The Blog that's not always wrong.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Spurs contenders: say no more.

    That Tottenham, can they do it? 
Contenders? Say no more.

 The JimmyG2 Column.

It's getting deucedly difficult to write about Spurs these days. We've had it easy for years: missed opportunities; failures to close games out; last ditch losses; individual poor performances; lack of winning mentality; Jenas. All gone, to be replaced by competence, flair, pace and excellence in every corner of the pitch.

'Always look on the bright side' was always our aim though in fact it suited our temperaments to always look gift horses in the mouth, count their teeth and wherever possible get a second opinion. If there was a downside we always took it and for several decades events bore us out. But the worms have turned.

But how often can you say that Modric was marvelous; Bale was brilliant; Walker was wonderful; Adebayor was admirable; Sandro and Parker, aka the 'Beast Brothers' were solidity personified; Ekotto excellent; Kaboul or King and Gallas, or whoever, were kompetent without subscribers chorusing, 'Boring,Boring' and switching off demanding novelty or their money back?

OK. then: last night away to Norwich our finishing and shooting was a little bit woeful and we took our time in scoring the first goal. That's it. Bored with success at Tottenham? Then look away now. Oh, and our crossing was teetering on the verge of inaccurate at times.

But after all of our rivals bar Manchester Utd dropped points we won a game we had to win and expected to win, to maintain our progress and open up some clear lily-white water between us. We played with some style from start to finish with Modric and Van the creative heart and won easily at a venue where few teams, other than Man.City have dominated.

I can't say I'm entirely comfortable yet with this 'new' Tottenham. I'm lovin' it of course but last night for instance I hardly registered that we hadn't score until the 55th minute. I smiled benignly when a serious of clear cut chances came and went. And then I realised that I hadn't even realised that the clock was ticking down so confident was I that, once again, things would turn out alright

Spurs are becoming reliable, dependable, predictable even, and I haven't felt that for a very, very long time. We haven't got any scapegoats anymore unless Benny tries one of his tricky manouevres on the edge of the area. But he's already a legend and his errors are quickly forgiven. Kyle Walker gets enough rope to hang himself with but ends up using it for skipping.

However I could get used to it. I daren't mention the statistics about unbeaten runs any more because the last time I did we lost to Stoke. I usually pick Modric as MOM, because he usually is even on his off days but for the sheer strength, pace, and delicacy of Bale's second goal I'm giving it to him.

Our formation was fluid, verging on the chrystal clear mountain stream. With Bale on the right, no sorry, the centre, don't take your eyes off him, he's back on the left; Adebayor on the left, the fullbacks overlapping as wingers and Van Der Vaart nominally on the right but in fact playing wherever he liked; ditto Modric from the left. 4411 verging on the 433 my informants tell me, with just a drizzle of 442, and a pinch of 4231 or was it 4321?

Obviously this won't work against stronger attacking teams with quick wingers and supportive full backs but where we dominate possession, 70% last night, it works and confuses the opposition even more than it confuses me and I've got Zonal Marking on my 'Recommended Reads' list.

In fact the formation last night was a variant of Harry's favoured masterplan: 'Just go on and run about a bit'. For that to work you need intelligent, instinctive and technically competent players and at the moment we have several of those: Van Der Vaart, Adebayor, Bale and Modric to name but four.

So what more is there to say. Spurs are 'triffic' Say no more.Contenders? Nudge, nudge. Know what I mean?

Answer to the Question posed last time.
When were Spurs last third at Xmas?
According to the press it was 27yrs ago in 1984.

Video spot:
Gareth Bales goals.They seek him here;they seek him there; they seek that Gareth everywhere. Some fancy footwork from Adebayor for the first and a good ball by Modric for the second.
Nope that one's been blocked after 24hrs.
Well here's the original Monty Python 'Nudge,nudge' sketch instead.
That FA eh. Spoilsports, know what I mean. Copyright. I bet they do.
Say no more.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

What Luka Modric got for Xmas.

Greg's found an offer we definately can refuse from people who should know better. He's off to the Harrod's sale to see if there are any post Xmas bargains. He might bump into Harry and Daniel looking at the Real Madrid cast-offs section where we found Van der Vaart last year. Everone around us was full of Xmas largesse yesterday, chucking points in all directions. Let's hope that we remember that charity begins at home, even if we are away.

I wonder if £30 million was enough?
A simple 'No' would have done Daniel.

The Greg Meyer Column

 Tuesday 27 December 2011.

What Luka Modric Got For Christmas.

Apparently nestling under the tree at the Modric household amongst presents galore was a Christmas card from Sir Alex Ferguson. It fitted nicely with those other assorted “jokes” variously associated with the middle of Christmas crackers.
The return address on the back of the card was courtesy of the Daily Express. Obviously an enjoyable and inventive Christmas party at the Express. Seems the Manchester Santa look alike (red nose for purple aside) was offering 30 million for Luka. Maths is not a tabloidal strong point. Chelsea were knocked back in the summer offering 40 million.
Still set some of our number here at the pub ruminating on who got what for Christmas in North London.
Christmas Presents and Christmas Wishes.

 Just a sampling from the magical time of make-believe.

Daniel Levy.
A very big laugh after reading about the latest tabloidal science fiction regards Luka. Yes there appears some interesting manoeuverings over the signing of a new contract. Still appears Luka is keeping his options open. However his previous reported distaste for the chicken badge seems to be going down the gurgler as fast as his previous suitor’s title chances.
 The Players Christmas Tree at Chigwell Lodge.

