and will accept dullish football in exchange for a trophy. But for how long will it be tolerated if, as I suspect, the policy doesn't reach fruition this year.

I don't accept this media agenda at all and would be content to see some more entertaining football as we have done here and there over the past few years. We play some good stuff with Lo Celso and N'dombele and the deadly duo up front but rarely sustained over a whole game or a run of games.

This is certainly the moment with a better balanced side and some timely incomers, Reguilón and Hoijberg in particular and the rest of the division in some turmoil. Aston Villa and Everton have not sustained their early momentum and we could easily sneak in unnoticed.

I hope so, a trophy would be nice but it will only be achieved if we play well. If we should win the Europa or the Rumbelows Cup (or whatever it calls itself these days) the media will move the goal-posts and demand the World Cup or something more.

Lamela is still almost doing it, hitting the post and as usual making a lively contribution. Harry hit the post too and Brighton only had 2 shots on target. Mind you we only had three so all a bit turgid but we won so that's all right then.

At home to a team that that has one win and 5 points after 7 games am I wrong to be disappointed? Though Brighton have been unlucky and at least try to play decent football. I hear you: 'Where has it got them?' We at least registered our first Home win in the Premier League.

 Seven games in second even if briefly only Liverpool ahead. What's not to like? I'm trying, I'm really trying. 

Jimmy's Video Spot.

The penalty. the equaliser and Gareth Bale's first goal on his return to Spurs. almost worth waiting for. Good ball from Toby, measured cross by 'Reggie' and Bale in space confidently scores the winner. All the highlights and there weren't that many.Two minutes is about right.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Changes

 


Ambulance for Mr. Mourinho.

Apparently he lost it at half- time and they were only 1 down.

.The JimmyG2 Column

. ''A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made''

David Bowie 'Changes'. Too many changes Jose.

I am still not a big Jose fan though I have owned up to a grudging appreciation for the job he often does. Humble pie has been consumed but it is not a wholly nourishing or sustaining diet. It's more of a fad crash regime for the short term.

They say that a change is as good as a rest but too much change can put you right back where you started and that is what has happened recently. A big squad needs rotation but it requires thoughtful deployment.

Repeated  wholesale changes in the teams and the erratic use of substitutions in this case to make a point is not conducive to any settled team or squad development.With all the ingredients newly assembled the meal still lacks balance.

Saying that our form is inconsistent is like saying that the Himalayas go up and down. After the Antwerp embarrassment Jose blames himself and then says its the players fault for not taking their chance.

They played like a team of strangers because essentially as a team that's what they were. It was disrespectful to Antwerp the opposition on the night.

Dele was poor but he and Lo Celso who were both  taken of at half-time were the only ones who successfully linked up but they took the fall anyway. Clearly Bale is not the Golden Bullet in the short-term and I would rather have watched young Jack Clarke stepping up and making his way.

And it could have been worse as Antwerp were a clear and present danger on at least two other occasions.They seized on an error by Davies who dwelt too long on the ball which led to a well taken goal by Rafaelov on the half hour.

Thereafter they pressed and defended strongly and we put very little together. Even the embarrassment of having to call on Son and Kane made little difference though the speed and quality of approach was better the penetration ultimately was not.

So a lesson hopefully learned. We were warned by Jose himself that they were a decent side and their record showed it. But Jose and the players seemed to treat them with an arrogance bordering on contempt. His flamboyant half time gesture made no difference.

Do you know who we are? We beat Manchester United 6-.1 ''Look on my works you Mighty and despair.'' But we are no Ozymandias, King of Kings and the collective need to get down to basics and hard graft as a squad.

 They were quicker to the ball and stronger in the tackle all over the pitch.

This ends our ten match unbeaten run and was our first away defeat since July and Mourinho's first defeat in a Europa League game since November 2016, ending a 12-match unbeaten run for him in the competition.

He claims that this has cleared his mind about the squad's capabilities and that future decisions will be easier now but the impact of multiple fixtures across four competitions still applies.

Perhaps he should have started against Antwerp with a stronger starting eleven.and then rested key players as the game allowed. Starting Bergwijn, Lo Celso and Bale who are clearly not fit and Dele not match fit was a rehabilitation attempt too far.

Aurier was arguably the pick of the squad on the night but the bar is very low. Vinicius was doing OK but was replaced as part of Jose's tantrum to indicate his displeasure to the boys. Hoijbjerg made a difference but we didn't have a shot on target in the second half.

They played as a team and the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. Ours was clearly not though some of our parts were not fully fit for purpose. Winks will be the usual scapegoat but this was a poor team performance all round and no-one not even Jose should take the full rap.

Beat Brighton on Sunday and this will be put into perspective very quickly especially as this was a group fixture loss and can be re-visited when they come to NWHL. But this was another frustrating watch with too much long ball and misplaced passes.

We dominated `possession (43%/ 57%) had more shots (9/13) but less on target (3/2) which tells a story. They held us at arms' length and by pressing forced Lloris to kick long so that we had too little build up play.

"I would like to have made 11 changes at half-time," said Mourinho."And tonight my future choices are going to be very easy." All a bit over the top and change can easily become disruption-

An evening to forget in many ways and a sad end to Dele's Tottenham career if that is the implication of Mourinho's words. My favourite player for some time and our best hope for the unpredictable. 

Next Up- 

Premiership: Home to Brighton on Sunday 1st. November at 7.15 pm.

Europa League: Away to Ludgorets (Bulgaria) on Thursday 5th November at 6.55 pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Don't know about you lot but I'm going to remember him the way he was and the way he may be again even if not at Spurs. I give you 10 Golden minutes of Golden Boy Dele Alli. 'The Magic of Dele Alli'