The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 21 March 2011

It's the Real thing

It's the real thing
So sue me

As usual the frequent fliers politely ignore the safety briefing, 
'Brace, brace'. As if.
'Life jackets are stowed' Yeh, yeh.
'Seats upright; tables folded, window blinds up'
Whats the problem? We aren't going far, just an ordinary run of the mill domestic trip. What can possibly go wrong?

Haven’t we just toured Europe making tricky descents through the fog to land with ease in the rain at night and lived to tell the tale? If Spurs were an airline they would definitely not be 'Easy jet'. More 'Monty Pythons Flying Circus'. Certainly routine flights seem to present the most problems just lately. Whereas the aerobatics and high flying stunts; loops; stall turns; barrel rolls; yaws; and spins; are all performed in style. Wing walking? Just give WHL a call.

The events of the last month illustrate our predicament concisely. A fighting draw at home to AC Milan puts us through to the quarter finals of the Champions' League where we are drawn against Real Madrid. Cue fireworks, massed bands, ticker-tape celebrations, general pandemonium and hysteria at the awesomeness of it all. Beat Madrid and it could be Barcelona in the semi's. We dare to dream, speculate, fantasize and hope. The real thing, no question.

Bread and butter stuff in the League however in our third consecutive run out against Premiership no-hopers, Blackpool, Wolves and lately West Ham, and we drop seven points out of a possible nine. In the first two we concede six goals and in the third we keep a clean sheet but fail to score despite dominating the play.

With nine games to go and Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man.City amongst them we have given ourselves a mammoth task which looks increasingly beyond us. So this year's high flying looks to be a temporary one off unless we win the Champions League Cup. Ridiculous as it sounds this is not beyond us.

For some reason at home to West Ham we played 4411 in order to accommodate Van der Vaart who once again failed to complete a full game. Harry also preferred Defoe to Pavlyuchenko despite the statistics. The theory that having got a goal, two in fact at Wolves, Defoe would return to form and score onion bags full proved to be tragically wrong.

We dominated possession and had 26 goal attempts, 14 on target. Green made at least two brilliant saves and they defended robustly and rode their luck. There were positives of course; Sandro put another good performance under his belt; Modric was outstanding and combined well with Van der Vaart especially in the first half. Van played too deep to support Defoe though and the introduction of Pavlyuchenko made a difference but rather too late in the day.

Bale returned but was not quite back to his bushswakling best. Dawson and Gallas were caught out on a couple of occasions and Carlton Cole might have got a couple. However we played some lively football and might have got five or six. Make that 'should have'. We certainly can't blame fixture congestion. We've got that to come.

The substitutions and team selection were puzzling. Kranjcar our late goal saviour at Bolton and Sunderland was unused on the bench. Corluka whose radar with Lennon had gone a little awry in the first half was replaced by Hutton to no obvious benefit and we declined to use up our full substitutes allowance. Lennon played well again and his shot coming in from the left rebounded off the post to a surprised Defoe who miscued what should have been an easy 'poachers' goal.

So it's all Harry's fault then? Well you can't blame him for Defoe's misses, or for bad luck and Green's performance. I thought we would struggle against an effective W.Ham midfield but in fact we dominated throughout. Modric ran 30yds with Parker hanging on to his coat tails for dear life and when he finally brought him down Luka didn't even get a free kick. Serves him right for being a class above all the other players.

But Harry's faith in Defoe is touching if misplaced. He has been ineffective for the whole season admittedly disrupted by injury and suspension. And much as I applaud loyalty to players who have produced the goods in the past when your 'sell by' date is up it's time to move on. Pavlyuchenko should have been on from the start and at home against another team of relegation contenders we should have played 442.

Even if we don't make Champions' League this year then we need the Europa if only to keep our star players interested and the fans involved. It clutters up the fixture list true but I can remember decades of purely domestic competition and it's not what Spurs were made for. There is no guarantee that without the European sideshows Premiership success is assured and I'm hooked on our European nights after so many years of enforced abstinence .


Excuse us old codgers as we quietly smile to ourselves. Poised on the edge of a truly great season Spurs pause and decide to check their parachutes before obeying the instruction 'Jump! How does it go? 'To dare is to do' or something or other, but let's not get carried away. Then they toy absentmindedly with the rip cord as they plummet to earth.

Fans hold their breath and cover their eyes hardly daring to watch the outcome.The old codgers mumble something about 'predictably unpredictable' and recall the great 'Glory Glory' days and muse, like me, on the callowness of modern youth. Mrs JimmyG2 could have had a hat-trick on Saturday. She's been tweeting Sandra ever since.At least I hope it's Sandra. I've checked, it's not in Portuguese.

So fasten your seat belts for another short domestic hop to Wigan before the continental tours begin again. I can't promise you a smooth, textbook landing but flying backwards upside down is not a problem. Just make sure your tables are stowed and locate the sick bag in the pocket in front of you.
Practice the 'Brace' postion we might be going to need it.

4 comments:

TMWNN said...

Remind me again who brought Defoe back to Spurs.

I've just booked my flight to Madrid as I'm pretty sure it's going to be the last CL away game for some time.

Shame really, with a little bit of ambition this season could have been the start of something special.

JimmyG2 said...

TMWNN
You are becoming one angry man but I don't disagree with the drift of your comments.

If Harry gets the England job, which I think is unlikely(tax, personality clashes) then it might do us all a favour.
But all managers have faults and Harry has done well and his style is a good fit for Spurs.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Pav looked very good when he came on, I like the way he comes off the front line and links play. Modric was super, again. Win, lose or draw I love this guy at our club and in our team. BAE was excellent.

While I have been quick to knock Harry in the past, the side he put out dominated an in-form (all things are relative)West Ham from start to finish and created enough good chances to have won conmfortably. So I won't knock Harry for Saturday.

I too want us to qualify for the Europa League at least. We can use the squad more fully then, and "fringe" players will not be coming into the league side uncooked as often.

Moreover, maybe not as old a codger as you, Jimmy, but I am with the great Bill Nick when he says that this club is nothing if it is not in Europe.

Last season, one of our most devastating moves, for me, pre-Lennon injury at Xmas, was Defoe to the near post, telepathically reading Lennon's early and low cross. Where has that gone? Confidence?

JimmyG2 said...

IKnowAlanGilzean
Yes I think Pav. is very underated by Harry.
He had two good shots well saved and set up Defoe twice.
Your point about using the squad more if we are in Europe is a good one.
Sandro came of age in Europe and moved on to the Premiership against W.Ham.

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