In the season of goodwill and giving our pub have been a little overwhelmed by the largesse of Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool. All dropped points yesterday in very winnable games.
Our lawyer has the temerity to suggest submitting a late request to the older bloke with that big nose. Further north of Manchester. Arsenal at the Emirates to Wolves.  A bridge too far even for Santa.
The Hamstring Club.
This newly formed organisation is gathering members faster than Aaron Lennon before he joined the club. Our wishes include that Rafael and Younes do make it today. Perhaps both might just skip the warm up routine and particularly in Rafael’s case clock off at say the hour mark. Mind Defoe may not be there to come on yet.
On The Russian Front.
Spotted under the tree at 17 Connundrum Place were various shiny new books. A well meant tome was titled “English ... A Challenge Not A Limit.” More conspicious was a paperback headed “How To Stand Up In England.” Would have been useful against Chelsea.
Our pub are Pav supporters but he is certainly stretching the friendship. More of Sunderland please.
Trust you and yours received part of what you wished for. Our regulars certainly made full use of the break with a sumptous dinner ...
 At Our Kent Pub.
HMS Beagle set sail about 180 years ago. Today HMS Hotspur heads for Carrow road. If our normal crew’s attitude is on display then we should return with three points.
At least the curse of Howard Webb will be avoided. Michael Oliver is the referee. The Webb factor  fortunately was missing mostly against Chelsea. Adebayour stayed on the pitch but then mysteriously had a perfectly legal winner ruled out.
Not so mysterious yesterday. The game changer was at it again in awarding a “penalty” to Leon Osmond.

Still as birthday girl Marlene Dietrich famously opined ... “Darling, the legs aren’t so beautiful,it’s just that I know what to do with them.” Hopefully Ade, Gareth and co are listening.
 Cheers ... fingers crossed bananas are absent at Norwich ... Greg Meyer.  coys.

Birthday girl Marlena Dietrich seen here in her last film with David Bowie. As unlikely a combination as Adebayor and Pavlyuchenko. Not bad for a 78 yr.old, Marlena, not Bowie or Luka. No legs on show but we'll take them on trust Greg. Luka's legs are no oil paintings either but he sure knows what to do with them.

Friday, 23 December 2011

London's top, top, team

          A failed human being 
    but a half decent centre half

 We laid out our credentials; they received a rigorous examination and were eventually stamped and handed back with the words 'Pretty damn good'. Top London team at Xmas for the first time in 15yrs and 3rd for the first time in a lot longer, possibly 50yrs. Thank you Santa and a Merry Xmas to all.

We set off like an express, scored the early goal, kept and passed the ball in an almost, I said 'almost', Barcelona-esque fashion and threatened to sweep Chelsea away. Then we gave away a very lazy goal indeed. A possible handball ball set the piece up but then almost every member of the defence was guilty of ball watching or failing to cut out the cross. Which bit of  'play to the whistle' do you not understand?

Ledley, Gallas, and Friedel watched the ball pass across the 6yd. box to an unmarked Sturridge for the proverbial tap-in. Ekotto was nowhere to be seen having let Sturridge run past him on the blind side. The handball was not deliberate but it did give Cole control of the ball and enabled him to make the assist. One for the rule-book nerds there.

The scoring was all over on the stroke of quarter time but the match became more and more engrossing and combative but ultimately ended in stalemate. The referee allowed far too much physicality but this was to our advantage as Adebayor, reviving nightmares of Crouch at the Bernabeu, seemed desperate to be sent off. I think that centre forwards should be excused all tackling duties.

The dynamic axis of Parker and Sandro worked well again and the increasing hectic nature of the game did no favours to Modric who however was still the source of most of our creativity. This and the strength of Bale who set up the first goal. Czech is not the keeper he was and his hesitancy gave Adebayor just the foot of space he needed. Perhaps he just doesn't fancy another fractured skull.

In the end we could have won it but might easily have lost it. In the second half Chelsea were in the ascendant and had more shots and more clear cut chances. But in the end it was the back end of Terry, which diverted Adebayor's shot past the post that prevented us from a win. He had been set up late on by a sublimely casual ball inside the full back by Bale. Or should that be 'casually sublime'

So probably a fair result in the end. Having dominated by keeping the ball and playing quick short passes we reverted to playing the longer ball, especially by Ekotto and Gallas, which played into Chelsea's hands. Terry may be a flawed, not to say 'failed' human being but unfortunately that does not rule out the possibility that he is more than a half decent centre half. Not much more though.

Like Sol Cambell, abuse, seems to make him stronger and more determined and lately he has shown a return to form.  At least he managed to stay on the pitch this time. Chelsea are a good team and played increasingly well and we did well to match them to confirm the London Bragging Rights.

Harry's double bluff failed to work with Lampard. The old Brer Rabbit, Briar Patch scam.
' Oh no don't play Lampard, he's fantastic'.
OK, Mr. Redknapp I won't, I see through your game'.
It looks as Frank if is about 5th choice after the youngster Romeleu. He'll be looking for a new home. Quick switch off the lights, close the curtains and lock the front door.

As predicted Newcastle have fallen away, Liverpool are faltering and it's shaping up into a three horse race for third and fourth. But don't count them chicken badges just yet. On last night's evidence we are well in the race and have a points, games and goal difference advantage on our mainly London rivals. Happy days.We are winning games we might once have drawn and drawing games we might in the past have lost.

As good a half season as I can remember but just as matches are games of two halves, so seasons have two halves too. We could upgrade Pavlyuchenko in January but are going to have to add considerably to the £10 million we might feasibly get for him. There's plenty of you tube wonders out there to muse upon. But that would still leave us with three strikers and Harry Kane.

Harry, like me, tried to talk Roman up and he came on for hamstrung Van Der Vaart, with a whole half to make an impression. But he didn't and it raised doubts on Harry's tactical abilities which have been much praised lately.

Kaboul at right back and Walker in midfield might have been more effective; or Kranjcar to play behind Adebayor. Strangely neither Piennar nor the quick Townsend who has just signed a new contract were on the bench. But that's all in wide angle, 'Retrospectovision' coming to a blog near you, soon. Perhaps Harry, Pav. and me just ran out of luck.

Did I mention that Ledley played for the second time in four days and once again was not on the losing side. Well I have now. We might try giving him a seat in the centre circle when he's not fit and just play a man short.

Interesting fact that may or not have a bearing on matters:
Since re-naming their stadium Newcastle haven't won a single game. Six matches and counting.
Until then they were unbeaten.
(Courtesy of the Guardian)
The 'Ledley King Arena' anyone?

T shirts worn by Liverpool in support of Suarez.
Dubbed a disgrace by Paul McGrath but Johnson, for example, could hardly have breeched the club solidarity by not wearing one could he? Could he?
Kenny and Liverpool seem to be in a very deep hole. Throw them another shovel someone.

And now for some footage of last night's MOM.
Sandro Ranieri Guimaraes Cordeiro against Milan.
He might just make it this boy.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Never mind the quality

Not quite our immaculate selves against Sunderland.
The JimmyG2 Column

Nobody could accuse Harry of being a dedicated follower of fashion. No rip-arsed jeans for Mr. Redknapp. On Sunday though he was forced to have a closer inspection of the wardrobe. He decided to go with both belt and braces in midfield and his favourite 'Ledley' cashmere overcoat in case the weather at The Lane turned nasty.

However we notched up another win to banish that nasty Stoke dressing down. Not quite reduced to the Oxfam bargain rail, but without Kaboul, Bale and for the main part Lennon we were forced into a mismatched sort of attire which in the end turned out a more than  adequate 'ensemble du jour'. With the addition of a Russian fur hat and a Brazilian poncho the natives of Sunderland were more than impressed.

Silky smooth it wasn't for the main part. But most of the creases got ironed out after we scored. More rough and edgy corduroy than sheer nylon. Now universally pundit wide referred to as the 'entertainers' we eventually got changed into our party gear but the loss of Bale from the starting line up and Lennon before the half hour mark reduced us to slightly unfamiliar clobber.

'Never mind the quality feel the width' as they used to say in tailoring circles when the goods were not quite up to expectations. The deployment of Parker and Sandro leads to an inevitable sacrifice of designer flamboyance with Modric marooned on the wing and struggling to influence play as much as usual.

However, Van Der Vaart, ignoring whatever tactical limitations Harry had imposed, saw a gap and stepped boldly into it. He was brilliant; setting up Pavlyuchenko for an efficiently taken winner, Adebayor for a poorly executed one on one which led eventually to Modric blazing over an open goal from ten yards. He prodded and probed and sprayed passes with abandon. And he stayed around for almost the whole game.

Both full backs stepped up into the overlapping role as the game progressed but Ekotto's final ball ranged from mediocre to dreadful. Walker was more successful by linking up with others rather than trying to do it all on his own. Against Chelsea in the absence of our flying wing-men, overlapping fullbacks might be the answer, or set Townsend on to at least threaten some pace.

Ledley played and we inevitably won once again although Gallas seemed to do most of his work for him and had his best game for some time. Should we have kept Ledley for Chelsea? Getting the three points seems to justify playing him and there is no reason why he is inevitably ruled out for Thursday. Kaboul will be back from suspension in any case. Good strategic thinking by Harry. 'A bird, or three,in the hand' as they say.

Perhaps it was fortunate that we were at home at that it was 'only' Sunderland and though Martin O'Neil might well do something with them it is very early days. We were unsettled by the enforced changes and neither Parker and Sandro are quite at the cutting edge at the moment. More steam iron than cutting out shears.

My question is, would you take a point against Chelsea right now? It's more a mustn't lose occasion and I certainly won't be putting my shirt, tie and waistcoat on the outcome. A draw will preserve our position, two points ahead and our game in hand. And we have a 5 point advantage over Arsenal and Liverpool and the aforesaid GIH. We will still be third at Xmas for the first time, well, in a long time. Does anybody know?

Of course it would be better to win it, we all know that, and I'm sure we might. But let's play the percentages. You don't wear your best smutter to clear out the garage.. I'm not even suggesting playing for a draw, a scenario for which we don't seem to have the necessary equipment. I'd take the point right now if offered but I'm still looking forward to the game.

Interestingly we are top of the Fair Play league at the moment and Chelsea are bottom. If only it were true that cheats never prosper. But we are better equipped these days to hold our own in any sort of midfield battle.We may have to consider alterations for Thursday

The reputation we have for having a formidable squad looks a little threadbare at times but we are not quite open to the charge of the Emporer's new clothes. So not quite a tale of rags to riches this week but we were forced to cut our coat according to the cloth left to us by injuries and a suspension.

No Burlington Berty from Bow then but we cut a decent figure on the High Road in the end and three points is three points. And what do points mean boys? Exactly.

Chelsea Scare.
Terry injured in training. 'Out for Thursday' denied. The way he has played against us lately I'm not sure I wouldn't prefer him on the pitch in any case.

This week's video:
Man of the hour, and the one we all hate to love Roman Pavlyuychenko features this week
He sure can strike the ball. Excellent authentic Russian musical background.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Modric Wins Coveted Award.

 Greg suggests that Nostrodamus predicts a win
against Sunderland

And now for the long awaited annual prize-giving at A Kent Pub. Some quite surprising prize categories but some not so surprising winners if I may say so. Mind you the title is a bit of a giveaway: ' Such larks Pip' as they say down in Kent. Natasha missed a right royal blow out. Is that all they do down there? Anyway we are privileged to share in the festivities. I hope they all recover in time for Christmas.

                                          The Greg Meyer Column

Wednesday 14 December ... Only 7 Sleeps To Chelsea.

The Annual Kent Pub Christmas Awards ....
Another Big Run Starts ... Tweets Of The Week.

It took some days for the dust, anger and sheer frustration to subside after the most inept refereeing display of this century and last.

The manager may have got the first half wrong against Stoke. He was ably assisted by the players. In fact not assisted by the said eleven. A shame the second half was not properly rewarded with at least a point ( both our title race brothers from Manchester scored a point at the dimension challenged venue). Still Harry seems to have got the third half right as well with a frank commentary on the officials incompetence quietly and cutely put at the post match press conference.The anger laced with vitriol boiled over ever so subtly.

A sign of our emerging status perhaps. No FA charge but a quiet nudge, nudge, wink, wink style response. Read by many here at our pub as , yes you are right but we cannot publically agree.

Enough of an untimely end to our unbeaten run. Before we begin our next big run just time to share a brief report of who and what came out of the envelopes at ...

The Kent Pub Christmas Awards.

Our invited Mistress of Cermonies this year was the very lovely Natasha Kaplinsky. A big improvement on Mine Host from last year. Unfortunately despite the offer of fine English ale and a free ride home with our resident cabbie, Ms. Kaplanski politely declined. Apparently she was double booked. A gig tonight at the BT Christmas Concert took precedence. Nothing to do with the venue surely. The Royal Albert Hall. Well that explains our offer of free beer. Plenty at the Albert.

And so without any further ado but with plenty of ale join us as envelopes are opened here at our pub.

Best New Boy.

Well best olde boy actually. The nominations included a 40 year old keeper,a 31 year old midfielder and a 27 year old spring chicken striker from Togo.

And the winner is Emmanuel Adebayour. Our pub thinking is yes great to stop them going in but you do have to put at least one on the board. Compared to last season the always happy Ade is a breath of fresh air plus goals.

Most Improved Player.

A short list here was whittled down to about eight. Such has been the surge in belief and steel this year. Kaboum , yes, Defoe, yes, our Mr Serene yes. Ledley features for being out there. A giant leap forward from last year. He didn't attend the awards for obvious reasons. Yep doing laps in the Chairman's pool.

Speaking of which as the envelope opens, the name Daniel Levy appears. A player in the biggest poker game of the summer. He kept Modric. Say no more.

Most Tonsorially Challenged.

Those most obviously not in the envelope included the 40 year old American, and a number of other number one haircuts. The little sports car was near the short list given his penchant for challenging eyebrow fashion. But no only two real candidates. Little Scotty Retro or the very popular winner, Disco Benny. Benoit was prepared to change follicle formation from week to week. As well he smiles a lot more than Mr. Parker.

And so to the big gong of the night. Sponsors product flowed freely, debated raged even more so ... the very coveted ...

Kent Pub Christmas Player Award.

A hotly contested field with some strong voting from the new old boys. The Van man polled well. However a clue to the winner. Neither of the two front runners is English.

In the end it was a sudden death play off by the assembled patrons. Spin the bottle , a quaint old Kent pub game was used.

Come on down, the envelope opens and it is ...  Gareth Modric. Told you we had trouble splitting them.

On a casting vote our lawyer plumped for little Luka. Both were outstanding second half against Stoke and before this year. Unlike the Stoke result this was win win. Both deserved it.

Before we go there was another consolation award...

The Kent Pub Booby Prize.

Unlike the main award this had but one unanimous winner. Yes one Christopher Foy. May he never darken our lives again. He certainly will not get in the door ...

At A Kent Pub.

Before we go our banker did enjoy Luka's tweet to Rio Ferdinand.

                                                                               No need to miss Eastenders on Thursdays. Have Mrs Ferdinand tape it like Mrs Luka used to. No problem for Luka now. I no play in Europa much and certainly not after Irish game.

No interest whatsoever here either in the Shamrock Rovers game.

Sunderland is where we vent our anger at the Lane this Sunday. Another run begins.

Cheers ... that world famous seer and football pundit Nostradamus turns 508 today ... tipping Spurs on Sunday ...  Greg Meyer.         coys.

And now one of our prizewinners at this gala evening proves that he is more than just a haircut. It's been a long time Benoit. Any chance of something for the the weekend?


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Scott Parker's Mum to blame for Stoke defeat

   Despite temporary setbacks
Cinderella always triumphs in the end.

The JimmyG2 Column

  The Pantomime season started on Sunday this year with Cinderella at the Britannia Palace with your very own Mr. Christopher Foy playing  Baron Hardup. There are several candidates for the Ugly Sisters, Petunia and Nasturtium. (Petty and Nasty) Shawcross and Whitehead will do for me.

We were  Cinderella who you will remember triumphs in the end but has to undergo several trials and tribulations before the glass slipper fits. I'm not sure whether to cast Harry as Buttons, Cinderella's unfailing help, or the Fairy Godmother who makes it all come right in the end.

Our wonderful record breaking run is behind us, Oh yes it is! And we must regroup and build another. Is it the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning? Is it a major catastrophe or just a blip? Which of these scenarios it turns out to be won't be clear until we can look back over the next few fixtures and results.

If we can win against Sunderland, pumped by a win against Blackburn after the arrival of Martin O'Neill and get at least a draw against Chelsea we will be able to shake our heads wisely and put it all down to an ugly experience. Those people that were talking about going 'unbeaten into the New Year' don't fully appreciate the application of the laws of probability.

But we were curiously unprepared mentally for the trip to Stoke. The referee was awful, on both little things like corners and throw-ins: and on the big things like penalties and off-sides. Crouch handled before the first goal and Whitehead handled on the line to prevent an equaliser later on.

Kaboul foolishly got himself sent off but was hauled down in the box which was ignored. We got the Modric penalty which was not 100% nailed on to me. On another day Luka might have got a yellow card for diving. But I am a firm believer in the cock-up theory and doubt that Mr. Foy means us any harm. He was just incompetent. Even Harry said so afterwards which is unusual

Now we are not going to get everything but there were enough official errors here to make a difference to the result. Adebayor was clearly onside when he scored the disallowed equaliser and so it goes on. Things probably even themselves out over the season but to have so many errors in one game is clearly critical.

On our second half display we deserved a draw; but on our first half showing we deserved absolutely nothing. Van Der Vaart should have been replaced at half time rather than Lennon and Parker had his first really average game. He looked bemused and puzzled for the first half hour.

It's not as if Stoke are an unknown quantity. It may not be sexy football but it's more or less within the rules and it's the way they play. Stronger refereeing would help and greater protection from the officials for the genuine footballers would have assisted our cause.

We dropped off Crouch and allowed him a free run run at the ball but we couldn't predict the outcome of the second ball. After all Crouchy doesn't have a clue where it's going so why should we? Kaboul should have been a threatening presence from every long throw, that's how Crouchy was rendered ineffective when he played for us. It's not that long ago and you would have thought we would have remembered.

Friedel doesn't come for the ball in the six yard box which is an obvious tactic against the long throw, but he made three or four excellent saves to keep us in the game at times. We were in a mess every time the long throw came in. Shotton, a Delap clone, has obviously been groomed for the role: where do they find them?

If we were relieved by the absence of Delap then our joy was short lived. Stoke are apparently to face an FA probe because Shotton was wearing a red towelling top under his shirt to wipe the ball on. The 'Crimes against Underwear' file thickens. His Mum has insisted that he's had a bit of a chill and that it was just a precaution on a chilly day.

Credit to Harry, he got the boys up mentally and tactically for the second half and on another day we would have got at least a draw. Adebayor scored from the penalty although he missed last time; Modric scored the last one and was on the pitch so I thought that he would have taken it. But what do I know?

In the second half we had nearly 70% possession but possession is not goals as we have proved on a number of occasions.and the damage was done long before that. In the first half the team were sluggish and looked as if the boys had all been to their Mum's for a blow-out for Sunday dinner.

'Just have another couple of roast potatoes and some more Yorkshire pudding Scott to build up your strength for the game'. By the time he'd digested it, it was half time. Stoke had clearly toyed with a raw carrot and beetroot mousse and were allowed to dominate and build up a head of steam.

Chelsea's win last night tightens up the top four but we are still nicely placed with our game in hand. It makes the Chelsea fixture a proverbial six pointer. On Thursday I hope Harry let's all the boys out against Shamrock as they seem to do as well as their elders and he's not that bothered about remaining in the Europa.

Silly Transfer Rumour.
Kaka from Real Madrid to Spurs. Not good enough for Real Madrid, not good enough for Spurs.
No I mean it. Top, top player once but hasn't done anything through injury for a while.

Video spot
Here's how they cope with referees they don't like abroad. Not that I'm advocating it, but it puts Harry's comments in perspective.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Scott and Luka: When will their Glory, Glory fade?

With Scott Parker as Errol Flynn as the dashing Lord Cardigan
and Luka Modric as Commander In Chief Lord Raglan

The JimmyG2 Column

 Longest unbeaten run; longest winning run. Broken records to the left of us, broken records to the right of us, into the Top Three rode... . I've heard of a bull in a china shop but a pig in a record shop is a stretch too far.

Apart from an exhilarating attacking display with pace to the left of us, pace to the right of us..(editor: enough already Jimmy with the Charge of the Light Brigade: sorry) Apart from this the outstanding moment was the sending off of Garry, (Harry admits interest), Cahill.

Even after 19 minutes it was clear they were going to endure a battering and Cahill had already shown glimpses of error under pressure (Harry not quite so keen after all) But the test I always apply is if had been the other way round would what size of tacks would we be spitting?

To send a man off for 'denying a goal scoring opportunity' close to the touchline, just inside the half is a prediction worthy of Nostradamus. Cahill wasn't the last man, Zak Knight was more central and closer to the goal, and incidentally a lot faster than Scott Parker. Not that the referee is required to take that into account I agree.

Some might argue that it would take dozens of such decision just to balance the books against the injustices suffered against Manchester Utd. alone over the years. But that is to see the football scene with blindfold, blinkers and dark glasses on. None of that is Bolton's fault, though I do have an instinctive mistrust of coaches who wear shorts on match days.

Owen Coyle could be heard blaming the fact that they are a little club and currently bottom of the league for the cavalier treatment by officialdom. This is a complaint that Tottenham have been heard to mutter from time to time from a slightly different angle: that the top four are differently treated.

But we are the top four and perhaps are benefiting from the top four factor. And enjoying it. We didn't get the Ekotto penalty true but we were 2-0 up at that point and the referee was obviously considering stopping the fight to prevent further damage.

We got all the decisions at W.Brom courtesy of Lee Probart and it is a fact of life that when you're down Lady Luck tends to kick you where it hurts rather than to give you the kiss of life. We would have beaten Bolton in any case but it doesn't hurt to take the wider view. 'Be nice to those you meet up on the way up' as they say.

We played with style, pace and skill and went ahead early, my favourite scenario courtesy of a near post flick by Bale from that man Modric's corner. The celebrations involved removing his boot etched with the name of Gary Speed and displaying it to the fans.

I sometimes wish that Luka would keep his talent under wraps a little more in case someone out there is watching. He would grace any team in Europe at the moment. Chelsea are apparently offering us Lampard in part exchange for him in January. An offer we can definitely refuse to even think about. Harry may be his Uncle but that would be taking nepotism a step too far.

We waited until the second half to get a second but these days even I am relaxed about that. The increasingly influential Lennon scored from the left at the end of a flowing move with a Defoe assist. His positional interchanges with Bale unsettling even more a stretched Bolton defence.

Once again we scored three although it should have been many more but for our unerring ability to find parts of Jussi Jaaskalainen's body to hit; he even saved a couple with his hands. Defoe finished off smartly another Modric corner via Bale at the near post.

Scott Parker toiled manfully in midfield and almost scored adopting the slogan from a famous poem which I am forbidden to mention:

His not to make reply,
His not to reason why,
His but to do & die......

and he certainly does: 'do' not 'die' that is.

Friedel was so bored at one point that he attempted to dismantle the goal, posts, crossbar, nets and all. One can only guess at how long play would have been delayed if that had been Heurelho. Gallas and Kaboul had little to do but did it without fuss.

So, more milestones reached on the way to who knows where. It seems to have been a long season and we haven't even reached Xmas yet. Perhaps that's what the old hands mean when they muse on whether Spurs can withstand the pressures of an end of season run-in when we are in contention.

We did it two seasons ago and there are no signs yet that we won't be able to do it again.

'When can their glory (glory) fade?' indeed. 
I'm standing shoulder to shoulder with Alfred Lord Tennyson on this one.

Transfer rumours:

Drogba and Anelka, surplus to requirements at Chelsea, for Pavlyuchenko, again rumoured to be off to Russia, would be good in January but unlikely as both could get oodles of money in America or Dubai or anywhere other than WHL.

Jan Vertonghen a left sided Ajax and Belgian centre-half and defensive midfielder is also on the rumour tread mill. If he's half as good as their chocolates he could be a useful trade in for Bassong.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Stoke and Peter Crouch on Sunday should provide another three points. They are tall strong and tough but we've got Scott Parker and are quick,skillful and very very good at passing.

'Storm'd at with shot and shell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,

Well perhaps that's a bit
strong for an away trip to the Potteries but it could be tougher game than home to Bolton. But I'm sticking with 1-3.

Video spot 
This week we give some space for the newly resurgent Jermaine Defoe picked over Van Der Vaart to give the Dutchman's  hamstrings a rest.
He doesn't do subtle but shows some nice movement here, on and off the ball.
Not too sure about the soundtrack; see what you think.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Bolton .. A Bale Bullseye and Modric Magic.

Some Pub lunch!
No idea who the guy in the middle is,
but the one on the far right is Greg Meyer.

Greg tucks in at  A  Kent Pub with a fork in one hand and a lap-top in the other to celebrate both the anniversary of the birth of General George Custer who died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn as well as yet another famous Spurs victory over Bolton at White Hart Lane. This marked the high water mark of the Indian Tribes' power but not,we hope, hope the high water mark of Spurs ambitions.
 History, Gourmet Dining, Homage to Luka all in one column. How does he do it?

                  The Greg Meyer Column 
Sunday 4 December ... A Famous Last Lunch At Little Bighorn.
 Bolting Past Bolton ... Into Second Gear and Back To Third ... Roll On Stoke.
 This column comes via a laptop perched precariously on a table replete with culinary delights galore. Sunday lunch at our pub is fast getting out of hand.Our Romanian chef's favourite player is Luka. Who else. Still, seems he is determined to match the little water carriers' genius onfield with his own kitchen creativity.
So while we tuck in to a selection of field mushrooms stuffed with welsh rarebit balsamic drizzle ( congrats on the first goal Gareth) for starters, followed by herb crusted rack of lamb or fondant potatoes and a star anis jus ... the list is endless ... what a time to enjoy the feast that is Spurs football at the moment. Welcome to another meeting of ...
 The Royal Kent Pub Football Gastronomical Society 
 Really just an excuse for our regulars to gather at the round table and glory in fine food, fine ale and even finer, the exploits of our Spurs team.Here is some of the conversation and moments discussed after a football display worthy of Heston Blumenthal.
So thats another dragon slain.
                                            Not Bolton but Spurs winning only with Ledley. Our superstitious plumber feared the worst with news of no Ledley but Gallas was on point duty with Kevin Davies. Coped well with Davies retiring as a spent force at the 62 minute mark. Next up the Adebayor and Parker myths. Mind rather they played every game herein.
Back to Ledley and seems he was withdrawn because of a knock suffered in training on Friday. Our pub are somewhat bemused given he doesn't train unless you count regular laps in the Chairman's private pool. Just who else jumped into the pool on Friday should be the subject of a Royal Commission. Surely swimming is supposed to be a non contact sport. Flippers crossed.
 The Cahill incident.
                            Jogging not running led to waving not drowning.
Yes a cynical professional foul which might be a goal scoring opportunity if it was say Gareth Bale. But our little Scotty is a jogger rather than a sprinter. The waving of the comedic red card certainly drowned all hopes Bolton may have had. Still our lawyer suggests the game, bird and ball had already migrated to North London. That Stuart Atwell is certainly making an impression. Probably better suited at ... piano playing anyone.
Jussi Jaaskelainen was hardly man of the match.
                                                                        The secret to his stopping abilities lay in his choice of clothing.
An attempt at irridescent orange helped. Some suspiciously magnetic qualities may have also been a factor. But surely the large bullseye adorning his orange kit was the most likely explanation.
Sure Spurs had 46,000 shots on goal but almost all of those on target were struck precisely at Jussi. Yes he stayed between the goals and most of the time that was a direct invitation to propel the ball straight at him. Gleefully and continually accepted particularly by Ade and Jermain. Les Ferdinand will perhaps point this simple fact out later in the week. Perhaps our little sports car could also add a word. Nicely placed in the top corner. No Jussi. Great to see Aaron's improvement really catching fire.
Lots of other moments being hotly discussed here at an increasingly ebullient lunch ...
 At A Kent Pub.
 Our philosophy is enjoy it while it lasts. Second on Saturday really for a while. Second currently some might argue technically. We have that game in hand.
Next week we have Stoke away and United have Wolves at home. Second might have to wait. The good news is City and Chelsea clash.
Scarier and scarier. Come Christmas Spurs may be ...
.Cheers ... tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of George Armstrong Custer of Last Stand  fame....History Just Like The Olde Spurs ... Greg Meyer.  coys.

And now watch as Spurs beat Arsenal and Man.City,off the pitch at least.
Don't drop those trophies boys they could do you some serious damage.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Adebayor bigger than Modric

Actually Adebayor is bigger than everybody.
Greg  focuses on important matters here. Not quite what Thierry Henri had in mind when he famously remarked that 'size matters'. His slogan for tomorrow is, 'Kevin Davies: can we fix him? Yes we can!'  We are all  determined to put Wednesday behind us and let's hope the club does too.
 The Greg Meyer Column
An Operatic Friday .. 2 December 2011.

Adebayour Bigger Than Modric ... According To.
Kevin Davies is all that stands between Spurs and second place come late Saturday afternoon, London time. Later on Manchester time, a certain United mob should keep the seat warm for us after beating Villa away.
Think Bolton and our pub invariably think Sam Allardyce and Kevin Davies. Both very obdurate characters. The former best known for his non-stop gum chewing. The other for inconveniently placed elbows and against Spurs inconvenient goals. Still there has been a climate change at Spurs since those days.
Convenient that we now seem to have belief. Thrown in a run of winnable games and the New Year is very scary. More altitude sickness looms. A convenient truth perhaps. Spurs going for the title.
So whilst Bolton are hardly a one man team ,surely with Kaboul's physicality and the knowhow of Spurs Mr. Serene alongside him then Davies should be sufficiently contained. Goals should flow from a returning Van Man, possibly Bale and with his finishing boots on this week an in form Adebayour.
Adebayour has scored seven goals in ten League starts. So lets revisit that headline.
 Adebayour Was Signed and Modric Was Retained. 
 Our lawyer makes the case that we can win without Modric(West Brom) but not without Adebayour (PAOK). Yes overly simplistic. Both are superstars.One is a water carrier and the other usually a finisher. Indeed Ade manages to finish lately using the goalkeeper as a wall pass. Remember the penalty. Remember the scuffed second off Carson against Brom.
 Spurs have a midfield of riches galore. The envy of many including Chelsea and in Bale's case Barcelona. However the PAOK game at home no less, against 10 men no less, showed less is true as to our strike force. Defoe is usually and lately useful. Not so on Wednesday. Harry, no first touch, Kane. An ambling and amiable Russian .  Unfortunately none in Ade's league.
 Back to that headline. If Adebayour is injured our chase for fourth let alone the top job looks mortally wounded. So yes he is bigger than Modric. Of course if Mr. Levy had not kept Modric then Adebayour would possibly have not signed. As well other jewels in the crown including the boy Bale might have started looking to other horizons. It is a team game and currently Spurs have a team full of spirit.
 Of course if Arsenal lost Van Persie, Liverpool misplaced Suarez, Rooney got lost in space, and City had no Aguerro then the Spurs plight would not look so bad. Yes I know Chelsea are in the race but on performances lately they have already lost Torres, Drogba, Anelka and Lukaku. Metaphorically speaking in part.
 Back in the real world the result in Europe on Wednesday was treated very philosophically...
 At A Kent Pub.
 Our banker deemed it boring whilst our cabbie enjoyed Modric and shuddered at the efforts of another Lee Barnard. Sorry Harry but apart from the anonymous first touch there were portents of Sandra Redknapp in that missed header.
 Better news is the paper talk of us signing Jan Vertonghen. A 24 year old Belgian Centre Half, currently captaining Ajax. Looks the goods and touted Arsenal and Barcelona interest means he may be some way ahead of Bongani Khumalo. Another anonymous buy and currently on loan to Reading.
If you are grappling with those names then think back to last week. Chelsea were rumoured to be signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel. No we are not making it up. Currently a striker with Sporting CP in Portugal.
Lets hope Christmas comes early at the Lane tomorrow.
 Christmas Cheers ... Maria Callas would be 88 toaday  ... Greg Meyer.      coys.

Breaking news: Harry and Scotty are the Barclays Manager and Player of ther Month.
And here are the Euro groups following tonight's draw.

Group A: Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic.
Group B: Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Portugal.
Group C: Spain, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Croatia.
Group D: Ukraine, Sweden, France, England.
Video spot: Nothing football related from Maria but here's Nessun Dorma (None shall sleep). This is the 'Football' version as it was used as the theme of the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Sung by Pavarotti. Nobody sleeps when Luciano sings or when Spurs are on song.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Don't hold your breath

 Relax. We can still qualify

The JimmyG2 Column

PAOK acting on Danny Blanchflower's advice equalised almost before we took the pitch. Then like 'New York; New York' they liked it so much they did it again. 2-0 down in 12 minutes through slack defending and the future looked bleak. As Danny had once suggested, 'Get your retaliation in first'

But that is at least the 4th time we've been 2-0 down in a European tie in recent years and we've always managed to escape Houdini like to throw of the shackles and straight jacket and float free from the lead lined underwater tomb to live another day. 

This however was one great escape too many and despite laying siege to the PAOK goal from the 38th minute when they conceded a penalty and had a man sent off we met a human brick wall and failed to breech it with either a sledgehammer or trowel.

Modric, who was two classes above everyone on the night and who may feel he's made for more important things, made penalty taking look simple and may have added yet another paragraph to his CV. He wriggled and accelerated from deep, sometimes beating 3or 4 opponents but there was little support for him in midfield.

This was not an inexperienced team, only Rose,Kane and Livermore could tick that box and Jake's not even that young anymore. But there were several players returning from injury whose bodies were not yet match fit and whose minds were not entirely focused on the game in hand. Corluka, Rose, Piennar and Gallas all struggled to adjust and had hardly had time to settle before we went behind.

Livermore picked up in the second half and he and Modric found some rapport but by then PAOK, I swear, had brought a man on rather than taking one off and deployed most of them on the goal-line. Isn't the ref supposed to count them at the beginning of each half? We had the ball in the net twice but both were correctly ruled out.

The sending off didn't actually help us because after that with a slender lead they concentrated on defending and rarely ventured out. I counted at least three occasions when shots were cleared off the line, not that we had many.

Livermore and Kane went close, Bale and Piennar missed badly when well placed and that was about it. For all our pressure with so many bodies in the box there were little clear goal scoring opportunities. Certainly little wriggle room for Defoe. It seemed like trying to play football in a forest.

At 2-1 down after 38 minutes against 10 men you would have bet your house on at least a draw. But the ranks of the homeless were swelled because they defended very well and we lacked the guile to break them down.

We had by the end the three fastest human projectiles on the planet on at the same time. But getting from one end to the other in record breaking time is of no use if the opposition haven't bothered to come out. All you do is get to the brick wall more quickly; it's still there with every brick intact.

Government statisticians are working out, as we speak, what we need to do to qualify. I think PAOK have to beat Rubin Kazan by a couple and we have to beat Shamrock by four or more, or something. My advice is, 'Don't hold your breath'. I'm afraid it ain't gonna happen.

It's been a useful outlet for the youngsters and for the the lame, disabled and sick to get recovery time but we have discovered that the Europa is no Mickey Mouse competition and that our fabled strength in depth is somewhat weaker and shallower than we had hoped.

Falque looked lively when he came on, but nobody else enhanced their reputations except Luka but unfortunately we didn't have anyone capable of playing with him. I would be quite happy for Piennar, Bassong and Corluka to be moved on subject to suitable replacements being found.

Of the youngsters, Kane is young and might still make the grade next season. Livermore is a bit pedestrian but willing, Rose still has potential but it's a pity that Fredericks, Townsend and Carroll were left out as they couldn't have done worse than their senior colleagues.

In fact the biggest disappointment was that these promising boys were not entrusted to finish the job they had started. Harry who apparently doesn’t rate the competition still played Modric and Lennon from the start in what he described as a 'must win' game.

I don't regard it as 'blessing in disguise' that we are out because it was a useful way of occupying a group of highly paid unemployed layabouts who can't get into Harry's 1st team. If Modric had got injured last night the cat would have had a mouthful of feathers.

As long as the after effects don't spill over into the Bolton game then there is no harm done. Finishing in the top three is still the priority.

Can't afford a video this week we bet the farm on Europa qualification.